Federal officials address prospects and challenges of California offshore wind development
Utility Dive – July 2
California officials and the Interior Department's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) are considering a roughly 320 square mile patch of the Pacific Ocean as possible sites for offshore wind energy development. The areas were identified by a group of stakeholders including BOEM, the U.S. Department of Defense, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. There are around 215,000 square miles of federal waters off California's coast, Jean Thurston-Keller, task force coordinator at BOEM, said at a virtual workshop held by the California Energy Commission on July 1 — but only 6% of that is available for possible offshore wind development. The central coast presents particular opportunities for offshore wind development, since it is equipped with transmission infrastructure that was built to carry deliveries from the 2,000-MW Diablo Canyon nuclear plant — which is scheduled to be decommissioned starting in 2024 — and a second retired 1,000-MW power plant.
$1.3 billion in funding proposed for energy storage R&D, demonstrations, and manufacturing
Energy Storage News – July 8
A subcommittee of the U.S. House Committee on Appropriations has approved more than a billion dollars in support for developing energy storage deployment, research, and manufacturing in a funding bill for the 2021 fiscal year. This week, the committee approved the FY 2021 Energy and Water Development Funding Bill, set to invest a total of $49.6 billion in programs to address climate change, improve infrastructure, strengthen national security, and make measures to support the revitalization of the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The bill now heads to the full committee for markup.
PacifiCorp’s IRP seeks 4.3 GW of wind, solar, and energy storage by 2023
Power Engineering – July 8
West coast electricity utility PacifiCorp has issued its largest request for renewable energy capacity ever, seeking 4,300 megawatts in solar, wind, and battery storage additions over the next three years. Oregon-based PacifiCorp is seeking competitively priced resources, which can connect into its 10-state transmission system. Its most recent integrated resource plan calls for contracting 1,823 megawatts of new solar capacity, 595 megawatts of new energy storage, and 1,920 megawatts of new wind by the end of 2023.
Residential solar installer Sunrun to buy Vivint Solar for about $1.46 billion
Reuters – July 6
Sunrun Inc. said this Monday that it will buy Blackstone-backed peer Vivint Solar for about $1.46 billion in an all-stock deal, as the residential solar installers look to solidify their market position. The deal will also help Sunrun compete better with Tesla Inc’s SolarCity in a residential solar market, which, according to the companies, has reached only 3 percent penetration in the United States. The deal, unanimously approved by the companies’ boards, is valued at $3.2 billion including debt.
Standard Solar investing $105 million in distributed generation solar projects
Solar Power World – July 7
Standard Solar has closed a tax equity commitment for up to $105 million to finance distributed generation (DG) solar projects in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, New York, and Rhode Island. The financing was secured through tax equity commitments from Fifth Third Bank, National Association, and IBERIABANK. The nine projects, a combination of community solar and traditional DG projects, are located in five states throughout the United States. Two of the projects within the portfolio have achieved operation, while the others are projected to be completed throughout this year.
Portland General Electric jumps into virtual power plant business
Greentech Media – July 2
Portland General Electric, the largest utility in Oregon, is jumping into the cutting-edge business of turning home batteries into grid resources. The company announced last week that it has received approval from regulators to link up 525 homes with solar-storage systems into a controllable fleet, often referred to as a virtual power plant. The five-year pilot will study how to optimize the use of these batteries for the grid, while ensuring the customers get what they want out of participating. The fleet of small batteries will only add up to 4 megawatts. But it could lay the groundwork for expansion under PGE’s ongoing grid modernization plan, which envisions around 200 megawatts of “distributed flexibility” to balance supply and demand.
Holstein solar project in Texas begins commercial operation
Solar Industry Magazine – July 7
8minute Solar Energy and Duke Energy Renewables say the 280-megawatt Holstein solar project in Nolan County, Texas, has begun commercial operation. Holstein is 8minute’s first solar project to come online in Texas, marking a significant milestone as the company expands its operational footprint outside of California. Much of the energy generated from the Holstein solar project will be sold through a 12-year term hedge agreement to J. Aron & Co. LLC., a subsidiary of Goldman Sachs.