California has too much solar power. That might be good for ratepayers
Los Angeles Times – June 5
California set two renewable energy records last week: the most solar power ever flowing on the state’s main electric grid, and the most solar power ever taken offline because it wasn’t needed. New research published in the peer-reviewed journal Solar Energy suggests California should embrace the idea of building more solar panels than it can consistently use, rather than treating oversupply as a problem to be solved. It sounds counterintuitive, but intentionally overbuilding solar facilities — and accepting they’ll often need to be dialed down in the absence of sufficient demand — may be the best way to keep electricity prices low on a power grid dominated by renewable energy, the research found.
Effort to allow electricity from large dams to count as renewable energy in California fails to pass
The Mercury News – June 3
A proposal to broaden California’s definition of renewable energy has fizzled out. Under a law signed last year by former Governor Jerry Brown, utilities in California are required to produce 60 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Large dams aren’t allowed to count toward that total, however. State Senator Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, introduced a bill earlier this year to allow two utilities, the Modesto and Turlock irrigation districts, to count the electricity generated by turbines at Don Pedro Reservoir, which they jointly own, toward their 60 percent mandate. The bill, which drew stiff opposition from environmental and health groups, failed to gain enough support for a vote in the full Senate.
U.S. storage market sets power capacity record with Q1 deployments
Greentech Media – June 4
The U.S. energy storage industry installed a record amount of power capacity in the first quarter of 2019. The 148.8 megawatts of new grid storage capacity represented a 232 percent growth over Q1 2018, according to a new report produced by Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables and the Energy Storage Association. The overall value of the U.S. storage market is expected to double this year to nearly $1 billion. In previous years, single markets like PJM or California often dominated quarterly deployments. Both of those early leaders were quiet this quarter.
Businesses urged to help San Joaquin Valley set its energy future
The Business Journal – June 4
The City of Hanford is on track to become the first San Joaquin Valley community to take more control of its energy sources and costs when it launches its community choice aggregation (CCA) program next year. Other nearby communities, including Fresno, are also considering whether to form CCAs. Those decisions would include from where the CCAs buy power and how much of that power would come from solar, wind, and other renewable sources.
New law opens door to solar energy for more Nevada families
Las Vegas Review-Journal – June 4
More Nevada families and small businesses are slated to have access to solar energy with a new law. Governor Steve Sisolak signed a solar access bill this Tuesday that directs NV Energy to develop between 3 and 10 solar access programs for low-income customers, residential customers who can’t install rooftop solar, and disadvantaged businesses and nonprofit organizations. A quarter of NV Energy’s access programs will be reserved for low-income customers, half will be reserved for residential customers who can’t install rooftop solar, and another quarter will be for disadvantaged businesses and nonprofit organizations.
World’s biggest firms foresee $1 trillion climate cost hit
Reuters – June 3
More than 200 of the world’s largest listed companies, including Apple, Microsoft, and UBS, forecast that climate change could cost them a combined total of almost $1 trillion, with much of the pain due in the next five years, according to a report published on Tuesday. Many companies also saw a huge potential upside if the world can de-carbonize in time to avert the bleakest climate scenarios, which scientists see as an existential risk to industrial civilization. The companies in the CDP study, which have a combined market capitalization of roughly $17 trillion, saw potential opportunities worth $2.1 trillion, spanning faster-than-expected demand for electric vehicles to investments in renewables.
U.S. government study indicates 60 GW of geothermal energy capacity under our feet
Renewable Energy World – May 31
Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy released a study showing how the United States could benefit from the vast potential of geothermal energy. The report shows that geothermal electricity generation could increase more than 26-fold from today — reaching 60 gigawatts of installed capacity by 2050. The effort assessed opportunities to expand nationwide geothermal energy deployment through 2050 by improving technologies, reducing costs, and addressing project development barriers such as long permitting timelines.
Sacramento Municipal Utility District signs long-term solar PPA
Solar Industry Magazine – May 31
Lendlease, an international property and infrastructure group, has joined forces with the Sacramento County Municipal Utility District in California to execute a 30-year power purchase agreement for Rancho Seco Solar II. The 160-megawatt solar facility will be located on the premises of the decommissioned Rancho Seco Nuclear Generation Station site and, upon completion, will be the largest solar facility in Sacramento County. The project is the company’s first energy development in California.
Agency’s effort to retire Oakland power plant moves forward
San Francisco Chronicle – June 5
An old fossil-fuel burning power plant in Oakland’s Jack London Square area is one step closer to being replaced with cleaner energy sources. The board of East Bay Community Energy, an Alameda County agency that buys green power for local residents, on Wednesday approved a contract with the plant’s owner for an 80-megawatt-hour battery installation that will pave the way for the closure of the plant. While the plant is used only a few times annually when demand in the area is especially high, local officials have wanted to shut it down for years. State grid managers last year approved a plan to swap the facility out with cleaner energy, including storage. The East Bay energy agency and Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which still controls the power lines in the area, subsequently sought proposals to wind down the plant. With the East Bay agency contract approved, the plant’s owner, Vistra Energy, can get more approvals required to wind down the old facility.
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