U.S. tops EY Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index despite concern over impact of COVID-19
PV-Tech – May 19
The U.S. is ranked the most attractive country in the world for renewable investment for the first time since 2016, rising ahead of China to take the top spot in EY's Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index. The most recent edition of the report highlights that the extension of the production tax credit and record wind and solar installations have helped push the U.S. to become the leading destination for renewables investment worldwide. Despite the challenges caused by COVID-19, 2020 is projected to be a record year for renewables in the U.S., with 18.5 gigawatts of wind and 13.5 gigawatts of utility-scale solar expected to begin commercial operations.
PG&E seeks to expand energy storage capacity by more than 420 MW
Greentech Media – May 19
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has asked California regulators to approve seven battery projects totaling 423 megawatts, or nearly 1.7 gigawatt-hours of energy storage capacity. PG&E’s 2020 System Reliability Request for Offers, filed this Monday with the California Public Utilities Commission, is the second major procurement from a California utility designed to comply with the CPUC’s order for 3.3 gigawatts of carbon-free resources to help meet grid reliability needs that will arise when four natural-gas-fired power plants retire next year to reduce their environmental harm to coastal waters. PG&E’s new proposal represents a major boost to a battery fleet that’s already set to be the largest in the world. The utility’s major projects include a 300-megawatt/1,200-megawatt-hour project by Vistra Energy and a 182.5-megawatt/730-megawatt-hour project from Tesla being built near a natural-gas plant in the Monterey County community of Moss Landing.
University of California completes fossil fuel divestment
Associated Press – May 20
The University of California announced this Tuesday that it has divested from all fossil fuels, removing them from its $126-billion investment portfolio. With 285,000 students, UC becomes the largest educational system in the nation to shed such assets in favor of renewable energy such as solar and wind power. Environmental goals were included in the university’s published investment framework five years ago.
First-of-its-kind clean hydrogen plant planned for Los Angeles County
Los Angeles Times – May 19
Solena Group announced a deal this Tuesday with Lancaster officials to make hydrogen by using plasma heating technology — originally developed for NASA — to disintegrate the city’s paper recyclables at temperatures as high as 7,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Solena Group’s process has no commercial track record, and the company has not yet secured financing to build its $55-million facility in northern Los Angeles County. The city will expedite Solena’s permitting process and send the company its paper recyclables, rather than paying to dump them in a landfill. Hydrogen is typically produced from coal or natural gas, with a tiny portion of global supply produced through electrolysis, which involves splitting water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen atoms. As solar and wind power have gotten cheaper, experts have grown more optimistic about the potential to produce hydrogen through electrolysis powered by renewable energy.
Colorado firm plans 600-MW Horse Heaven Wind Farm in Washington
Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business – May 15
A 600-megawatt wind farm south of Kennewick, Washington, will employ 300 workers during construction and help cement the region’s status as the state’s center for wind energy. Scout Clean Energy of Boulder, Colorado, will apply for a conditional use permit from Benton County for its Horse Heaven Wind Farm project later this year. There are more than 3,000 megawatts of wind energy in Washington, or 1,725 turbines that represent 7.3 percent of all in-state power production, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
Blockchain-based renewables and storage initiative in Los Angeles wins $9M state grant
Utility Dive – May 19
The California Energy Commission has issued a $9 million grant to nonprofit The Energy Coalition and electricity tech firm Community Electricity for a project that aims to provide locally produced renewable energy at-scale to disadvantaged communities in Los Angeles County. The 28,000-resident Bassett-Avocado Advanced Energy Community (BAAEC) in the San Gabriel Valley will serve as the "site host" of the community-scale prototype, which will distribute energy services on a "blockchain backbone." Implementation of the $20 million project is expected to begin in June with a completion target of 2023.