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Renewable Energy Update
April 21, 2017

Renewable Energy Focus

Perry orders Energy Department study of electric grid

The Hill - Apr 17 Energy Secretary Rick Perry has ordered a departmental review of the electricity grid, targeting federal regulations and support for renewable energy that he says could imperil baseload power in the future. The review, according to a memo from Perry released on Monday, aims to assess whether federal policies have hurt the electric grid’s supply of baseload power, or the reliable electricity supply generated by large-scale power plants generally fueled by coal, natural gas, or nuclear sources. Critics of renewable energy, particularly wind and solar, which don’t provide electricity when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining, say increased reliance on those sources puts baseload power at risk. Perry’s memo orders his chief of staff to consider the role federal policies play in expanding renewable energy and whether that has hurt the reliability of the electric grid.

L.A. County creates a lower-cost alternative for Southern California Edison customers

Los Angeles Times - Apr 18 Southern California Edison (SCE) customers in Los Angeles County soon will have an alternative way to get their electricity — from a new government-run utility promising lower bills and easier access to clean-energy options. The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved the public energy program, which they say will help reduce power bills by as much as 5% below what customers pay SCE. Residents and businesses will have the choice to stay with SCE or join the county’s utility.

Proposed $800 million VW diesel settlement vexes companies, activists

San Jose Mercury News - Apr 17 A proposed $800 million state settlement with Volkswagen over its emission-cheating scandal could shape the highway landscape for electric vehicle drivers and boost sales of green cars in California for the next decade. But as regulators consider the German automaker’s plan, companies and environmentalists are fighting over where the massive investment should be spent and how it can best alleviate air pollution. A decision by the California Air Resources Board is expected this month. The settlement is expected to spark the electric vehicle market, a key to the state’s push to achieve ambitious climate change goals and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

California’s jammed highways hold hope as power source

San Francisco Chronicle - Apr 16 California officials agreed last week to fund an initiative to generate electrical power from traffic, known as piezoelectricity, a plan that involves harnessing road vibrations with the intent of turning the automobile, like the sun and wind, into a viable source of renewable energy. Devices that convert mechanical force into electricity are used in watches and lighters and are being tested for power generation on sidewalks and runways. A San Francisco nightclub has even leveraged the pulses of a dance floor to power its lights and music. But it remains to be seen whether the science can be employed on a large scale — threaded beneath the state’s sprawling highway system and rigged to produce significant, cost-effective electricity.

Washington spearheads a novel clean energy solution for Starbucks, REI, and Target

Greentech Media - Apr 19 Puget Sound Energy, the largest investor-owned utility in Washington state, announced a first-of-its-kind clean energy program this week aimed at serving commercial and municipal customers. The "Green Direct" program, recently approved by the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission, represents the first subscriber-style of green tariff to be used by retailers and small governments. The program's first subscribers include REI, Starbucks, and Target, as well as local governments and local institutions in the state. Green Direct is unique because it allows large-scale energy customers to subscribe to a slice of a local, utility-scale renewable energy project via a long-term service agreement. 

SDG&E signs contracts for 83.5 MW more battery storage

PV Magazine - Apr 20 San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) is going big into energy storage. In late January, the world’s largest battery system was put online it in its service area, a 30-megawatt system in Escondido. This week, the utility signed contracts for another 40-megawatt battery, a 30-megawatt battery system, and three projects totaling 13.5 megawatts. SDG&E says these systems will complete its obligations under targets set by state regulators in response to AB 2514, which mandated the deployment of energy storage by the state’s largest utilities. The five systems are expected to come online between December 2019 and the end of 2021. 

Inside GE and SoCal Edison’s first-of-a-kind hybrid peaker plant

Greentech Media - Apr 18 Southern California Edison (SCE) and General Electric (GE) have taken a grid edge concept, integrating natural gas-fired turbines and batteries, and turned it into two working models. Last month, SCE started operations at the second of two of its new hybrid electric gas turbine (EGT) units, GE’s term for its combination of turbines, batteries, and power controls installed at the two sites. Each peaker plant is in the 50-megawatt range, and is outfitted with a set of batteries capable of providing 10 megawatts and 4 megawatt-hours of power. The projects were rushed into operations to help SCE manage the closure of the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility.

NRG commissions utility-scale solar project for Cisco in California

Solar Industry Magazine - Apr 20 NRG Energy has announced that its 20-megawatt Blythe II plant in Riverside County is now generating solar power for technology conglomerate Cisco’s San Jose headquarters under a 20-year power purchase agreement. The facility will help Cisco meet its 2017 sustainability goals to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by 40% and to use renewable energy for at least 25% of its power needs each year.

Powin Energy to utilize Eaton equipment for energy storage project for SCE

Stratton Report - Apr 13 Eaton has announced a contract with Powin Energy to deliver a 2-megawatt energy storage project in the Los Angeles Basin to support regional electric capacity and grid reliability. The project is part of the Southern California Edison (SCE) 2016 Aliso Canyon energy storage resources solicitation, which procured fast-responding energy storage resources. 

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