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Renewable Energy Update
February 3, 2017

Renewable Energy Focus

Senator Stern proposes clean-energy storage push

Santa Clarita Valley Signal - Jan 30

State Senator Henry Stern on Monday announced a proposal to “double down” on clean-energy storage in Southern California, a move he said would be a step toward limiting reliance on natural gas and other fossil fuels, and toward safeguarding ratepayers. Stern, a Democrat and one of Santa Clarita’s two state senators, is basing his proposal on the fact that, following last year’s Aliso Canyon gas blowout, which took that facility offline, the state went into a kind of emergency mode and was able to build various infrastructure that stored some 100 megawatts of so-called clean energy. Stern wants to establish a framework for “expediting” another 120 megawatts in new clean-energy storage projects, covering both investor-owned and city-run territories in the next year.

Federally funded grid edge projects under threat of budget cuts

Greentech Media - Feb 1

Many utilities and grid vendors rely on the federal government to guide and fund cutting-edge research on the grid edge. The future of federal partnerships like these is in question under the Trump administration, however. Two weeks ago, political news website The Hill reported on a budget proposal from the Trump team that includes plans to “eliminate” the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity and Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE). These are two big funders of grid integration projects, particularly through EERE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) program. EERE, which also manages energy efficiency, electric vehicle, and wind energy programs, has done studies showing that its $12 billion in taxpayer investment has yielded $230 billion in economic activity, with a 20 percent return on investment.

China’s nuclear power capacity set to overtake U.S. within decade

Bloomberg - Jan 30

China’s rapid nuclear expansion will result in it overtaking the U.S. as the nation with the largest atomic power capacity by 2026, according to BMI Research. The world’s second biggest economy will almost triple its nuclear capacity to nearly 100 gigawatts by 2026, making it the biggest market globally, analysts said in a note dated January 27. The nation added about 8 gigawatts of nuclear power last year, boosting its installed capacity to about 34 million kilowatts, according to BMI.

Tesla opens battery plant in California

Business Insider - Jan 30

Tesla cut the ribbon on a massive battery storage facility in the Southern California desert, 60 miles east of Los Angeles, on Monday. The Powerpack project, a joint venture with local electricity provider Southern California Edison (SCE), will support grid operation during peak hours and improve the integration of renewable energy resources. The project loads up on energy from the sun and from the electric grid during off-peak hours. One Powerpack pod at the Mira Loma site contains 16,000 lithium-ion battery cells each, providing more than 210 kWh per pack.

AES claims world’s largest battery storage system

PV Magazine - Feb 1

On Monday, AES Energy Storage announced the completion of a 30-megawatt battery storage system in Escondido. As verified by GTM Research, this is the largest lithium ion battery storage system in the world by megawatt-hour rating. While this system is 50 percent larger in capacity than Tesla’s much-hyped battery system at Southern California’s Mira Loma substation, it has not received the press coverage that Tesla’s has.

8minutenergy earns PPA deal to develop 90MW solar farm in California

PV-Tech - Feb 2

Independent solar developer 8minutenergy has received approval on a power purchase agreement to develop the 90-megawatt Springbok 3 Solar Farm in Kern County. The project is the third installation in the Springbok pipeline, joining 8minutenergy’s 105-megawatt Springbok 1 project, and its 155-megawatt Springbok 2 project. 8minutenergy also negotiated the interconnection agreements for the entire project. 8minutenergy signed the Springbok 3 PPA with the Southern California Public Power Authority on behalf of its participating member — the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Wells Fargo backs nonprofit solar installer Grid Alternatives

Solar Industry Magazine - Feb 1

The Wells Fargo Foundation has committed to a four-year, $2 million grant for GRID Alternatives, an Oakland-based nonprofit solar developer, to expand low-income solar access. The grant builds on more than $4 million Wells Fargo has invested in GRID since 2008, catalyzing the national expansion of the nonprofit’s work to bring solar power and job training to disadvantaged communities.

PG&E to withdraw license application for Butte County hydroelectric facility

Yubanet - Feb 2

Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) will withdraw its application for a new license for the DeSabla-Centerville hydroelectric facility in Butte County from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). PG&E’s withdrawal of the application, expected in mid-February, will start a process led by FERC to determine the future of the small hydroelectric facility. PG&E will request FERC initiate its “orphan project” process, which would allow for other qualified entities to apply for a license to operate the facility in the future. The FERC process could take 5-10 years.

Visalia schools green with renewable energy

Visalia Times-Delta - Jan 31

Over the spring semester, the Visalia Unified School District will add 10 more campuses to the growing list of schools using solar panels to help lower energy costs. The construction projects will be the third phase in the district’s solar initiative, which began in 2013. The first two phases were funded with Measure E, Proposition 39, and local money, administration said. The school purchased solar panels for the first two phases. In the third phase, panels will be leased through Solar City.

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