Tag Archives: Dominion

Why every state is vulnerable to a Texas-style power crisis

By Umair Irfan, Vox

Just like a blackout isn’t the result of any single point of failure, protecting the grid against them demands more than any single solution. Faced with the prospect of more outages, there are a number of technical fixes: More energy storage, distributed power generation, interconnections across the major power grids, greater redundancy, microgrids, demand response, increasing energy efficiency, and hardening infrastructure. Read more here.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

AMERICANS FOR A CLEAN ENERGY GRID

Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) is the only non-profit broad-based public interest advocacy coalition focused on the need to expand, integrate, and modernize the North American high-voltage grid. ACEG brings together the diverse support for an expanded and modernized grid from business, labor, consumer and environmental groups, and other transmission supporters to support policy which recognizes the benefits of a robust transmission grid.

DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY NEWS RELEASE 

DOE Launches Design & Construction of $75 Million Grid Energy Storage Research Facility
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the beginning of design and construction of the Grid Storage Launchpad (GSL), a $75 million facility located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Washington that will boost clean energy adaptation and accelerate the development and deployment of long-duration, low-cost grid energy storage.

Related Reading: New era as US Department of Energy gets started on long-duration energy storage R&D facility, Energy Storage News

MORE ENERGY STORAGE NEWS

FROM THE WHITE HOUSE BRIEFING ROOM

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.

What the Coming Wave of Distributed Energy Resources Means for the US Grid

By Ben Kellison and Fei Wang, Greentech Media

Cumulative distributed energy resource capacity in the United States will reach 397 gigawatts by 2025, according to a new Wood Mackenzie report. The DER mix is evolving quickly away from nonresidential load management, which made up two-thirds of all U.S. DER capacity in 2015 but will make up less than half by 2025.

Solar, electric vehicle infrastructure and residential load management potential now lead all other resources, accounting for more than 90 percent of DER capacity installed between 2016-2025. Cumulative U.S. DER investments will eclipse $80.6 billion between 2020 and 2026. EV infrastructure, battery storage and grid-interactive water heaters sales growth will drive spending to a new peak in 2025.  Continue reading here.

Photo Credit: SWT Energy in Lincoln

VIRTUAL POWER PLANTS

  • Sunrun to Turn Home Batteries Into Grid Resources for 2 Major Utilities, Greentech Media
    The leading rooftop installer will aggregate homes for Southern California Edison and a Con Ed utility in New York in a test of the virtual power plant concept. Historically, utilities have been reluctant to allow customers to export from their batteries onto the grid, but that’s changing in some territories.
  • Previously Posted: ‘Transformative’: Sonnen to Deliver Community Battery Network With Grid Services Contract, Greentech Media. “This is what we’ve been working on for years,” says Blake Richetta, CEO of the U.S. business at Shell-owned Sonnen. “We’re paying for the right for full control of the batteries,” within certain constraints to ensure a backup reserve for the residents, said Bill Comeau, managing director at Rocky Mountain Power. The utility’s involvement follows the state legislature’s passage of the Sustainable Transportation and Energy Act of 2016. Rocky Mountain Power used that legislation to ask regulators in March 2019 for permission to enter into a contract with the Soleil community for demand-side management. Rocky Mountain Power, serving customers in Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy’s PacifiCorp.
  • Learn more about Sonnen’s Virtual Power Plants here.

ENERGY HUB

EnergyHub partners with Vivint Solar as utility incentives for residential energy storage ramp up, by Robert Walton, Utility Dive. EnergyHub announced Wednesday that it has partnered with Vivint Solar to help utilities access attached residential battery storage systems as cost-effective grid-edge resources. EnergyHub now has almost two dozen distributed energy resource (DER) partners across assets including thermostats, batteries, solar inverters, electric charging equipment and water heaters. The company’s Mercury DERMS platform allows utilities to offer customer incentives to manage the devices to balance distribution systems.

GTM’S INTERCHANGE

Data Centers Are the Epicenter of the Clean Energy Economy, Greentech Media
On this episode of The Interchange: how the world’s giant computers are getting cleaner.

