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Renewable Energy Update
December 20, 2018
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Large-scale solar installations drop 50 percent in Q3

U.S. NEWS & WORLD REPORT - Dec 17 Installations of new large-scale solar facilities fell by close to 50 percent from the second to the third quarter of 2018. Consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, which conducted the analysis for the Solar Energy Industries Association, said that "uncertainty" leading up to the Trump administration's decision in January to implement tariffs on imported solar cells and modules is behind the slowdown. With tariffs now in place, the sector is poised for a moderate bounce-back through the end of 2018. However, analysts expect to see the development pipeline slow again in 2019. Though some projects slated to be completed at the end of 2018 will spill into the first part of next year, solar installers will be forced to weigh two competing incentives: a federal 30 percent investment tax credit that's set to decrease in value in 2020 balanced against tariff prices that are set to see a slight cut in 2020. Wood Mackenzie expects most developers will delay new projects next year in exchange for the cheaper tariff in 2020.


Southern California Edison wants departing customers to pay $125 million

LOS ANGELES TIMES - Dec 13 Southern California Edison is short nearly $1 billion in its power budget — and it’s hoping to charge a big chunk of that money to customers leaving for another energy provider. Edison estimates it will spend $972 million more than expected on electricity this year, partly because it didn’t have access to enough power during a summer heat wave and was forced to pay sky-high prices on the energy market. The utility wants to charge approximately $125 million of the shortfall to more than 1 million homes and businesses that will leave Edison over the next few months to join Clean Power Alliance, which plans to start providing electricity in 2019 to about 930,000 residential customers of 29 cities, including Oxnard, Santa Monica, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks, and Ventura. The government-run energy agency is one of 19 community choice aggregators now operating in California.

Sempra and Con Edison complete sale of renewable energy assets

SOLAR INDUSTRY MAGAZINE - Dec 14 Sempra Energy has completed the sale of its U.S. operating solar assets, solar and battery storage development projects, and ownership interest in one wind facility to Consolidated Edison (Con Edison) for approximately $1.6 billion in cash, subject to customary post-closing adjustments. The transaction included Mesquite Solar 2 and 3 in Arizona, Copper Mountain Solar 1 and 4 in Nevada, and Great Valley Solar in California, as well as solar and battery storage development projects. Additionally, Con Edison acquired Sempra Energy’s interest in jointly owned facilities, including Mesquite Solar 1, Copper Mountain Solar 2 and 3, and the Alpaugh, Corcoran, and White River solar facilities in California, along with the Broken Bow II wind facility in Nebraska.

Power procurement’s path for 2019

CP EXECUTIVE - Dec 19 Corporate renewable energy procurement set a new record in 2018 with 4.96 gigawatts of clean energy, represented by 59 projects as of early December. That’s nearly double the amount in 2017, when the Business Renewables Center tracked 31 projects amounting to 2.78 gigawatts and a huge increase from 2013 when five deals were announced for a total of .32 gigawatts. Those numbers reflect a rising interest in renewable energy as a procurement strategy for commercial property owners and other businesses. The Deloitte Resources 2018 Study from the firm’s Energy & Resources Group found that 48 percent of business respondents were working to procure more electricity from renewable sources; 61 percent said they would consider combining battery storage with renewable sources.

Projects

Solar Frontier Americas moves into the IPP space with Mustang Two acquisition

PV MAGAZINE - Dec 19 Solar Frontier Americas this week announced the purchase of the Mustang Two solar project from Canadian Solar. Construction has not yet commenced on the 210-megawatt project planned in California’s Central Valley. Canadian Solar subsidiary Recurrent Energy will continue to develop the project and prepare it for construction. Upon completion in 2020, Solar Frontier will own and operate the plant, marking a move by the Japanese thin film maker subsidiary from project development into the independent power producer (IPP) space.

Digital Realty strikes a new solar power deal in Arizona

DATA ECONOMY - Dec 19 Digital Realty has secured a solar energy deal with Salt River Project, under which it will source a portion of the energy consumed by its Arizona data center portfolio from a new 100-megawatt solar plant being built in Coolidge, Arizona. Digital Realty also announced that it has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR certification for superior energy performance in 24 of its data centers in 2018.

Regulators poised to accept NV Energy plan for six new solar power plants, doubling renewable capacity

NEVADA INDEPENDENT - Dec 19 State energy regulators are poised to grant NV Energy the go-ahead on plans to construct six major solar projects, which would result in the doubling of solar capacity in the state and the doubling of renewable energy production by 2023. A draft order by the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada released Tuesday also accepted a request by the utility and renewable energy advocates to retire early the coal-burning Valmy generation plant in northern Nevada, approved millions of dollars in transmission upgrades, and extended the lifetimes of a half-dozen natural gas plants in the state. The draft order still needs to be approved by the commission during its scheduled meeting this Friday, and it can be amended or changed by members. In its order, the commission found that the utility’s plan for the six new power plants “best advances Nevada’s clean energy goals” and diversified fuel sources as well as decreased reliance on natural gas.

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Barry H. Epstein Barry H. Epstein
Partner
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Devine William R William R. Devine
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Renée Louise Robin Renée Louise Robin
Senior Counsel
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