Tag Archives: Xcel Energy

Take local action on climate change

Written by Roy D. Buol, Mayor of Dubuque and a member of
Mayors for Solar Energy, Guest Columnist, The Gazette

The federal government’s Fourth National Climate Assessment should be a major wake-up call for the Midwest. The report details the serious consequences of our addiction to fossil fuels in communities such as Dubuque and throughout the Midwest. Our elected leaders not only need to acknowledge the gravity and urgency of the problem but do everything in their power to solve it . . . Dubuque is working to prevent the worst of these effects by advancing clean, carbon-free renewable energy at the local level. With the adoption of Dubuque’s plan to reduce the community’s greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent below 2003 levels by 2030, the City Council solidified our commitment to mitigating and adapting to climate impacts. Read more here.

Image: Alliant Energy’s Solar Facility in Dubuque
The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure (ISI) announced April 2018 that the Dubuque Solar project earned the Envision Platinum rating for sustainable infrastructure – the highest Envision award level. This is the first solar project to receive Envision recognition, and second project in Iowa to receive an Envision Platinum rating.

 

Mayors for Solar Members in Nebraska
Mayors join call for more solar power

 

NEBRASKA ALSO IN THE NEWS HERE

Wind Dominates First-Quarter Midwest Power Project Starts, Completions, an Industrial Info News Alert, PR Newswire
Industrial Info Resources (Sugar Land, Texas) is tracking nearly $6 billion in Power Industry projects that are planned to start or be completed in the U.S. Midwest market region in first-quarter 2019. The Midwest includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. Wind power dominates these projects in terms of project value. Iowa, with more than $1.8 billion in planned starts and completions, leads in terms of project value. 

Minnesota Regulators Approve Nobles 2 Wind PPA, North American Windpower
Minnesota Power, a utility division of ALLETE Inc., has received unanimous approval from the
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with
[Omaha-based] Tenaska Inc. for 250 MW of wind-generated electricity.

MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY NEWS

Solar farm approvals on deck; B-N group-buy matches first, Bloomington Pantagraph. McLean County is on track to have 18 solar farms considered for state approval this spring, with small-scale solar development still marching along after another successful group-buy program. StraightUp Solar Photo: A solar farm at Home Nursery, a wholesale nursery in Albers, Illinois.

UTILITIES IN THE NEWS

Xcel Energy: Utility of the Year?
By Robert Rapier, 
Moneyshow.com
Historically, most of Xcel’s wind generation was produced under power-purchase agreements from third parties. But that’s about to change. Xcel has approved 4,780 MW of new wind power by 2021, of which it will own 74%. Xcel plans to invest $1 billion in Colorado over the next few years. It is targeting an increase in renewables to about 55% of its energy mix by 2026 . . . Expect more utilities to follow Xcel’s example. Global pressure to address climate change has been a factor to this point in the rapid adoption of renewables. But now that they are becoming cost-competitive with coal, renewables increasingly look like a smart decision, for both utilities and investors. Flickr Photo

Utilities are accelerating microgrid investments in innovative and strategic ways, GreenBiz
The electric utility sector is at a crossroads between centralized generation and distributed energy
resources (DERs), with 2018 DER deployments exceeding additions for centralized generation.

SOLSMART UPDATE

 

The SolSmart Application has been revised.
Click here to download and review it.

Omaha utility’s carbon intensity goal obscures ongoing fossil fuel use

Written by Karen Uhlenhuth, Midwest Energy News

The carbon intensity goal passed on a 6-2 vote. The goal could change if the board revisits the issue after January, when newly elected board members — including three clean energy supporters — are seated. A debate about carbon intensity also surfaced recently in Iowa, where
MidAmerican Energy won regulatory approval last week for a 591-megawatt wind farm known as Wind XII. In its application, the utility’s president and CEO, Adam Wright, noted that the project would lower the utility’s carbon intensity to about 638 pounds per net megawatt-hour, compared to 1,839 pounds per megawatt 15 years ago, before it began investing in wind energy. “The carbon intensity, even if it’s calculated correctly, doesn’t mean they’ve reduced their emissions that much,” said Paul Chernick, an attorney representing the Sierra Club in the case.
Read the entire article here.

Pat Hawks / Flickr / Creative Commons Image

Related News Stories

CARBON CAPTURE RESEARCH
DOE spent more than $500M on dead projects, E&E News
Nearly half the $2.7 billion in fossil research money spent by the Department of Energy over the last seven years supported nine carbon capture demonstration projects, the majority of which were canceled or withdrawn.

Decarbonizing enterprise: The path to 100 percent corporate renewable energy

Center Stage Podcast, GreenBiz

It’s clear that 100 percent renewable energy is imperative to fight climate change. And it’s already starting. Chris Clark, president at Xcel Energy; Bill Weihl, former sustainability and energy efficiency manager at Facebook; and Neha Palmer, head of energy strategy at Google talked about how to push and pull all companies, utilities and the public toward accessible 100 percent renewable energy. Listen to the Podcast
More Center Stage Podcasts

ALSO IN THE NEWS

HAPPENING IN OTHER STATES

SOLAR MODULE NEWS


Solar module lifetime predictions are getting better,
PV Magazine
NREL has proposed a new methodology for determining solar module degradation rates, taking into account measurement challenges such as sensor drift, inverter nuances, soiling and others – keeping the focus on the solar modules themselves. Image: NREL, Hit me with your SunShot


