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EGEB: Turbine leader Vestas, Trump-backed coal plant to close, corporate wind

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

Today in EGEB, Vestas extends its lead in onshore wind turbines. A Trump-backed Kentucky coal plant has been marked to close. New wind investments for Citi and Home Depot.

While global commissioning of onshore wind turbines declined slightly in 2018 — down 3 percent from 2017 — Vestas gained an even larger market share in the industry, BloombergNEF reports.

Vestas controlled a global market share of 22 percent of all onshore turbines commissioned in 2018 — 10.1 gigawatts in all. The turbine maker claimed a 16 percent market share in 2017.

Next on the global market share list in 2018 was Chinese turbine manufacturer Goldwind, with 6.7 GW commissioned. Goldwind has a strong presence at home in China, capturing a third of the market in the country. GE was third on the list.

Overall, about 45 GW of onshore wind turbines were commissioned globally last year, compared to 47 GW in 2017. But David Hostert, head of wind research at BNEF, expects demand to reach 60 GW both this year and next.

Despite more demand, Hostert said manufacturers must “buckle up for two stormy years ahead.” He said,

“….a lot of this impressive-sounding volume rides on extremely competitive pricing, add-on products and services, and new financing models. This will be tough to deliver for the Big Four, let alone the smaller turbine makers.”

Kentucky Coal Closure

The Tennessee Valley Authority voted to close two coal-fired power plants, Reuters reports. One of the plants, Paradise 3 in Kentucky, was specifically supported in a tweet by President Donald Trump.

“It is not about coal. This decision is about economics,” TVA President and Chief Executive Bill Johnson said. “It’s about keeping rates as low as feasible.” Johnson previously stated the plants had become too expensive to operate.

The board voted to close the Paradise plant and the Bull Run coal plant in Tennessee by a vote of 5-2. As Reuters noted, “The members who voted to keep them open were both appointed by Trump.” The article continues,

“Paradise 3, which entered service in 1970, was mostly supplied with coal last year by Murray Energy, chaired by Robert Murray, a donor to Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016 and a frequent attendee at events held by the administration.”

TVA is using a mix of natural gas, nuclear power, and renewable energy to replace coal.

Corporate Clean Energy

Corporations set a record in buying clean energy last year, and increased investment looks to continue in 2019. Citi announced it has entered in a new agreement to supply its Texas operations with renewable energy.

The bank is buying 64 percent of renewable energy credits generated by the 163 MW Midway Wind Project in San Patricio County, Tex.

Citi has set a goal to supply all of its facilities globally with 100 percent renewable energy by 2020.

Staying in the world of corporate clean energy, The Home Depot recently announced expansions of its wind program. The home improvement retailer said it “will purchase enough wind energy from the Pretty Prairie Wind Project in Kansas to power about 40 stores for a year.”

Through a 15-year PPA, The Home Depot has agreed to purchase 15 megawatts of the wind farm’s 220 MW capacity once it becomes operational, in late 2019.

Youth Climate Protests

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