Solar and storage advocates call for real-time pricing option in California
PV Magazine – April 13
With an increasing level of variable renewable generation, California will need “more short-term load flexibility”—and real-time pricing of electricity can provide that flexibility, testified Scott Murtishaw, senior advisor for regulatory affairs at the California Solar and Storage Association (CALSSA), in a utility rate case last week. CALSSA, the California Energy Storage Alliance, and service provider OhmConnect jointly sponsored the testimony, asking California regulators to require San Diego Gas & Electric to offer real-time pricing as an option for all customer classes. “The increased savings opportunities” of real-time pricing compared to time-of-use rates “will promote adoption of energy storage, electric vehicles, and automated demand response,” he said. Previously, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) had punted on a petition from solar and storage groups for a statewide rulemaking on real-time and other dynamic pricing options, saying that the issue would be better addressed in individual utility rate cases, according to CALSSA policy director Brad Heavner. The CPUC expects to issue a proposed decision in the SDG&E case in November, for a vote in December 2020.
More than 100,000 clean energy workers lost their jobs in March
Los Angeles Times - April 15
According to a new report released this Wednesday by Environmental Entrepreneurs, a clean energy advocacy group, more than 106,000 clean energy workers filed for unemployment in March. Consultants at BW Research who analyzed the numbers also project that the clean energy sector will shed more than 500,000 jobs — or 15 percent of its workforce — in the months ahead “if no additional actions are taken to support the industries.” California was the hardest-hit state, with 20,000 clean energy workers filing for unemployment in March. The U.S. clean energy sector employed nearly 3.4 million people before the COVID-19 pandemic — three times the workforce of the fossil fuel industry, and those numbers were growing quickly. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected last year that the two fastest-growing jobs in America over the next decade would be solar panel installer and wind turbine technician. Advocates say Congress has a significant opportunity to jump-start the economy by supporting clean energy technologies.
Salt River Project and Seattle City Light now can dispatch into CAISO’s Energy Imbalance Market
Power Engineering – April 13
The California-based Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) has added two more utilities to its sub-hourly market of electricity generation and dispatching resources. Two western U.S. municipal power generators – Salt River Project and Seattle City Light – joined the EIM, operated by the California Independent System Operator, this month. Phoenix-area Salt River Project and Seattle City Light serve about 1.5 million customers combined. The EIM uses new technologies to meet real-time demand across eight western states. The data re-calculates supply and demand balances every five minutes and offers a voluntary market for utilities to sell surplus electricity.
California gets another 100-MW battery project as competition with gas peakers heats up
Greentech Media – April 10
Big things are happening in California this week. In the political sphere, Governor Gavin Newsom is invoking the powers of a “nation-state” to provide lifesaving medical supplies that the federal government isn’t. In the power sector, another 100-megawatt battery just got contracted to support the grid near Los Angeles. Clean Power Alliance, a local power purchasing authority, or community choice aggregator (CCA), for 1 million customer accounts in the greater L.A. region, signed the deal with independent power producer sPower last Thursday. The signing ceremony took place over a GoToMeeting video chat. This marks the first battery deal for Clean Power Alliance. It’s also the first time a CCA, a relatively new structure in the California power scene, has entered the rarefied “100 Megawatt Club.” SPower will own and operate the Luna Storage facility, located in Lancaster, at the northern edge of Los Angeles County.
PG&E proposes lithium-ion battery projects to replace Oakland fossil fuel plant
Utility Dive - April 16
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is tapping into two lithium-ion battery storage projects — totaling 43.25 MW/173 MWh — to address reliability needs in the Oakland area, the utility said in an application filed with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) this Wednesday. The projects are part of the Oakland Clean Energy Initiative, a "first-of-its-kind" utility-community choice aggregator collaboration aimed at promoting clean energy alternatives in the region, and replacing a 165-MW jet fuel power plant that's been in operation for 40 years. The projects are part of the larger shift away from traditional generation and transmission to more distributed energy resources, PG&E spokesperson Paul Doherty told Utility Dive. If approved by the CPUC, PG&E expects that they will be operational by the first quarter of 2022.
Longroad completes financing for Little Bear Solar projects
Solar Industry Magazine – April 8
Longroad Energy, a U.S.-based renewable energy developer, owner, and operator, has reached financial close and started the construction of Little Bear Solar – comprising four separate projects totaling 215 MW in Fresno County. Two Danish pension funds, PKA and PenSam, represented by their investment manager, AIP, say they are investing in 50 percent of the equity interests of both Little Bear Solar and Prospero I Solar, a 379-MW DC project in Andrews County, Texas. Little Bear consists of four separate projects selling energy and RECs to Marin Clean Energy under 20-year busbar PPAs.
Land managers finish environmental review for New Mexico wind farm
KYMA – April 14
Federal land managers have completed an environmental review for a proposed 100-MW wind farm near the Arizona-New Mexico border. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says anyone with concerns about the Borderlands Wind project has until May 11 to file a protest. Residents are already raising issue with the farm’s potential impact on their property values and their unobstructed natural views, as well as concerns about how wind turbines will affect eagles and other native species. The Borderlands Wind project will include 34 turbines on more than 24 square miles of federal land along central Arizona’s eastern border. The wind farm would provide electricity to customers of Tucson Electric Power.