Renewable Energy News

American Electric Power, Sempra launch sustainable finance frameworks

Renewable Energy - Mon, 2021-08-09 08:34

American Electric Power – operator of the nation’s largest electricity transmission system – announced on Monday the launch of a Sustainable Finance Framework (SFF) to support the funding of social and environmental projects.

San Diego-based energy infrastructure giant Sempra announced a similar SFF last week. By issuing bonds, loans, or other financial instruments, the companies hope to support clean energy and socially conscious projects in the pursuit of net-zero emissions.

Read more: NY Green Bank raises $314 million to meet demand for clean energy project financing

“AEP’s vision for a brighter energy future focuses on reducing our environmental footprint, while empowering vibrant communities,” said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP’s chairman, president and chief executive officer. “This framework will help support ongoing initiatives as we make strategic investments to advance our clean energy plans and deliver tangible value to our customers, communities and investors.”

AEP outlined projects that would be eligible for investment through the financial instruments to include:

  • Acquiring/developing wind and solar energy projects
  • Optimizing transmission and distribution infrastructure to support interconnection of renewable resources
  • Researching and developing technologies to reduce emissions
  • Improving grid resiliency and energy efficiency
  • Deploying advanced metering infrastructure
  • Implementing electric vehicle incentives and infrastructure programs, converting AEP fleet to EVs
  • Expanding broadband internet service to rural and underserved areas
  • Empowering equity for minorities through the procurement of products and services from small and minority-owned businesses

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Sempra is attempting to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions across its entire business by 2050.

“At Sempra, we are excited about our role in advancing clean, safe and resilient energy systems for today, and for the future,” said Lisa Alexander, senior vice president of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer for Sempra. “Across our companies, we are working to capture new opportunities to grow our transmission and distribution business for the betterment of all our stakeholders, with a focus on investments in safety, as well as decarbonization, diversification and digitalization of our energy systems.”

Eligible projects for Sempra’s SFF include investments in the following categories:

  • Clean transportation
  • Climate change adaption
  • Energy efficiency
  • Clean energy solutions
  • Green Buildings
  • Pollution prevention and control
  • Socio-economic advancement and empowerment
Categories: Renewable Energy

Navigating network demands in the net-zero world

Renewable Energy - Mon, 2021-08-09 07:20

Contributed by Tony Morton, global technical head for power systems at engineering and technical consultancy, Vysus Group

Developers, operators, and regulators must work together to maximize connections in a renewables-rich environment. Electricity grids, and the renewable energy and battery storage projects that connect to those networks, are evolving so that they can meet net-zero demands while simultaneously maintaining and delivering power supplies in a safe, secure and reliable manner.

Infrastructure designed to concentrate synchronous fossil fuel generation within a few large centers has, as a consequence, given way to more flexible next-generation networks in which stability is more likely to be provided by what are called grid forming technologies – both old (synchronous condensers) and new (grid-forming electronics), and more widely spread across the network.

Read more: 4 keys to getting community buy-in for solar energy projects

The latter can help to address compliance and stability impacts in a mixed system.  These issues add to the technical challenges known to be posed by variability and weather issues ranging from day-to-day and from season to season, and which engineers and power systems are working to solve even as the climate around them changes.

And crucially for developers of renewable energy projects including wind and solar, help in understanding and responding to these stability issues is the type of project support that is increasingly being required by regulators, utilities, and grid operators.

The pace of renewables growth has surpassed even the wildest expectations in the last 20 years, and demand for ever-more volumes of green electricity shows few signs of slowing in the decades ahead. For networks, that will increase the need for a smarter approach to connections, along with more demands on generators to provide grid support services.

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Electricity grid networks 2.0

The grid system required to maximize the role of renewable energy goes well beyond simply building new wires to those places where it is windy or sunny, to those areas where the waves crash or the tides rip.

Connections from this new class of generator systems to either existing or newbuild grids, and the shift from mainly synchronous plant to the asynchronous or electronic generators found in many renewables projects, dictate a very different set of demands.

These include abstract services that might at one time have been taken for granted: system strength, inertia, frequency stability, frequency response, and fault ride-through, among others – an entire set of grid network properties that traditionally were underpinned by mechanical principles.

The current generation portfolio, by contrast, relies increasingly on electronic systems and is more appliance than machine. It is within this shift where grid forming technologies, rather than grid following kit, comes into play.

And it is why leading-edge modeling is so important. Mapping any facility’s impact on the existing grid, as well as how the network will perform taking into account all the other generation around it – solar, wind, batteries, etc – can help to identify constraints, as well as routes to resolution, at the earliest stage.

Read more: NY Green Bank raises $314 million to meet demand for clean energy project financing

Proven solutions

Grid forming technologies are particularly important in areas with high levels of renewable penetration.

One technology that is becoming better understood as it currently stands is the ‘virtual synchronous machine’ – an electronic inverter that is controlled to behave, from the point of view of the external network, in the same way as a synchronous machine (subject to limitations). This includes the use of a ‘virtual equation of motion’ within the control system to mimic the way inertia in a real machine causes its grid voltage to change in certain predictable ways during major disturbances on the power system.

The requirement for such technology is only increased when growth in renewable energy sources is focused in areas with weak grids, where they are part of relatively isolated and geographically spread-out grid networks – i.e. with few interconnections – and across any combination of those.

Particularly impacted markets include Australia, Ireland, and parts of Canada and the United States, but it is a challenge coming to all grid networks as the renewables revolution continues.

Much of the low-hanging fruit, in terms of relatively straightforward connections to the grid and regardless of the specific market, has already been picked.

Constraints and restrictions are more commonplace and, in systems where grid forming is required, system operators and/or regulators will often provide an incentive for the services supplied alongside the electricity produced.

How and whether particular developers and particular projects can tap into that revenue requires a very steep level of expertise, something Vysus Group knows well from first-hand experience.

And while the cost can sometimes be equally steep, the benefits – particularly over the lifetime of a generation asset, and when compared with other available alternatives – far outweigh the upfront and operational spending required.

