Pattern Energy tapped GE Vernova to supply 674 wind turbines, providing 2.4 gigawatts (GW) of power generation, for the SunZia Wind project in New Mexico, according to a news release.

The order for GE Vernova’s 3.6-154 turbines, described by GE as one of its “next generation workhorse products,” marked a record for GE. Each turbine has a 154-m rotor, about as long as the 17th hole of Pebble Beach or two-thirds as tall as the Golden Gate Bridge.

GE Vernova 3 MW turbine
(Source: GE Vernova)

The onshore wind farm is expected to be the largest in the U.S. at more than 3.5 GW, when complete in 2026. Pattern’s gigantic wind farm will provide enough power for about 3 million people, according to GE.

“Mega projects like SunZia, coupled with the IRA [Inflation Reduction Act], are enabling our continued investments in wind technology, domestic manufacturing and product quality,” said Vic Abate, chief technology officer for GE and CEO of GE Vernova’s wind business. “These investments are aiding the country’s efforts to decarbonize the electric grid in support of climate change goals.”

The project is underway as the U.S. continues to add renewables to its energy mix to green up grids in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Data from the American Clean Power Association shows land-based wind dominated operating clean power capacity in the U.S. at 146,720 megawatts (MW) in third-quarter 2023, compared to 83,173 MW for solar. However, the sector saw only 288 MW of land-based capacity added to the grid for that quarter, compared to 3,121 MW of solar.

GE said the project will be supplied through its nacelle facility in Pensacola, Florida, and tower manufacturing facilities in Belen, New Mexico; Pueblo, Colorado; and Amarillo, Texas.

Here’s a look at other renewable energy news:


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Energy storage

EIA Outlook Shows Energy Storage Capacity Doubling in 2024

U.S. battery storage capacity could nearly double by the end of 2024 compared to last year if developers bring planned projects online, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

The growth, which would see battery storage capacity jump to more than 30 GW, is expected amid efforts to improve grid reliability as electricity demand increases.

“Planned and currently operational U.S. utility-scale battery capacity totaled around 16 GW at the end of 2023,” the EIA said Jan. 9. “Developers plan to add another 15 GW in 2024 and around 9 GW in 2025, according to our latest Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory.”

Battery storage projects, which store excess energy during off-peak times for use when needed later, took a crucial role in the development of intermittent renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. In a separate report, the EIA said it expects solar electric generation to make up 7% of total U.S. electricity generation in 2025, up from 4% last year, as developers aim to bring nearly 80 GW of solar capacity online.

Leading the pack in battery energy storage capacity is California, which had about 7.3 GW of installed battery capacity as of November 2023. Texas followed with nearly 3.2 GW.

“Battery storage projects are getting larger in the United States,” the EIA added. “The Dynegy Moss Landing Energy Storage Facility in California is now the largest U.S. battery storage facility in operation in the country with 750 MW.”

However, about half of the planned capacity installations will be in Texas. Included in the more than 300 utility-scale battery storage projects expected to go online in 2024 or 2025 are: Lunis Creek BESS SLF (Texas, 621 MW); Clear Fork Creek BESS SLF (Texas, 600 MW); Hecate Energy Ramsey Storage (Texas, 500 MW); Bellefield Solar and Energy Storage Farm (California, 500 MW) and Dogwood Creek Solar and BESS (Texas, 443 MW), according to the EIA.

International Battery Metals Leases Lithium Filtration Plant for US Production

International Battery Metals (IBAT) on Jan. 11 said it leased its portable direct lithium extraction (DLE) plant to a customer aiming to begin producing the metal needed for electric vehicle batteries inside the U.S. within six months.

The move would make IBAT the first company to commercially produce lithium with DLE technology. Lithium is typically produced using large, water-intensive evaporation ponds or open-pit mines. While DLE technologies vary, they are comparable to common household water softeners and aim to extract about 90% or more of the lithium from brines, compared to about 50% using ponds. No DLE technology has yet to reach commercial production without the use of those ponds, sparking competition to be first.

IBAT declined to disclose who leased its DLE plant, but said its customer is a “significant producer of metals and minerals,” including lithium, in the western U.S.

Albemarle, Exxon Mobil, General Motors, Rio Tinto and others made their own DLE bets, though none have yet launched.

IBAT’s DLE facility is designed to be portable after it filters lithium using an adsorption material from a brine formation, thus saving construction costs. The IBAT plant is less than three acres in size, compared to hundreds of acres needed for evaporation ponds or open-pit mines.

The company plans to ship its DLE plant in the near future and start commissioning at its customer’s site. The plant is expected to produce 4,000 metric tons (mt) of lithium initially when online within six months and eventually grow to 8,000 mt, more than any existing U.S. lithium project, IBAT said.

IBAT said it will receive royalties on the lithium produced by its DLE facility and that its customer has the right to eventually purchase it, but that it will retain all technology rights.

