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Green Power6/11/2018

Green Power Partnership Program Update

Issue 58 - June 2018

The EPA Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program encouraging organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use.

In This Issue

  • Renewable Energy Markets 2018 – Registration Now Open
  • GPLA 2017 Winner Highlight – Clif Bar & Company
  • WRI Report: Describing Purchaser Impact in U.S.
  • Voluntary Renewable Energy Markets
  • Webinar: Setting a Renewable Energy Goal for Local Governments
  • Local Government Partners - Check out the Solar Project Portal
  • New GPP Resource! Green Power Equivalency Calculator
  • Partners In the News—Recent Press on the Green Power Partnership
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) Releases
  • 2017 Rankings for Top 10 Utility Green Pricing Programs
  • Green Power and Renewables in the News

Source: EPA Green Power Partnership, 6/11/18

Reports and Studies6/7/2018

​Access to Data Accelerates Innovation and Adoption of Geothermal Technologies

The future of research and development in the geothermal sector is being driven by data-informed decisions and research built upon the quantifiable outcomes of previous endeavors.  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has adopted a strategy of measuring success “not when a project is completed, or an experiment concluded, but when scientific and technical information is disseminated.” The timely dissemination of critical information is what allows future research projects to build upon previous lessons learned, reduce duplication of efforts, and combine findings into new innovative research projects.

Over the past few years, NREL’s geothermal team has developed several tools and platforms to streamline the collection and sharing of geothermal data sets, enabling new breakthroughs in geothermal research and development.

Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 5/18/18

Green Power6/7/2018

Sale Of Two Dot Wind Farm In Montana Now Complete

NJR Clean Energy Ventures (CEV), the clean energy subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, has completed the sale of its 9.7 MW wind farm in Two Dot, Mont., to South Dakota-based utility NorthWestern Energy.

NorthWestern Energy purchased the Two Dot wind farm for $18.5 million. The transaction, previously announced in March, was approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on May 18.

Source: North American Windpower, 6/4/18

Reports and Studies5/29/2018

NREL Researchers Measure Impact of Eclipse on Electrical Grid

Despite temporary loss of nearly 6 gigawatts, stability and reliability was unaffected

During last summer’s total eclipse, solar energy output in the West dropped by about 5.9 gigawatts (GW) according to new analysis from the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

The August 21, 2017, solar eclipse cast a shadow from Oregon to South Carolina, completely concealing the sun along a 70-mile-wide path and causing the rest of the continent to experience partial darkness. The event provided the opportunity for researchers to see the effects of an eclipse on the U.S. electrical grid, which has had a steady increase in power from photovoltaic (PV) systems.

Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 5/9/18

Green Power5/24/2018

California to require rooftop solar for new homes

The California Energy Commission approved the 2019 Building Energy Code on Wednesday, requiring renewable energy access for all new residential homes in the state starting in 2020.

  • The code includes incentives for energy storage while mandating that the construction of new homes include advanced energy efficiency measures and rooftop solar.
  • The mandate could require between 68 and 241 MW of annual distributed solar buildout, according to ClearView Energy Partners' research using 2017 data.
  • All told, the new code is meant to save Californians a net $1.7 billion on energy bills, while advancing the state's efforts to build-out renewable energy, the commission said.

Source: Utility Dive, 5/9/18


Department of Energy Announces $72 Million to Advance High-Temperature Concentrating Solar Power Systems

Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $72 million for new projects to advance high-temperature concentrating solar power (CSP) technologies. These projects will extend previous research on high-temperature components, develop them into integrated assemblies, and test these components and systems through a wide range of operational conditions.

CSP technologies use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight onto a focused point where it is collected and converted into heat. This thermal energy can be stored and used to produce electricity whenever it is needed. The best commercially available technologies can only reach 565 °C. The high-temperature thermal systems targeted by this program seek to achieve at least 700 °C, which would boost the efficiency and lower the cost of the electricity. If successful, these projects will lower the cost of a CSP system by approximately $0.02 per kilowatt-hour, which is 40 percent of the way to the office’s 2030 cost goals of $0.05 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for baseload CSP plants.

