Trump Slams Brakes on Obama’s Climate Plan, But There’s Still a Long Road Ahead
Trump Slams Brakes on Obama’s Climate Plan, But There’s Still a Long Road Ahead
Full Text of Presidential Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth
SunEdison India Assets to Help Double Greenko Capacity
Greenko Energy Holdings, the green power developer backed by sovereign wealth funds, expects to double its capacity in India by 2019 with the help of assets acquired during the bankruptcy of SunEdison Inc.
Generation capacity should grow to about 5 gigawatts in the next two years as new projects come online and Greenko integrates 1.5 gigawatts of SunEdison assets into its portfolio, Mahesh Kolli, the founder of the company based in Hyderabad, India, said in a telephone interview.
How Catastrophic is Perry’s NOPR for Renewables?
Last week, the U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry released a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) that directed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to come up with a new way to pay coal and nuclear power plants more than other power generators (renewables and natural gas) for the energy they generate. The additional revenue would be in recognition of the coal and nuclear power plants’ ability to be “resilient” power sources, which the NOPR defines as having a 90-day stockpile of fuel onsite.
Immediately a number of problems were identified with the NOPR. First, the memo requests an accelerated timeline to implement the new rule and a bevy of unlikely energy industry allies (including wind, solar, natural gas and petroleum stakeholders) filed a motion requesting an extension of the comment period among other items. Second, the NOPR is purportedly seeking grid resiliency but fails to address the grid itself, instead focusing on the generation side of the electricity industry.
Rocky Mountain Institute’s Mark Dyson is an expert who studies grid resilience as part of RMI’s Electricity Innovation Lab. He offered his thoughts on what the NOPR means for renewable energy. Watch below.
Lead image: Wind turbines. Credit Pixabay.
Saudi Arabia Gets Cheapest Bids for Solar Power in Auction
Saudi Arabia received offers to supply solar electricity for the cheapest prices ever recorded, marking the start of a $50 billion program to diversify the oil producer’s domestic energy supplies away from fossil fuels.
The energy ministry said Abu Dhabi’s Masdar and Electricite de France SA bid to supply power from a 300-MW photovoltaic plant for as little as 6.69736 halalas/kWh, or 1.79 cents, according to a webcast of the bid-opening ceremony on Tuesday in Riyadh. If awarded, that would beat the previous record for a solar project in Abu Dhabi for 2.42 cents/kWh.
Saudi Arabia and its neighbors are among Middle Eastern oil producers looking to renewables to feed growing domestic consumption that’s soaking up crude they’d rather export to generate income. While the offers submitted are remarkably low, the actual cost of power coming from the projects may be inflated by terms within the contracts that aren’t yet published, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance in Zurich.
“There is great pressure in the Middle East to come up with an impressive headline number, and these are becoming increasingly divorced from the reality of payments,” said Jenny Chase, chief solar analyst for BNEF in Zurich.
The Middle East, rich in oil and natural gas, is trailing most other regions in developing renewables such as solar and wind. Governments from the United Arab Emirates to Iran and Saudi Arabia have spent the past two years sketching out incentive programs and regulatory changes needed to jump-start their clean-energy industries, which remain a fraction of the scale built up in places like Japan and Germany where energy is scarce.
Saudi Arabia’s price may reflect a “base rate” paid at periods of peak demand or a price that applies only for part of the project’s life, Chase said. It also could include a payment to the winning developer, land grants or other incentives to get the solar industry started in Saudi Arabia, she said.
“I don’t think this is possible as an all-in price of electricity from a 2019 PV project, particularly given the rising cost of debt in Saudi Arabia,” Chase said.
Even so, the announcement is a milestone in Saudi Arabia’s nascent solar program. The country that gets less than 1 percent of its power from renewables currently plans to develop 30 solar and wind projects over the next 10 years.
Officials at the ministry’s Renewable Energy Project Development Office will review all the bids presented before awarding a power-purchase contract, according to the webcast. It plans to make a final decision on who will build the solar plant at Sakaka in the country’s north in January, according to an emailed statement from the office.
The plant will be the first awarded under the renewables program, which targets 9,500 MW of electricity generation capacity using solar and wind by 2030. The project is set to start producing power by June 2019, according to the bid.