The facility will be able to recycle more than 98% of the water it uses, the company said.


EET Hydrogen Gets Greenlight for UK Hydrogen Project

EET Hydrogen secured approval from the U.K.’s Cheshire West & Chester Council to proceed with its more than 1 GW blue hydrogen project, the company said Jan. 9.

Plans are for the project, part of the HyNet cluster for industrial decarbonization, to be developed in phases at the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex in Ellesmere Port, Cheshire. The first plant, called HPP1, will have a 350-megawatt capacity, while the second plant, called HPP2, will have a 1,000-MW capacity by 2030.

“This is the largest low carbon hydrogen project in the U.K. and one of the most advanced in the world,” said Richard Holden, HPP1 project manager at EET Hydrogen. “It is a vital piece of the North West’s journey to net zero, underpinning HyNet and providing the opportunity for manufacturers in the region to decarbonize their processes and support U.K. jobs.”

HPP1 construction is expected to begin in 2024, with low carbon hydrogen produced at the site by 2027.

Together, the plants are expected to reduce carbon emissions by 2.5 MMmt annually, which EET said is equivalent to removing 1.1 million cars from roadways. The company said the Essar refinery and other major manufacturers in the region, including Tata Chemicals, Encirc and Pilkington, will use hydrogen produced at the plants.

EET aims to deliver nearly 4 GW of low carbon hydrogen, representing 40% of the U.K. government’s target, by 2030, the company said.

Japan’s Eneos Invests in MVCE for GoM Hydrogen

Japan-headquartered Eneos Corp. said Jan. 11 it has made an equity investment in U.S.-based MVCE Gulf Coast LLC, which plans to develop hydrogen in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The investment will help to build a hydrogen supply chain between the U.S. and Japan, the company said.

Through its equity participation, Eneos said it will verify the commercial feasibility of manufacturing hydrogen in the Gulf of Mexico and exporting methylcyclohexane (MCH)—a hydrogen carrier that is liquid with petroleum-like qualities—to Japan. Eneos said MCH contains more than 500 times more hydrogen per volume than hydrogen gas.

Neither the stake nor the price or value of the deal was disclosed.


8 Rivers Capital to Develop Cormorant Clean Energy Project


Clean Energy Fuels Completes Construction of RNG Facility in SD

Drumgoon digester
Clean Energy Digester at Drumgoon Dairy in South Dakota. (Source: Business Wire)

Construction of Clean Energy Fuels Corp.’s $38 million renewable natural gas production facility at Drumgoon Dairy in South Dakota is complete, the company said Jan. 11.

At full capacity, the digester project is expected to supply 1.66 million gallons of negative carbon-intensive RNG annually from the 6,500-cow dairy farm. The project was financed through Clean Energy’s joint venture with BP and developed with partner Dynamic Renewables, according to a news release.

“Completion of the RNG project at Drumgoon Dairy, along with several others that are right behind it, is already making a contribution to controlling harmful greenhouse gas emissions,” said Clay Corbus, senior vice president of renewables at Clean Energy. “Being a multi-generational operation, Drumgoon’s owners are always thinking about the future, whether it’s bringing in the latest technology to better track and monitor their cows, or transforming their herd to antibiotic-free. Adding [an] RNG digester that captures the methane produced by Drumgoon’s cows and turning it into a clean fuel is the ultimate recycling project.”

Although construction was completed in December 2023 with RNG injected into the interstate natural gas pipeline system, Clean Fuels is waiting for approval of federal and state environmental credits and a carbon-intensity score for the RNG, expected in the first half of 2024.


Spire Energy, KC Water Partner to Develop RNG in Missouri


First Phase of Fox Squirrel Solar Complex Starts Up in Ohio

Fox Squirrel Solar
Fox Squirrel solar is located in Madison County, Ohio. (Source: Business Wire)

The first phase of Ohio’s largest solar complex, being developed by EDF Renewables and Enbridge Inc., began delivering electricity to the PJM grid, EDF said in a Jan. 10 news release.

Located in Madison County, the 749- MW Fox Squirrel Solar complex is being developed in three phases. In all, the project will include 1.4 million panels and 154 inverters.

The 150-MW first phase, which involved the installation of 10,000 panels per day at peak construction, became operational in December, according to the news release.

With a 250-MW capacity, the second phase is expected to start operations in mid-2024, while the 177-MW third phase is expected online by year-end 2024, EDF said.

Enbridge invested in the solar complex’s first phase, with a final investment decision (FID) pending on the remaining phases in 2024.

“The development of this project will support local communities and deliver clean power for our customer,” said Matthew Akman, executive vice president of corporate strategy and president of power for Enbridge. “The project underscores our energy transition leadership and highlights our rigorous capital allocation process which targets projects that are immediately accretive to DCF [discounted cash flow] per share and complementary to our growth outlook.”

