Environment America helps the US go solar
As one of the largest energy markets in the world, the US has potential to lead the renewable revolution and Environment America is helping it happen.
Unveiling its ‘10 ways your community can go solar’ campaign, the organisation has outlined some achievable steps that communities, businesses, towns and cities can adopt to make their home more eco-friendly:
In line with similar corporate aims to achieve net-zero carbon by 2030 or 2050, cities should also establish ambitious targets.
Powering public buildings with solar energy.
Overhauling permitting and legislation to make infrastructural changes easier.
Incorporating solar panels into the design of new houses/buildings.
Organise local financing options and incentives for sustainable infrastructure.
Purchase solar panels in bulk, therefore lowering the cost.
Foster a community spirit to develop solar projects.
Encourage local authorities to work closely with utility companies.
Establish municipal utilities or community choice aggregation (CCA).
Support state-level policies that aim to develop solar power.
Powering America from East to West
Although the US has seen a general upsurge in solar power adoption, Environment America’s scheme will be useful to even out the disparate commitment across the country.
A study by the Solar Energy Industries Association underscores the inconsistency: California - the leading state for solar power - has a capacity of 26,232MW, whilst North Carolina - the second-largest - has a much smaller output of 5,662MW (almost 80% less).
“Solar energy is clean, abundant, close to home and more affordable than ever. It should be a no-brainer for communities to go solar,” said Ben Sonnega, an associate with Environment America.
“American cities are already forging ahead with tried and true policies that quickly bring the benefits of solar. We want to help other cities learn from those examples and continue propelling the transition to renewable energy.”
So far, the US cities leading the way in solar power installations in 2020 are Los Angeles, Calfornia (215MW), San Diego, California (189MW) and Phoenix, Arizona (147MW).
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.