DISTRIBUTECH International’s live and in-person event is set to take place in Dallas, Texas, January 26-28, 2022. Registration will open soon. Click here to view registration packages and sign up to be notified when registration is open. We hope to see you in Texas!

Solving the Murray puzzle

The West Murray Zone in south-eastern Australia is illustrative of the type of problems that can be encountered. The area presented operators with a stability challenge under certain conditions driven largely by asynchronous generation with ‘weak grid’ issues, including wind and solar plants.

The projects in question were located across the boundaries of two network operators and had complied with the rules as defined when originally connected. And the stability problem itself was the result of the interrelation of all elements, rather than any single source.

Solutions to the issues identified were devised and implemented in a collaborative fashion, with individual projects, the network operator, and regulators cooperating to identify and then address the challenges presented. Importantly, the resolution of these issues was found to lie not with costly additional equipment, but instead with careful tuning of existing control systems in consultation with OEMs and with system integration experts.

The guidance provided by specialist and experienced advisors including our team at Vysus Group was key to establishing the forward path, with a proactive approach adopted from day one in order to test and validate proposed models. Constraints adopted as short-term measures to address stability issues have since been eased.

West Murray highlighted a number of key lessons for power systems facing similar challenges.

These include the requirement to determine the needs and limitations of any given network and to ensure that connecting projects deploy the technologies necessary to meet specific requirements, from the OEMs upwards.

Furthermore, all parties – manufacturers, developers, utilities, system operators, and regulators – need to work together towards a common goal. Flexibility, transparency, and pragmatism were key to addressing the issues in the West Murray Zone.

A key insight from this process is that a holistic approach to control system tuning across multiple installations delivers superior results compared with the naïve attempt to apply one-size-fits-all standards at the level of individual installations.  In some cases, performance issues were resolved through deliberate departures from over-rigid performance standards at particular sites.  Engineering insight can reveal where adherence to tightly prescribed standards is actually doing more harm than good.

This expert advice, deployed at the earliest stage, was also crucial to both defining and then meeting the challenges presented.

Success in a net-zero world

Grid connections and system security issues like those encountered in West Murray pose a great challenge to the ongoing roll-out of renewable energy projects and, ultimately, the achievement of worldwide net-zero goals. But it’s a challenge that can be met with expert support, building on experience to date with smart system integration.

Newbuild variable generation carries implicit complications whenever it joins a dynamic system, and must increasingly ensure that it can proceed towards operation without disruption and to the satisfaction of regulators and system operators.

Grid-forming technologies are an increasingly important tool in achieving the needs of developers in these regions, and the increasingly important renewables projects they are working to build, to the satisfaction and high demands of the wider energy system.

About the author:

Tony Morton is the global technical head for power systems at Vysus Group. The power team at Vysus Group, a standalone engineering and technical consultancy offering specialist services that support the energy transition and renewables projects, is uniquely positioned to enable this new generation of connection technologies.

Vysus Group, with a team of experts based around Asia Pacific and North America, has a track record of supporting more than 10GW of development over nearly two decades, particularly in areas of high penetration and weak networks, where the constraints are at their most acute.

Categories: Renewable Energy

Aurora Solar strengthens commercial offering with acquisition of HelioScope

Renewable Energy - Mon, 2021-08-09 05:00

Aurora Solar – makers of an industry-leading software platform for solar sales and design – announced Monday the acquisition of Folsom Labs to bolster its commercial offerings.

Folsom Labs is the developer of HelioScope, a leading software platform for the commercial solar sector. Aurora Solar’s founders believe the company now has the tools to offer best-in-class solutions to residential and large-scale commercial clients.

Read more: How energy providers can prepare for summer heat with innovative solutions

“Today is a big day for solar,” said Samuel Adeyemo, co-founder of Aurora Solar. “As a result of this acquisition, solar professionals from the residential and commercial sectors can look forward to faster product innovation and an unparalleled customer experience. I’m delighted to welcome the Folsom Labs team to Aurora.”

More than 6 million solar projects have been designed using Aurora Solar, globally, the company said, while HeliScope has been used to design over 1,200 gigawatts of solar projects.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Why analysts say President Biden will fall short of offshore wind goals

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-08-06 10:29

Massive investment in offshore wind is expected to drive capacity to 21 gigawatts by 2030, according to a report by IHS Markit, compared to the current capacity of 42 megawatts. But analysts say the industry is still likely to fall 30% short of President Biden’s 2030 goals.

The Biden administration set a goal of reaching 30GW offshore wind capacity by 2030 – a milestone authors from the Clean Energy Technology service say the White House is “almost certain” to miss.

IHS Markit expects $100 billion to be invested in the offshore wind industry over the next nine years, resulting in the U.S. market share of global capacity increasing from (nearly) 0% to 9%.

Read more: Biden administration advances offshore wind energy plans in California, North Carolina

“Complex and lengthy permitting processes combined with a lack of manufacturing facilities, specialized U.S.-flagged installation and service vessels, dedicated ports plus poor power transmission infrastructure continue to be the key bottlenecks hampering more rapid growth of the U.S. offshore wind capacity,” IHS Markit analysts wrote.

New: @uswindinc announced plans for up to 1,200 MW additional offshore wind energy at its Maryland project, enough to meet the state's offshore wind energy goals.

Gov. @LarryHogan called the announcement "game-changing." https://t.co/iirtk0DYCI #renewableenergy @REWorld

— John Engel (@EngelsAngle) August 4, 2021

Analysts noted additional challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and high costs for offshore wind projects compared to other carbon-free generation sources.

“Current unsubsidized costs for bottom-fixed and floating offshore wind projects are estimated at $125 per MWh and $225 per MWh respectively, well above wholesale electricity prices and costs for both onshore wind and solar PV.”

The report does, however, signal that permitting speeds and project costs will improve in the coming years. The Dept. of Energy’s planned $3 billion in public financing for offshore projects and an extension to the 30% investment tax credit should also encourage growth for the industry.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Report: Natural gas infrastructure can play a key role in clean energy transition

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-08-06 09:33

A new report released by research company IHS Markit explains the role gas can play in the transition to net-zero.