Saudi power-plant developer ACWA Power made the second-lowest bid at 8.7815 halalas/kWh, and a group led by Marubeni Corp. made the third-lowest bid. Masdar, officially named Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co., and EDF are already partners in an 800-MW project in Dubai.
Prices for solar projects in the Middle East have set successive records with first Dubai and then Abu Dhabi coming in with all-time low power pricing. A combination of improving and less costly technology, free land earmarked for the plants, connections to the national power grid and favorable financing have helped cut the costs.
The large size of the projects being offered has also played a key role, as developers have been able to bid lower prices for electricity because of anticipated economies of scale.
Saudi Arabia’s renewable energy program is part of a broader project to wean the economy from its reliance on oil exports. The government is seeking to build new industries such as petrochemicals, manufacturing and tourism. State crude giant Saudi Arabian Oil Co., known as Saudi Aramco, is preparing to sell a stake of about 5 percent in an initial public offering that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has said could value the company at about $2 trillion and provide cash to help diversify the economy.
— With assistance by Wael Mahdi
©2017 Bloomberg News
Lead image credit: Akos Stiller | Bloomberg
New York Eyes 3,200 MW of New Offshore Wind Areas
New York State officials yesterday said that the state has asked the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to consider identifying and leasing at least four new wind energy areas (WEA) off New York’s Atlantic Coast, with a total of 3,200 MW of offshore wind generation.
In a statement, the New York State Energy Research and Development Agency (NYSERDA) said that the state submitted to BOEM an Area for Consideration to locate the new WEAs. As part of the request, the state is seeking expedited site identification to encourage development of offshore wind.
BOEM last December held an auction for the first New York State WEA lease, which is about 80,000 acres. Statoil won the auction, and the lease was executed in March.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year called for the development of up to 2,400 MW of wind in New York waters by 2030. In order to reach the 2,400-MW goal, additional WEAs are needed. The Area for Consideration begins more than 20 miles from the shore, NYSERDA said.
New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos said: “DEC and our partners are undertaking exhaustive work to identify the areas for potential offshore wind development that minimize impacts on sensitive offshore habitats. We look forward to continuing our work with NYSERDA, the Department of State, the commercial fishing industry, and other partners to ensure potential energy developments do not degrade our economically important marine ecosystem.”
Lead image credit: Ashley Dace | CC BY-SA 2.0 | Wikimedia Commons
Sunnova Works to Restore Solar Systems, Build Up Resilient Grid in Puerto Rico
Houston-based Sunnova Energy Corp. yesterday said that it is working to send energy storage systems to Puerto Rico as part of an effort to solve the immediate needs of Puerto Rican solar customers and to create a more resilient, long-term power service for the island’s energy infrastructure.
Sunnova CEO John Berger said in a statement that the company is working with Gov. Ricardo Rosselló’s team and the Trump administration to assist in Puerto Rico’s recovery from damage caused by Hurricane Maria.
“Prior to the storm, Sunnova had just under 10,000 systems installed,” Berger said. “Right now, we are working to get those systems back on line and to provide our customers with battery storage to provide critical electricity services while the work to restore and rebuild the grid commences.”
He added that solar and batteries will be a necessity for short-term needs and long-term energy planning.
“The grid in Puerto Rico needs to be rebuilt to become more resilient, and that includes one with distributed solar and batteries,” he said.
Lead image: Puerto Rico National Guard | Sgt. Jose Ahiram Diaz-Ramos
5 Emerging Trends for Corporate Buyers of Renewable Energy
Today, companies are making big moves to power their operations with clean energy. To date, corporate buyers have purchased a global total of 19 GW of renewable energy, enough to power five million average American homes.
But navigating the path to renewables is harder than it should be. Seventeen U.S. states still do not offer easy access to large-scale renewable energy and renewable energy buying is only just emerging as an option in international markets like China and Mexico.
Buyers, energy suppliers and experts are coming together to overcome these challenges through the Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance (REBA), a collaboration of the World Resources Institute with BSR, Rocky Mountain Institute and World Wildlife Fund.
The 2017 REBA Summit in Santa Clara, Calif., gathered more than 400 representatives from corporations, utilities and developers to discuss ways to accelerate renewable energy purchasing. Here are five trends that emerged.
