EGEB: US energy efficiency standards at risk, South Australia’s 100% goal, Pa. solar, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • US energy efficiency standards have reached a state of uncertainty due to the DOE.
  • South Australia plans to be “net” 100% renewables by 2030.
  • A study shows how much Pennsylvania has to gain from solar.
  • Maryland gets a tall meteorological tower before its offshore wind farm.

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

US electricity demand has stagnated in recent years due to a number of energy efficiency gains through building codes, more efficient appliances, and LED lightbulbs. As E&E News writes, “If wind turbines and solar panels are the celebrities of the clean energy revolution, then energy efficiency is its workhorse.”

That workhouse has decreased carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, with shrinking electricity demand responsible for 654 million tons of cut carbon from 2005 to 2017 — compared to just 316 million tons cut by renewables.

But the Department of Energy has missed a deadline for reviewing 17 product standards, according to the Appliance Standards Awareness Project, which posted its concerns about the new DOE rule that could allow individual manufacturers to “secretly opt out of testing requirements.”

The whole situation seems tenuous at the moment. It appears we could see the same thing we’ve seen in other areas under the Trump administration, as in the case of the upcoming fuel economy rollback. R. Neal Elliott, senior director of research at the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy, told E&E News:

“One of the big foundations of our climate response have been these standards over the last 35 years. And what is now at risk is the continuing [of] that virtuous cycle of modernizing those standards.”

Nothing But ‘Net’

The state of South Australia expects to hit “net” 100% renewables by 2030, as per South Australia energy and mining minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan who said,

“Our aim won’t be 100% renewable generation, but actually net 100% renewables with a sensible level of gas generation and a greater amount of renewable energy export interstate.”

Renew Economy has more details on the bold claim, which assumes an acceleration of the clean energy transition under a federal government that isn’t exactly gung-ho about it. The state expects to export a surplus of renewable energy.

South Australia has already left coal behind, and the article details a number of new renewable energy projects in the state, storage included.

Pennsylvania Solar

A new study commissioned by Pennsylvania-based renewable energy company Community Energy claims that transitioning just 10% of the state’s electric generation to solar would “decrease the state’s wholesale electric costs by $619 million annually, while costing less than half that amount to make the transition, and would lower wholesale electric prices across the multi-state utility power grid, PJM Interconnection, by $3 billion annually.”

The transition would also create more than 65,000 jobs. E2’s new Clean Jobs report for Pennsylvania in 2019 says there are already more than 90,000 clean energy jobs in the state.

Despite all of this, Pennsylvania is far from a leader in renewables, solar included. SEIA says the state is now up to 22nd in solar installations, but it’s the fifth-most populous state in the nation. Only 0.24% of the state’s electricity comes from solar, and while it’s not the best state for solar potential, 10% seems like a reasonable goal — though it’s far off.

Meteorological in Maryland

A meteorological tower more than 300 feet tall will be installed off the coast of Ocean City, Maryland next month, The Dispatch reports. The tower will collect wind data before up to 32 offshore wind turbines are installed in the area.

US Wind must expect to start construction on the wind farm shortly after those results come in, as the developer claims the 250 MW project will come online early next year. The wind farm will be able to power more than 76,000 Maryland homes.

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