By - Jim Vess

Corporate purchases of clean energy soar to a new record in 2018

Energize Weekly, February 6, 2019 Corporations bought a record 13.4 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy through power purchase agreements (PPAs) in 2018, more than double the record set in 2017. Analyses by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) and Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables reported on the trend. Facebook, Google and Amazon continued to be the largest customers, accounting for a

By - Jim Vess

Renewable energy advances in the European Union as coal-fired generation continues to decline

Energize Weekly, February 6, 2019 Renewable energy generation became cost competitive with coal in the European Union (EU) in 2018 and continued to increase its share of the continent’s electricity production, according to an analysis by two energy think tanks. The growth in renewables is coming at the expense of coal, and that is leading to a continued decline in

By - Jim Vess

New Jersey creates community solar pilot, a first step in a establishing a permanent program

Energize Weekly, January 30, 2019 The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) has approved a three-year pilot for developing community solar projects, also known as solar gardens, which is seen as a key component in newly elected Gov. Phil Murphy’s clean energy agenda. The “Community Solar Pilot” will provide for up to 75 megawatts (MW) of solar installations in

By - Jim Vess

Led by wind and natural gas, 49,000 megawatts of new generation to come on line in 2019

Energize Weekly, January 30, 2019 New generation is slated to grow by 49,000 megawatts (MW) in 2019 while 8,050 MW of coal-fired units will be closed or converted to natural gas, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. Wind will account for the largest portion of new generation at 22,475 MW—45 percent of all planned additions. The biggest of the wind

By - Jim Vess

Global clean energy investments fall in 2018 as solar takes a big hit

Energize Weekly, January 23, 2019 Global clean energy investments were down slightly in 2018 to $332 million, but it still marked the fifth year in a row with more than $300 billion in expenditures, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Investments were off 8 percent when compared to 2017, led by a fall in solar financing, which was down

By - Jim Vess

NY Gov. Cuomo proposes Green New Deal with $1.5 billion in energy grants

Energize Weekly, January 23, 2019 New York Gov. Mario Cuomo has begun to roll out specifics of his proposed “Green New Deal,” including $1.5 billion in grants for large-scale renewable energy projects and a $70 million fund to help communities absorb tax losses from shuttered coal-fired power plants. The programs were outlined in Cuomo’s State of the State address Jan.

By - Jim Vess

Transportation bottlenecks pose a $2.1 billion risk to wind industry, Wood Mackenzie says

Energize Weekly, January 16, 2019 The wind industry’s practice of end-loading projects to the fourth quarter of each year could lead to serious bottlenecks and jeopardize some of the 23 gigawatts in the pipeline over the next two years, according to a Wood Mackenzie study. Nearly a quarter of the 23 gigawatts (GW) projected to be developed in the next

By - Jim Vess

Floating solar in U.S. reservoirs could produce 10 percent of the nation’s electricity

Energize Weekly, January 9, 2019 Floating solar panels on 24,000 man-made reservoirs in the U.S. could generate 10 percent of the nation’s electricity and avoid gobbling up 8,100 square miles of land with ground installations. One of the challenges with large-scale deployment of wind and solar generation is the land requirements but shifting to floating photovoltaics (PV) could offer one

By - Jim Vess

Texas could generate almost all its electricity with wind, solar and very little storage, study says

Energize Weekly, January 9, 2019 Texas—by taking advantage of its geographical diversity—could deploy enough wind and solar generation to meet the state’s electricity demand with little storage or fossil fuel backup, according to Rice University researchers. “One way to reduce the need for costly storage and for polluting fossil generation is to deploy wind and solar capacity in a way

By - Jim Vess

Wind, solar and storage could competitively provide 70 percent of Minnesota’s electricity by 2050, study says

Energize Weekly, January 2, 2019 Minnesota can economically reach a mix of 70 percent wind and solar electric generation with storage by 2050, according to a U.S. Department of Energy-sponsored report. The report done by Clean Power Research for MN Solar Pathways, a group of non-profit clean energy advocacy organizations and the Minnesota Department of Commerce. Clean Power developed a

By - Jim Vess

Drought leads to higher carbon emissions from utilities in the West, study finds

Energize Weekly, January 2, 2019 Drought across the West between 2001 and 2015 led to reduced hydropower and a 10 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions as utilities shifted to fossil fuel generation, according to a study by Stanford University researchers. In total, drought conditions led to 100 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) being emitted during the 15-year period

By - Jim Vess

New York sets goal of carbon-free electricity by 2050 as clean energy pace picks up

Energize Weekly, December 26, 2018 New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has set a target of net-zero-carbon electricity generation by 2040, as a broad array of clean energy initiatives continue to move forward in the state. “The federal government still denies climate change, remarkably turning a blind eye to their own government’s scientific report,” Cuomo said in a statement. “New York

By - Jim Vess

Trump tariffs take a bite out of U.S. solar market, but future prospects still appear bright

Energize Weekly, December 19, 2018 The Trump administration solar panel tariffs have taken a bite out of the market with third quarter 2018 installations down 15 percent year over year and additions of utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) cells falling below 1 gigawatt (GW) for first time since 2015. The growth rate for 2018 compared to 2017 is projected to be flat

By - Jim Vess

Washington clean energy plan ends coal-fired generation, looks to electrify transportation

Energize Weekly, December 19, 2018 Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has unveiled a legislative package aimed at reducing the state’s carbon emissions by 25 percent over 1990 levels, led by phasing out fossil-fuel electricity generation by 2035. The plan focuses in five initiatives: 100 percent clean energy by 2045, moving to electric transportation, a clean fuel standard, constructing energy efficient buildings

By - Jim Vess

PacifiCorp says it could save money closing 13 of its 22 coal-fired generating units

