Morning Brief: Duke alleged to violate state law by building gas capacity without approval

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General Electric is selling its investment in 11 of its startups to 40 North Ventures, an early to growth-stage VC fund. As of March 2019, GE has $110 billion in debt and just reported a quarterly loss of $2 billion, with a 24% year-on-year decrease in revenue. The energy-related startups include Proterra, Volta and Enbala. Source: Inside Venture Capital

Polar Racking has supplied ground mount racking for the Fort Chipewyan Solar Farm, projected to be the largest off-grid solar farm in Canada once completed. Polar Racking’s ground mount racking will be used for 5,760 solar modules (2,200 kW) in the project. Polar Racking is experienced in supplying racking systems for challenging weather situations like those found in Fort Chipewyan, a northern Albertan First Nations community. Owned equally by the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Mikisew Cree First Nation, and the Métis Local 125, the solar farm is an example of how indigenous communities and Canadian businesses can partner to create energy security, cleaner air, and long-term revenue to reinvest in our communities. Source: Polar Racking

Climate-justice groups filed a legal petition with the North Carolina Utilities Commission today asserting that Duke Energy — one of the top polluting U.S. utilities — is violating state law by quietly building large amounts of inefficient gas-burning capacity without commission approval. Duke Energy has 24 more efficient gas units sitting idle, but is building new gas capacity at many of its coal-burning plants. The utility is seeking $278 million, plus a roughly 10% profit from ratepayers, for some of the gas expansions in an ongoing rate case. Jim Warren, executive director of NC WARN: “Duke ranks annually among the top U.S. carbon dioxide emitters, and its plan to build 60 fracked-gas power plants adds to its notoriety by expanding the emissions of unburned methane and locking in fossil fuels.” The utility is adding the gas power even as 24 nearby and more efficient Duke gas units went entirely unused last year. Source: Appalachian Voices

Power lines key to New Mexico becoming a renewable leader: The New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (NM RETA) released findings from a study that concluded there are more than enough renewable energy resources for development in New Mexico to meet the Energy Transition Act’s requirement of 50% renewable electricity for utilities and rural electric cooperatives by 2030. Strategic expansion of power line networks is needed to tap into the extensive wind and solar resources available for development. The study indicates that there is an opportunity for up to $11 billion in private investment in New Mexico’s renewable energy and transmission infrastructure. The study demonstrated 11,500 MW of development would be possible. The report is available at: New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority