Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions’ 182-MW Maryneal Windpower in Texas starts commercial operation

  • Mobile has 12-year purchase agreement for the wind energy produced by the project

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions,* a nonregulated commercial brand of Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), today announced the commercial operation of the 182-megawatt (MW) Maryneal Windpower project in Nolan County, Texas. 

The Maryneal project increases Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions’ U.S. wind capacity to over 3,000 MW. The site will provide enough renewable energy to power the equivalent of more than 54,000 U.S. homes.

In 2019, Sprint, now part of T-Mobile, signed a 12-year virtual power purchase agreement (VPPA) for 173.3 MW of the wind generated by the project. The VPPA agreement, which will settle on an as-generated basis tied to Maryneal Windpower’s real-time energy output, will enable T-Mobile to significantly reduce its carbon footprint and will match approximately 9% of T-Mobile’s energy consumption.

“Projects like Maryneal Windpower play a huge role in T-Mobile’s commitments to fight climate change and bring us another step closer to achieving our goal of using 100% renewable energy by the end of 2021 – even after our merger with Sprint in 2020 almost doubled our company footprint,” said Brigitta Witt, T-Mobile vice president of Social Impact and Sustainability. “Working with companies like Duke Energy, we’re able to make a positive impact not only on the environment but also in the local community – it’s a win-win for everyone involved.”

Along with indirect economic benefits that accompany wind project development, such as increased local spending in the service and construction industries, Maryneal Windpower created approximately 200 jobs during peak construction. Additionally, the site will have a positive economic impact on the local community by providing significant local tax revenues during assessment years of commercial operation to the county and local school districts, as well as meaningful payments to participating landowners.

“Wind projects such as Maryneal contribute to a cleaner, stronger economy and help create a more diverse energy infrastructure in Texas,” said Chris Fallon, president of Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions. “We’re excited to work with T-Mobile to create jobs, strengthen the local economy and generate clean energy, while also helping them address their renewable energy goal.”

The long-term VPPA complements T-Mobile’s long-standing sustainability strategy, which includes reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, conserving natural resources such as water and paper, eliminating waste from all corners of the business and responsibly recycling waste when possible. Schneider Electric Energy and Sustainability Services advised T-Mobile on the Maryneal VPPA, supporting project selection and negotiations.

Wanzek Construction was the contractor for the project, and Nordex USA supplied 38 4.8-MW wind turbines for the site. Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions will perform the site’s long-term maintenance and operations.

As one of the nation’s top renewable energy providers, Duke Energy plans to reach 16 GW of renewable energy by the end of 2025 and 47 GW by 2050.

About Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions

Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions is a leader in sustainable energy, helping large enterprises reduce power costs, lower emissions, and increase resiliency. The team provides wind, solar, resilient backup power, and managed energy services to over 1,000 projects across the U.S., with a total electric capacity of more than 5,100 megawatts of nonregulated renewable energy. Visit Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions and follow on LinkedIn and YouTube for more information.

Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy strategy to create a smarter energy future for its customers and communities – with goals of at least a 50 percent carbon reduction by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The company is a top U.S. renewable energy provider, on track to operate or purchase 16,000 megawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2025. More information about the company is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos, videos and other materials. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.

About T-Mobile

T-Mobile U.S. Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) is America’s supercharged Un-carrier, delivering an advanced 4G LTE and transformative nationwide 5G network that will offer reliable connectivity for all. T-Mobile’s customers benefit from its unmatched combination of value and quality, unwavering obsession with offering them the best possible service experience and undisputable drive for disruption that creates competition and innovation in wireless and beyond. Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands, T-Mobile, Metro by T-Mobile and Sprint. For more information please visit: https://www.t-mobile.com.

