BLM says it will approve largest U.S. solar farm
Los Angeles Times – January 1
Federal officials plan to approve a massive solar farm with energy storage in the desert outside Las Vegas, paving the way for a $1-billion project that will provide electricity to Nevada residents served by billionaire Warren Buffett’s NV Energy. At 690 megawatts across 7,100 acres, the facility would generate more power than the largest solar farm currently operating in the United States, a 579-megawatt plant in Southern California. The energy storage component — at least 380 megawatts of four-hour lithium-ion batteries, capable of storing solar power for use after dark — would also be one of the largest facilities of its kind. The so-called Gemini project will be on federal lands and thus requires sign-off from the Interior Department. The department’s Bureau of Land Management released a final environmental impact statement in late December, indicating that the agency would approve the project after one last round of public comments, likely within 90 days.
CleanPowerSF and EDF sign PPA for Maverick 6 Solar Project
Solar Industry Magazine - December 23
EDF Renewables North America has signed a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with CleanPowerSF for a 100-megawatt tranche of the Palen Solar site known as Maverick 6 Solar Project. The project is scheduled to come online by the end of 2021. The Palen Solar site encompasses multiple solar projects located in Riverside County on 3,140 acres of federal lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
California is looking for better energy storage to realize clean energy goals
Utility Dive – January 6
The California Energy Commission is putting up to $11 million on the table for developers of energy storage technologies other than lithium-ion batteries, according to a solicitation launched last month. The agency is looking for one group of projects based on emerging customer-side storage technologies and a second to focus only on customer-side electrolytic hydrogen storage. Applications are due by February 4. The solicitation is largely driven by California’s 100 percent clean energy statutory requirement and the need for a diverse set of longer-duration storage technologies, Jason Burwen, vice president of policy at the Energy Storage Association, told Utility Dive.
Carlsbad-Solana Beach-Del Mar community choice energy program set to launch in 2021
The San Diego Union-Tribune – December 20
The Clean Energy Alliance, a community choice energy (CCE) program, adopted a resolution in late December to submit an implementation plan with the California Public Utilities Commission that will create an alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric when it comes to purchasing power sources for customers in Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Carlsbad. The Clean Energy Alliance aims to start serving customers in May 2021. The program is expected to offer its approximately 58,000 customers a default option initially consisting of 50 percent renewable energy sources and a greener, alternative choice made up of 100 percent renewable power.
Google and NV Energy propose major solar-plus-storage project in Nevada
PV-Tech – January 9
Nevada utility NV Energy and Google are proposing a major solar-plus-storage facility outside of Las Vegas, in a deal billed as the largest battery-backed solar corporate agreement in the world. Nevada Power Co., a subsidiary of NV Energy, filed the proposal in December with Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission. While the length of the proposed power purchase agreement and project load capacity were redacted from the public filing, market intelligence firm S&P Platts this Wednesday reported a 350-megawatt solar plant backed by a 250-280-megawatt battery storage system. The energy will power Google’s $600 million Henderson data center near Las Vegas, which is scheduled to start operations in mid-2020. If approved, the solar-plus-storage facility would be commissioned by late 2023, according to the filings. A pre-hearing conference for the Google power procurement deal will be held on January 23.
Glendale will get a piece of landmark solar, battery storage project
Los Angeles Times - December 24
Glendale will be getting a small piece of one of the country’s largest and cheapest forthcoming solar and battery energy storage projects. Los Angeles is the primary and only other participant in what’s known as the Eland project, slated to be developed and operated by 8minute in eastern Kern County by late 2023. In December 2019, Glendale City Council members voted to purchase a 12.5 percent share of a complex that will house solar panels and lithium-ion batteries in the Mojave Desert. The 25-year sales agreement with Southern California Public Power Authority will provide the city with 25 megawatts of solar energy and up to 18.75 megawatts of battery storage, according to a Glendale city report.
Blue Lake Rancheria tribe’s microgrid helped neighboring communities during power shut-offs
The Press Democrat – January 2
The Blue Lake Rancheria tribe in California’s Mad River Valley has constructed a microgrid on its 100-acre reservation, which operates as part of the broader utility network or completely independent of it. During the widespread power shut-offs in October, aiming to reduce the risk of wildfire, the tribe’s multimillion-dollar investment in its power system glowed. The tribe transformed a hotel conference room into a newsroom so the local paper could publish. It used hotel guest rooms to take in eight critically ill patients from the county’s Health and Human Services Department. The reservation’s gas station and mini mart were among the only ones open. The Blue Lake Rancheria served more than 10,000 people during the day-long outage, by some estimates, roughly 8 percent of Humboldt County’s population.