Tag Archives: Sonnen

Clean electricity standard lands spot in $3.5 trillion Democratic-backed infrastructure deal

By Scott Voorhis, Utility Dive

The Biden administration wants Congress to pass a clean electricity standard but is also prepared to pursue efforts to push utilities to ratchet down their emissions through the federal regulatory process should a national standard fail to make the final bill, according to Gina McCarthy, the White House’s national climate adviser. McCarthy said the administration believes a national clean energy standard would be more effective in prompting action on part of the utility industry to reduce emissions. Read more here.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

SOLAR TOOL FOR INSTALLERS & LOCAL GOVERNMENTS

U.S. Department of Energy Kicks Off ‘Summer of Solar 2021’ With Tool That Fast-Tracks Solar Power For Communities Nationwide, Department of Energy News Release

Washington, D.C.— The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today kicked off the ‘Summer of Solar 2021’ with the nationwide launch of the Solar Automated Permit Processing Plus (SolarAPP+) tool – a free web-based platform that gives local governments the ability to expedite their review and approval of residential solar installation permits. Developed by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), SolarAPP+ will drastically reduce barriers to solar deployment, spur community economic development, and advance the Biden-Harris Administration’s clean energy goals.  

Related Reading

FEATURED REPORTS

The Clean Economy Revolution Will Be Unionized, Center for American Progress
While no state or city government has taken every necessary step to achieve good jobs, climate action and environmental justice, many of them have made important progress—and from this progress, federal lawmakers and lawmakers in other states can derive policy lessons and political momentum. This report offers a recap of some informative state and local actions designed to support good jobs, ensure high-road labor standards, and confront the climate crisis.

Clean Energy Labor Supply Report, American Clean Power Association
Based on two scenarios of renewables deployment — 50% and 70% of electricity generated from renewables by 2030 — the study projects the number of workers that will be needed to meet these goals and highlights those occupations where high demand for workers could result in labor gaps.

Download the executive summary
Download the infographic

Michigan vows to go carbon neutral by 2050, increase oversight of utility resource plans

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, D, on Wednesday signed an executive order committing her state to going carbon-neutral by 2050. It follows the governor’s commitment last year to reach the U.S. goals under the Paris Climate Agreement — reducing greenhouse gas emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025. Michigan’s new emissions reduction target is the most ambitious yet to come from a Midwest state, and calls for the state’s energy and environmental regulator to have additional oversight over utility integrated resource plans (IRPs). Its two largest utilities — DTE Energy and Consumers Energy — have goals to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and 2040, respectively. Read more here.

Previously Posted News Release: Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer Joins U.S. Climate Alliance

More About The Coalition

  • United States Climate Alliance Fact Sheet
    The United States Climate Alliance is a bipartisan coalition of 25 governors committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement. The Alliance is led by state governments and is focused on state-to-state cooperation to accelerate the deployment of climate solutions needed to help each achieve their climate goals. The Alliance represents 55 percent of the U.S. population and an $11.7 trillion economy – an economy larger than all countries but the United States and China.
  • Climate Alliance Governors
  • Climate Alliance Principles

Climate Alliance Publication (PDF): Solar Deployment Guidebook: A Resource for State & Local Governments

DTE ENERGY & CONSUMERS ENERGY NEWS RELEASE

DTE Energy and Consumers Energy pledge to help build extensive Midwest electric vehicle charging network, Globe Newswire

According to the Edison Electric Institute, more than 1.4 million EVs are in use today, a number expected to grow to nearly 20 million by 2030. The Institute anticipates that a robust network of EV charging stations will be required to serve the needs of these drivers. Companies joining DTE Energy and Consumers Energy in the charging network’s memorandum of cooperation include Ameren Missouri, Ameren Illinois, Oklahoma Gas and Energy, and Evergy (covering parts of Missouri and Kansas). Additional companies have expressed interest and may soon join the collaborative effort.

MORE NEWS FROM STATES

Can solar power save rural America?, Farm and Dairy
The sun is shining in Pennsylvania and Ohio. At least, solar developers hope so. They’re flocking to the two states, seeking out land leases and pitching projects that would put more renewable energy onto the grid. Solar development is touted as a win all around. It’s not extractive. It’s renewable. It allows farmers and landowners new opportunities to make money from their properties.

Solar panels shine a light on bee habitats, Southernminn.com
September is National Honey Month, and while there’s still concern over struggling bee populations, a Minnesota project has helped establish a new approach to make these pollinators thrive again. Several groups, including Fresh Energy, have played a role in making Minnesota the first state to adopt a regional standard for pollinator-friendly habitats within solar farms.

Solar Dominates Maine’s Largest Renewables Procurement on Record, Greentech Media
Average winning contract rates were 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour, according to reporting from the Portland Press Herald. That price is competitive with incumbent power in the region, Maine PUC Chair Philip Bartlett II told the newspaper. 