Cautionary Language Concerning Forward-Looking Statements
This document includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Forward-looking statements are based on management’s beliefs and assumptions. These forward-looking statements are identified by terms and phrases such as “anticipate,” “believe,” “intend,” “estimate,” “expect,” “continue,” “should,” “could,” “may,” “plan,” “project,” “predict,” “will,” “potential,” “forecast,” “target,” “outlook,” “guidance,” and similar expressions. Various factors may cause actual results to be materially different than the suggested outcomes within forward-looking statements; accordingly, there is no assurance that such results will be realized. These risks and uncertainties are identified and discussed in Duke Energy’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and available at the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. In light of these risks, uncertainties and assumptions, the events described in the forward-looking statements might not occur or might occur to a different extent or at a different time than Duke Energy has described. Duke Energy expressly disclaims an obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

* Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions is a nonregulated commercial brand of Duke Energy Corporation, which includes the following subsidiaries of Duke Energy Corporation that are registered to transact business in various states and may be branded as Duke Energy Sustainable Solutions for marketing purposes: Duke Energy Commercial Enterprises, Inc.; Duke Energy One, Inc.; Duke Energy Renewables, Inc.; Duke Energy Renewables Commercial, LLC; Duke Energy Renewable Services, LLC; Duke Energy Renewables Solar, LLC; Duke Energy Renewables Storage, LLC; Duke Energy Renewables Wind, LLC; and REC Solar Commercial Corporation.

Contact: Jennifer Garber
24-Hour: 800.559.3853
 

The Renewable Energy Waste Crisis Is Much Worse Than You Think

Waste disposal is not a popular topic of discussion in the media when it comes to renewable energy. Most of the coverage that solar and wind power is getting is strongly positive, with a focus on falling costs and rising efficiencies, as well as government plans for huge increases in installed capacity. Yet problems tend to lurk and wait to spring up. Now, the waste problem is springing up.

The International Renewable Energy Agency estimated in 2016 that unless we made significant changes to our treatment of solar panels, they could add up to 78 million tons of waste. The IRENA did not phrase it this way. It said that “recycling or repurposing solar PV panels at the end of their roughly 30-year lifetime can unlock an estimated stock of 78 million tonnes of raw materials and other valuable components globally by 2050.”

The thing is that most panels do not live to see their 30th birthday, as an article in the Harvard Business Review from June pointed out. Solar waste, it said, is growing much faster than it should have, theoretically. This is because—another thing that you wouldn’t see widely publicized—solar panels begin to lose efficiency from the moment they are installed. Meanwhile, new, more efficient panels are being developed. Even if the loss of efficiency is minuscule, at an average 0.5 percent, that figure is off the top of a typical efficiency rate of less than 30 percent (light-to-electricity conversion), so when offered a higher efficiency installation, many residential solar owners would consider it.

The authors of the article, dubbed The Dark Side of Solar Power, point to the continuous improvements in solar panel technology as a reason for shorter actual lives for residential panels. They note that thanks to these improvements, both in cost and efficiency, consumers are a lot less likely to wait for their panels to turn 30 before they replace them. As a result, these early replacements could lead to 50 times more solar panel waste than IRENA had forecast.

It’s worth noting that IRENA’s forecast for the 78-million-ton opportunity from solar panel waste was made in 2016. A lot of things have changed over the past five years, including the rate of growth in solar panel installations. Unfortunately, what hasn’t changed a lot is the economics of recycling solar panels.

Related: The Best 2 Stocks To Hold As Oil Prices Explode

Grist reported recently that, according to researchers and recycling industry insiders, the cost of recycling a solar panel varies between $12 and $25. Meanwhile, the income from recovering certain elements from it comes in at about $3. According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, recycling a solar panel costs between $20 and $30, while sending it to a landfill costs $1-2. And while the EU has put in place recycling mandates, the U.S. has no such mandates on a national level.

This massive difference in the cost of recycling versus the cost of dumping panels at landfills hints at an unpleasant truth that we are seeing in the EU already. There are recycling mandates there. The countries with the highest solar capacity pay the most for their electricity. This could, of course, be a coincidence, but that’s quite unlikely: recycling costs money, and somebody has to foot that bill.

It is this bill that busts the myth of the cheap solar power that can fuel the whole world because the sun is there and shines for free. This is true. But once you add the costs of recycling to the total cost of solar energy, as the Harvard Business Review authors note, the cost of solar jumps four times.

The future, in the absence of quick action, looks bleak, according to the researchers who penned the HBR article.