“THE 2035 REPORT” WEBINAR

If you missed CESA’s recent webinar: The 2035 Report: How Low Costs Can Accelerate Our Clean Energy Future, slides and a recording are now available here. Clean Energy States Alliance presented the webinar on behalf of the 100% Clean Energy Collaborative.

About the Webinar
According to the new report from the University of California, Berkeley and GridLab, the United States can reliably deliver 90% clean, carbon-free electricity nationwide by 2035 using existing technology, without increasing consumer bills, and without the need for new fossil fuel plants. 

The 2035 Report: How Low Costs Can Accelerate Our Clean Energy Future demonstrates how recent dramatic cost declines for solar, wind, and battery storage allow for near-term decarbonization of the electricity grid. Two of the report’s authors: Ric O’Connell, Executive Director of GridLab and Dr. Amol Phadke, Senior Scientist and Affiliate, Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, presented the main findings and discussed their implications.

MORE ON THE MACRO GRID INITIATIVE

Clean energy groups to propose FERC rules for national transmission system saving $47B a year, by Robert Walton, Utility Dive. The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) and Americans for a Clean Energy Grid (ACEG) on Wednesday launched a new campaign to build support for a stronger U.S. transmission system, including upgrades to interregional lines and the development of a nationwide, high-voltage direct current network. The campaign, The Macro Grid Initiative, argues consumers would save up to $47 billion annually with a national electrical power system versus the existing, regionally divided system.

DOMINION OFFSHORE WIND & THE VIRGINIA CLEAN ECONOMY ACT

Q&A: This engineer has a front-row seat as Dominion advances offshore wind, by Elizabeth McGowan, Energy News Network. Mark Mitchell, vice president of generation construction, joined the Richmond-based company 22 years ago. Within six years, 180 to 190 turbines planned for an adjacent 2,600 megawatt commercial project should produce enough power for 650,000 homes. Survey work is now underway for that phase. Offshore wind is crucial if Dominion is expected to achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045, as required by the Virginia Clean Economy Act. The law takes effect July 1. 

EV NEWS

WISCONSIN BROTHERS’ SOLAR BUSINESS

Shining light on energy options, Wisconsin brothers grow with solar business, WIZM News
Coming together from opposite sides of the country, brothers Cameron and Brandon Olson created a business plan to bring solar energy options to La Crosse. Olson Solar Energy started in 2017 with a few jobs in southwest Wisconsin. There were no other solar companies in the area, so the market made sense. In 2019, they invested in advertising and expanded to opening the shop. “There were so many people interested in solar from smaller, residential systems to bigger commercial systems, and this year has just been more of the same,” Cameron said.

A playbook to jumpstart clean energy across all 50 states

Utility Dive article contributed by Mike Kruger,
President & CEO of the Colorado Solar and Storage Association

As we face a likely recession and an economic reset in many places across the country, the clean energy industry has the potential to be a bright spot in what will continue to be challenging times. After we secure the health and safety of our fellow citizens, we must focus on “clean energy to counter the coronavirus crisis,” on the recommendation of Fatih Birol, Executive Director at the International Energy Agency. Doing so will provide immediate jobs for those displaced and cleaner air and cleaner water for all, while making a significant investment in reducing the adverse impacts of climate change. The federal government has passed the CARES Act and the Senate has adjourned until April 20. Now the action is moving to the states. Read more here.

KANSAS SUPREME COURT RULING

Victory for solar as Kansas Supreme Court blocks fixed fee for distributed power, PV Magazine. The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that a fixed fee for distributed solar customers violates state law. Vote Solar and Sierra Club brought the case, with representation from Earthjustice.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

RENEWABLE ENERGY FINANCING & INVESTING

MORE INDUSTRY NEWS STORIES

EV NEWS

GLOBAL RENEWABLE ENERGY

World now has 583.5 GW of operational PV, by Emiliano Bellini, PV Magazine International
The world installed 176 GW of new renewable energy capacity in 2019, according to the latest statistics published by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).  Combined clean energy capacity reached 2,536.8 GW at the end of December, with hydropower and wind remaining the largest sources at 1,310.2 GW and 622.7 GW, respectively. Solar installations, including PV and concentrated solar power (CSP), continue to lag slightly behind wind, with a cumulative installed capacity of 586.4 GW. CSP represented 6.27 GW of the total, while grid-connected PV accounted for 580.1 GW. 

