This Week in Climate & Clean Energy Wins: Week of 3/24
EVelution Energy’s first solar-powered cobalt plant in the U.S. will produce enough battery-grade cobalt sulfate to power 470,000 EVs.
The number of U.S. households – about one third overall – whose electricity demands can now be met by wind power, according to Climate Central.
| $147 million
The amount Qcells is planning to invest to expand solar manufacturing operations in Georgia.
In private sector news, Qcells announced a $147 million investment to expand solar manufacturing in Georgia, creating the U.S.’ first-ever complete solar supply chain. EVelution Energy will build the first U.S. solar-powered cobalt plant in Arizona, creating over 360 jobs and producing enough to power 470,000 EVS. Duke Energy announced two new solar sites in North Florida that will create 200-300 temporary jobs and Entek plans to invest $1.5 billion in a new manufacturing facility in Indiana, creating 642 jobs by the end of 2027. In South Carolina, solar panel manufacturer Hounen will invest $33 million to build a solar module factory in the state, and Volkswagen said the Inflation Reduction Act’s incentives have made it the best time to build an EV factory in the U.S., driving their decision to invest $2 billion in an EV factory in South Carolina.
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency’s (IRENA) annual report, global renewables capacity grew by almost 10% last year, with 83% of new power capacity from clean power sources. Climate Central’s weather power tool found that wind can now power 46.72 million households – a third of American homes. The New York Times reported that prices of lithium have fallen nearly 20% since January, making EVs more affordable, and a Cornell study found that reshoring solar panels in the next decade could cut greenhouse emissions by 30%, compared to relying on international supplies – a win for the US clean energy market.
This week, the Biden Administration commemorated National Renewable Energy Day by highlighting more than $1 trillion in clean energy and climate funding wins taking effect over the next decade as a result of their climate policies. They also announced over $200 million to modernize and expand hydropower. The Department of Energy announced a new set of reports that seek to strengthen public and private sector commercialization and development of clean energy technology. Finally, the DOE also shared plans for $590 million in funding for furthering bioenergy research, with four research centers receiving a total $110 million for FY 2023. This effort will help reduce emissions, ensure energy security, and create jobs in rural communities.
On the state-level, three utilities in Wisconsin received approval for a $649 million purchase of the state’s largest renewable energy plant, which could host 300 MW of solar and 165 MW of battery storage.
- Qcells announced a $147 million investment to expand solar manufacturing operations in Georgia. [Electrek, 3/23/23]
- The move will create 160 jobs and is the company’s third plant in Georgia. By expanding their solar manufacturing plant in Dalton, Georgia, and building a new solar manufacturing plant in Cartersville, Georgia — this will create the U.S.’ first-ever complete solar supply chain.
- Hounen will invest $33 million to build a solar module factory in the U.S. [PV Magazine, 3/17/2023]
- Solar panel manufacturer Hounen will acquire a factory in South Carolina for 1 GW of solar module production, expecting to create 200 new jobs.
- EVelution Energy will build the first U.S. solar-powered cobalt plant in Arizona. [ThomasNet, 3/20/2023]
- The facility in Yuma County is expected to create over 360 jobs and produce over 36,000 tons of battery-grade cobalt sulfate annually, enough for 470,000 EVs.
- Duke Energy announced two new solar sites in North Florida [West Orlando News, 3/18/2023]
- The solar projects will begin construction in Bay and Madison counties, creating 200 to 300 temporary jobs.
- Volkswagen said the Inflation Reduction Act’s incentives made it the best time to build an EV factory in the U.S. [Bloomberg, 3/20/2023]
- This outlook drove the company’s decision to invest $2 billion for an EV factory in South Carolina.
- Entek plans to invest $1.5 billion in a new manufacturing facility in Indiana that will create 642 jobs by the end of 2027. [Oregon Public Broadcast, 3/21/2023]
- The factory will make battery separators for lithium ion battery manufacturers.
