California Considers Pumped Hydro in Pursuit of Bigger Batteries

A backup of potential energy source has sprung to life deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Renewable Energy World reported.

According to the report, the huge system of reservoirs and turbines can store energy during the day and then generate electricity for 900,000 homes by utilizing just water and gravity.

Officials of the California state wanted to make wind and solar work full time, but such projects are quite expensive and face challenges and opposition.

The said drive by California and other states to revive “pumped hydro storage” emphasizes the limitations of modern batteries. Facilities such as the one in the Sierras can produce far more electricity than anything made by Tesla Inc.

The Project Manager for a proposed pumped storage facility near San Diego, Neena Kuzmich said, “It is not as glamorous as a battery, but it is a tried and true technology that provides the volume that we need.”

The report also stated, “California’s goal to get 100 percent of its electricity from carbon-free sources by 2045 will require an unprecedented amount of energy storage. lithium-ion battery installations produce a few hundred megawatts of electricity at most. The 35-year old plant in the Sierras – PG&E Corp.’s Helms Pumped Storage facility – can deliver more than 1,200 megawatts at a clip.”

BloombergNEF Storage Analyst Yayoi Sekine said, “They provide a great level of flexibility and are essentially a massive battery. The challenge for pumped hydro is the very high capital costs and long development times.”

However, environmentalists in California are bashing pumped storage projects not only for their effect on the wild but also for the excessive use of water.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has proposed transforming the Hoover Dam into a massive pumped storage facility while the San Diego County Water Authority intends to establish a reservoir uphill from a present one in order to develop a storage system.

Learn more about this report by reading the full article here.

Construction for 7MW Community Solar Farm in New York Begins

The US Light Energy recently held a launch ceremony making public the beginning of the construction of its newest community solar farm.

The Sugar Hill Solar Farm, which will be installed on 40 acres of land on the Sugar-Hill / Sugar-View Farm in Clifton Park, New York, is reportedly the first community solar farm in the region.

Renewable Energy World also reported on its website that the 7-megawatts ground-mounted solar project will include approximately 20,000 solar modules. The report also mentioned that the project is anticipated to generate over 8.6 million kilowatt-hours of clean energy when it becomes fully operational in the coming months.

Being a part of New York’s Community Solar Program, the electricity produced at the Sugar Hill Solar Farm can be distributed to customers anywhere in the current distribution system of the National Grid without the need for rooftop solar panels. The customers are also expected to cut nearly 10 percent of their electricity bills. The commercial and residential properties situated in Clifton Park will have 30 days lead time to subscribe before the solar energy produced by the farm would be available to the general public.

The President and CEO of Standard Solar, the company which will own and manage the community solar farm, Scott Wiater stated, “This project is the perfect first step in building our New York portfolio of community solar projects. We believe community solar is the future of the industry, and US Light Energy is leading the way in developing innovative projects. We congratulate them and the state of New York on this momentous occasion.”

Meanwhile, the Manager of the Central Division, National Grid, Michael Pilawa said, “National Grid looks forward to working together in the development of this project and getting interconnected to our distribution system.”

To know more about the project, follow the story here.

Duke Energy Florida Announces Building Three Battery Storage Projects

Duke Energy Florida (DEF) has recently announced its plans of building three battery storage projects totaling to 22 megawatts. According to the company, the projects are expected to enhance the overall reliability and aid vital services during power outages.

An article published on the website of Renewable Energy World stated that the DEF can make full use of the versatility of battery technology as the grid manager and operator. Doing so can lead to various customer and electric system benefits such as balancing energy demand, managing intermittent resources, increasing energy security, and deferring traditional power grid upgrades.

Here are some details of the three projects as mentioned in the article:

  • The 11-megawatt Trenton lithium-based battery facility will be located 30 miles west of Gainesville in Gilchrist County
  • The 5.5-megawatt Cape San Blas lithium-based battery facility will be located approximately 40 miles southeast of Panama City in Gulf County
  • The 5.5-megawatt Jennings lithium-based battery facility will be located 1.5 miles south of the Florida-Georgia border in Hamilton County.

