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Renewable Energy Update
February 23, 2018


New California bill would expand solar project access on already-developed sites

Solar Power World - Feb 20 The Solar Energy Industries Association commended legislation filed in the California Legislature last Friday that would make it easier for businesses, schools, nonprofits, and municipalities to access solar energy. The bill, SB 1399, authored by Senator Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco and parts of San Mateo County, would expand access to offsite solar projects for non-residential customers, by allowing them to partner with already-developed sites—such as parking lots, warehouses, brownfields, and landfills—and use those sites for solar energy that the local community can access.

California sets new rules for community choice aggregators

Greentech Media - Feb 14 In California, community-choice aggregators, or CCAs, are cities or counties that have taken over key aspects of their own electricity and natural-gas procurement, distribution, and sales from one of the state’s three big investor-owned utilities. From a slow start in 2010, the ranks of CCAs have grown to include eight operational entities with more than a dozen more being formed or expanded at present, representing 1.85 million customer accounts. How those costs of managing power lines, maintenance crews, and the customer service platforms that keep the system running are shared between CCAs and utilities has been a longstanding point of contention between the two groups, with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) serving as the referee. Last week, the CPUC adopted a resolution that will force future CCAs to take up at least one part of this common burden: resource adequacy, or the need to procure enough energy to meet the grid’s need when energy demand is peaking.

FERC order opens 'floodgates' for energy storage in wholesale markets

Utility Dive - Feb 20 The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week unanimously approved an order that could prove to be a landmark in the development of energy storage. FERC’s order “opens the floodgates for storage participation” in wholesale power markets, Ravi Manghani, director of energy storage at GTM Research, said. Order 841 directs operators of wholesale markets, Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators, to come up with market rules for energy storage to participate in the wholesale energy, capacity, and ancillary services markets that recognize the physical and operational characteristics of the resource. 

San Diego adopts new climate plan over widespread opposition from green groups, residents

The San Diego-Union Tribune - Feb 14 The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved last Wednesday its latest iteration of a so-called Climate Action Plan to limit greenhouse gases. The county was ordered by the courts to redraft its climate blueprint about three years ago after the Sierra Club challenged the document in court, arguing that the document lacked sufficient details on how the county would realize deep cuts in climate emissions. The San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club said it’s still considering whether to file suit against the county challenging the newly approved climate plan. The county’s most recent plan to fight global warming leans heavily on creating a new program that would allow developers to offset emissions through purchasing carbon credits around the globe. The document also calls for boosting the use of renewable energy to account for 90 percent of all electricity consumed in the county by 2030.

PG&E reaches green energy goals early, but hurdles loom

The Mercury News - Feb 20 PG&E has reached a state-mandated renewable energy goal three years earlier than required, the company said Tuesday, but fresh challenges loom as the company’s last nuclear power plant is slated for deactivation. The utility has reached the state-imposed 2020 renewable energy goal of producing 33 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, it said. PG&E also said it now delivers 78.8 percent of its electricity from resources that are free of greenhouse gases. Those resources, however, include the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant in central California that’s headed for decommissioning. That means the company will have to scramble to find green energy replacements for Diablo Canyon. State regulators have approved PG&E’s proposal to shut both Diablo Canyon reactors by 2025. Described by PG&E as a source of clean energy, Diablo Canyon during 2017 provided 27.4 percent of the company’s sources of electricity.

Six Flags plans solar for two California theme parks

Solar Industry Magazine - Feb 21 Six Flags Entertainment Corp. has announced a new initiative to power two more of its parks – Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo and Six Flags Magic Mountain near Los Angeles – almost entirely with solar. When it becomes operational, the system at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom will exceed 7 megawatts. Six Flags Magic Mountain’s system will have capacity for nearly 15 megawatts and will be the largest solar carport in North America, according to the partners.

Shell's pivot to renewables sharpens with California deal

Bloomberg - Feb 14 Royal Dutch Shell Plc, the world’s second-biggest oil company, is expanding its bet on renewable energy. Shell’s North American unit agreed to provide a credit line for trading and a revolving loan facility to Inspire Energy Holdings LLC, according to a statement Wednesday. The Santa Monica, California-based clean-power, smart-home, and energy-management company will use the funds to expand its reach. 

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