ACCIONA acquires 3,000 MW in photovoltaic projects being developed in the USA

Acciona News Release

ACCIONA today announced the signature of an agreement with the US company Tenaska to acquire a portfolio of photovoltaic projects in seven states across the country. The portfolio comprises approximately 3,000 megawatts (MW) of rated power in utility-scale photovoltaic plants and 1.000 MW of battery storage. The transaction covers 20 projects located in the States of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois, Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, within the scope of the PJM Interconnection and Southwest Power Pool (SPP) markets. Tenaska – through Tenaska Solar Ventures, the company’s solar development services business – will work with ACCIONA to complete development of the projects.

The Omaha, Nebraska-based company has a robust renewables program that includes solar and wind generation in various stages of development, construction and operation. Tenaska Solar Ventures provides development services to approximately 40 projects in 11 states, totaling roughly 6,000 MW of renewable solar capacity. Read more here.

Related Article

ACCIONA buys solar + storage on a national scale, PV Magazine
The Spanish company has purchased 3 GW of solar projects and 1 GW of solar + storage from developer Tenaska, with all of the projects concentrated in non-traditional solar markets.

Previously Posted

The Midwest’s solar future will be unlike anything seen before, PV Magazine
Fitch Solutions Marco Research has boldly predicted the region will be a main driver towards the 100 GW of solar power capacity expected to hit the U.S. over the next 10 years. The procurement will be led by city and utility commitments to renewable energy, the falling costs of solar and the continued expansion of popular community solar programs.

More Regional & State Energy Transition News

Green Bonds

Green bonds lead sustainable funding past $1tn mark, PV Magazine International
In the past 12 years, green bonds have raised nearly $800 billion for investment in clean energy and other sustainability projects and companies are now pegging bond interest payments to their environmental performance.

Grid Decarbonization

Carbon-free – are we at a tipping point?, sponsored content by DistribuTECH, written by Julia Hamm, SEPA President. Published by Utility Dive. Of all the changes and industry trends I’ve witnessed over the past two decades, I believe the most significant is one we are witnessing today: voluntary utility commitments to get to 100% clean or carbon-free energy within the next two-and-a-half to three decades. 

EV News

Featured Nonprofit Energy Transition Initiative

The Just Transition Fund (JTF) is a national philanthropic initiative focused on coal community transition. The Fund supports and connects frontline communities through four key strategies.

Where JTF Works
The Fund focuses on coalfield and power plant communities. Our geographic priorities include key states in Appalachia, the West, and the Midwest. The Fund gives preference to states experiencing the largest numbers of plant retirements and to regions that contain both plants and mines.

Inside Oakland’s clean energy economy strategy

By Daniel Hamilton, Sustainability Manager, City of Oakland, GreenBiz

In my city of Oakland, California, climate change policies and programs are a core approach to creating jobs, raising wages, addressing historical inequities for women and minorities, improving the health of residents and improving the quality of life for all. In the battle for the soul of a nation, cities such as Oakland are showing that the clean energy economy is America’s best strategy for creating a prosperous and better tomorrow.

Restoring prosperity under such conditions will be a generational challenge, but offers enormous potential. The best place to start is the clean energy economy. Multiple federal, state, non-profit and research organizations have documented the impact that the transition to low carbon energy has had on jobs creation, health and lowering costs of energy. Read more here.

Referenced Initiatives

  • Building Decarbonization Coalition
    More than 50 cities in California are expected to bring forth limitations or complete elimination of natural gas systems in newly constructed buildings by early 2020.
  • CURB Analysis: Oakland became the first city in North America to use the CURB tool as a key, in-depth input to its climate planning and will share its experience as a pilot with other interested cities.

Also Posted Today on GreenBiz

With the clean economy, it’s (still) a sink-or-swim moment, by Joel Makower, Chairman & Executive Editor, GreenBiz Group

This week, as we prepare to welcome 3,000 professionals to the ninth annual VERGE conference in Oakland, California, we are both stirred and sanguine by what we see. The clean economy is taking shape, in some cases faster than anyone predicted, in other cases plodding and frustratingly slow.

