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Sparks

3 More Offshore Wind Projects Bite the Dust

This time, blame GE.

Offshore wind.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Things are looking down again for New York’s embattled offshore wind industry.

The state is abandoning all three of the offshore wind projects it awarded conditional contracts to last October, after failing to secure final agreements with any of the developers, Politico reported Friday.

New York officials and the Biden administration had lauded the three projects — which were expected to supply about 12% of New York’s electricity in 2030 — as a key milestone in the nation’s transition to renewable energy. The planned investments in offshore wind were “demonstrating to the nation how to recalibrate in the wake of global economic challenges while driving us toward a greener and more prosperous future for generations to come,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said at the time.

The projects all hinged on the availability of a larger turbine then in the works from General Electric — and faltered after GE decided to stop work on the new turbine earlier this year. Combined, the three projects would have added more than 4,000 megawatts of offshore wind capacity to the regional electric grid. Their termination puts New York’s ambitious climate target of 70% renewable energy by 2030 further out of reach.

This setback occurs just as things appeared to be looking up for New York’s offshore wind industry. In February, the state awarded new conditional contracts for its Sunrise Wind and Empire Wind projects, which were first bid out in 2019 but then re-bid after the state refused to renegotiate in the face of rising costs. Together, those would contribute more than 1,700 megawatts to the grid.

State regulators reiterated their commitment to offshore wind on Friday, according to Politico. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the agency overseeing the offshore wind projects, is expected to initiate another round of offshore wind bids soon.

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Nicole Pollack

Nicole Pollack is a freelance environmental journalist who writes about energy, agriculture, and climate change. She is based in Northeast Ohio.

Sparks

We’re Worrying About Hurricanes Wrong

Don’t look at the number of forecasted storms and panic. But don’t get complacent, either.

Hurricane aftermath.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

When is an announcement less an announcement than a confirmation?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s 2024 hurricane season outlook, issued Thursday morning, might be one such case. For the past several weeks, hurricane agencies around the country have been warning of an extremely active, potentially historic season due to a confluence of factors including the record-warm water in the Atlantic Main Development Region and the likely start of a La Niña, which will make the wind conditions more favorable to Atlantic storm formation. With the Atlantic Hurricane Season set to start a week from Saturday, on June 1, NOAA has at last issued its own warning: There is an 85% chance of an above-average season, with eight to 13 hurricanes and four to seven of those expected to be “major” Category 3 or greater storms.

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Blue
Sparks

A Carbon Border Adjustment Is Gaining Bipartisan Ground

If you haven’t already, get to know the “border adjustment.”

The Capitol.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

While climate policy has become increasingly partisan, there also exists a strange, improbably robust bipartisan coalition raising support for something like a carbon tax.

There are lots of different bills and approaches floating out there, but the most popular is the “border adjustment” tax, basically an emissions-based tariff, which, as a concept, is uniquely suited to resolve two brewing trade issues. One is the European Union’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, which will force essentially everybody else to play by its carbon pricing system. Then there’s the fact that China powers its world-beating export machine with coal, plugged into an electrical grid that is far dirtier than America’s.

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Green
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It Took More Than 4 Days to Put Out This Battery Fire

The California energy storage facility is just a short hop from the Mexican border.

Cal Fire trucks.
Heatmap Illustration/Screenshot/KUSI-TV

A fire at a battery storage site in San Diego County appears to have been extinguished after burning on and off for multiple days and nights.

“There is no visible smoke or active fire at the scene,” Cal Fire, the state fire protection agency, said in an update Monday morning.

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