Tag Archives: virtual power plants

New FERC Chair’s Focus: Environmental Justice and Climate Change Impacts

By Jeff St. John, Greentech Media

 

Richard Glick has a long list of priorities for his chairmanship of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He has already outlined many of them, such as reforming energy market policies that restrict state-supported clean energy resources, expanding transmission capacity and unblocking new grid interconnections, and incorporating climate change impacts into the agency’s decision-making process. Continue reading here.

 

ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE 

Severe weather, blackouts show the grid’s biggest problem is infrastructure, not renewables

GRID RESILIENCE: GRIDTECH MEDIA

In the near future, the scale of the batteries serving U.S. power grids is set to explode, increasing from about 1.5 gigawatts today to tens or hundreds of gigawatts by 2030. These batteries will play a vital role in shifting intermittent wind and solar power from when it’s produced to when it’s needed and serving broader grid services needs on an increasingly decarbonizing grid.

But as a resource that can both absorb and discharge energy at a moment’s notice, batteries are very different from both dispatchable generators and intermittent wind and solar farms. That requires new technical and economic systems for managing and valuing them — and the grid operators that run wholesale electricity markets serving about two-thirds of the country are struggling to make those changes to keep up with the pace of growth.

Two former state utility commissioners highlight new modeling that shows distributed energy lowers the total costs of decarbonization: Anne Hoskins served on the Maryland Public Service Commission and is the chief policy officer at Sunrun. Jeanne Fox, a former president of the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities, is also a co-founder and board member of Center for Renewable Integration, Inc.

When planning for future resource investments, most utilities and regulators approach grid and system planning in silos, using tools and models that aren’t equipped to consider the total cost and benefits of distributed energy resources. This has been the case for many decades. For the first time, a team of researchers led by Christopher Clack looked at the holistic grid and incorporated local solar into grid and system planning. The model that Clack used calculated a least-cost development plan for the grid. The results are striking.

NASEO-NARUC TASK FORCE ON COMPREHENSIVE ELECTRICITY PLANNING 

The National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO) and the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) are providing a forum for the development of state-led pathways toward a more resilient, efficient, and affordable grid. – NARUC Website

 

 

 

 

Twelve States Announce Action Steps to Plan for Grid of the Future: State Energy Groups Release Blueprint for State Action for a More Efficient, Customer-Centric Grid

New, more comprehensive approaches to electricity planning can optimize use of distributed and existing energy resources, avoid unnecessary costs to customers, support state policy priorities, and increase transparency of grid-related investment decisions. The Task Force Roadmaps for Comprehensive Electricity Planning are accompanied by a Blueprint for State Action to support states and stakeholders who were not members of the Task Force in aligning electricity system planning processes in ways that meet their own goals and objectives. To learn more about the Task Force and access the new resources, click the link, below.

 

 

 

Task Force on Comprehensive Electricity Planning

Electricity Planning for a 21st Century Power Grid
Emerging technologies, decreasing costs, consumer preferences, new energy service providers, and state and local efforts are driving significant growth in distributed energy resources (DERs) such as solar, storage, energy efficiency, demand management, and microgrids. These investments increasingly require regulatory and policy innovation and a greater emphasis on planning to overcome system complexities and avoid unnecessary costs associated with operating the grid.

With greater alignment of resource and distribution system planning, states and utilities could:

  • Improve grid reliability and resilience
  • Optimize use of distributed and existing energy resources
  • Avoid unnecessary costs to ratepayers
  • Support state policy priorities
  • Increase the transparency of grid-related investment decisions

Previously Posted

  • Nebraska needs overall plan for energy policies, Lincoln Journal Star, November 4, 2015
    [Former] Nebraska’s Energy Office director says the state needs a comprehensive approach to its energy policies as it faces what could be a “seismic” change in federal regulations governing emissions. David Bracht, Gov. Pete Ricketts’ chief adviser on energy issues, talked about state energy policies Wednesday at the eighth annual Nebraska Wind and Solar Conference in Omaha
  • 2011 Nebraska Energy Plan, National Association of State Energy Officials (NASEO)

Recently Posted

Inside Clean Energy: The Energy Storage Boom Has Arrived

By Dan Gearino, Inside Climate News

Just five years ago, a 20 megawatt battery storage project was considered big. Now a 300 megawatt project, the largest in the world, has gone online in California, and even bigger battery projects are coming in 2021. Battery storage has entered a new phase of rapid growth, brought on by falling prices for lithium-ion batteries and rising demand for electricity sources that can fill in the gaps in a grid that is increasingly fueled by wind and solar. High demand is leading to a boom in investment in battery companies, and fevered speculation about new kinds of batteries. Continue reading here.

