Facebook has procured more than 3 gigawatts of electricity from solar and wind plants since 2013, including more than 2,500 megawatts within the past year. It is second only to Google in the sheer scale of its purchases, based on data collected by the Rocky Mountain Institute Business Renewables Center. What’s more, the social media giant is behind the biggest single set of corporate power purchase agreements (PPAs) announced so far in 2018, a series of six solar projects that will generate 437 MW of electricity from two projects near its data center in Prineville, Oregon, and four installations planned by PacifiCorp in Utah . . . The company has invested considerable energy, so to speak, in negotiating with utilities. For example, the company was involved in shaping a tariff adopted by the Omaha Public Power District in Nebraska last year. Read more here.
OPPD BLOG Power Purchase Agreements, by Jason Kuiper, The Wire Currently, OPPD utilizes PPAs for the output of five wind farms: Grande Prairie, Prairie Breeze, Flatware, Petersburg, as well as Sholes, which is under construction. Also, OPPD has signed power sales agreements with NPPD for the partial output of five other wind farms. Those farms are Ainsworth, Broken Bow 1, Broken Bow 2, Crofton Bluffs and Elkhorn Ridge. The normal term of OPPD’s PPAs is 20 years. The new community solar project near Fort Calhoun is under a PPA, with NextEra Energy Resources.
Ohio business community backs 2.2 GW of Ohio solar, PV Magazine Five prominent firms with operations in Ohio are endorsing a report advocating 2.2 gigawatts (GW) of solar for Ohio by 2030, lending their corporate logos in support. Reaching 2.2 GW of solar in Ohio would involve $3.6 billion in investment, and “sustain 800 direct jobs and over 1,700 indirect and induced jobs each year,” said the report, and would boost the state GDP by $1 billion per year.
Widespread deployment of EVs, heat pumps, and other electric technologies could increase U.S. electricity consumption by nearly 40 percent by mid-century, according to a new government report. The report, the second in the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s Electrification Futures Study series, analyzes the demand-side impacts of a transition to electricity in transportation, residential and commercial buildings, and industry through 2050. Read morehere.
ENERGY STORAGE NEWS
9 out of 10 doctors recommend residential solar+storage, PV Magazine GTM Research projects that residential batteries and other energy storage systems will be coupled with solar in 9 of 10 storage deployments by 2023. Additionally, the firm projects that residential solar power costs will fall below $2/W by this date.
Declining Battery Storage Costs Raise Questions About the Role of Natural Gas, Clean Energy Group. There are more than 1,000 peakers currently in operation across the U.S. Most of these are powered by natural gas, and many of them are located in communities already burdened by poor air quality and public health issues. Because peak events often don’t last very long, typically no more than a few hours, batteries are well-suited to step in as a peak demand resource (they’re already being widely deployed to manage customer peak demand).
Solar Is at the Forefront of Corporate Advertising, Solar Energy Industries Association Think solar isn’t popular? Just turn on your TV! Solar energy has taken over media campaigns in the past decade as many companies are looking to build a more sustainable brand. The rise in popularity of solar power and renewables has driven these organizations to make clean energy the centerpiece in multi-million dollar advertising campaigns.
The community dedicated to the animals at Lee’s Summit Animal Control extends beyond the staff and volunteers who meet their needs. Advocates and activists focused on the long-term future of the shelter help ensure it can continue to care for more than 4,000 animals a year. 18-year-old Zach Burton is one of those activists.
In 2016, Burton approached city officials with a plan to promote green energy in Lee’s Summit through a solar power project. Burton has worked with the city, architects and energy professionals over the past two years to bring his project to fruition at Lee’s Summit Animal Control. Read more here.
Photo: The 96 solar panels at the shelter will reduce energy expenses by over $135,000 over the course of 25 years.
CORPORATE NEWS Global Tech Giant Fujitsu Commits To 100% Renewable Electricity And Invests In Clean Energy Technologies, The Climate Group. IT giant Fujitsu has joined RE100 with a commitment to source 100% renewable electricity by 2050, with an interim target of 40% by 2030. Alongside investments in renewable energy technology, Fujitsu is also investing in its people. The company has been actively conducting seminars and events with an environmental focus for employees around the world. By educating staff on clean energy, Fujitsu aims to raise global awareness of renewable power.
