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Renewable Energy Update
February 14, 2018


Trump’s proposed budget slashes funding for clean energy programs

Greentech Media - Feb 14 The Trump administration’s proposed 2019 budget, released on Monday, proposes cuts to several clean energy programs. Under the blueprint, the Department of Energy would see a slight bump in funding to $30.6 billion over the current $30.1 billion, but that extra cash would go to administration priorities such as modernizing the nuclear arsenal and fossil energy research and development. Other programs, like the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, would receive far less than current funding levels. According to numbers released by DOE, energy and related programs would receive $2.5 billion under the proposed 2019 budget, a drop of $1.9 billion from the 2017 budget. 

California PUC establishes new utility planning process to reach carbon goals

Utility Dive - Feb 9 California has a suite of renewable and clean energy programs that are making progress on the state's goals, but regulators are continuing to fine-tune the process. That new framework will focus on electricity providers finding efficient strategies to reduce carbon emissions while maintaining service. In order to provide a general planning direction to the electric sector, the CPUC adopted a portfolio of energy resources, which includes approximately 10,200 megawatts of new renewable energy resources and 2,000 megawatts of new battery storage resources by 2030. The decision adopts a two-year planning cycle for CPUC to conduct modeling and analysis, sets greenhouse gas emissions targets, and consider Integrated Resource Plan filings from all load serving entities.

GIP acquiring NRG’s U.S. renewable energy business for $1.375 billion

North American Windpower - Feb 8 Global Infrastructure Partners’ third equity fund, Global Infrastructure Partners III, has agreed to acquire NRG Energy Inc.’s U.S. renewable energy business for $1.375 billion in cash. This includes a controlling stake and 46 percent economic interest in NRG Yield Inc. (NYLD), as well as NRG’s renewable energy operations and maintenance (O&M) and development businesses. NRG’s renewable O&M platform operates 2.4 gigawatts of renewable power generation in 17 states. In addition to acquiring the business and assuming sponsorship of NYLD, GIP has made several significant commitments to facilitate the transaction, including arranging a $1.5 billion backstop credit facility to mitigate any change-of-control risk with NYLD’s existing corporate debt and committing up to $400 million to backstop NYLD’s acquisition of the 527-megawatt Carlsbad natural gas project in California from NRG. 

North San Diego County cities looking at alternative energy plan

The San Diego-Union Tribune - Feb 8 Oceanside has agreed to join three other North County cities sharing the costs of a study to determine the feasibility of forming a renewable-energy alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric Co. The study, expected to be completed by mid-summer, will look at the possibility of creating a nonprofit joint-powers authority to purchase electricity at a lower cost and higher percentage of renewable sources than that provided by SDG&E. The program is called a Community Choice Aggregation, or community choice energy. Many cities across California are considering similar programs as a way to meet state goals for increasing reliance on energy from solar, wind, hydroelectric, and other renewable sources.

New solar developer Renewable Properties closes $12.5M funding round

Solar Industry Magazine - Feb 13 San Francisco-based Renewable Properties, founded in 2017, which specializes in developing and investing in small-scale utility and commercial solar projects in the U.S., has closed a new $12.5 million capital commitment from New Energy Capital Partners to develop, finance, and operate solar projects for utilities, local governments, and large commercial entities. Capital from the closing will be used by Renewable Properties to fund corporate and operating expenses, as well as project-specific expenses, including project acquisitions and development-related activities.

First Solar partners with Arizona utility for peak dispatch solar-plus-storage project

Energy Storage News - Feb 13 Vertically-integrated solar energy company First Solar will be involved in the first megawatt-scale battery system announced in Arizona since it was revealed the state could put a 3,000-megawatt energy storage deployment target in place. First Solar, which makes and deploys thin-film solar PV panels at utility-scale projects, made an investment a while back into grid-scale and commercial system integrator and provider Younicos but had yet to make a move into a project. A 50-megawatt battery will be charged with the output from a 65-megawatt solar field to deliver energy to customers during peak demand periods in a project being undertaken by First Solar and utility Arizona Public Service.

How Chaffey College plans to cut electricity use by 90 percent

Daily Bulletin - Feb 13 Chaffey College officials gathered Tuesday afternoon to celebrate a 5.5-megawatt solar project, which will offset more than 90 percent of the college district’s annual electricity usage. The solar shade structures have been installed in parking lots at the main campus in Rancho Cucamonga, as well as the Fontana and Chino campuses, making it the largest solar carport at a community college in the state, according to Henry Shannon, superintendent and president of Chaffey College. Once online, the projects would offset 7,400 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents annually, which is like taking almost 1,600 cars off the road for a year, the college said. Borrego Solar Systems developed, designed, and built the solar structures, consisting of 13,712 solar panels.

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