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EGEB: Solar developers stockpile panels, ‘satanic’ wind turbines, renewables on public land, more

In today’s EGEB:

  • Solar developers are stockpiling panels ahead of the tax credit phaseout.
  • A former Australian prime minister calls wind turbines “satanic.”
  • A bill to increase renewables on public lands in the US.
  • A look at a cost-effective zero energy home.

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

The biggest US solar developers are working to stockpile panels as they race to make purchases before the 30% federal tax credit starts to phase out. As Reuters reports, it’s a strategy that “could backfire if projects do not materialize or panel prices slide substantially.”

A number of major developers such as 8minute Solar Energy and Duke Energy are trying to get the full subsidy for projects that must either start construction or spend 5% of capital costs by the end of the year. Wood Mackenzie estimates developers will “safe harbor” about 31.2 gigawatts of installations — $30 billion worth of investment.

While developers seem aware of the risks, they seem to believe it’s worth it. On one hand, it’s not like solar development is slowing — it’s doing the opposite. But technology upgrades in the industry may be the biggest threat of all to those who wish to hoard.

Spinning for Satan?

Noted wind turbine critic and former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called turbines “dark satanic mills of the modern era” during a recent radio appearance.

Abbott was comforted by a recent pledge to keep the country’s coal-fired plants open, according to The Guardian. “And Thank God,” he said. “Because the last thing we want is what I regard as the dark satanic mills of the modern era spoiling our landscape.”

To which the host replied, “Absolutely.” Sounds like a real meeting of the minds.

Publicly Renewable

A new bill in Congress with bipartisan support looks to “promote the development of renewable energy on public lands.” The NRDC breaks down the provisions of the Public Land Renewable Energy Development Act of 2019, which includes a number of key provisions dealing with renewables:

  • An ambitious renewable energy production goal for the Department of the Interior to permit a total of 25 gigawatts of renewable energy on public lands by 2025—nearly double the current generating capacity of projects currently on our public lands.
  • Establishment of criteria for identifying appropriate areas for renewable energy development using the 2012 Western Solar Plan as a model. Key criteria to be considered include access to transmission lines and likelihood of avoiding or minimizing conflict with wildlife habitat, cultural resources, and other resources and values.
  • Sharing of revenues raised from renewable energy development on public lands in an equitable manner that benefits local communities near new renewable energy projects and supports the efficient administration of permitting requirements.
  • Creating incentives for renewable energy development by giving Interior the authority to reduce rental rates and capacity fees to ensure new renewable energy development remains competitive in the marketplace.

Increasing renewable capacity on public land seems like a no-brainer, as long as the installations won’t upset wildlife habitats and threaten ecosystems.

Normal To Zero

Yale Climate Connections has a look at a zero energy home in Connecticut, meaning more energy is produced than used by the home. The house has solar panels and is well-insulated, and it reaches its goals without breaking the bank.

It’s owned by Paul Torcellini, an engineer at the National Renewable Energy Lab. It’s a conventionally-sized home with no extreme measures — it only seems proper design and the desire to get it done are needed. As Torcellini said,

“You know, we’re like, we can do this with a family. We can do this taking five showers or baths a day, and all the laundry that goes with it, and four chest freezers so we can grow and store our own food.”

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