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

  • GE Renewable Energy will open a new blade manufacturing facility in northeastern England.
  • White Plains, New York, breaks ground on 6.8 MW of community solar.
  • US Senate confirms Michael Regan as Environmental Protection Agency chief.
  • UnderstandSolar is a free service that links you to top-rated solar installers in your region for personalized solar estimates. Tesla now offers price matching, so it’s important to shop for the best quotes. Click here to learn more and get your quotes. — *ad.

New GE Haliade-X blade factory

GE Renewable Energy will open a new blade manufacturing facility in Teesside in the northeast of England. LM Wind Power, a GE Renewable Energy business, will set up and operate the plant to produce blades for its Haliade-X turbine, the world’s most powerful wind turbine.

They will power Equinor’s Dogger Bank, which will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm when completed in 2026. It will have a combined installed generation capacity of 3.6 GW, enough to power 6 million UK homes.

GE will provide 13 MW (phases A and B) and 14 MW (phase C) Haliade-X turbines for Dogger Bank, as Electrek previously covered. The turbine blades are 107 meters (351 feet) long.

The Haliade-X blade factory will create around 750 direct jobs and 1,500 indirect jobs at Teesworks, a former steelworks, on the River Tees. This brings the total number of new jobs supported by the construction and operation of Dogger Bank Wind Farm to more than 2,500 so far.

The factory will start production in 2023, supplying blades to Dogger Bank and SSE Renewables. Blades produced at Teesworks will be installed from 2024 onwards.

The electricity generated by the Dogger Bank turbines, which are between 130 km (80 miles) and 200 km (124 miles) from shore, will be transmitted using subsea cables. Due to the distance from shore, it will be the first UK wind farm to utilize an HVDC connection. 

The UK’s target is to commission 40 GW of offshore wind by 2030.

Community solar in White Plains

The City of White Plains, New York, and its chosen developer, Schenectady-based Distributed Solar Development (DSD), have broken ground on a nine-project, 6.8 megawatt (MW) community solar portfolio that will triple the amount of solar energy produced in Westchester County. DSD and White Plains have entered into a multi-year agreement with energy giant Con Edison.

When complete, White Plains’ community solar portfolio will produce enough energy to power more than 700 homes annually. Construction on the portfolio is expected to conclude before fall 2021. It’s currently Westchester County’s largest municipal project.

The nine solar projects include a mix of canopy, rooftop, and ground mount installations at four parking garages, the Ebersole Ice Rink, Gedney Way Recycling Facility, Gillie Park, Water Department, and the Sanitation Complex. Systems at the Recycling Facility and Shapham Place parking garage will also include energy storage as part of the installations.

DSD has partnered with Community Solar Platform to manage registration for residential and commercial customers interested in taking advantage of the renewable energy the portfolio produces.

In 2014, White Plains was one of the first municipalities to adopt the New York State Unified Solar Permit, which expedited residential solar permitting. New York State’s goal is to install 6,000 MW of solar by 2025 as called for in the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act.

New EPA chief confirmed

Michael S. Regan was confirmed yesterday by the US Senate by a 66-34 vote as head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Regan, 44, will be the first Black man to run the EPA.

Regan was head of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, which he joined in 2017. Politico summarized his achievements there:

In North Carolina, he won plaudits from environmentalists for blocking an extension of the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline and for securing a blockbuster deal with Duke Energy to clean up waste ponds containing coal ash from the state’s power plants. He also won a major settlement to address contamination of toxic “forever” PFAS chemicals with manufacturer Chemours.

The Environmental Protection Network sent a statement from executive director Michelle Roos to Electrek on the news of Regan’s confirmation:

The confirmation of Michael S. Regan as EPA Administrator marks another step forward in the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to combating climate change, and ensuring that all Americans, regardless of income or zip code, have access to clean air and water, and live in communities free of toxic pollutants.

Rebuilding confidence both inside and outside EPA that the agency is once again embracing these values will be an essential task for the new administrator. We are confident that Michael Regan will meet the moment and look forward to working with him to ensure his success.

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