FERC finalizes PURPA rule reforms
Power Magazine – July 16
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has finalized a long-awaited rule revising regulations that govern qualifying small power producers and co-generators under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA). FERC’s final rule issued on July 17 is the first major change to regulations it issued in 1980 under the pivotal law, which most experts agree has spurred the growth of smaller generators and played a major role in reshaping power sector business models. The final rule, which will take effect within 120 days, largely adopts measures proposed last September. Among its key provisions are granting additional flexibility to state regulatory authorities in establishing avoided cost rates for qualifying facility (QF) sales inside and outside of the organized electric markets. The final rule also grants states the ability to require energy rates (but not capacity rates) to vary during the life of a QF contract.
Speeding the transition to renewable power
Commercial Property Executive – July 16
In its Mid-Year 2020 Renewable Energy Industry Outlook, Deloitte identified slowdowns in utility-scale wind and solar energy capacity installations earlier in the year due to coronavirus-related supply chain disruptions, shelter-in-place orders, and labor constraints. Those issues led the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to lower its annual wind and solar installation forecasts down to 32 gigawatts, cutting the wind forecast by 5 percent to 19.4 gigawatts and solar forecast by 10 percent to 12.6 gigawatts. However since then, EIA has increased the combined forecast to 35.8 gigawatts in June, pushing it to 37 gigawatts by July. In its July Short Term Energy Outlook, EIA stated overall electricity generation from renewable energy sources should rise from 17 percent in 2019 to 20 percent in 2020 and to 22 percent in 2021.
SMUD aims for carbon neutrality by 2030 in new climate emergency declaration
Utility Dive – July 20
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) last week committed to delivering carbon-neutral electricity by 2030, 15 years ahead of California’s broader goal of supplying 100% of electricity from zero-carbon and renewable energy resources by 2045. There are 56 utilities in the country that have public carbon or emissions reduction goals, according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance’s utility carbon reduction tracker, while 25 utilities have committed to carbon-free or net-zero emissions by 2050. Most of them are aiming to achieve this around the 2045 to 2050 timeline, according to Natalia Mathura, principal, utility business models at the Smart Electric Power Alliance, making SMUD’s timeline particularly aggressive.
DOE supports project to tackle ‘complex and unclear’ rules for interconnecting energy storage
Energy Storage News – July 16
A new project is underway in the U.S. to tear down a significant barrier for “realizing the full benefits” of energy storage: the complexity and lack of clarity over interconnection rules across the country. The Interstate Renewable Energy Council will lead the three-year project, which aims to identify regulatory and technical barriers to interconnection of energy storage facilities to the distribution grid - including both standalone and solar-plus-storage. Supported by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar Energy Technologies Office through an agreement to cooperate, the overall aim of the Building a Technically Reliable Interconnection Evolution for Storage initiative is to reduce the soft costs associated with developing grid-connected energy storage projects.
NV Energy touts transmission projects to boost renewable resources
Las Vegas Review-Journal – July 20
NV Energy announced on Monday plans to construct two major transmission lines throughout the state to access new renewable energy resources. The effort will take 11 years and benefit customers, spur economic growth, and advance the clean energy policy objectives of Nevada lawmakers, the electric utility said. NV Energy on Monday also announced three new solar-related projects that would be built in southern Nevada and create more than 700 temporary jobs if approved by the PUC. One of the initiatives, the 150-megawatt Dry Lake Solar Project, would be NV Energy’s second and largest company-owned renewable project, the utility said.
Microsoft inks largest-ever solar PPA in the U.S. with Sol Systems
Solar Power World – July 21
Sol Systems has announced a new initiative with Microsoft that creates the first community investment fund and the company’s single largest renewable energy portfolio energy purchase agreement. The strategic initiative will help Microsoft meet its goal of shifting to 100% renewable energy by 2025. Sol Systems will finance, develop, and operate a portfolio of over 500 megawatts of solar projects in the U.S. and will sell energy from those projects to Microsoft.
Enel starts construction on Lily solar-plus-storage project
Solar Industry Magazine – July 21
Enel Green Power has started the construction of the Lily solar-plus-storage facility, its first hybrid project in North America that integrates a renewable energy plant with utility-scale battery storage. In addition to the Lily project, Enel plans to install approximately 1 gigawatt of battery storage capacity across its new and existing wind and solar projects in the U.S. over the next two years. Located in Kaufman County, Texas, the Lily project comprises a 146-megawatt AC photovoltaic facility paired with a 50-megawatt AC battery and is expected to be operational by summer 2021.