The report, A Sustainable Flame: The Role of Gas in Net Zero, states that gas has a significant part in both the near-term and long-term energy decarbonization targets owing to the ability of existing infrastructure to be converted to carry low-carbon fuels including ammonia, hydrogen, synthetic methane, and renewable natural gas.

The report states that more emphasis is needed on the repurposing of existing infrastructure to enable gas to become a “second pillar” of decarbonization alongside renewables.

Read more: Renewable natural gas is crucial to diversify our clean energy sources

For instance:

  • Pipelines, both transmission and distribution, can ship renewable natural gas. In an early stage, they can blend in ‘green’ gases to lower the carbon footprint, while in the longer term they can be repurposed for shipping of 100% hydrogen. So too with much of gas storage infrastructure.
  • Gas-fired power plants can convert to run on hydrogen or sustainable ammonia, or in some circumstances can retro-fit carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).
  • Liquefaction plants can be converted to liquefy hydrogen, likely at a lower cost than building a liquefied hydrogen plant from scratch.
  • Industrial and domestic gas boilers can be manufactured to be readily adaptable from natural gas to hydrogen.

Shankari Srinivasan, vice president, global and renewable gas, IHS Markit, said: “Repurposing infrastructure has technical challenges but the costs, while significant, are still lower than building entirely new facilities.

“And it provides flexibility to policymakers and lenders who could structure authorizations and loans such that any new-build infrastructure be conversion-ready and have defined performance standards with limits on the life that the asset can operate before being converted.”

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Although calls to increase the use of renewable energy resources such as wind, solar and green hydrogen have intensified, the study highlights that gas will continue to be a vital component of the energy mix up to and through the transition to low-carbon gases.

Overall, replacing older and less efficient power plants with best-in-class natural gas generation reduces emissions by 50% per unit of electricity. In Asia, the report states that increasing natural gas use in power generation to displace coal could cut emissions by around 1 Gt—around 3% of all GHG emissions from the energy sector. This would require an increase in global gas production of about 15% from today’s level.

Michael Stoppard, chief strategist, global gas, IHS Markit, adds: “Renewable capacity will continue to grow, electrification will broaden its reach and improvements in battery storage will make a decarbonized grid more reliable. But the transition to a low-carbon gas supply will also be needed to serve the sectors beyond the reach of electrification and wires.”

Categories: Renewable Energy

California, Maryland, and Florida lead nation in electric school bus adoption, report finds

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-08-06 09:14

California, Maryland, and Florida lead the country in electric school bus adoption, though only 2% of American school districts have committed to one or more electric buses, according to a new report by the World Resources Institute.

Authors of ‘The State of Electric School Bus Adoption in the US’ suggest that improving technology and new sources of funding and financing present a growth opportunity for the electrification of school bus fleets.

School buses running on diesel fuel – producing exhaust that the EPA classifies as “likely to be carcinogenic to humans” – make up 95% of school bus fleets, transporting more than 20 million children.

“Students from low-income communities are particularly exposed: 60% of students from low-income families ride the bus to school… (and) communities of color are more likely to suffer from vehicle-based air pollution,” the authors wrote. “Electrifying the entire fleet of school buses can help address these health concerns and inequalities.”

President Biden set a goal of electrifying 20% of school buses under his American Jobs Plan with $20 billion in federal funding. The bipartisan infrastructure package working its way through Congress includes $2.5 billion for school districts and other entities to purchase electric school buses and an additional $2.5 billion for electric or “clean energy” school buses.  

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Fast facts

  • Fewer than 1% of school buses in the U.S. are electric
  • 1,164 electric school buses have been committed (procured, delivered or in operation)
  • 258 of 13,500 school districts (2%) have committed to one or more electric buses
  • 33 states have electric buses committed
  • 11 of 13 school districts have committed to 10 or more electric school buses are in California
  • Montgomery County Public Schools (Maryland) plans to procure 326 electric school buses over the next four years, the largest commitment by a single school district to date

Top 10 states with the most electric school buses committed

School districts with 10 or more electric buses committed

Categories: Renewable Energy

How energy providers can prepare for summer heat with innovative solutions

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-08-06 07:20

Contributed by Ben Paulos

Last summer’s record heat waves triggered a surge in power demand that maxed out supplies and led to outages across the West. This summer has brought renewed challenges though not (yet) as intense. 

But rising temperatures from climate change are just one challenge.  California and other states are pushing to use clean electricity to power vehicles and buildings to cut carbon, which will increase demand. And the state’s last nuclear power plant and numerous coastal gas power plants are facing retirement.

Meanwhile, the rapid growth of solar power is providing generous amounts of daytime electricity, but, of course, none at night. 

With all these changes, it’s clear that power providers have their work cut out for them. One of them, East Bay Community Energy, is using some innovative ways to manage these trends.

Read more: South Carolina’s Past Failures and New Policies Contribute to a Brighter Future for Solar and Battery Storage

ROOT CAUSES

In a “root cause analysis” after the August 2020 blackouts, California state agencies found three drivers of the outages.  In plain language — 1) it was very hot, 2) California built a lot of solar but not enough other generators to meet demand in the evening when the sun goes down, and 3) some market rules contributed to the problem.

These conditions are echoed by a new report from the North American Electric Reliability Council (NERC) warning that California is at “high risk” of an energy emergency in 2021. In their 2021 Summer Reliability Assessment, NERC points out that California’s traditional strategy of relying on imports to meet evening demand has become an “increasing reliability risk” as other regions face similar peak events and growing solar output, as hydropower output falls due to drought, and wildfires cause transmission outages.

While California nominally has enough resources online (see figure), NERC says a combination of problems could lead to a shortfall during an extreme event.

NERC’s On-Peak Risk Scenario for California

In response to these risks, the California PUC approved an order in June requiring electric providers to procure 11,500 MW of new resources between 2023 and 2026, mostly from batteries, longer-duration energy storage, solar, wind, and other renewables. 

The procurement would not only add extra capacity, but it would also make up for the retirement of the 2,280 MW Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant and 4,200 MW of retiring natural gas plants.  The order specifically calls for “at least 2,500 MW of firm, zero-emitting resources” to replace Diablo Canyon, and would require power companies to add 1,000 to 1,500 MW in upgrades at existing natural gas plants.

