Renewable Energy Update - July 2018

Allen Matkins
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California slashes emissions, hits major greenhouse gas goal years early

SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - Jul 13 In a major win for California’s fight against global warming, the state appears to have hit its first target for cutting greenhouse gases — and it reached the goal early. Data released Wednesday by the California Air Resources Board show that the state’s greenhouse gas emissions dropped 2.7 percent in 2016 — the latest year available — to 429.4 million metric tons. That’s slightly below the 431 million metric tons the state produced in 1990. And California law requires that the state’s emissions, which peaked in 2004, return to 1990 levels by 2020. The emissions drop in large part reflects California’s fast-rising use of renewable power. Solar electricity generation, both from rooftop arrays and large power plants, grew 33 percent in 2016, according to the air board. Imports of hydroelectric power jumped 39 percent as rains returned to the West following years of drought. Use of natural gas for generating electricity, meanwhile, fell 15 percent.

California’s cap-and-trade air quality benefits go mostly out of state

UC BERKELEY NEWS - Jul 10 During the first three years of California’s 5-year-old cap-and-trade program, the bulk of the greenhouse gas reductions occurred out of state, which means that state residents did not see the benefits of improved air quality from presumed reductions in harmful co-pollutants, such as particulate matter, according to a new study led by UC Berkeley and San Francisco State University researchers. The study assessed emissions and environmental-equity patterns of greenhouse gases and associated air pollutants between 2011 and 2012, before the start of California’s cap-and-trade program, versus from 2013 through 2015, after carbon trading began.

Fearing climate change, experts in San Diego warn U.S. nuclear industry faces collapse

THE SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE - Jul 7 The United States is on the verge of losing more than half of its low-carbon energy as the fight against climate change reaches a critical point, according to findings recently published by researchers at UC San Diego, Harvard University, and Carnegie Mellon University in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Facing economic competition from cheap natural gas, the country’s aging fleet of nuclear power plants, the authors warn, could see a significant number of retirements in coming years. The country now has a choice to abandon nuclear power altogether or embrace the next generation of smaller, more cost-effective reactors, according to the report. However, the researchers argue, the second option is very unlikely as it would require accelerating the regulatory review process and a sizable infusion of public cash.

California bill would make it easier to develop clean energy microgrids

MICROGRID KNOWLEDGE - Jul 9 California lawmakers are considering a bill that would make it easier to develop clean energy microgrids and prohibit those that use certain fossil fuels. Now in the Assembly Appropriations Committee, Senate Bill 1339 passed the Senate in a 29-8 vote in late May and underwent revision in committee on July 5. The legislation would prohibit utilities from issuing permits for any microgrids that use diesel backup or gas combustion, while boosting clean energy microgrids via utility tariffs and streamlined interconnection and permitting.

Projects

PG&E proposes world’s biggest batteries to replace South Bay gas plants

GREENTECH MEDIA - Jul 2 California utility PG&E wants to prove that massive batteries can replace gas peaker plants and save ratepayers money. The company asked regulators to approve four energy storage plants to provide local capacity for the South Bay/Moss Landing sub-area. The request includes two of the largest battery systems ever proposed: a 300-megawatt/1,200-megawatt-hour project by Vistra Energy and a 182.5-megawatt/730-megawatt-hour project from Tesla. Besides breaking the record for storage capacity — currently held by Tesla’s 100-megawatt system in Australia — this procurement will test a pivotal question in California’s effort to decarbonize the electric grid.

APS seeks partners to bring battery energy storage to solar plants

ELECTRIC LIGHT & POWER - Jun 29 Arizona Public Service (APS) issued a request for proposals to equip existing APS solar plants with battery storage. This RFP is a part of APS’ plan to add up to 500 megawatts of energy storage to its system over the next 15 years. These batteries will bring more clean energy to APS customers when they need it most, by storing an abundance of mid-day solar and re-distributing it at peak times of customer usage later in the day. APS wants energy storage projects that can be in operation by June 2020.

8minutenergy completes two phases of Mount Signal 3 solar project

SOLAR POWER WORLD - Jul 11 8minutenergy Renewables has energized phases 1 and 2 of the 328 megawatt-dc Mount Signal 3 solar photovoltaic project in the city of Calexico in California’s Imperial Valley. The project is part of the 800-megawatt Mount Signal Solar Farm, which is among the largest PV installations in the world. With full commissioning of the plant underway, 8minutenergy expects to bring Mount Signal 3 to commercial operation by the end of 2018.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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