Amid massive wildfires, rolling blackouts, and the continued threat of large-scale grid outages, California is shifting more than $100 million of its $1.2 billion Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) budget to help low-income communities install about 100 megawatts of stalled behind-the-meter battery projects. The shift won’t tap the $613 million in SGIP funds earmarked for low-income and medically vulnerable customers at highest risk of fire-prevention power outages. Instead, last Thursday’s decision from the California Public Utilities Commission will shift $108.5 million from SGIP’s under-subscribed large-scale storage budget. That money will help fund some of the $306 million in projects in low-income and disadvantaged communities that applied for SGIP funds this year, applications that outstripped the existing $53 million “equity budget” available to them.
A nonprofit nuclear power advocacy group in California has called on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to review California regulators' decision to approve the retirement of Pacific Gas & Electric's Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in 2025. Californians for Green Nuclear Power filed a complaint with FERC on October 26 alleging that the California Public Utilities Commission, California Independent System Operator, California State Water Resources Control Board, and California State Lands Commission violated mandatory reliability standards when they approved "the voluntary plan to retire [Diablo Canyon] in 2025 without first properly analyzing the adverse bulk electric system and adverse bulk natural gas system consequences." FERC set a November 16 deadline for comments, protests, and motions to intervene in the complaint proceeding.
A second phase of offshore wind development is about to get underway in the U.S., starting in Maine, a state that sees its energy future built on a new type of wind turbine. It is one that can float in deeper waters and that may be built more cheaply than existing wind turbines being constructed or planned along most of the U.S. East Coast. One of the main beneficiaries of what are called “floaters”—turbines that are held by mooring lines attached to anchors in waters deeper than 160 feet—will likely be the U.S. West Coast, where California and Hawaii are planning wind farms and Oregon and Washington are expected to follow. The major type of offshore turbines built in Europe and just beginning to rise along the East Coast are installed in shallower waters on fixed foundations that may be too expensive to build in deeper waters. But floaters, which have the added cost-saving advantage of being assembled in nearby ports and then towed out to sea.
NV Energy has issued a request for proposals (RFP) to add new renewable energy projects to its portfolio. The RFP seeks solar, geothermal, wind, biomass, and biogas technology projects that are compliant with Nevada’s existing renewable portfolio standards. This announcement follows the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada’s December 2019 approval of 1,190 megawatts of new solar energy and 590 megawatts of battery storage to be built in Nevada and serving customers by 2024.
The city of Bakersfield is embarking on a new solar power energy plan it expects will save millions of dollars over the next two decades. The City Council voted to approve a series of agreements during its meeting last week that allow the city to install solar power equipment and LED lights at nine facilities across Bakersfield. Officials say the new equipment will allow the city to cut down on the roughly $6 million per year it spends on utilities. In the first year alone, the city expects to save about $1.1 million, and projections estimate the city will save $45 million over the next 20 years.
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California is moving ahead with plans to build microgrids at three water treatment plants and a pumping station. The water district’s board on October 13 approved the projects, a move needed to nail down $10.3 million in incentives from the California Public Utilities Commission’s Self-Generation Incentive Program. The water district plans to use the batteries and solar facilities as core microgrid components so the water treatment plants and pumping station can keep operating during a public safety power shutoff event or other grid outage, according to the memo. The projects include three 1 MW/4 MWh battery systems and a 0.5 MW/2 MWh system.