U.S. solar installations soared by 46% in the first quarter
CNBC – June 15
In the first quarter, solar installations soared 46% to more than 5 GW, according to a report by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie and the industry trade group Solar Energy Industries Association. The United States is on track to install 24.4 GW this year, an increase of nearly 24% over last year. The report reflects both robust demand from utilities and corporations seeking to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals and declining costs for the technology that has made it competitive with power generated from fossil fuels. The impact of the supply chain squeeze will be more evident when the industry reports its second-quarter results, SEIA President Abigail Ross Hopper said in an interview.
California walking a ‘tight rope’ as hydropower supply fades
Bloomberg – June 15
Low water levels in key reservoirs mean that hydropower supplies are declining in the western U.S. One of the hardest hit areas is California, where output has tumbled to the lowest in more than five years. Nationally, the U.S. Energy Information Administration predicts electricity generation from conventional hydro sources will drop about 11% this year from 2020. With less hydropower, the challenge of meeting peak demand may get even tougher, especially in California. Over the past three years, the state has depended on hydro for almost 13% of its electric power, according to Brianna Lazerwitz, an analyst at BloombergNEF.
PacifiCorp proposes wind, solar, battery and transmission projects across western states
Wyoming Tribune Eagle – June 16
Nearly 3,250 MW of new, low-cost, clean energy resources including solar, wind, batteries, and transmission to interconnect those resources to PacifiCorp’s multi-state grid, could join PacifiCorp’s rapidly decarbonizing system by 2024. Under the proposals, about half of the power could come from Wyoming wind, according to a press release. This is in addition to the plan to replace a retiring coal-powered plant with a nuclear facility.
Solar concentration startup Heliogen basks in $108M of new funding
Tech Crunch – June 15
Heliogen has raised more than a hundred million dollars to test its 1,000-degree high-tech concentrated solar technique at a few participating mines and refineries. The company’s technology is intended to replace fossil fuels and other legacy systems in many applications where such temperatures are required, for example mining and smelting operations. Beyond mining and smelting, the technique could be used to generate hydrogen in a zero-carbon way.
'Wall to wall' solar plants on the way in Kings County
Hanford Sentinel – June 10
This month the Kings County Planning Commission approved three huge but modified solar projects that will sprawl over the westside of the county — all part of the huge Westlands Solar Park project. Westlands Solar Park is a master-planned solar complex covering 21,000 acres in west-central Kings County. The 2018 Westlands Solar Park master plan calls for a total of 12 solar power generating facilities to be developed in a period of 12 years. The installed capacity of each solar farm near the Fresno/Kings county lines is planned to be up to 250 MW.
PG&E replaces traditional powerlines with remote microgrid in high fire-threat area
T&D World – June 11
Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) recently marked the commissioning of its first hybrid renewable standalone power system, built and installed by BoxPower Inc. The remote grid permanently replaces the overhead distribution powerlines that once served a handful of customers in a High Fire-Threat District area of the Sierra Nevada foothills outside Yosemite National Park, improving reliability and significantly reducing wildfire risk. The Briceburg system uses solar combined with battery energy storage and backup propane generation.