CPS Energy sees storage as key element of energy transition, American Public Power Association. San Antonio, Texas-based public power utility CPS Energy is pursuing a so-called “Flexible Path” approach to energy, one that incorporates new energy storage technology to guide its ongoing transition from fossil fuels to renewables. “We want to look into new technology, innovation,” says CPS spokesman John Moreno. “We want to reduce our dependence on coal.”
FAYETTEVILLE — Driving down the costs of solar power is the goal for Yue Zhao, a University of Arkansas, Fayetteville assistant professor receiving up to $2.7 million in support from the U.S. Department of Energy . . . Zhao earned a bachelor’s degree from Beijing University in China, then in 2014 earned a doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Read morehere.
Photo: Yue Zhao, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
Solar panels let church shine light before others —with a smaller bill, WPSD CARBONDALE, IL — More churches are doing what they can to reduce their carbon footprint. First Christian Church of Carbondale has become the second church in the southern Illinois city to install solar panels. First Christian Church of Carbondale leaders said they chose to go solar not only to save money, but to save the Earth.
CMS Energy Announces Two New Wind Energy Parks JACKSON, Mich., June 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — CMS Energy today announced the addition of two new planned wind energy parks to its portfolio that will produce up to 250 megawatts of clean, renewable energy.
Double-Sided Solar Panels Are Taking Off in China, Renewable Energy World China is expected to jump-start the market for panels that can absorb light on both sides with plans to install 2.7 GW this year, according to research from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Other regions may add as much as 200 MW in 2018, and the global market may reach 15 GW by 2020. A typical nuclear reactor has about 1 GW of capacity. Standard solar panels have a mostly aluminum backing. The so-called bi-facial panels remove most of the aluminum from the bottom, exposing the semiconducting material so it can produce electricity from light that hits it on either side. (See Solar Examples: Custom Solar Canopy and Henry Doorly Zoo Solar Shade Canopy for examples of local projects utilizing bifacial solar panels).
One of the largest barriers to solar adoption on a wide scale is the wealth gap, and it will require more problem-solving than a mandate to overcome it. A new report released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) shows that nearly half (42 percent) of all the United States’ residential rooftop solar technical potential (see pg. 15 for definition) is on the dwellings of low-to-moderate income (LMI) households, representing 330 GW of potential solar capacity — a number the researchers admitted was much higher than they expected at the outset.
“Understanding the potential size of the LMI market in detail offers new insights and opportunities to serve these communities,” said David Mooney, executive director, Institutional Planning, Integration and Development for NREL. “The potential electric bill savings from the adoption of rooftop solar would have a greater material impact on low-income households compared to their high-income counterparts.” Read morehere.
NREL Photo: PV installed on low-income housing development in Denver, Colorado
$1 trillion by 2030 – ACORE lays out a US pathway, PV Magazine American Council on Renewable Energy launched a new campaign that aims to reach $1 trillion in U.S. private sector investment in renewable energy and enabling grid technologies by 2030.
Public power utilities and the electric grid must evolve with global trends, says Kelly, American Public Power Association. Kicking off the American Public Power Association’s National Conference in New Orleans, La. on June 18, Sue Kelly, president and CEO of the Association, urged public power utilities to heed three global trends to consider how to serve customers in the future. The three trends she highlighted were Amazon, connection, and socialization.
Aspen Electric’s 100% renewables just keeps looking better and better, Mountain Town News In 2005, with [Randy Udall, then director of the nonprofit called Community Office of Resource Efficiency] representing Aspen, the city struck a deal with the Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, or MEAN. This deal gave Aspen access to MEAN’s wind farm near Kimball, Neb., as well as MEAN’s other wind-based resources and a small bit of landfill gas. In turn, MEAN became the balancing authority for Aspen, ensuring it gets wind-generated energy when it needs it but does not leave the city utility on the hook for unneeded electricity. This has been crucial to achieving the city’s goal of 100 percent renewables.
