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EGEB: South Dakota cement plant adopts wind power

In today’s Electrek Green Energy Brief (EGEB):

  • South Dakota’s Rapid City cement plant is adopting wind power.
  • The US economy lost nearly 600,000 clean energy jobs in March and April.
  • Poland, which is still heavily dependent on coal, added 236MW of solar in March and April.

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

Cement plant adopts wind power

GCC’s Rapid City cement plant in South Dakota is switching to 50% wind energy that will power the plant for the next 15 years and cut carbon dioxide emissions.

According to the Capital Journal, company officials say they are independently forging ahead with the clean energy, as they can’t wait for Democrats to push through the Green New Deal.

Black Hills Energy will build a wind farm in 2020 for the Rapid City plant. They expect this will reduce emissions by around 50,000 metric tons per year — the equivalent of taking 11,000 cars off the road annually.

Ron Henley, GCC US division president, said:

By choosing low-cost renewable energy resources to power our business, we’re able to advance our business goals and sustainability objectives while also supporting the expansion of affordable, renewable energy development in the region.

Clean energy is good for the planet and good for our company.

COVID-19 hits clean energy jobs

The green energy sector has lost nearly 600,000 jobs in March and April, according to a report by BW Research Partnership. That’s 17% of the sector’s workforce. This is, of course, a result of stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic, which halts both production and residential and commercial installation.

BW Research expects 850,000 job losses by the end of June. That’s about 25% of all clean energy jobs.

The nearly 600,000 jobs lost to date is more than double the number the sector has created since 2017, the report said, so it’s a big blow.

However, it’s not hopeless. (For example, just look at Poland above, and the fact that the US’ largest solar farm has just been approved.)

Ravi Manghani, global head of solar at Wood Mackenzie, a research and consulting company based in the UK, said of the sector’s outlook:

It might lose the edge a teeny bit, but for the most part it’s still going to be an economically viable proposition.

Poland’s solar grows

Poland, which is still heavily dependent on coal, added 236 MW of solar in March and April. That means the country’s total solar capacity rose 8.1% in two months.

The Polish grid operator Polskie Sieci Elektroenergetyczne (PSE) says the country reached 1.83 GW of solar installations in April.

PV World reports:

The grid operator had reported 1.29GW of solar in Poland at the end of the year, up from around 1GW in late September, and from just 486MW at the end of 2018.

Last year’s strong growth was mainly driven by incentives for rooftop PV and the extension of net metering access to businesses. The Polish government commissions commercial and industrial PV and large-scale solar through renewable energy auctions.

According to the International Energy Agency, coal dominates Poland’s power sector, and it is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions and a major employer. The country is not on track to meet the Paris Accord targets:

According to the draft Energy Policy of Poland to 2040, the share of coal and lignite in electricity generation will be reduced from just under 80% in 2017 to 60% by 2030.

Photo: Rapid City Journal

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Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at Check out her personal blog.