This week in clean energy news, offshore wind projects are gaining momentum along the Northeast and mid-Atlantic coasts, the industry is seeing record low prices for solar and wind energy storage, and a California city commits to 100% renewable electricity use.
In environmental policy news, federal regulators reject a plan to subsidize coal and nuclear plants, New York City announces plans to divest from fossil fuel companies, and the UK lays out plan to end plastic litter by 2042.
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- The Federal Regulatory Energy commission (FERC) has unanimously rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s proposal to subsidize coal and nuclear plants, and announced plans to further examine issues that could potentially threaten the resilience of the U.S. grid.
“On Monday, January 8, the Commission announced that it was terminating the proposal made by Secretary Perry, and instead revealed that it had initiated a process of its own ‘to holistically examine the resilience of the bulk power system.’”
- Xcel Energy has attracted record low bids for solar plus storage and wind plus storage, at $36 per megawatt-hour and $21 per megawatt-hour, respectively. Both figures are significantly below the unsubsidized levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for wind and solar published by Lazard last November.
“The storage industry is much more mature here in the U.S. than in other markets, so the cost curve the industry is relying on is much more likely to be achievable, even if you factor in lower labor costs elsewhere.”
Innovators Magazine – US Cities Stick to Clean Energy Path
- The Goleta, California City Council backed a resolution this week to transition to 100% renewable electricity use by 2030, becoming the 51st US city to commit 100% to clean sources.
“‘This effort is an important and strategic first step to securing more, reliable, safe, and economic energy vital to our community’s long term prosperity and welfare,’ said Goleta Mayor Paula Perotte.”
- As part of the UK Government’s 25-year plan to build a “Green Future,” Theresa May has announced plans to end all “avoidable” plastic waste. The initiative includes plans for taxation on single-use items, a continuing charge for plastic bags, an increase in government funding for research on plastic alternatives, and efforts to decrease plastic use in developing countries.
“In PM May’s own words, ‘We look back in horror at some of the damage done to our environment in the past and wonder how anyone could have thought that, for example, dumping toxic chemicals into rivers was ever the right thing to do.’”
- New York mayor Bill de Blasio announced plans to take 5 large fossil fuel companies to federal court over their contribution to climate change in the city. City officials have also announced plans to divest the city’s $189 billion pension funds from fossil fuel companies over the next five years.
‘“New York City is standing up for future generations by becoming the first major US city to divest our pension funds from fossil fuels,’ said Bill de Blasio, New York’s mayor.”
- The new Salesforce Tower in San Francisco that opened this week is showcasing the largest commercial “blackwater” recycling system in the US. Manufactured by the Australian company Aquacell, the technology will reduce usage on the local drinking water supply by 7.8 million gallons annually.
“The system will result in a 76 percent reduction in the building’s water footprint, according to Patrick Flynn, senior director of sustainability for the cloud software giant.”
YaleEnvironment360 – After an Uncertain Start, U.S. Offshore Wind is Powering Up
- The U.S. offshore wind industry has started to garner momentum after years of pushback and delays, with support from the Trump Administration thus far.
“According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 25 offshore wind projects with a generating capacity of 24 gigawatts are now being planned, mainly off the U.S. Northeast and mid-Atlantic coasts.”