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THE BIG RETHINK

These changing dynamics are leading power providers to rethink their procurement strategies.  While solar power is now affordable, quick to build, and helps meet renewable energy and climate goals, new solar no longer helps meet peak demand.  With solar regularly providing as much as half of the state’s mid-day power needs, the remaining peak demand (called the net peak) has moved into the evening. As a result, virtually all proposed solar projects in California are combined with battery storage, to shift mid-day generation into the evening hours.

This combination of solar and storage is the resource of choice for East Bay Community Energy (EBCE), a community choice energy aggregator near San Francisco.

EBCE issued a request for offers (RFO) in November 2020 and has received “hundreds” of offers, says Marie Fontenot, EBCE’s Senior Director of Power Resources. 

“We knew we needed more long-term resources before the CPUC order came out,” Fontenot says. “These are the types of resources we want in our portfolio regardless.”

SOLUTIONS: EFFICIENCY AND DEMAND RESPONSE

But EBCE is also deploying demand-side solutions, which can be cost-effective, quick, and clean.

Energy efficiency can be targeted at peak reductions, such as by better insulating buildings and using more efficient air conditioners. Demand response, where customers cut power use when asked to or paid to, can be targeted at certain times and places as needed.  Indeed, the biggest response to the August shortage, a drop of 4,000 megawatts, came from customers being asked to conserve through the state’s FlexAlert program.

EBCE launched its Pay for Performance program last year, three pilot projects that pay energy efficiency contractors based on their ability to reduce demand during evening peak hours.  EBCE contracted with OhmConnect to give customers smart thermostats and wifi-enabled smart plugs that can respond to signals from OhmConnect to cut demand when the grid is overtaxed. 

EBCE is also working with Myst AI to use artificial intelligence (AI) to develop more accurate load forecasting, as described in a recent article in PowerGrid International.

Partnering with Sunrun, EBCE customers who install solar and batteries are getting paid to dispatch their batteries during the evening peak each day. The batteries in the Resilient Home program are then available to power the home during outages.

EBCE is also partnering with Leap, a San Francisco company, to use “virtual power plants” to provide flexible electricity capacity ahead of peak summertime demand.  Virtual plants are a network of residential and commercial batteries, electric vehicle charging, smart thermostats, agricultural and municipal water pumping, cold storage, and commercial HVAC systems that respond to market pricing signals.  Statewide, Leap has 288 MW and over 18,000 meters under contract.

To enable these innovative distributed solutions, EBCE is also advocating for policy changes.  Joining with other CCAs and distributed energy providers in the California Clean Resource Adequacy Coalition, EBCE called for a set of reforms to remove roadblocks to storage and demand response. These reforms would better value distributed storage, eliminate limitations on demand response, and make it easier for both to get paid for providing reliable services.

Demand-side solutions are an “integral part of our strategy to enhance reliability throughout summer peak demand, and will allow us to source our resiliency using clean, flexible grid capacity,” said Nick Chaset, CEO of EBCE.

About the author:

Ben Paulos is the principal of PaulosAnalysis, an energy consulting firm, and was formerly Program Director for Renewable Energy at the Energy Foundation.

Categories: Renewable Energy

Lagunitas brewery’s innovative 2.1-MW solar array brings a wealth of benefits

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-08-06 07:00

By David Bacher, LG Solar

After burning the Thanksgiving turkey in an attempt to brew his own beer, Tony Magee was asked to take his new-found interest outside of his Northern California home. Since 1993, he’s grown his hobby into one of the top solar-powered craft breweries in the United States and his Lagunitas beers are now available in more than 20 countries and counting.

Lagunitas Brewing Company, where thousands of people congregate annually for live music, food and of course — craft beer — produces millions of barrels a year, and as a result uses a great deal of power. The owners therefore welcomed the idea of installing solar panels, not only to reduce the company’s utility bills, but also to reduce carbon emissions.

Through a hired consultant and rigorous bidding process boutique commercial solar integrator Westcoast Solar Energy was chosen to take on the project and ultimately recommended LG solar panels.

High efficiency panels made all the difference Lagunitas Brewery rooftop solar array. Credit: LG Solar

Given the property’s large footprint, the team sought to install three separate arrays. The first was placed on the administrative building which holds around 25 employees, the second on a cold storage building that houses the beer, and the third was installed as a ground mount on a farm owned by the brewery on an adjoining property. The working farm is home to a herd of cattle and sheep that are fed spent grain from the brewing process in addition to their grass diet.

A key challenge for West Coast Solar was configuring the installation in tight spaces on some of the buildings. This meant that adaptability was another criteria that had to be considered when choosing the right solar manufacturer partner.

Westcoast Solar recommended LG’s 72-cell 340W solar panels due to their high performance their own custom racking systems. Westcoast used a ground-mount design that allowed the array to benefit the farm instead of taking away from valuable grazing land. The elevated “Cow-Port” structures were placed at a height where the cows and sheep could graze under the array and provided much needed shade for the herd in the hot California summers. The individual arrays were spaced far apart which allowed for light to reach under the arrays allowing the grass to continue growing.

“This was our first megawatt-sized project using LG solar panels and since then, they’re our exclusive offering. As a premium integrator, we provide the best long-term solutions for our customers and continue to prioritize array operations and performance at year 20 as much, if not more than, at year one,” said Nate Gulbransen, President of Westcoast Solar Energy.

The “Cow Port” ground-mount solar array at the Lagunitas Brewery. Credit: LG Solar.

“In looking at which manufacturer was the best fit for this project, we wanted a company that would match that same commitment and LG stood out. With LG solar panels, we’re confident that what we build today will be the best performing solar array possible and will produce the most amount of energy not just for the near term, but for a long time to come.”