Additional Recommended Reading

The Highs and Lows for Solar in 2020: Wrapping up the biggest stories of a chaotic year.

By Emma Foehringer Merchant, Greentech Media

Joe Biden’s win presents big upside for the solar industry. The candidate campaigned on a national plan to reach 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. Solar offers a key technology to achieve that goal, with 2020 marking its second year in a row to claim the largest share of new generating capacity of any resource. Read more here.

ALSO PUBLISHED BY GREENTECH MEDIA

10 Victories for Virtual Power Plants in 2020, by Julian Spector
This concept goes by various names — virtual power plants, flexible loads, behind-the-meter networks — and encompasses tools like rooftop solar, batteries, smart thermostats, smart appliances and electric vehicle chargers. Though small individually, distributed energy resources are projected to grow to 387 gigawatts in the next five years, according to research by Wood Mackenzie.

So, What Exactly Are Virtual Power Plants?

Greentech Media’s Must-Read Grid Edge Stories of 2020, by Jeff St. John
By far the biggest grid edge story of 2020 was the continued commitment of U.S. utilities to midcentury decarbonization goals — or more pertinently, those utilities that aren’t already facing state-level mandates to eliminate their carbon footprints.

Could a Michigan green bank offer a blueprint for Biden’s green recovery?

By Tom Perkins, Energy News Network

As President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team prepares its green economic recovery plan, a Michigan clean energy finance program could provide a bipartisan model for how to spur energy savings and job growth. Biden has already proposed a national green bank as part of his $2 trillion plan to achieve carbon neutrality by the middle of the century. The initiative would provide capital to help finance projects such as rooftop solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, weatherization and building efficiency upgrades. Similar programs exist in about a dozen states, and among the oldest and most effective is Michigan Saves. As President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team prepares its green economic recovery plan, a Michigan clean energy finance program could provide a bipartisan model for how to spur energy savings and job growth. Continue reading here.

NEWS FROM OTHER STATES

MACRO GRIDS

Report: U.S. trails other countries in building macro grids for moving, sharing electricity, Iowa State University News Service

AMES, Iowa – Countries around the world are well ahead of the United States in planning and building “macro grids” capable of moving electricity from one grid or distant geographic region to another, according to a new report authored by an Iowa State University engineer and a former doctoral student.

RECYCLING OLD WIND TURBINE BLADES

Cement production to use old wind turbine blades after GE inks new deal, CNBC
GE Renewable Energy and Veolia North America (VNA) have signed a “multi-year agreement” to recycle blades removed from onshore wind turbines in the United States. In an announcement Tuesday, GE Renewable Energy said the blades would be shredded at a VNA site in Missouri before being “used as a replacement for coal, sand and clay at cement manufacturing facilities across the U.S.”

REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE

Nestlé digs deeper into regenerative ag, puts $3.6B behind net-zero plan, GreenBiz
Almost one-third of the money that Nestlé intends to invest will be dedicated to cultivating regenerative agricultural practices that improve soil health and reduce dependence on synthetic fertilizer across 500,000-plus farms from which Nestlé sources ingredients. Nestlé intends to pay those farmers, as well as 150,000 other ingredient suppliers, a premium for adopting these techniques in a verifiable way.

Renewable Energy Surges Even In Fossil Fuel Friendly Red States

 By Jeff McMahon, Senior Contributor, Forbes

The nation’s two largest coal-producing states, Wyoming and West Virginia, have emerged as leaders in renewable energy and energy storage, respectively, according to a new report. States that voted red in the 2016 presidential election occupy seven of the top-ten spots for wind and solar generation as a percentage of their electricity consumption, according to Environment America’s Renewables on the Rise 2020, released last week. Read more here.