Source: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 5/15/18

Green Power5/14/2018

Q&A with Andy Walker: The Ins and Outs of Renewable Energy Optimization

Andy Walker is a recently appointed research fellow at NREL and the creator of Renewable Energy Optimization (REO), for which he holds a patent. REO techniques inform institutions across the world, from businesses such as Frito-Lay to government policies such as the U.S. Air Force’s approach to on-site generation. REO has since been developed by NREL staff to become the REopt tool. Andy’s research has centered on renewable energy cost analysis and renewable building design. He also teaches at the University of Colorado Boulder, Colorado School of Mines, and Metropolitan State University of Denver. He has led the Solar Energy Division of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), edited the Journal of Solar Energy Engineering, and is an ASME fellow.

The following is a discussion of REO’s transition to REopt and what’s on the way for the renewable energy planning software. This conversation has been edited for length.

Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 4/30/18

Reports and Studies5/4/2018

Renewables Account for More Than 70% of Proposed Net Generation Additions Over Next Three Years

Wind, solar, and other renewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower) accounted for almost 95% (i.e., 94.9%) of all new U.S. electrical generation placed into service in the first quarter of this year, according to a SUN DAY Campaign analysis of data released today by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commissions (FERC).

FERC's latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" (with summary statistics for January, February, and March 2018) shows that 16 new "units" of wind, totaling 1,793 megawatts (MW), came into service in the first three months of 2018 along with 92 units of solar (1,356-MW) for a total of 3,149-MW.  In addition, there was one unit of geothermal steam (19-MW), five units of water (18-MW), and three units of biomass (3-MW). 

Among non-renewable sources, six units of natural gas provided another 79-MW of new capacity along with five units of oil (10-MW), and one unit of nuclear (4-MW). There were also six units (80-MW) defined as "other" by FERC (e.g., fuel cells, batteries & storage). No capacity additions were reported for coal during the quarter.

FERC data also reveal that the total installed capacity of renewable energy sources now provides over one-fifth (i.e., 20.69%) of total available U.S. generating capacity. Combined, wind and solar alone exceed one-tenth (i.e., 10.44%) of installed capacity - a share greater than that of nuclear power (9.14%) or hydropower (8.52%) or or oil (3.56%).

FERC's report further suggests that the rapid expansion and growing dominance of renewable energy sources will continue at least through April 2021. Proposed new net generating capacity (i.e., additions minus retirements) by renewables over the next three years totals 148,281-MW or 70.1% of the total (i.e., 211,621-MW). Proposed new net generating capacity by wind (85,625-MW) and solar (49,088-MW) alone are 63.7% of the total - supplemented by hydropower (11,824-MW), geothermal (1,130-MW), and biomass (614-MW).

Most of the remaining net proposed new generating capacity to be added between now and April 2021is accounted for by natural gas (74,624-MW - 35.3%). Net proposed additions by nuclear total only 1,831-MW while those from oil are just 268-MW. FERC also lists proposed new net generating capacity from waste heat (96-MW) and "other" sources (680-MW). Notably, the net generating capacity of coal would actually decline by 14,177-MW as 15,864-MW of coal capacity is retired, eclipsing just 1,687-MW of additions.   

Source: Sun-Day Campaign, 5/2/18

Green Power5/4/2018

​Green Power Partnership Program Update

The EPA Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program encouraging organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use.

In this issue:

  • EPA Concludes the 2017–18 College and University Green Power Challenge
  • April 2018 Top Partner List Updates Posted
  • 2017 Green Power Leadership Award Winner Spotlight – Stanford University
  • Photo of the Month – Johnson & Johnson
  • New GPP Resource!
  • ICYMI: Introduction to the Local Government Solar Project Portal Webinar
  • New NREL Training Resources for Local Governments
  • Report: Companies signed deals for 1,731 MW of renewables in Q1

Source: EPA Green Power Partnership, 4/30/18

Reports and Studies4/17/2018

Solar to jump 6% despite tariffs

The global solar PV market is set to grow 6 percent this year, despite tariffs enacted by President Trump.

GTM Research reported this morning that more than 100 gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity will be added for the first time ever, even though the world's largest solar markets — the United States, China, India and Japan — are expected to decline collectively 7 percent this year partly because of ongoing trade battles, the market research firm said.

Annual installations of at least 100 GW globally also are projected to continue through at least 2022, according to the report.

Source: Greenwire, 4/16/18

Green Power4/13/2018

These huge new wind turbines are a marvel. They’re also the future.

The latest model has blades longer than football fields.

The declining price of solar power gets more press, but there are big things happening in wind technology too. And I mean big.

The math on wind turbines is pretty simple: Bigger is better. Specifically, there are two ways to produce more power from the wind in a given area.

