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Netherlands Launches Landmark Zero-Subsidy Wind Power Auction
Zero subsidy tenders have been labeled as a “game-changer" for the sector because it means that potential bidders would rely solely on wholesale electricity prices without financial aid from the government.
The landmark Dutch tender comes after wind farm auctions in Germany earlier this year, where developers grabbed some slots to build offshore wind farms without subsidies.
“The zero subsidy bid is a breakthrough for the cost competitiveness of offshore wind and it demonstrates the technology's massive global growth potential as a cornerstone in the economically viable shift to green energy systems," Samuel Leupold, the head of Denmark Dong Energy's wind power unit, one of the winning bidders, told Financial Times.
Reuters explained that Dutch subsidies have dropped due to plummeting offshore wind costs:
"At the Netherlands' two previous auctions for offshore wind power last year, subsidies granted fell by a quarter, as a combination of surging demand for wind energy, low interest rates, technological progress and competition among turbine makers made it considerably cheaper to build wind farms."
Although a Dutch official acknowledged that the subsidy-free tender could be a risk, Swedish energy group Vattenfall has already confirmed itself as a bidder on Friday.
"It is a major milestone for Vattenfall and would be an important step to become fossil free within one generation," the company announced. "Vattenfall is firmly committed to the green transition of Northern Europe, investing more than EUR 2 billion in renewable energy between 2017-2018," adding that it sees the new project "as a significant milestone for both the green transition of the Netherlands and Vattenfall."
According to Recharge, "Other potential contenders such as sector leader Orsted and Germany's EnBW—the two successful zero-bidders in Germany—have not said whether they are taking part, although the latter has set up a Dutch subsidiary that would allow it to do so."
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Ethics investigations have been opened into the conduct of senior Trump appointees at the nation's top environmental agencies.
The two investigations focus on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and six high-ranking officials in the Department of Interior (DOI), The Hill reported Tuesday. Both of them involve the officials' former clients or employers.
"This is demonstrative of the failures at the very top of this administration to set an ethical tone," Campaign Legal Center Ethics Counsel Delaney Marsco told The Washington Post of the DOI investigation. "When people come to work for government, they're supposed to work on behalf of the public. It's a betrayal of the public trust when senior political appointees seem to give privileged access to their former employers or former clients."
By Dipika Kadaba
We've known for more than 50 years that smoking cigarettes comes with health hazards, but it turns out those discarded butts are harmful for the environment, too. Filtered cigarette butts, although small, contain dozens of chemicals, including arsenic and benzene. These toxins can leach into the ground or water, creating a potentially deadly situation for nearby birds, fish and other wildlife.
By Wenonah Hauter
Five years ago this week, an emergency manager appointed by then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made the devastating decision to save money by switching Flint's water supply over from Detroit's water system to the Flint River. Seen as a temporary fix, the new water supply was not properly treated. High levels of lead leached from the old pipes, poisoning a generation of Flint's children, and bacteria responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease killed more than a dozen residents.
Did you know that more than a third of food is wasted or thrown away every year? And that only 25 percent of it would be enough to feed the 795 million undernourished people in the world? That's why today is Stop Food Waste Day, a chance to reflect on what you can do to waste less of the food you buy.