- Foxconn wants to build half of all electric cars made in the world. [Clean Technica, 3/19/2023]
- They hope to utilize their Mobility in Harmony EV platform to standardize the primary systems needed to manufacture EVS, driving production costs down.
- LG Energy Solution plans on investing $5.5 billion in an EV battery maker plant in Arizona. [Bloomberg, 3/24/2023]
- The plant, which will begin mass production in 2025, will create enough batteries to power 350,000 electric vehicles a year.
- Ford’s new EV production plan in Texas will build 500,000 EVs a year. [CNBC, 3/24/2023]
- Ford and battery supplier SK On plan on investing $5.6 billion in the plant, which is expected to begin production in 2025.
- Invenergy plans on investing $220 million to build a solar panel plant in Ohio. [ENR Midwest, 3/24/2023]
- The construction of the plant is scheduled to start this April, with the 1.1 million square foot facility is expected to have 5-GW annual capacity.
- IRENA released their annual report, which found that global renewables capacity grew by nearly 10% last year. [Reuters, 3/21/2023]
- While 83% of all new power capacity last year was from renewable sources, solar and wind energy jointly accounted for 90% of all net renewable additions in 2022.
- According to data from Climate Central, wind power can now meet the electricity demands of 46,072 million U.S. households, about a third. [Quartz, 3/17/2023]
- The data suggests that the ability to generate solar and wind power can grow quickly enough for the US to meet its net-zero emissions targets by 2050.
- Prices of lithium have fallen nearly 20% since January, making EVs more affordable. [New York Times, 3/20/2023]
- Because lithium is a common ingredient in most EV batteries, the drop in price has made it easier for carmakers to lower prices – this month Tesla lowered the cost of its two most expensive EV models by thousands.
- Cornell researchers found that reshoring solar panels by 2035 could cut greenhouse emissions by 30%. [PV Magazine, 3/20/2023]
- The study found that increasing the share of solar PV in the US is expected to further reduce emissions in domestic solar panel fabrications by 33%, compared to relying on international supplies in 2020.
- Repowering older wind farms could increase output and avoid conflict with anti-wind activists. [CleanTechnica, 3/19/2023]
- Wind turbine retrofits also increase the lifespan of wind farms and don’t require new permits, lowering costs relative to completely new wind developments.
- The Biden Administration announced over $200 million to modernize and expand hydropower. [Department of Energy Release, 3/22/2023]
- The funding will go toward the expansion of hydroelectric power and the advancement of new marine energy technologies.
- The DOE is accepting applications for two incentives focused on maintaining and enhancing existing hydroelectric facilities to ensure generators continue to provide clean power, while improving dam safety and reducing environmental impacts.
- The Biden Administration celebrated National Renewable Energy Day by reviewing more than $1 trillion in clean energy and climate investments poised for the next decade. [DOE, 3/21/2023]
- The DOE announced a new set of reports aimed to strengthen engagement between the public and private sectors to accelerate the commercialization and deployment of clean energy technologies. [DOE, 3/21/2023]
- The reports concluded that cumulative investments must increase from approximately $40 billion to $300 billion across the hydrogen, nuclear, and long duration energy storage sectors to realize long-term decarbonization goals.
- The DOE is investing $590 million in funding to further bioenergy research. [DOE, 3/17/2023]
- The Department’s research is critical to reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions, ensuring future energy security, and creating new economic opportunities in rural areas.
- Initial funding for the four research centers will total $110 million for FY 2023.
- Utility regulators approved a $649 million purchase of Wisconsin’s largest renewable energy plant. [WPR, 3/20/2023]
- The energy center can host 300 MW of solar and 165 MW of battery storage.
MAGA House Republicans Are Trying to Crash Our Economy and Raise Energy Costs for Families
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As working families feel the brunt of inflation and the record $400 billion in profits Big Oil racked up at their expense, instead of aiming to lower costs for working families, House Republicans are trying to pass their Polluters Over People Act. Additionally, the MAGA extremist House Freedom Caucus’ proposed budget guarantees higher costs for working families—all in service to the oil and gas CEOs who back their campaigns and have spent tens of millions of dollars on lobbying campaigns and ads designed to deceive consumers.
