Fresh off the launch of the new New York Climate Exchange, New York City is becoming a global epicenter of renewable energy development. Though space for new wind turbines and solar panels within the five boroughs is somewhat limited, a new $1.2 billion fund will reach out across the US to set up new clean power assets aimed at decarbonizing cities and other hard-to-tackle jobs.
$1.2 Billion More For Renewable Energy In The USA
The renewable energy developer energyRe is the firm behind the new $1.2 billion fund. The company is new to the CleanTechnica radar, but it sure looks like they are ready to take the bull by the horns. Earlier today energyRe announced the launch of the new fund, which will expand its existing wind, solar, and transmission portfolio across the US.
“energyRe will leverage these strategic investments to advance its mission of decarbonizing American cities with abundant, affordable clean power and modern, well-connected electric grids,” the company said earlier today.
The new $1.2 billion fund will add more financial firepower to the company’s current portfolio, which covers 10.5 gigawatts in solar, wind, and energy storage along with more than 500 miles of high-voltage DC transmission lines and more than 155 megawatts’ worth of distributed generation resources, spread among 17 US states.
A $1.2 Billion Decarbonization Love Letter From NYC
EnergyRe lists its headquarters in New York City, which is no surprise considering the friendly political environment for renewable energy in the city and in New York State. They have also set up shop in Texas, which has emerged as a wind and solar leader despite some strong political headwinds.
EnergyRe also has a footprint in Charleston, South Carolina which is interesting on account of the state’s heavy nuclear energy profile, recently cemented by completion of the long delayed Vogtle nuclear project.
South Carolina does comes in a respectable #14 on a state-by-state ranking of installed solar capacity, but it is at risk of falling down to #24 over the next five years according to stats compiled by the Solar Energy Industries Association.
The state’s wind industry could also use a shot of adrenaline. The US Department of Energy currently lists exactly zero’s worth of installed wind capacity in South Carolina, with the same number under construction. The relatively low quality of onshore wind resources in the US southeast is part of the problem, but politics-as-usual has also been thwarting offshore wind development in South Carolina.
Tackling The Hard-To-Decarbonize Chores
“We are uniquely focused on decarbonizing U.S. cities and hard-to-abate energy load centers with state-of-the-art electric grids that unlock new sources of clean power across the country,” emphasizes energyRe CEO Miguel Prado.
The company’s recently launched Radial Power branch illustrates how. Radial Power is a partner in New York’s $11 billion public-private Clean Path NY 3,800-megawatt renewable energy project alongside the firm Invenergy and the New York Power Authority. The idea is to shunt renewable energy resources from upstate New York into New York City with the help of a new underground transmission line spanning 175 miles.
Similarly ambitious projects are going to be somewhat tricky elsewhere, but energyRe has apparently spotted an opportunity in South Carolina, where the ballooning clean tech manufacturing sector has been taking off with an assist from the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act.
In Q3 of 2022, energyRe company acquired the South Carolina solar developer Southern Current along with its portfolio of more than 9 gigawatts under development. That includes the 66-megawatt Lone Star solar power plant in Calhoun County, which is expected to be up and running next year along with a 198 megawatt-hour battery energy storage system.
“Pending acceptance for filing by the Public Service Commission of South Carolina and any other required regulatory approvals, Lone Star Solar will be one of the largest solar and storage facilities in the Southeastern United States and will represent approximately $200 million invested toward powering 17,000 homes and businesses,” energyRe explained earlier this year, adding that the project is expected to deliver more than $10 million in local property taxes over the life of the project.
Last summer energyRe also announced that it has sealed a 25-year power purchase agreement with the leading South Carolina utility Duke Energy.
Here Comes More Renewable Energy
The going for the US offshore wind industry has been especially fraught in New Jersey, where former Governor Chris Christie earned a reputation in the early 2000’s for supporting fossil energy stakeholders at the expense of renewable energy developers, including offshore wind projects.
Current Governor Phil Murphy has been a renewable energy cheerleader particularly in the case of offshore wind, but New Jersey got some bad news earlier this year when the global firm Ørsted backed out of two projects in the pipeline. Governor Murphy has vowed to keep pushing the renewable energy envelope in the state, and Leading Light’s recent bid to develop an offshore wind area in New Jersey could help.
Renewable energy developers in New Jersey and elsewhere could also enjoy a ripple effect from the newly hatched New York Climate Exchange, which adds another top notch new R&D institution to the sprawling State University of New York.
Launched under the purview of Stony Brook University, the Exchange is aimed at accelerating renewable energy development locally and globally with an assist from other leading research institutions including Oxford University and Brookhaven National Laboratory.
“The New York Climate Exchange will be a first-of-its-kind international center for developing and deploying dynamic solutions to our global climate crisis,” Stony Brook explains.
As with other SUNY schools, in-state job creation will be a leading focus with a particular focus on New York City, where the Exchange is to be located in a new building on Governor’s Island. If all goes according to plan, programs birthed at the Exchange will provide models for other jurisdictions to follow.
“The unique purpose of The Exchange will be to bring together the voices of all stakeholders so that solutions to our climate crisis are not just academic or theoretical, but social and practical — including research that becomes commercially viable and ideas that lead to immediate action on the local and global levels,” Stony Brook explains.
Keep an eye out for more news about the Exchange. IBM and Bloomberg Philanthropies are lending its firepower to the effort, and the institution will be housed in a new high tech building with opening expected in 2027.
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Image: Wind farms are part of New York State’s Clean Path public-private renewable energy project (courtesy of energyRe).