This Week in Climate & Clean Energy Wins: Week of 1/27:
See our state by state breakdown here.
The number of homes powered by Microsoft and Qcells solar panel partnership.
One in every five cars sold in California last year was an EV, hybrid, or hydrogen fuel cell car according to new state data.
The Biden Administration contributing to solar projects in marginalized communities and production of sustainable biofuels.
The momentum of the Inflation Reduction Act continues! Politico reports, despite opposition from their elected leaders, roughly two-thirds of clean energy projects announced since the Inflation Reduction Act are going to Republican-held congressional districts where the representative voted against the law.
A new report found that subsidies from the Inflation Reduction Act have unleashed a global clean energy race, resulting in private and government climate policies from the last three months becoming more ambitious. Natural Resources Defense Council and Evergreen Action also released a new report this week outlining the roadmap to reduce power sector emissions 80 percent by 2030, proving that ambitious standards can put President Biden’s goal of 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 well within reach.
This news comes as companies continue to make significant investments in clean energy across the country, pledging billions to expand solar, electric vehicle, and wind manufacturing in Iowa, Kansas, Georgia, Idaho, Nevada, and with Microsoft aligning with Qcells to bring more than 2.5 gigawatts of solar power online. The Biden Administration contributed $128 million in funding this week for increased solar projects in underserved communities and projects to accelerate sustainable biofuel production, and the EPA is cracking down on pollution, announcing regulatory action to restrict livestock pollution, air pollution, and assist marginalized communities overburdened with pollution. Finally, key states are moving ambitious legislation to address climate-related threats, bolster clean energy resources, and set goals to reach carbon-free electricity by 2040.
Companies continue to invest in expanding clean energy, pledging billions for wind manufacturing and solar panel plants in Iowa, Kansas, Idaho, and Georgia:
- Turbine company Siemens Gamesa is resuming U.S. manufacturing in Iowa and exploring moves to return to Kansas. [Recharge News, 1/26/23]
- The move comes with a call to policymakers to address industry barriers, clearing the way for wind to play a key role in the country’s future energy system.
- Duke Energy announced plans to build Idaho’s largest solar plant. [Duke Energy, 1/26/2023]
- The company’s first energy project in the state, the plant is set to generate enough electricity annually to serve the energy needs of roughly 24,000 homes.
- Microsoft is partnering with Qcells to provide more than 2.5 gigawatts of solar panels to developers working with Microsoft. [The Verge, 1/26/2023]
- Part of the company’s goal of cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by “more than half” by 2030, the move will generate enough energy to power more than 400,000 homes.
- Lithium producer Albemarle Corp projected above market expectations for fourth-quarter earnings, of an estimated $2.59-2.65 billion. [Reuters, 1/23/2023]
- Global efforts to tackle climate change have fueled a surge in demand for lithium for use in EV batteries.
- Tesla announced their plans to expand their electric semiconductor and clean energy operations in Nevada. [The Nevada Independent, 1/24/23]
- The $3.6 billion dollar investment aimed at growing Tesla’s existing Gigafactory, and creating a cell factory and the company’s first high power electric semi-truck factory, plans on creating over 3,000 jobs in Northern Nevada.
- SK Battery America is set to open an IT hub for their $2.6 billion in two lithium-ion battery manufacturing facilities. [Office Of Governor Brian Kemp Press Release, 1/26/2023]
- The IT hub, based in Roswell, will create 200 high paying tech jobs to support the company’s clean energy operations in Georgia.
Reports this week revealed that two-thirds of clean energy projects announced since the Inflation Reduction Act are going to Republican-held congressional districts who voted against the law, an 80 percent reduction in power sector emissions by 2030 is possible and that that private and government climate policies from the last three months are becoming more ambitious:
- Roughly two-thirds of green-energy projects announced since the Inflation Reduction Act are going to Republican-held congressional districts who voted against the law, according to a Politico analysis. [Politico, 1/23/2023]
- In the five months since the Inflation Reduction Act became law, companies have announced tens of billions of dollars in renewable energy, battery and electric vehicle projects that will benefit from incentives from the Inflation Reduction Act.
