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Renewable Energy Update
May 19, 2017
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Renewable Energy Focus

Non-utility suppliers could serve 85% of load by mid-2020s, according to new CPUC report

Utility Dive - May 17 A new report from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) predicts the "unprecedented change" taking place on the state's electric grid could leave traditional utilities supplying retail electric service to a scant few customers by middle of the next decade. Rooftop solar, community choice aggregation (CCA), and direct access providers (ESP) will make up about 25% of retail load this year, a number that could reach up to 85% by the mid-2020s, according to the report. Authors credit the changes to the interplay of aggressive environmental and clean energy goals with the state's deregulated electricity market. The paper, written by CPUC staff, was released in advance of a hearing the agency, along with the CEC, has scheduled for Friday to discuss the impacts of customer choice.


Trump’s budget expected to massively slash research on renewable energy

Washington Post - May 18 The Trump administration is expected to propose massive cuts to federal government research on wind and solar energy next week, according to current and former Energy Department officials familiar with budget discussions. The department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), which funds research on advanced vehicles as well as other aspects of clean energy, would face a roughly 70% cut in 2018, carving about $1.45 billion from its $2.09 billion 2017 budget. These planned deep cuts were first reported by Axios, which obtained an Energy Department budget document. It was unclear whether these were the final budget figures, which are expected to be released next week. The cuts are far from becoming a reality. In recent budget negotiations, Congress funded Energy Department programs roughly on par with 2016 levels, rather than follow a Trump administration proposal to slash them deeply in the current fiscal year.

San Jose City Council approves new community choice energy plan, the largest in California

San Jose Mercury News - May 16 San Jose on Tuesday became the largest California city to launch community choice energy (CCE), an alternative electricity provider that environmentalists say will save money and reduce pollution linked to climate change. The City Council unanimously approved the new utility program at Tuesday’s council meeting. The CCE program would begin next spring and would be among eight statewide that offer residents an alternative to traditional utilities like Pacific Gas & Electric.

SEIA vows to lead fight against Suniva trade petition

Solar Industry Magazine - May 16 Last month, bankrupt PV manufacturer Suniva filed a petition with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) seeking new import tariffs on crystalline silicon photovoltaic (CSPV) cells and minimum import prices on CSPV modules made anywhere outside the U.S. Although SEIA had initially signaled its objection against the petition, the national solar trade group, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), has formally sent an opposition letter to the ITC, which is currently considering whether to take on Suniva’s case. Suniva blamed its bankruptcy on pricing pressures from global module oversupply and foreign imports, and the Georgia-based manufacturer requested that the ITC conduct an investigation under an obscure trade law known as Section 201 of the Trade Act of 1974. 

California grid sets record, with 67% of power from renewables

SFGate - May 18 A stretch of sunny, windy days, combined with brimming reservoirs at hydroelectric facilities across the state, helped California reach yet another renewable energy milestone last weekend. Early Saturday afternoon, renewable sources produced a record 67.2% of the electricity on the portion of state’s power grid controlled by the California Independent System Operator. Based in Folsom, the ISO runs 80% of the state’s grid. More than half of the renewable energy flowing across the grid at that moment — 58.7% — came from large solar facilities. And the ISO’s numbers do not even include electricity from rooftop solar arrays.

Solar developer 8minutenergy enters energy storage market with 1GW of projects lined up

Energy Storage - May 17 Independent solar power developer 8minutenergy Renewables announced Tuesday that it has expanded into the energy storage sector with a 1-gigawatt project pipeline. 8minutenergy’s new venture will focus on standalone storage and hybrid projects and will be led by the company’s storage leadership team. The company is currently focusing on multiple key PV sectors, including California, where 8minutenergy boasts more than 700 megawatts in operational generation assets. In addition, 8minutenergy is also looking at growing markets in areas such as Texas and the Southeast US. 

Mercedes-Benz brings a new model (of battery) to U.S. homes

New York Times - May 18 Vivint Solar, a leading provider of residential rooftop systems, has tried many things over the years to gain an edge on the competition. Now it is hoping that offering customers a Mercedes-Benz for $5,000 to $13,000 will do the trick. But the offer is not for a car from the German automaker. Instead, it is for a sleek battery the size of a mini-fridge that will allow homeowners to take better advantage of the energy their solar power systems produce, whether to cut costs or to maintain a steady source of electricity during power failures. Mercedes has been selling the batteries in Europe and South Africa this year, but its partnership with Vivint, announced Thursday, represents its entrance into the United States market.

Vestas secures 15-year service extension at 150MW California wind farm

Energy Business Review - May 18 Vestas will service the 150-megawatt Mustang Hills wind farm in California for a further 15 years. Owned by EverPower and commissioned in 2012, the project has been under Vestas’ service since commissioned. With the 15-year extension, the project will remain under Vestas' service until 2032. The service agreement is a full-scope service package designed to maximize uptime, performance, and energy production.

© 2017 Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP. All rights reserved. This email is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. This email was sent by: Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP, 865 S Figueroa Street, Suite 2800, Los Angeles, California 90017. To stop receiving this publication, click on the "unsubscribe" button.

Devine William R William R. Devine
Partner
Land Use & Development | Real Estate | Environmental & Natural Resources | Investment Management Group | Residential & Multifamily | Real Estate Transactions
Orange County
(949) 851-5412
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Elizabeth Clark Elizabeth Clark
Senior Counsel
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San Francisco
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Barry H. Epstein Barry H. Epstein
Partner
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San Francisco
(415) 273-7469
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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
Senior Counsel
Environmental & Natural Resources | Land Use & Development
San Francisco
(415) 273-8413
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Upcoming Events

Bay Area Power Women 2017
May 31, 2017
San Francisco, California
Editor's Note: Elizabeth Clark will be an honoree at this event.

Planning for Utility-Scale Solar PV in the San Joaquin Valley: What Does the Future Hold?
June 6, 2017
San Francisco, California
Editor's Note: Renée Robin will be a featured panelist at this event.


 

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