EDF said the project has secured 20-year power purchase agreements for its full generating capacity. When fully operational, the complex is expected to generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 118,000 homes in Ohio, the company said.

First Solar Marks Opening of 3.3-GW Manufacturing Facility in India

First solar tamil
First Solar inaugurates its new facility in Tamil Nadu, India. Minister for Industries, Promotions and Commerce of the Government of Tamil Nadu T. R. B Rajaa, U.S. Ambassador to India Eric Garcetti and Scott Nathan, CEO of the US International Development Finance Corp. (DFC) inaugurate the facility. (Source: Business Wire)

Executives from First Solar Inc. joined government officials from India’s Tamil Nadu recently to inaugurate the solar maker’s 3.3-GW manufacturing facility, First Solar said Jan. 11.

The facility, which became the country’s first fully vertically integrated solar manufacturing plant, produces First Solar’s Series 7 photovoltaic solar modules. First Solar said the facility represents an investment of about $700 million. It is the company’s sixth operational factory.

“The inauguration of this landmark manufacturing facility and the launch of commercial shipments to customers in India is a crucial milestone in our journey to long-term and sustainable growth,” said First Solar CEO Mark Widmar. “The speed with which we were able to build and commission this facility is a testament to the policies of India’s Federal and the Tamil Nadu state governments.”

The company is in the midst of a multibillion-dollar manufacturing expansion plan, aiming to grow its global nameplate capacity to about 25 GW by 2026. Besides India, the plan includes new factories in Alabama and Louisiana as well as an expansion of its Ohio manufacturing complex.

Eni’s Low-carbon Unit Buys Three Solar Plants in US from EDPR

Plenitude, the low-carbon unit of Italian energy group Eni, signed a deal with Portugal’s EDP Renovaveis to purchase an 80% equity stake in a portfolio of photovoltaic plants in the U.S.

The three solar parks in Texas and Ohio have a total installed capacity of 340 megawatt alternating current (MWac), of which 272 MWac correspond to Plenitude's share, Plenitude said in a statement on Jan. 10.

“The agreement allows Plenitude to reach over 1.2 GW of installed capacity in the U.S., contributing to the goal of reaching 7 GW worldwide by 2026,” CEO Stefano Goberti said.


Microsoft, Qcells Enter Alliance for 12 GW of US Solar Modules


Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners Takes FID on Hatalageri

Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) has decided to move forward with the 300-MW Hatalageri onshore wind project it is developing with Viviid Renewables in India.

CIP, through its Growth Markets Fund 1, said Jan. 11 it took an FID on the project and expects to complete construction by year-end 2025. Located in the Indian state of Karnataka, the project will be the first CIP has partnered with India-based Viviid.

“Viviid will leverage its expertise in wind farm development, including balance-of-plant equipment supplies and services,” said Siddharth Mehra, founder of Viviid Renewables. “Through this long-term partnership, we aim to further strengthen our contribution to India’s ambitious target of installing 500 GW of generation capacity from renewable sources by 2030.”

India has been identified as a core market for CIP. The company said it plans to continue increasing activity in the country and forming partnerships.

Vestas Plans Second Offshore Wind Plant in Poland

Danish wind turbine maker Vestas plans a second offshore wind turbine plant in Poland to meet growing demand for harnessing wind at sea, the company said Jan. 11.

The factory, which is seen creating more than 1,000 jobs, will produce blades and is expected to start operation in 2026 and follows previously announced plans to establish another factory in Poland, which is expected to start running next year.

“Our plans for two new offshore factories in Poland underline that Europe can spur wind industry investments and green jobs with the right long-term policy commitments for offshore wind projects,” Vestas COO Tommy Rahbek Nielsen said in a statement.

Norway’s Statkraft to Invest up to $6.6B in Hydro, Wind Power

Norway’s state-owned renewable power producer Statkraft on Jan. 8 said it plans to invest up to 6 billion euros (US$6.56 billion) to upgrade its domestic hydro and wind power facilities and build new onshore wind farms.

The plans would double Statkraft’s current output from wind farms and boost the effect of the company’s hydro power plants, adding some 3 terrawatt hours (TWh) of additional electricity output, the company said during a press conference in Oslo.

Statkraft will spend between 1.8 billion and 3 billion euros on upgrades of hydroelectric plants, between 1.2 billion and 2 billion euros to rehabilitate older dams and plants and some 1 billion euros on renewal and construction of onshore wind farms.

"All projects will depend on a predictable regulatory framework, getting the necessary concessions, the level of power demand and a good dialogue with local communities," Nordic operations chief Birgitte Ringstad Vartdal said in a statement.

Norway has traditionally enjoyed a healthy electricity supply surplus, but this is expected to all but disappear as early as 2028 as demand growth from electrifying industry and transport is set to outpace new generation additions.

Hart Energy Staff and Reuters contributed to this report.