Methane, manure and a net-zero pledge

GreenBiz article contributed by Christian Roselund,
Editorial Director, Rocky Mountain Institute

Dominion is planning to tackle its methane emissions on two fronts. First, it will focus on reducing methane from three sources within its control: gas venting that occurs during maintenance and inspection activities, replacing aging equipment prone to leakage, and expanding leak detection programs. Second, recognizing that it may be unable to eliminate methane leaks entirely, it plans to offset remaining methane emissions by procuring biogas, sometimes called renewable natural gas (RNG).

The utility’s plan to reach net zero is not the same as the zero-carbon pledges of electric utilities; under Dominion’s plan, it will still sell gas to end-customers, and even if Dominion plugs all the leaks in its transmission and distribution networks, its operations still will result in emissions at the point of combustion. In addition, Dominion’s commitment does not take into account the methane emissions associated with gas production, which account for over 50 percent of the methane problem in the oil and gas value chain. The utility also remains a member of the American Gas Association, which has led the fight against building electrification. So while the hogs are now playing their part, there are bigger fish to fry. Read more here. This story first appeared on: RMI.

Christian Roselund is responsible for creating and executing Rocky Mountain Institute’s global editorial and publications strategy, managing publication production, writing content and managing both an in-house and freelance team of writers.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/AVA Bitter

DOMINION’S SOLAR SCHOOLS INITIATIVE

16 Schools Selected for Dominion Energy ‘Solar for Students’ program, WWBT – NBC12 News
Each of the schools selected will receive a 1.2-kilowatt photovoltaic system, technical support, educational materials, and training for educators. Dominion Energy says each array generates enough electricity to power up to 18 desktop computers, 40 10-gallon aquariums or 15 42-inch LED televisions.

NEWS FROM OTHER UTILITY COMPANIES

ØRSTED / ACORE NEWS

CEO of Ørsted’s Onshore Business Declan Flanagan Elected Chairperson of American Council on Renewable Energy, PR Newswire. The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) today announced that Declan Flanagan, Executive Vice President and CEO Onshore of Ørsted, will become Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors this coming June. “ACORE is fortunate to be able to turn to such a widely-respected leader in our industry to Chair our Board,” said Gregory Wetstone, ACORE President and CEO. “Declan Flanagan’s leadership will help take the organization to the next level as we work to accelerate America’s transition to renewable energy.”

Previously Posted

NEW REPORT

State of the Electric Utility: 2020 Survey Report, Utility Dive
The results are in, and the 7th Annual State of the Electric Utility Survey Report is here. In our 70+ page report, we’ll look more closely than ever at industry attitudes and action on climate resilience, electric vehicles, battery storage and other industry issues. We’ll also look back on how perennial topics like load trends and energy markets have evolved. The report covers: Key findings from 7th Annual Electric Utility Survey; How utilities view cybersecurity; Climate resilience, EVs, battery storage and more.

FOSSIL FUEL MAJORS IN THE NEWS

YIELDCOS 

An Avangrid Yieldco? CEO Says ‘Maybe’, Greentech Media
Investor interest in renewable energy yieldco stocks returned with a roar last year. Avangrid is paying attention. The basic idea behind yieldcos is to separate the low-risk business of operating wind and solar farms from the higher-risk business of project development. Yieldcos buy finished projects from their sponsor companies, and in doing so developers are able to recycle capital back into new projects — while investors gain access to different types of renewables assets.

INTERACTIVE POLITICAL CLIMATE PODCAST

Decarb Madness: How Would You Build a Policy Bracket to Decarbonize the Power Sector?, Greentech Media. Political Climate challenges four energy experts to build their ideal policy bracket for decarbonizing the electricity sector. The Political Climate Podcast is produced in partnership with the USC Schwarzenegger Institute.

MORE PODCASTS OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

13 sustainability podcasts that will keep your earbuds plugged in, “rounded up” by Elsa Wenzel, Senior Writer, GreenBiz Group. These 13 solutions-focused podcasts, in random order, offer provocative conversations with sustainability stars, as well as music and thoughtful editing that make you happy to let the next episode autoplay.