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EGEB: US renewables double since 2008, self-powered streetlights, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • U.S. renewable electricity generation has doubled since 2008.
  • Self-powered streetlights in Chicago.
  • The largest bifacial solar farm in the U.S. breaks ground.
  • A Spanish soccer team joins the UN’s Climate Neutral Now initiative.

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

Renewables in the U.S. now generate nearly double the electricity they did in 2008, the U.S. Energy Information Administration says. In 2018, 742 million MWh of electricity came from renewables, compared to 382 million MWh in 2008. In total, renewables provided 17.6 percent of electricity generation in the U.S. in 2018.

As one might expect, most of the increase is due to wind and solar generation. Wind generated 275 million MWh last year, only exceeded by hydroelectric. But while hydroelectric generation’s overall share remains mostly the same, wind generation is rising steadily each year.

Solar power generated 96 million MWh in 2018, with 69 percent generated by utility-scale solar. Clean energy jobs now outnumber fossil fuel jobs 3-to-1 in the U.S.

Self-Powered Streetlights

Illinois utility ComEd recently installed five self-powered off-grid streetlights at two Chicago schools, Energy News Network reports. At 30 feet tall, the streetlights are quite a sight, equipped with solar panels and a small wind turbine up top. Included batteries store up to five nights of power.

ComEd partnered with Aris Wind to install the streetlights, which have also been installed at a few other sites in Chicago and New York. Costing $11,000 each, the lights aren’t designed to replace traditional streetlights. But one can see the usefulness of installing a few of these lights in otherwise-unlit places, and they can work during outages.

The lights also have USB outlets and are connected to the internet. ComEd hopes to get a sense of how they work longterm.

Oregon Oil Offshore No More

Both Sides Now

Renewable Energy Systems has commenced construction on the Southern Oak Solar Project in Georgia. The 160 MWac Invenergy-developed project will be America’s largest bifacial solar project — generating power from both sides of its solar panels — once completed.

All of Southern Oak’s solar energy output will be sold to Georgia Power through the company’s Renewable Energy Development Initiative program. Tim Jordan, Vice President of Construction at RES, said,

“This project offers a real opportunity to become the future of solar technology in the United States. Bifacial modules allow project owners to tackle land area constraints and make the most of resources without installing more plant infrastructure.”

RES expects the project to be up and running by the end of this year.

Climate Kicks

The UN’s Climate Neutral Now initiative invites “companies, organizations, governments and citizens to work towards climate neutrality by reducing their climate footprint” using a three-step method:

  • Measure their greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Reduce them as much as possible; and
  • Compensate those which cannot be avoided by using UN certified emission reductions (CERs).

Real Betis — a soccer club playing in Spain’s top league, La Liga — has joined the initiative, Environment News Service reports. It appears to be a first for a top-level soccer team to measure, reduce, and compensate for its emissions.

Club business director Ramón Alarcón noted that Spain is experiencing extreme heat and increasing water shortages. He said,

“Our plan is to develop a detailed inventory of our emissions and define more actions to be taken to reduce emissions. But we will not wait. We are already implementing easy to implement opportunities and we will become a channel for communicating the urgency and the opportunities for taking climate action, starting in-house with our players and staff.”

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