“MAGA Republicans are willing to risk crashing the economy and keeping energy costs high for working families just so they can give tax breaks to Big Oil,” said Eden Alem, Climate Power spokesperson. “The MAGA budget proposal from the House Freedom Caucus proves yet again how far House Republicans are willing to go to enrich Big Oil and shut down the clean energy economic boom happening across the country. Ironically, the clean energy plan is disproportionately benefitting the states and districts of these very Republicans.”
The slim House GOP majority’s actions shouldn’t come as a surprise—even before the 118th Congress was sworn into office, Republicans were actively plotting to undo the cost-saving progress made by President Biden and Democrats. Last fall, Republicans claimed that they were willing to crash the economy by holding the debt limit hostage in order to eliminate much-needed clean energy incentives that add up to as much as $14,000 per family. And oil and gas lobbyists were actively working with Republicans to roll back the clean energy plan, an agenda they are now putting into action.
With the Polluters Over People Act and the Freedom Caucus’ budget, Big Oil is seeing their support of MAGA Republicans pay off. In the 2022 election cycle, API and oil and gas companies donated a total of $38.3 million to Republican congressional candidates.
Climate Power: El Partido Republicano debería centrarse en reducir los gastos para las familias en lugar de obstaculizar las inversiones responsables
WASHINGTON, D.C. – En respuesta al primer veto del Presidente Biden a la legislación republicana contra la inversión responsable, la Directora Ejecutiva de Climate Power, Lori Lodes, hizo pública la siguiente declaración:
“En lugar de aprobar leyes que reduzcan los gastos para las familias y creen empleos bien remunerados en el sector de las energías limpias, los republicanos del Congreso pierden el tiempo intentando obstaculizar las prácticas de inversión responsable y arrebatando a los trabajadores el derecho a tomar sus propias decisiones financieras. Una y otra vez, los republicanos han demostrado que prefieren servir a los intereses de los contaminadores antes que a sus constituyentes, desde votar en contra de la Ley para Reducir la Inflación hasta enviar este proyecto de ley de inversión anti-responsable al escritorio de Biden y, ahora, su nuevo paquete de energía diseñado para beneficiar a las grandes petroleras como su proyecto de ley prioritario”.
“Los votantes siguen apoyando la acción climática y las energías limpias y no quieren que el Gobierno ordene cómo gestionar el riesgo en sus estrategias de inversión. El presidente Biden lo sabe, y por eso vetó esta resolución. A pesar de los esfuerzos del Partido Republicano en el Congreso, la economía de la energía limpia está en crecimiento y está aquí para quedarse. Ahora es el momento de concentrarnos en aplicar nuestro plan de energía limpia para que todas las comunidades del país puedan beneficiarse de este impulso económico”.
Mientras los republicanos del Congreso atacan la inversión responsable, su campaña para demonizar la energía limpia no está teniendo éxito entre los votantes. Según una encuesta realizada por Climate Power y Data for Progress, casi el 60% de los votantes nunca ha oído hablar de la inversión responsable, comúnmente conocida como factores ambientales, sociales y de gobernanza (ESG, por sus siglas en inglés). Además, el 54% de los votantes está de acuerdo con que se permita a los gestores financieros tener en cuenta factores medioambientales, mientras que los votantes apoyan que el Presidente Biden vete el proyecto de ley de inversión anti-responsable de los republicanos por un margen de 15 puntos.
Climate Power: GOP Should Focus on Lowering Costs for Families Instead of Undermining Responsible Investing
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to President Biden issuing his first veto on Republicans’ anti-responsible investing legislation, Climate Power Executive Director Lori Lodes released the following statement:
“Instead of passing legislation that lowers costs for families and creates good-paying clean energy jobs, congressional Republicans are wasting time trying to undermine responsible investing practices and taking away workers’ rights to make their own financial decisions. Again and again, Republicans have proven that they would rather serve pro-polluter interests over their constituents—from voting against the Inflation Reduction Act to sending this anti-responsible investing bill to Biden’s desk and, now, their new Big Oil wishlist energy package as their top priority bill.
