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Renewable Energy Update
January 3, 2018
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How corporations ‘bypassed politics’ to lead on clean energy in 2017

Greentech Media - Dec 29 As of December 12, when heads of state joined to commemorate the second anniversary of the Paris Agreement, 327 major corporations, worth a cumulative $6.5 trillion, had committed to matching their emission reduction plans with the Paris goals through the Science Based Targets initiative. Another 864 companies have stated their intention to adopt a science-based target within two years. These companies hail from some 50 countries and 70 sectors, including finance, chemicals, food processing, technology hardware, and more. Companies headquartered in the U.S. make up 20 percent of the group and have made the greatest number of climate commitments to date, despite uncertainty surrounding the U.S. government's participation in the Paris accord.


Report: U.S. renewables outpace fossil fuels, nuclear

Solar Industry Magazine - Dec 26 The amount of U.S. renewable energy grew during the first 10 months of 2017 while electricity generation from fossil fuels and nuclear power declined, according to a new analysis from the SUN DAY Campaign. Citing the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) “Electric Power Monthly” report (with data through Oct. 31), the group says U.S. renewables increased by 14.6 percent during the first 10 months of this year compared to the same period in 2016 and provided 17.7 percent of the nation’s electrical generation. For the first time, solar has topped 2 percent of U.S. electrical output while wind exceeded 6 percent, reaching 6.14 percent. Hydropower accounted for 7.6 percent of total generation while biomass contributed 1.6 percent and geothermal 0.4 percent. Thus, the group notes, solar and wind combined now account for a greater share of U.S. electrical generation than hydropower.

After years of steep declines, solar prices starting to flatten across California

The San Diego Union-Tribune - Dec 22 The price of rooftop solar systems appears to be flattening in California, judging from a recent report that looked at the first six months of 2017. In 1998, the national median price to install a residential solar system came in at slightly more than $12 per watt, and those numbers fell dramatically in succeeding years, especially in California, the nation’s leader when it comes to the number of homeowners with rooftop photo-voltaic systems. According to a new Solar to the People report, the average cost per watt for the first six months in California is $3.09. The report used data from California Distributed Generation Statistics, with prices coming after the federal solar investment tax credit had been applied.

Monterey County PG&E customers to be enrolled with renewable power nonprofit

The Californian - Dec 29 Cheaper, cleaner power. That’s what Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) is promising customers in 2018. The new nonprofit agency, approved by three counties and 16 cities in the Tri-County area, is taking over power-buying authority from Pacific Gas & Electric Co (PG&E). While PG&E will still transport electricity through its lines and continue to provide natural gas, MBCP will buy renewable power from various green power-producing companies, mostly in the Northwest. It will include power from hydroelectric plants, wind, solar, and biomass producers, as well as geothermal energy.

Glendale City Council requests comprehensive review of renewable alternatives for Grayson Power Plant

Glendale News-Press - Dec 22 The $500-million project to update Glendale’s aging natural-gas power plant will undergo additional scrutiny next month over its potential increase of greenhouse gas emissions in light of the City Council’s recent support of the United Nations Paris Agreement. During the staff-comments portion of the City Council meeting in December, Councilman Zareh Sinanyan asked for his colleagues’ support in requesting city staff and Glendale Water & Power officials pause the “repowering” of the facility ahead of draft environmental impact report, or EIR, which is tentatively scheduled for council consideration on March 6. In an October presentation of the draft EIR, consultants stated that of the nine categories of environmental factors evaluated — which included air quality, noise, and hazardous materials — the report found “less than significant” impacts in all instances, some with mitigation. However, Sinanyan said city officials should evaluate Grayson differently because he thinks the renewable-energy alternatives included in the draft EIR are not “deep” or “comprehensive” enough.

50-megawatt energy storage facility proposed for Fresno County

The Business Journal - Dec 29 Battery storage for renewable energy is becoming more important in California, although most projects, so far, are small. Battery technology allows the capture and storage of energy during times of reduced demand for use during times of high demand. That saves costs for the user when supply is low, for example, when the sun is not out or the wind does not blow. On December 1, Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E) filed plans with the California Public Utilities Commission to buy stored power from six new projects totaling 165 megawatts. One of those is a new 50-megawatt battery storage project in Fresno that would be one of the state’s largest stand-alone lithium ion facilities. PG&E plans to buy battery storage power to be delivered back to the grid during times of peak demand when its system is congested.

Portland firm proposes 100-turbine wind project in Shasta County

Record Searchlight - Dec 28 A Portland, Oregon, firm has filed an application to build up to 100 wind turbines, more than twice as many as Hatchet Ridge, in eastern Shasta County. The turbines would be located west of the Hatchet Ridge wind energy project completed in 2010. The turbines proposed by Pacific Wind Development could also dwarf the 418-foot-tall turbines on Hatchet Ridge, where there are 44 turbines. The massive project would be built on 37,436 acres leased from Oxbow Timber I LLC. When operating at capacity, the turbines could produce up to 347 megawatts of electricity, enough to power about 260,000 homes, according to a formula from the Lawrence Livermore Labs. Shasta County planning officials said the project will likely have to go through a thorough environmental analysis.

Greenbacker acquires 26-MW California solar project

Solar Industry Magazine - Dec 29 Through a wholly-owned subsidiary, Greenbacker Renewable Energy Co. LLC has purchased a 26-megawatt solar project planned in Imperial County from Solar Frontier Americas Holdings LLC. The “Midway III” project is estimated to start construction in January and achieve commercial operation in October. As part of this pre-construction transaction, Greenbacker says, the project has a construction management contract and a module supply agreement in place with Solar Frontier.

LADWP to buy output of geothermal power plant

Electric Light & Power - Dec 22 Ormat Technologies has fired up a new geothermal power plant that will fuel the electricity needs of customers in Los Angeles. Ormat's 24-megawatt Tungsten Mountain geothermal plant is now operational. It is part of a series of projects the company is building in the Los Angeles basin. The company signed a deal earlier this year with the Southern California Public Power Authority (SCPPA) to sell the whole output of the power plant to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). SCPPA will purchase 150 megawatts of power generated by a portfolio of Ormat’s new and existing geothermal power plants.

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