Alaska’s pro-oil Republican governor is quietly pushing green energy projectsKTOO
Renewables make an especially compelling case in Alaska, where electricity costs nearly twice the national average. And the Eklutna hydroelectric concept isn’t the only renewable power idea to draw [Governor] Dunleavy’s interest. The governor has also quietly pitched Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, on Alaska’s wind power potential, with Buffett responding in a letter that he hopes he can “join forces” with Dunleavy. Executives from one of Buffett’s companies, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, have held a series of meetings with the governor and senior administration officials.

States That Grew Rich From Fossil-Fuels Need to Figure Out What’s Next, contributed by The Conversation, U.S. News & World Report. These are very challenging times for U.S. fossil fuel-producing states, such as WyomingAlaska and North Dakota. The COVID-19 economic downturn has reduced energy demand, with uncertain prospects for the extent of its recovery. Meanwhilerising concern about climate change and the declining cost of renewable energy are precipitating a sharp decline in demand for coal in particular.

INNOVATIVE TRANSITION STRATEGY: 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.

UPCOMING WEBINAR

Clean Energy Group
: An Introduction to Virtual Power Plants, September 28, 12 pm to 1 pm 

Recommended Reading: Propelling the transition: The battle for control of virtual power plants is just beginning, Utility Dive

The largest power plants in the the U.S. — massive feats of engineering like the over 5,000 foot-long, 6,800-MW capacity Grand Coulee Dam — are proving to be no match in scale to the combined power of the rooftops and basements of homes and businesses across the country. Distributed energy, including rooftop solar, on-site batteries to store electricity and more, are on track to grow to nearly 400 GW in the U.S. by 2025, according to projections from Wood Mackenzie, significantly greater than the amount of coal or nuclear power capacity in the U.S. today. As virtual power plants develop, there is a growing debate about the degree to which the future of distributed energy management will be controlled by large utilities or third-party aggregators.

Photo by Sonnen: The all-electric Soleil Lofts apartment community in Herriman, Utah, a virtual power plant managed by Rocky Mountain Power, which is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE).

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.

$3.3 billion wind investment will add 2,500 MW of clean energy in South Dakota

Written by South Dakota News Watch, Energy News Network

Just two years ago, despite being home to the third-most-active winds in the nation, South Dakota ranked No. 19 for wind energy production among the 50 states, with 15 wind farms and a total of 584 turbines able to generate 1,014 megawatts of electricity.

New national ranking data is not yet available, but the approved and docketed projects would raise the total of wind farms to 25 and nearly triple the number of wind towers in the state. The electricity production capacity would rise to more than 3,600 megawatts. Though it is variable, one megawatt of electricity can power about 1,000 homes; South Dakota ranks high in the nation for the number of homes, about 300,000, that are powered by wind energy.
Read more here.

Photo by South Dakota Renewable Energy Association

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING 

CORPORATE ENERGY TRANSITION NEWS 

 Previously Posted

IPCC REPORT

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2018 report states that net zero CO2 emissions must be achieved in fewer than 15 years before global warming effects become irreversible.

NEW REPORT

Reducing Carbon Pollution Through Infrastructure: A Roadmap for Congress, Center for American Progress. Investing in clean energy, transportation, buildings, industrial innovation, and more could cut more than 800 million metric tons of carbon pollution in 2030.

The Center for American Progress is an independent nonpartisan policy institute that is dedicated to improving the lives of all Americans, through bold, progressive ideas, as well as strong leadership and concerted action.

2019 GREEN POWER LEADERSHIP AWARDS 

Center for Resource Solutions Announces 2019 Green Power Leadership Award Winners, News Release. The nonprofit Center for Resource Solutions (CRS) presented the 2019 Green Power Leadership Awards today, awarding eight organizations and one individual for their roles in promoting and expanding the use of clean, renewable energy. The awards were presented at the Renewable Energy Markets 2019 conference in San Diego, CA in the categories of Green Power Market Development, International Green Power Market Development, and Green Power Leader of the Year.

States March toward 100% Clean Energy–Who’s Next?

By Jeff Deyette, Director of State Policy & Analysis, Clean Energy,
Union of Concerned Scientists Blog

Eight states plus Washington DC and Puerto Rico (not pictured here) have committed to 100% Renewable or Clean Energy Standards. Another 13 states are actively considering similar measures.

One year ago this week, the California legislature passed landmark legislation committing the state’s power providers to supplying 60% of their electricity from renewable energy by 2030 and setting a target of 100% clean, or carbon-free, power by mid century. It was a bold action that significantly raised the bar for other states considering policy action. And over the last 12 months, another six states (bringing the total to eight states) plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have answered the call with various obligations toward 100% clean energy over the next few decades. What’s driving this surge in state-level clean energy leadership? And which states will be the next to step up? Read more here. 