The initial stages of the project were completed quickly, with new energy efficient roofs for the two penetrated flat-roof arrays: a 230-kW DC administrative building array and a 1.05-MW DC cold storage building array. The Cow-Port (ground-mount) however, located on the other side of the nearby train track took a bit more work to put together. Permits for the ground mount totaled over a year and a half due to the technicality of it being located in a separate jurisdiction on protected farm land. The feat of bringing power from one side of the train track to the other was another tricky situation to navigate. To top it off, amid the project development, Sonoma County suffered extensive damages from a massive wildfire which destroyed over 5,000 homes. Despite the delays, Lagunitas successfully received its third and final installment of the 850-kW Cow-Port.

The $5 million-dollar, 2.1-MW solar project that uses more than 6,000 LG solar panels, was able to offset about two thirds (60 percent) of the brewery’s energy use and budget during that first year. Prior to the installation, the brewery spent about $1 million annually on electricity.

In 2020, the establishment was forced to close down temporarily given the COVID-19 pandemic; however, the solar panels were able to over produce energy given there were fewer visitors. This resulted in the return of some dollars over to the brewery at the end of the year after selling energy to local power utilities.  Lagunitas has since reopened its doors following the state’s COVID guidelines.

“Operating the brewery through solar panels and offsetting the amount of energy that we are using is an incredible feeling,” said Keely Wachs, Head of Consumer Affairs & CSR of Lagunitas Brewing Company. “Not only are we excited to see this green energy do great things for Lagunitas, but we’re also proud to know that it’s doing great things for the environment and our community as well.”

About the Author

David Bacher is Head of Marketing at LG Business Solutions

Categories: Renewable Energy

California university prepares to test ‘breakthrough’ space-based solar power project

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-08-06 06:30

A research project at California Institute of Technology (Caltech) is preparing to test, what the group calls, “breakthrough” technology capable of generating solar power in space for use on Earth.

The institution, and its Space-based Solar Power Project (SSPP), recently disclosed a $100 million donation made in 2013 by Donald Bren, chairman of Irvine Company and a member of the Caltech Board of Trustees, to fund the research.

Background: Experimenting with solar in space

SSPP will soon execute a test launch of multifunctional technology-demonstrator prototypes that “collect sunlight and convert it to electrical energy, transfer energy wirelessly in free-space using radio frequency electrical power and deploy ultralight structures that will be used to integrate them.”

From left, Sergio Pellegrino, the Joyce and Kent Kresa Professor of Aeronautics and Professor of Civil Engineering, Jet Propulsion Laboratory Senior Research Scientist and co-director of the Space-Based Solar Power Project; Brigitte Bren; Donald Bren; Ali Hajimiri, the Bren Professor of Electrical Engineering and Medical Engineering and co-director of the Space-Based Solar Power Project; and Richard Madonna, project manager of the Space-Based Solar Power Project.Credit: Caltech

“Donald Bren has brought the same drive and discipline that he has demonstrated with master planning communities to the Space Solar Program,” Caltech President Thomas F. Rosenbaum said. “He has presented a remarkable technical challenge that promises a remarkable payoff for humanity: a world powered by uninterruptible renewable energy.”

The project’s first test will occur in early 2023, according to a press release.

Today, we announce a $100M gift from Donald Bren, chairman of Irvine Company and a Caltech lifetime trustee, to form the Space-based Solar Power Project (SSPP).

The goal: Develop technology to capture solar power in space for use on Earth.https://t.co/SrJixD4i4B

— Caltech (@Caltech) August 3, 2021

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Green Mountain Energy applies to enter Arizona electricity market with 100% renewable energy

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-08-05 12:21

Texas-based Green Mountain Energy has applied to enter Arizona’s electricity market, promising to offer residents the option to choose 100% renewable energy for their homes and businesses.

Green Mountain Energy (GME) submitted its application to the Arizona Corporation Commission on Aug. 4 to provide regulated electric services. If approved, GME would become the first and only electricity provider to exclusively offer clean, renewable energy to customers in Arizona, according to the company.

Green Mountain Energy residential product offerings

“Arizona customers want to live sustainably across all parts of their lives, including the energy they use at home,” said Mark Parsons, vice president and general manager of Green Mountain. “As more consumers choose to switch to clean energy, they will help increase the supply of renewable energy by growing demand and reducing their carbon footprint.”

GME currently offers commercial products in Oregon, Texas, Illinois, Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. Residential products are offered in each of those states, in addition to Massachusetts and Maryland.

The company conducted a survey of Arizonans, finding that 84% want the option to purchase green power and energy.

Categories: Renewable Energy

Lightsource bp to power McDonald’s and eBay with Louisiana’s largest solar plant

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-08-05 10:20

Energy company Lightsource bp has announced that it will be investing $300 million to develop what is claimed to be Louisiana’s largest solar energy project30 miles northwest of Baton Rouge in Pointe Coupee Parish.

Construction of the 345MW project is expected to begin in the fall of 2021 for operations to begin in mid-2023. Once complete, the project will produce 600,000MWh of clean energy per annum, enough to power 59,000 US homes.

Lightsource has signed power purchase agreements with restaurant firm McDonald’s and multinational e-commerce corporation eBay for the supply of clean energy from the plant.

Read more: Europe’s largest energy storage project successfully connects to the grid

The solar project will:

  • Create approximately 400 construction jobs for 15-18 months, comprised primarily of local labour
  • Provide an estimated $30 million dollar boost to Pointe Coupee Parish over the project life – providing additional funding for schools, fire departments, libraries and health services – without a tax increase on its citizens
  • Deliver an indirect economic impact of over $200 million, according to a study by the Baton Rouge Area Chamber, an economic development agency supporting the nine-parish Baton Rouge Area.

In addition to ensuring energy security, the project will enable Lightsource bp, eBay, and McDonald’s to meet their sustainability goals. eBay seeks to leverage clean power purchase agreements to achieve its 2025, 100% renewables target.

Emma Cox, Global Renewable Energy Lead at McDonald’s, said: “Our renewable energy deal with Lightsource bp will not only create Louisiana’s largest solar project and serve as the latest milestone in making significant progress toward our science-based emissions reduction target for 2030, but also demonstrates our belief that meaningful solutions to building a sustainable future require partnership and collaboration.”

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Kevin Smith, CEO of the Americas for Lightsource bp, adds: “This agreement is a great example of the teamwork needed to achieve our mutual goals for a healthier, more sustainable, and resilient planet and economy for generations to come.”