FROM DOE’S WIND EXCHANGE NEWSLETTER

Wind Energy Technology Data Update: 2020 Edition, DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
The United States added 9,000 MW of new land-based, utility-scale wind power capacity in 2019, bringing the national total to 105.6 gigawatts. Wind power represented the second-largest source of U.S. electric-generating capacity additions in 2019 and provides more than 10% of electricity in 14 states. Continuing the long-term trend, average turbine capacity, rotor diameter, and hub height increased in 2019, significantly boosting wind project performance to a capacity factor of 41%. The national average price of wind power purchase agreements has dropped to less than 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, and the levelized cost of energy has dropped 60% in the past 10 years to $36 per megawatt-hour. View a PowerPoint summary or download the 2019 Wind Technology Data.

 FEATURED NATIONAL SURVEY

Two-Thirds of Americans Think Government Should Do More on Climate, Pew Research Center
Consistent with public concerns over climate and the environment, 79% of Americans say the priority for the country’s energy supply should be developing alternative sources of energy, such as wind and solar; far fewer (20%) give priority to expanding the production of oil, coal and natural gas. To shift consumption patterns toward renewables, a majority of the public (58%) says government regulations will be necessary to encourage businesses and individuals to rely more on renewable energy; fewer (39%) think the private marketplace will ensure this change in habits.

 OHIO

Column: Solar energy investment is critical to Ohio’s economy, Columbus Dispatch. Contributor Jason Rafeld is executive director of the Utility-Scale Solar Energy Coalition.

In an effort to understand the economic value the solar industry could bring to Ohio, the Utility- Scale Solar Energy Coalition commissioned a study through Ohio University that shows compelling results. Ohio’s utility-scale solar industry can create more than $18 billion in economic activity, supporting tens of thousands of jobs and helping to attract new business to Ohio.  

COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY

Partnership to increase solar energy generated on CSU campuses, Colorado State University News
Through the agreement, Namasté Solar, an employee-owned cooperative based in Colorado, will develop, design, and construct solar arrays at up to 30 sites at CSU’s campuses and provide long-term operations and maintenance. CSU will retain ownership of Renewable Energy Credits attributed to the new systems and locally-based Solaris Energy will provide the needed financing for the project, then own and manage the systems as a part of its larger asset portfolio.

ALSO OF POTENTIAL INTEREST

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).

Propelling the transition: The battle for control of virtual power plants is just beginning

By Matthew Bandyk, 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.

The existence of that much power leads to an inevitable question: who controls it? Utilities see distributed energy as both a threat to their business models and an opportunity to harness this relatively new and massive source of energy to make money. The rise of distributed energy has led to a conflict between a utility-centered business model and a service model based around third parties. “The fundamental question is who can manage and schedule distributed energy resources (DERs) and how?” said Omar Saadeh, business strategy manager at Accenture. “It’s a question being asked in a number of states.” Continue reading here.

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).

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

NREL

This Lab Aims to Prepare the U.S. Electricity Grid for a Climate Transformation, by E&E News, Scientific American. A new test bed at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory will explore ways to ease the shift to renewables and energy storage systems.

ELECTRIC BILLING

The Current System of Electric Billing No Longer Makes Sense: Here are some suggestions for fixing it. Greentech Media article contributed by Dan Seif, vice president for market development at 7X Energy, a Texas-based solar developer.

SEIA NEWS RELEASE

Black & Veatch Joins Board of U.S. Solar Trade Group
Globally, Black & Veatch has implemented more than 100 GW of solar and wind energy, over 2,500 MWh+ of battery energy storage, and has deployed more than 700 distributed energy buildouts through its range of solutions from engineering services to EPC.

800-WATT SOLAR PANEL

JA Solar launches 800 W solar panel, PV Magazine International
The new product, currently the most powerful panel on the market, was showcased at the SNEC PV Power Expo in Shanghai. Also presented at the fair was a 780 W product from Tongwei and a 660 W module from Trina.

