Morning Brief: What the heroin industry can teach us about solar power, plus Illinois community solar


What the heroin industry can teach us about solar power:  If you have ever doubted whether solar power can be a transformative technology, read on. This is a story about how it has proved its worth in the toughest environment possible. The market I’m talking about is perhaps the purest example of capitalism on the planet. There are no subsidies here. Nobody is thinking about climate change – or any other ethical consideration, for that matter. This is about small-scale entrepreneurs trying to make a profit. It is the story of how Afghan opium growers have switched to solar power, and significantly increased the world supply of heroin. Source: BBC News

First downstate project through Illinois community solar program underway: The first community solar project in downstate Illinois facilitated by the state’s 2017 Future Energy Jobs Act is now being built, showing both the potential of the wildly popular program and the challenges of implementing it. Washington D.C.-based Summit Ridge Energy won the rights to sell renewable energy credits for 18 projects in downstate Ameren utility territory and 23 in ComEd’s territory in northern Illinois. So far it’s signed up 8,479 customers to participate in the community solar installations — just over half the subscribers it needs to be fully subscribed. Once all the projects are constructed, subscribers will see collective savings of about $750,000 a year, according to the company. The company’s total investment will be about $300 million, adding almost 100 megawatts of capacity to the grid, and employing over 1,200 people during construction, Summit Ridge says. Source: Energy News Network

Joe Biden’s $2 trillion plan to eliminate all greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. electricity grid within 15 years has been applauded by climate campaigners, but the enormous overhaul will have to pick its way through a minefield of community as well as lobbyist opposition. A Biden presidency would aim to spur tens of thousands of new wind turbines and millions of new solar panels across the US to rapidly scale up zero-carbon energy. Should Biden defeat Donald Trump in the November’s presidential election, however, the sheer scale of the energy transformation risks a backlash from communities unhappy with the nearby placement of new solar and wind infrastructure. Keith said. “You should tilt the energy system towards low land footprints, which means focusing on solar, nuclear and carbon capture and storage, with wind at the margins.” Source: The Guardian

APS details cause of battery fire and explosion, proposes safety fixes: Utility Arizona Public Service has completed its study of the most high-profile U.S. grid battery fire. The company filed its report Monday with the Arizona Corporation Commission, which regulates the utility. The report, produced in collaboration with DNV GL, lays out new safety requirements to prevent dangerous failures at current and future battery installations. APS planned to massively increase its battery fleet to store solar power for use in the evenings, but put the buildout on hold after the setback last spring. A lithium-ion battery container near Phoenix caught fire in April 2019, and after first responders opened the door, it exploded, sending several of them to the hospital. Source: Greentech Media


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