The first is with bigger rotors and blades to cover a wider area. That increases the capacity of the turbine, i.e., its total potential production.

The second is to get the blades up higher into the atmosphere, where the wind blows more steadily. That increases the turbine’s “capacity factor,” i.e., the amount of power it actually produces relative to its total potential (or more colloquially: how often it runs).

Source: Vox, 4/13/18

Green Power4/6/2018

Utilities take note: Hybrid renewables projects are coming

An innovation in renewables generation that could change the way utilities think about meeting reliability and peak demand took some big steps forward in 2017.

Only a few U.S. utilities are pursuing hybrid projects that combine wind, solar and/or battery storage in various combinations. Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) is operating a solar-plus-storage project that may be the first U.S. renewables-powered peaker plant. And Arizona Public Service (APS) just contracted with First Solar for what is said to be the first utility-scale renewables peaker plant.

Source: Utility Dive, 4/3/18

Green Power4/6/2018

Thanks to blockchain, change is on the horizon for renewable energy & carbon markets

5 ways blockchain is poised to “upgrade” existing systems and open access to renewable energy across the globe

Renewable energy and carbon market industry leaders gathered in Amsterdam on March 13–14 for the annual REC Market Meeting. At this global expert meeting focused on energy attribute tracking systems, representatives from 200+ organizations rallied around the notion of collaborative competition: the idea that all market participants, even industry competitors, stand to benefit from improvements to market fundamentals that increase investments in solar, wind, and other forms of renewably generated electricity. To advance this notion of collaborative competition, conference attendees called for greater transparency to enhance consumer choice as a means to unlock investments.

Source: Energy Web Foundation via Rocky Mountain Institute, 4/5/18

Reports and Studies4/6/2018

The two key questions about going to 100% renewables in Los Angeles

Will it be solar or more solar in Hollywood? And can solar star without fossil fuel backup?

In Hollywood, the big stars can sell a movie by themselves and Hollywood's utility wants to know if renewables are ready for stardom.

In 2016, the Los Angeles City Council asked the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to study the possibility of moving to a 100% renewables resource mix. For renewables, this could be what Hollywood calls a “marquee moment.” Many see in renewables the 'star' quality to run the 'show' on their own.

Others worry that co-stars, in the form of backup fossil generation, will be needed into the 2040s if LADWP is to guarantee reliable electricity for its 1.5 million-plus customers. That's because if renewables get casted, LADWP faces a big challenge: Limits on regional transmission constrain LA’s renewables choices largely to solar and more solar.

Source: Utility Dive, 4/5/18

Green Power4/5/2018

What makes a wind turbine break? NREL's drivetrain experts want to know.

As part of an investigation into turbine operational conditions most likely to cause drivetrain failures, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently installed a new gearbox and main bearing in the U.S. Department of Energy-owned General Electric 1.5-megawatt SLE turbine.

National Renewable Energy Laboratory, 3/21/18

Reports and Studies4/2/2018

Efficiency, DERs saving $2.6B in avoided transmission costs, CAISO says  

The transmission plan approved last week may be more significant for the projects it recommended canceling, than for the projects approved. The recommendations follow a lengthy stakeholder process that included public comment.

"The changes were mainly due to changes in local area load forecasts, and strongly influenced by energy efficiency programs and increasing levels of residential, rooftop solar generation," the grid operator said in a statement.  Another seven PG&E projects are either on hold or recommended to be delayed "pending further review in future transmission planning cycles."

Source: Utility Dive, 3/26/18

Green Power4/2/2018

Proposed Texas rule highlights storage's challenges in bridging competitive, regulated energy markets  

Energy storage’s unique ability to act as both generation and load makes it a round peg in the square peg board of utility regulation.

That mismatch is destined to come into sharper relief as a rulemaking on energy storage in Texas moves forward, highlighting some of the contentious issues the technology raises in competitive power markets.

Source: Utility Dive, 3/27/18

Green Power4/2/2018

Wind and solar costs continue to drop below fossil fuels. What barriers remain for a low-carbon grid?  

Wind and solar are now cheaper than virtually anyone predicted, and renewable technologies have reached an inflection point: Rapid cost declines made renewable energy the cheapest available sources of new electricity, even without subsidies, in 2017.  In many locations across America, building new wind energy projects is cheaper than running existing coal-fired power plants.