New Jersey Is Now The United States’ Hottest Clean Energy Economy, by Mike O’Boyle and Barbara Blumenthal for Forbes. Mike is Electricity Policy Manager at Energy Innovation. Barbara is Research Director at New Jersey Conservation Foundation. When Governor Murphy recently signed a landmark clean energy bill into law, New Jersey reclaimed the national policy leadership it abdicated during years of stagnation under the Christie Administration, and jump-started the state’s clean energy economy. The state is now a member of the exclusive “50×30” club that includes New York, Hawaii, California, and Vermont as the only states requiring 50% renewable energy by 2030 (Colorado and Iowa may reach that mark through voluntary utility leadership).
No longer does UNL use a coal-fired power and heating plant built at 14th and W streets in 1930 (now the site of the City Campus utility plant), giving the university an advantage over the University of Iowa, University of Illinois and others within the Big Ten still generating electricity on their campuses and expanding their carbon footprint. UNL instead purchases 100 percent of its electricity to power lights and computers, charge cellphones and run other equipment through Lincoln Electric System, which in turn buys power from the Southwest Power Pool and Western Area Power Administration. Read the entire articlehere.
Poor People’s Campaign takes on economic justice, Jefferson City News Tribune Ameren Missouri outlined a plan in September to spend more than $1 billion and add at least 700 megawatts of wind energy generation in Missouri and neighboring states by 2020. The Poor People’s Campaign called for power companies to build more renewable energy sources.
Monmouth explores renewable energy partnership, Daily Review Atlas MONMOUTH — The City Council on Monday approved a five-month study on the feasibility of a partnership with a renewable energy company. Bluestem Energy of Omaha, Nebraska, presented to the City Council Monday night about a potential partnership for wind and solar energy generation.
By Paul Ciampoli, American Public Power Association News
The American Public Power Association is urging the Department of Energy to reject a request by FirstEnergy Solutions that the Secretary of Energy issue an emergency order requiring PJM Interconnection and, by extension, electricity consumers in the PJM region, to provide “full cost recovery” for certain merchant generating plants in PJM. Such a request is unjustified, the Association said in its April 9 submittal to the DOE. FirstEnergy Solutions has neither demonstrated the existence of an emergency that would support action by Secretary of Energy Rick Perry under Federal Power Act section 202(c), nor shown that its requested relief is reasonable, the public power group argued. At issue is a March 29 request made by FirstEnergy Solutions, on behalf of certain of its subsidiaries (collectively, FirstEnergy), with the DOE. Continue reading here.
Muncie couple promotes solar panels throughout Indiana, The Daily News
A retired Ball State University married couple John Vann, retired marketing professor, and Carolyn Vann, retired biology professor, are taking their knowledge of sustainability and clean energy to the forefront of East Central Indiana to help households procure solar energy for their own properties. They are working to help Hoosiers obtain discounted panels.
ENERGY STORAGE NEWS
Of potential interest, especially for Nebraska solar installers: The customer has spoken – 74% want energy storage, PV Magazine USA EnergySage’s latest Solar Marketplace Intel Report shows solar shoppers are interested in batteries as well. Additionally, buyers have become hardware focused, pushing flexibility and efficiency.
The U.S. electricity sector is eyeing the developing electric car market as a remedy for an unprecedented decline in demand for electricity. After decades of rising electricity demand, experts say the utility industry grossly underestimated the impact of cheap renewable energy and the surge of natural gas production. For the first time ever, the Tennessee Valley Authority is projecting a 13 percent drop in demand across the region it serves in seven states, which is the first persistent decline in the federally owned agency’s 85-year history. Read morehere.
By Kelsey Misbrener, Associate Editor, Solar Power World
“The overwhelming majority of employers are having difficulty hiring, and then a majority of those are saying it’s costing them—costing them money, costing them jobs. They’re turning down jobs because they just can’t find qualified workers,” said Tim Olson, who wrote The Solar Foundation’s2017 Solar Training and Jobs Report, a report funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative. “Difficult hiring isn’t just unique to the solar industry,” Olson said. “You look at a lot of other skilled labor and general manufacturing positions in the U.S. and there is relatively high difficulty hiring right now—the unemployment rate is hitting all-time lows.” Click hereto read more.
Photo: Mountain View Solar in Maryland collaborates with a local community college on a summer internship program.