“If we plot future installations according to a logistic growth curve capped at 700 GW by 2050 (NREL’s estimated ceiling for the U.S. residential market) alongside the early replacement curve, we see the volume of waste surpassing that of new installations by the year 2031,” Atalay Atasu, Serasu Duran, and Luk N. Van Wassenhove wrote.

“By 2035, discarded panels would outweigh new units sold by 2.56 times. In turn, this would catapult the LCOE (levelized cost of energy, a measure of the overall cost of an energy-producing asset over its lifetime) to four times the current projection. The economics of solar — so bright-seeming from the vantage point of 2021 — would darken quickly as the industry sinks under the weight of its own trash.”

This sounds bad enough. It’s even worse because there are only a handful of companies in the U.S. that recycle solar panels. But there is also wind turbine blade waste that is building up, and while, unlike solar panels, it does not contain toxic materials, the sheer size of the blades makes it a significant waste problem. Wind turbine blades are not recyclable yet, and tons of them are coming to landfills over the next 20 years; more than 720,000 tons in the U.S. alone.

“Because there are so few options for recycling wind turbine blades currently, the vast majority of those that are no longer able to be used are either stored in various places or taken to landfill,” says Vicki Knott, CEO, and co-founder of CruxOCM.

“While the waste stream represents only a tiny portion of municipal solid waste, it’s clearly not an ideal scenario. As wind turbines are being replaced, there’s certainly a need for more creative recycling solutions for used blades,” Knott also said.

It all sounds like a waste nightmare scenario, and it pretty much is.

While many residential solar panels will live out their lives, many others will not. But this is only the beginning of the problem. Recycling costs must be brought down and capacity built before the current wave of utility-scale solar farm additions subsides because anything done later would be playing catch-up with little chance to win.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:

Read this article on OilPrice.com

Are green energy tariffs really that sustainable?

By

Across the UK, growing demand from households for sustainable energy is pressing energy companies to offer green energy tariffs. Established providers like EDF are being challenged in this regard by upstarts like Bulb and Octopus Energy. Greenwashing occurs when an institution exaggerates their environmental credentials to improve their public image. With this problem in mind, the authenticity of these claims is up for debate.

A huge challenge for companies in a range of sectors is to prove to the consumer that their product is sustainably made. A sizeable proportion of UK emissions comes from our homes and therefore those energy companies should make a transition to sustainability as well. That transition requires renewable energy to become cheaper on a huge scale. The cost of wind energy in the UK has decreased massively in recent years but there are still concerns associated with the cost of sustainable power for our homes. The protests of the ‘gilets jaunes’ in France in 2018 against green fuel taxes show how efforts for a transition to sustainable energy can provoke public outcry.

If the entire UK population switched to renewable energy tariffs, there would not be enough supply

Concerns of greenwashing further hang over energy companies. Shell Energy is offering 100% renewable energy to homes in the UK. However, the company itself has a long history of avoiding responsibility for a transition away from fossil fuels. Recently it was found guilty in a Dutch court of underperforming in its decarbonisation duties. This landmark case shows how institutions masquerade as environmentally friendly but are not putting the effort in for transition.

The price of renewable energy is already decreasing which has helped increase demand. However, if you sign your house up to 100% renewables, what are you actually getting? It is impossible to ensure that the electricity delivered to your home is renewable in the current system. Once renewable energy is generated onto the grid there is no way to separate it from electricity produced from fossil fuels. The only way to be sure of directly receiving renewable energy would be to install your own solar panels or wind turbines.

A green energy tariff gets around this problem by offering the customer an alternative. Instead of directly supplying a house, the energy company monitors the household energy usage per hour and supplies the National Grid with an equivalent amount of renewable energy. Instead of buying renewable energy for their home, the customer is spending money for that energy to be put onto the grid.

The energy companies need a certificate called a Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin (REGO) in order for this transaction to occur. These REGOs are given by the market regulator to the source (for example wind farm or hydroelectric plant) of the renewable energy and are then up for sale along with the energy itself. The issue is that these REGOs can be bought cheaply in a completely separate market without the need to buy the actual energy derived from wind or solar. Companies have the ability to exaggerate their support for renewables, buying the certificate and not the green energy. The market regular Ofgem as well as the brand Which? have reported on the dangers of this occurring.

