In today’s EGEB:

  • Another California gas-fired plant is looking toward solar and battery storage for its future.
  • China is funding more renewables abroad! And also, coal.
  • Earth Overshoot Day lands earlier than ever.
  • DC moves to streamline solar installations.

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

Last month, GE announced it would demolish a California natural gas-fired plant with 20 years remaining in its useful life to make way for a battery energy storage system. Something similar is afoot in Glendale, California, where the aging Grayson Power Plant will be partially repowered by renewable energy and battery energy storage.

Glendale Water & Power (GWP) received approval for the plan last week, which includes a 75 MW, 300 MWh battery energy storage system, and as much as 50 MW of distributed energy resources from solar PV systems and other programs. While the plant will still partially use gas, Glendale’s city council is looking for alternatives in that regard as well.

The Los Angeles Times notes that environmental advocates “ultimately supported adopting the proposal” — with the thinking being that tech advances will render the agreed-upon gas infrastructure obsolete by the time construction is due to start in a few years. As Luis Amezcua of Sierra Club said,

We’re really not going to see gas be as competitive in the next year, given that it’s already uneconomic.

China’s rise

Renewable energy investment from China in foreign countries is soaring. A new Reuters report notes that while the country has invested in more than 12 GW of wind and solar throughout Belt and Road Initiative countries in the past five years, it’s also funded 67.9 GW of new coal-fired power during the same time.

The data came from a Greenpeace report, and Greenpeace’s Liu Junyan chose to look at the positive side of the investments:

“Chinese investors’ ratio of coal to solar is now the same at home and abroad — both are still six to one [in favor of] coal, unfortunately, but I’m amazed to see what five years of equity investment in solar made possible,” Liu said.

China’s relationship with coal continues to be a major global problem, both through its investments abroad and its use of coal domestically — which has decreased as a percentage of the energy mix, albeit slightly.

Overshot

Earth Overshoot Day is described as “the date when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year.” This year, that day arrived earlier than ever on Monday, July 29.

As the organization describes it:

Earth Overshoot Day falling on July 29 means that humanity is currently using nature 1.75 times faster than our planet’s ecosystems can regenerate. This is akin to using 1.75 Earths. Overshoot is possible because we are depleting our natural capital – which compromises humanity’s future resource security. The costs of this global ecological overspending are becoming increasingly evident in the form of deforestation, soil erosion, biodiversity loss, or the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The latter leads to climate change and more frequent extreme weather events.

Whether or not you place faith in the methodology or not, it’s one way of getting people to think about their carbon footprint — and how to reduce it.

DC solar

As Washington, DC, strives for 100% renewable energy by 2032, the district recently made a zoning change that should make it easier for build community solar farms. As Greater Greater Washington founder and president David Alpert writes:

In a proposed change to the zoning code, the Office of Planning recommended that community solar be “matter of right,” subject to the same height and yard standards as other buildings in the zone. So if you can build a home on a lot that needs 10-foot setbacks and can be 40 feet high, then so can a community solar farm. The DC Zoning Commission approved this as an emergency rule change in February.

The scope was scaled back in the following months and was finally approved on Monday, though public opposition is, unsurprisingly, still expected on future installations.

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