Kentucky coal plant to close, latest among accelerating shutdowns By Robert Walton, Utility Dive
Source: Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA)
Coal-fired generators continue to close down, and Henderson’s power plant is only the most recent example. According to the Sierra Club, the plant is the 277th coal generator to close since 2010. And new research finds closures are accelerating.
The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) on Thursday released an analysis estimating 15.4 GW of coal-fired capacity will close this year, including 44 units at 22 plants. This year at least 11 GW have retired and the final tally is predicted to eclipse the previous record of 14.7 GW retired in 2015. IEEFA estimates another 21.4GW of coal-fired capacity will close over the next six years. Read more here.
100% RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS
Gainesville becomes the 5th city in Florida to commit to 100% clean energy future, Florida Phoenix. The city, home of the University of Florida, currently uses an average of 27 percent renewable resources. Those kinds of resources include solar panels, wind turbines and hydroelectric plants – not fossil fuels or coal. Previously, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Sarasota and Largo are the other Florida cities to commit to such a goal.
SoCal communities opt for 100% renewable electricity, Windpower Engineering Development Last week, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted to set a default of 100% renewable electricity when the county launches service through the Clean Power Alliance in 2019. Clean Power Alliance is a Southern California community choice energy provider that will procure cleaner power at lower costs than investor-owned utility Southern California Edison (SCE).
The Wind Solar Alliance, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that advocates for renewable energy, says while American companies and other large customers have expressed a wish for lots of renewable power, and while lots of wind projects are planned to fulfill those wishes, there is a shortage of power lines to get the electricity where it needs to be. A solution, according to Kevin O’Rourke, the director of public affairs for the Alliance, is for corporate customers to lobby their regional transmission organizations (RTOs) to plan transmission lines that will allow corporate customers to move towards renewable generation. Read morehere.
New state law causes boom in solar farm proposals, Illinois News Network Illinois ranked 34th in the country in solar power produced in 2017, but that soon could change. Data from the SEIA indicates the state is on track to increase the amount of solar produced in the state by almost 1,000 percent over the next five years. Photo by Rob Davis, Fresh Energy
Duke Energy adds solar to 284 homes on Shaw Air Force Base, Solar Power World The Department of Defense is the nation’s largest energy user and is focused on reducing energy demand through programs like The Air Force Energy Plan. The plan is focused on developing and utilizing renewable and alternative energy wherever possible as well as changing the user’s culture by increasing energy awareness in day-to-day operations.
State officials see huge potential for batteries to help make the most of its wind and solar generation, and they hope to test it with a new grant-funded project. The Iowa Economic Development Authority has awarded a $200,000 grant to support research into the workings of two large solar-plus-storage projects by Fairfield-based Ideal Energy. Ideal will gather information about how the systems work and share it with a team of researchers at Iowa State University who will analyze it. Read morehere.
The city of Norfolk is fixing to one-up Kearney on the solar energy front, and we wish Norfolkans the best of luck. Earlier this week, the northeast Nebraska city entered an agreement with Nebraska Public Power District on a venture to build a sizable solar array and link it to an energy storage system. It doesn’t appear as if Norfolk’s array will rival Kearney’s in size, but the size of the system isn’t nearly as important as its ability to successfully plow new ground in the development of green energy. Continue readinghere.
Photo: Kearney’s $11 million, 53-acre solar farm, currently the largest in the state.
ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST: NEBRASKA / MIDWEST NEWS
Solar farm proposed to help power Kendall County Courthouse, Chicago Tribune Lincoln, Nebraska-based GRNE Solar is seeking special use permit approval from Yorkville to install and operate a solar farm consisting of about 6,400 solar modules at the southeast corner of John Street and Beecher Road west of the Kendall County Government campus in Yorkville.
Chasing green: These metros have the best job opportunity in renewable energy, The Bay State Banner. Using the ZipRecruiter Best Job Market Index, we dug into the metropolitan statistical areas that provide the best opportunity for employment in renewable energy. Then we leveraged multiple factors to determine the overall quality of life in these areas. [#7. Omaha, Nebraska-Council Bluffs, Iowa]
Ohio’s Largest Solar Farm Development Announced, News Release, Natural Resources Defense Council. Today’s filing includes plans for developing a combined 400MW of solar, split between two farms that were selected through a competitive bid process. Both will be located in Highland county. The filing at the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio is expected to be followed with other projects that would make up the 900MW of renewable energy announced in Ohio last week.
