Renewable Energy Update - June 2018 #2

by Allen Matkins
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Residential solar capacity additions to remain flat in 2018

GREENTECH MEDIA - Jun 12 After a year of 15 percent contraction from 2016, the residential sector will remain flat through 2018, according to the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. While a flat year is better than a decline for the industry, the challenges in the residential sector indicate developers and installers have not entirely overcome growing pains in the market. California was responsible for 40 percent of the residential market in 2017. It was also hit with 50 percent of the total 475-megawatt loss last year. Its residential market dropped 19 percent over 2016. However, the state’s new rooftop solar mandate, which requires all new homes in California to install solar panels, has set the state’s market to grow exponentially in coming years.

Led by Boston, U.S. mayors plan large-scale renewables initiative

SOLAR INDUSTRY MAGAZINE - Jun 7 Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh has announced plans to issue a request for information (RFI) for competitive pricing of large-scale renewable energy projects for U.S. cities. According to the mayor, the RFI will compile energy demand data across participating U.S. cities and ask renewable energy developers for price estimates for projects that would meet the collective demand. Boston is working with partner cities to compile the collective energy load data for the RFI, including Chicago; Evanston, Ill.; Houston; Los Angeles; Orlando, Fla.; and Portland, Ore. Each of these cities is part of the Climate Mayors network, representing more than 400 cities and 70 million people.

Despite protests from Navajo miners, Central Arizona Project approves power deal

AZCENTRAL - Jun 7 The board of directors overseeing the Central Arizona Project (CAP) canal last Thursday approved two deals for power to partially replace what they expect to lose next year when the embattled Navajo coal plant near Page closes. One of the power deals approved Thursday will result in the construction of a 30-megawatt solar plant somewhere along the canal, which will sell power to CAP for just 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, one of the cheapest contracts of its kind.

Court upholds lease extension for California nuclear plant

ELECTRIC LIGHT & POWER - Jun 14 A California appeals court has upheld a lease extension for California's only nuclear power plant. A division of the 2nd District Court of Appeal this Wednesday rejected claims that the State Lands Commission should have conducted a thorough environmental review before deciding whether to extend the lease of the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo County.

NV Energy 2.3-cent solar contract could set new price record

UTILITY DIVE - Jun 13

A new solar energy contract proposed by NV Energy could set a price record for the resource in the United States. On June 1, NV Energy filed for approval of a 300-megawatt power purchase agreement with the Eagle Shadow Mountain solar project at $23.76/MWh for 25 years. That price beats a $24.99/MWh contract signed this month in Arizona that GTM Research says was the lowest-cost solar contract in the nation. Eagle Shadow is part of an NV Energy proposal to add 1 gigawatt of renewables and 100 megawatts of energy storage. That plan must still be approved by regulators and is contingent on Nevada voters not approving a retail choice ballot initiative.

Oregon beehive solar project draws opposition

BLUE MOUNTAIN EAGLE - Jun 8 A farmland conservation group, 1,000 Friends of Oregon, is challenging the conditional use permit for a 73-acre solar project in Clackamas County before the state’s Land Use Board of Appeals. Clackamas County approved the permit from Steve Schmitt and Pacific Northwest Solar LLC last month, finding the solar facility will not preclude the property’s use as a commercial agricultural enterprise. The project developer proposes keeping about 100 honeybee colonies at the site while cultivating “bee-friendly forage” around the solar panels and “shade resistant native plants” beneath them. Under Oregon’s land use law, solar power facilities can be no larger than 12 acres without an exception to the statewide goal of preserving farmland. The project developer estimated the apiary will generate $75,000 per year but opponents claimed the actual revenue would be about 80 percent lower. Despite these differences, the hearings officer was convinced the apiary qualified as a commercial agricultural enterprise. Meanwhile, the Oregon Board of Agriculture is also asking state land use regulators to consider issuing emergency rules in reaction to the project.

New offshore wind project planned for California

THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE - Jun 11 Following its recent entry into Taiwan, German energy company EnBW has now expanded its activities to the U.S. with the formation of a joint venture with Trident Winds to develop an offshore wind project off the coast of central California. EnBW North America and Trident Winds, based in Seattle, have formed a joint venture to advance the 650–1,000 megawatt Morro Bay offshore wind project off the central coast of California. The wind farm will be the first commercial-scale project for floating offshore wind in the U.S. and is expected to be operational by 2024.

sPower signs PPA for 100MW of California solar

PV-TECH - Jun 8

Solar developer sPower has signed a 22-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with CleanPowerSF for a 100-megawatt solar project in Lancaster. CleanPowerSF is a community choice aggregator managed by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, serving the city and county of San Francisco. sPower’s San Pablo Raceway Solar Project is expected to be commercially operational in 2019 and generate enough renewable energy to power over 87,000 average San Francisco households.

California Energy Commission approves $10M for college and airport microgrids

MICROGRID KNOWLEDGE - Jun 14 The California Energy Commission (CEC) yesterday approved about $10 million in grants for local microgrid projects, the final stage in a competitive process underway to distribute about $50 million in microgrid funds to various projects throughout the state. The CEC allotted the Sonoma County Junior College District about $5 million for a microgrid that will meet 40 percent of the electricity needs at the Santa Rosa Junior College campus. The commission also approved $5 million for the Humboldt State University Sponsored Programs Foundation, which is developing a community-scale renewable energy microgrid at the Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport.

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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