Since utilities are still overwhelmingly planning for a lower-carbon more distributed grid, we must reconsider and reform the institutions impeding a high-renewables, low-cost, reliable grid.  Siting and permitting, transmission construction and planning, utility business models, wholesale markets, finance policy, and distributed energy resource planning and compensation are all areas where policy lags behind technology and institutions threaten to stymie growth.

Source: Utility Dive, 3/21/18

Green Power4/2/2018

A huge new record in the Southwest Power Pool 

The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) just set a huge new wind penetration record: on March 16 a little over 60 percent of the system’s electricity came from wind power. That’s a big deal for a system that provides electricity to customers across 14 states.

SPP serves many states right smack in the middle of the country where wind continues to grow– Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma, among others—so it’s no surprise that wind has routinely smashed penetration records over the past few months. In fact, SPP reports that wind has broken penetration records “six or seven” times in the past 90 days alone.

Source: Into the Wind, the AWEA blog; 3/22/18

Green Power3/26/2018

Want sustained solar growth? Just add energy storage.

2018 is poised to be a record-breaking year for solar globally. GTM Research projects that solar PV installations in 2018 will be the same as all solar installations pre-2013 combined. Certainly, in the short to medium term, solar power has a strong outlook. In the long term, however, solar power’s outlook is not so clear.  As solar PV penetration increases, the value of additional solar energy on the grid decreases due to falling capacity value. This has been shown by studies as well as empirical data from grids with large ‘duck curves’ like California which need to curtail solar when there is more solar generation than the grid can support. 

Source: Fluence via Energy Central, 3/26/18

Green Power3/26/2018

Minnesota Governor Declares March 22 ‘Clean Energy Business Day’

On Thursday, Gov. Mark Dayton, D-Minn., delivered a proclamation that declared March 22 as “Clean Energy Business Day” in Minnesota.

The proclamation coincided with Clean Energy Business Day at the Capitol – an advocacy day for business owners, clean energy workers and advocates.

“Clean energy businesses employ 57,351 Minnesotans, as of 2016, with wages 42 percent higher than the statewide average,” Dayton proclaimed. “Minnesota’s nation-leading clean energy policies have established a unique competitive advantage for innovators, entrepreneurs, investors and businesses to deliver value-added products and services growing Minnesota’s clean energy markets.”

Source: North American WindPower, 3/23/18

Green Power3/23/2018

​DOE sponsors collegiate wind competition

According to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Wind Vision report, wind generation could double by 2020—and double again by 2030. As the U.S. power generation mix incorporates more wind energy, qualified workers will be needed to fill related jobs at all levels.

To help facilitate this process, DOE and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory created the Collegiate Wind Competition in 2014. The competition aims to prepare students from multiple disciplines to enter the wind energy workforce by providing real-world technology experience.

Learn more about how to get involved in the Collegiate Wind Competition.

Source: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 3/22/18

Reports and Studies3/23/2018

Resilient Solar: Powering and Empowering Communities

Institute for Sustainable Communities

This publication shares the stories of trailblazing resilient solar projects in New York City, Baltimore, Duluth, and San Francisco, and connects readers to tools, resources, and lessons learned that they can put to use in their own communities.

More Information

Communities across the U.S. are exploring how resilient solar can help strengthen resilience, advance renewable energy goals, and best serve vulnerable neighborhoods during disasters. Our latest publication showcases efforts in four U.S. cities—New York City, Baltimore, Duluth, and San Francisco—as promising examples of how resilient solar can power, and empower, communities. With strong leadership provided by community-based organizations, universities, and municipalities, these collaborative projects are demonstrating the power to profoundly improve the health, safety, and well-being of communities, particularly those who are historically underserved and often most vulnerable to disaster.

Read our report and join us April 5 for a webinar to learn more about these resilient solar projects and what made them successful.

This webinar will highlight how cities play an important role in advancing individual projects and developing resilience strategies.

Source: Institute for Sustainable Communities, 3/16/18


​USDA Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems and Energy Efficiency Improvement Grants

Apply by April 30

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is accepting applications to provide guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.

These loan guarantees and grants are part of USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program (REAP), which was created under the 2008 Farm Bill and reauthorized under the 2014 Farm Bill. REAP helps agricultural producers and rural small businesses reduce energy costs and consumption by purchasing and installing renewable energy systems and making energy efficiency improvements in their operations. Eligible systems may derive energy from wind, solar, hydro-electric, ocean, hydrogen, geothermal or renewable biomass (including anaerobic digesters).

