Google, GM, and other corporate giants form renewable energy alliance
■CNBC – March 28
Some of the nation’s largest tech firms, manufacturers, and consumer companies last Thursday launched the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), a trade organization that will support construction of new green power projects by striking renewable energy deals pioneered by companies such as Google parent Alphabet, General Motors, and Walmart in recent years. Through last year, companies signed enough corporate renewable deals to support nearly 16 gigawatts of new renewable energy capacity in the U.S. REBA aims to accelerate that activity and grow the market to 60 gigawatts by 2025. The group aims to remove barriers to entry by fine-tuning contracts, tackling regulatory and policy hurdles, piloting new clean technology programs, and helping companies establish internal systems to ease the path to buying clean energy.
Navajo Nation president proclaims renewable energy top priority
■Arizona Public Media – April 3
Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez signed a proclamation Tuesday that embraces a shift to clean energy development, days after the tribal council voted to drop its bid for the West’s largest coal-fired power plant. The tribe will provide off-grid solar to the 15,000 or so Navajo households still without electricity, and it will build more utility-scale solar energy projects. Its second solar farm goes online in two months. The tribe also plans to build a solar panel assembly plant. Nez said the tribe is positioning itself to continue to provide energy for the West, as states like New Mexico and California sign legislation to go carbon free by 2045.
City of Albany slashes its carbon emissions in a single vote
■Yale Climate Connections – March 29
Albany, California, is not very large – less than two square miles. But its residents set some big goals for reducing their carbon emissions. Albany Climate Action Coalition helped push the city council to automatically enroll all of Albany’s residents and businesses in a carbon-free electricity plan. The group’s co-founder Jessica Day said the move “decreased Albany’s carbon footprint by over 4,200 metric tons.” The new default electricity plan relies mainly on large hydropower sources and does not cost customers any more money. Those who are willing to pay a bit more can opt into a plan that uses only solar and wind.
DOE offers up to $28 million to bring wind energy costs down
■Energy Manager Today – March 29
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is offering up to $28.1 million for wind energy research across the land-based, offshore, and distributed wind sectors. As much as $6.1 million has been designated for projects that support rural electric utilities and communities with distributed wind integrated with other DER solutions. Projects that utilize and upgrade national-level facilities for offshore wind R&D could see up to $7 million. The DOE is also putting $10 million toward developing offshore wind technology demonstrations that reduce the risks and costs for planned plants set to be operational by 2025.
Navigant Research is bullish on utility-scale storage market
■Microgrid Knowledge – March 28
Over the last seven years, the utility-scale storage market has gotten revved up because the technology risks and the cost associated with those devices have fallen dramatically, all compounded by an increasing number of developers that are participating in the market. The end result is that solar-plus-storage is competing head on with conventional forms of electric generation, according to a new report from Navigant Research. The report says the biggest breakthroughs are with lithium ion batteries, which account for 29.4 percent of the non-pumped storage capacity installed and 70 percent of the advanced battery capacity deployed since 2011. Those batteries are dense and compact, allowing them to store more energy.
SUSI Partners buys 50% stake in AMS’ commercial battery fleet
■Greentech Media – April 1
Swiss fund manager SUSI Partners acquired a 50 percent stake in AMS’ Southern California portfolio of distributed battery storage systems on Monday. The package includes more than 90 lithium-ion systems adding up to storage capacity of 63 megawatts and 340 megawatt-hours. AMS secured contracts with utility Southern California Edison back in 2014 to install batteries at commercial and industrial sites to lower both customer bills and grid demand in constrained areas. AMS owes the utility 50 megawatts and 200 megawatt-hours of capacity, but the company said recently it will build out its fleet to 62 megawatts and 352 megawatt-hours to allow for greater operational flexibility.
EDF, Tucson Electric partner for Oso Grande Wind Project
■North American Windpower – March 29
EDF Renewables North America has entered into a build and transfer agreement with Arizona utility Tucson Electric Power (TEP) for the 247.4-megawatt Oso Grande Wind Project in southeastern New Mexico. EDF will complete development of the project and manage the construction process on behalf of TEP. Construction is expected to commence later this year, with full operation by the end of 2020.