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S&P Global: US Solar “Soars” in Q3 // Canada Lays Out Red Carpet for Offshore Wind

Welcome to Grid Brief! Here’s what we’re looking at today: solar bounces back in America, Canada scraps regulatory hurdles for offshore wind, and more.

S&P Global: US Solar “Soars” in Q3

In the third quarter of 2023, developers successfully added 4,131 megawatts (MW) of utility-scale solar power capacity to the American grid, according to a report from S&P Global. This marks a significant 107% increase compared to Q3 ‘22, signaling a rebound for an industry previously impacted by inflation and supply chain issues.

Solar’s performance this quarter saw a record-breaking 20% surge from the capacity added in the previous three months. “So far in 2023 developers have connected 10,337 MW of solar power capacity to US electric grids, an increase of 36% from the 7,589 MW energized in the first three quarters of 2022,” reports S&P. “As of August, US utility-scale solar capacity totaled approximately 80 GW, according to the US Energy Information Administration, which in November predicted that solar energy output will surpass that of hydroelectric power in 2024.”

These achievements were supported by federal incentives, including investment tax credits and financial backing from the US Energy Department despite clogged interconnection queues. As of Q3’s end, the pipeline for new solar energy projects span nearly 204 GW over the next five years.

Canada Lays Out Red Carpet for Offshore Wind

Canada is clearing away regulatory obstacles to make its lengthy Atlantic coastline home to an expansive offshore wind fleet.

“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government agreed Wednesday to hand over control of land tenure and regulation for projects within Newfoundland and Labrador’s inland bays to the provincial government,” reports Bloomberg. “The move will create stability for investors and streamline permitting processes that can be plagued by ‘way too much duplication’ between levels of government, Canadian Labor Minister Seamus O’Regan said.”

Seamus O’Regan also serves as a representative for Newfoundland in Canada’s Parliament. “We’ve got lots of wind and we’ve got a workforce that really knows how to work in the energy industry,” he said. “We’ve got huge assets.”

Despite having one of the longest coastlines in the world, Canada has yet to host a single offshore wind turbine according to Bloomberg. And now is perhaps the worst time to enter into the offshore wind industry: industry giants like Ørsted and Siemens are falling apart; projects across the West are either getting cancelled or priced upwards.

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