The deadline to apply for grants is April 30, 2018. Applications for loan guarantees are accepted year round. Learn more about the program and how to apply. Note: Indian tribes are not directly applicable; however, Indian tribes with agricultural operations and or small businesses may be eligible. Please see the eligibility requirements and/or contact USDA directly with questions.

Source: DOE Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs, 3/23/18

Reports and Studies3/23/2018

Report: Offshore Wind Could Power East Coast ‘For Decades To Come’

From Maine to Florida, the winds blowing off the Atlantic Coast could be the power source for a clean energy future, according to a new report entitled “Wind Power to Spare: The Enormous Energy Potential of Atlantic Offshore Wind,” released today by Environment America and Frontier Group.

The report finds that winds blowing off the Atlantic coast could provide four times more electricity each year than the region currently uses. Moreover, 12 of the 14 coastal states have offshore wind potential that exceeds their current electricity consumption, the report adds.

Source: North American Wind Power, 3/22/18


Up To $11.5 Million Available for Energy Infrastructure Deployment on Tribal Lands

Deadline: April 19

On February 16, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $11.5 million in new funding to deploy energy infrastructure on tribal lands. This funding through the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs will support Native American and Alaska Native communities interested in harnessing their vast undeveloped energy resources.

Source: US Department of Energy, 2/16/18

Green Power3/22/2018

On the duck's 10th birthday, here's how to keep it from eating the power system

In 2008, the Duck Curve revealed the high solar penetration threat; has it been met?

A fat, slow-moving, 10-year-old duck threatens the U.S. power grid, despite the many engineering minds that have been and are still hunting it.

Ten years ago, researchers began thinking about the impact of rising renewables penetrations on the power system. They noticed solar creates a unique challenge because it can take over for less variable generation during the day but fades just when demand peaks in the evening.

Where solar penetrations rose fastest, power system operators and researchers saw increasing reason for concern about this challenge. It led them to discover new levels of grid flexibility that are still taking shape.

Source: Utility Dive, 3/22/18

Reports and Studies3/20/2018

​SEU 2018 survey: Utilities shaken, not moved, by Trump policies

A new survey of North American utility executives shows them wary of President Donald Trump's energy policies, but unmoved in their commitment to a cleaner energy future.

Utility Dive's 2018 State of the Electric Utility Survey, out today, reveals a sector still overwhelmingly committed to moving to a lower-carbon, more distributed electricity system. But it also shows that professionals are increasingly concerned with policy and market uncertainty following the first year of the Trump administration.

Source: Utility Dive via Energy Services Bulletin, 2/27/18

Green Power3/20/2018

Green Power Partnership Program Update, Issue #56

The EPA Green Power Partnership is a voluntary program encouraging organizations to use green power as a way to reduce the environmental impacts associated with conventional electricity use.

In This Issue

  • Reminder: Green Power Leadership Award Application Period Open through April 6!
  • Renewable Energy Markets 2018: Call for Abstracts
  • Upcoming Data Deadline for Top Partner Rankings and College & University Challenge
  • New Guidance Document: “Offsets and RECs: What’s the Difference?”
  • Green Power Partners Leading the Way
  • Partner Spotlight: Snyder’s-Lance
  • Photos of the Month: Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute
  • Webinar: Renewable Energy Markets 101
  • Webinar Recap: Feb 21 State of the Voluntary Market
  • Webinar Opportunity and Newly Released Guidance
  • Voluntary Data Request from NREL and WWF to Gauge Renewable Energy Interest in the Southeast

Source: EPA Green Power Partnership, 3/20/18

Green Power3/7/2018

Are utilities missing out on the opportunity to use old coal sites for solar?

Utilities could turn liabilities into assets by building solar arrays where burning coal has left a site unsuitable for other purposes — but only a few forward-looking utilities are even exploring the possibility.

Unused coal sites make up a small portion of the 450,000+ U.S. brownfields, where expansion, redevelopment or reuse is complicated by hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants. But a coal site is a liability for its utility or independent power producer (IPP) owner. It offers no benefits and imposes maintenance costs that burden ratepayers and shareholders.

Two small utilities, one in Florida and another in Massachusetts, have turned financial burdens into financial opportunities, and other utilities may benefit by looking at what they've done.

Source: Utility Dive, 3/8/18

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