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Renewable Energy Update
February 1, 2018
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In stunning reversal, Trump could open California desert to more solar and wind farms

Desert Sun - Feb 1 In an unexpected announcement with potentially dramatic consequences for the California desert, the Bureau of Land Management said it is seeking comments to help determine the scope of its review of the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan, an Obama-era plan that blocks energy development across millions of acres stretching from the Mexican border to the Owens Valley and encourages solar and wind farms in more limited areas. The sweeping land-use plan, which took eight years to complete, was hailed by conservationists as a historic victory for the desert's fragile ecosystems, which are home to bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, Joshua trees, and other iconic, at-risk species. Renewable energy companies aren't the only ones who might benefit. The Trump administration said its review could make it easier to build broadband internet infrastructure in rural communities. The administration is also asking for comments on ways to increase access to public lands for off-road vehicles, mining, and grazing.


California state office buildings sign on to 20-year community solar program

Solar Power World - Jan 26 The California Department of General Services (DGS) and Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) announced an agreement for DGS to receive over 50 percent of its electricity needs in SMUD’s service territory via a 20-year Large Commercial SolarShare agreement. The SolarShare program is a community solar project, a series of solar generating facilities shared by multiple community members, allowing the customer to avoid developing and maintaining its own onsite solar facilities. This agreement is the largest community solar project of its kind in the nation, creating enough energy to power about 8,200 homes per year (about 74 GWh).

Arizona regulator proposes biggest storage and clean energy target yet

Greentech Media - Jan 30 Arizona is setting out to prove clean energy leadership doesn't exist solely in coastal states like California and New York. Andrew Tobin, a member of the Arizona Corporation Commission, proposed a clean energy overhaul Tuesday that would put the state at the front of the pack. The Energy Modernization Plan aims to produce one of the cleanest energy mixes in the nation, while lowering prices for consumers and improving grid reliability. Tobin's plan includes an 80 percent clean energy target by 2050 coupled with a 3,000-megawatt energy storage procurement target for 2030.

Better air, more jobs seen with $70M climate grant given to Fresno for low-income areas

The Fresno Bee - Jan 30 A new Fresno City College satellite campus in southwest Fresno is the flagship project in a package of plans that won a $70 million grant from the California Strategic Growth Council on Tuesday as part of the Transformative Climate Communities program for disadvantaged communities. The money comes from cap-and-trade funds paid by companies into California’s greenhouse gas-reduction program for air pollution credits to offset their own emissions. Other highlights of Fresno’s proposal include energy-efficiency projects, such as the installation of residential solar and other energy improvements for homes, and electric vehicle-sharing programs for cars and van pools.

San Diego wind farm going strong

The San Diego Union-Tribune - Jan 25 After 13 years of bureaucratic and legal battles, the Tule Wind Farm in a rugged area of San Diego’s East County is now producing electricity. Avangrid Renewables, the operator of the 131.1-megawatt farm predicts the project will generate enough electricity to equal the power needed by about 40,000 homes a year and help the area meet state and local clean-energy goals. Under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, California's publicly owned utilities must procure 50 percent of their electricity from eligible renewable energy resources by 2030. The City of San Diego Climate Action Plan requires annual emissions be cut in half by 2035. Certain opponents say the project will harm the area’s habitat and kill birds, especially golden eagles.

Southern Power acquires 20MW project from Recurrent Energy

Solar Industry Magazine - Jan 30 Southern Power, a subsidiary of Southern Co., has acquired the 20-megawatt Gaskell West 1 Solar Facility in California from Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc. Construction of the approximately 280-acre project in Kern County began in October 2017, and the facility is expected to begin commercial operation in March. Southern California Edison will purchase the electricity and associated renewable energy credits (RECs) generated by the facility under a 20-year power purchase agreement and will have the option to keep or sell the associated RECs.

MCE Solar One goes online

The Richmond Standard - Jan 25 A forest of solar panels — 35,856 in total — now populate land provided by Chevron Richmond along Castro Street in Richmond, California. They constitute the largest publicly owned solar project in the Bay Area. On December 22 of last year, the MCE Solar One project went online for commercial operation, and an official ribbon-cutting ceremony is expected in April. The solar farm is producing 22,000 megawatt-hours per year of electricity, enough to power over 3,400 homes annually. The solar farm was created as part of a community benefits agreement reached between the city of Richmond and Chevron in connection with the $1 billion Refinery Modernization Project. As part of the agreement, Chevron leased the former, underutilized brownfield site to Marin Clean Energy (MCE) for 25 years at an extremely low rate, with a five-year extension option. 

Navajo Nation doubles down on solar project, signs major MOU

Solar Industry Magazine - Jan 29 With the signing of a landmark agreement between the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority (NTUA) and Phoenix-based public utility Salt River Project (SRP), a solar plant on the Navajo Nation will soon be doubled to provide more renewable energy to the Nation. The agreement also paves the way for at least 500 megawatts of future renewable energy projects. According to SRP, NTUA and its wholly owned subsidiary NTUA Generation Inc. will expand the Kayenta Solar project and label the new, 27.3-megawatt installation Kayenta II. 

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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
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Barry H. Epstein Barry H. Epstein
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