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EGEB: Biden administration freezes oil, gas leases in Alaska wildlife refuge

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

  • The US Department of the Interior suspends oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Danish wind giant Ørsted bumps up its clean energy target to reach 50 GW of installed capacity by 2030.
  • 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.

Alaska oil leases suspended

The US Department of the Interior has suspended oil and gas leases in Alaska’s 19-million-acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in order to investigate the environmental impacts of drilling in the region, as per the National Environmental Policy Act. It’s doing so on the grounds that the Trump administration did not follow proper procedures when it bulldozed through a last-minute oil and gas auction before Donald Trump left office.

In the auction, held on January 6, the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority put up seven out of nine bids (the other two went to a couple of small energy firms).

In other words, Alaska was the main bidder in its own auction, which netted around $14 million and is considered a flop.

Politico writes:

According to FOIA documents obtained by POLITICO, the DOJ’s required antitrust review of the leases was completed in a single day, dramatically hastening a process that normally takes anywhere from six weeks to several months. On January 8, in a letter signed by acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, the department concluded that the sale complied with the antitrust laws.

The leases were signed and issued on January 19. President Joe Biden took office on January 20, and promptly signed an executive order that put a moratorium in place due to “alleged legal deficiencies” in the Alaska leasing program. So the lease suspension is not a surprise.

Ørsted’s 50 GW by 2050

Danish wind giant Ørsted today announced at its Capital Markets Day that it would invest more than $57 billion by 2027 to reach an accelerated goal of installing 50 GW of renewable energy by 2030. It will bump up its average yearly investments by around 50%.

30 GW will come from offshore wind, approximately 17.5 GW from onshore wind and solar PV, and approximately 2.5 GW from other renewables, including sustainable biomass, renewable hydrogen, and green fuels.

Its previous goal was 30 GW in 2018.

Further, the company also announced a ban on landfilling wind turbine blades. Ørsted says it will reuse, recycle, or recover 100% of all blades coming from repowering or end-of-design-life decommissioning of onshore and offshore wind farms.

Ørsted sold its oil and gas business in 2017 and has installed more than 25% of the world’s offshore wind capacity.

Chief Executive Mads Nipper, who joined Orsted in January, said:

Our aspiration is to become the world’s leading green energy major by 2030.

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Avatar for Michelle Lewis Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.