FEATURED SOLAR PROJECT

Habitat La Crosse adds solar power, La Crosse Tribune


Habitat for Humanity La Crosse Area’s “Soak up the Sun” Project is adding a 53.28 KW solar power system on the roof of their office and ReStore building in La Crosse. To learn more, visit: www.habitatlacrosse.org.

GREEN HYDROGEN

Starting a new industry, PV Magazine
As a business prospect, producing hydrogen via sustainable means remains in its infancy. However, analysts appear increasingly certain that we are seeing the dawn of a vital new industry. In Europe, some countries (such as Germany and Portugal) have already adopted national strategies for the production and use of the fuel. And in July, the European Union also published a comprehensive hydrogen strategy as a central part of a climate-neutral Europe.

EV CHARGING

How Convenient! Ultra Fast, Battery-Boosted EV Charging At ampm Stores, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica. The field of battery-enabled ultra fast EV charging is about to blow up out of nowhere. In the latest development, the company FreeWire Technologies has inked a deal with the convenience store chain ampm to install its battery-integrated Boost Charger System. Look for plenty more where that came from: ampm happens to come under the umbrella of newly minted clean tech giant bp through its bp America, Inc. subsidiary.

Previously Posted BP News Release: BP invests in mobile electric vehicle charging company FreeWire to deliver rapid charging at retail sites

Sol Systems Announces Groundbreaking Solar Power Community Investment Agreement with Microsoft

News Release By The Sol Systems Team

WASHINGTON, DC – Sol Systems, a national solar energy finance and development firm, today announced a groundbreaking initiative with Microsoft, Corp. that creates the first community investment fund and the company’s single largest renewable energy portfolio energy purchase agreement. Sol Systems and Microsoft designed the portfolio to maximize its positive environmental, community and societal impact. The strategic initiative will help Microsoft meet its goal of shifting to 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.

Sol Systems will finance, develop and operate a portfolio of over 500 megawatts (MW) of solar projects in the U.S. and will sell energy from those projects to Microsoft. In parallel, working with local leaders in nearby communities and those disproportionately impacted by climate change, Sol Systems and Microsoft will invest at least $50 million for community-led grants and investments that support educational programs, job and career training, habitat restoration, and programs that support access to clean energy and energy efficiency. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading

APPLE NEWS

Apple commits to be 100 percent carbon neutral for its supply chain and products by 2030, Apple Newsroom. The company is already carbon neutral today for its global corporate operations, and this new commitment means that by 2030, every Apple device sold will have net zero climate impact. “Businesses have a profound opportunity to help build a more sustainable future, one born of our common concern for the planet we share,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO.

100% RENEWABLE ENERGY

  • USA Rare Earth LLC Announces 100% Renewable Energy Plan for Round Top Mountain Rare Earth and Critical Minerals Project in West Texas, News Release, GlobeNewswire
    USA Rare Earth, LLC, the funding and development partner of the Round Top Heavy Rare Earth and Critical Minerals Project in West Texas together with Texas Mineral Resources Corp. is pleased to announce its commitment to power operations at its Round Top Heavy Rare Earth & Critical Mineral Project in Hudspeth County, West Texas with 100% renewable energy. West Texas is widely recognized as one of the best places in the world for solar power.
  • ‘Whiskey, Neat’: Kentucky Co-ops to Power New Distillery With 100% Renewables, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. The Diageo Lebanon, Kentucky Distillery is expected to be one of the largest carbon neutral distilleries in North America, according to the company, whose portfolio contains more than 200 brands, including Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal and Guinness. Among its innovations will be electrode boilers and an onsite fleet of only electric vehicles, including forklifts, Diageo said.

NEW YORK SEEKS 4000 MEGAWATTS OF RENEWABLE ENERGY

Governor Cuomo Announces Largest Combined Solicitations for Renewable Energy Ever Issued in the U.S. to Combat Climate Change, News Release, New York State

KIWI POWER

ENERGY STORAGE

Guidehouse Insights: Utility-scale energy storage industry ‘blossoming’ in several US states, Energy Storage News. The US utility-scale energy storage market is projected to maintain its position as the world’s largest and fastest-growing in the coming years, according to a new report from Guidehouse Insights. Despite the rapid growth, the development of new utility-scale energy storage systems (ESSs) remains highly concentrated in a few states. The market research provider’s report shows California, New York, and Texas lead the top 10 US energy storage markets.

