Our Summer Newsletter is here! While we’ve all been quarantining and working from home, the renewable energy news hasn’t stopped. Check out some of the latest news here!
Renewable Energy provides all new US generating capacity in April
According to a review by the SUN DAY Campaign of data just released by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), wind, solar, and hydropower provided 100% of the 1,328 MW in new US electrical generating capacity added in April 2020.1
Renewable energy sources now account for 22.87% of the nation’s total available installed generating capacity and continue to expand their lead over coal (20.32%). The generating capacity of just wind and solar is now at 12.87% of the nation’s total … and that does not include distributed (e.g., rooftop) solar.1
For perspective, five years ago, FERC reported that total installed renewable energy generating capacity was 17.05% of the nation’s total with wind at 5.74% (now 9.08%) and solar at 1.05% (now 3.79%). Thus, over the past half-decade, wind’s share of the nation’s generating capacity has nearly doubled while that of solar is now almost four times greater.1
First Nations announce over $25M in new Renewable Energy investments to decarbonize their coastal communities
Coast Funds, Dzawada̱ʼenux̱w First Nation, Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation, and the Province of British Columbia announced over $25 million in new First Nations’ investments to transition coastal communities from dependence on fossil fuel-powered electricity to sustainable, locally powered renewable energy systems, eliminating over 175,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.2
“Dzawada̱ʼenux̱w and Kitasoo/Xai’xais have sustainably cared for their unceded lands and waters for thousands of years,” stated Huux̱ Percy Crosby, Chair of Coast Funds. “The renewable energy investments we’re proud to announce today are a testament to these sovereign Nations’ leadership in stewarding and safeguarding their territories, demonstrating a pathway to sustainability for all communities in British Columbia and around the world. We are grateful for our strong relationships with these Nations and our partnership with the Province of B.C. to empower these investments under CleanBC.”2
The COVID shutdown led to increased solar power output in Delhi
As the Covid-19 shutdowns and stay-at-home orders brought much of the world’s travel and commerce to a standstill, people around the world started noticing clearer skies as a result of lower levels of air pollution. Now, researchers have been able to demonstrate that those clearer skies had a measurable impact on the output from solar photovoltaic panels, leading to a more than 8 percent increase in the power output from installations in Delhi. While such an improved output was not unexpected, the researchers say this is the first study to demonstrate and quantify the impact of the reduced air pollution on solar output.3
Why Utilities are better suited to handle COVID uncertainties
Utilities are an essential service and we must continue investing in infrastructure to capture the opportunity for clean energy to provide economic stimulus, reduce public health impacts, and provide resilience to increasingly severe weather. Utilities carry relatively less risk compared to other industries during this pandemic.4
In addition, rapidly transitioning to a clean electricity grid can save customers money and create hundreds of thousands of jobs. A recent report from the University of California, Berkeley and GridLab found a 90% clean electricity grid is possible by 2035, will attract $1.7 trillion in utility investment, create more than 500,000 annual jobs, and decrease wholesale electricity costs.4
Fortunately, while utilities are experiencing uncertainty like every other organization, they benefit from relatively lower marketplace risk and better access to capital. This is critical as we depend on their ability to provide essential service at an affordable rate, and increasingly, address the climate crisis.4
Canada Nickel Launches NetZero Metals Inc. to Develop Zero-Carbon Production of Nickel, Cobalt, and Iron
Canada Nickel Company Inc. has announced it has created a wholly-owned subsidiary called NetZero Metals, to begin the research and development of a processing facility located in Timmins, Ontario. The goal of this new venture is to utilize existing technologies to produce zero-carbon nickel, cobalt, and iron products.5
CEO of Canada Nickel, Mark Selby, stated that “The electric vehicle industry and many other consumer sectors needs zero-carbon metal this decade – not in a 2050 timeframe contemplated by many other resource companies… Canada Nickel has the potential to develop zero-carbon products. With nickel as a preferred metal to power the clean energy revolution, our commitment to net zero-carbon production is the right step to take for the environment, for consumers, and for our investors”.5
Plunging Renewable Energy Prices Mean U.S. Can Hit 90% Clean Electricity by 2035
Renewable energy has historically been considered too expensive and too unreliable to power our grid, but new research has overturned that trope for good. Plummeting wind, solar, and storage prices have fallen so fast that the United States can reach 90% clean electricity by 2035 – without raising customer costs at all from today’s levels, and actually decreasing wholesale power costs 10%.6
Building a 90% clean electricity system by 2035 would catalyze massive economic growth that helps pull the U.S. out of the COVID-19 recession by supporting more than a half million new net jobs per year, injecting $1.7 trillion into the economy, and recharging domestic manufacturing. Technology-neutral policies can reach a 90% clean power system, help energy developers and investors prosper, and pave the way for technologies of the future.6
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1Peschetz, Roland. (June 8, 2020). Renewable energy provides all new US generating capacity in April. Retrieved from renewablesnow.com: https://renewablesnow.com/news/renewable-energy-provides-all-new-us-generating-capacity-in-april-701759/
2(June 18, 2020). First Nations Announce Over $25 Million in New Renewable Energy Investments to Decarbonize Their Coastal Communities. Retrieved from coastfunds.ca: https://coastfunds.ca/news/first-nations-announce-over-25-million-in-new-renewable-energy-investments-to-decarbonize-their-coastal-communities/
3Chandler, David L. (July 22, 2020). Covid-19 shutdown led to increased solar power output. Retrieved from news.mit.edu: http://news.mit.edu/2020/covid-19-solar-output-smog-0722
4Myers, Amanda. (July 7, 2020). Utilities are Better Suited to Handle COVID Uncertainties – Why That’s Good News for Clean Energy. Retrieved from Forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2020/07/07/utilities-are-better-suited-to-handle-covid–uncertainties–why-thats-good-news-for-clean-energy/#231cfa8f2ce3
5Canada Nickel Company. (July 27, 2020). Canada Nickel Launches Wholly-owned NetZero Metals Inc. to Develop Zero-Carbon Production of Nickel, Cobalt, and Iron. Retrieved from newswire.ca: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/canada-nickel-launches-wholly-owned-netzero-metals-inc-to-develop-zero-carbon-production-of-nickel-cobalt-and-iron-863100317.html
6Maracacci, Silvio. (June 9, 2020). Plunging Renewable Energy Prices Mean U.S. Can Hit 90% Clean Electricity by 2035 – At No Extra Cost. Retrieved from Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2020/06/09/plunging-renewable-energy-prices-mean-us-can-hit-90-clean-electricity-by-2035at-no-extra-cost/#7aaea81a2f9b