Renewable Energy Update - March 2016

by Allen Matkins
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Renewable Energy Focus

BLM issues new guidelines to streamline solar development in Western U.S.

UtilityDive - Mar 5 New guidelines from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) streamline the implementation of Solar Energy Zones (SEZs) on public lands while protecting natural, cultural, and human resources that could be impacted by solar development. One of the keys in advancing the Obama administration’s Western Solar Plan for Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah is requiring developers to pay a per-acre fee to fund off-site mitigation measures and streamline environmental review for projects within the SEZs. Along with new guidelines, BLM released final strategies for three SEZs in Arizona and one in Nevada. It also released draft mitigation strategies for three SEZs on BLM land in Colorado’s San Luis Valley and expects to have those strategies finalized this spring.

Biomass goes from golden age to the brink of demise

E&E Publishing - Mar 9 Low oil and gas prices are threatening plants that make energy from wood chips and similar biomass. From California to New York, companies are on the verge of shutting down facilities that can't compete with historically low gas prices, and the decline is prompting critics to say they've known all along that the biomass craze couldn't last. The latest potential casualty is in northern New York, where ReEnergy Holdings LLC has said it may close a 22-megawatt cogeneration plant by the end of summer if it can't secure a customer for the power generated. In California, once home to 66 biomass plants, about 30 remain in business, dashing the hopes of orchard growers looking for places to sell downed trees and branches.

Utilities look to reverse net metering decision

San Diego Union-Tribune - Mar 8 San Diego Gas and Electric and two other major California utilities Monday filed applications urging the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to hold a rehearing to vacate or make "modifications" to its decision keeping retail rate net metering in place until 2019. In January, in a tense 3-2 vote, the CPUC sided with solar backers over utilities that insist they are not trying to blunt the growth of solar power in California. Instead, utilities say the net metering system that pays rooftop solar customers for the excess electricity their systems send back to the grid is unfair to consumers who don't have solar energy systems.

San Diego Gas and Electric and two other major California utilities Monday filed applications urging the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to hold a rehearing to vacate or make "modifications" to its decision keeping retail rate net metering in place until 2019. In January, in a tense 3-2 vote, the CPUC sided with solar backers over utilities that insist they are not trying to blunt the growth of solar power in California. Instead, utilities say the net metering system that pays rooftop solar customers for the excess electricity their systems send back to the grid is unfair to consumers who don't have solar energy systems.

San Diego Gas and Electric and two other major California utilities Monday filed applications urging the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to hold a rehearing to vacate or make "modifications" to its decision keeping retail rate net metering in place until 2019. In January, in a tense 3-2 vote, the CPUC sided with solar backers over utilities that insist they are not trying to blunt the growth of solar power in California. Instead, utilities say the net metering system that pays rooftop solar customers for the excess electricity their systems send back to the grid is unfair to consumers who don't have solar energy systems.

San Diego Gas and Electric and two other major California utilities Monday filed applications urging the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to hold a rehearing to vacate or make "modifications" to its decision keeping retail rate net metering in place until 2019. In January, in a tense 3-2 vote, the CPUC sided with solar backers over utilities that insist they are not trying to blunt the growth of solar power in California. Instead, utilities say the net metering system that pays rooftop solar customers for the excess electricity their systems send back to the grid is unfair to consumers who don't have solar energy systems.

GE wants to use CO2 pollution to make huge solar batteries

Engadget - Mar 9 Two big problems have been vexing environmental scientists for decades: How to store solar energy for later use, and what to do with CO2 that's been captured and sequestered from coal plants? Scientists from General Electric (GE) could solve both those problems at once by using CO2 as a giant "battery" to hold excess energy.

Vivint Solar terminates $2.2 billion merger with SunEdison

Reuters - Mar 8 Rooftop solar panel installer Vivint Solar Inc. said this week that it had terminated an agreement under which it would have been taken over by solar energy company SunEdison Inc. after SunEdison failed to "consummate" the deal. The cash-and-stock deal, worth $2.2. billion when it was forged last July, had faced criticism from hedge funds and other investors as SunEdison's finances and share price weakened. Like other solar companies, SunEdison has been hit by the drop in oil prices, but it has also faced criticism for trying to grow too quickly through acquisitions that it could not afford.

Whole Foods teaming with NRG and Solar City to install rooftop solar at 100 stores

Los Angeles Times - Mar 8 Whole Foods Market Inc. has signed agreements with SolarCity and NRG Energy Inc. to install rooftop solar units at up to 100 stores and distribution centers. NRG, based in Princeton, N.J., will install the units at up to 84 locations in nine states, according to a joint statement from the two companies. San Mateo, Calif.-based SolarCity will install the rest. The companies did not disclose the locations of the stores that will receive the rooftop solar units, but Kathy Loftus, Whole Foods' global leader for sustainability, said the company's goal was to have rooftop solar units in every region.

Whole Foods Market Inc. has signed agreements with SolarCity and NRG Energy Inc. to install rooftop solar units at up to 100 stores and distribution centers. NRG, based in Princeton, N.J., will install the units at up to 84 locations in nine states, according to a joint statement from the two companies. San Mateo, Calif.-based SolarCity will install the rest. The companies did not disclose the locations of the stores that will receive the rooftop solar units, but Kathy Loftus, Whole Foods' global leader for sustainability, said the company's goal was to have rooftop solar units in every region.

Whole Foods Market Inc. has signed agreements with SolarCity and NRG Energy Inc. to install rooftop solar units at up to 100 stores and distribution centers. NRG, based in Princeton, N.J., will install the units at up to 84 locations in nine states, according to a joint statement from the two companies. San Mateo, Calif.-based SolarCity will install the rest. The companies did not disclose the locations of the stores that will receive the rooftop solar units, but Kathy Loftus, Whole Foods' global leader for sustainability, said the company's goal was to have rooftop solar units in every region.

NRG completes 20-megawatt solar farm in Southern California

Bloomberg - Mar 7 NRG Energy Inc. and its yieldco unit completed a 20-megawatt solar farm in Southern California. The Solar Oasis farm was built in the western Mojave Desert, five miles from Palmdale, on land mostly leased from the U.S. Air Force. It will provide enough electricity to power about 3,280 homes.

Sunworks secures $9 million in contracts for California cities, schools

Solar Industry Magazine - Mar 8 Sunworks Inc., a provider of solar power solutions, has secured approximately $9.4 million in contracts with multiple cities and schools in Northern California to establish long-term, cost-saving solar energy solutions. According to the company, these awards support Sunworks’ 2016 outlook for more than $100 million in annual revenues.

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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