This Week in Climate & Clean Energy Wins: Week of 5/12/23:
The amount of clean energy funding announced by DOE this week.
The number of homes projected to be powered by BLM’s renewable energy permits.
The amount of tons of lithium that a California reserve is expected to produce per year.
This week in the private sector, Tesla broke ground on a new lithium refinery in Texas that will produce enough to support 1 million EVs by 2025, making the company the only U.S. automaker to refine its own lithium. Aspen Power acquired 10 new solar projects in Pennsylvania, Xcel Energy is expanding in Minnesota on its way to tripling the amount of solar in its Upper Midwest System by 2028, and Ingeteam is expanding its production facility in Wisconsin. NextEra Energy Partners also announced they will sell all their remaining natural gas pipelines and focus exclusively on renewable energy by 2025.
Led by Tesla, North American factories produced a 93% increase in battery powered cars from this time last year, carbon emissions are expected to decline due to transitions to clean generation sources after the last peak in 2022, and lithium operations are being developed in southeastern California – a reserve that could supply upwards of 300,000 tons of lithium per year in a critical step toward building a U.S.-based EV supply chain.
The Department of Energy (DOE) made 3 major funding announcements this week. First, $26 million will be dedicated to research on reliable clean energy resources. Second, $40 million will kickstart 15 data cooling center projects to lower the carbon footprint of critical infrastructure. And third, $554 million in funding is going toward revolutionizing the American hydroelectric power and marine energy systems. The White House celebrated the clean energy boom, which the Administration has led the way on with $470 billion in funding since President Biden took office. Just one snapshot of this progress is the efforts of agencies like the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) permitting push – resulting in enough renewable projects to power 4.2 million homes.
Lastly, the Inflation Reduction Act continues to spur clean energy projects that are growing states’ green economies, from Massachusetts to California and Hawaii, to name a few.
- Aspen Power, a distributed energy company acquired 10 solar projects in western Pennsylvania. [Pittsburgh Business Times, 5/5/2023]
- The move is part of the company’s broader plan to increase solar projects in the state.
- Tesla broke ground on a new lithium refinery in Texas, making the company the only U.S. automaker to refine its own lithium. [Reuters, 5/9/2023]
- The refinery will produce enough battery grade lithium to support one million EVs by 2025.
- Atom Power plans to invest nearly $4.2 million to expand its Huntersville North Carolina. [The Charlotte Observer, 5/9/2023]
- The expansion will add an additional 205 jobs, which is a 250% workforce increase.
- The average annual salary will be $91,804, which is more than the county’s average wage of $80,349.
- NextEra Energy Partners announced they will sell all their remaining natural gas pipelines and focus exclusively on renewable energy by 2025. [Utility Dive, 5/9/2023]
- The sale of the pipelines will finance the company’s renewable energy growth plans through 2024, allowing the company to expand.
- Xcel Energy is proposing an additional 250- MW solar project in Minnesota, set to be the Upper Midwest’s largest solar development. [WIS Business, 5/8/2023]
- Sherco Solar is key to Xcel Energy’s plans to nearly triple the amount of solar on its Upper Midwest system by 2028.
- Ingeteam will expand its 140,000 sq. ft U.S. production facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. [EV Wind, 5/8/2023]
- The investment consolidates an investment of more than 20 million dollars since its start-up in 2010.
- Lithium operations are being developed in southeastern California by the Salton Sea, a world class lithium reserve that could supply upwards of 300,000 tons of lithium per year. [CBS, 5/7/2023]
- Companies like Stellantis view development as a crucial step to build a U.S.-based EV supply chain.
- Data suggests that 2022 may have been the year carbon emissions from the global electricity sector peaked. [Washington Post, 5/9/2023]
- Carbon emissions are expected to decline going forward because of transitions to clean generation sources.
- North American factories produced 219,000 battery powered cars in Q1, a 93% increase from this time last year. [Bloomberg, 5/10/2023]
- Tesla remains as the leading U.S. manufacturer, producing more than 150,000 cars alone this quarter.
- DOE announced $26 million for eight projects at 15 sites in 13 states and Puerto Rico to demonstrate how clean energy resources can support a reliable and efficient U.S. power grid. [DOE, 4/10/2023]
- One research component of these projects will be the monitoring and testing of controls that allow the grid to restore power quickly and efficiently after blackouts so that it can continue to supply energy to communities nationwide.
- White House Senior Advisor John Podesta spoke to how the Inflation Reduction Act is advancing the Biden Administration’s clean energy priorities. [White House, 5/10/2023]
- Podesta celebrated the growth of renewable options, claiming “clean energy deployment over the next four years to be 25% higher than it would have been without the IRA.”
- The Biden Administration announced they’ve unleashed over $470 billion in manufacturing and clean energy investments since President Biden took office. [White House, 5/10/2023]
- The Administration also confirmed that they are on track to permit at least 25 GW of renewable energy on public land by 2025, with BLM permitting enough combined renewable projects to power about 4.2 million homes.
- DOE announced $40 million in funding for 15 innovative data center cooling solution projects. [DOE, 4/9/2023]
- Selected projects at national labs, universities, and businesses will work to reduce the energy necessary to cool data centers, lowering the carbon footprint of this critical infrastructure.
- DOE announced $554 million in funding to modernize hydroelectric power and advance U.S. marine energy. [DOE, 4/8/2023]
- On top of this, DOE announced a $45 million funding opportunity to support domestic pilot demonstration sites and community-led tidal and/or current energy projects.
- Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey announced the state would join the Biden Administration’s Climate Pollution Reduction Grant program. [EPA, 5/9/2023]
- Massachusetts is one of 48 states to join the initiative, and will receive $3 million in initial grant funds.
- Following New York’s passage of the most ambitious clean energy legislation to date, the city is beginning construction to support new climate goals [Spectrum New 1, 5/9/2023]
- The legislation also carved out $200 million in the state budget to help New Yorkers with high electric bills and another $200 million for low-income families to finance energy-efficiency retrofits.
- Hawaii leads the charge on innovative rate designs after passing a new regulation that better serves customers by focusing on components like fixed generation and transmission [Utility Drive, 5/9/2023]
- These new rates offer clear and transparent kilowatt-hour costs to EV customers, so they can get the best bang for their buck.
- Sen. Cortez Masto celebrated the construction of a new battery manufacturing facility in Nevada. [Cortez Masto, 5/8/2023]
- Lithion’s Nevada facility is the first in the world to produce cylindrical cell lithium-ion batteries outside China and will bring more than 100 jobs to Nevadans.
- A floating solar pilot was launched in Bartow, Florida as the US begins to embrace the new form of clean energy. [The Ledger, 5/9/2023]
- The Bartow Hines Energy Complex features 1,800 solar modules on a two acre plot of water. They’re projected to produce nearly a megawatt of electricity and about a million kilowatt-hours annually.
- Pennsylvania state Sen. Comitta joined climate advocates to announce legislation that seeks to modernize renewable energy standards and promote a transition to alternative energy sources. [Pennsylvania Capital-Star, 5/10/2023]
- Senate Bill 230 would require energy distributors to increase use of alternative energy sources by 22% and enable community solar projects.
- California’s Long Beach Port released plans for a $5 billion offshore wind turbine facility. [Los Angeles Times, 5/9/2023]
- If the port is able to install between 1,000 and 1,600 of the turbines, the facility could produce all 25 gigawatts the state hopes to generate from offshore wind by 2045.