By - Jim Vess

New Mexico regulators OK 2,200-MW wind project covering 300,000 acres

Energize Weekly, October 10, 2018 A plan to install 2,200 megawatts (MW) of wind generation—about 950 wind turbines—in central and eastern New Mexico was approved by state regulators on Oct. 3. The New Mexico Public Regulation Commission (PRC), on a 4-to-0 vote, gave the green light to San Francisco-based Pattern Energy Group’s Corona Wind project. In addition to the turbines,

By - Jim Vess

Duke Energy Florida will install up to 530 EV charging stations in three-year pilot

Energize Weekly, October 10, 2018 Duke Energy said it will install up to 530 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in Florida as part of a pilot in tandem with a three-year program to promote and study EV use. The “Park and Plug” program is focusing on placing charging stations for public use in areas with broad public access, such as

By - Jim Vess

Trump tariffs added $236.5 million to U.S. solar projects, EnergySage says

Energize Weekly, October 10, 2018 The Trump administration’s solar tariffs have added $236.5 million to U.S. solar projects this year, according to solar marketer EnergySage Marketplace. For the average residential customer, this added up to an extra 16 cents per watt or $960 for a standard 6-kilowatt solar installation, according to EnergySage, which runs a web-based comparison-shopping market for rooftop

By - Jim Vess

Sempra sells renewable energy assets to Consolidated Edison for $1.5 billion

Energize Weekly, October 3, 2018 Sempra Energy has agreed to sell its U.S. non-utility operating solar assets, solar and battery storage development projects and one wind facility to Consolidated Edison Inc. for $1.54 billion in cash. “This sale represents an important step forward in the portfolio-optimization plan we announced in June to support market growth opportunities,” Joseph A. Householder, president and chief

By - Jim Vess

Financing the cost of closing coal-fired power plants is a key to a clean energy transition, RMI says

Energize Weekly, September 26, 2018 A major obstacle in the transition from coal-fired power plants to cleaner energy generation is the “specter of financial losses” utility companies face in closing those plants. Solving that problem is a key to a quicker energy transition, according to the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). In “Managing the Coal Capital Transition,” the RMI attempts to

By - Jim Vess

Minnesota’s community solar leads the nation and reaches 400-MW milestone

Energize Weekly, September 19, 2018 Minnesota’s community solar program—the biggest and fastest growing in the country—reached a record 401 megawatts this summer, according to an analysis by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR). The program was launched in November 2014 by Xcel Energy, the state’s largest utility. There was a two-year lag as projects worked their way through the approval

By - Jim Vess

Offshore wind development could bring a $3.6 billion boon to Eastern seaboard state

Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 Offshore wind power development could bring a $3.6 billion economic boon to five Eastern seaboard states, generating about 24,000 construction jobs and 1,000 permanent operations jobs, according to a study by BW Research. “The U.S. offshore wind industry is poised for substantial growth, thanks to falling costs and increasing recognition by state and federal policy

By - Jim Vess

Energy storage market up 60 percent over last year in second quarter of 2018

Energize Weekly, September 12, 2018 The U.S. energy storage market added 61.8 megawatts (MW) in the second quarter of 2018, a 42 percent increase over the first quarter, as demand for customer-owned batteries continued to grow, according to the Wood Mackenzie U.S. Energy Storage Monitor. Market growth year-over-year was up 60 percent, “thanks in large part to strong growth in

By - Jim Vess

Wind stays competitive in the face of low natural gas and wholesale energy prices, DOE says

Energize Weekly, September 5, 2018 Wind generation, while facing some challenges in wholesale electricity markets, has continued to be competitive with prices for power purchase agreements and turbines continuing to fall, according to a new study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). After reaching $70 a megawatt-hour long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2009, prices dropped to as low

By - Jim Vess

Montana wind developers seeks to use federal law in contract dispute over projects

Energize Weekly, August 29, 2018 A wind power developer has turned to Montana utility regulators and a federal law to resolve a payment dispute with NorthWestern Energy, the state’s largest utility, over four wind projects and a battery-storage facility it has proposed. Caithness Beaver Creek LLC (CBC) is seeking to develop the four projects, near Big Timber, Mont., totaling 80