Previously Posted: The magnificent seven: US states with energy storage mandates, targets and goals

TESLA SOLAR

Tesla’s Latest Moves In Solar Indicates It Is Either Crazy Or Has Made A Breakthrough, contributed CleanTechnica article by Paul FosseWell, part 2 of the master plan said this about solar: “Create a smoothly integrated and beautiful solar-roof-with-battery product that just works, empowering the individual as their own utility, and then scale that throughout the world. One ordering experience, one installation, one service contact, one phone app.” With that quote in mind, let’s look at what they are doing right now with solar.

EV NEWS

GM backs away from hydrogen fuel-cell tech in passenger vehicles, Green Car Reports
When GM announced plans for the 20 electric vehicles in October 2017, the automaker said it would pursue a “two-pronged” approach with both battery-electric and fuel-cell powertrains. Now GM plans to focus on battery-electric powertrains for passenger cars, and fuel-cell powertrains for military and commercial vehicles.

PV RECYCLING

‘They need to be ready.’ Study warns of growing solar waste, by David Iaconangelo, E&E News
In a study published last week in Nature Energy, analysts at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory said roughly 8 million tons of solar photovoltaic panels are expected to hit landfills globally by the end of this decade, rising to 80 million by midcentury, when they could account for about 10% of all electronic waste. But solar recycling could turn into a $15 billion global industry of its own by 2050, according to prior studies, and lead to the creation of 2 billion new panels. In the U.S., recycling could also provide a supply of minerals deemed “critical” for national security purposes, while reducing the solar industry’s environmental footprint, the study said.

CARBON ACCOUNTING

Morgan Stanley Joins Leadership of Global Carbon Accounting Partnership (PCAF), News Release, Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials. Morgan Stanley is the first major U.S.-based global financial institution to join PCAF’s 66 formal members, which include financial institutions from around the world and represent more than $5.3 Trillion USD in assets.

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.

Tri-State takes significant steps to increase member flexibility, sets contract termination payment methodology

Tri-State News Release

Under the new contract, utility members can self-supply up to 50% of their load requirements, subject to availability in the open season, in addition to the current 5% self-supply provisions and a new community solar provision. In late 2019, the board of directors approved the Contract Committee’s recommendation to expand member opportunities for community solar projects. Read more here.

Additional Recommended Reading
The Delta-Montrose Electric Association (DMEA) will terminate its membership in Tri-State on June 30, 2020, Tri-State News Release. The parties have entered into a membership withdrawal agreement in accordance with a July 2019 settlement agreement. As part of the membership withdrawal agreement, DMEA or a third-party will pay $88.5 million to Tri-State, and in addition, forfeit $48 million in patronage capital. “The withdrawal agreement aligns with our settlement and is a negotiated agreement unique to DMEA,” said Duane Highley, chief executive officer of Tri-State.

Nebraska Tri-State Members

FINANCING NEWS

Engie North America launches financing plan for renewable projects, Daily Energy Insider
Engie North America initiated a major tax equity financing plan for its renewable energy portfolio. With this action, the company has secured financing through tax equity commitments of up to $1.6 billion on various renewable projects through Bank of America and HSBC. The projects will be funded as they are commissioned starting in April 2020.

Previously Posted Interview
Engie’s renewables chief on scaling corporate contracts, hydrogen hopes and offshore wind, GreenBiz Many new renewable contracts Engie intends to sign will include clauses for making sure renewables are available 24/7, which means they’ll be hybrid arrangements that include a mix of clean (or cleaner) power sources such as solar, wind and hydro and, increasingly, some sort of storage — Engie has big aspirations in green hydrogen. Heather Clancy interviews Gwénaëlle Avice-Huet, executive vice president in charge of the global renewables and green hydrogen business line for Engie, and president and CEO of the Engie North America operation.

