WoodMac: Large-Scale Solar Holds Cost Edge Despite ITC Stepdown, Coronavirus Impacts

By Colin Smith, Greentech Media

Voluntary procurement of utility solar remains the top driver of U.S. utility PV in  development, according to Wood Mackenzie. WoodMac defines voluntary procurement as procurement based solely on the economic competitiveness against other energy sources of electricity generation. 

Procurement of utility solar by corporate off-takers currently ranks second overall. However, the share of RPS-driven solar, which is procured to help utilities meet zero carbon or renewable energy mandates, has also grown and represented 28 percent of PPA contracts signed in the first half of 2020. Continue reading here.

Colin Smith is a senior solar analyst at Wood Mackenzie and contributor to the Solar Data Hub.

Photo by Beyond My Ken / Wikimedia Commons

HYDROGEN

  • NextEra Energy Sees Hydrogen As A Zero Emissions Alternative To Natural Gas, CleanTechnica. NextEra likes to conduct small experiments with new technologies to see whether it is cost effective, and then it goes big if the trials are successful. That’s what it did with solar panels. It now plans to install 30 million of them by 2030. Early tests of battery storage were completed successfully, which led to the decision to construct the Manatee battery facility. Now the company has its eye on another technology that may help it eliminate all emissions associated with the electricity it provides to its customers — hydrogen made by electrolysis using renewable energy that would otherwise be “clipped” or curtailed.
  • Who Will Own the Hydrogen Future: Oil Companies or Power Utilities?, Greentech Media
    Utilities NextEra, Iberdrola and Uniper have all launched recent forays into green hydrogen, challenging a sector dominated by oil companies.

ORPHAN OIL & GAS WELLS & GREEN JOBS

Let’s Hire Laid-Off Oil and Gas Workers to Fight Climate Change, by Michael R. Bloomberg, Bloomberg Opinion. Plugging a single abandoned well can cut its methane emissions by 99%, according to the EPA, and the work requires skills that oil and gas workers already possess. Yet despite the best efforts of state regulators, most abandoned wells — more than 2 million — remain unplugged. A federal program to plug so-called “orphan” wells could create as many as 120,000 well-paying jobs, while preventing hundreds of thousands of tons of greenhouse gases from escaping into the atmosphere. 

DOMINION

TRI-STATE GENERATION & TRANSMISSION ASSOCIATION

United Power’s battle: why it matters, Brighton Standard-Blade
United Power is one of 45 members that make up Tri-State, a co-op that supplies power to service territories in Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming.

“SOLAR-FOR-COAL SWAPS”

Electric co-ops lead growing wave of early coal plant retirements with ‘solar-for-coal swaps’, PV Magazine. A new white paper from Energy Innovation, an energy policy firm, suggests that one way to speed up the process may be found in the “solar-for-coal swaps” that a small number of U.S. electric cooperatives have successfully completed. As the name implies, the main idea here is for a utility to swap out power from aging coal plants for solar generation. Private sector financing for the swap allows the coal plants to be bought and then retired ahead of schedule.

ANOTHER PUBLIC-WORKER PENSION SYSTEM INVESTING IN RENEWABLES

As Activists Push NJ to Divest from Fossil Fuels, State Turns to Green-Energy Fund, New Jersey Spotlight. New Jersey’s public-worker pension system is committing up to $100 million in assets to a private-equity fund that will invest solely in renewable-energy infrastructure projects around the globe. The investment in the Stonepeak Global Renewables Fund is the pension system’s first large-scale foray into backing renewable-energy production.

SOLAR PLUS STORAGE

EDF, NV Energy sign power contract for one of the world’s largest solar-plus-storage projects, PV Magazine.The two firms have a 22-year power purchase agreement for the electricity generated by the upcoming Chuckwalla solar farm, which will have a rated capacity of 200 MW solar and 180 MW/720 MWh storage.

OFFSHORE WIND

Floating Offshore Wind on Cusp of Unlocking Big Source of Finance, Experts Say. Greentech Media Non-recourse finance is the largest source of funding for offshore wind, and lenders are becoming more comfortable with floating turbines.

PLUGIN VEHICLES

Tesla = 19% of Global Plugin Vehicle Market, by CleanTechnica
According to data from EV Volumes, Tesla was #1 in terms of plugin vehicles sold globally and had nearly 3 times as many sales as #2 Volkswagen, or just slightly more than #2 Volkswagen plus #3 BMW plus #4 BYD. Overall, as the title states, Tesla took home 19% of the world’s plugin vehicle sales in the first half of 2020.

EV CHARGING INFRASTRUCTURE

100% Renewable Energy For 2,700 New EV Fast Charging Stations In USA, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica. The renewable energy angle is an important one for EV charging because it enlists drivers in the broader transition away from fossil fuels. As it stands today, EV drivers who charge from the grid may still be getting their power from coal or natural gas. Fast charging companies that insist on 100% renewable energy gather thousands (and soon, millions) of individual EV drivers into a powerful force that accelerates the demand for wind and solar.

GLOBAL RENEWABLE ENERGY GROWTH

Renewable Energy Growth Continues At A Blistering Pace, Forbes
Renewables were the only category of energy that grew globally at double digits over the past decade. For perspective, in 2009 the world consumed 8.2 exajoules of renewable energy. In 2019, that had nearly quadrupled to 29.0 exajoules.