NORTH AMERICAN WINDPOWER – Nov 13 A new California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) report says the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS) program – one of the most ambitious in the country – not only remains ahead of target, but it is helping to drive down renewable contract prices. The state’s RPS requires investor-owned utilities, electric service providers, and community choice aggregators to procure 33 percent of retail sales per year from eligible renewable sources by 2020 and 60 percent by 2030. As of 2018, the large investor-owned utilities have executed renewable electricity contracts necessary to meet the 33 percent RPS requirement by 2020 and, in addition, forecast reaching 50 percent by 2020. Further, contract prices for RPS-eligible energy dropped an average of 9.5 percent per year between 2007 and 2015. In 2017, the trend of falling contract costs continued and reached a historic low average price of $47/MWh, the report says.
UTILITY DIVE – Nov 12 NorthWestern Energy will join California’s voluntary Western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) by April 2021, a move the utility hopes will result in lower costs for Montana customers and a more reliable and cleaner energy system. The California ISO launched the EIM in 2014 and, since then, several other utilities have joined, allowing the market to operate across eight western states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.
SOLAR POWER WORLD – Nov 14 More than 200 mayors representing cities in every U.S. state have signed on to Environment America Research & Policy Center’s “Mayors for Solar Energy” letter, embracing a collective vision for solar-powered communities. The number of signatures on the Mayors for Solar Energy letter has more than tripled since December 2017, and Environment America Research and Policy Center says that number will continue to grow. The Mayors for Solar Energy project goes beyond the letter itself, producing resources and hosting trainings to help cities adopt more renewable energy.
OREGON BUSINESS – Nov 14 The lake by Lakeview, Oregon, disappeared long ago, and so did the timber jobs. For years the seat of Lake County has wrestled with declining public services and economic stagnation. Now a set of renewable energy projects offers hope. Colorado-based Red Rock Biofuels broke ground in July on a plant in Lakeview that officials hope will lead to jobs, improved forest management and natural gas. Obsidian Renewables plans a 600-megawatt development over 7,000-acres at the north end of the county. Blue Marmot Solar has also chosen a site near Lakeview for a 5,000-acre development.
PV MAGAZINE – Nov 12 Researchers at Oregon State’s College of Agricultural Sciences have measured the effects on growth of multiple plants located under solar modules, finding that several key grazing grasses were able to significantly increase their output. The researchers found that over 90 percent more biomass was grown in areas partially or fully covered by solar panels. The paper suggests it was mostly due to significantly increased water efficiency.
ENERGY STORAGE NEWS – Nov 13 Pacific Gas & Electric’s proposal to deploy large-scale energy storage to replace peaking natural gas plants has been approved by the state’s regulator. Last week, the California Public Utilities Commission approved three capacity contracts and one power purchase agreement for 567.5 megawatts of energy storage capacity to be built across four large-scale battery storage systems. Significantly, each will store energy for four hours, making them viable capacity resources to replace gas plants. California has been among the fastest adopters of energy storage in the world, partly due to its prolific adoption of solar energy in past decades.
ENERGY MANAGER TODAY – Nov 12 Nestlé Waters North America installed a third wind turbine at its water bottling facility in Cabazon, California. Wind power is now expected to supply 50 percent of the plant’s total electricity needs, according to the company. Foundation Windpower developed all three turbines, which have a total rated capacity of approximately 22 million kilowatt hours annually, according to Nestlé.
SMART CITIES DIVE – Nov 12 Backed by a state grant, Greenlots will partner with Volvo Trucks to install charging infrastructure for electric trucks in warehouses in Southern California, including onsite solar panels and energy storage. The project is supported by a $44.8 million grant from the California Air Resources Board to the South Coast Air Quality Management District for Volvo’s Low Impact Green Heavy Transport Solutions project, part of the California Climate Investments initiative using funds from the state’s cap and trade program.