Renewable energy became the second-most prevalent U.S. electricity source in 2020
Solar Industry Magazine – December 23
In 2020, renewable energy sources – including wind, hydroelectric, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy – generated a record 834 billion kWh of electricity, or about 21% of all the electricity generated in the U.S., according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Only natural gas (1,617 billion kWh) produced more electricity than renewables in the United States in 2020. Renewables surpassed both nuclear (790 billion kWh) and coal (774 billion kWh) for the first time on record. This outcome was due mostly to significantly less coal use in U.S. electricity generation and steadily increased use of wind and solar.
New DOE office to help stand up clean energy projects
Renewable Energy World – December 23
Anchored by $20 billion in infrastructure funds, the U.S. Department of Energy announced a new Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations to help stand up projects in clean hydrogen, carbon capture, grid-scale energy storage, and small modular reactors, among other technologies. Billions of dollars are expected to go toward demonstration projects in rural and economically hard-hit communities. The Biden administration has set a goal to deliver 40% of clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities experiencing what it said are the most severe impacts of climate change.
U.S. can get to 100% clean energy with wind, water, solar, and zero nuclear, Stanford professor says
CNBC – December 21
Stanford professor Mark Jacobson sees a way for the U.S. to meet its energy demands by 2050 with 100% wind, water, and solar. His models use no fossil fuels, carbon capture, direct air capture, bioenergy, blue hydrogen, or nuclear power. Jacobson’s roadmap is different from many clean-energy proposals, which advocate using all technologies possible. According to his latest models, published in the scientific journal Renewable Energy, California’s energy mix would include 14.72% on-shore wind energy, 18.28% off-shore wind, 21.86% solar panels on roofs, 34.66% solar panels operated by a utility, 5.32% hydropower, 2.91% geothermal electricity, and 0.25% wave energy.
Biden administration moves to expand solar power on U.S. land
Associated Press – December 21
U.S. officials announced approval last Tuesday of two large-scale solar projects in California and moved to open up public lands in other Western states to potential solar power development. The Interior Department approved the Arica and Victory Pass solar projects on federal land in Riverside County. Combined they would generate up to 465 MW of electricity, or enough to power about 132,000 homes, according to developer Clearway Energy. Approval of a third solar farm planned for 500 MW is expected in coming days, officials said. The Interior Department on Tuesday also issued a call to nominate land for development within “solar energy zones” in Colorado, Nevada, and New Mexico that combined cover about 140 square miles.
Major energy storage project — enough to power 110,00 homes for 2 hours — coming to San Diego
The San Diego Union-Tribune – December 28
A portfolio of 44 battery storage systems across San Diego County aimed at adding more emissions-free energy to California’s electric grid is about to roll out, with one location in Chula Vista and another in El Cajon poised to break ground within the next month. EnerSmart Storage, a renewable energy company based in San Diego, will design, construct, and operate the systems. The entire portfolio will account for 165 MW and 336 MWh of battery storage electricity — enough to power 110,00 homes for two hours.
Microgrid-powered facility in Wisconsin produces renewable natural gas for California
Microgrid Knowledge – December 23
Powering an anaerobic digester project with a renewable microgrid has transformed the economics of biogas at a newly commissioned plant in Wisconsin. The facility is turning organic waste from more than 4,000 dairy cows into renewable natural gas and injecting it into a natural gas pipeline for use as a transportation fuel in California. EnTech Solutions, in partnership with Northern Biogas, acquired the existing biogas project in Springfield, Wisconsin, then reconditioned and converted the facility to produce renewable natural gas.
Washington governor approves new solar project in Yakima County
Yakima Herald – December 22
Governor Jay Inslee last Monday signed a site certification agreement for the Goose Prairie solar project, clearing the way for Seattle-based OneEnergy Renewables to build the 80-MW project in Yakima County. The company expects to begin commercial operation by the end of 2022.