By - Jim Vess

Study says shift from coal to renewables could save western co-ops $600 million

Energize Weekly, August 29, 2018 A switch from coal-fired generation to a mix anchored by low-cost wind and solar could save the rural electricity cooperatives served by one western generation and transmission association $600 million by 2030, according to analysis by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). RMI, a non-profit energy consultant, used the Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which serves

By - Jim Vess

Xcel Energy and Pueblo steel mill strike fixed rate agreement including 240-MW solar plant

Energize Weekly, August 29, 2018 Xcel Energy and one of its largest Colorado customers, EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel, have struck a unique agreement that gives the steelmaker a fixed electricity rate for 23 years and a 240-megawatt solar installation at the plant. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) has to approve construction of the photovoltaic solar facility at the EVRAZ

By - Jim Vess

Corporate renewable energy buys in 2018 already surpass all-time record

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 Corporate purchases of renewable energy worldwide in 2018 have reached 7.2 gigawatts (GW) and already surpass the all-time record set in 2017 by 33 percent. Long-term contracts to purchase wind and solar resources have been signed in 28 markets as the number of industries seeking clean energy resources is growing, according to an analysis by

By - Jim Vess

Wind industry will be cushioned by five trends when key tax credit expires, WoodMac says

Energize Weekly, August 22, 2018 The federal wind production tax credit, which has been a key driver in the development of U.S. wind power projects is set to expire, but energy consultant Wood Mackenzie says there are five factors that will cushion its loss. The production tax credit (PTC), which grants a credit for each kilowatt-hour a wind project generates

By - Jim Vess

Tri-State G&T co-ops pressure for lower prices and more renewables

Energize Weekly, August 15, 2018 Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, which serves 43 electric cooperatives in four Western states, is getting pressure from some of its co-ops, which are seeking better electricity prices and more renewable energy. The Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, in Taos, New Mexico, has already paid $37 million to get out of its Tri-State contract, and several

By - Jim Vess

Community banks and credit unions are playing a large role in residential solar financing

Energize Weekly, August 8, 2018 Community banks and regional financial institutions are becoming a bigger force in the financing of residential and small commercial solar installations, according to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). These community banks and credit unions represent a new source of capital for small-scale photovoltaic (PV) projects, and they are “experiencing positive early

By - Jim Vess

Wind power installations have a strong second quarter led by big projects in Texas, Michigan and Nebraska

Energize Weekly, August 8, 2018 A total of 626 megawatts (MW) of new wind generating capacity was installed in the second quarter of 2018—a 75 percent increase over the first quarter of 2017, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) quarterly market report. The second-quarter figure was also up 54 percent from the first quarter of 2018. So far

By - Jim Vess

PacifiCorp gets green light from state regulators for $3 billion Wyoming wind plan

Energize Weekly, August 1, 2018 PacifiCorp, which serves 1.9 million people in six western states, has received state approvals to move ahead with its $3 billion plan add and wind generation and transmission lines to its system. The Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved the project on July 20 after the Utah Public Service Commission gave its approval in June and

By - Jim Vess

Residential storage sets a record in the first quarter of 2018

Energize Weekly, August 1, 2018 A record 36 megawatt-hours (MWh) of home energy storage systems were installed in the first quarter of 2018, according to the U.S. Energy Storage Monitor report from GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association. That was as much residential storage capacity as had been installed in the previous three quarters combined and accounted for 28

By - Jim Vess

Blockchain could help manage rooftop solar, electric vehicle and energy trades, study says

Energize Weekly, July 25, 2018 Blockchain—the decentralized digital ledger most often linked to cryptocurrencies—could have a major impact in managing rooftop solar, electric vehicle charging and energy trading, according to an analysis by the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI). The EFI study estimates there has already been $100 million to $300 million invested in more than 100 energy sector blockchain applications.