- NRDC and Evergreen Action released a report outlining a roadmap to reduce power sector emissions by 80 percent by 2030. [NRDC, 1/23/23]
- The report shows that together with the clean energy investments from the Inflation Reduction Act, ambitious carbon pollution standards could put President Biden’s goal of 100 percent clean electricity by 2035 well within reach.
- A new report found that private and government climate policies from the last three months are becoming more ambitious. [Reuters, 1/25/23]
- A wave of subsidies from the Inflation Reduction Act has unleashed a global clean energy race. In the last quarter, 68 global policies supported limiting the global temperature to 1.8 degrees Celsius, a target that comes in under that stated in the Paris Agreement.
- Nearly one in every five cars sold in California last year was an EV, hybrid, or hydrogen fuel cell car, according to new state data. [E&E News, 1/23/2023]
- Sales of zero-emission vehicles hit a record high in California last year, making up nearly 19 percent of new car purchases.
- A new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association estimates increasing opportunities for distributed energy resource systems [Utility Drive, 1/23/23]
- DER systems increase incentives for solar, offering energy independence and savings on monthly bills.
The Biden Administration contributed $128 million in funding this week for increased community solar projects in underserved communities and projects to accelerate sustainable biofuel production. The EPA is pushing regulations aligned with the Inflation Reduction Act’s priorities, exploring moves to toughen regulation on livestock pollution, update air pollution restrictions, and assist marginalized communities overburdened with pollution:
- The Department of Energy launched a $10 million prize to increase community solar projects in underserved communities. [Utility Dive, 1/23/2023]
- “The goal of this prize is to grow a robust ecosystem of community solar project developers that incorporate meaningful benefits into projects across the United States,” the agency said.
- The Department of Energy announced $118 million in funding for projects to accelerate sustainable biofuel production. [Department of Energy, 1/26/2023]
- Funding for 17 projects will benefit America’s manufacturing and transportation needs and will be allocated to universities and private companies across the country.
- The EPA is considering moves to toughen regulation on livestock farm pollution. [AP News, 1/23/2023].
- Aimed at farms that release pollutants into waterways, this is the first time the EPA has updated its rules on the nation’s largest animal-operations since 2008.
- The EPA has reached a deal with environmental groups to review and update hazardous air pollution rules for oil and gas producers over the next three years. [Politico Pro, 1/23/2023]
- The rules, which also apply to natural gas transmission and storage facilities, are supposed to be reviewed and updated if needed every eight years, but the previous update by EPA was more than 10 years ago. It sets limits for pollutants affecting tens of millions of people who live in close proximity to oil and gas sources in the U.S.
- The Biden Administration has zeroed in on overseas mining projects to support around the world to meet EV and renewable needs. [Politico Pro, 1/23/2023]
- The Biden administration plans to back as many as 16 overseas projects to mine, refine and recycle minerals for electric vehicle batteries and other renewable technology.
- The EPA announced a proposal to change the way it manages public records law, seeking to help marginalized communities overburdened with pollution. [Politico Pro 1/20/2023]
- The proposal fits in with a broader campaign by the Biden administration to incorporate environmental justice into every aspect of the EPA.
Inspired by the momentum of the Inflation Reduction Act, states are moving legislation to address climate-related threats, bolster clean energy resources, and set goals to reach carbon-free electricity:
- New Mexico advanced a bill to help local governments plan in advance for climate-related threats. [AP News, 1/23/2023]
- The initiative aims to foster greater resilience to climate change through grants of up to $250,000 for local government and tribal agencies.
- A California proposal would order an additional 4 GW of clean energy resources to bolster grid reliability. [Utility Dive, 1/23/2023]
- The ask from the California Public Utilities Commission would be in addition to the 11.5 GW of procurement regulators ordered in 2021. “The more that California can invest in [the] near to mid-term in clean energy resources…is going to be a better result for customers… [and] the decarbonization transition,” Michael Colvin, director of regulatory and legislative affairs at the Environmental Defense Fund, said.
- Minnesota advanced a landmark bill requiring utilities to achieve 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2040. [Politico Pro 1/20/2023]
- A leader in wind energy for over a decade, Minnesota joins a growing list of states aiming to eliminate fossil fuels from the power sector.