By - Jim Vess

Solar cell imports to the U.S. rebound from tariffs in the first quarter of 2019

Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 Imports of silicon solar cells and modules rebounded in the first quarter of 2019 after a sharp drop when the Trump administration announced it would impose tariffs on them in January 2018. Photovoltaic (PV) module imports averaged 644,000 kilowatts (kW) a month in the first quarter of 2019, about 16 percent more than the average

By - Jim Vess

Solar power contract prices are falling to record lows, but also gathering some risk

Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 Portugal’s first photovoltaic (PV) solar auction has led to a record low-cost contract of $16.54 a megawatt-hour (MWh), narrowly besting the previous record, a recent Brazilian power purchase agreement (PPA) for $16.95 a MWh. “With the levelized cost of utility-scale PV in Southern Europe now well below current wholesale power prices, investors have flocked to

By - Jim Vess

Xcel Energy gets the go-ahead to expand its Renewable Connect program in Minnesota

Energize Weekly, August 21, 2019 Xcel Energy has received approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to turn its Renewable Connect pilot into a full-time program and merge it with another of the company’s renewable programs, Windsource. Xcel plans to add 180 megawatts (MW) of wind generation and 50 MW of solar for the program under which customers pay a

By - Jim Vess

A record number of wind projects being built and planned in the U.S., AWEA says

Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 The U.S. wind industry hit a record for construction and project development in the second quarter of 2019 with nearly 42,000 megawatts (MW) of projects being built or in advance development, according to an American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) market report. The 20,908 MW of wind farms under construction and the 20,983 MW in the

By - Jim Vess

Residential energy storage set to grow fivefold in Europe, Wood Mackenzie says

Energize Weekly, August 14, 2019 The annual pace of residential energy storage in Europe is set to double in the next six years with total of 6.6 gigawatts of capacity on the continent by 2024 – a fivefold increase from 2018, according to a Wood Mackenzie analysis. Annual deployments are projected to reach 500 megawatts with 1.2 gigawatt-hours of storage

By - Jim Vess

Corporations continue to buy solar energy with Apple and Amazon leading the way

Energize Weekly, August 7, 2019 Corporate solar acquisitions had a near-record-breaking year in 2018 led by Apple and Amazon, according to industry trade group Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). In all, 1,144 megawatts (MW) were installed, the second highest year after 2017. The figure includes projects owned by companies and offsite facilities that were owned by companies or from which

By - Jim Vess

Global solar PV installation poised to set a record in 2019 of 114.5 GW

Energize Weekly, July 31, 2019 Global solar photovoltaic (PV) installations are set to reach a record 114.5 gigawatts (GW) in 2019, up nearly 18 percent from 2018, according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. The Chinese PV market, the world’s biggest, is slowing down as the government makes changes to its solar subsidy policies while other national markets are picking up.

By - Jim Vess

Tri-State reaches exit deal with Colo. co-op, seeks FERC regulation on rates and contracts

Energize Weekly, July 31, 2019 After more than two years of sometimes acrimonious negotiations, fights before a state utilities commission and lawsuits, the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association has agreed to terms allowing one of its rural Colorado cooperatives to leave next year. Four days after filing the agreement with Colorado Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), Tri-State moved to have its

By - Jim Vess

AEP subsidiaries seeking to buy 1.5 GW of Oklahoma wind power

Energize Weekly, July 24, 2019 Two American Electric Power (AEP) subsidiaries are seeking state regulatory approvals to purchase nearly 1.5 gigawatts (GW) of wind power under development in Oklahoma at a cost of $2 billion. The subsidiaries – Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO) and Public Service Co. of Oklahoma (PSO) – put out a proposal request for the wind power

By - Jim Vess

ABB is paying $470 million for Fimer to take its inverter business off its hands

Energize Weekly, July 24, 2019 Zurich-based ABB is paying $470 million to unload its solar inverter business to Italian solar inverter maker Fimer Spa, as price pressures dog the market. ABB said it will take an after-tax nonoperational charge of $470 million with about 75 percent going to Fimer as a cash payment. ABB said it will pay Fimer from