Greenspace: Renewables energizing job growth, Post Bulletin “Rochester is uniquely poised because it’s a municipal utility company,” said Rick Morris, Rochester clean energy organizer for Sierra Club’s North Star Chapter. He noted Minneapolis has a plan to convert to 100 percent renewable electricity citywide by 2030 and St. Louis Park has made a 100 percent renewable commitment as well. “Not only is it possible, but our neighbors are already doing it,” Morris said.
Local construction company creates solar division, Journal Standard Illinois’ goal is to produce 25 percent of its electricity from renewable resources by 2025. There are multiple state and federal incentives to help home and business owners recoup portions of the cost of an installation. The state’s Solar Renewable Energy Credits program grants one sellable credit to homeowners for each megawatt hour of electricity their solar system produces. One credit from a small-scale system sold for approximately $180 during spring 2017. A small-scale seven-kilowatt system could generate about 8,000 kilowatt-hours each year, which means an Illinois homeowner could receive $1,440 per year in additional income, according to energysage.com.
Colorado’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) voted unanimously on Monday to give preliminary approval to Xcel Energy’s Clean Energy Plan, which would see the utility close 660 MW of coal-fired generation a decade earlier than scheduled and shift to renewable resources. Under the plan, Xcel will close units 1 and 2 at the Comanche Generating Station in Pueblo and invest $2.5 billion in renewable energy and battery storage. The utility expects the plan to save ratepayers $213 million. In January, the utility solicited notably low bid prices for wind-plus-storage, $21/MWh, as well as $36/MWh for solar-plus-storage, some of the lowest bids for renewable energy plus storage on record. Read more here.
Colorado trades away coal and gas for solar+wind+storage, PV Magazine The Colorado PUC has voted to provide initial approval of a plan to retire 660 MW of coal early, and not build any new gas, instead constructing over 1 GW of wind, 700 MW of solar pv and
275 MW / 1.0 GWh of energy storage.
Falling Renewables Prices Present ‘Unprecedented Opportunity’ For Western Co-ops, North American Windpower. To illustrate the importance of this broad regional trend, RMI produced a case study of Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a nonprofit, member-owned cooperative utility that provides power to more than 1 million consumers in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming . . . According to RMI, the results of the study are consistent with the broader market trends illustrated though publicly available contract prices for new renewable resources in the Mountain West.
NRDC’s Pamela MacDougall and Vignesh Gowrishankar report on new energy storage research that indicates that using EVs for grid storage instead of stationary batteries could save electricity customers billions of dollars.
A study recently published by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) shows that the electric vehicles (EVs) expected in California in 2025 could be used to meet the majority of the Golden State’s energy storage mandate that calls for 1.3 gigawatts (GW) of battery capacity by 2024. In fact, EVs can accomplish this both reliably and at about one-tenth the cost of stationary energy storage approaches. This level of storage could power nearly one million average homes, at least for a short while. That EVs can be this valuable to the grid is a hugely significant finding. Read morehere.
Image Credit: Jessica Russo, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)
Posted by Hannah Norton, Multimedia Journalist, KTIV
Click image to watch video.
The South Sioux City Council has applied to the State of Nebraska for funding that would go toward a two-megawatt energy storage unit to ensure lower rates on the utility bills of residents. Here’s how it all works: Read more here.
1.5 cents per kilowatt-hour. That’s how much NextEra Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jim Ketchum estimates that batteries have added to the cost of solar and wind projects that the company has built over the last six to 12 months, as revealed in the company’s second quarter results call yesterday. But that’s not all. Ketchum further added that he expects this cost to fall to around half a cent per kilowatt-hour in the middle of the next decade. Read more here.
Photo Credit: NextEra Energy Resources
NextEra is developing OPPD’s 5-megawatt solar project in the Fort Calhoun area. Would adding storage be an economical option in the near-term? Omaha World-Herald news stories about the solar project:
A new report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance describes some of the implications of the growing solar power and energy storage trend as it relates to the current, centralized utility-based electricity distribution model. Because solar and energy storage can be cost competitive with grid electricity prices in some places, consumers now have an alternative to only using utility-based electricity. Report author John Farrell answered some questions for CleanTechnica.