By - Jim Vess

Global investment in solar falls while wind financing soars in first half of 2018

Energize Weekly, July 25, 2018 Global solar investment faltered in the first half of 2018, as the Chinse government cut back on subsidies, but financing for wind projects soared, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Overall, clean energy investment for the first six months of 2018 was $138.2 billion, a drop of 1 percent from the same period in

By - Jim Vess

Rural co-ops are adding solar generation at a breakneck pace, survey finds

Energize Weekly, July 25, 2018 Solar generating capacity at rural electric cooperatives is growing rapidly and expected to reach 1 gigawatt in 2019—a twenty-nine-fold increase in 10 years, according to a report by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA). “The surge in cooperative solar energy, from local community solar programs to large-scale arrays, is helping reshape the energy future

By - Jim Vess

Growing off-grid renewable energy powering farms and factories in developing countries

Energize Weekly, July 18, 2018 Off-grid technologies bring electricity to farm fields and remote villages in developing countries around the world, reaching more than 133 million people, according to an assessment by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). An estimated 100 million are using solar lights, and at least nine million are connected to a mini-gird, the report said. Asia

By - Jim Vess

PG&E proposes world’s largest battery storage project to replace natural gas plants

Energize Weekly, July 11, 2018 Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) has proposed the world’s largest battery storage project—2.3 gigawatts—to replace three natural gas plants. The San Francisco-based utility filed its request for approval with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), which in January had given PG&E a green light to solicit bids for the project. PG&E issued a request for

By - Jim Vess

Energy storage market posts a decline in the first quarter of 2018, but residential installations were robust

Energize Weekly, June 27, 2018 Quarter-over-quarter the U.S. energy storage market dropped 30 percent to 43.6 megawatts (MW) in the first quarter of 2018 and was down 39 percent compared the same quarter in 2017, according to an industry market report. This was in part due to a large number of utility-scale projects that came online in California in 2017,

By - Jim Vess

Clean electric generation technologies take the lion’s share of investment dollars to 2050

Energize Weekly, June 27, 2018 The pace for global investment in renewable energy will continue to grow—totaling an estimated $8.4 trillion in the next three decades—so that by 2050, half of all electricity generation will come from renewables, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). BNEF’s New Energy Outlook projects that other generation technologies that do not emit carbon dioxide,

By - Jim Vess

U.S. solar market has a good first quarter in 2018 but sales expected to be flat for the year

Energize Weekly, June 20, 2018 The solar industry posted a 13 percent year-over-year increase in the first quarter of 2018 as 2.5 gigawatts (GW) were installed, according to the U.S. Solar Market Insight report. Installations for the year, however, are projected to be flat compared to 2017 with a total of 10.8 gigawatts of installations, the market analysis by GTM

By - Jim Vess

Canadian investor and Texas solar developer team up for $100 million in projects

Energize Weekly, June 20, 2018 A Canadian real estate investment company is teaming up with a Texas solar developer for $100 million in solar projects in Austin and San Antonio. Toronto-based Fengate Real Asset Investments will provide the financing for projects developed by PowerFin Partners, which has offices in Austin and San Antonio. The multi-year deal will fund the development

By - Jim Vess

NV Energy $2 billion solar program hinges on November “energy choice” ballot measure

Energize Weekly, June 13, 2018 NV Energy announced a $2 billion plan to add more than 1 gigawatt of utility-scale solar and battery storage projects, but said the investment depends upon whether Nevada voters support an “energy choice” ballot measure in the fall. On June 1, NV Energy, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Energy, submitted a plan to the Nevada

By - Jim Vess

Xcel proposes a $2.5 billion plan to reorient its Colorado market to wind, solar and storage

Energize Weekly, June 13, 2018 Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest electricity provider, submitted a plan to state regulators June 6 seeking to invest $2.5 billion in wind, solar and energy storage projects while closing two coal-fired power plants. The proposed Colorado Energy Plan (CEP) would add 1,100 megawatts (MW) of wind power, 700 MW of solar resources and 225 MW of