The only way to be sure of receiving renewable energy would be to install your own solar panels

Energy providers like Good Energy and Ecotricity make additional funds available for renewable energy or other projects as well as having direct contracts with sustainable generators. However, this authentic green conduct comes at a higher price. The issue is that currently there are different levels to a company’s green label. Some may be genuine and others may achieve sustainability through carbon offsets or simply greenwash their product.

The ultimate difficulty is that the National Grid is not totally sustainable, we still use some coal and a great amount of gas. Both are harmful to the environment. If the UK population in its entirety switched to renewable energy tariffs, there simply would not be enough supply.

All of this shows that demand is key. As a desire for sustainable energy in houses increases, energy suppliers should work to meet that demand. If desire for sincere green labelling increased, and, better still, demand for private and public investment in renewable energy grew further, then the grid would be much better prepared for transition.

Image: Anna Jiménez Calaf via Unsplash.

Support PalatinateSupport Palatinate

Santa Barbara County debuts renewable energy facility

Santa Barbara County officials, staff, engineers and contractors gathered July 16 at the Tajiguas landfill in Santa Barbara, California, for the grand opening of the ReSource Center, the county’s new recycling and waste management facility. The new facility with process waste that is collected within the county, turning it into recyclables and renewable energy, boosting the county’s diversion rate to 85 percent, a 60 percent increase, according to a news release from Van Dyk Recycling Solutions, the company that supplied the sorting system for the site’s material recovery facility (MRF). By dramatically reducing the volume of landfilled material, the ReSource Center will help extend the landfill’s by a decade.

The ReSource Center will accept solid waste from the South Coast and Santa Ynez Valley areas of Santa Barbara County, including the unincorporated communities in these areas, and from the California cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Solvang and Buellton.

Santa Barbara Supervisor Joan Hartmann said at the opening that the facility “allows for recycling and reuse of materials, turning a liability into an asset,” according to the news release.

The ReSource Center receives 600 to 700 tons of waste and 150 to 80 tons of recyclables per day and anticipates processing between 150,000 and 180,000 tons of trash and recyclables annually. The MRF, which is operated by Marborg Industries of Santa Barbara, sorts through the waste and separates it by size, weight, density and composition. The equipment supplied by Van Dyk Recycling Solutions of Norwalk, Connecticut, includes size reducers for liberating bags, 3D trommels, anti-wrapping screens, air density separators, elliptical separators, 11 optical sorters to identify recyclables by composition and a high-capacity baler from Bollegraaf Recycling Solutions.

Referring to the county’s commitment to having a recycling, renewable energy, anaerobic digestion and composting facility at a single site, John Dewey, CEO of Mustang Renewable Power Ventures, the project developer, said, “Nobody else has done it like this in a single location with all these various components.”

In addition to recyclables, the ReSource Center recovers organic material, such as food scraps and other wet, heavy material. Organic waste makes up around 40 to 45 percent of the county’s trash. Once recovered, this waste is transferred to the anaerobic digestor on-site, where it is dumped into heated tunnels and sealed airtight. It is then pumped with a mixture of 97 percent water and 3 percent cattle manure to start the digestion process. The natural bacteria in the manure breaks down the organic waste to produce methane gas, which is then harnessed to create renewable electricity that is sold back to SoCal Edison (Southern California’s primary electricity supply company). The electricity produced is enough to power the Resource Center itself, as well as 1,000 to 1,200 homes, Van Dyk says. Additionally, the amount of carbon emissions contained in this process is the equivalent of removing 29,000 cars from the road each year.

The leftover material in the anaerobic digester tunnels is then sent to the site’s composter, where any remaining glass or film plastic is removed and the compost is dried out. The county already has demand for the compost from local farmers, according to Van Dyk, which supplied the densimetric table that was manufactured by Allgaier Process Technology.

Leslie Wells, deputy Public Works director, says the facility allows Santa Barbara to take responsibility for its own waste material and turn it into benefits for the community.