Categories: Renewable Energy

4 keys to getting community buy-in for solar energy projects

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-08-05 09:02

Contributed by Nathan Fabrick

President Biden was elected on promises that (among other things) he will launch a Clean Energy Revolution in the United States that would eventually help the country achieve the ambitious goal of net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Rystad Energy has estimated that we would need about 13,412 square miles of land to install all the solar panels needed to help bring about this great transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy.

Some alarmist voices have raised concerns as to the availability of land to achieve said objectives. At NLR Solar we do not share that concern. While the required space does speak to the imagination, the room we need is still only about 0.43 percent of the total land area of the contiguous 48 states. By 2050, 89 percent of the U.S. population will live in urban areas. Leave these urban areas, and you will find enough space for the solar farms we will need.

Read more: First half of 2021 sees record investment in renewable energy

Once complete, Clearway’s 60 MW Illinois community solar portfolio will serve thousands of residential, commercial, and industrial customers. (Photo: Minnesota community solar)

NIMBY

It is not the scarcity of land that will give us trouble, but a phenomenon known as NIMBY—an acronym for the phrase “not in my backyard”—where everybody likes the idea of solar farms, but nobody wants to actually live next to one.

I have seen so many promising projects crumble to pieces because the local community would not approve of the development. Developers throughout the country and of all kinds will eventually find themselves stuck with the task of having to convince local communities to be okay with certain projects. Solar projects in particular can elicit resentment with a few individuals at first, even though ultimately they will benefit the entire community. 

A great example is one recent project based in Rhode Island. The local community was in favor of solar energy, but when it came time to decide where the solar farm would be, nobody wanted to have it close to their own home. They said it was “unsightly!” The only destination nobody seemed to object to was the landfill. The citizens had to be convinced that the farm could not be placed there because it was not anywhere close to a power line or substation. So what can developers do to sell the local community on welcoming a new solar farm in their community?

Read more: Renewable power plants need better planning and design

4 keys to selling solar energy

  1. Be transparent: Developers should not sugarcoat any part of the project. Be open about what will end up where and how it will look, but also be transparent about why certain options are simply not available. You can not simply put a solar farm in the middle of nowhere, even if intuitively the word “farm” might make you believe otherwise. You need a solar farm to be close to either a substation or power line. So, explain to people what criteria need to be met by the location where the solar farm is going and why and how the location you have in mind fits the bill perfectly.
  2. Give people a voice: Allow people to voice their concerns and listen to their grievances. Sometimes their grievances will be based on information you will be able to correct (one common grievance is that the solar farm will take agriculture out of production). Sometimes people will be well informed about the facts, but you will still be able to explain to them why they should embrace the project. Also, listening to concerns and questions is poised to help you further tune and expand on your communication. You will learn quickly where you have been incomplete, inconsistent or not transparent enough.
  3. Inoculate against firebrands: The large majority will not go up in arms against a solar farm, however, there will often be one or two firebrands (usually the immediate neighbors) who will stir up emotions and risk triggering an escalation of protests. You can – and should – not silence your detractors, it is better to apply what psychologists have called an “inoculation” technique whereby you are up front with your audience about possible objections and then explain why those objections are ill-informed.
  4. Give back to the community: When PILOT programs are in place—”Payments In Lieu Of Taxes”, an arrangement where the developer pays a sum of money to the local municipality to compensate for tax revenue losses that will come with the tax exempt use of the real estate—some of the monies paid by the developer can easily be used to invest in the local community. While it is not the developer per se who will decide on how the money will be allocated (a new park, books for the library, new equipment for the football team, etc.), there is no reason why developers should feel shy about presenting the projected investment of additional resources in the local community as an important benefit offered by the project.

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Bottom-line

There is no lack of room in the U.S. to fulfill its solar energy needs in the future, however, developers will continue to need to communicate transparently, give people who are concerned a voice, inoculate (where necessary) against firebrands and explain the benefits of the PILOT program in place.

About the author:

Based in Florida, Nathan Fabrick is VP of Corporate Development of National Land Realty. The company’s proprietary video technology, Land Tour 360®, as well as its GIS land mapping system, LandBase™, is offered for free to the public. More info at www.nationalland.com

Categories: Renewable Energy

Europe’s largest energy storage project successfully connects to the grid

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-08-05 08:34

Two years after a devastating blackout struck the United Kingdom, Europe’s largest energy storage project – the 100MW/100 MWh Minety plant – has been successfully grid-connected.

The plant is designed for maximizing renewable energy assets and providing grid stability using Sungrow’s 1500V energy storage system solutions. Sungrow provided NCM and LFP battery energy storage systems, which the company says minimized the plant footprint and reduced system cost by 5%.

Plan to attend: August sizzle: POWERGEN+, POWERGRID webcasts hot on decentralized energy, T&D

“We are proud of being part of this landmark project, offering solutions with extreme efficiency and safety while in compliance with the stringent UK grid codes,” James Wu, Sungrow vice president, said in a statement.

The plant meets the UK’s dynamic containment frequency regulation by responding to power instruction from the grid within 1 second.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Ørsted completes 130-turbine wind farm project in Texas

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-08-05 07:18

Danish wind energy giant Ørsted announced the completion of its largest onshore wind project to date – the Western Trail Wind Farm, a 130-turbine, 367-megawatt project in North Texas.

The company also secured long-term power purchase agreements with PepsiCo, Hormel Foods, and Nucor for much of the power generated from the project.

Read more: Renewables became second-most prevalent U.S. electricity source in 2020, per EIA

“Western Trail Wind is a well-sited greenfield development project that will provide low-cost, reliable power to the Texas grid,” said Philip Moore, senior vice president of Ørsted Onshore. “I’m very proud of our team working on this project as we continue to scale the business and play a leading role in the US energy transition.”

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The Western Trail Wind Farm is located on property owned by American billionaire Stan Kroenke in Vernon, Texas.

Ørsted said PepsiCo and Hormel Foods will also purchase power from the forthcoming Haystack Wind project due online in Nebraska later this year.

