Sunrise brief: 3x acceleration in pace of carbon cuts needed to hit Biden climate goals, EPRI says


A 3x acceleration in carbon dioxide reductions from the energy sector. That’s what the Electric Power Research Institute said will be needed to meet the Biden administration’s Earth Day pledge to cut U.S. economy-wide carbon emissions to around 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.

EPRI said the goal amounts to a 2 gigaton (Gt) drop in annual, energy-related U.S. carbon dioxide emissions by 2030. That is triple the rate achieved from 2005 to 2020 when annual emissions fell by 1 Gt.

EPRI said that other sectors of the economy, notably transportation, buildings and industry, could largely reduce carbon emissions through electrification. That means the power sector will play a “crucial role in achieving the administration’s 2030 economy-wide goal,” EPRI said.

EPRI said that beyond 2030, low-carbon resources such as a hydrogen, advanced nuclear, and carbon capture and storage, will be “essential to driving additional carbon reduction.”

EPRI and Gas Technology Institute are leading a five-year Low-Carbon Resources Initiative. The two groups earlier outlined research, development, and demonstration activities to further economy-wide decarbonization.

JetBlue Tech backs hydrogen startup

JetBlue Technology Ventures, a venture capital arm of the airline, said it invested in Universal Hydrogen as part of its $20.5M Series A funding round. The financing will help Universal Hydrogen speed development of its hydrogen logistics network and regional aircraft conversion kits, and bolsters its commercial activities.

Universal Hydrogen is building a fuel distribution network that connects hydrogen production directly to the airplane using modular capsules that are transported using the existing freight network, avoiding the need for new pipelines, storage facilities, and fuel trucks. The company is also developing conversion kits to retrofit existing 40-60 passenger regional airplanes with a hydrogen fuel cell powertrain.

JetBlue said that it achieved carbon neutrality for all of its domestic flying in 2020, a year of pandemic-induced demand collapse, primarily through carbon offsets.

Universal Hydrogen was founded last year. It said first commercial flights with its technology are planned no later than 2025, with operating costs expected to be equal to conventional hydrocarbon-burning airplanes.

Work starts on 20 MW solar project

Work is under way in New York State on the 20 MW Branscomb Solar project developed and constructed by CS Energy and owned by Goldman Sachs Renewable Power.

The project north of Albany is one of the first utility-scale solar projects in Upstate New York to enter the final phase of construction. The state said that more than 20 large-scale renewable energy infrastructure projects will be under construction this year.

New York also launched its fifth annual solicitation, the state’s largest land-based procurement to date, for large-scale renewable projects. The solicitation seeks around 4.5 million MWh of renewable electricity per year. Eligible projects include any project that can be certified as a Tier 1 renewable technology and started operation after Jan. 1, 2015, or that starts commercial operation by Nov. 30, 2023. NYSERDA said it expects to notify the awarded developers in late 2021.

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