“Voters continue to support action on climate and clean energy and don’t want the government mandating how they manage risk in their investment strategies. President Biden knows this, which is why he vetoed this resolution. Despite the GOP’s efforts in Congress, the clean energy economy is booming and here to stay. Now is the time to focus on implementing our affordable clean energy plan so that every community across the country can benefit from this economic boom.”
While Congressional Republicans are attacking responsible investing, their campaign to demonize clean energy is not registering with voters. According to a poll conducted by Climate Power and Data for Progress, nearly 60% of voters have never heard of ESG investing. Additionally, 54% of voters agree that financial managers should be allowed to consider environmental factors, while voters support President Biden vetoing Republicans’ anti-responsible investing bill by a 15-point margin.
This Week in Climate & Clean Energy Wins: Week of 3/17
The amount Volkswagen plans to invest in electrification production, development, and materials sourcing over the next five years.
According to the Environmental Defense Fund, 40% of EV manufacturing job growth in the past 8 years occurred in the last 6 months.
| $2.5 Billion
The amount the Biden Administration announced this week to expand the US’ EV charging station network.
This week, car companies took the lead on new announcements. Volkswagen plans to invest $193 billion in electrification efforts over the next five years, manufacturing batteries, developing software, and sourcing raw materials for its vehicles, and Honda is turning its Ohio auto plant into an EV hub. Meanwhile, Nissan aims to reduce EV development and manufacturing costs by 30 percent by 2026, which will bring down consumer prices considerably over the next few years.
According to a new report by the Environmental Defense Fund, investments in U.S. EV manufacturing have reached $120 billion, creating 143,000 new jobs over the last eight years. Notably, more than 40 percent of those announcements occurred in the last six months – since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act. Also, by the end of 2022, EV production in the U.S. represented seven percent of total domestic car production, up 4.7 percent from the year before.
The Biden Administration announced $2.5 billion in funding for EV charging stations nationwide, including $700 million to set up EV chargers and alternative fuel stations in rural parts of the country. The Administration also announced nearly $800 million combined across projects to advance clean hydrogen technology and reduce methane emissions in the oil and gas sector. And this week, the EPA officially expanded a regulation from the Obama Administration to strengthen air pollution standards, including power plants, mills, factories, and other industrial facilities. The move will be applied to factories and power plants in 23 Western and Midwestern states to reduce smog.
In the states, lawmakers are continuing to pursue innovative climate policies. Minnesota lawmakers are weighing the strictest clean transportation standard in the country, Maine wants to move up their state’s target for reaching 100 percent clean energy, and Illinois may move to require labels on gas stoves, warning consumers about their pollution.
This week, companies announced new wind projects and factories for solar modules and EV manufacturing. Volkswagen plans to invest $193 billion in electrification, while Nissan aims to reduce EV development and manufacturing costs by 30 percent by 2026 to make them more consumer-affordable:
- Orsted and Eversource submitted a joint proposal for an 884 MW wind project offshore of Rhode Island. [North American Wind Power, 3/13/2023]
- The proposal would include a $35 million investment in the Quonset Point offshore wind hub.
- Ascent Solar Technologies announced plans to repurpose its Colorado factory to build perovskite solar modules. [Electrek, 3/13/2023]
- These solar cells have the potential to be a low-cost, power-conversion-efficient alternative to traditional silicon-based solar cells.
- Volkswagen plans to invest $193 billion in electrification. [Yahoo, 3/15/2023]
- Over the next five years, two-thirds of that funding will go towards manufacturing batteries, developing software, and sourcing critical and raw materials for its vehicles.
