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EGEB: Renewables giant tries floating solar, Wyoming coal and wind, and more

Today in EGEB, Norwegian renewables giant Statkraft tries its hand at a floating solar plant. Wyoming passes a bill to keep coal power alive in the state — and it’s a great state for wind. And New York City will bring “meatless Mondays” to its public schools to reduce emissions.

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Norway’s Statkraft, Europe’s largest generator of renewable energy, has reached an agreement to deliver a floating solar plant to Albania.

Statkraft Albania entered the agreement with Norwegian floating solar developer Ocean Sun AS. Statkraft says the solar park will consist of 4 floating units of 0.5 MW each for a maximum capacity of 2 MW. The total cost is €2.3 million ($2.6 million). Construction will start this year and should finish by 2020.

The capacity certainly isn’t overwhelming, but this initial setup will determine how heavily Statkraft pursues other floating solar projects in the future. CEO Christian Rynning-Tønnesen said in a release,

“Testing new technology for floating solar power panels fits very well with Statkraft’s strategy to grow our renewable energy generation from hydro, wind and solar. If the technology is proven successful and the potential for cost-competitiveness can be achieved, a wider application of floating solar may take place in other Statkraft locations.”

Floating solar is becoming more popular in Asia — here’s a look at a recent installation in Cambodia.

Cowboy Coal

Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon (R) signed a bill to save coal-fired power plants in the state. Under the new law, a utility must try to sell a coal plant first before decommissioning it.

But it’s not just that. As the Wyoming Tribune Eagle notes, even if a new company buys the plant, “the bill requires the utility that sold the plant to buy back the power, even if a cheaper source is available.”

The bill was sponsored by state Sen. Dan Dockstader (R), who says he did so to protect coal jobs in small communities. During the bill signing ceremony, Gov. Gordon curiously chose to comment on coal emissions, saying:

“And I think back a few years ago about the great strides the coal industry had made in reducing emissions, reducing carbon dioxide. Really, no other industry has done as much as coal has to reduce their carbon footprint.”

The Tribune Eagle said “critics see the move as temporarily extending the life of outdated and costly coal-fired plants at the expense of consumers and taxpayers.”

Jason Shogren, the Stroock Chair of Natural Resource Conservation and Management at the University of Wyoming, called it a “very socialist program.” He said,

“The economics of it is clear. It’s asking ratepayers to pay more, for consumers to subsidize producers.”

Wyoming Wind

Wyoming’s coal support continues as the state ranks fourth in wind power economics, according to a University of Wyoming study. The study measured the value of wind power and cost of development. Some state lawmakers are still pushing for an increase in the state’s wind tax, the Casper Star-Tribune reports. As the article explains:

“Tax proponents maintain the wind is so good in Wyoming, and development of wind is so cheap, that the increase is a fair deal. The UW study’s authors argue that increasing the existing wind tax may be a bad deal for economic diversification, scaring off development.”

Sunrise To Barrasso: No

(A Wyoming-heavy EGEB? It appears so.) Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso — mainly known around these parts for his efforts to kill the federal EV tax credit — posted a letter on Twitter from AFL-CIO members which purports to “slam” the Green New Deal. The Sunrise Movement responds in a thread starting here:

No Meat NY

In a move that surely won’t draw any overblown criticism, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city’s public schools will go meatless on Monday.

Mayor de Blasio cited health concerns for the decision, but he also said Meatless Mondays will help the future of the planet. “Cutting back on meat a little will improve New Yorkers’ health and reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” he said to POLITICO.

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