Who’d have predicted back in 2011 the rapid rise of circularity among the world’s largest brands, for example, or the realization of markets to draw down greenhouse gases, profitably, from the atmosphere? That electric vehicles would become, or soon will be, the norm instead of the exception? That the built environment increasingly would rely on electricity rather than natural gas for heating, cooling and other things? That agriculture would be seen as a key to solving climate change? Or that the electrification of aviation would be in the wings?

All of these are now part of the VERGE agenda. Individually and collectively, they are emblematic of a moment as filled with potential as it is fraught with challenges. That’s what this week is about: seizing the potential, busting through barriers, upending entrenched systems, improving lives and adapting to the new normal — all in the name of creating a clean economy that works for all.

If you are unable to be with us in person, I invite you to tune in to the free VERGE Virtual livestream. See here for details. Read the entire article here.

Previously Posted Podcast

‘This May Be The Single Biggest Business Opportunity In Human History’, contributed article by Devin Thorpe, bestselling author, educator and speaker. Published by Forbes.

IEA Report

Renewable capacity set for 50% growth over next few years, IEA says, CNBC
Renewable power capacity is forecast to increase by 50% between 2019 and 2024, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said Monday. According to its “Renewables 2019” market report, the increase will amount to 1,200 gigawatts (GW) and be driven by drops in cost and what the IEA described as “concerted government policy efforts.” Overall, renewables’ share in worldwide power generation is seen growing from 26% now to 30% in 2024.

Farm practices could be a way to reduce impact of heavy rains, UNL researcher says

By Roseann Moring, Omaha World-Herald

Keep living roots in the soil to get more precipitation absorbed. That was a key takeaway from a University of Nebraska-Lincoln researcher’s deep dive into water retention practices. The Nebraska Legislature this year approved the creation of the Healthy Soils Task Force. Healthy soils are those with more carbon, or living matter, in it, said Chairman Keith Berns, a Bladen farmer who also runs a cover crop seed business. The benefits of healthy soil, he said, include being better for the environment, producing healthy food and saving money for the producer.

“It works really well and allows them to make more money but it’s also environmentally better,” Berns said. And, yes, it increases water absorption — which in turn helps prevent flooding and erosion. [Aaron Hird, Nebraska’s soil health specialist at the Natural Resource Conservation Service] said every farmer he talked to that had cover crops during this year’s flooding said those fields fared better than others nearby. And cover crops can help the soil recover from the effects of the flood, allowing production to resume faster, he said. Read the entire article here.

The above graphic was published as part of the research Andrea Basche and co-author Marcia DeLonge conducted to analyze different farming practices and soil retention. Credit: University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Related Article
Analysis IDs ag practices to fight flood, drought, by Scott Schrage, University Communication, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

About the Co-Authors
Andrea Basche is Assistant Professor of Agronomy and Horticulture at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Marcia DeLonge is Research Director and Senior Scientist, Food and Environment, Union of Concerned Scientists.

Previously Posted Articles

  • Nebraskans talk extreme weather. Just don’t call it climate change, Christian Science Monitor
  • Soil matters more than you thinkby Shauna Sadowski, GreenBiz
    A single teaspoon of healthy soil can support more microorganisms than there are people on the planet. These microorganisms play a role in unlocking the soil’s complex network of physical, biological and chemical functions, and scientists are just scratching the surface in understanding these interconnected relationships. What we do know is that healthy soil has the potential to restore ecosystems, increase biodiversity and improve water quality, among other ecosystem services. It also can draw carbon out of the atmosphere and store it underground, helping to reduce greenhouse gases. With 70 percent of sequestered carbon stored in lands directly influenced by agriculture, grazing or forest management, the food industry has a unique opportunity to tackle climate change through better soil management. 
  • How regenerative land and livestock management practices can sequester carbon, by Shauna Sadowski, GreenBiz. Developing a holistic, inclusive and outcomes-based approach to regenerative agriculture means inviting all types of farmers to the conversation and prioritizing impact measurements at the farm-level. We recognize that farmers are critical to advancing this work, and we want to do what we can to support them and advance their regenerative practices.

National / International Resources

Nebraska Resources

Nebraska Legislation
LB 243, to create a Healthy Soils Task Force, was passed by the Nebraska Legislature on April 11, 2019 by a vote of 43 to 0 and signed by Governor Ricketts on April 18th.

