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EGEB: Georgia Republicans increase solar, unconventional battery storage, NY offshore wind contracts

In today’s EGEB:

  • Five Georgia regulators, all Republicans, call for more solar — and to shut down coal.
  • A porous, recyclable silicon battery said to offer more energy density, longer life, for half the price of lithium.
  • New York awards offshore wind contracts to Equinor, Orsted.
  • Hawaiian Electric looks to build more than 900 new megawatts of solar generation.

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

The Georgia Public Service Commission, made up of five Republicans, has unanimously directed Georgia Power to add 2.2 gigawatts of solar power by 2024. The move will be the utility’s largest increase in renewables, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

“It’s one of the cleanest and cheapest generation [sources] we can have,” PSC chairman Lauren “Bubba” McDonald told the AJC. Another commission member spoke out about the need to take advantage of federal tax credits for solar while the state still can:

I do not believe Congress and the president will reinstate this credit. So Georgia needed to take advantage of the low prices while available.

As solar is on the rise, coal is on the way out. The commission agreed with Georgia Power on shutting down five coal-burning units. Again, the new Affordable Clean Energy rule from Trump’s EPA isn’t saving coal plants — no matter the political party of local officials.

Unconventional battery

A Canadian company is taking a porous silicon battery to market, with claims that the storage option will offer “four times the energy density and four times the lifetime of lithium-ion batteries… and will be available for half the price,” according to IEEE Spectrum.

Christine Hallquist, a former Democratic nominee for governor in Vermont, started Cross Border Power after her loss last November. The company recently received the rights to sell and distribute the battery made by Washington state’s XNRGI, which uploaded a video explaining its battery last year:

The battery banks will be able to fit in typical computer server racks. Hallquist extols the battery’s virtues throughout the article, including the recyclability of the cells:

At the end of the life of this product, you bring the wafers back in, you clean the wafer off, you reclaim the lithium and other materials. And it’s essentially brand new. So we’re 100% recyclable.

Offshore wins

Governor Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) announced two major offshore wind contracts on Thursday, both of them going to major developers. From Cuomo’s remarks:

The first is the Sunrise Wind project in an offshore area 30 miles east of Long Island. It will be developed by Ørsted, a Danish company, and Eversource. It will provide 880 megawatts feeding Long Island.

The second is the Empire Wind project, located 14 miles Southeast of Manhattan, which will be developed by Equinor, a Norwegian company. It will develop 816 megawatts and feed New York City.

The nearly 1700 MW of capacity will be able to power 1 million New York homes, Cuomo said. Both projects are expected to be complete by 2024.

As expected, states beyond New England are now moving forward with offshore wind — New Jersey announced a 1.1 GW project to Ørsted just last month.

Hawaiian solar push

Hawaii is aiming for 100% renewable energy by 2045, and state utility Hawaiian Electric keeps setting new goals in service of that target.

Earlier this year, the utility announced plans for 1 GWh of storage in six new solar + storage projects, and later announced new storage goals for 2022.

Now, Hawaiian Electric is opening bids for its second phase of renewable energy procurement, as detailed by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Two large fossil fuel plants are set to close in the next five years, and the utility is looking to fill in the gaps with solar:

Estimated targets of new renewable generation of various technologies are the equivalent of 594 megawatts of solar for Oahu; 135 MW for Maui, and 32 to 203 MW for Hawaii island, depending on whether other renewable energy projects become available.

Additional proposals for other islands will be determined at a later date this summer.

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