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Renewable Energy Update
October 24, 2017
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City of Industry publicly approves massive solar farm

San Gabriel Valley Tribune - Oct 12 After working behind closed doors for a year, the City of Industry publicly approved agreements last Thursday to build a massive solar farm at the intersection of Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties — on land it does not own yet outside city limits. Industry has already spent $14 million on the proposal, according to city officials. The re-approval of the 450-megawatt solar project at Tres Hermanos ranch came after Diamond Bar and Chino Hills threatened to sue Industry for violating open meeting laws by entering into a multimillion-dollar agreement in closed session in 2016. Industry’s City Council voted to ratify a lease agreement and four amendments Thursday after less than 10 minutes of discussion. The project allows the developer, La Jolla-based San Gabriel Valley Water and Power, to request loans of up to $20 million.


Bipartisan group of former FERC commissioners rejects energy secretary’s bid to help coal plants

Washington Post - Oct 19 Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s bid to change regulations to help coal and nuclear power plants has run into unusually blunt opposition from a group of former regulators from both parties. Eight former members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) — including five former chairmen — have filed a letter with the commission opposing Perry’s proposal that would give coal and nuclear plants credit for resilience so that they would have a better chance of beating solar, wind, and natural gas competitors. The former commissioners said that Perry was seeking to reverse a quarter century of FERC reforms that have created a marketplace for electric power generators and that many of the coal plants he is aiming to help have no advantage when it comes to reliability.

Western EIM accrues $40M in benefits for members in Q3

Utility Dive - Oct 19 The Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) produced benefits of $40.55 million for its five participating members during the third quarter of this year, according to the California ISO. According to the report, participants also helped trim carbon emissions in the region by 9,986 metric tons by using 23,331 MWh of excess renewables. Since launching in 2014, the western regional market has saved participants almost $255 million. Arizona Public Service and PacifiCorp each accrued more than $10 million in benefits during the third quarter this year. In addition to the five participating members noted in the report, Portland General Electric began participation on Oct. 1, and will be included in the fourth quarter EIM benefit report.

SunPower obtains $53 million financing for residential solar

Renewable Energy World - Oct 23 SunPower Corp., the second-largest U.S. panel manufacturer, arranged more than $53 million in financing for residential-solar installations. The deal supports installations in eight U.S. states, Natalie Wymer, a spokesman for San Jose, California-based SunPower, said in an email Friday. South African bank Investec Plc led the financing. Investec has been a go-to lender for U.S. residential solar deals. It arranged about $880 million in debt financing last year for U.S. rooftop-solar developers and financiers, more than half of the $1.5 billion raised market-wide.

Imperial Irrigation District backing away from multi-million dollar energy deal

Desert Sun - Oct 23 The Imperial Irrigation District (IID) is likely to cancel a $6.9-million agreement to expand its battery storage facility in El Centro following Desert Sun reporting on possible conflicts of interest involving ZGlobal Inc., an influential consultant for the publicly owned utility. IID's board of directors voted in May to give the $6.9-million contract to Coachella Energy Storage Partners, or CESP, a company led by former IID board member Mike Abatti. CESP won the contract even though another firm submitted a cheaper proposal, newly obtained documents show — and even though concerns had been raised about CESP's business relationship with ZGlobal, an engineering firm that also works for IID. Last week, the publication sent IID additional questions about the project, focused on CESP's ties to ZGlobal and the utility's reasons for rejecting the lower-cost expansion proposal. In response, IID provided the following emailed statement from its general counsel, Frank Oswalt: "IID has not moved forward with the battery expansion project; if it does so, it will most likely be through a new solicitation process."

Nevada's clean energy jobs growing 3X faster than others

PennEnergy - Oct 13 A non-profit group urging increased investment in renewable energy says jobs tied to clean energy in Nevada are growing at a rate three times faster than overall statewide employment. The new report, released by Nevada-based Clean Energy Project and a non-partisan group of environmental entrepreneurs, E2, says jobs in Nevada's clean energy sector have grown 9.5 percent over the past year, to a total of more than 31,000. That compares to overall growth of about 3 percent in Nevada's non-farm labor workforce.

Novel power-to-gas technology begins testing

Greentech Media - Oct 16 Last month, a team of researchers and engineers quietly installed a first-of-its-kind energy reactor on the campus of a government lab just west of Denver, Colorado. The device, a 25-foot-tall, thin mass of industrial silver pipes and tanks, is a test of a rather unusual method to store energy using microbes, hydrogen, and clean electricity. Similar technology is being tested in pilot projects across Europe, but the reactor in Colorado is one of the only ones operating within the U.S. If the process, known as “power-to-gas” by those in the industry, is able to be deployed at a bigger scale and at a lower cost it could some day offer a solution to store large amounts of electricity produced by wind and solar over long periods of time.

Partners kick off construction on Arizona solar project

Solar Industry Magazine - Oct 16 D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments LLC, together with its development partner, Torch Clean Energy LLC, announced the closing of construction financing and start of construction on the Gray Hawk Solar Project. Located near the town of Kingman, Arizona, the 46-megawatt project is expected to reach commercial operation in the second quarter of 2018. Gray Hawk will produce power for UNS Electric Inc., a subsidiary of UniSource Energy Services, under a 25-year power purchase agreement. The facility is expected to generate roughly 150 million kWh of power each year – enough clean energy to power approximately 11,000 homes.

Military microgrid at Twentynine Palms set to undergo expansion

Microgrid Knowledge - Oct 18 A 10-megawatt military microgrid in Twentynine Palms is set to undergo a $7.8 million expansion as part of long-term plan to achieve energy independence. Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center’s received a task order for the job in late September from Naval Facilities Engineering Command. Improvements will allow the microgrid to continue operations without any disruption or downtime if the base loses power from local utility Southern California Edison. This will be done by providing full integration and automation of two combined heat and power plants and all renewable energy systems.

San Marcos pairs up with Tesla to bring solar power to schools

San Diego Union-Tribune - Oct 12 Tesla Motors Inc., known for building high-end electric cars, will be powering San Marcos schools, as well. Last December, the district inked a deal with the Silicon Valley energy company to introduce solar arrays at most of its campuses. Tesla will install, operate, and maintain the equipment, and the district will purchase power at reduced rates, saving an estimated $30 million over the 20-year contract.

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