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

  • New York State has approved the construction of a 340-megawatt wind farm.
  • Oil giant Total shifts to green energy as it invests in a huge Scottish wind farm.
  • The Environmental Working Group says Duke Energy’s policies hurt low-income customers.

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

New York’s big new wind farm

New York State has approved its biggest wind farm yet. The $454 million project by Invenergy LLC will sit on 30,000 acres southeast of Buffalo.

The Alle-Catt wind farm, which will feature 116 wind turbines, will be capable of generating 340 megawatts, enough to power around 134,000 homes, the New York State Board on Electric Generation Siting and the Environment announced yesterday.

Alle-Catt will generate up to $78 million in local property tax revenues over 20 years, and local governments will receive $3.2 million annually in payments from the wind farm. It will create around 182 construction jobs with a payroll of $15 million, and will provide up to 13 permanent facility operation jobs.

Steuben County’s Canisteo plant was previously New York’s largest approved wind project, with a capacity of 290 megawatts.

New York’s goal is to achieve net zero in the electricity sector by 2040.

Total buys into wind

Oil giant Total has has bought a 51% stake from utility SSE Plc in the development of a massive wind farm off the Scottish coast.

This is the French-headquartered oil company’s first significant push into offshore wind as it shifts into green energy.

Total, which currently has stakes in 5 gigawatts of green energy, aims to increase its portfolio to 25 gigawatts by 2025.

SSE will lead the development and construction of the Seagreen wind farm, which is expected to cost £3 billion to construct. The 1,140 megawatt project will be Scotland’s largest offshore wind farm once it’s completed in 2023, with the ability to supply energy to around 1 million homes.

EWG: Duke hurts low-income customers

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has released a report, “Tone Deaf: The Facts Behind Duke Energy’s Low-Income Programs,” which claims that the power company consistently harms low-income customers.

Duke Energy is the US’ largest investor-owned electric utility that serves 6.1 million residential customers in its monopoly territories in the Carolinas, Florida, Ohio and Indiana.

EWG asserts that Duke:

[R]epeatedly tries to raise fixed charges, which hits low-income customers the most; attacks energy efficiency programs in general; underfunds its own low-income efficiency programs; underfunds programs meant to help low-income customers pay their bills; and makes it harder for them to go solar.

Rory McIlmoil, senior energy analyst for Appalachian Voices, in Duke’s home state of North Carolina, says:

This report clearly shows that a substantial number of Duke’s customers struggle to pay their electric bills, and when this happens, families end up sacrificing other needs, such as food and healthcare.

Rather than spending billions on new gas plants and unnecessary grid upgrades, Duke should instead invest that money in low-income solar and energy efficiency programs that alleviate household energy burdens.

20% of Duke’s customers live in poverty, compared to the national rate of 12%. That does not take into account the millions of Americans who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.

You can read the entire report here.

Photo: Noble Wethersfield Windpark, New York, Ann Burlingham/flickr

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