ENERGY SECURITY

100% Renewable Energy As Catalyst For Achieving Peace & Justice
By Rob van Riet, Director of the Climate Energy Program at the World Future Council and a regular contributor to The Beam
Unlike fossil fuels, which are characterized by the uneven geographical distribution of natural reserves, RE is abundant across regions and countries. Photo by Justin Holzgrove, DOE’s Hit me with your SunShot


HOW DOES THAT WORK? SERIES

Mutual Aid, by Jason Kuiper, The Wire, OPPD Blog

WHAT IS IT?
 Mutual aid is an agreement through which other utilities offer their restoration services after natural disasters strike and cause widespread power outages. OPPD has been on both sides of the aisle. Photo: OPPD trucks line up in Tampa, Florida, part of the mutual aid deployed to help restore power following a hurricane.

Colorado co-op seeks exit from coal-heavy Tri-State to pursue renewables

By Gavin Bade, Utility Dive

[Delta Montrose Electric Association’s] decision to leave Tri-State demonstrates how the increasing competitiveness of renewable energy is upending the economics of power production in the American West.

Tri-State is a generation and transmission provider that supplies power to more than 40 rural cooperatives across Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming. While it has increased renewable energy in recent years, coal is still its largest source of electricity — around half its capacity — and member co-ops are required to purchase all but 5% of their power from the company. Read more here.

Photo Credit: Flickr: Jimmy Thomas

Colorado approves Xcel plan to retire coal, shift to renewables and storage

By Catherine Morehouse, Utility Dive

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.

Image credit: Flickr; Energy.gov

RELATED READING

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDED READING

Minnesota community solar reaches 400 MW milestone

Solar panels pop up in Northfield

By Philip Weyhe, Northfield News

Northfield has a new way of contributing to renewable energy, as solar panels have risen from the ground on St. Olaf land in the northwest corner of the city. The panels, which are on land leased by St. Olaf, make up five community solar gardens, as defined by Xcel Energy, and in all, produce 5 megawatts (5,000 kilowatts) of power. The site is owned and operated by BHE Renewables, which purchased it from the original developer, Geronimo Energy. Read more.

Photo: Newly built solar gardens on St. Olaf land. The site is leased by Berkshire Hathaway Energy (BHE), which owns and operates the gardens. The company said subscriptions to the gardens are 100 percent filled. Credit: Philip Weyhe / Northfield News

In Minnesota, utility grant to help advance microgrid technology

By Frank Jossi, Midwest Energy News

Greg Mowry

A Minnesota university will take a step forward on microgrid research thanks to a grant from the state’s largest utility. The University of St. Thomas will use a $2.1 million grant from Xcel Energy to begin work on building a microgrid and an associated facility dedicated to developing that technology. The grant will be used to fund three phases, according to School of Engineering Associate Prof. Greg Mowry. Around $1.5 million of the grant will be build a research facility and microgrid of between 30 and 60 kilowatts. Continue reading.

Photo: University of St. Thomas professor Greg Mowry at the Steger Wilderness Center’s microgrid near Ely, Minnesota. Credit: John Ratzlof

Minnesota Public Radio: “Solar energy for powering light rail trains will expand”

This 37-kilowatt solar array on the Spruce Tree Center at University and Snelling avenues in St. Paul was installed in 2010. Innovative Power Systems will install similar arrays on four more commercial buildings along the light rail corridor next year. Elizabeth Dunbar | MPR News

This 37-kilowatt solar array on the Spruce Tree Center at University and Snelling avenues in St. Paul was installed in 2010. Innovative Power Systems will install similar arrays on four more commercial buildings along the light rail corridor next year. Elizabeth Dunbar | MPR News

By Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio (MPR) News 

Next year, Innovative Power Systems will install solar panels on four commercial building rooftops in the area, thanks to a $1.9 million grant from Xcel Energy.

The trains use a lot of electricity. But once the new panels are installed, solar power will make up 17 percent of the light rail’s annual electricity use.

Read more here.

Utility-scale solar is significantly cheaper than rooftop. Does that make it better?

Photo Credit: NREL

Photo Credit: NREL

By Herman K. Trabish, Utility Dive

Rooftop solar costs significantly more than utility-scale solar, according to a new study that’s stoking debate throughout the energy community, but critics say that price isn’t everything.

The cost of utility-scale solar comes to between $0.066 per kWh and $0.117 per kWh, according to new calculations from The Brattle Group, while the cost for customer-owned rooftop solar is between $.0123 per kWh and $0.193 per kWh. And for customer-leased rooftop solar, the cost is reportedly between $0.14 per kWh and $0.237 per kWh.

Continue reading.

Download Brattle’s study, “Comparative Generation Costs of UtilityScale and Residential-Scale PV in Xcel Energy Colorado’s Service Area

Macalester College commits to solar for its electricity

By David Shaffer, Star Tribune

The St. Paul college will join Northfield’s St. Olaf College as a carbon-neutral campus.

Macalester College said Thursday that solar power will offset all of its electricity use in two years, resulting in substantial savings on its utility bills.

The St. Paul liberal arts school is the second college in Minnesota to announce solar deals that will result in carbon-neutral campuses. In February, St. Olaf College in Northfield said it would add more solar to its existing wind energy, offsetting all its electricity with renewable power.

Read more.