Categories: Renewable Energy

Renewable power plants need better planning and design

Renewable Energy - Wed, 2021-08-04 12:35

Op-ed submitted by Jared Green

33% of all electricity generation worldwide is from renewable sources. Over the past decade, $3 trillion has been invested in clean power worldwide. In 2018, about two-thirds of new energy capacity installed was renewable. If we are going to keep warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), the best-case scenario outlined at the Paris Climate Accord, global investment in renewable energy needs to double over the next decade.

The world will need thousands of new solar, wind, and geothermal power plants. In two-thirds of the world, solar and wind are already the cheapest energy option. To reduce coal and oil use, it’s absolutely critical that electricity from renewable sources remain that way. But given the pressures of population growth, climate change, urban sprawl, and resource extraction on our remaining ecosystems, it’s important to also limit the environmental and land-use impacts of the thousands of new facilities expected without delaying the transition to renewable energy.

Read more: First half of 2021 sees record investment in renewable energy

Given all the constraints, smarter ways to design and build renewable energy projects are needed around the world. Benefits can be achieved by decentralizing renewable energy infrastructure and making it local and equitable. Solar power plants can be built-in or near urban communities to ensure the power generated is accessible and affordable to renters and low-income households and also reduces environmental impacts. Utility-scale renewable power plants can also be planned and designed to reduce impacts on wildlife, and in some instances, even support ecological regeneration. Renewable energy can be designed to serve multiple functions and become real community assets.

A few innovative projects demonstrate how renewable energy could be made much more accessible. In Helsinki, Finland, the 275-kilowatt Suvilahti Solar Power Plant is built atop a power station owned by Helen, Helsinki’s power company. The project is marketed to energy consumers who can’t afford to put PV panels on their roof or who don’t have access because they rent. Through a website, consumers choose their own solar panels at a cost of $5 per month and subscribe in just a few minutes. On average, the energy for a one-bedroom apartment is met through subscribing to five panels, for a total of $25 per month; and their subscription is simply deducted from their energy bill.

Read more: Biden administration advances offshore wind energy plans in California, North Carolina

For the Coyote Ridge Community Solar Farm in Fort Collins, Colorado, the non-profit energy developer GRID Alternatives partnered with the Poudre Valley Rural Electric Association (PVREA) to build a 1.95-megawatt community solar farm dedicated mostly to serving 140 low-income residents, who see a 30 percent reduction in their annual energy bills. To lower the cost of constructing the facility, GRID Alternatives brought in volunteers and job trainees, who also learn marketable skills in solar power installation.

Block Island Wind Farm Run by 5 GE Haliade 150-6MW turbines (Courtesy: Ørsted)

Wind and solar can be fit into existing ecosystems and even support their regeneration. The 5-megawatt Block Island Wind Farm (pictured right) off the coast of Rhode Island is a model of how to site an offshore wind farm to minimize fatalities among endangered bird species, such as roseate terns and piping plovers, and other environmental impacts on ocean wildlife. The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) assembled experts from academic institutions, including the University of Rhode Island, to undertake a two-year planning effort to map bird paths in an area covering approximately 1,500 square miles. The Ocean Special Area Management Plan, a sort of marine zoning plan for offshore wind, was applauded by President Barack Obama’s Ocean Policy Task Force. The 5-turbine facility demonstrates the value of a comprehensive ecological-planning approach with private and public stakeholders, which should be followed for the 30 additional offshore wind projects now planned along the eastern seaboard. 

Across the U.S., beekeepers have partnered with solar power companies like Engie, Enel Green Power, and US Solar Corporation and energy advocates like Fresh Energy to transform sites of solar power facilities into sanctuaries for pollinators. A 2016 global analysis found that 40 percent of pollinator species may be at risk of extinction in the coming years. According to Rob Davis, with Fresh Energy, numerous states, led by Minnesota, have created an ecological statewide standard for vegetation that grows under and around large ground-mounted solar sites and laws, which enables solar power facilities to support increasingly fragile bumblebee, honeybee, and monarch butterfly populations, as well as those of other native bees.

Geothermal and hydropower plants can also support ecological regeneration. Landsvirkjun, Iceland’s national power company, hired a landscape architect to create a new renewable energy design policy, one of the most progressive in the world. After a public backlash over the environmental impact of a hydropower project, Landsvirkjun redesigned its approach to renewable energy infrastructure projects. Geothermal and hydropower projects must now be designed in harmony with the landscape and provide community benefits. Geothermal and hydropower plants in planning stages throughout Iceland show how to marry infrastructure with landscape design, ecological restoration, and placemaking. One planned geothermal power plant even includes a hotel and greenhouse.

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About the author:
Jared Green is author of Good Energy: Renewable Power and the Design of Everyday Life (Princeton Architectural Press, 2021) and editor of Designed for the Future: 80 Practical Ideas for a Sustainable World (Princeton Architectural Press, 2015). He is editor of THE DIRT blog at the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and a contributor to ArchDaily.

Categories: Renewable Energy

US Wind will expand offshore project in Maryland to include up to 82 turbines, company says

Renewable Energy - Wed, 2021-08-04 10:01

Maryland-based offshore developer US Wind announced plans this week to expand its 22-turbine MarWin project to include up to 82 turbines under the new Momentum Wind project for up to 1,200 MW additional offshore wind energy.

US Wind also intends to develop 90 waterfront acres into a new offshore wind deployment hub where the company will invest $77 million through the existing MarWin project. The company will incrementally invest $150 million to develop Sparrows Point Steel – the state’s first manufacturing facility dedicated to creating offshore wind foundations.

Read more: First half of 2021 sees record investment in renewable energy

“Because of the successes we’ve achieved in the development of MarWin, US Wind is ready to offer Maryland its most ambitious clean energy project to-date and, with it, the state’s first permanent offshore wind steel fabrication facility,” Jeff Grybowski, US Wind CEO, said in a statement. “Developing Momentum Wind and Sparrows Point Steel at full capacity will give Maryland the opportunity to bring steel back to Baltimore and become the epicenter of offshore wind manufacturing.”