By - Jim Vess

Closing a coal plant and contracts for offshore wind are signs of utility industry’s shift

Energize Weekly, July 24, 2019 In a sign of the shifting fortunes in the utility industry, on the same day came news of the largest coal-fired plant closure in nearly a decade and the largest U.S. offshore wind contracts ever. On July 18, American Electric Power (AEP) agreed to close a 1.3-gigawatt (GW) coal-fired unit in southern Indiana, and New

By - Jim Vess

Natural gas has a role in a low-carbon future, IEA says

Energize Weekly, July 24, 2019 Natural gas, despite growing concerns about its role creating greenhouse gases, continues to provide “quick wins” for carbon emissions reductions and clean air improvements, according to a study by the International Energy Agency (IEA). In the United States, for example, there has been a 70 percent increase in natural gas-fired generation since 2005, and it

By - Jim Vess

Chinese drop in clean energy investment dampens global performance in 2019

Energize Weekly, July 17, 2019 Chinese renewable energy investment dropped 39 percent in the first half of 2019 to $28.8 billion when compared with the same period in 2018, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). The 2019 six-month figure was the lowest since 2013 and is the result of a shift this year away from feed-in tariffs to auctions

By - Jim Vess

Global power M&A hits $158 billion in 2018, making it second busiest year in the last five

Energize Weekly, July 17, 2019 Global power mergers and acquisitions (M&A) reached $158 billion in 2018, making it the second most active in the last five years, according to GlobalData, a London-based data and analytics company. The number of deals was down a little more than 4 percent to 622 for 2018 when compared to 2017, which was the most

By - Jim Vess

Global wind energy growth is being driven by U.S. and China policies

Energize Weekly, July 17, 2019 New wind energy projects worldwide are forecast to average 71 gigawatts (GW) a year from 2019 to 2023 and 76 GW a year from 2024 to 2028, according to market report by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. The report also upgraded wind energy additions by 11 GW between 2019 and 2028 – a 1.5 percent

By - Jim Vess

LNG global building boom faces risk from renewable energy, climate policies, report says

Energize Weekly, July 10, 2019 The natural gas industry is making $1.3 trillion in infrastructure investments to create a global liquefied natural gas (LNG) market but those capital expenditures may be at risk from competitive renewable energy prices and the prospect of climate regulations, according to Global Energy Monitor. The San Francisco-based nonprofit, which tracks worldwide fossil-fuel infrastructure, said that

By - Jim Vess

Utilities to close coal-fired units but plans to replace them with natural gas draws fire

Energize Weekly, July 10, 2019 Utilities are moving to close coal-fired power plants and add more renewable generation, but the large role played by new gas-fired power plants is drawing fire from environmental groups, arguing that no more fossil fuel-based units should be built. In the last two weeks the Tennessee Valley Administration (TVA), Xcel Energy Minnesota and Public Service

By - Jim Vess

Q1 2019 solar PV installations set a record as 13 GW of new solar are forecast for the year

Energize Weekly, July 3, 2019 After a record first quarter for photovoltaic (PV) solar installations in the U.S., the market is poised to install 13 gigawatts (GW) of PV in 2019 – a 25 percent increase over 2018, according to energy consultant Wood Mackenzie. In the first quarter of 2019, 2.7 GW of solar PV was installed, 10 percent more

By - Jim Vess

Renewable generation temporarily overtakes coal-fired generation in April, the EIA says

Energize Weekly, July 3, 2019 Renewable electricity generation surpassed coal-fired generation for the first time in April, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). Renewable generation accounted for 23 percent of electricity generation in April compared to 20 percent for coal. “This outcome reflects both seasonal factors as well as long-term increases in renewable generation and decreases in coal

By - Jim Vess

Rural co-ops’ billions in coal-related debt are an impediment to clean energy, report says

Energize Weekly, July 3, 2019 Rural electric cooperatives, which get much of their power from coal-fired power plants and are among the leading emitters of greenhouse gases, are hampered in shifting to clean energy by coal-related debt, according to a study by the Center for Rural Affairs. The study by the Lyons, Neb.-based non-profit found that there were 53 generation

