December's Can't-Miss Clean Energy Stories

At LevelTen, we want important news and information concerning renewable transaction infrastructure (RTI), power purchase agreements, and new sustainability commitments to be easily accessible to everyone. Each week, we assemble the stories that matter most in our “RTI Weekly” newsletter, which you can subscribe to here. We’ve collected December's biggest stories below.

Renewable Energy News

Biden Signs Executive Order Committing Federal Government to Net Zero

President Biden signed an executive order Wednesday that commits the federal government to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Order contains a number of ambitious interim goals, like having federal facilities and operations emissions reduced 65% by 2030, and sourcing 100% carbon pollution-free electricity — with 50% of that electricity being provided on a 24/7 basis — in the same timeframe. The Order also calls for 100% zero-emissions federal vehicles by 2035 (with all light duty vehicles being zero-emissions by 2027), and for all federal buildings to reach net-zero emissions by 2045 with an interim target of a 50% reduction in building emissions by 2032. The Order has been lauded for its aggressive goals — using the financial resources of the federal government to expand clean energy build-out and jobs, and putting the weight of the U.S. government behind initiatives to modernize energy infrastructure that will benefit all sectors as they work to reach net zero by 2050. (The White House, The Hill)

Manchin, Democrats Continue Build Back Better Negotiations

Leading into the U.S. Senate’s winter holiday break, West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin signaled he would vote no on President Biden’s Build Back Better Act, the Administration's key spending bill that would allocate hundreds of billions to bolstering renewables and combating climate change. Though Manchin has stated his opposition to the bill — for which he would be the key 50th vote needed for passage — stems from his inability to “go back home and explain it” to West Virginians and the state’s coal industry, the country’s largest coal miners union has asked Manchin to reconsider his opposition to Build Back Better. Responding to Manchin’s apparent lack of willingness to pass the bill, Goldman Sachs cut its forecast for the U.S.’s economic growth from an annualized pace of 3% down to 2%. As of early January, it appears that Manchin is still open to negotiations on Build Back Better, keeping alive some hope for the bill's passage in an alternate, trimmed-down form. (Axios)

U.S. Senate Passes Anti-Forced Labor Act

The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which President Joe Biden is expected to sign into law. The law bans the importation of any product from China’s Xinjiang region that is not proven through “clear and convincing evidence” to be made without forced labor following widespread human rights violations against the Uyghur ethnic minority in the region. While nearly half the world's polysilicon — an essential component of solar modules — is produced in Xinjiang, solar supply chains have been adjusting for some time in response to the forced labor accusations, and traceability services are available to help ensure PV components coming from the region are ethically produced. (PV Magazine)

Texas PUC Adjusts Scarcity Pricing Mechanism

The Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas has adjusted the scarcity pricing mechanism for the ERCOT region, lowering the market’s electricity price offer cap from $9,000/MWh to $5,000/MWh. The move comes after sky-high electricity prices during February’s Winter Storm Uri blackouts saddled ratepayers with nearly $38 billion in additional electricity costs, and aims to strike a balance between protecting ratepayers under extreme grid conditions and properly incentivizing electricity generators for economic demand response during periods of extreme grid stress. (Utility Dive)

IEA Shows 2021 Another Record Year for Renewables Growth

Despite supply chain headwinds, rising materials costs, and pandemic-related economic fluctuations, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has issued a new report showing 2021 was a record year for renewable capacity additions. Around 290 GW of new renewable generation was installed globally during 2021, and the Agency states that a continuation of current trends will see renewable generating capacity exceed that of fossil fuels and nuclear energy, combined, by 2026. Even with this rapid growth, current rates of renewables expansion will still only bring the globe halfway to net zero by 2050 — underscoring the need for further public sector support and private sector innovation in accelerating clean energy build-out. (The Guardian)

PPA Signings

Amazon Announces Nearly 20 New PPAs

Amazon has announced 18 new agreements with wind, solar, and storage projects across the U.S. and Europe, bringing the amount of renewable capacity the company has procured in 2021 to 5.6 GW. (renews.biz)

BASF and Engie Strike Renewable Supply Deal

German chemicals company BASF has announced a 25-year PPA with energy giant Engie for up to 20.7 TWh of renewable capacity, which will be initially produced by a Spanish onshore wind farm, and eventually sourced from other existing or future onshore and offshore wind assets in Spain. (MarketWatch)

Johnson & Johnson Announces Multiple PPAs with Ørsted

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson has announced two new PPAs with developer Ørsted: one for 55 MW of capacity from the 250 MW Sparta Solar project in Texas’ Bee County, and an 8-year agreement for 1,000 GWh of capacity generated by the Kilgarvan and Booltiagh Wind Farm 1 projects in Ireland’s Kerry and Tipperary Counties. (Ørsted)

Massachusetts Awards Offshore Wind PPA to Mayflower Wind

The State of Massachusetts, along with its three largest utilities, has entered into a PPA with developer Mayflower Wind — a joint venture between Shell and Ocean Winds (an ENGIE/EDPR venture) — for 400 MW of offshore wind capacity to be developed in the Atlantic waters off the southern coast of the island of Martha’s Vineyard. (North American Wind Power)

Massachusetts Seals Commonwealth Wind PPA

The State of Massachusetts has entered into a PPA with developer Avangrid — a subsidiary of Iberdrola — and partner Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, for 1,232 MW of offshore wind capacity produced by the Commonwealth Wind project currently under development in the Atlantic waters south of Martha’s Vineyard. (reve)

Recent Sustainability Commitments

Exxon Announces Updated Emissions Goals

Oil and gas giant Exxon has responded to activist and investor pressure to commit to more aggressive emissions reductions targets, and will work to reduce corporate emissions intensity 20%-30%, and oil-and-gas exploration and production emissions intensity 40%-50%, by 2030. (Axios)

AB InBev Sets New Net-Zero Goals

Belgian beer giant Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has committed to sourcing 100% of its electricity from renewables by 2025, and to achieving net zero by 2040 with interim goals of reducing Scope 1 and 2 emissions 35% by 2025, compared to 2017 levels. (Smart Energy Decisions)

Kraft Heinz Commits to Carbon Neutrality

Food giant Kraft Heinz has committed to reducing Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions 50% by 2030, and reaching net-zero emissions across all scopes by 2050. (Business Wire)

Walmart Rolls Out Comprehensive Scope 3 Program

Walmart has introduced a sweeping program aimed at its extensive list of suppliers, asking them to commit to 2030 targets set forth by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) that are in line with a 1.5ºC warming scenario. (Smart Energy Decisions)

Goodyear Announces Net-Zero Goals

Tire manufacturer Goodyear has announced it will work to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions 46% and Scope 3 emissions 28% by 2030, as it aims for net-zero emissions by 2050. (MarketWatch)

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LevelTen Energy

LevelTen Energy is the leading provider of transaction infrastructure for the renewable energy economy. The platform delivers buyers, sellers, advisors, and financiers the automation software, data management, and standardized contracts needed to facilitate faster, safer renewable energy transactions. LevelTen’s marketplace of renewable energy power purchase agreements is the world’s largest, with more than 4,000 pricing offers spanning 21 countries in North America and Europe. LevelTen’s CFO-Ready Analytics™ automatically calculate more than a billion data points every day, providing buyers and advisors with leading-edge, real-time risk and value insights at modern market scale. Together, LevelTen and its partners share #OneGoal to accelerate the clean energy transition

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