Energize Weekly, December 12, 2018 The majority of PacifiCorp’s 22 coal-fired units are more expensive to run that other power market options, the company said in a resource analysis. A total of $586 million could be saved by closing 13 units by 2022, according to the analysis, which is part of the utility’s bi-annual integrated resource planning. Running the plants

By - Jim Vess

Xcel Energy sets a zero-carbon electricity target for 2050, with an 80 percent cut in emissions by 2030

Energize Weekly, December 12, 2018 Xcel Energy has set a goal of producing 100 percent “carbon-free” electricity by 2050—making it the first large U.S. utility to set a net-zero carbon standard. The investor-owned utility, which operates in eight western and midwestern states, has set a target of an 80 percent reduction in carbon emissions, from 2005 levels, by 2030 and

By - Jim Vess

Coal-fired power plants quickly becoming uneconomical around the world, Carbon Tracker says

Energize Weekly, December 5, 2018 Coal-fired power plants around the world are quickly becoming unprofitable, with 42 percent already operating in the red—a number that is projected to grow to 72 percent by 2040, according to Carbon Tracker. “Over the long-term coal power will become a net liability,” said the London-based financial think tank, which is focused on clean energy

By - Jim Vess

AEP’s $33 billion capital improvement plan focuses on transmission and distribution

Energize Weekly, November 21, 2018 American Electric Power (AEP) is planning to invest $33 billion in capital projects between 2019 and 2023 with three-quarters of the money focused on transmission and distribution, the company said. The company will also spend $2.7 billion on renewable generation and another $2.2 billion on competitively bid contracted renewable projects. “AEP’s capital investments over the

By - Jim Vess

Texas sets a record for electricity generated from wind turbines at 17,920 MW

Energize Weekly, November 21, 2018 Texas—the nation’s leader in wind generation—set an output record of 17,920 megawatts (MW) the afternoon of Nov. 12, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT). Driven by sustained winds of 18 miles per hour (mph) with gusts up to 36 mph, measured at San Angelo, the state’s 12,500 turbines provided about 40 percent

By - Jim Vess

Thin-film solar can grow in high-value markets like aerospace and building materials, NREL study says

Energize Weekly, November 21, 2018 Silicon solar cells account for 95 percent of the global market, but there are potentially multi-billion dollar markets for flexible, thin-film cells, according to an analysis by researchers at the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). “Multiple markets are emerging for renewable, low-cost power generation including aerospace and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), portable charging, micro-integrated

By - Jim Vess

Sunrun sets a record for installations in Q3, but its stock slides on a $2.9 million loss

Energize Weekly, November 14, 2018 Sunrun, the country’s largest solar installer in 2017, set a record in the third quarter of 2018 with 100 megawatts of installations, but a $2.9 million loss for the period sent its stock plunging. The 100 MW—13,000 solar arrays—surpassed the previous record of 91 MW, set in the second quarter of 2018. The company said

By - Jim Vess

Lazard analysis shows wind and solar becoming the cheapest new generating capacity

Energize Weekly, November 14, 2018 The cost of building and running wind and utility-scale solar projects is now beginning to undercut the major forms of baseload generation—natural gas, coal and nuclear, according to analysis by the financial consulting firm Lazard Ltd. Lazard’s 12th annual “levelized cost of energy” (LCOE) analysis, released Nov. 8, for the first time shows large-scale wind

By - Jim Vess

U.S. wind turbine market sets construction and sales records in the third quarter of 2018

Energize Weekly, November 7, 2018 The U.S. wind industry installed 612 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity during the third quarter of 2018, a 15 percent increase over the third quarter of 2017, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) quarterly market report. Project construction activity in the third quarter also set a new record with a total

By - Jim Vess

Dominion Energy calls for 500 MW of onshore wind and solar projects in Virginia

Energize Weekly, October 31, 2018 Dominion Energy issued a request for bids on Oct. 24 for 500 megawatts (MW) of solar and onshore wind generation as part of a plan to develop 3,000 MW of renewable resources in Virginia. Richmond, Va.-based Dominion Energy pledged to develop the wind and solar resources, enough to power 750,000 homes, under state’s new Grid

By - Jim Vess

Colorado, the leader in community solar, set to get six more solar gardens on Western Slope

Energize Weekly, October 31, 2018 Colorado—the leading state in the nation for community solar gardens—is set to get six more of the shared arrays, with a total of 10.3 megawatts (MW) of generation, on the state’s more rural Western Slope. The sites are all located along the Interstate 70 corridor and are being developed by Pivot Energy and Standard Solar.

By - Jim Vess

Corporate renewable power purchases set a record in 2018 with the tech sector leading the way

Energize Weekly, October 24, 2018 Corporate renewable energy power purchases—which have spurred $15 billion in capital investment in the last eight years—have already set an annual record in 2018 led by tech companies. So far this year, corporate customers have purchased 4.96 gigawatts of renewable electricity through 59 deals, according to the Business Renewables Center, a program run by the

By - Jim Vess

Wind and solar provided 10 states with 20 percent or more of their electricity in 2017

Energize Weekly, October 17, 2018 Wind and solar electric generation make up an average of only 8 percent of U.S. power supplies, but in 10 states these renewable resources provided 20 percent or more of the electricity supply in 2017, according to Federal Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. This group is led by Iowa and Kansas where wind generation respectively

By - Jim Vess

Google finds matching carbon-free energy to its data centers’ round-the-clock demand a challenge

Energize Weekly, October 17, 2018 Google has been the world’s biggest corporate purchaser of renewable energy, buying enough to cover all of its total global consumption. Now it wants to go further matching carbon-free energy to its demand for every hour of every day. One of the biggest challenges of renewable generation is providing round-the-clock reliability, particularly for the two

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

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