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EGEB: Wisconsin utility solar a go, towering Texas turbines, Puerto Rico renewables, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • Wisconsin gives the go-ahead for the state’s first utility-scale solar farms.
  • Extremely tall wind turbines are going up in Texas.
  • Puerto Rico makes its 100% renewable energy commitment official.
  • China prioritizes subsidy-free renewable projects.
  • Which state had the most wind power growth last year?

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

Wisconsin’s utility regulation board approved the state’s first utility-scale solar projects last week, the Wisconsin State Journal reports.

The approval opens up two projects totaling nearly $390 million — the 300 MW Badger Hollow project and the 150 MW Two Creeks project. These two projects alone are said to quintuple Wisconsin’s current solar capacity.

The farms are expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 105,000 homes. Tyler Huebner, executive director of renewable energy advocacy group Renew Wisconsin said,

“It is a landmark day for solar energy in Wisconsin. With solar energy, we will produce homegrown, healthy energy right here in Wisconsin for years to come, and provide substantial economic benefits to the landowners and local governments who will host these projects.”

Wisconsin’s solar projects would be the biggest in the Midwest, which has thus far been a much stronger region for wind energy. The state has discussed setting a goal of 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050.

Tall in Texas

Some of the tallest wind turbines in the US are going up in southern Texas, Bloomberg reports. Duke Energy is installing 590-foot (180-meter) windmills from Vestas near Laredo, which would make them among the tallest onshore wind turbines in the country, if not the tallest.

Each turbine has a 3.6 MW capacity, and the project will total 200 MW, generating enough electricity to power 60,000 homes.

But lest you thought that everything was…taller in Texas, GE is working on its Haliade-X, which will stand 853 feet (260 meters) tall.

Puerto Rico Renewed

Puerto Rico’s legislature passed the Puerto Rico Energy Public Policy Act a few weeks ago, and as expected, Gov. Ricardo Rosselló made it official with his signature last week. The act makes it law for the American island territory to commit to 100% renewable energy by 2050.

Puerto Rico aims to get 40% of its power from renewables by 2025, and it will stop all coal plant use by 2028. The territory now stands alongside Hawaii and Washington D.C. as US states/territories with a future commitment to 100 percent renewable energy.

China Subsidies

China will now prioritize wind and solar projects that don’t need subsidies, Reuters reports. The country will also cap new subsizided capacity, as it attempts to ease a backlog of subsidy payments.

Last year, China said it would make sure wind and solar could keep pace with coal in price. But manufacturing costs have dropped, leading to subsidy cuts. A draft plan from China’s National Energy Administration said,

“Projects that require government subsidy will have to compete with each other on prices … Government payment will prioritize the projects that are expected to become subsidy-free in the near term.”

China is the world’s leading market in both solar and wind capacity, but the nation still needs to do much more to curb its coal emissions.

Plains Wind

In case you’re not up on your state — or college sports — nicknames, Nebraska is the answer. The state now has 1972 MW of installed capacity, according to The American Wind Energy Association. But it’s still got work to do to catch up to fellow Great Plains states when it comes to a percentage of electricity generated from wind energy.

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