California power shortfall forces sweeping review of grid reliability strategy
S&P Global – August 21
In an August 19 letter to Governor Gavin Newsom, the heads of the California Public Utilities Commission, California Energy Commission, and California Independent System Operator committed to a sweeping reconsideration of how the nation's largest state economy can keep its lights on as it continues to advance an aggressive decarbonization agenda. That includes covering 60% of all retail sales with renewable energy by 2030, up from an estimated 36% in 2019, and 100% carbon-free retail power by 2045: a transition that puts in jeopardy natural gas generation, which accounted for roughly 60% of 2020 summer on-peak capacity on the California ISO system. The agencies will re-examine California’s demand forecasting process, resource adequacy requirements, assumptions about resource capabilities, procurement plans, and demand response programs.
ESA adopts new 100-GW target for U.S. energy storage capacity
PV-Tech – August 25
The U.S. Energy Storage Association (ESA) has adopted a target of 100 gigawatts of energy storage capacity in the U.S. by 2030, a capacity it said would help facilitate greater penetration of renewables. The figure, which serves as an upgrade on a previous target of 35 gigawatts by 2025, was described by chief executive Kelly Speakes-Backman as “entirely reasonable and attainable.” But, Speakes-Backman added, reaching such a goal would require the “right policies and regulatory frameworks” to be in place. That policy environment has been described in detail within a vision paper, also released this week.
Groups challenge FERC’s PURPA rule, accuse commission of ‘actively discouraging’ small power facilities
Utility Dive – August 24
Several organizations challenged federal regulators’ July final rule on the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) in protests filed last week. Protesting parties said the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s final rule disadvantages small generation projects that qualify for PURPA payments by eliminating the ability of a qualifying facility to enter into long-term, fixed contracts. Parties that filed a request for rehearing include SEIA, a coalition of public interest organizations, and wind power developer One Energy.
ReneSola to expand U.S. PV pipeline by 200 MW
reNEWS – August 25
ReneSola has signed an agreement to acquire solar projects and other assets from an undisclosed U.S.-based developer. The transaction will expand ReneSola’s project pipeline by 200 megawatts. The acquisition provides ReneSola with access to utility projects and development activities in a number of states, including Pennsylvania, California, New York, Maine, Illinois, and Arizona, and will also add an experienced solar project development team to ReneSola's.
Lake Elsinore hydroelectric project would threaten sacred land, Pechanga tribe says
The Press-Enterprise – August 25
The Pechanga Band of Luiseño Indians of southwest Riverside County is protesting the proposed Lake Elsinore Advanced Pumped Storage Project (LEAPS), citing threats to sacred tribal land. LEAPS, first proposed in the late 1980s, would consist of a 200-foot-high dam above Lake Elsinore and a 500-megawatt, underground power plant with turbines in the Cleveland National Forest. Water would be pumped from the lake to a man-made reservoir when demand for electricity is low, with water flowing back to the lake when demand is high. In 2017, Nevada Hydro submitted a new LEAPS application to FERC, which had rejected the project in 2011. On August 4, Riverside County supervisors approved written comments to FERC that question the need for LEAPS and call for a more rigorous environmental review.
Goldman Sachs unit buys 150-MW solar and storage project in California
Renewables Now – August 21
Goldman Sachs Renewable Power has acquired the 150-megawatt High Desert Solar project under development in San Bernardino County from asset management platform Middle River Power for an undisclosed amount. The project consists of a 100-megawatt solar photovoltaic plant and a 50-megawatt battery storage facility. It has in place a 15-year power purchase agreement with Clean Power Alliance for its entire generation, resource adequacy, and ancillary attributes, starting in August 2021.
The Texas battery storage boom
PV Magazine – August 26
In what has become the summer of battery storage, California has stolen most of the headlines. But the spotlight is now shifting to Texas, where more than 300 megawatts of storage capacity have gone into development or construction in the last week. Construction of the 100-megawatt Chisholm Grid battery energy storage system in Fort Worth began this week. The project is being developed by Able Grid Energy Solutions, MAP Energy, and Astral Electricity and is set to begin commercial operations in mid-2021.