This Week in Climate & Clean Energy Wins: Week of 1/8/24

$1.84 Billion

The amount of federal funding announced to purchase low- and zero-emission school buses in over 650 school districts. 

80,000

The number of households powered by a new wind farm in Michigan 

$2 trillion

The amount that business action on energy efficiency could save

This week, in private sector news, General Electric will build hundreds of turbines for what will become the largest wind project in the Western Hemisphere, producing 674 turbines as part of a long-term service agreement. LG Energy announced plans to build 10 grid-scale battery storage facilities across the U.S., which will help avoid the equivalent of 16 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year. Qcells announced they will provide Microsoft with 12 gigawatts of American-made solar panels through 2032, and Toyota’s EV sales saw a 10 times increase in 2023. 

A new research paper from MIT outlined how scaling low-carbon hydrogen can significantly cut existing emissions and further decarbonize other industries.  According to a new study by the University of Michigan Center for Sustainable Systems, in collaboration with the Responsible Battery Coalition (RBC), EVs are now cost-competitive with gas-powered cars in 14 major U.S. cities. The World Economic Forum and PwC released a report that projects private sector investments in energy efficiency could save $2 trillion a year.

The Biden Administration announced nearly $2 billion in clean energy funding for over 650 school districts, which will allow them to purchase 2,700 low-emission and zero-emission buses and vehicles. The Department of Energy (DOE) announced the successful production of heat pump prototypes that could save American households more than $500 a year on utility bills. On Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke at Boston’s Roxbury Community College to spotlight benefits of the Biden Administration’s clean energy tax credits. 

Lastly, a new wind farm – with 72 wind turbines capable of powering roughly 80,000 households – opened in Michigan this week. In Alaska, the legislature is planning to take up several renewable energy policy proposals this month. Examples include proposals for neighborhood solar projects, loans for sustainable energy programs, and setting standards for utilities’ clean power generation. In Ohio, the state is starting work on the New Energy Economy project, with a goal to support small and medium manufacturers to play a role in the growing clean energy economy.

 

Private Sector

  • General Electric will build hundreds of turbines for what will be the largest wind project in the Western Hemisphere [Associated Press, 1/9/2024]
    • The equipment order of 674 turbines is part of the company’s long-term service agreement with global renewable-energy giant Pattern Energy.
  • LG Energy plans to build  10 grid-scale battery storage facilities with a total energy storage capacity of 10 gigawatt hours in the U.S. [Utility Dive, 1/8/2024
    • The portfolio of facilities will help avoid the equivalent of 16 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions each year.
  • Qcells announced they will provide Microsoft with 12 gigawatts of American-made solar panels through 2032. [Reuters, 1/8/2024]
    • The companies have called the partnership one of the largest ever deals of its kind. 
  • Toyota’s U.S. electric vehicle sales increased by 10x in 2023. [Inside EVs, 1/7/2024
    • Toyota’s EV sales in the U.S. were up 15% year-over-year during the fourth quarter of 2023. 

 

New Reports

  • New research from MIT outlines a path for scaling clean hydrogen production without indirectly increasing its carbon emissions. [MIT News, 1/8/2023]
    • Scaling low-carbon hydrogen production can cut some significant sources of existing emissions and enable the decarbonization of other critical industries.
  • EVs are now cost-competitive with gas-powered cars in 14 major U.S. cities – marking a significant shift in the market. [EV Report, 1/4/2024]
    • According to the report, mid-sized EVs can reach cost parity with gas cars in cities with low electricity prices, high gasoline prices, and additional incentives.
  • Business action on energy efficiency could save $2 trillion a year. [Green Biz, 1/9/2024]
    • Recommended measures include retrofitting buildings with insulation and other efficiency and green energy measures, electrifying transport systems and harnessing artificial intelligence to optimize factory-line design to unlock efficiencies.

 

Biden Administration

  • The Biden Administration announced $1.84 billion in clean energy funding for 652 school districts. [The Hill, 1/8/2024]
    • The investment will purchase more than 2,700 low-emission and zero-emission buses and vehicles across 280 school districts in seven states.
  • DOE announced that four additional heat pump manufacturers successfully produced heat pump prototypes – a key clean energy technology that could save households more than $500 a year on utility bills while slashing harmful carbon emissions. [DOE, 1/8/2024]
  • Secretary Janet Yellen traveled to Boston to promote the benefits of the Biden Administration’s clean energy tax credits. [Reuters, 1/8/2024]
    • She spoke at Roxbury Community College’s Center for Smart Building Technology, where she toured energy efficiency upgrades expected to save the school up to $800,000 on its energy bills.

 

State-Level  

  • A new wind farm – with 72 wind turbines capable of powering roughly 80,000 households – opened in Michigan this week. [Michigan Public Radio, 1/8/2024]
    • The new wind farm joins four existing wind farms operated by Consumers, together producing enough energy to power 330,000 households.
  • The Alaska legislature will take up several renewable energy policy proposals this month, including for neighborhood solar projects, loans for sustainable energy programs, and setting standards for utilities’ clean power generation. [Alaska Public Media, 1/8/2024]
  • This month, Ohio is starting work on the New Energy Economy project with a $10 million federal grant that was awarded last fall. The goal of the project is to  support the role small and medium manufacturers can play in the growing clean energy economy. [Ohio Capital Journal, 1/8/2024]