In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • Natural gas growth is predicted to slow in 2020 while green energy is predicted to grow.
  • Investment giant BlackRock pulls out of financing thermal coal.
  • Indonesia is to get its first floating solar plant.

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

Natural gas slows, green energy grows

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) today forecasts that generation from natural gas-fired power plants in the electric power sector will grow by 1.3% in 2020 — the slowest growth rate since 2017. Further, coal-fired power plants is forecast to decline by 13% in 2020. Both natural gas and coal are fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, the EIA says green energy — solar and wind — is expected to grow by 20%. Texas in particular, which leads the US in wind, is expected to see a big jump in wind and solar.

As for 2021, the EIA says:

EIA expects these trends to continue into 2021. EIA forecasts US generation from non-hydropower renewable energy sources will grow by 17% next year as the electric power sector continues expanding solar and wind capacity. This increase in renewables, along with forecast increases in natural gas fuel costs, contributes to EIA’s forecast of a 2.3% decline in natural gas-fired generation in 2021. U.S. coal generation in 2021 is forecast to fall by 3.2%.

Graph: EIA

BlackRock abandons coal

BlackRock, the world’s largest investment manager, announced that it will no longer invest in thermal coal. It also said it will drop company directors who fail to act on financial risks from climate change.

As a result, the US investment firm will drop around $500 million in thermal coal investments.

According to the Guardian, BlackRock has announced several new changes in its investment approach, including:

Making sustainability integral to portfolio construction and risk management;

Exiting investments that present a high sustainability-related risk, such as thermal coal producers;

Launching new investment products that screen fossil fuels;

And strengthening our commitment to sustainability and transparency in our investment stewardship activities.

BlackRock has joined Climate Action 100+, a group of large-asset managers that is pressuring the biggest polluters to reduce their emissions to respond to the climate crisis.

Floating solar for Indonesia

Indonesia is getting its first floating solar project. Construction will begin immediately, and it is expected to be in operation by 2022. It is expected to be the largest floating solar project in Southeast Asia.

The 145 MW project will be built on a 2.25-square-kilometer plot of the 62-square-kilometer Cirata Reservoir in West Java.

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) and Indonesia’s state electricity entity Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) will develop the project.

The United Arab Emirates’ minister of state and Masdar chairman Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said [via Construction Week]:

Leveraging innovative solutions such as this floating solar PV project will be critical to [Indonesia] achieving its renewable targets and to supporting its sustainable growth.

Indonesia is ideal for floating solar. It consists of more than 17,000 islands, 521 natural lakes, and more than 100 reservoirs.

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