A representative from Duke said that it is still too early to give the MWh rating for each of the three projects. The representative added that the company has design ranges in consideration but plans to competitively bid the engineering, procurement, and construction for each.

The company’s spokesperson added, “While Duke Energy does not have a specific cost for each individual project yet, the settlement agreement allows for $2,300 per KW for the 50 megawatts program.”

Duke Energy Florida State President Catherine Stempien further said, “These battery projects provide electric system benefits that will help improve local reliability for our customers and provide significant energy services to the power grid.”

“Duke Energy Florida will continue to identify opportunities in battery storage technology which will deliver efficiency improvements to our customers,” she continued.

Aside from the expansion of its battery storage technology and solar investments, the company is also investing in transportation electrification to support the growing U.S adoption of electric vehicles (EV), 530 EV charging stations, and a modernized power grid to deliver different reliable energy solutions that the customers need.

Follow this link to read the full story.

Rhode Island Utility Commissioners Approve 20-Year Renewables PPA Joint Venture

The state regulators of Rhode Island had recently approved a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) for the power generated and delivered by an offshore wind joint venture of Orsted and Eversource Energy.

According to a report published on the website of the Renewable Energy World, the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission had collectively approved the Power Purchase Agreement with utility National Grid for 400 megawatts in wind power capacity from the Revolution Wind Project. The report added that project developer DWW Rev 1 is a joint venture of Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind and New England utility Eversource.

The CEO of Orsted U.S. Offshore Wind and President of Orsted North America, Thomas Brostrom, stated, “We are ready to get to work to deliver dramatically more offshore wind energy, jobs, and energy savings to Rhode Island. We are proud to be Rhode Island’s partner in a project that builds upon the success of the Block Island Wind Farm to now truly transform the state’s energy future.”

The work on local construction on Revolution Wind will start as early as 2020 once all the permits are ready and in-hand. The offshore installation is expected to start in 2022 while the project is targeted to start operation by 2023. The report also indicated that the offshore oceanographic and geophysical survey work started last year.

Eversource Executive Vice President for Enterprise Energy Strategy and Business Development Lee Olivier, said, “Rhode Island is making tremendous strides in achieving the state’s ambitious clean energy goals. With Revolution Wind set to deliver a quarter of the state’s total electric load, offshore wind is now poised to become a major component of the state’s energy mix.”

The project would be consisted of approximately 50 turbines installed in federal waters between Montauk, New York, and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Connecticut had also chosen an estimated 300 megawatts from Revolution Wind in a PPA.

Know more about this new project by reading the article here.

Largest Floating Solar Power System Construction Begins in California

The Town of Windsor and Ciel & Terre officials have recently announced the start of the construction of the largest floating solar array in California. The floating solar power system will be situated on the Town’s biggest recycled water storage pond. It is also anticipated to satisfy 90 percent of the Town’s water treatment and pump facilities’ requirements.

Renewable Energy World reported on its website that the Ciel & Terre solar installation will be made up of 4,959 (360 watts) high-output solar panels which are installed on top of the firm’s Hydrelio floating solar racking system. The company finances the development and construction of the said floating solar project.

The system will deliver around 90 percent of the Windsor Wastewater Reclamation Facility’s needed power while cutting approximately 30 percent of the electricity cost according to the present grid service of the facility.

The project is under a 25-year lease and Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) between Ciel & Terre and the Town of Windsor and is expected to provide clean energy on a discount. It will enable the Town to manage its electricity costs amidst the rising costs of utilities.

The Representative Director for Ciel & Terre USA, Inc., Eva Pauly-Bowles, stated, “By entering into a PPA, the Town can substantially reduce its energy overhead without any investment. Floating solar is becoming an attractive energy alternative for municipalities seeking to reduce operating costs and preserve valuable land for other developments.”