By - Jim Vess

Wood Mackenzie puts the cost of transition to all renewable energy at $4.5 trillion

Energize Weekly, July 3, 2019 The cost of transforming the U.S. electric grid to totally renewable energy in the next 10 to 20 years would be $4.5 trillion given current technology, according to a study by energy-and-industry consultant Wood Mackenzie. At a time of competing climate plans among Democratic presidential candidates and the Green New Deal being promoted by Congressional

By - Jim Vess

New York passes sweeping climate action plan to get to net-zero carbon emission by 2040

Energize Weekly, June 26, 2019 A bill passed by the New York state legislature sets the goal of boosting renewable power, including poorer communities in the transition to clean energy and getting the state to net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 for all economic activity. The legislation, passed on June 20, is supported by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “New York has enacted

By - Jim Vess

Southwestern U.S. solar resource leads to top performance for PV solar installations

Energize Weekly, June 19, 2019 Some of the most robust state solar energy plans are in states such as Massachusetts and New Jersey, but the most robust solar resource is, perhaps not surprisingly, the Southwest based on performance analysis by the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). In the analysis of photovoltaic (PV) solar generating capacity factors – the percentage of

By - Jim Vess

New Jersey unveils a broad plan to reach 100 percent clean energy target by 2050

Energize Weekly, June 19, 2019 A multipronged, draft energy plan aimed at getting New Jersey to 100 percent clean energy by 2050 was unveiled June 10 by the state Board of Public Utilities (BPU). The plan looks to address transportation, energy consumption by buildings, grid modernization, as well as a net-zero carbon electricity generation and energy storage. The plan also

By - Jim Vess

Wind and solar running ‘neck and neck’ in global corporate power purchases in 2019

Energize Weekly, June 19, 2019 Wind generation, which has been the dominate form of renewable energy for corporate clean energy in power purchase agreements, is running “neck and neck” with solar in 2019, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Globally, companies had signed deals for 2.8 gigawatts (GW) of solar and 2.8 GW of wind by the end of

By - Jim Vess

Massachusetts energy agency calls for another 1,600 MW of offshore wind, doubling state’s target

Energize Weekly, June 12, 2019 Massachusetts energy officials have proposed doubling the state’s offshore wind capacity by adding another 1,600 megawatts (MW) by 2030. The state has already awarded one 800-MW offshore project and is set to select another 800-MW project in the fall. After an economic analysis and a review with stakeholders, the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER)

By - Jim Vess

U.S. energy storage installations set a record in the first quarter of 2019

Energize Weekly, June 12, 2019 U.S. energy storage installations hit a quarterly record in the first three months of 2019 with 148.8 megawatts (MW) of new capacity, according to a market report by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Energy Storage Association (ESA). The first quarter of 2019 installations were 6 percent higher than the last quarter of 2018

By - Jim Vess

Mitsubishi Hitachi seeks to build world’s largest energy storage facility in Utah

Energize Weekly, June 12, 2019 Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MPHS) and Magnum Development announced a plan at the end of May to develop the world’s biggest clean energy storage facility – 1,000 megawatts – using a range of technologies and salt caverns in Utah. The aim is to provide energy storage for the Western power grid, but critics have already

By - Jim Vess

Many clean generating technologies lagging in their deployment rates, the IEA says

Energize Weekly, June 12, 2019 While the deployment of carbon-free electricity generation advanced in 2018, many key technologies are lagging in the pace needed to reach international goals, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). “The world is currently not on track to meet the main energy-related components of the Sustainable Development Goals agreed on by 193 countries in 2015,”

By - Jim Vess

Global wind turbine orders set a new record in the first quarter of 2019

Energize Weekly, June 5, 2019 Global wind-turbine orders were up 7 percent year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, an 875-megawatt (MW) increase—breaking the record set in the first quarter of 2018, according to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables. The Wood Mackenzie market report found that strong orders from China and the Americas more than offset a nearly 20 percent decrease from 2018

