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EGEB: Australia as renewable leader, North Dakota’s first solar farm, Scottish wind, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • Australia is quickly becoming a world renewable energy leader.
  • North Dakota unveils its first solar farm.
  • Scotland opens its largest offshore wind farm.
  • High schoolers learning the solar industry in Philadelphia.

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

Australia’s progress in renewable energy has been something to behold, and a recent report from the country’s Clean Energy Regulator claims Australia is “now leading the world in the per capita deployment rate for renewables.”

Based on renewable capacity already built or under construction, Australia is now on pace to meet its 2020 renewable energy target of 33,000 GWh “by a substantial margin,” as renewable electricity generation is expected to reach 40,000 GWh annually next year.

A few more details from the report’s summary:

  • Renewable capacity installed under the Renewable Energy Target more than doubled from 2.2 gigawatts in 2017 to 5 gigawatts in 2018.
  • A record 3,455 megawatts of large scale renewable energy projects were installed in 2018, more than triple the 1,113 megawatts installed in 2017, the previous record.
  • The strong momentum in new firm project announcements continued in 2018 and early 2019 well beyond the point where it was clear the 2020 target would be exceeded.

While there have been concerns about the Australian government’s ties to coal, the country is aiming for 50% renewables by 2030 and it seems to be on the right path thus far.

Dakota Solar

It may be hard to believe in 2019, especially given the state’s ample space, but North Dakota’s first solar farm, the CannonBall Community Solar Farm, just went live in February, with a release noting that it “already represents half the total solar energy being generated across the state.”

The farm now powers a Sioux Nation Community Center and Veterans Memorial Building and has a projected cost savings of $7,000 – $10,000 per year. The $470,000 cost was paid for by nonprofit solar organization GivePower, and microgram nonprofit Empowered by Light. Cody TwoBears, Standing Rock project leader for GivePower and the founder and executive director of Indigenized Energy, said in a statement:

“Our mission of indigenizing energy is about merging the cultural values and wisdom passed down to us with new technologies to establish a sustainable platform that not only helps us live better lives today, but also ensures our footprint over the next several centuries is a positive one. We’re excited to share this fast-growing solar farm with the world, as it pays tribute to everyone who’s come to Standing Rock and all their hard work and tireless dedication toward protecting our people and land.”

There was a kickoff celebration for the project just last week.

Scottish Wind

Scotland has produced enough wind energy this year to power almost double the homes in Scotland — with renewables generating 88% of all electricity in actuality thus far this year — but it isn’t slowing down.

The largest Scottish offshore wind farm, which came online in May, was just officially opened by Prince Charles, the BBC reports. The Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm can generate enough energy to power 450,000 homes. It’s a 588 MW, 84-turbine, £2.65 billion ($3.23 billion) project.

Philly Kids

The Philadelphia Inquirer has a neat story about Find Your Power, a paid training program that teaches young Philadelphians about solar installation and clean energy.

The Philadelphia Energy Authority (PEA) started the program in 2017 — the PEA is set to announce a new 120-hour technical high school program that teaches clean energy. That program will begin in fall 2020, but for now, Find Your Power pays young adults $8 an hour to attend the course.

One clear sign of the burgeoning renewables industry is how the training and teaching is starting earlier and earlier — for instance, a Rhode Island high school is offering an offshore wind program.

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