1. U.S. Buyers Are Ready for New Approaches to Big Purchases
In the U.S., new options such as green tariffs and virtual power purchase agreements (VPPAs) have proven to be successful mechanisms to add renewable energy to the grid. 13 states now offer buyers green tariffs, where utility customers can source up to 100 percent of their electricity from renewable resources through a fixed rate. VPPAs allow buyers to purchase renewable energy outside their local grid — an attractive option for companies seeking flexibility in their renewable energy project locations.
But green tariffs and VPPAs were not designed to address concerns for emerging buyers, like customers with smaller and more dispersed customer loads. Nor do these mechanisms address underlying issues for electricity markets, such as saturated regional grids and the management of existing generation. We will need tweaks and entirely new approaches to continue the corporate voluntary transition to clean energy.
2. U.S. Buyers Want to See Lower Electricity Prices on Their Power Bills
Wholesale power prices are at a historic low, driven by simple market economics: in many U.S. locations, energy supply exceeds demand.
As long as wholesale prices are lower than the energy charges large customers see on their electricity bills, they will push for better access to that savings. This is fueling interest among very large buyers in exiting utilities and buying power directly on the market. The low wholesale prices also make it difficult to find a competitive VPPA. Finally, the falling wholesale price is pressuring utilities that already have an oversupply of generators and customer demand for new renewables that would add to the supply.
3. U.S. Buyers Want a Deeper Conversation with Their Utilities
The proliferation of energy technology for efficiency, on-site generation, demand management and storage means customers large and small have more complicated choices to make in their energy buying strategy. These new technologies often have implications for the grid, as Microsoft and Black Hills Energy found in Wyoming. A more robust conversation with the utility is needed to make the most of those assets and how they interact with the falling cost of energy.
Utilities attending the REBA Summit were eager for more extensive conversations around needs and opportunities. Addressing the concerns of public utility commissions charged with protecting all consumers and approving new utility products will be essential to realizing the potential.
Over the next two years, WRI will lead a working group of utilities and customers to explore opportunities for utility-scale renewable energy products and their effective integration into the grid.
4. Policy Questions Stall Progress in Emerging Markets
Many large buyers want better options for renewable energy purchasing in countries where they manufacture products or operate stores.
China made progress this year by establishing a renewable energy certificates (RECs) market and companies are eager to collaborate with relevant government agencies to continue to improve the design of this program.
India has ambitious national goals for solar and wind power, but policy varies dramatically state by state, and the buying process can be cumbersome. Adobe’s new deal to power its Bangalore office with solar power took over a year to complete. Many buyers are in a “wait and see” mode, hoping for clarity and a more mature market.
Collaboration through large buyer groups like WRI and CII’s Green Power Market Development Group in India and the GECCO in China will be essential to address these concerns. WRI-led buyers groups in Mexico and Vietnam will work with industry associations, utilities and governments over the next year to overcome barriers.
5. The Path to True Large-Scale Renewable Energy Remains Unclear
As REBA Summit closed, Facebook’s sustainability director, Bill Weihl, shared his ambition for the alliance to grow tenfold in the next three years. For the small group of non-profits that launched REBA in 2016, it’s a daunting but welcome challenge as we reach for our goal of 60 GW of new corporate renewable energy by 2025.
To reach scale, we need more buyers. That means drawing more companies and offering better resources to inform their decisions. Large-scale public energy buyers like universities, hospitals and municipal agencies need to be brought into the fold as well. There was much discussion of renewable energy goals for corporate supply chains, which would reach commodity manufacturers that have not been as engaged.
In all these cases, large buyer interest in purchasing renewable energy will grow when there is a clear and compelling value proposition: clean energy brings concrete benefits to the bottom line.
This article was originally published by the World Resources Institute under a Creative Commons license.
City of Texarkana, Texas Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy Development
Recipient: Texarkana, City of
Funding Agency: Department of Energy
Grant Amount: $173,256
Local Amount: $173,256
Grant Description: Energy Efficiency And Conservation Block Grant – DOE.
Project Description: Texas City Hall Lighting Retrofit Project, Southwest Center Lighting Retrofit Project, Energy Efficiency Strategy Development, Solar Education Station Project, and Revolving Energy Fund Program.
Job Creation: Sustainability and Quality Assurance Coordinator
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