• The Florida Public Service Commission met about solar net metering and didn’t change the rule.
  • China says it will achieve a peak in emissions before 2030 and become net zero before 2060.
  • The world’s largest offshore wind farm, Dogger Bank, has ordered 190 13MW wind turbines.
  • Arcadia Power is committed to making clean energy work for the planet and your bank account — all without changing your utility company. Sign up to receive your $20 Amazon Gift Card.

Florida solar outcome

The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) held its workshop to discuss whether to roll back net metering on solar in the Sunshine State on September 17, and decided not to act to change the rule.

They held the workshop because a utility front group called Energy Fairness issued a report claiming that net metering is unfair to ratepayers. The public was invited to submit written comments, and the PSC received more than 16,000 letters. Four of the state’s investor-owned utilities — named below — gave presentations.

The Tampa Bay Times reports:

Roughly 60,000 homes and businesses around Florida currently participate in rooftop solar programs that credit them for extra energy produced. That is roughly half a percent of the state’s total utility customers. Duke Energy had the highest rate of use in its territory with 1.18% of customers, followed by Tampa Electric (0.7%), Gulf Power (0.5%), and Florida Power & Light (0.35%).

As Electrek reported on September 16, “If the rule was rewritten, it could severely hinder rooftop solar development in one of the sunniest states in the US.”

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy (SACE) reported on some takeaways:

  • Commissioner Julie Brown asserted her point of view that the current level of net metered solar in Florida is “really quite modest if you look at the data.”
  • PSC reaffirmed that net metering acts as a conservation measure and does not represent a “sale of electricity” — net metering is only a billing function.
  • The utility group used words such as “cost shift,” and “subsidy,” and complained that the rise in solar is requiring them to upgrade equipment that provides power to homes. (In other words, modernize.)
  • Duke Energy deviated from the other utilities by commenting on the positive agreement it made on September 16 to continue net metering, and modernize and expand rooftop solar in South Carolina. (SACE is a party to that agreement.)
  • Justin Hoysradt, representing the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FSEIA), took exception to the utility representative’s exaggerated “subsidy” projection as “literally impossible” — the solar workforce in Florida couldn’t scale fast enough to make those a reality. The FSEIA wrote on their website, “It was no surprise that we heard the same old arguments from the TECO and FPL, and to our surprise their rhetoric was quickly shut down by commissioners.”

Susan Glickman, Florida Director for SACE, said:

Rooftop solar in Florida is growing, but at less than 1% of our energy need being met with customer owned systems, why would Florida change its net metering rule? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Solar helps consumers save money, creates local jobs keeping energy dollars in the state while protecting our natural environment. Thankfully the PSC took no action in their recent workshop, but we must be watchful for any effort to block solar choice should it rise again at the PSC or in the Florida legislature.

China’s surprise

Chinese President Xi Jinping, in a surprise announcement yesterday, told the United Nations General Assembly via video that China would achieve a peak in carbon dioxide emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality before 2060. This will require a radical reshaping of the Chinese economy.

This is huge: It’s the first time the world’s biggest emitter of CO2 — 28% of global emissions — has pledged to end its net contribution to climate change. Xi made the announcement immediately after Donald Trump called the Paris Agreement “a one-sided deal and criticized China for being the world’s largest source of carbon emissions,” according to Reuters.

Xi said:

China will scale up its intended nationally determined contributions [under the Paris climate agreement] by adopting more vigorous policies and measures.

The human race cannot ignore the warnings of nature over and over again.

He urged all countries to pursue a “green recovery of the world economy in the post-COVID era.”

The US is now the biggest emitter in the world that does not have a carbon-neutral target. The EU’s net zero target is 2050.

Li Shuo, an energy policy officer at Greenpeace in Beijing, said [via the Financial Times]:

Xi’s pledge will need to be backed up with more details and concrete implementation. How much earlier can China peak its emissions? How can we reconcile carbon neutrality with China’s ongoing coal expansion?

We would need to completely transform every single aspect of our economy and our life in this country [to meet the target].

Dogger Bank

Equinor’s and SSE’s Dogger Bank, the world’s largest offshore wind farm, which is being constructed off England’s northeast coast, has placed an order with GE Renewable Energy for 190 wind turbines for the Dogger Bank A & B offshore wind project.

Dogger Bank A & B will be the world’s first offshore wind farm to use GE’s Haliade-X 13 MW turbines, with each of the two project phases to feature 95 units, according to offshorewind.biz.

This represents the largest single order ever for offshore wind turbines, according to Dogger Bank Wind Farm. Turbine installation is expected to commence in 2023 at Dogger Bank A.

The project consists of three phases: A, B, and C. Each 1.2 GW phase is expected to generate around 6 TWh of electricity annually, and the entire project will be capable of powering up to 4.5 UK million homes each year once it’s completed in 2026. That’s 5% of the UK’s electricity generation.

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