Meanwhile, the Town of Windsor Public Works Director Toni Bertolero said, “Our water reclamation and corporation yard facilities currently account for 40 percent of the Town’s greenhouse gas emissions. The installation of this new floating solar array will reduce our reliance on energy-polluting sources by estimated metric tons of CO2 per year, a significant step to achieving our Climate Action Plan emission reduction goals.”

The floating solar array reportedly will cover only 22 percent of the pond’s water surface area. It will not affect the biology of the pond and is expected to lessen water loss from evaporation and suppress algae growth.

To read more about this news, click this link.

DOE Announces $6.6M Funding for Hydropower Projects

The United States Department of Energy has recently announced through its Water Power Technologies Office that it is now accepting applications for hydropower projects in the country.

The funding is reportedly amounting to $6.6 million and is included in the latest round of government support under section 242 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT), Renewable Energy World reported.

In order to support various efforts in boosting and satisfying the country’s rising needs for electricity, the EPACT framework aids the establishment and development of renewable energy systems and advancements in energy conservation and technologies that are energy efficient. Under the latest round of this funding from the DOE, qualified facilities will be chosen based on the number of kilowatt-hours generated last year.

The article mentioned that according to DOE, “Hydropower is an important renewable energy resource in the United States, yet tens of thousands of dams across the country do not produce power. Adding generation equipment to these sites could add up to 12 gigawatts of new hydropower capacity to the grid and using existing dam infrastructure can lower construction costs and reduce permitting time – meaning hydropower is added to the grid faster.”

In the previous round where qualified facilities were selected based on their generation in the calendar year 2017, the DOE awarded $6.6 million in funding to 37 selected applicants that came from 15 different states in the country.

Pertaining to the 2017 fund recipients, an article published on DOE’s website stated, “Recipients had developed new projects on existing water infrastructure or upgraded and increase the efficiency of existing hydropower projects. All resulted in the generation of additional low-cost energy from hydropower.”

In DOE’s point of view, hydropower is well-positioned to provide essential grid services as more renewable energy sources such as wind and solar come online. Through using the present structures, hydropower operators or owners can bring in new electricity onto the grid with less impact on the nearby environment.

Applications for the funding is set on June 20, 2019.

Know more about the funding program here.

How wind and solar became America’s cheapest energy source

In late 2009, as America was clawing its way from the worst recession in 80 years, fiscally pressured local and state governments were doing everything they could to slash costs. That included cutting back on clean-energy initiatives. Here’s how the New York Times described the case of Durango, Colorado, a town of 18,000 in the southwest part of the state:

But for many other groups, even green-minded ones, the higher price of clean electricity has caused soul-searching and hesitation. Early this year, the city government of Durango, Colo., stopped buying renewable power from its utility, saving $45,000 a year. The clean electricity had cost 40 percent extra.

Ten years later, nearly one-third of Colorado’s electricity comes from renewable sources, the state’s biggest utility is moving to entirely carbon-free energy, and its voters have elected a governor who promised to set the most aggressive clean-energy standard in the nation.

That story is mirrored in dozens of other states, where consumers have demanded cheap power and corporations have moved into clean-energy projects in droves. Behind this shift is not just increasing environmental awareness, but simple economics. The price of renewables has been dropping exponentially—and shows no sign of reversing.

Rapid price drops

In most of the U.S. today, it’s cheaper to build a new solar or wind farm than to simply keep an existing coal plant running. Most of those cost decreases have happened just in the last 10 years, to the surprise of some energy analysts.

Part of this is technological improvement—solar panels and wind turbines have gotten steadily more effective at generating power. But most of it is economies of scale, said Rushad Nanavatty, principal at the Business Renewables Center at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a sustainability think tank.

“When renewables get cheaper, we buy more, and then they get even cheaper and we buy even more,” Nanavatty said. “When you’re talking about wind and solar, the cost declines are driven mainly by manufacturing volumes and the cost declines that come with it.”