 

Form Energy’s New Battery Technology Isn’t for EVs. Think Wind Power.

A rendering of a Form Energy battery system.


Courtesy Form Energy|, Inc.

The start-up Form Energy unveiled a breakthrough for rechargeable batteries. This one isn’t for electric vehicles–what most investors think of when they hear about developments on that front.

Form announced the chemistry for its first commercial product Friday. It says it has designed an iron-air battery that can be used with intermittent but environmentally friendly power sources such as wind and solar cells. That could drive down the cost of renewable-plus-battery power generation.

“We conducted a broad review of available technologies and have reinvented the iron-air battery to optimize it for multi-day energy storage for the electric grid,” said CEO and co-founder Mateo Jaramillo in the company’s news release. “With this technology, we are tackling the biggest barrier to deep decarbonization: making renewable energy available when and where it’s needed, even during multiple days of extreme weather or grid outages.”

Batteries all have two sides–a cathode and an anode–that facilitate the movement of electricity, powering a laptop, an EV, or electric razor. The types of materials selected for a cathode and an anode are always a function of energy density–how much power the battery can store–as well as cost, safety and reliability.

Metal-air batteries have very high energy density: They pack a punch. That is the reason iron-air, or lithium-air, batteries could be perfect for grid-storage applications. Form’s choice of iron could also make its product cheap. Iron is one of the least expensive, easiest to mine elements on earth. And the oxygen in a metal-air battery just comes form the ambient air.

Still, metal-air battery life isn’t all that long. There are still a lot of technical challenges to be overcome.

In any case, Form is a privately held companies, so investors can’t buy the stock. But the low-cost batteries it could produce would be a boon to several companies. Grid-storage applications are big business for firms including:

Schneider Electric

(SU. France)

Eaton

(ETN), and even

Tesla

(TSLA), which sells battery storage and residential solar-power systems. Those stocks benefit from the transformation of the power grid.

Battery technology, of course, isn’t all about the grid. Investors have already demonstrated willingness to invest in early-stage battery technologies for cars.


QuantumScape

(ticker: QS), a highly valued start-up, is developing solid-state battery technology for electric-vehicles. Solid state, in this case, means there is no liquid in the battery facilitating the flow of electricity from the anode to the cathode. Solid-state batteries promise better energy density, safety, battery life and cost, but like metal-air batteries, they aren’t ready for prime time yet.

For an automotive supplier,

QuantumScape

is worth a lot, at more than $10 billion, but assessing start-ups is tricky. Quantum stock is down roughly 83% from its 52-week high, but up more than 130% from its 52-week low. The shares are all over the place, despite the fact not much has changed regarding the company’s path to commercialization. Quantum doesn’t expect significant sales until 2025 or 2026.

So far this year, QuantumScape stock is down more than 70%, trailing far behind the comparable gains of the

SP 500

and

Dow Jones Industrial Average.

Write to Al Root at allen.root@dowjones.com

Carlyle Launches Renewable-Energy Infrastructure Unit

Private-equity giant Carlyle Group Inc. is launching a company to develop renewable-power-generation and storage projects in a push to reorient its energy business toward sustainable investments.

Funds Carlyle operates will inject as much as $700 million in the new venture, Copia Power, enabling it to arrange projects worth over $6 billion, according to Pooja Goyal, Carlyle’s co-head of infrastructure and head of renewable and sustainable energy. Copia will focus on developing large-scale solar generation projects and battery facilities to store power and distribute it after sunset.

Carlyle has a long history of debt and equity investments in fossil fuels, but now the firm—and competitors like Blackstone Group Inc. and KKR Co.—is pivoting to cleaner technologies. The money manager in April disclosed $22 billion of private-equity investments in traditional and renewable energy, representing 16% of total private-equity assets under management.

The initiative is part of a race on Wall Street, as large investment firms bankroll competing power projects amid a national pushto revamp electrical infrastructure. The shift comes as investors clamor for environmentally friendly financial products and as national infrastructure initiatives offer potential opportunities to private-equity firms.

