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Renewable Energy Update
July 7, 2017

Renewable Energy Focus

Solar and wind farm construction costs fell in recent years

Solar Industry Magazine - Jul 5 Based on U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) survey data for new, utility-scale electric generators (those with a capacity greater than 1 megawatt), capacity-weighted average construction costs for most generator types, including solar and wind power, have fallen in recent years. According to EIA, the average construction cost of utility-scale solar photovoltaic generators declined 21 percent between 2013 and 2015, from $3,705/kW to $2,921/kW. EIA says annual changes in construction costs include the effects of differences in the geographic distribution of installed capacity between years, differences in technology types, and other changes in capital and financing costs. Because power plants are often constructed over several years, the agency notes reported costs are not necessarily indicative of the cost of a project initiated in that year. Government grants, tax benefits, and other incentives are excluded from these costs.

Governor Brown calls for a 2018 global climate summit in San Francisco

Los Angeles Times - Jul 5 Continuing his bid to act as an envoy for the U.S. on climate change, Governor Jerry Brown issued a call Thursday for a global summit on "climate action" to be held in San Francisco in the fall of 2018. Brown has embraced a global role in his climate advocacy. He most recently traveled to China as America's unofficial climate ambassador, and hosted the president of this year's United Nations conference on climate change, Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, at the governor's mansion in Sacramento. Closer to home, Brown has trained his energies on reauthorizing cap and trade, California's signature program to combat climate change, which requires companies to buy permits to release greenhouse gases. But so far, a proposal that would secure a supermajority vote in the Legislature has proved elusive.

Floating wind plan could finally crack California’s offshore market

MIT Technology Review - Jun 30 The six-decade-old Dynegy natural-gas plant, which shut down in early 2014, continues to loom over Morro Bay because it would cost tens of millions to disassemble. But this relic of mid-century technology might also offer the key to a very different energy future. A Seattle startup has proposed what could be the world’s largest floating offshore wind farm on a site 33 miles northwest of Morro Bay, anchoring in place around 60 to 100 turbines capable of delivering as much as one gigawatt of electricity into California’s grid. The site was selected specifically because the project could plug into the retired plant’s high-capacity transmission line at an adjacent PG&E substation, powering homes and businesses up and down the state. Whether or not this particular project ever gets built, by Trident Winds or another firm, the unsolicited proposal has already set in motion a bigger and more consequential undertaking: it prompted California’s governor, Jerry Brown, to ask the Department of the Interior to establish a state task force in coordination with Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), initiating the formal process of identifying promising areas for wind energy development off the state’s coastline. The task force hopes to produce the list of potential sites around the end of this year, says Joan Barminski, BOEM’s regional director for the Pacific.

Starting in 2019, Volvo will use electricity to power every new model

Washington Post - Jun 30 Electricity will power every new Volvo model starting in 2019, the Chinese-owned automaker announced Wednesday, making it the first major car manufacturer to pledge to leave the traditional combustion engine behind. Volvo said it will launch five fully electric vehicles between 2019 and 2021. Three of them will be Volvo models, and the other two will come from Polestar, Volvo’s performance car company. Volvo said it will also introduce a host of new gas and diesel plug-in hybrids down the line.

France plans to end sales of gas and diesel cars by 2040

New York Times - Jul 6 France is joining a growing movement to force the extinction of vehicles that run on fossil fuels, saying on Thursday that it would aim to end the sale of gasoline and diesel cars by 2040. The target is less ambitious than ones set by countries like Norway and India. Still, coming from a major car-producing country, France’s declaration gave additional momentum to efforts to fight climate change and urban smog by promoting the use of electric cars. The timing of the announcement was also significant, a day after the automaker Volvo said it would phase out the internal combustion engine, and during a visit to Europe by President Trump.

Oregon regulators set community solar rules, aiming for 160 MW in initial round

Portland Business Journal - Jun 30 Regulators set rules last Thursday for a program intended to extend the opportunity to go solar to all Oregon utility customers, whether they can put a system on their roof or not. The community solar program, ordered by the Legislature in last year’s Coal to Clean bill, requires Portland General Electric and Pacific Power to do power deals with qualified solar projects. Utility customers will be able to buy into the projects, receiving a credit on their bill for a portion of the solar produced. Renters are seen as prime candidates for participation, but advocates also think it could appeal to businesses, nonprofits, and others. Once rolling, it could add around 160 megawatts of solar power in Oregon in an initial round — 2.5 percent of the utilities' 2016 system peak — through projects capped at 3 megawatts. The state had 271.5 megawatts of solar as of the end of March.

Shell pushes further into power, renewables with bid to acquire MP2 Energy

Greentech Media - Jul 4 Shell Energy North America, a division of the oil and gas giant Royal Dutch Shell, has signed a purchase agreement for the acquisition of Texas-based MP2 Energy. The bid signals Shell’s growing interest in the power sector, including renewable energy and energy management services. MP2 currently manages 1.7 gigawatts of power, including 30 megawatts of landfill gas, 30 megawatts of large-scale solar, and 550 megawatts of wind, as well as 70 megawatts of natural-gas-fired peaker plants. MP2 also has around 40 megawatts of distributed solar, having partnered with SolarCity in 2015 to create a customer offering in Texas that closely resembles net metering. If approved by regulators, the transaction with Shell will enable MP2 to grow its renewables footprint and continue to innovate around product offerings across the company’s portfolio.

© 2017 Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP. All rights reserved. This email is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. This email was sent by: Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP, 865 S Figueroa Street, Suite 2800, Los Angeles, California 90017. To stop receiving this publication, click on the "unsubscribe" button.

Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
Senior Counsel
Environmental & Natural Resources | Land Use & Development
San Francisco
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Devine William R William R. Devine
Land Use & Development | Real Estate | Environmental & Natural Resources | Investment Management Group | Residential & Multifamily | Real Estate Transactions
Orange County
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Barry H. Epstein Barry H. Epstein
Land Use & Development | Environmental & Natural Resources | Real Estate | Infrastructure | Energy & Utilities | Real Estate Transactions
San Francisco
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Upcoming Events

Planning for Utility-Scale Solar PV in the San Joaquin Valley: What Does the Future Hold?
June 6, 2017
San Francisco, California
Editor's Note: Renée Robin will be a featured panelist at this event.


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