By - Jim Vess

High levels of wind and solar on the power grid could lower wholesale electric prices

Energize Weekly, June 6, 2018 High levels of wind and solar on regional power grids can decrease electric wholesale prices by $5 to $16 a megawatt-hour (MWh), according to a study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. “Increasing penetrations of variable renewable energy (VRE) can affect wholesale electricity price patterns and make them meaningfully different from past, traditional price patterns,” the

By - Jim Vess

Falling renewable energy prices could make $112 billion in gas-fired generation a stranded asset, RMI study says

Energize Weekly, May 30, 2018 Coal-fired generation is being supplanted, for the most part, by cheaper natural gas turbines with $112 billion in new gas-fired power plants proposed or under construction, but those plants could face the same market fate as coal, according to an analysis by the Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI). The analysis by RMI, an independent energy consultant,

By - Jim Vess

Renewable energy jobs grow worldwide, but remain concentrated in a few countries

Energize Weekly, May 16, 2018 Renewable energy employment around the world grew by 5.3 percent in 2017 to 10.3 million direct and indirect jobs, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The strongest growth was in the solar photovoltaic (PV) and bioenergy sectors. There was a slight drop in jobs in the wind energy industry. Overall, there were 3.37

By - Jim Vess

Global wind market set to grow 4 percent a year through 2027

Energize Weekly, May 9, 2018 Annual global wind power capacity additions are projected to average more than 65 gigawatts (GW) between 2018 and 2027, according to renewable energy consultant MAKE. That is equal to a 4 percent compounded growth rate, Aarhus, Denmark-based MAKE said in its first quarter market report. Tax supports in the U.S., a resurgent auction market in

By - Jim Vess

More than $8 billion in solar deals already announced in 2018, kWh Analytics says

Energize Weekly, May 9, 2018 Solar acquisitions and asset-financing deals worth more than $8 billion have already been made in 2018, according to the kWh Analytics Spring DealFlow report. The solar services and risk management consultant logged 36 projects since the start of 2018, including 17 asset transactions and 19 asset-financing deals. Only 21 projects disclosed the dollar value of

By - Jim Vess

Corporate purchases of renewable power were strong in 2017, and 2018 is off to a good start

Energize Weekly, May 2, 2018 Corporate renewable energy purchases reached 2.78 gigawatts (GW) in 2017, on 28 deals, second only to 2015’s 3.2 GW, according to Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center. The market continues to look strong with 19 deals for 1.96 GW already signed in 2018, according to the center’s State of the Market report. The largest purchasers

By - Jim Vess

U.S. DOE to fund $105.5 million in photovoltaic and concentrating solar research projects

Energize Weekly, April 25, 2018 The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced a new $105.5 million round of funding for solar energy research, development and grid integration projects on April 17. DOE will fund about 70 projects to advance both solar photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar thermal power (CSP) technologies through its Solar Energy Technologies Office. “American ingenuity is the

By - Jim Vess

Wind industry taking hold in red states in the U.S. heartland in 2017

Energize Weekly, April 25, 2018 The wind industry is having a big impact on red heartland states and rural economies, according to data from the annual report from the industry trade group, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). A total of 7,017 megawatts (MW) of new wind capacity was added in the U.S. in 2017, about 13 percent of the

By - Jim Vess

Cities growing solar generating capacity, survey finds

Energize Weekly, April 18, 2018 The installation of solar photovoltaic (PV) arrays is growing in cities across the country—especially in sunny ones, according a survey by the non-profit Colorado Environmental Policy Center. “As of the end of 2017, 20 cities—representing just 0.1 percent of U.S. land area—accounted for over 4 percent of U.S. solar PV capacity,” the survey said. “These

By - Jim Vess

Investment rises in repowering old wind farms to get tax credits, cut costs and boost output

Energize Weekly, April 18, 2018 Wind farms across the country are getting a makeover as rising costs, declining production and the spur of tax credits is leading to the repowering of projects built as far back as the 1990s, according to federal data and market studies. A study by the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), in Golden, Colo., projects

