Renewable Energy Update – December 2019

FocusU.S. storage market rebounds as California promises big 2020 growth Greentech Media – December 3The U.S. energy storage market bounced back in the third quarter of 2019. Front-of-meter storage deployments boomed in the third quarter, up 121 percent compared to the second quarter, in keeping with the nature of a market driven by single large-scale projects. As for the behind-the-meter battery market, a decrease in commercial, industrial, and other non-residential deployments limited growth in the third quarter. But the quarter also included a record-breaking 40-megawatt increase in residential battery systems, with California deploying 46.4 megawatt-hours. Public safety power shutoff events by California utilities are expected to drive further residential battery sales in early 2020.READ
NewsShell Energy North America signs agreement with EDF Renewables on Palen Solar project Power Technology – December 4Shell Energy North America (SENA) has signed a power purchase agreement with EDF Renewables North America for the Palen Solar project in Riverside County. SENA will purchase a power tranche of 132 megawatts from the site, which is known as the Maverick 7 Solar Project, for a period of 15 years. In October 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management issued a record of decision on the project, marking the completion of the federal permitting process. The delivery of clean electricity from the project is expected to begin by the end of 2021.
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Renewables and legal groups challenge FERC’s authority to upend PURPA Utility Dive – December 4The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is considering significant changes to the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA) for the first time since Congress updated the statute in its 2005 Energy Policy Act, eliminating the must-buy rule in regulated markets where small renewable facilities had the competitive opportunity to sell to independent system operators and regional transmission operators organizations. Comments on FERC’s proposed changes were due December 3, and many industry and legal analysts focused on whether the 2005 update authorized such changes in the first place. FERC’s proposal would also lower the threshold for qualifying facilities in RTO markets from 20 megawatts to 1 megawatt. The groups argue that the changes could hurt small renewables providers in noncompetitive markets and that the notice of proposed rulemaking exceeds FERC’s authority.
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U.S. solar group says federal tariffs killing jobs Reuters – December 3The U.S. solar industry warned this Tuesday that federal tariffs on imported panels will cost the country 62,000 jobs and $19 billion in investment, an estimate the White House dismissed as “fake news.” The industry’s top trade group, the U.S. Solar Industries Association (SEIA), said the lost investment equated to 10.5 gigawatts in missed solar energy installations, enough to power about 1.8 million homes. President Donald Trump imposed the four-year tariff program on imported panels in early 2018, starting at 30 percent and dropping by five percentage points each year. The SEIA report based its gloomy forecasts on that regime remaining unchanged, saying the industry will create 62,000 fewer jobs than it otherwise would have between 2017 and 2021.
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ProjectsSanta Barbara County Planning Commission approves wind farm south of Lompoc Santa Barbara Independent – November 29On November 20, the Santa Barbara County Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the installation of 29 wind turbines on 3,000 acres of land south of Lompoc, a project that would double Santa Barbara’s renewable energy production and provide for the electricity needs of 30 percent of the county’s households. The Strauss Wind Energy Project, proposed by Strauss Wind LLC, an affiliate of the German company BayWa LLC, is an updated version of the Lompoc Wind Energy Project that was approved in 2009 but then terminated before construction could begin due to economic conditions created by the Great Recession. The potential harm to local bird populations loomed large during the public comment section. Strauss proposed a number of practices that could be implemented to reduce risks to local bird populations, such as installing sensors that would halt turbine rotation whenever a large bird crosses into a zone surrounding the turbine.
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Energy company proposes 200-megawatt battery storage facility in Morro Bay The Tribune – December 4Vistra Energy has filed a plan to build a four-acre, 200-megawatt battery storage facility in Morro Bay just behind the company’s mothball power plant. According to the application, filed on November 12, the Houston-based company wants to build a new 90,000-square-foot building to house some 60,000 battery modules using lithium ion technology. The company expects construction to begin by 2023 after all approvals are met including permits from the city of Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo County, California Coastal Commission, and the California Independent System Operator.
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Six Flags Discovery Kingdom’s 7.5-megawatt solar glow Commercial Property Executive – December 3Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, in partnership with sPower and Borrego Solar Systems, has switched to solar power. This makes it the first theme park on the West Coast to be primarily powered by renewable energy, according to the companies. The solar array, which is built over the main guest parking lot, has a 7.5-megawatt generating capacity and produces 11.9 million kilowatt-hours of energy annually. This capacity covers about 80 percent of the park’s energy needs.
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Source: https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/renewable-energy-update-december-2019-31347/

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