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EGEB: NJ to get biggest offshore wind farm, solar farm’s ‘avian incident,’ carbon-free UK power

In today’s EGEB:

  • New Jersey regulators give the go-ahead for the largest offshore wind farm in the US.
  • An “avian incident” took out most of a California solar farm’s generating capacity.
  • Carbon-free sources will generate more electricity than fossil fuels in the UK this year.
  • A look at what’s needed to meet New York’s future solar needs.

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

It appears as if New Jersey will be the future home to the largest offshore wind farm in the US, after regulators awarded offshore wind mega developer Ørsted and Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG) the rights to an area off the Atlantic City coast for the 1.1 GW Ocean Wind project.

The regulating board, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU), said the project should power 500,000 New Jersey homes, generate $1.17 billion in economic benefits, and create 15,000 jobs during its development. The state is targeting 3.5 GW of offshore wind by 2030 as it strives for 100% clean energy by 2050.

NJBPU listed the main reasons it picked Ørsted’s project, including:

  • Ørsted’s Ocean Wind economic development plans were the most detailed and offered the most benefit to New Jersey. Its 1,100 MW facility is estimated to result in net economic benefits of $1.17 billion to the state. Ocean Wind also provided the strongest economic guarantees to ensure local content, including manufacturing.
  • While all of the proposed projects would help New Jersey reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Ocean Wind’s environmental protection plan, including mitigation of environmental impacts, was most complete and most advanced; the developer’s experience in this arena further distinguished its application.
  • Ørsted provides the best chance of successful development due to its depth of knowledge, as well as global and regional experience and advanced stage of planning.

An Avian Incident

A recent “avian incident” took out 84% of the California Valley Solar Ranch’s generating capacity, according to Bloomberg. The 250 MW farm is expected to return to full service by July 1.

The incident, which sparked a fire on June 5, didn’t involve a Hitchockian bird attack on an array of solar panels. In fact, no solar panels were damaged at all, but a regulatory filing noted distribution poles and cables need to be replaced.

There were no other details on how this incident actually occurred. Perhaps only the birds know.

Leaving Fossils Behind

For the first time, carbon-free energy sources are set to provide more electricity than fossil fuels in the UK this year, according to National Grid.

Through May of this year, wind, solar, hydro, and nuclear have made up 47.9% of the UK’s generated electricity, with fossil fuels — coal and gas — making up 46.6%. (National Grid does not include biomass contributions, saying it is “neither zero carbon nor fossil fuel.”)

The utility feels confident enough to proclaim that this trend will continue throughout 2019, with carbon-free sources remaining at the top when the calendar reaches 2020. National Grid CEO John Pettigrew said,

The incredible progress that Britain has made in the past ten years means we can now say 2019 will be the year zero carbon power beats fossil fuel fired generation for the first time. Having reached this landmark tipping point, the question is what are we doing today to get to net zero as quickly as possible?

The UK recently became the first major economy in the world to set a net zero emissions target for 2050.

Empire Solar

New York also recently set a net zero emissions target for 2050, and pv magazine takes a look at how the state plans on meeting its earlier 70% renewable electricity generation goal by 2030, ultimately estimating the state will need an extra 23 GW of solar power beyond current solicitations and requirements.

This number will be bolstered by wind — including offshore wind, which the state is pursuing with fervor — but solar is expected to do most of the heavy lifting. An estimate like that means we should be seeing a lot more solar announcements coming out of New York State — and soon.

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