More About Engie Previously Posted

MORNING CONSULT

Let’s Deploy Local Solar for All to Help Restart Our Economy, by Luis Davila
As we face a once-in-a-lifetime crisis due to the effects of the coronavirus, we also have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform our energy system to one that is cleaner, safer and more equitable. This improved system can deliver local, affordable and clean energy options to all energy customers, especially low-income families who will be disproportionately affected by the effects of the coronavirus. Thankfully, prior to this crisis, we had already started to take steps to pursue this improved energy system. It is time to accelerate our transition to a more decentralized, resilient energy system.

Luis Davila is a clean energy policy advocate and former director of campaigns and advocacy at Sunrun, and before that, he was a campaign leader at the U.N. Climate Change secretariat in the lead up to the Paris Climate Agreement.

Morning Consult welcomes op-ed submissions on policy, politics and business strategy in their coverage areas. Updated submission guidelines can be found here.

FEATURED RESOURCE

Low Income Solar.Org
Utilities are in a powerful position to facilitate the transition to clean energy for all and can play a vital role in expanding solar access and choice for low-income households. However, special care must be taken to ensure utility owned projects are designed to meet the needs of low-income households and underserved communities. In considering the roles utilities can and should play in making solar available for low-income households and underserved communities, Principles and Recommendations for Utility Participation in Solar Programs for Low-Income Customers from The Environmental Law & Policy Center, GRID Alternatives, and Vote Solar outlines three interrelated sets of guidelines and considerations for policy makers and regulators to review.

HYDROPOWER

Life After Covid-19, Part II: Secret Renewable Energy Weapon Lurks Beneath Waters of the US, by Tina Casey, CleanTechnica. For all the nice (and not-so-nice) things people say about hydropower, the chances of building a new fleet of hydropower dams in the US are slim to none. However, there is still plenty of untapped renewable energy to be scoured from running water — and the US Department of Energy is determined to pry it loose with $38 million for a newly announced research program. The new announcement lends additional support to the prospects for deploying renewables as an economic recovery strategy in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

DOE News Release: Department of Energy Announces $38 Million to Support Hydrokinetic Turbine Technology Development

VIRGINIA LEADERSHIP

MODEL REGIONAL INITIATIVE

The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is the first mandatory market-based program in the United States to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. RGGI is a cooperative effort among the states of Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont [and now Virginia] to cap and reduce CO2 emissions from the power sector.

APPA RELIABILITY AWARDS

APPA recognizes member utilities for reliability efforts, American Public Power Association
The American Public Power Association recently honored more than one hundred public power utilities with a “certificate of excellence” for reliable performance in 2019, as shown by comparing their outage records against nationwide data gathered by the Energy Information Administration (EIA). The utilities that were recognized by the Association have been keeping track of their reliability data via the Association’s web-based subscription service, called eReliability Tracker, which lets utilities collect, categorize and summarize their outage information. The complete list of awardees is available here.

Nebraska Award Recipients
Fremont Department of Utilities
Grand Island Utilities Department

OPPD THE WIRE

Show off your knowledge about line work, by Laura King-Homan
April 13 is Lineworker Appreciation Day in Nebraska. OPPD is proud of all the line technicians who work hard every day to keep our communities powered. But how much do you know about the work they do? Take the quiz below and find out!

ESG

Amid plunging stock prices, ESG leaders are holding their own, by contributor Sara E. Murphy, GreenBiz

Jeff Meli, global head of research at Barclays, said companies should expect more questions from investors about their resilience and contingency planning, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. Many observers believe that strong ESG performance indicates better management, which translates into stronger long-term returns. The idea is that management teams that do a good job of minimizing their environmental footprint, promoting good employee relations and creating resilient governance structures are more likely to be adept at running all other aspects of a company’s business. “ESG funds tend to be biased towards higher-quality companies with a stronger balance sheet, companies that are run better and operate more efficiently,” Hortense Bioy, director of passive strategies and sustainability research at Morningstar, told the Financial Times.

TESLA’S PILOT VPP IN AUSTRALIA

Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant Is Already a Success, Popular Mechanics
Like the large energy storage facility Tesla operates in South Australia, the goal of the virtual power plant is to both collect energy and store it to be fed back into the grid. The pilot virtual plant is distributed across the rooftops of 1,000 low-income homes in South Australia, and Tesla says its goal is to eventually have 50,000 solar rooftops there. That number might sound small, but South Australia only has about 1.6 million residents.