Featured White Paper
Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming, The Rodale Institute

The white paper from the Rodale Institute found developing tests to measure carbon sequestration is the best chance for quantitatively showing the amount of regenerative agriculture needed to actually help the climate. The trials will find the best ideas and offer support networks for farmers who are already working on regenerative models. “With the use of cover crops, compost, crop rotation and reduced tillage, we can actually sequester more carbon than is currently emitted, tipping the needle past 100% to reverse climate change,” Mark Smallwood, executive director of Rodale Institute, said in the report.

Upcoming Webcast
GreenBiz – Natural Climate Solutions: Tap into the Opportunities, November 12, 2019, 10 to 11 am.

Facebook and Google: Utilities Must Take Lead on Grid Decarbonization

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Utilities, not green-minded corporations, need to lead on decarbonizing the grid, said executives at Google and Facebook. Corporate procurement now ranks among the top drivers of large-scale U.S. renewables purchases. But it’s not the long-term answer to clean energy deployment, the technology executives said Thursday, speaking at an event hosted by the American Council on Renewable Energy. They’d rather see large market shifts than an emphasis on voluntary corporate renewables goals. Google and Facebook are currently the nation’s largest corporate buyers of renewable power in 2019 and among the largest in the world. Read more here.

Google Photo: Data center operators are driving demand for renewable power around the world. 

Additional Recommended Reading

Corporate leaders: It’s time to lead on climate policy, by Mindy Lubber, CEO and president of the nonprofit Ceres. At this vital moment in the global climate crisis, corporate leadership on climate policy is a top priority. This week, I joined ten other executives of leading nonprofit organizations in an open letter calling on corporate CEOs to use their voice, their global platforms, their credibility, and their networks to support a policy agenda to get us to net-zero emissions by 2050. That is the goal that scientists say is necessary to limit global warming and avoid unprecedented damage to our planet, our economy and our communities. 

Ceres is one of the cofounders of We Are Still In, a coalition of more than 3500 investors, companies, mayors, governors, college presidents and other leaders committed to U.S. action on climate change.

RE100 Update: 204 influential businesses, including Google and Facebook, have made a commitment to 100% renewable energy. A growing number of RE100 members also are driving their global supply chains to transition to clean energy.

REBA: Google and Facebook are also members of the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA). REBA’s goal is to catalyze 60 gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy by 2025, and expand the number of organizations buying clean power from dozens today to tens of thousands. REBA’s Vision & Initiatives.

Recommended Viewing
What is REBA?, Two-minute video by REBA on Vimeo.

With 10% penetration, EVs could shift all residential peak load to night, analysis of SoCal Ed finds

By Robert Walton, Utility Dive

Electric vehicles have the potential to act as virtual power plants that can help utilities soak up midday renewable energy and discharge in the evenings to reduce peak load, according to a study from Jackson Associates released Wednesday. The analysis, based on 5,000 Southern California Edison (SCE) customers’ hourly loads, commuting behavior and “potential electric vehicle (EV) ownership,” concluded that at a 10% EV penetration, the batteries could shift the utility’s entire residential peak load to nighttime hours.

Over 20 million EVs are expected on U.S. roads by 2030 — a rapid increase from the 1.26 million on the road as of June, according to a Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) report released this month. “[U]tilities need to plan ahead to minimize grid impacts” of growing EV adoption, the group concludes. Read more here.

 Photo Credit: Flickr; National Renewable Energy Lab

ALSO IN THE NEWS

IEA Bags US$67 Million Contract For 130-MW Wind Farm In Iowa

By Saif Bepari, Technology Magazine

Speaking on the announcement, JP Roehm, Chief Executive Officer, IEA, said that the Richland project validates Iowa’s ongoing and strong commitment towards wind energy. Iowa has already made some substantial progress by installing nearly 9,000 megawatts, while more than 1,100 additional megawatts are currently under construction in the region. Read more here.

