Morning Brief: Amazon replaces Google as world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy

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Amazon said it has become the world’s largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy after signing agreements to purchase energy from 26 wind and solar projects around the world.“We are on a path to running 100% of our business on renewable energy by 2025 — five years ahead of our original target of 2030,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said. Google had previously been the largest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, claiming that title in 2019. Amazon’s new projects will have the capacity to produce 3.4 GW of electricity. Source: The Seattle Times

Kern County California moving towards solar as alternative to petroleum: Eastern Kern’s wind energy industry pays property taxes and has a significant work force. Originally based in Eastern Kern, the solar industry is expanding to West Kern, in some cases supporting oil production operations. A report to county supervisors by County Planning Director Lorelei Oviatt seeks changes in state laws exempting solar power operations from county property taxes. The industry was exempted in an effort to stimulate the growth of renewable energy. That exemption has been extended and may be extended again, according to Oviatt’s report. The solar industry, which supports few employees after installation is completed, contributes $1.5 million to the county treasury annually. The county’s solar concerns are driven in large part by Gov. Gavin Newsom’s continuing attacks on Kern’s petroleum industry. Source: Antelope Valley Press

Longroad Energy plans $128 million solar farm north of Houston: Boston-based Longroad Energy Partners LLC is looking to take tax incentives for a solar project north of Houston. Longroad is looking to build a 150 MW solar power farm, called Umbriel Solar, in Polk County. Umbrial Solar would cost $128 million to build, with construction starting in the first quarter of 2022, assuming the project moves forward as described in its tax incentive application. Commercial operations would begin in the second quarter of 2023. The whole project would create just one new permanent job — paid at least $48,000 a year — but the build period would create 150 construction jobs in 2022 and 2023. Because of the way the Texas school funding formula works, school districts are generally reimbursed by the state for revenue lost under the Chapter 313 incentives at the expense of broader state education funding. In fact, an individual school district can sometimes make more money by abating taxes on a project, even if the project would have been built otherwise. Source: Houston Business Journal

Battery material breakthrough of the day: A new battery material design relying on more nickel could lead to electric vehicle power systems that are cheaper and offer greater range. The new design, developed by researchers at the Energy Department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory improves on current lithium-ion batteries through the use of a single crystal, nickel-rich cathode. The researchers estimate that the single-crystal, nickel-rich cathode packs at least 25% more energy than the lithium-ion batteries used in today’s electric vehicles. The findings were published on Friday in the journal Science. Battery researcher Jie Xiao said it’ll likely take around five years for the tech to come to market. Source: Axios

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