New York executes America’s largest offshore wind agreement
New York State will soon be getting enough offshore wind capacity to power one million homes, after State Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday awarded two major offshore wind contracts.
The winning bidders to develop the sites off Long Island were Norwegian energy firm Equinor and Sunrise Wind, a joint venture between Orsted and Eversource.
Together the two schemes will add 1,700MW of green energy capacity to New York State’s grid. The contracts are also expected to kickstart the growth of the offshore wind industry in the US, which has so far lagged behind European markets.
The news cames as Cuomo also signed into law New York’s legal target for net zero emissions by 2050. “Cries for a new green movement are hollow political rhetoric if not combined with aggressive goals and a realistic plan on how to achieve them,” he said in a statement. “With this agreement, New York will lead the way in developing the largest source of offshore wind power in the nation, and today I will sign the most aggressive climate law in the United States of America. Today we are true to the New York legacy – to lead the way forward, to govern with vision and intelligence, to set a new standard, and to match our words with action.”
Two million without water in Zimbabwe
Catastrophic drought conditions continue to grip Zimbabwe, with two million residents in Harare and Bulawayo only able to access water once a week.
The drought has been exacerbated by the lack of funding to buy essential water purifying chemicals, which cost more than $3m a month for the country.
Water use restrictions have been in place for weeks, and as they drag on there are rising fears of cholera outbreaks and other santitation issues.
China’s GHG emissions up 50 per cent between 2005 and 2014
Official Chinese government data released this week to the UN reveals China’s greenhouse gas emissions hit 12.3 billion tonnes in 2014, up more than 50 per cent in just a decade.
It is only the third such release of emissions data the Chinese government has made to the UN, with previous inventories submitted for 2005 and 2010.
Analysis of other government data, however, suggests that since 2014 emissions were static for a couple of years before starting to grow again between 2017 and 2018, mainly due to a spike in activity from coal power plants and heavy industry.
Under the Paris Agreement China has promised to peak its emissions by 2030, but has indicated it will tighten its ambition in time for the treaty’s entry into force next year.
WWF: Orangutan numbers fall 30 per cent in palm oil regions
Orangutan numbers have fallen as much as 30 per cent in parts of Malaysian forests scattered between palm oil plantations, WWF said this week.
Although overall orangutan numbers in Malaysia’s eastern state Sabah are stable, in parts of the region where palm oil is grown numbers fell up to 30 per cent between 2002 and 2017, the charity said. “The monoculture nature of oil palm plantations means that they tend not to support species that are dependent on forest environment like the orangutan,” it explained.
Malaysia is one of the world’s largest producers of palm oil, which is used in countless consumer products, from food to shampoo and candles.
It is one of the most productive oil crops, so some experts argue boycotting it would simply mean more land would be commandeered for new plantations of other crops. But others insist tough action must be taken on the palm oil industry to prevent more rainforest habitat being destroyed to keep pace with rising demand.
National Grid buys US renewables developer
National Grid has completed its purchase of US wind and solar developer Geronimo Energy for $100m, it announced this week.
The deal, completed by its non-regulated competitive arm National Grid Ventures (NGV), sees the firm take control of Geronimo’s 2,200MW portfolio of wind and solar energy projects in America.
NGV said it has also entered into a joint venture with Washington State Investment Board, which has acquired 379MW of Geronimo’s portfolio.
“Today’s announcement underscores National Grid’s commitment to the decarbonisation of our energy system,” said Badar Khan, president of National Grid Ventures. “We believe in the long-term growth potential of renewable generation, driven by consumer demand and technological advances.”
From 2020 all new houses in Berkeley, CA, must be all-electric
The city council of Berkeley in California this week passed a new law requiring all new-build buildings to be all-electric from January 2020.
It means that from next year no new gas connections will be made in the city, which boasts a population of around 120,000 people.
The move garnered broad support from residents and building designers, and according to some reports, was even backed by Pacific Gas & Electric, which said the company does not want to install new gas infrastructure only for it to become a ‘stranded asset’ in the future.
The city is also thought to be working on a plan to end fossil fuel supply to Berkeley’s existing housing stock.
Saipem eyes floating offshore wind farm in Saudi Arabia
Italian energy contractor Saipem has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Abu Dhabi-based Plambeck Emirates to develop a floating offshore windfarm in Saudi waters.
The plan is to develop a 500MW floating wind farm as part of Saudi Arabia’s 5GW ‘wind market’ concept, Plambeck Emirates said. No timeline for the scheme was released.