Previously Posted IEA News Release, August 6, 2019
Infrastructure and Energy Alternatives, Inc. Announces $98 Million Wind Construction Project in Nebraska, Globe Newswire. The award is for construction of the Milligan 1 Wind Farm in Saline County in southeast Nebraska. This is a 300-megawatt project that is expected to provide enough energy to power up to 115,000 homes. The power generated by the project’s planned 99 turbines will be delivered into the Southwest Power Pool electrical grid. Work on the Milligan 1 project is scheduled to begin in September with full operation by November 2020.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

ABIGAIL ROSS HOPPER POST

Why America’s Top Businesses Are Also Leading on Solar Energy, SEIA Blog

FEATURED OP-ED

It’s time to value DER in resource adequacy
In this op-ed for pv magazine, Craig Lewis of Clean Coalition argues for a greater role for distributed energy resources to mitigate future power shortages and grid instability.

NEW STUDY

NREL engineer on the ‘grand challenges’ of supersizing wind power on the grid, Energy News Network. Wind energy is growing at a fast pace, with various forecasts projecting it will supply between one-quarter and one-third of the world’s electricity by 2050. The potential could range up to half if scientists and engineers can resolve three big challenges, according to a new review study published this month in the journal Science. 

COMMERCIAL SOLAR MARKET

5 Observations on the Commercial Solar Market, contributed article by Richard Walsh, Greentech Media. There’s more capital chasing solar assets than there are quality projects available, giving developers their pick of partners, the author writes. Richard Walsh is managing partner at Madison Energy Investments, a platform that develops, owns and operates distributed generation projects within the commercial and industrial and small utility-scale sectors.

GREEN HYDROGEN

Getting Real Serious About Renewable Hydrogen In Real America, CleanTechnica

CIRCULAR ECONOMY NEWS

5 emerging jobs in the circular economy, GreenBiz
The circular economy is celebrated as a trillion-dollar opportunity beginning to penetrate industries around the world. There’s no sector or region left untouched by the potential for reinventing systems, products and services in a fashion that ultimately creates no waste and even regenerates natural systems. At least that’s the hope among evangelists of circularity, notably the Ellen MacArthur Foundation alongside many hundreds of corporations aligned on various ambitious circular goals.

WIND WILDLIFE RESEARCH FUND

Funding innovation to support science-based solutions: The Wind Wildlife Research Fund, Into the Wind, AWEA Blog. This is a guest post from Kyle Boudreaux, NextEra Energy Resources and Chair of the Wind Wildlife Research Fund Advisory Council.

NEGATIVE WHOLESALE POWER PRICES

Strong wind power in the US Midwest today means wholesale prices are below zero, Electrek
The Plains states are seeing strong, steady winds today that are keeping the wind turbines turning, so wholesale power prices have fallen below zero. Negative electricity rates are becoming more common as utilities incorporate solar and wind power with no fossil-fuel costs. This will only increase as the US reduces coal consumption and builds more green energy sources.

Op-ed: Natural gas vs. renewable energy — beware the latest gas industry talking points

Written by Derrick Z. Jackson, Publisher, Environmental Health News

Two groundbreaking reports from the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) found that America has reached “a historic tipping point” where “combinations of solar, wind, storage, efficiency and demand response are now less expensive than most proposed gas power plant projects,” and will undercut the operating costs of existing gas plants within the next 10 to 20 years. Bloomberg New Energy Finance says that by 2030, “new wind and solar ultimately get cheaper than running existing coal or gas plants almost everywhere.”

An analysis by Lazard Asset Management found that the range of unsubsidized levelized costs of onshore wind and utility-scale solar to be below that of natural gas. The federal Energy Information Administration has estimated that by 2023, the levelized cost of producing power by onshore wind and solar, will be considerably cheaper than natural gas ($36.60, $37.60 and $40.20 per megawatt hour respectively for each energy source). Read the entire op-ed here.

Derrick Z. Jackson is on the advisory board of Environmental Health Sciences, publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate. He’s also a Union of Concerned Scientist Fellow in climate and energy. This post originally ran on the UCS Blog.

EV NEWS

Electric buses for mass transit seen as cost effective, by Peter Maloney, American Public Power Association

Coal retirements in Indiana could be hastened by 2.6GW of wind, solar and energy storage

By Tom Kenning, Energy Storage News

US utility Northern Indiana Public Service Company (NIPSCO) has issued request for proposals (RfPs) for a mix of technologies across solar, energy storage, wind and others to meet requirements for extra power generation identified under its Integrated Resource Plan (2018 IRP). The Merrillville-headquartered company is one of seven utilities of NiSource Inc. and serves close to half a million customers in the northern part of Indiana. It currently has 2.9GW of generation capacity spread across coal, gas and hydropower. It now plans to divest away from coal assets, with a plan to retire most of this capacity by 2023, largely driven by calls from the local community to reduce pollution. Earlier this year a NIPSCO executive said that renewables are so cheap that it may now be able to retire its coal plants earlier than expected. Read more here.