“There is a recognition by these companies that this is a new asset class and that there’s an enormous amount of development prospects out there,” said Jason Burwen, interim chief executive of the U.S. Energy Storage Association trade group. “It’s a good time to be a capital provider.”

Solid waste recycling facility goes online in Santa Barbara, California

Since the introduction of a statewide food waste disposal ban over a year ago, Vermont has reported a significant spike in the number of residential and commercial compost services in the state.

The Universal Recycling Law (Act 148), which was passed unanimously by the Vermont Legislature in 2012, has been updated in 2018, 2019 and 2020 to add amendments in order to meet the state’s 50 percent recycling goal.

The most recent update in July 2020 introduced the proposal to ban the disposal of food waste in landfills.

“I was out of work last spring. I was reading about that law, and so I started this business based on what I thought would be a residential need,” Zach Cavacas, owner and operator of Stockbridge, Vermont-based Music Mountain Compost, told VTDigger.

In its first year, Music Mountain Compost has grown from zero to more than 300 customers. The company offers bi-weekly residential and commercial compost pickup and has diverted over 40 tons of food waste over the past year.

“The growth rate is incredible, and I’ve also been to over 70 towns. There’s a huge need for this,” Cavacas said.

The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) estimates that the number of food scrap haulers has more than tripled, from 12 haulers in 2012, to 45 in 2021.

Vermont sales of supplies for backyard composters (compost bins, kitchen countertop collectors, food scrap buckets, etc.) has also rose, jumping from $7,132 to $19,681 in the past year, said Susan Alexander, manager of the Lamoille Regional Solid Waste District. In 2020 alone, the district took in 146 tons of food scraps for composting; that rose to 166 tons in the past six months.

To meet state guidelines, the district established Lamoille Soil in Johnson as a composting operation. Alexander told VTDigger she hopes to eventually see small hauling companies offer bundles or packages for food scraps, recycling and trash.

“At some point, we need to see the marketplace adjust pricing appropriately, and that the cost of managing your food scraps is actually less than the cost of landfill fees. This will really help more people be able to afford curbside collection service,” she said.

According to DEC Materials Management Section Manager Josh Kelly, prior to the most recent food waste ban Vermont would send about 80,000 tons of food to landfills a year.

“As more people get educated on composting, a lot of times they’ll try it themselves,” Cavacas told VTDigger. At first, “they don’t want to compost in their backyard, or they don’t know how. I found myself that education has been the most important part and telling people they can have someone pick it up or learn how to do it and make their own soil.”

Generate Capital raises $2 billion for sustainable infrastructure investments

Potential customers come to the firm with a variety of goals, including infrastructure resilience, a net-zero mandate or just saving money. Jacobs noted that much of the infrastructure built over the last century has been government driven, large and centrally planned, rather than catering to the needs of local communities.

“The infrastructure that customers want and communities need is very different. We call it the four Ds: distributed, decarbonized, digitized and democratized. And that is, in fact, what offers the most compelling value proposition to these customers and communities,” he said.

Examples of projects include a partnership with Starbucks to develop community solar projects in New York to supply local shops’ and the areas around them with solar power. Generate also worked with the public school system of Hillsborough County in Tampa, Florida, which wanted to reduce its energy needs, carbon footprint and energy bill. 

Generate’s involvement meant the district didn’t have to shell out any cash up front as the buildings were overhauled. Better HVAC and building management systems were installed, and lights were replaced with energy-efficient bulbs.

The company also worked with Chinese battery company BYD, which Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway owns a stake in, to provide electric buses for customers such as Stanford University and Facebook.

Jacobs said the $2 billion capital raise is only the beginning in terms of the investment needed to update and overhaul infrastructure in the U.S., much of which is ageing and vulnerable to extreme weather fueled by climate change.

And while all of the firm’s funding rounds have been oversubscribed, Jacobs is intentional about balancing the rate of growth with ability to execute. Interest from Wall Street also means the firm can choose to take capital from investors who align with the company’s long-term vision. 

“Raising capital is just raising capital and it’s not that much to celebrate. But it says though that the model is working — that customers are benefitting, that the world is seeing great advantages from these sustainability solutions that we’ve been putting in place for seven years now,” he said.

