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EGEB: Mining giant moves to renewables, Conn. offshore hub, Duke Energy solar + wind, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • Rio Tinto will purchase renewable energy certificates, and close its coal power plant.
  • Agreement will make New London, Connecticut a regional hub for offshore wind.
  • Duke Energy is selling a portion of its solar and wind portfolio.

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

Mining giant Rio Tinto announced that it’s moving its Kennecott Utah Copper facility to renewable energy. The company will be reducing its carbon footprint by as much as 65 percent through the purchase of Green-e Energy certified renewable energy certificates. Rio Tinto is also permanently shutting its coal plant.

Kennecott’s renewable energy certificates will come from Rocky Mountain Power, which primarily sources the certificates from a portfolio that includes Wyoming wind power. Rio Tinto chief executive Jean-Sebastian Jacques said,

“Rio Tinto is committed to playing a part in the transition to a low-carbon economy. This move will significantly reduce emissions associated with our operations in Kennecott and allow us to offer customers copper, gold and silver with a reduced carbon footprint. The materials we produce, from infinitely recyclable aluminium and copper used in electrification to borates used in energy-efficient building materials and our higher grade iron ore product, all play a part in this transition to a low-carbon economy. Rio Tinto will continue to work with partners and customers to develop new sustainable solutions.”

In semi-related news, the US is looking to expand production of domestic mining for electric vehicle materials.

New Hub?

There’s been plenty of talk recently about Connecticut’s place in the burgeoning US offshore wind industry, and that includes the city of New London. That talk turned congratulatory on Thursday, as officials announced a development agreement to upgrade the city’s State Pier facility to assist in offshore wind development.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced the $93 million private-public partnership between Connecticut Port Authority, pier operator Gateway, and Bay State Wind — the last of which is a joint venture between Ørsted and Eversource. According to The Day, Lamont said,

“Connecticut’s maritime economy has significant potential to drive economic growth and create jobs across the state, and redeveloping State Pier is a central component to that growth. This new public-private partnership reaffirms the unwavering commitment of the state to increase procurement of offshore wind and make the economic expansion of our maritime economy a reality.”

State Pier will receive an infrastructure upgrade, and the heavy-lifting capacity necessary to support offshore wind turbine parts.

Wind Turbine Rescue

A fire training exercise in the UK made use of a wind turbine:

Duke Again, Naturally

Duke Energy was just named “Public Energy Enemy No. 1” by the Environmental Working Group, and now the utility is right back in the news for a renewables deal.

Duke Energy is selling a minority interest of a portion of its commercial renewable portfolio to the John Hancock Infrastructure Fund, North American Windpower reports. The sale includes 49% of 37 operating wind, solar and battery storage assets and 33% of 11 operating solar assets.

According to NA Windpower, the sale will earn Duke Energy pre-tax proceeds of $415 million, pending regulatory approvals.

The company said it’s still committed to its commercial renewable energy business, but at a glance, the timing here — following the EWG report which accused Duke Energy of having “puny” investments in wind and solar — could not be much worse.

And then there’s this:

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