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EGEB: Michigan in US Climate Alliance, German power problems, Aurora Solar

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Today in EGEB, Michigan joins the U.S. Climate Alliance. Increased costs for Germany’s clean energy plan create concern. A large wind project in New York is the first for NYPA. Aurora Solar raises $20 million in funding.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive on Monday entering the state into the U.S. Climate Alliance. Whitmer’s directive specifically mentions the effects of climate change in Michigan:

“The impacts of global climate change are already being felt in the United States, including Michigan, and are projected to intensify in the future. Climate change is lowering water tables in the Great Lakes Basin, decreasing total wetland area in Michigan, and stimulating algae blooms.”

The U.S. Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of governors who have coordinated their states to follow the goals of the Paris Agreement in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Each member state must aim to reduce these emissions by at least 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.

Michigan becomes the 20th state or territory to join the alliance, which includes Puerto Rico. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham joined the alliance last week, and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed on the week prior to that.

Governors Jerry Brown of California, Andrew Cuomo of New York, and Jay Inslee of Washington formed the U.S. Climate Alliance in 2017 after President Donald Trump announced he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement.

Power Pains In Germany

Germany’s plans for a massive grid upgrade focused on transferring solar and wind power across the country is going to cost more than expected. A lot more.

Revised figures show the proposed overhaul would cost Germany as much as $59 billion (52 billion euros), Bloomberg reports. That’s 53 percent higher than a 2014 budget indicated. 

Originally, three super cables were deemed necessary to take wind and solar energy from the north of Germany to the south. But builders say two more of these cables are needed, accounting for the massive price change.

Bloomberg notes that Germany, along with Denmark, is already paying the highest retail power costs in the EU. Consumers bear the cost of upgrade expenses.

Germany only completed 150 km (93 miles) of the cable lines by 2018. The country needs to build an additional 5,700 km by 2025 to complete the plan on time, and that is based on the current three-line plan. Revising the plan to add all new lines adds much more work, and increases the probability of future delays, beyond the obvious cost effects.

This is a big new challenge for a country showing a strong commitment to green energy. Germany added nearly 3 gigawatts of solar power last year, and renewables also became the country’s main energy source in 2018, passing coal.

New York Winds

The New York Power Authority of New York State announced its first transaction in large-scale renewables last week, a power purchase agreement for a 290-megawatt wind project.

The project will be in Steuben County in the Southern Tier of New York, not far from the Pennsylvania border. NYPA signed the 20-year PPA with Canisteo Wind Energy, and Invenergy LLC will develop and operate the project.

NPYA says this project will be able to power 113,000 homes annually. The organization expects the wind project to be in service by the end of next year.

The PPA is being touted by NYPA as a way to “further advance Governor Cuomo’s recently announced Green New Deal.” Cuomo’s Green New Deal is similar to (but not to be confused with) the movement for a national Green New Deal. New York’s Green New Deal aims to make the state’s power 100 percent carbon-free by 2040, among other goals.

Aurora Solar Funding

Aurora Solar of San Francisco announced that it has raised $20 million in Series A funding. The round of funding was led by Energize Ventures, and joined by Pear and S28 Capital.

The new funding will allow the company to expand its workforce and increase product functionality. Aurora Solar’s SmartRoof tech enables solar installers to quickly create an accurate 3D CAD model of a site for installation.

As part of its system, Aurora Solar also often uses Lidar data to assist in its modeling. The company has a Lidar availability map that shows where it’s able to use the technology.

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