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Renewable Energy Update
May 5, 2017
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Renewable Energy Focus

California Senate leader unveils new proposal to phase out use of fossil fuels to generate electricity

Los Angeles Times - May 2 California would completely phase out the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity under a new proposal detailed by Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles) on Tuesday. Meeting the goal would require dramatic changes to the state's electricity infrastructure over the next two decades, including an end to burning natural gas, the source of nearly half of California's power. The legislation, Senate Bill 100, would accelerate the state's plans to increase its reliance on renewable sources such as solar and wind, increasing its 2030 target from 50 percent to 60 percent. More changes would need to come by 2045. California regulators would be in charge of drafting the rules for generating the rest of the state's electricity. Potential sources include the burning of methane captured at landfills or dairies, as well as existing hydroelectric dams.


U.S. solar-dependent power grids will be tested by eclipse

Curbed - May 5 On August 21st, the moon will pass directly between earth and the sun, shading the U.S. in half-light for roughly two hours. The eclipse is expected to cut North America’s generation of solar power by 70 megawatts a minute, hitting California especially hard, since it is home to about half of the solar power generation capacity. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the state’s share of solar power on the grid has increased from 0.4 percent to 10 percent in the last five years. California utility operators in the state are already planning to compensate for the 6,000 megawatts lost to the eclipse, setting aside energy capacity from gas and hydroelectric power sources.

Carmel Valley board backs community choice energy

Del Mar Times - May 3 The Carmel Valley Community Planning Board supported community choice energy as a way for San Diego to promote cleaner energy and competitive energy rates at its April 27 board meeting. In 2015, the planning board supported San Diego’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for 100 percent clean and renewable energy and requires the city to reduce greenhouse gases by 50 percent by 2035. The idea of community choice aggregation has spread throughout California—63 cities and nine counties have moved forward with community choice, including most recently Los Angeles County. San Diego City Council is expected to consider taking action on community choice this fall.

PG&E to administer $240M for energy storage, renewables under self-generation program

Renewable Energy World - May 3 Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) on Monday said it will administer about $240 million under California’s self-generation incentive program (SGIP) to help customers install energy storage, renewables, and other energy technologies. The funding is allocated through the end of 2019, PG&E said. According to the utility, 79 percent of the incentives under SGIP are now allocated for energy storage, with approximately 13 percent of this available for residential projects. For energy storage projects, PG&E said it prioritizes applications that pair energy storage with a renewable generator. The remaining 21 percent of SGIP is allocated for other resources that customers can install to generate energy, such as wind turbines, fuel cells, and internal combustion engines that use biogas.

Kings County’s largest solar farm proposed

The Business Journal - May 1 Kings County is processing an application for the development of a 2,527-acre, 250-megawatt solar farm southwest of Lemoore, which would be the largest photovoltaic project in the county. The Westlands Aquamarine project, proposed by applicant Westlands Solar Park, is located on drainage-impaired farmland designated for the development of solar energy and storage generation. Virtually all of the land in this part of Kings County is in the Westlands Water District and slated to be retired due to high salinity and selenium contamination. So far Westlands Solar Park has built a ”demonstration” two-megawatt facility with power being sold to the City of Anaheim. Developers are working to construct another 20-megawatt solar farm in the area as well. 

San Diego water authority seeks proposals for 500MW energy storage facility

Clean Technology Business Review - May 1 The San Diego County Water Authority (SDCWA) is seeking proposals for a 500-megawatt energy storage facility at San Vicente Reservoir. According to SDCWA, the project would have 5 to 8 hours of energy storage will help investor-owned utilities to source half of their energy from renewables by 2030. The proposed energy storage project could balance the electric grid by producing locally generated renewable energy on demand. It would also stabilize water rates as a new revenue source.

NextEra to build utility-scale solar-plus-storage project in Arizona

PV-Tech - Apr 25 NextEra Energy Resources will build a 10-megawatt lithium-ion battery storage system paired with a 20-megawatt PV installation for Arizona utility Salt River Project, with another battery system on the way. A subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, which is itself a subsidiary of Florida-headquartered power generation company NextEra Energy, will construct and own the facility in Pinal County, near Coolidge, Arizona. Salt River Project has brokered a 20-year power purchase agreement with NextEra, and will therefore buy all of the power generated at the Pinal Central Energy Center, as the project will be known. 

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