January 2020 began with two coal-fired generators in Montana shutting down for good. A few days later, a subsidiary of billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway committed to closing a coal unit in Arizona this year. The same week, an electric cooperative based in Colorado also pledged to shutter a New Mexico coal plant by the end of 2020. Two weeks after that, Arizona’s biggest utility promised to retire its last coal plant seven years ahead of schedule. Although some energy providers are investing in gas, western utilities are increasingly looking to solar farms, wind turbines and giant batteries to replace their coal plants.
Speaking at the VerdeXchange conference in Los Angeles last week,Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s vice president for government relations, Jonathan Weisgall, said more coal plants closed in 2019 than in any year since 2015, despite President Donald Trump’s efforts to support the coal industry. Economics are part of the story, but they’re not the whole story. “I don’t recall a customer calling us recently asking for 100% coal electricity,” Weisgall said. “It tends to be 100% renewable.” Read the entire article here.
PacifiCorp is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.
By Deonna Anderson, Associate Editor, GreenBiz Group
During 2019’s Climate Week, companies, foundations and others have made dozens of announcements of commitments, partnerships, new research and more to address the climate crisis. As GreenBiz published last week, the commitments this year are much bigger — think trillions — than those announced during previous Climate Weeks.
For example, during the U.N. General Assembly, 130 banks from 49 countries — with more than $47 trillion in assets — launched The Principles for Responsible Banking. Backed by the United Nations, the effort from one-third of the global banking sector, commits the banks to “strategically align their business with the goals of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals” in addition to “massively scale up their contribution to the achievement of both.” Continue reading here.
About the Author Deonna Anderson is an award-winning journalist and associate editor at GreenBiz. Previously, she was the Surdna reporting fellow at YES! Magazine. She’s an alumna of UC Davis and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY.
ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING
Senate committee passes energy storage package, American Pubilic Power Association The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on September 25 passed a comprehensive, bipartisan energy storage package that included legislation supported by the American Public Power Association.
Groups voice support for electric vehicle tax credit expansion, American Public Power Association. The American Public Power Association on Sept. 25 joined a coalition of more than sixty utilities, automakers, and environmental groups in a letter to House and Senate Leadership in support of legislation that would expand the electric vehicle (EV) tax credit.
Growatt Showcased XH Storage Ready Inverter at Solar Power International, PR Newswire. Growatt has been actively exploring the solar market in the Americas this year. From September 23-26 at Solar Power International 2019, Growatt showcased its new XH series of storage ready inverters, attracting many visitors at the booth. MIN 2500-6000TL-XH has a storage ready feature. The inverter works with a low voltage battery and has a battery interface which can be easily extended later to a storage system without retrofit cost. It is perfect for home owners who are looking to convert their rooftop PV systems into solar storage systems in the future.
People will breathe easier with closing of coal plants, contributed opinion by Bill Knight, Canton Daily Ledger. Bill Knight has been a reporter, editor and columnist for more than 50 years. Also an author, Knight is a journalism professor emeritus from WIU, where he taught for more than 20 years.
The Navajo and Hopi have fought hard to hold onto coal. Three generations have worked for the west’s largest coal-fired power plant, the Navajo Generating Station. The tribes have relied heavily on its revenue. So when the Phoenix-based Salt River Project announced it was shutting down the plant at the end of the year, the tribe scrambled to find a buyer or — as a last resort — purchase the plant themselves. It finally came down to a vote late last month at a Navajo Nation CouncilSpecial Session meeting. The delegates deliberated for eight hours. Read more here.
After years of hard work and dedication, a third of the power generated around the world is now linked to renewable energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) just released new data that shows impressive growth in both wind and solar energy, which has contributed to the changes in energy sources around the globe. Read more here.
Largescale solar project planned, Gunnison Country Times PV panels eyed for five Gunnison County buildings: Since county buildings are served by the City of Gunnison, a three-way agreement must be reached between the city, the county and the city’s energy provider, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska (MEAN). This is a requirement by MEAN for any solar project over 25 kW. The agreement would specify the price at which MEAN will buy back any excess energy produced by the county. Currently, MEAN will pay about 4 cents for every kilowatt-hour (kWh) put back on the city’s grid for projects under 25kW. However, the county’s rate must be negotiated with MEAN because of the large size of the project to ensure adequate infrastructure is in place, said Gunnison City Manager Russ Forrest.
$2.4B Wind Transmission Project Gains Momentum and Investors, Energy News-Record SOO Green Renewable Rail: The project, named for Canadian Pacific Railway’s Soo line, would run an underground high-voltage direct current transmission line along 349 miles of the rail firm’s existing U.S. track, from Mason City, Iowa, to near Chicago. Right-of-way is in place for about 85% of the route.
Illinois is beginning to build a robust solar industry in the wake of passing its Future Energy Jobs Act of 2016, and they’re in the process of following it up with a Clean Energy Jobs Act this year. And they’re not the only Midwestern state to join the Solar Revolution. Minnesota is the birthplace of the best community solar program in the nation, and Michigan is (albeit slowly) bringing its solar policies into the 21st century.
Illinois is weighing a 100 percent renewable energy bill that includes jobs, equity, and social justice
Written by Umair Irfan, Vox
Illinois’s general assembly is weighing a bill that sets an aggressive target of decarbonizing the state’s energy by 2030 and running the state completely on renewable energy by 2050. That includes deploying more than 40 million solar panels and 2,500 wind turbines alongside $20 billion in new infrastructure over the next decade. The bill also calls for cutting emissions from transportation and for vastly expanding the clean energy workforce.
But it also leans into many of the social justice ideas outlined in the Green New Deal resolution. “In the wake of federal reversals on climate action, the State of Illinois should pursue immediate action on policies that will ensure a just and responsible phase out of fossil fuels from the power sector to reduce harmful emissions from Illinois power plants, support power plant communities and workers, and allow the clean energy economy to continue growing in every corner of Illinois,” according to the text of theClean Energy Jobs Act(SB 2132/ HB 3624). Read more here.
About the Writer Umair Irfan covers climate change, energy, and the environment for Vox. He is also a contributor to Science Friday. Before joining Vox, Umair was a reporter for ClimateWire at E&E News in Washington, DC, where he covered health and climate change, science, and energy policy. In 2016, he received a Sasakawa Peace Foundation fellowship to report on Japan’s
energy sector, economy, and culture. In 2014, he was awarded the Arthur F. Burns fellowship to cover Germany’s energy transition.
100% Clean Electricity in Washington State: Everything You Need To Know, Union of Concerned Scientists Blog. Washington state’s lawmakers are contemplating the transition to 100% clean electricity. Fortunately, Washington’s grid is already one of the cleanest in the nation, with much of its electricity coming from hydropower. So what exactly does “100% clean electricity” mean for the state? How would this transition affect Washington’s economy? And why should Washington do this in the first place?