In today’s EGEB:
- Duke Energy announces contracts for 602 megawatts of Carolina solar.
- Europe invested $30 billion in wind projects last year.
- The Trump administration is trying to steer Puerto Rico away from renewables and toward natural gas.
Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.
North Carolina-based utility Duke Energy announced contracts for 14 utility-scale solar projects in the Carolinas. Duke Energy will produce or purchase a total of 602 MW of renewable energy through North Carolina’s Competitive Procurement of Renewable Energy (CPRE) program.
The projects were selected through an independent bidding process, and six of them will be built by Duke Energy subsidiaries:
- Duke Energy Carolinas: 69-MW – Catawba County, N.C.
- Duke Energy Carolinas: 25-MW – Gaston County, N.C.
- Duke Energy Renewables: 50-MW – Cleveland County, N.C.
- Duke Energy Renewables: 22.6-MW – Surry County, N.C.
- Duke Energy Renewables: 22.6-MW – Cabarrus/Stanly counties, N.C.
- Duke Energy Progress: 80-MW – Onslow County, N.C.
The rest will be built by other developers, with 10 projects in North Carolina and 4 in South Carolina total. North Carolina’s competitive bidding structure for solar allows bids to come from any company, including utilities like Duke Energy.
Duke Energy recently proposed a $76 million initiative for electric vehicle charging in North Carolina. On the flip side, the company is appealing a decision which would force them to excavate coal ash from its coal-burning sites in the state.
Europe invested €27 billion ($30 billion) in new wind farms in 2018, according to WindEurope. While this is similar to previous investments, decreasing costs ensure the money will finance a record amount of new wind capacity.
Wind energy earned nearly 60% of all investments in new power generation last year, and there’s much better bang for the buck than there was just a few years ago: WindEurope said 1 MW of new onshore wind capacity now requires €1.4 million ($1.57 million) capital expenditure, down from €2 million ($2.25 million) in 2015.
There’s an even bigger drop in offshore wind development costs: 1 MW of new offshore wind capacity requires €2.5 million ($2.8 million), down from €4.5 million ($5 million) in 2015. Last year, investments were announced for 12.5 GW of onshore wind and 4.2 GW of offshore wind.
Despite the progress, WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said more is needed:
“But Europe needs to keep investing significant amounts in wind if it’s going to meet its 32% renewables target for 2030. The money is out there. But there aren’t enough bankable projects. One problem is permitting: the processes are slower and more complex than they were. Another problem is the lack of visibility today on governments’ plans for renewables. The National Energy Plans they have to write this year are key to resolving this. If they’re clear and ambitious this’ll provide investment signals which will make projects happen.”
Greta Thunberg doesn’t mince words.
“We had everything we could ever wish for… now we probably don’t even have a future anymore.”
16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg says the planet’s future “was sold so that a small number of people could make unimaginable amounts of money”. pic.twitter.com/A8tu6zPrw0
— Channel 4 News (@Channel4News) April 18, 2019
PR: Renewables or Gas?
Puerto Rico recently approved into law its commitment to 100% renewable energy by 2050. But, as Vox reports, the Trump administration is pushing the American island territory toward natural gas.
US Department of Energy Assistant Secretary Bruce Walker said Puerto Rico’s emphasis on renewables could affect the stability of its power grid. He suggested that natural gas power plants could ultimately be more cost-effective than solar and wind energy projects.
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