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EGEB: Mass. offshore wind, Ohio renewables lagging, Norway wind, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • Massachusetts sets a timeframe for a second offshore wind procurement.
  • Ohio trails other midwestern states in renewables.
  • Norway eyes new areas for onshore wind farms.
  • Duke Energy ordered to excavate coal ash in North Carolina.

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

Massachusetts has been an early leader in offshore wind in the U.S., though there have been a few concerns about a state law which may upend development moving forward.

Nevertheless, the state is pushing ahead with putting another offshore wind contract out to bid. The state’s Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and electric companies Eversource, National Grid, and Unitil have all filed documents for the procurement of 800 MW of offshore wind power, SouthCoastToday reports.

The entities wish to have a contract completed by the end of the year. Bids are to be submitted by August with projects selected in November.

SouthCoastToday notes the aforementioned law which could make things a bit tricky, but state officials acknowledge it as well, and they’re looking to “build some ‘flexibility’ into that process.”

Oh, Ohio

A blog post from the National Resources Defense Council takes a look at the Midwest’s “surge” in renewables. While noting the progress of other midwestern states, the NRDC points out that Ohio is “dead last” in the transition.

While Ohio is leading the region in carbon emissions reductions over the past 10 years, it’s coming from coal’s rapid decline…not a transition to renewables. Wind and solar generation have been relatively stagnant in the state.

Ohio is instead betting heavily on natural gas. The NRDC says “Ohio, its economy and its people, simply cannot afford to trade one all-in energy source (for the last century, coal) for another (natural gas).” The state’s laws have largely been hostile to renewables, which has created the current situation. There are also concerns that nuclear, not wind and solar, will play a larger role in the state going forward.

A growing reliance on natural gas isn’t an Ohio-only problem. Natural gas accounted for 45 percent of the rise in global energy consumption in 2018.

Norwegian Wind

Norwegian energy regulator NVE has identified 13 areas “most suitable” for new onshore wind development, Reuters reports.

While Norway has a total of 1.7 GW wind capacity currently, 1.8 GW of additional capacity is under construction. The 13 areas selected take up 16,705 square kilometers (6,449.84 square miles).

Most of the identified areas are in the southern region of the country. NVE noted that northern Norway was generally better suited for wind power — however, the north has limited network capacity “and large areas used by reindeer herders.”

Forward-thinking Norway is becoming known for its rapid electric vehicle adoption — more than 58% of new cars sold in the country in March were all-electric, and the capital of Oslo will build electric taxi wireless charging infrastructure into its roads in the future.

Duke of Coal

Duke Energy just proposed a $76 million initiative for EV charging in North Carolina, but the utility company will have to shell out a lot more than that to excavate coal ash from all of its power plant sites in the state.

The company was ordered to do so on Monday, the Associated Press reports. Six coal-burning plants in North Carolina are affected by the decision, following the previous ordered excavation of eight other plants.

“The science points us clearly to excavation as the only way to protect public health and the environment,” state Department of Environmental Quality Secretary Michael Regan said.

In 2014, Duke Energy estimated it could cost $7 billion to $10 billion and take up to 30 years to complete the work at 14 plants in the state. A sizable chunk of that money — up to $778 million out of the first $5 billion — can be passed onto ratepayers.

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