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Renewable Energy Update
March 1, 2018
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More than 100 cities worldwide now powered primarily by renewable energy

Inside Climate News - Feb 27 A new report released Tuesday by the London-based environmental group CDP finds that more than 100 cities worldwide now get the majority of their power—70 percent or more—from renewables. That's up from 42 in 2015, when countries pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in the Paris climate agreement. CDP notes that more than 40 of those cities are now powered entirely by renewables, including Burlington, Vermont, which gets its electricity from a combination of wind, solar, hydro, and biomass. Burlington will have more company within the next 20 years—58 U.S. cities, including Atlanta and San Diego, having announced plans to do the same.


Plan to expand California electricity grid powers up for third time in as many years

The San Diego Union-Tribune - Feb 23 For the third time in three years, California energy officials are working to expand governance of the electric power grid to become a regional function covering as many as 14 states. Proponents of the expanded-grid concept, called a regional transmission organization, or RTO, say a multi-state system would allow California to sell excess renewable power like solar or wind to other states that rely on electricity generated by heavier polluters like coal and natural gas. Assemblyman Chris Holden, D-Pasadena, chair of the Utilities and Energy Committee, has been circulating draft language for a bill that would create a regional grid to supplant the work of the California Independent System Operator, the nonprofit that now controls most of the state’s power grid. Comments on the draft legislation being circulated by Holden are due Wednesday.

Plan to expand California electricity grid powers up for third time in as many years

Pasadena Star-News - Feb 26 In dozens of cities and unincorporated communities in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, businesses and residents will soon be paying lower electric bills for greener energy under a just-launched community choice aggregate utility, power officials said. The Clean Power Alliance of Southern California began buying power on Feb. 1 for about 2,000 Los Angeles County buildings, including libraries, hospitals, firehouses, sheriff stations, parks, and offices, supplying 60 percent from renewable energy sources — more than double what Southern California Edison (SCE) provides, said Gary Gero, chief sustainability officer for the county.

San Jose City Council to vote on ambitious new climate plan

San Jose Inside - Feb 26 San Jose aims to become one of the first cities in the U.S. to curb greenhouse gas emissions to the levels set in the Paris climate agreement. The City Council on Tuesday discussed the ambitious plan, which is outlined in a 131-page document unveiled by Mayor Sam Liccardo earlier this month. One of the major components of the plan involves San Jose Clean Energy, a city-run alternative to PG&E that allows residents to opt in to emission-free electricity. The city is poised this week to approve a $5.8 million agreement with Calpine Energy Solutions to provide data management and call center service for the clean energy service, which it expects to have up and running by this summer.

U.S. could reliably meet 80% of electricity demand with solar and wind power

Solar Power World - Feb 27 The United States could reliably meet about 80 percent of its electricity demand with solar and wind power generation, according to scientists at the University of California, Irvine; the California Institute of Technology; and the Carnegie Institution for Science. Meeting 100 percent of electricity demand with only solar and wind energy would require storing several weeks’ worth of electricity to compensate for the natural variability of these two resources, the researchers said. The researchers estimated that the cost of the new transmission lines required, for example, could be hundreds of billions of dollars. In comparison, storing that much electricity with today’s cheapest batteries would likely cost more than a trillion dollars, although prices are falling.

Utility dodges suit over California dam, hydropower system

Courthouse News Service - Feb 22 The United States could reliably meet about 80 percent of its electricity demand with solar and wind power generation, according to scientists at the University of California, Irvine; the California Institute of Technology; and the Carnegie Institution for Science. Meeting 100 percent of electricity demand with only solar and wind energy would require storing several weeks’ worth of electricity to compensate for the natural variability of these two resources, the researchers said. The researchers estimated that the cost of the new transmission lines required, for example, could be hundreds of billions of dollars. In comparison, storing that much electricity with today’s cheapest batteries would likely cost more than a trillion dollars, although prices are falling.

HSU’s Schatz center gets $5M grant for airport microgrid

Courthouse News Service - Feb 26 Humboldt State University’s Schatz Energy Research Center and the Redwood Coast Energy Authority are teaming up to bring energy independence to the Humboldt County regional airport in McKinleyville through a $9 million solar array microgrid. The research center announced last week that it was awarded a $5 million grant, which it will combine with $6 million in matching funds from RCEA. That money will afford a 9-acre 2.25 megawatt solar array, Schatz founding director Peter Lehman said Monday.

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