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

ENERGY NEWS NETWORK ARTICLES

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Solar Industry Calls on FERC to Enforce PURPA, Increase Competition
The proposal provides utilities with a new framework for offering competitive solicitations based on their integrated resource plans, while also complying with PURPA’s requirement to purchase energy and capacity from small renewable and cogeneration facilities. SEIA’s competitive bidding solution is designed to prevent utility self-dealing while opening the market for new capacity to independent developers.

PACE FINANCING

  • Green builders lean on a juggernaut loan program, The Philadelphia Tribune
    Developers grappling with the cost of new laws enacted to combat climate change are taking advantage of a little-known finance tool to help pay for green-building requirements. In Omaha, Nebraska, for instance, the Capitol District, a $205 million mixed-use entertainment development, has become the latest milestone in a long-running effort to revitalize the downtown area. The project’s developer, Shamrock Development, tapped a PACE program to pay for LED lighting, heat pumps, low-flow water fixtures, and other building materials and equipment to enhance energy and water efficiency.
  • In Chicago, a new financing tool for clean energy and efficiency upgrades, Energy News Network
    Advocates see strong potential in Chicago and surrounding areas for property assessed clean energy financing to boost investments.

RECYCLING EV BATTERIES

MORE ON UTAH’S SONNEN & RMP VIRTUAL POWER PLANT

Rocky Mountain Power prepares to operate largest US residential battery demand response project, Utility Dive. “In my opinion, this is the most transformative project we’ve worked on in the United States,” Sonnen CEO Blake Richetta told Utility Dive. That’s coming from a company that has installed more than 40,000 batteries globally and already developed multiple Virtual Power Plants that combine residential energy systems into grid resources. But Richetta, who took the helm at Sonnen earlier this year, said the Utah project stands out for multiple reasons.

Rocky Mountain Power is a division of PacifiCorp, a fully-owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Previously Posted

A Cutting Edge Virtual Power Project In Utah, With Batteries Managed By The Utility

By Peter Kelly-Detwiler, Contributor, Forbes

Today, energy storage company sonnen, Inc. (a subsidiary of Shell), real estate developer Wasatch Group, and utility Rocky Mountain Power (a subsidiary of Pacificorp) announced a unique and ground-breaking virtual power plant (VPP) in Herriman, Utah, just outside of Salt Lake City.  The project, Soleil Lofts, is an apartment community that will feature solar arrays as well as 600 sonnen lithium iron phosphate ecoLinx batteries, totaling 5 megawatts (MW) of capacity and 12.6 megawatt-hours (MWh) of energy.  Residents will begin moving into the apartments in September 2019 and the final building will be complete by December of 2020. Sonnen Inc’s CEO Blake Richetta recently characterized Soleil Lofts as “the world’s first all-electric, carbon neutral residential apartment community VPP, managed by the local utility, Rocky Mountain Power.” Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

Puerto Rico’s Devastated Electric Grid Could Be a Big Opportunity for Renewable Energy

By Justin Worland, Time Magazine

Authorities acknowledge they need months before power returns to some regions. Still, energy experts say the rebuilding effort offers a unique opportunity to outfit the island with the electric grid of the future: a state-of-the-art system built from scratch using renewable energy sources like wind and solar, which would be cheaper to operate and would respond better to the next hurricane. The reimagined grid would rely on the concept of a microgrid, which are localized electric grids that allow communities to keep power even if centralized power plants are not functioning. Click here to read more.

Photo: A woman looks out from her damaged house in San Isidro, Puerto Rico on Sept. 28, 2017. Andres Kudacki for Time Magazine

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Photo: A sonnen community in Germany with solar + storage..

Hurricanes, batteries and backup power: An interview with Sonnen

By Jonathan Gifford, PV Magazine 

In this interview from the Solar Power International trade show, Sonnen CEO Christoph Ostermann and Senior VP Blake Richetta talk about the market for backup power, and how this has been influenced by recent disasters. Read the interview here.

  • An event in November will be the beginning of the sonnen community in the US.
    – Blake Richetta, from Gifford’s interview
  • Read more about Sonnen Communities in this Reuters article.
  • FAQ: Does a storage battery qualify for the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit?
    ANSWER: According to the Bloomberg article, Battery Storage Still Needs Solar for Growth:
    On their own, batteries don’t qualify for federal tax credits. But if a storage unit is charged at least 75 percent by solar, it can qualify for at least part of a U.S. subsidy enjoyed by those projects — the investment tax credit, according to David Burton, a New York-based partner at Mayer Brown LLP.

ALSO IN THE NEWS