Renewable Energy Update - September 2017 #3

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

Solar industry roiled by trade ruling that some fear could lead to tariffs

Washington Post - Sep 22 The U.S. solar industry was roiled on Friday by a unanimous ruling in a much watched international trade case that industry leaders say could cause immense damage if it leads to steep new tariffs on imported crystalline silicon solar cells. The bankrupt Georgia-based solar company Suniva joined forces with Oregon-based SolarWorld to petition the U.S. International Trade Commission for relief earlier this year, saying that it could not compete against cheap imported solar panels and asking for a floor on their prices. While U.S. based, Solar World is owned by a German firm and a majority of Suniva is owned by Shunfeng International, a Chinese company which has opposed the petition filed by Suniva’s restructuring officer. The ITC, after considering the petition, ruled 4-0 Friday that solar cells “are being imported into the United States in such increased quantities as to be a substantial cause of serious injury, or threat of serious injury, to the domestic industry.” It will now proceed to deliberate on what the remedy should be.

Storage gets boost as 100% renewables, grid expansion fail in California

Utility Dive - Sep 19 California’s legislative session ended last Friday with passage of several energy-related bills, but an effort to make it the second state in the union with a 100 percent renewable energy target was not approved. SB 100, which would have put California on track for a 100 percent renewable portfolio standard by 2045, failed to pass, as did AB 726 and AB 813, which would have paved the way for an integrated western energy market and power grid. Among the bills that passed was SB 801, which directs the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to de-emphasize gas-fired generation and put a greater reliance on renewable resources. It also directs the utility to determine by June 1, 2018, the cost effectiveness and feasibility of deploying a total of 100 megawatts of energy storage. Several bills passed that impose tougher standards on oil and gas operations such as refining and production.

Berkeley Lab examines U.S. utility-scale solar trends

Solar Industry Magazine - Sep 20 The utility-scale solar sector has led the overall U.S. solar market in terms of installed capacity since 2012. In 2016, the utility-scale sector installed more than 2.5 times as much new capacity as did the residential and commercial sectors combined, and it is expected to maintain its dominant position for at least another five years, according to a new report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). While focused on key developments in 2016, the Berkeley Lab report explores trends in deployment and project design, installed project prices, operating costs, capacity factors, and power purchase agreement prices among both utility-scale photovoltaic and concentrating solar thermal power projects throughout the U.S.

Morgan Stanley and Citigroup say they will run on 100% clean energy

Renewable Energy World - Sep 21 Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Inc. announced they will get all of their energy from renewables in a few years, another show of corporate support for climate action running counter to President Donald Trump’s view on the issue. The New York-based banks are aiming for their operations to be carbon-neutral, Morgan Stanley by 2022 and Citigroup by the end of the decade, according to separate statements from the companies. Both plan to buy power from clean energy projects.

S.F. school district hopes to phase out fossil fuels by 2040

San Francisco Examiner - Sep 21

The San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) is expected to join the city in tackling climate change with a resolution that aims to phase out fossil fuels by 2040. The resolution, sponsored by Board of Education Commissioner Matt Haney and Vice President Hydra Mendoza-McDonnell, will go before the Budget and Business Services Committee today for analysis and, if approved, move to the full board for vote. If passed, the resolution will put SFUSD on track to making school district-owned buildings carbon neutral (meaning they emit little or no carbon dioxide by switching to renewable energy sources, such as solar panels) and all new SFUSD-owned vehicles emissions free by utilizing electric motors or low carbon fuel alternatives.

German firm plans 1,600-acre local solar project

Hanford Sentinel - Sep 21 The Central Valley’s Westside continues to get new large solar farm applications, including two projects totaling near 400 megawatts in Fresno County - both in the Westlands Water District. On land leased from the Woolf family, the county is processing an application to build a 1,600-acre solar project near the Kings/Fresno county line. E.ON Climate & Renewables (EC&R), based in Germany, has submitted three conditional use permit applications to allow the construction and operation of a 150-megawatt solar PV generation facility, a 20-megawatt solar PV generation facility, and a 20-megawatt energy storage facility. The applicant currently operates over 9 gigawatts of renewable capacity including large hydropower projects.

Novato landfill opens plant to turn garbage into electricity

Marin Independent Journal - Sep 20 Waste Management and MCE celebrated the opening of a new $14.5 million, landfill gas-to-energy plant in Novato on Wednesday. Waste Management has installed two reciprocating internal combustion engines that will generate 3.9 megawatts of electricity 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Methane gas generated by the decomposition of organic materials stored in the landfill will power the plant. Previously, that gas was being flared. MCE, formerly known as Marin Clean Energy, has entered into a 20-year agreement with Waste Management to purchase the electricity for its customers. It is estimated the plant will generate enough electricity to service more than 5,000 MCE customers. MCE will receive bundled Renewable Energy Certificates that will allow it to classify the energy as renewable.

Alterra acquires Jawbone wind development in California

North American Windpower - Sep 18 Vancouver, British Columbia-based Alterra Power Corp. has acquired the 40-megawatt Jawbone wind development in Kern County. The Jawbone development is fully zoned for wind generation, says Alterra. Following a collaborative effort that began over a year ago, Alterra acquired the project from Jawbone Wind Energy LLC, which is principally owned by Philip and Daniel Rudnick, who will continue to work with Alterra to complete development of the project. Alterra commenced construction of the project’s main power transformer in 2016; the company expects the project to qualify for federal production tax credits at the full rate.

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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