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EGEB: Solar boom in Georgia, offshore wind infrastructure, Australian renewable projects, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • Solar is on the rise in Georgia.
  • Massachusetts is looking for extra partners to help with offshore wind infrastructure.
  • Australia moves forward on a massive big solar/wind/battery project…
  • …and starts construction on a large wind farm, as well.

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

NPR looks at the booming solar industry in Georgia, which isn’t benefitting from state subsidies, nor concerns about emissions or climate change — it’s on the rise due to “powerful market forces at work.”

Dalton, Georgia got a $150 million solar panel assembly plant last year, the largest in the Western Hemisphere. That, combined with Trump’s tariffs on solar cell imports, falling costs, and the potential and desire for development in the Southeast, add up to a strong solar outlook for the Peach State.

Solar in the state also stands to benefit from a Facebook data center, currently under construction outside of Atlanta. The social media company was attracted to the area for its access to renewable energy, as it aims to be 100% renewable energy-powered by 2020. Georgia offered that opportunity, and a state cooperative will provide Facebook access to solar.

An official from one Georgia county that stands to earn additional tax revenue from a solar project said,

“There’s no downside. I don’t see how it could be. We don’t have pollution. We don’t have smell. You know, there’s just nothing. They’re just there.”

Offshore Infrastructure

While Massachusetts officials — and others across the Northeast — pursue offshore wind development with vigor, they may need a little more help on the infrastructure side of things. As House Speaker Pro Tempore Patricia Haddad told South Coast Today,

“The infrastructure is going to be as important as the windmills themselves and so we’re now looking for the right way to go with this infrastructure. At first it was that developers would take care of that, but now we realize that if we’re going to use the whole 10 gigawatts that people tell us are available out there, then we have to have other partners.”

Haddad co-sponsored a bill that would competitively solicit proposals for offshore wind transmission lines. The bill was filed by Rep. Paul Brodeur, who said,

“Right now we have the potential for a million different transmission lines, which can be very disruptive to the environment and arguably is not cost-effective. What I’m hoping we do with the bill I filed is to open up the process a little bit more … is there a way within our procurement to do a little bit of a better job of ensuring we have the best infrastructure, the most efficient infrastructure we can have to get the power into folks’ homes?”

Aussie Energy

The Walcha Energy Project, a planned massive 4+ GW project combining solar, wind, and pumped hydro energy storage, is moving on the right path in Australia. Wind giant Vestas is now involved in the project, and main developer Walcha Energy submitted a scoping report recently, according to pv magazine Australia.

The Walcha Energy Project website notes the project has the potential to provide 15% of New South Wales’ electricity generation. New South Wales is Australia’s most populous state and home to Sydney, its most populous city. Construction is still planned to start next year.

And Aussie Wind

Though not as large as the Walcha project, Australia’s 180 MW Berrybank Wind Farm is now under construction in Victoria, Energy Magazine reports. The 43-turbine farm is expected to come online next year, and it should power around 138,000 homes once operational. It seems like every week delivers some major renewable project news out of Australia, and this week is already no different.

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