- Honda is turning its Marysville, OH, Auto Plant into an EV hub. [Electrek, 3/14/2023]
- This is building off of Honda’s announced plans last October to invest $700 million to update three Ohio plans for EV production and invest $3.5 billion into a new battery factory with LGES.
- Nissan set a goal to reduce EV development and manufacturing costs by 30 percent by 2026. [Car Buzz, 3/11/2023]
- The new approach involves electrified powertrains that use a small gas engine to charge batteries and should bring consumer costs down on the vehicles.
- Arcosa announced that it will develop new wind turbine towers factory in New Mexico. [Electrek, 3/15/2023]
- The plant plans to make $750M worth of new wind turbines, and anticipated to create 250 jobs.
- In major news, Foxconn announced that it would build electric vehicle batteries in Wisconsin and Ohio. [Teslarati, 3/16/2023]
- While details are forthcoming, Foxxconn will most likely use the Lordstown Plant in Ohio, which was recently sold to Foxconn in an effort to save the facility.
According to the EDF, 40 percent of EV manufacturing job growth in the past 8 years occurred in the last 6 months—since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act:
- Investments in U.S. EV manufacturing have reached $120 billion, creating 143,000 new jobs over the last 8 years. [Environmental Defense Fund, 3/14/2023]
- According to a new report by the Environmental Defense Fund and WSP USA, more than 40 percent of those announcements happened in the last six months – since the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.
- By the end of 2022, EV production in the U.S. represented seven percent of total domestic car production, up 4.7 percent from 2021. [Bloomberg, 3/14/2023]
- Reports found that EV demand continues to outstrip demand, with 26 percent of U.S. drivers intending to buy an EV.
The Biden Administration announced $2.5 billion in funding for EV charging stations, $750 million to advance clean hydrogen technology, $47 million to reduce methane emissions, and are cracking down on smog-polluting smokestacks across the Midwest:
- The Biden Administration opened applications for $2.5 billion in funding for EV charging stations nationwide. [Forbes, 3/14/2023]
- The funding includes $700 million to set up EV chargers and alternative fuel stations in rural parts of the country.
- The Biden Administration announced $750 million to advance clean hydrogen technologies. [Department of Energy Press Release, 3/15/2023]
- The funding will go towards research, development, and demonstration efforts to dramatically reduce the cost of clean hydrogen.
- The Department of Energy announced $47 million to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector. [Department of Energy Press Release, 3/14/2023]
- The second largest contributor to climate change, this funding will go towards 22 research projects advancing new measurement, monitoring, and mitigation technologies to reduce methane emissions.
- The EPA finalized a rule forcing factories and power plants in 23 Western and Midwestern states to cut smog-causing pollution released from their smokestacks. [New York Times, 3/15/2023]
- Known as the “good neighbor” rule, the new regulation strengthens and expands an earlier interstate air pollution standard enacted during the Obama administration. While that rule directed power plants to clean up their emissions, the revised rule enforces similar controls on mills, factories, and other industrial facilities.
States continue to introduce innovative policies to drive forward climate progress, namely in Minnesota, Maine, and Illinois – as Michigan continues to be a leader in EV and battery investments:
- Democrats in Minnesota, Maine, and Illinois are pursuing climate policies to keep an eye on [The Washington Post, 3/14/2023]
- In Minnesota, lawmakers are weighing the strictest clean transportation standard in the country. In Maine, Democrats want to move up the state’s target for reaching 100 percent clean energy. And in Illinois, novel legislation would require a label on gas stoves warning consumers about their pollution.
- Michigan pulled ahead as a top state for EV & battery investments, bringing home $16.6 billion and creating 16,300 jobs. [Michigan Economic Development Corporation, 3/14/2023]
- The new figures come from a recent report from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), touted by Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Michigan is on the move, and we have an extraordinary opportunity right now to create thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs and bring supply chains home. We are bringing home $16.6 billion of projects creating 16,300 jobs building batteries and electric vehicles…Together, we will make Michigan the undisputed leader in mobility and electrification and build a brighter future. Let’s get it done,” she said.