Image credit: Flickr/Joe Passe

ALSO IN THE NEWS

NEW STUDY

US ‘green economy’ generates $1.3 trillion and employs millions, new study finds, CNBC
The green economy is driving growth and job creation in the United States, but as the rest of the world catches up, the U.S. will have to enact new and supportive policies to remain competitive, a new study from University College London found.

OPPD proposes changes that focus on large-scale utility solar

By Jason Kuiper, The Wire

OPPD President and CEO Tim Burke said the new generation, the details of which would become clearer after requests for proposal are answered, is needed in light of a changing generation and customer landscape.

At their November meeting, the board could approve a final recommendation and authorize management to negotiate and enter into contracts. The stakeholder process, where customers can provide feedback on the proposal, will be open until Nov. 8 at oppdlistens.com.
Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading & Viewing 

Previously Posted 

  • OPPD Laying The Groundwork For A Bright Energy Future, OPPD News Release, June 20, 2019
    Initiatives will include a long-term study to address the long-term balance of load generation, along with decarbonization options for the district’s generation mix. Vice President Mary Fisher spoke to the topic, noting that the energy generation landscape is changing rapidly. Fisher said the drivers are primarily improving renewable technology, and environmental considerations around carbon emissions and climate change, “something our customers clearly care about.”
  • With new board members, Omaha utility making moves toward low-carbon future, Midwest Energy News

Data on Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Renewable Energy Versus Fossil Fuels 

  • An introduction to the state of wind power in the U.S., by Philip Warburg, environmental lawyer and former president of the Conservation Law Foundation. Published by Yale Climate Connections. As a non-carbon-emitting technology, wind power has a big environmental advantage over its leading fossil fuel competitors. Onshore and offshore wind has a life cycle carbon footprint of 20 grams or less of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour. The “cleanest” natural gas power plants – those that use combined cycle technology – produce more than 400 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour. Supercritical coal plants – the least polluting in the industry – generate close to 800 grams of CO2 equivalent per kilowatt-hour.
  • Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Solar Photovoltaics, National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Photovoltaic (PV) solar has a life cycle carbon footprint of 40 grams or less of COequivalent per kilowatt-hour.

Rocky Mountain Institute Study

Related News Story

  • The Stranded Asset Threat to Natural Gas, Greentech Media
    There are $70 billion worth of natural-gas-fired power plants planned in the U.S. through the mid-2020s. But a combination of wind, solar, batteries and demand-side management could threaten up to 90 percent of those investments. New modeling from the Rocky Mountain Institute shows that more than 60 gigawatts of new gas plants are already economically challenged by those technologies. And by the mid-2030s, existing gas plants will be under threat. How severe is the threat? Could we eventually see tens of gigawatts of stranded gas plants? RMI set out to answer that question in two reports on the economics of gas generation and gas pipelines. The tipping point is now, it concludes. 

What are “stranded assets?”

Stranded assets are now generally accepted to be fossil fuel supply and generation resources which, at some time prior to the end of their economic life (as assumed at the investment decision point), are no longer able to earn an economic return (i.e. meet the company’s internal rate of return), as a result of changes associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy.
Source: Carbon Tracker Initiative

American Public Power Association chooses Joy Ditto as next CEO

American Public Power Association News Release

Washington, D.C. – The American Public Power Association Board of Directors has appointed Joy Ditto as the organization’s new President and CEO effective January 13. Ditto will succeed Sue Kelly, who is retiring in December 2019 after a five-year term as the Association President and CEO.

“The board chose Joy Ditto to continue the legacy of outstanding leadership at the American Public Power Association because she recognizes the value of public power, understands the energy industry, and is poised to make us a stronger voice than ever in Washington DC,” said Decosta Jenkins, chair of the Association’s board of directors and president and CEO of Nashville Electric Service, Tennessee. Continue reading here.