Sunday, January 26, 2020

Quick Reads on ENERGY and CLIMATE

Going 100% Green Will Pay For Itself in Seven Years, Study Finds

A Stanford University professor whose research helped underpin the U.S. Democrats’ Green New Deal says phasing out fossil fuels and running the entire world on clean energy would pay for itself in under seven years.

It would cost $73 trillion to revamp power grids, transportation, manufacturing and other systems to run on wind, solar and hydro power, including enough storage capacity to keep the lights on overnight, Mark Jacobson said in a study published Friday in the journal One Earth. But that would be offset by annual savings of almost $11 trillion, the report found.

“There’s really no downside to making this transition,” said Jacobson, who wrote the study with several other researchers. “Most people are afraid it will be too expensive. Hopefully this will allay some of those fears.”

Read more at Bloomberg

If the World ran on Sun, It wouldn’t Fight over Oil  
by Bill McKibben

No one will ever fight a war over access to sunshine – what would a country do, set up enormous walls to shade everyone else’s panels? (Giant walls are hard to build – just ask Trump.) Fossil fuels are concentrated in a few places, giving those who live atop them enormous power; renewable energy can be found everywhere, the birthright of all humans. A world that runs on sun and wind is a world that can relax.

Read more at The Guardian

Warren Buffett is spending billions to make Iowa 'the Saudi Arabia of wind'

Warren Buffett is spending billions to turn Iowa into "the wind capital of the world, the Saudi Arabia of wind," he told the Financial Times.

Berkshire Hathaway's billionaire boss isn't emulating Greta Thunberg, however. Rather than leading the charge on climate change, hoping to cut carbon emissions at any cost, he told the newspaper he was simply taking advantage of government incentives for renewable-energy investments.

"We wouldn't do [it] without the production tax credit we get," he said.

Read more at Business Insider

ExxonMobil Eyes $3.4-$3.6B Gain From Norway Asset Divestment

Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM expects a gain of $3.4-$3.6 billion from the divestment of Norwegian assets. This will likely give a boost to its fourth-quarter 2019 results. The company’s recent regulatory filing showed that the gains from this divestment can offset lower margins from chemicals and refining businesses.

Read more here

New York Confirms Plan for 1GW-Plus Offshore Wind Solicitation in 2020

The Empire State’s second offshore wind procurement targets 1 gigawatt of capacity — “and perhaps substantially more.”

New York confirmed plans to issue its second solicitation for offshore wind farms this year, expected to add at least 1 gigawatt to the state’s pipeline.

The upcoming solicitation, to be overseen once again by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), will run alongside a separate competitive process to award $200 million in public funding for offshore wind-related port infrastructure improvements, according to Governor Andrew Cuomo, who gave his 10th State of the State address on January 9, 2020.

The offshore wind solicitation "is expected to yield at least an additional 1,000 megawatts of clean power, and perhaps substantially more," according to a detailed document (PDF) laying out the various plans in Cuomo's 2020 State of the State.

The new capacity will come on top of the 1.7 gigawatts of capacity the state awarded in its first offshore wind solicitation last summer to developers ├śrsted and Equinor.

Read more at Greentech Media

N.Y. Governor Signs Bill Creating Environmental Justice Board

New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo (D) signed legislation establishing an environmental justice advisory group to focus on ensuring no group is disproportionately affected by hazards such as pollution.

The Dec. 23 signing of the environmental justice measure (A.1564/S.2385) should also ensure the state’s ambitious climate action plan takes effect as planned on Jan. 1.

The Permanent Environmental Justice Advisory Group would develop a model to be applied through all state agencies, including in permitting processes, the adoption of rules and regulations, and the acquisition or maintenance of property, according to the bill.

Read more at Bloomberg Environment

Governor Cuomo Announces Legislation to Make the Fracking Ban Permanent

On January 22, 2020, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced legislation in the FY 2021 Executive Budget to make New York's fracking ban permanent. The measure would restrict the Department of Environmental Conservation from approving permits that would authorize an applicant to drill, deepen, plug back or convert wells that use high-volume hydraulic fracturing as a means to complete or re-complete a well, protecting the health of New Yorkers and ensuring permanently that our environment is not harmed by this practice. This bill reflects an important step forward toward achieving New York's clean energy economy goals.

Read more here

Most Profitable Part of Solar Power Is Switching Currents

The most profitable corner of the booming U.S. solar industry isn’t making -- or even installing -- panels. It’s building the components that keep electricity flowing to the power grid.

They’re called inverters, and the two companies that make the vast majority of premium ones in the U.S. reported their highest revenue ever in the second quarter, propelling their shares to record levels. Enphase Energy Inc., has gone from trading at less than a dollar to ranking among the world’s most valuable solar stocks with a market capitalization of $3.8 billion. Its slightly larger rival, SolarEdge Technologies Inc., has rallied 129% this year.

The systems Enphase and SolarEdge supply are crucial to making solar power work. Panels produce direct-current electricity that needs to be converted to alternating current so it can be carried into homes or sent to local power grids. That’s what inverters do. The ones Enphase and SolarEdge make are so specialized and cost-effective to manufacture that the companies have bigger margins than most other segments of the solar business.

Read more at Bloomberg

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