By - Jim Vess

Southwest Power Pool sets a record for wind generation in the wee hours on March 31

Energize Weekly, April 11, 2018 In the early hours of March 31, the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) set a new wind penetration record with 62 percent of the load being served by wind generation. Wind turbines accounted for 14.5 gigawatts (GW) of the 23.2 GW load for the regional transmission organization (RTO), which operates a market that stretches across all

By - Jim Vess

Wind and solar plus storage are challenging fossil fuels worldwide, Bloomberg says

Energize Weekly, April 11, 2018 Coal and natural gas are being hard pressed to compete as the comparative cost of wind, solar and battery storage continue to fall and in concert, can meet the power grid’s key needs, according to a Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) study. “Fossil fuel power is facing an unprecedented challenge in all three roles it

By - Jim Vess

U.S. solar employment saw its first recorded decline in 2017, The Solar Foundation says

Energize Weekly, April 4, 2018 The solar industry lost jobs in 2017—seeing a 3.8 percent decline equal to 9,800 positions—for the first time since employment statistics were tracked in 2010 by the non-profit The Solar Foundation, the group said in its annual Solar Jobs Census. The foundation saw a host of reasons for the decline, including a slowdown in activity

By - Jim Vess

Foreign solar panel makers and American installers seek to be excluded from Trump solar tariff

Energize Weekly, March 28, 2018 More than 80 foreign solar cell and module manufactures and American companies using imported solar products are seeking exclusions from the Trump administration solar import tariff, according to filings with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. The arguments made by the applicants, based on a review of the filings, generally fall within three categories:

By - Jim Vess

Markets with high levels of renewable generation show ways to maintain grid stability

Energize Weekly, March 28, 2018 As wind and solar generation grow, so too have questions about their impact on the reliability and resiliency of the grid. However, a study of markets around world with high levels of renewables has identified keys to keep the systems up and running. The question of grid resiliency gained added heft when U.S. Secretary of

By - Jim Vess

Trump administration tariff to cut US solar market by 13 percent, prices already on the rise

Energize Weekly, March 21, 2018 The Trump administration tariffs on solar cells and modules will cut installations by 13 percent between 2018 and 2022 compared to previous projections, according to GTM Research. A total of 10.6 gigawatts of photovoltaic (PV) capacity was installed in 2017. Installations in 2018 are expected to be the same. It won’t be until 2023 before

By - Jim Vess

Xcel Energy gets the OK from Colorado PUC to develop a clean power plan

Energize Weekly, March 21, 2018 The Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted on March 14 to give Xcel Energy the go-ahead to develop a plan to close two coal-fired power plants and replace them with renewable or low-cost alternatives. Xcel calls its proposal the Clean Energy Plan (CEP). It would more than double the utility’s amount of electricity from renewable

By - Jim Vess

U.S. storage set to double in 2018 as market to reach 50,000 megawatts in the future

Energize Weekly, March 14, 2018 The prospects for the U.S. battery storage market, both short and long term, appear strong with capacity doubling in 2018 and reaching as high as 50,000 megawatts (MW), according to new analyses. In 2018, 1,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of storage is set to be deployed, nearly equal to the 1,080 MWh deployed between 2013 and 2017,

By - Jim Vess

EU renewable generation is dominated by Germany and the UK, Eastern Europe hangs on to coal

Energize Weekly, March 7, 2018 Renewable generation has overtaken coal-fired plants in the European Union, providing 30 percent of its electricity, but the growth of renewables has been uneven in the 28-nation bloc with coal hanging on in Eastern Europe. Since 2000, renewable generation has more than doubled and the combination of wind, solar and biomass accounted for more generation

By - Jim Vess

Renewables can meet 80 percent of nation’s needs, getting beyond is expensive, study says

Energize Weekly, March 3, 2018 Wind and solar generation could meet up to 80 percent of U.S. electricity demand—but going beyond that toward all-renewable electricity could require trillions of dollars of investment in transmission, generation and storage, according to a new study. Researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science, the California Institute of Technology and the University of California, Irvine

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