By - Jim Vess

Tri-State G&T rejects $500 million offer to replace coal-fired power plants with renewables

Energize Weekly, June 5, 2019 The Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association has rejected a multi-million dollar offer by Guzman Energy to buy three of Tri-State’s coal-fired plants, close them down and supply the association with electricity from a generation mix heavily tilted toward renewables. Guzman, a Miami-based energy contractor and consultant, contends that the deal—valued around $500 million—would allow Tri-State

By - Jim Vess

Global costs for renewables fell across the board in 2018, IRENA says

Energize Weekly, June 5, 2019 Global costs for new renewable energy fell in 2018 for eight major types of electric generation, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Costs between 2017 and 2018 dropped from as much as 26 percent for concentrating solar power (CSP) to 1 percent for geothermal and offshore wind. “Cost declines across the board in

By - Jim Vess

Small hydropower projects to add 330 MW of capacity in the next few years

Energize Weekly, May 29, 2019 Projects across the country are set to tap into the potential hydropower of dams not currently generating electricity with 32 dams in 12 states slated to add a total of 330 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). There are more than 90,000 dams in the U.S., but only

By - Jim Vess

Xcel Energy agrees to close three coal-fired units in Minnesota ahead of schedule

Energize Weekly, May 29, 2019 Xcel Energy reached a settlement with a group of clean energy and labor organizations to close two Minnesota coal-fired power plants and clear the way for it to buy a natural gas-fired plant. Under the agreement signed May 20, Xcel will shutter the 511-megawatt (MW) Allen S. King coal plant in Bayport, Minn., by 2028.

By - Jim Vess

U.S. solar PV market tops two million installations in 2019

Energize Weekly, May 22, 2019 Photovoltaic (PV) solar installation in the U.S. hit two million in 2019, according to data from the market analysis consultant Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). It took nearly 40 years to reach the one-million-installation mark in 2016 and just three years to double it. Wood Mackenzie forecasts the

By - Jim Vess

Retired coal-fired power plant site to be turned into $650 million transmission facility for offshore wind

Energize Weekly, May 22, 2019 The site of a former Massachusetts coal-fired power plant is slated to be turned into a $650 million relay for electricity produced offshore, according to energy developer Anbaric. The Anbaric Renewable Energy Center, built on the site of the old Brayton Point power plant in Somerset, will have a 1,200-megawatt (MW), high-voltage, direct-current (HDVC) converter

By - Jim Vess

Wind developers rush to get project in the pipeline before federal tax credits end in 2020

Energize Weekly, May 22, 2019 Wind farm projects are forecast to swell in 2019 as developers look to get their projects in the pipeline before federal tax credits vanish, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). The EIA is projecting that wind projects will double over 2017 to 12.7 gigawatts (GW) of capacity in 2018, making the second biggest

By - Jim Vess

Global renewable energy generation additions stalled in 2018 for the first time in 17 years

Energize Weekly, May 15, 2019 The nearly two-decade, year-on-year growth in global renewable energy generating capacity stalled in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The 180 gigawatts (GW) of generating capacity—in wind, photovoltaic (PV) solar, hydro, bioenergy and other renewable sources—added in 2018 was about the same as in 2017. It was the first time there wasn’t a

By - Jim Vess

Electricity demand to be down this summer, coal’s share expected to drop, EIA says

Energize Weekly, May 15, 2019 Summer electricity generation in 2019 is forecast to be down 2 percent from last summer to 1,168 million megawatt-hours (MWh) with a sharp drop in how much of that power is provided by coal-fired plants. The energy mix for the summer highlights the ongoing shift in the generating portfolio with coal dropping 3 percent since

By - Jim Vess

Renewable generation set to surpass coal-fired generation for April and May

Energize Weekly, May 8, 2019 Renewable energy generation in April and May will put more electricity on the gird than coal-fired power plants, according to the federal Energy Information Administration (EIA). It is the first time on record that renewable power sources—hydro, biomass, wind, solar and geothermal—have surpassed coal-fired generation, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) said.

