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Renewable Energy Update
November 29, 2017


Top energy storage projects driving the sector in 2017

Utility Dive - Nov 28 2017 could go down as the year regulated utilities took the lead in energy storage. Several of the most notable energy storage projects this year were done by or for regulated utilities. That momentum will likely carry into 2018 as well, Tim Gretjak, an analyst at Lux Research, told Utility Dive. In some cases, it is easier for a regulated utility to make the economic case for energy storage, Gretjak said. It is hard for developers of energy storage projects to compete in energy markets where the rules do not value the flexibility that storage can provide, he added. The trend could be bolstered by the fact that utilities across the country are beginning to include energy storage in their resource planning processes. In Oregon, for instance, Portland General Electric’s integrated resource plan (IRP) proposes five storage projects. In New Mexico, the Public Regulation Commission amended the state’s 2017 IRP rules to include energy storage.

SDG&E and city-run alternative compete to provide 100 percent green power in San Diego

San Diego Union-Tribune - Nov 20 The government-run alternative to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), known as community choice aggregation, is getting some competition from the investor-owned utility. To reach its goal of using 100 percent green energy by 2035, the city of San Diego has been looking at establishing a community choice program for more than a year. Now Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s office has said it will also study a plan submitted by SDG&E for going all green within the next two decades. Under community choice, SDG&E would continue to operate the electrical grid and charge for deliver power, but elected officials would assume control of the buying and selling of that electricity from power plants to city customers. The utility’s counter proposal to community choice is expected to be released to the public in the next two weeks.

NREL study finds ‘demand for green power is ubiquitous’ in the U.S.

Solar Industry Magazine - Nov 16 The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released “Status and Trends in the U.S. Voluntary Green Power Market (2016 Data).” The report is part of an annual series tracking the U.S. voluntary green power market, where retail electricity customers make voluntary purchases of renewable electricity. According to the report, the U.S. voluntary green power market continues to grow, with about 6.3 million voluntary customers buying 95 million MWh of renewable electricity in 2016, a 19 percent increase in sales from 2015. The voluntary green power market represents about 28 percent of all U.S. non-hydro renewable electricity sales. The vast majority of green power customers are residential. However, the report adds, large non-residential customers have driven significant increases in green power sales in recent years. 

Hydrogen cars for the masses one step closer to reality, thanks to UCLA invention

UCLA - Nov 27 UCLA researchers have designed a device that can use solar energy to inexpensively and efficiently create and store energy, which could be used to power electronic devices, and to create hydrogen fuel for eco-friendly cars. The device could make hydrogen cars affordable for many more consumers because it produces hydrogen using nickel, iron, and cobalt — elements that are much more abundant and less expensive than the platinum and other precious metals that are currently used to produce hydrogen fuel. The technology, described in a paper in the journal Energy Storage Materials, could be especially useful in rural areas, or to military units serving in remote locations.

Claremont city council approves energy utility alternative program

Claremont Courier - Nov 16 The Claremont city council narrowly approved entry into an energy utility alternative program set up by Los Angeles County. The council voted 3-2 to join the Los Angeles Community Choice Energy, a county-led community choice aggregation program that allows residents to choose greener energy as an alternative to Southern California Edison.

UC Riverside’s solar panel canopies bring shade, light, and green energy

The Press-Enterprise - Nov 26 A summer project on the UC Riverside campus erected canopies bearing 9,600 solar panels. When it goes online, the panels in campus parking lots 30 and 32 will supply about 7.6 million annual kilowatt hours of power to the campus, enough to power 788 homes. The 4.3-megawatt job is part of University of California’s system-wide goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from its buildings and vehicles by 2025. SunPower built and financed the $14.4 million project. UC Riverside doesn’t own the panels, and will purchase the energy they produce from SunPower. The canopies are SunPower’s third project on the UC Riverside campus.

Apache Solar Project fuels Arizona’s rural electrical co-ops

PV Magazine - Nov 27 At the same time a report in March reported that rural co-ops around the United States were betting heavily on solar power, the Apache Solar Project began construction in an effort by Arizona G&T Cooperatives to provide solar power to co-ops that might not otherwise have access to it. Initially planned as three separate projects, overwhelming response to the opportunity to subscribe led to its expansion this February to the 20-megawatt project that was completed in six months.

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