Become a smarter investor with CNBC Pro
Get stock picks, analyst calls, exclusive interviews and access to CNBC TV. 
Sign up to start a free trial today

Sweden’s EQT taking U.S. waste manager Covanta private in $5.3 billion deal

3 Min Read

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Covanta Holding Corporation is to be taken private by Sweden-based investment firm EQT, with the U.S. waste management firm valued at $5.3 billion including debt in Wednesday’s announcement.

The deal, to be completed by EQT Infrastructure Fund V, is expected to aid Covanta’s expansion, including outside of the United States, according to separate statements.

Having started in the 1980s in waste management, Covanta has increasingly pivoted towards waste-to-energy as the push for renewable energy sources has grown. The Morristown, New Jersey-based firm has 41 such power facilities in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Waste-to-energy also has benefits including limiting the amount of garbage placed into landfills, at a time when space is constrained and such sites are being identified as heavy generators of the potent greenhouse gas methane.

Alex Darden, partner in EQT Infrastructure’s advisory team, said the acquisition aligned with EQT’s “thematic approach of investing in sustainable businesses that have a positive impact on society”.

It is the second U.S. green energy acquisition the firm has announced this month. On July 3, EQT said it was buying renewable power generator Cypress Creek Renewables.

Covanta shareholders will receive $20.25 in cash for each share, a 37% premium to its price on June 8, when media reports of a Covanta sale process surfaced. The deal values Covanta’s equity at $2.7 billion, according to Reuters calculations.

The investment company said in its statement that with the transaction, due to close by year-end, the EQT Infrastructure V fund was expected to be 50-55% invested.

Covanta has about 4,000 staff and is expected to generate adjusted operating profit (EBITDA) of around $460 million to $480 million this year, EQT said. As well as energy generation, Covanta produces around 600,000 tons of recycled metals per year

EQT was advised by Barclays PLC and law firm Kirkland Ellis, with Covanta assisted by Bank of America Corp and Debevoise Plimpton LLP.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; editing by Niklas Pollard and Elaine Hardcastle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

U.S. seeks to speed rooftop solar growth with instant permits

July 15 (Reuters) – The Biden administration on Thursday will roll out a tool that enables instant local permitting of rooftop solar installations, addressing a major source of industry delays and possibly lowering costs for homeowners, the Energy Department said.

The Solar Automated Permit Processing (SolarAPP+) platform, developed by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will be an optional portal for local governments to process permit applications automatically.

Approvals typically take a week or more currently, and permit-related costs can account for about a third of installers’ overall costs, DOE said. The software speeds the process up by standardizing requirements, streamlining the application and automating some approvals.

Administration officials said the software will help speed adoption of rooftop solar and achieve President Joe Biden’s goal of decarbonizing the U.S. electricity grid by 2035, a key pillar of his plan to address climate change. DOE has said that solar energy will need to be installed at a pace as much as five times faster than it is today to realize that goal.

“Having streamlined processes and an automated permitting platform that can make it faster, easier and cheaper for homeowners to go solar promises to really help expand the residential solar sector,” Becca Jones-Albertus, director of DOE’s solar energy technologies office, said in an interview.

Obtaining permits through local building departments has often proved to be a “pain point” for solar companies, according to Jones-Albertus. About a third of rooftop solar installations take more than two weeks for the permit process, DOE said.

SolarAPP+ was tested in four communities in Arizona and California starting last year. In Tucson, the portal reduced permitting review times from an average of 20 days to zero, the agency said.

An official from Stockton, California, a city that recently decided to adopt the SolarAPP tool, said it will free up staffers who have managed a 26% rise in solar applications over the last five years. It also allows homeowners to conduct the permitting process online rather than in person.

“It’s rare that you can find something that works this well for all of the parties involved,” John Alita, Stockton’s deputy city manager, said during a DOE webinar to unveil the tool.

The portal performs an automatic review of permit applications, approving eligible systems instantly. Complex or ineligible systems are re-routed for additional review.

Local governments will not have to pay for the portal, DOE said. DOE is challenging 125 mayors and local officials to sign up for the SolarAPP tool before the end of the summer.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.