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Peter Kelly-Detwiler's picture
Principal, NorthBridge Energy Partners, LLC

Peter Kelly-Detwiler has nearly 30 years of experience in the area of electric energy, retail power, and distributed energy assets. Mr. Kelly-Detwiler provides strategic expertise in the areas of...

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  • Nov 19, 2020

Australian mining giant Fortescue announces plan to develop 235 GW(!) of renewables & hydrogen; Talen Energy ditches 3.6 GW of PJM coal, moves towards solar; DOE releases hydrogen plan; and MISO w/57 GW of solar in queue

1) Fortescue - 4th largest iron mining company on planet, announces plan for 235 gigawatts of renewables & hydrogen. No timeline, but commitment to spend Australian $1 billion through 2023. Plan is to attract billions in financing for projects it IDs. Fortescue has 40 executives working on plan; already visited 23 countries, w/ 24 to go. It aims for net zero on or before 2040. 

2) Talen Energy Group strikes deal w/Sierra Club to retire 3.6 gigawatts of PJM power plants in PA & MD, & build 1 GW of solar plants, starting w/100 megawatts adjacent to Montour coal plant late 2021. 

3) DOE releases hydrogen program plan, w/aim to coordinate R&D & development activities across agencies "to advance the affordable production, transport, storage, and use of hydrogen across the different sectors of the economy." 

4) PV Magazine reports that MISO has 57 GW of utility scale solar in the queue. Typically roughly 20% in the queue gets built. MISO trails ERCOT's 75 GW solar queue, but it's a big step forward. #energy #renewables #solarenergy#hydrogeneconomy #Fortescue


Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Nov 19, 2020

Peter, you've misunderstood. Fortescue's chairman has said his company’s initial target would be to have 235 gigawatts (GW) of installed energy capacity - not renewable energy capacity.

The company has pledged $731 million to renewables + hydrogen - negligible, except for public relations purposes.

Not that good PR isn't needed for the company.

"The planned Queens mine expansion, part of the Solomon project, has a footprint covering more than 70 heritage sites, including rock shelters, campsites and rock paintings and engravings. 

Testing of stone tools and other artifacts, found more than a metre below the surface at the site, showed the first two rock shelters’ use and occupation by humans dated back 47,800 years ago in one, and approximately 60,000 years in the second, The Sydney Morning Herald reported in June."

Fortescue is likely interested in expanding from iron to coal, and recognizes the hydrogen fad as way to "astroturf" its plans.

Peter Kelly-Detwiler's picture
Peter Kelly-Detwiler on Nov 20, 2020

Bob - thanks for commenting, but I'd like to (gently) push back.  That Reuters article sets the context in its introductory paragraph: "Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest outlined ambitious plans on Wednesday to build a renewable energy business, aiming to compete with oil giants to provide low-cost green energy globally." Then quotes Forrest thus, “We are building a portfolio of renewable assets, energy producing assets around the world,” Forrest, Fortescue’s chairman, told the company’s annual meeting via videolink from Paraguay.  Contextually, it thus would appear fairly clear that the Reuters writer is referring to 235 GW or renewables.  

The numerous other press pieces appear to share that interpretation. For example, the Financial Review characterizes the plan: "Fortescue's initial target is to be able to provide 235 gigawatts of energy from renewables, but there is no timetable for reaching the goal."

For its part, S&P Global paints the company's plans as follows: "Fortescue Chairman Andrew Forrest revealed plans at the iron ore major's Nov. 11 annual general meeting to develop 235 GW of installed renewable energy across the globe, with no timeline stated."

That said, skepticism of such an audacious goal is well warranted, as we have certainly seen greeenwashing many times before.  Thanks again for chiming in.



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Thank Peter for the Post!
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