By - Jim Vess

Texas Renewable Energy Co-op gets wholesale bids at less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour

Energize Weekly, May 8, 2019 The Texas Renewable Energy Co-op (TREC) has received wholesale electricity bids for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour on 12-year contracts for its public non-profit participants, such as municipal and state agencies. The bidding process was managed by the Texas Energy Aggregation (TEA), which was created in 2002 to improve market power for universities, cities,

By - Jim Vess

MidAmerican Energy sets one-day record for wind energy, covers all of retail demand

Energize Weekly, May 8, 2019 MidAmerican Energy hit a one-day record for wind generation in April, producing enough electricity to serve 100 percent of its retail customers’ needs with renewable energy. The Des Moines-based utility—which serves 783,000 electric customers in Iowa, South Dakota and Illinois—generated 11,500 megawatt-hours (MWh) on April 10, 8.5 percent better than its previous record for wind

By - Jim Vess

Massachusetts approves first offshore wind project south of Martha’s Vineyard

Energize Weekly, May 1, 2019 Massachusetts’s first offshore in project, two 400-megawatt (MW) installations in an area south of Martha’s Vineyard, has been given a green light by state regulators. The project by Vineyard Wind, which will sell its electricity to four distribution utilities, was approved by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU). The DPU found that the projects

By - Jim Vess

Coal plant closure moving west into areas with strong renewable energy resources, says BTU Analytics

Energize Weekly, May 1, 2019 The battle over coal-fired power plants and renewable energy is moving west, according to analyses by BTU Analytics, a Lakewood, Colo.-based energy consultant. About 81 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity has been closed at 696 units at 360 plants since 2008. In the early years, most of the closures were in the East. “Those retirements were

By - Jim Vess

Small, net-meter wind turbine capacity growth led by a tripling in the Northeast

Energize Weekly, May 1, 2019 Small wind turbines—at homes, farms and businesses—have increasingly been plugging into the grid and getting paid for the electricity they put on the wires—with the fastest growth in the Northeast. Net metering, which enables homeowners and commercial customers to be credited for electricity they put on the gird, has been one of the financial incentives

By - Jim Vess

Western states move on clean energy and carbon emissions reductions

Energize Weekly, May 1, 2019 A push for clean electricity is sweeping western states with a burst of activity last week as Washington and Nevada adopted new standards and Colorado moved closer to approving a 100 percent net-zero-carbon target for 2050. California last September set a net-zero-carbon target by 2045. In March, New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed a

By - Jim Vess

U.S. wind installations up in 4Q of 2018 with total capacity for the year at 96,488 MW

Energize Weekly, April 24, 2019 A total of 5,944 megawatts (MW) of wind turbines were installed in the U.S. in the fourth quarter of 2018, the third highest quarter on record, bringing total installed capacity for the year to 96,488 MW, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). A big driver was corporate and non-utility wind procurement, which set

By - Jim Vess

Vermont’s Green Mountain Power sets a goal of 100 percent renewable energy by 2030

Energize Weekly, April 24, 2019 Vermont’s largest utility, Green Mountain Power, has set a goal of reaching 100 percent carbon-free generation by 2025 and 100 percent renewable energy by 2030. Green Mountain, which serves 264,000 customers or about 40 percent of the state, is already 90 percent carbon-free, getting the bulk of its electricity from hydropower and a power purchase

By - Jim Vess

Solar PV capacity continues to grow in urban America led by California cities

Energize Weekly, April 17, 2019 American cities are continuing to be a beacon for solar generation as the number of large municipalities with more than 50 megawatts (MW) installed has tripled to 23, while 45 cities have doubled their photovoltaic (PV) solar capacity. Those were among the findings in the sixth annual survey of solar in large cities by the

By - Jim Vess

Energy storage had a record year in 2018, and growth is projected through 2024

Energize Weekly, April 17, 2019 The global energy storage market posted a record 120 percent year-on-year growth, with 6 gigawatt-hours (GWh) installed. The future looks strong with capacity growing thirteenfold by 2024, according to a Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables study. “From 2013 to 2018, we saw fledgling market growth” with a total of 12 GWh installed, Ravi Manghani, Wood

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