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EGEB: Puerto Rico 100% renewables by 2050, $130M for solar research, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • Puerto Rico sets goal for 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
  • The Department of Energy announces $130 million in funding for a solar research project.
  • The Environmental Working Group sees a path to 100 percent renewable energy in the U.S.

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

U.S. territory Puerto Rico will soon join a number of states in setting a clean energy goal for its future, as its legislature passed the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act (via Forbes). The act sets a 100 percent renewable energy goal for Puerto Rico by 2050.

The bill passed the Puerto Rican Senate 21 to 4, and now awaits the signature of Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. As his tweet illustrates, Gov. Rosselló intends to sign the bill into law:

The bill also calls for banning all coal plants on the island by 2028, creates incremental milestones on the way to 100 percent renewable energy, and establishes a number of solar-friendly policies, as well.

A stronger focus on resilient, renewable energy has been a well-known goal of Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017. Puerto Rico joins Hawaii and Washington D.C. as U.S. states/territories setting a firm future goal for 100 percent renewable energy. California and New Mexico have established carbon-free electricity goals.

Dutch Divestment

DOE Solar Money

The U.S. Department of Energy announced $130 million in funding for early state solar research. The DOE’s new funding focuses on “photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar-thermal power (CSP), soft costs reduction, innovations in manufacturing, and solar systems integration. These projects will make solar energy more affordable, reliable, and secure, while working to boost domestic solar manufacturing, reduce red tape, and make PV more resilient to cyberattack.”

A breakdown of the funding allocations:

  1. PV Research and Development ($26 million, ~12-18 projects)
  2. Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power Research and Development ($33 million, ~7-18 projects)
  3. Balance of Systems Soft Costs Reduction ($17 million, ~15-21 projects)
  4. Innovations in Manufacturing: Hardware Incubator ($10 million, ~10-12 projects)
  5. Advanced Solar Systems Integration Technologies ($44 million, ~10-15 projects)

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said solar is a key part of the DOE’s “all-of-the-above” energy strategy. Perry has said he’s open to discussing the Green New Deal. He also recently said nuclear energy is “the real Green New Deal,” according to numerous reports.

Droning About Turbines

EWG Eyes 100%

Before Tuesday’s Green New Deal vote, the Environmental Working Group called the legislation “visionary,” and noted that a U.S. electricity grid powered completely by renewable energy “is right in front of us and can be achieved if Congress commits to investing in clean energy production and storage.” EWG president Ken Cook said,

“To treat the climate crisis like a crisis, we must do everything we possibly can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. That means dramatically accelerating the production of renewable energy. The good news is that the share of electricity from renewables has doubled in just a decade and continues to grow at a remarkable rate.”

The EWG says solar and wind energy potential in the U.S. is 14 times current electric power capacity, and that renewable energy investments are necessary. The group also cited a number of other growth statistics in wind and solar. Cook said,

“We must increase renewable energy investments, expand efficiency standards and create a level playing field. Instead, Republican leaders in Washington and in some state legislatures are working to cut funding for renewable energy, rolling back energy efficiency standards, placing new barriers before residential solar and bailing out dirty, inefficient sources of energy like coal. Meanwhile too many electric utility companies continue to fight the rise of renewable, distributed, community-based electricity because it threatens their top-down, centralized control of the grid.”

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