Published on December 31st, 2019 | by Steve Hanley
December 31st, 2019 by Steve Hanley
Enel Green Power North America began operating two renewable energy facilities in the United States in December — the 252 MW first phase of the Road Runner solar power plant in Texas and the 66 MW Whitney Hill wind farm in Illinois. Construction of phase one of the Road Runner project began in February of 2019.
The 245 MW second phase of the Road Runner solar project is expected to be operational before the end of 2020. When both phases are complete, Road Runner will be the largest solar power plant in Texas and provide 1,200 gigawatt-hours of zero emissions electricity annually. Enel has entered into two power purchase agreements for the electricity from Road Runner — 65 MW for Mondelēz International and 70 MW for the Clorox Company.
“This milestone emphasizes the scale of Enel Green Power’s capability to develop, build and operate projects across diverse geographies and technologies in the US,” Georgios Papadimitriou, the head of Enel Green Power North America, tells Solar Power World. “We continue to aggressively pursue opportunities for growth in North America, capitalizing on strong C&I demand for sustainable power and accelerating the transition to a carbon-free economy.”
The Italian energy company is not resting on its laurels, however. In addition to phase two of Road Runner, Enel Green Power has another five projects under construction, all of them wind farms. Combined, Enel is on pace to install nearly a gigawatt of renewable energy in the US in 2020.
Isn’t it interesting that some of America’s largest utility companies such as Dominion, Duke Energy, and the Southern Company all are busy building moats around their business models and spending ratepayer cash to lobby political leaders and regulators to please, please, please let us continue earning a guaranteed rate of return of up to 14% by keeping our coal, gas, and nuclear plants open for just a few more years?
In the meantime, they whine to anyone who will listen about how renewables drive up the cost of electricity, destabilize the grid, kill all the birds, suck excess power from the sun, and damage US energy security. Their leaders apparently never look outside the boardroom windows to see what’s going on in the real world. Do they think Enel is doing this to get a tax write-off when their solar and wind farms go bankrupt? Do they think Enel is dumb enough to pour money down a rat hole with no hope of reaping a reward on its investment?
The utility industry is being disrupted and many of its participants are seriously pissed off that their comfortable state-sponsored scam isn’t working smoothly anymore. Look at those crazy Italians coming in here and putting the kibosh on our gravy train. The nerve of those people! Who do they think they are?
“The US market is rich with opportunities for growth and has an increasing appetite for sustainable electricity. Projects like Roadrunner demonstrate our ability to capitalize on this trend, while boosting the diversity of the business both geographically and technologically,” says Georgios Papadimitriou on the Enel Green Power website. What a shame so many American companies are unable to see those same opportunities.
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