Read full article here.

ENGIE, EDP Ink MoU Creating New Global Offshore Wind Venture

ENGIE and EDP have recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to establish a co-controlled 50/50 joint venture in fixed and floating offshore wind.

In a press release published on the website of ENGIE, EDP CEO and EDPR Chairman Antonio Mexia and ENGIE CEO Isabelle Kocher, announced that the new entity will be the “exclusive vehicle of investment of EDP, through its subsidiary EDP Renewables (EDPR), and ENGIE for offshore wind opportunities worldwide.” The joint venture also aims to become one of the top 5 global players in the field by bringing in the industrial expertise and development capacity of the two companies.

Under the MoU, both companies will integrate their offshore wind assets and project pipelines, starting with a total of 1.5GW under construction and 4GW under development. The goal is to reach between 5GW to 7GW of projects in construction or operation and approximately 5GW to 10GW for advanced development by the year 2025.

The press release also mentioned, “For EDP and ENGIE, offshore wind energy is becoming an essential part of the global energy transition, leading to the market’s rapid growth and increased competitiveness. The companies believe that creating an entity with greater scale and a fully dedicated team, with global business development reach and strong power purchase agreement origination capabilities, will allow them to grow their asset base more rapidly and to operate more efficiently assuring a stable partnership.”

ENGIE CEO Isabelle Kocher stated, “We are delighted to announce this strategic alliance in offshore wind with EDP that we have been partnering with since 2013. The offshore wind sector is set to grow very significantly by 2030. The creation of this JV will enable us to seize market opportunities while increasing our competitiveness on one of our key growth drivers, renewables. This agreement is also fully aligned with ENGIE’s zero-carbon transition strategy.”

Meanwhile, EDP CEO and EDPR Chairman Antonio Mexia expressed, “This agreement for wind offshore represents an important step in EDP’s renewables strategy. We are fully committed with the energy transition and a more sustainable future, as per the ambitious goals communicated in our strategic update. We are confident that this partnership will reinforce our distinctive position in renewables allowing us to accelerate our path in offshore wind, one of the key growth markets in the next decade.”

To read the complete press release, follow this link.

Community Solar Projects Made Available to Customers in Minnesota, California

CleanChoice Energy recently revealed it will open an additional 20.51 megawatts of community solar capacity for Xcel’s residential customers.

Renewable Energy World reported that the new capacity is being supplied by 15 solar farms owned and managed by AltusPower America in different locations in Minnesota. With over 85 megawatts of solar capacity, CleanChoice Energy is the biggest community solar provider in the state.

According to the company, the capacity serves adequate community solar subscription for more or less 3,550 residents in Minnesota. The community solar program in the state enables the residents to acquire a “share” of the solar farm and get credits on their utility bill which is equivalent to the amount of solar electricity that their share generated. Xcel receives the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) or environmental attributes.

The CEO of CleanChoice Energy, Tom Matzzie, stated, “Community solar represents the best opportunity to expand renewable energy in Minnesota. The state is the national leader for community solar, and these new farms mean thousands of additional Minnesota residents can participate in this great program. Community solar makes it easy for Minnesotans to go solar and save money.”

Meanwhile, Southern California Edison has announced that it has signed CharedSolarCA to its Community Renewables Program which will enable business and residential customers to benefit from solar energy without the need of installing it directly on their facilities.

With the said program, customers can sign up with SharedSolarCA in order to receive solar energy I kilowatt-hour blocks depending on their electricity use. They would then receive a bill from the company for the portion of solar energy they signed up to take. The SCE gives the customers a credit on their bill which is based on the portion of the project’s solar energy output that the customers have acquired.

The report also mentioned that the renewable energy acquired through the Community Renewables Program is Green-e Energy certified, which means it abides with the environmental and consumer protection standards set forth by the Center for Resource Solutions.

Read the latest developments about these stories here.