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Renewable Energy Update
February 9, 2018
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Western Energy Imbalance Market produces ‘solid’ benefits in Q4

Solar Industry Magazine - Feb 2 The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) has released its western Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) fourth-quarter 2017 benefits report, which shows the real-time energy imbalance market produced $33.46 million in benefits for its six participating members. According to CAISO, the benefits since the western regional market was launched in 2014 now total $288.44 million. CAISO says western EIM participants helped reduce carbon emissions in the region by 7,730 metric tons by using 18,060 MWh of excess renewable energy that otherwise would have been turned off; this translates into removing 1,655 passenger cars from the highways for a year. During the fourth quarter, PacifiCorp realized benefits of $6.83 million while CAISO saved $4.52 million and Arizona Public Service $10 million. 


Battery storage begins to find a home at some water utilities

Water Deeply - Feb 1 In Southern California, a number of water utilities have begun to install large batteries alongside their pumping plants and water treatment facilities. This saves water ratepayers money, because energy is often the most expensive component of treating and moving water. Moving, treating, and heating water account for nearly 20 percent of all energy consumed in the state, according to the California Energy Commission. The Irvine Ranch Water District in Orange County has emerged as a pioneer in combining battery systems with its water distribution and wastewater treatment operations. Although other Southern California water agencies are installing batteries, Irvine Ranch was one of the first and largest adopters. It signed a deal with Advanced Microgrid Solutions to install Tesla batteries at 11 of its facilities, including wellheads and sewage treatment plants. The first battery installation went online in October, with more expected in the next few months. 

The U.S. solar industry records first year of job losses

Greentech Media - Feb 6 Adjustments following the 2016 solar boom, angst surrounding the Section 201 Trade Case, and a slowdown in established solar markets all contributed to an overarching 3.8 percent cutback in solar jobs over the past year, according to The Solar Foundation's latest National Solar Jobs Census. Between 2016 and 2017, the industry lost 9,800 jobs, marking the first drop ever recorded in the National Solar Jobs Census since it started collecting data in 2010. While multiple factors contributed to the employment downturn, though, the record-smashing year the U.S. solar industry experienced in 2016 was going to be tough to beat regardless. The Solar Foundation, which conducts the annual solar census study, said that while 2017 represents a setback, the trend is short-term rather than indicative of greater peril. Within a broader context, solar employment has grown by 168 percent since 2010.

California on path to meet goal of 1.5 million electric cars, but charging stations lag behind

The Orange County Register - Feb 4 Buoyed by an exceptional sales year in 2017, the state’s electric vehicle market will continue to grow this year and will reach 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles by 2025, an earlier target set by Governor Jerry Brown. That rosy forecast is according to a report released Tuesday by the Silicon Valley-based think tank Next 10 and Beacon Economics in Los Angeles. The joint report said 2018 sales will piggyback on a 29.1 percent increase of zero-emission vehicle sales in California in 2017, a turning point year. By far, California has the most of any state, and Brown wants to speed sales even more. Last week, he set a new goal of 5 million zero-emission vehicles by 2030, a number the report said will be a challenge to meet unless more charging infrastructure is built.

California regulators at ‘essential starting point’ to enable revenue stacking

Energy Storage News - Jan 30 Steps taken in California to enable energy storage systems to provide multiple services and to stack revenues are “an essential starting point” for the industry, the head of California’s Energy Storage Alliance has said. In mid-January, California’s Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a proposed decision on “Multiple use application issues” affecting energy storage systems connected to the grid. The energy storage industry, particularly those working with versatile advanced lithium-ion batteries, has advocated that the ability of storage to provide more than one service should be better recognized. This would be of economic benefit to the system owners or operators, who could net several revenue streams that could be built into a revenue stack, while obviating the need to deploy several energy storage systems or other energy infrastructure that can carry out the same functions, at various locations, which would benefit ratepayers and the overall network.

Bat, eagle deaths at wind farm prompt federal probe

Merced Sun-Star - Feb 3 The U.S. Department of Justice is reviewing a criminal investigation of a wind-energy farm in southeastern Arizona to determine whether prosecution is warranted in the deaths of a federally protected golden eagle and an endangered bat, according to federal wildlife officials. A monitoring report indicated that the 15-turbine Red Horse Wind 2 project near Willcox caused the deaths of the eagle and a lesser long-nosed bat during its first year of operation between July of 2015 and 2016. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service opened a criminal investigation into the animal deaths, and it was referred to the Justice Department's Environmental and Natural Resources Division in December, said Tamara Kurey, a Wildlife Service special agent.

Switch plans 1GW Nevada solar project

Solar Industry Magazine - Feb 7 Switch, a technology infrastructure corporation based in Las Vegas, is teaming up with asset manager Capital Dynamics to build what they call the single largest solar project portfolio in the U.S., the Gigawatt 1 in Nevada. The solar project, to be built in northern and southern Nevada, is expected to generate enough clean energy to power nearly 1 million homes. The assets will be owned and developed by Capital Dynamics. Gigawatt 1 anchor tenants will include Switch and several Switch CORE clients that currently partner with Switch for data center and telecommunication services. In addition, multiple private and public sector access customers within Nevada and outside the state are already in negotiations to join the project.

First electric school bus rolls into Monterey County

The Californian - Feb 1 Students at the Santa Rita Union School District in Salinas can breathe cleaner air now thanks to the new electric school bus, the eLion. The Santa Rita Union School District has purchased Monterey County's first fully-electric school bus through a grant, providing transportation for children with clean air and no harmful emissions.

3.9MW solar project goes online in Oregon

Solar Industry Magazine - Jan 31 Clean Focus Renewables Inc. has completed Ewauna 2, a 3.87-megawatt ground-mount solar project in Klamath Falls, Oregon. It will distribute renewable energy to PacifiCorp for the benefit of Oregon residents. Greenskies Renewable Energy LLC, a Clean Focus company, will maintain the solar array, and Clean Focus Yield Ltd. will operate the system as part of its portfolio of commercial, industrial, small utility, and community solar projects. PacifiCorp will buy the power produced at the Ewauna 2 project through a power purchase agreement.

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