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

  • The UK prime minister is expected to move up the ban of new ICE car sales by five years to 2030.
  • A Texas bill introduced last week wants to hit electric vehicle owners up with higher fees.
  • The Tennessee Valley Authority builds two new solar farms, for Google and Vanderbilt University.
  • Arcadia Power is committed to making clean energy work for the planet and Americans’ bank accounts — all without changing your utility company. Sign up to receive your $20 Amazon Gift Card — *ad.

EVs by 2030 in UK

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is this week expected to announce that the sales of new ICE cars will be banned by 2030, moving the deadline forward from 2035, as Electrek reported in February.

This is an attempt to jump-start the market for EVs in the UK and accelerate the momentum toward reaching the country’s Paris Agreement goal of net zero by 2050. This is needed, as the Guardian reports that “electric cars still only make up around 7% of new vehicles bought in the UK last month, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show.”

However, 2035 is expected to be kept for an end to the sale of hybrid cars.

Justin Rowlatt, BBC News’ chief environment correspondent, has a video report on the news: “Would UK be ready for a new petrol car ban in 2030?”

Texas EV fee

As Electrek reported in December 2019, “Nearly half of US states impose fees on EV owners or will consider adding fees in 2020. The ill-conceived idea is to make up for gaps in roadway infrastructure investments usually derived from gasoline taxes.” Next up? Texas.

Texan EV owners would be required to pay an extra registration fee of $200 and an additional renewal fee annually from September 1, if the Texas Legislature approves bill HB427 filed by State Representative Ken King (R) last week. Hybrids would pay an extra $100 for registration and renewal.

Their argument is that the fees would provide funds for the state’s highway fund. It’s a response to falling gas tax revenues, as Electrek previously reported about Illinois in June 2019. The Texas Comptroller reports that the highway fund had $14.2 billion in 2019 and is projecting $14.6 billion in 2020.

Electrek’s Take: As of December 2018, there were 22,600 registered EVs in Texas. There are 22 million registered vehicles in Texas. Talk about penny wise, pound foolish. Here’s an idea: Raise gas taxes.

TVA’s new solar farms

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) last week announced that two 100-megawatt solar farms are being built in the Tennessee Valley to supply green energy for Vanderbilt University in Nashville and Google data centers in Bridgeport, Alabama, and Clarksville, Tennessee.

In August, as Electrek reported, the federally owned utility says it’s on track to reduce emissions by 70% below 2005 levels by 2030:

The TVA has already cut its carbon output by 60% in the past 15 years. It has boosted power generation from nuclear, hydro, and solar facilities and is replacing coal-fired plants with combined-cycle natural gas generators. It’s planning on adding more solar and also uses wind.

Miami-based solar developer Origis Energy will build a 705-acre solar farm in Obion County in northwest Tennessee to supply Google facilities in Tennessee and northwestern Alabama with green energy from solar. Silicon Ranch Corp. is building another solar farm in Tullahoma to supply Vanderbilt.

Johan Vanhee, Origis Energy chief commercial officer and chief procurement officer, said:

This Tennessee solar milestone is another demonstration of the success of TVA’s Green Invest partnership.

Such utility innovations are helping Google reach its aim to be the first major company to operate carbon free by 2030.

However, as the Chattanooga Free Times Press reports:

Despite the recent solar additions in parts of the Valley, Chattanooga gets only about one third as much electricity from solar power as the average of all utilities in the Southeast.

Nonetheless, the long-range power plan adopted by the Tennessee Valley Authority last year envisions the federal utility and its customers adding as much as 14 gigawatts of additional solar generation by 2040, which would be more than 20 times the amount of solar generation now in the Valley.

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