The company says the Momentum Wind project could fully meet Maryland’s offshore wind energy goals.

Gov. Larry Hogan called US Wind’s announcement a “game-changing” moment.

“Offshore wind presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to expand and diversify our economy and our energy portfolio,” he said. “Maryland is proud to continue to be an example of strong environmental leadership, and I am confident that we will be a leader in offshore wind development for decades to come.”

With one of the most skilled workforces in the nation, one of the best ports in America, and with our administration’s continued commitment to clean and renewable energy, I’m confident that Maryland will continue to be a prime location for offshore wind development. pic.twitter.com/E3Bm3mFMaX

— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) August 3, 2021

Read more: Biden administration advances offshore wind energy plans in California, North Carolina

US Wind estimates the Momentum Wind project will generate around 3,600 jobs and more than $1 billion in labor income over 20 years. The company acquired the 80,000-acre federal lease are off the coast of Maryland in 2014. The entire lease area can support approximately 1.5 gigawatts of offshore wind energy capacity.

According to data released earlier this year by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), in both 2019 and 2020, project developers in the United States installed more wind power capacity than any other generating technology.

In its Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory, annual wind turbine capacity additions in the United States set a record in 2020, totaling 14.2 gigawatts (GW) and surpassing the previous record of 13.2 GW added in 2012. After this record year for wind turbine capacity additions, total wind turbine capacity in the United States is now 118 GW.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

LIDAR helps Greece become a renewable energy leader

Renewable Energy - Wed, 2021-08-04 08:52

Contributed by Alexander James

Capable of recording key wind characteristics such as speed and direction up to and above 200 meters vertical height, her special skills meant #106 was always destined to be a traveler and it wasn’t long before she spread her wings. Within a few weeks, she had traded her first home for a far sunnier climate and was on her way to Athens and her new name.

Now known as Eunice, one of the mythical Nereides sea nymphs of Greek legend, her first stop was the headquarters of renewable energy developer Eunice Energy Group – her new owner. Nearly 15 years later, Eunice is a wind measurement veteran and is still providing a top-class service for the optimization of both new projects and existing wind parks.

Read more: How LIDAR is Transforming Remote Solar Sales and System Design

Choosing life with LIDAR

Eunice Energy Group is the first and only energy company in Greece to generate power exclusively from renewables and it is one of the region’s leading renewable energy companies. With a significant position on the international energy map and many years of experience in the development of innovative and integrated solutions for the production and utilization of renewables, the Group supports a wide range of activities. Along with large-scale PV, storage and wind projects, Eunice Energy Group manufactures EV chargers and has its own in-house manufactured wind turbine – the EW16 Thetis. Its pioneering role puts innovation at the heart of the business and the company plays a leading role in the emerging fields of smart energy management and e-mobility.

Facing increased demand for wind measurement campaigns as a key part of its project development pipeline, Eunice Energy Group had considered a number of options to expand its capabilities.

With its many hills and cliffs, the challenging Greek topography makes it difficult to install a typical met mast for the execution of a wind measurement campaign. Even sophisticated wind planning software can’t accurately interpolate met mast data to deliver low-uncertainty figures in such complex terrain. In some wind farm locations, for example, the hub height of one machine is at the same elevation as the foundation of the next turbine which could stand on an adjacent hill. The unique capabilities of Lidars are particularly well-suited to the Greek landscape though and the data she delivers helps to determine the exact location of machines for optimum power generation across the most difficult wind farm site.

As part of its development strategy, Eunice Energy Group considered it crucial to be able to take measurements at any desired location. Lidars like Eunice can be moved around a site easily and quickly, conferring inherent flexibility and allowing wind measurements to be recorded at the precise location needed. Lidar technology does not require any major groundworks, either, such as the concrete pad needed for conventional met masts.

Read more: Using LIDAR for Identification of Wind Parameters

The capabilities of Lidar mean Eunice is also able to define wind characteristics well above the height of a conventional met mast and across the full span of both current and future wind turbines. With turbine hub heights steadily increasing, traditional met masts must be far taller to eliminate uncertainty in wind shear. Given trends in turbine design, this major benefit of Lidar will become even more significant over time, especially as met mast expenditure dramatically increases above a typical 30-60 meter height and also requires a larger pad footprint. Taller met masts typically mean a switch to more expensive lattice-type structures too, rather than the standard and lower-cost tubular-type masts.

The time and human resource savings during field deployments are key advantages of Lidars like Eunice. Requiring just two staff to deploy rather than perhaps the six or more needed to install a conventional met mast, Eunice represents an obvious cost benefit but also a health and safety advantage given that Lidars don’t require any work to be undertaken at height. Consequently, while the initial purchase cost may be higher, Lidar wind measurement campaign costs are considerably lower than traditional met masts and they are safer too. An additional benefit considered by Eunice Energy Group was the ease of powering Eunice in the remote off-grid locations typical of Greece. With her robust self-contained PV and battery power supply ideal for the Mediterranean climate, Eunice always has enough energy to execute every task assigned to her.

With better and safer measurements, faster implementation in the field, and cheaper installations with greater value, fundamentally Eunice also provides bankable and industry-accepted, IEC-compatible measurements through the company’s own EuniLab accreditation. EuniLab is a subsidiary company of Eunice Energy Group that is responsible for wind farm installations and wind measurement campaigns based on IEC standards.

Having considered a number of alternatives, such as deploying more met masts or emerging technologies at the time such as Sodar, the clear operational benefits meant Eunice – Lidar – was an obvious solution to meet Eunice Energy Group’s wind measurement needs. Together with the depth and duration of the technical support offered by ZX Lidars though, the case for Lidar was compelling.

A new life in the sun

With her many attributes clearly established, her first deployment took place in June 2006 when Eunice made her new home in the center of Athens just a hundred meters from the residence of the prime minister of Greece. With an initial installation on the rooftop of the Eunice Energy Group HQ, Eunice could also call the President of the Republic and the Greek Parliament her near neighbors.

Nonetheless, adapting to a new home isn’t easy and it hasn’t always been glitz and glamour for Eunice. On her first deployment in the field, wind energy was less popular and acceptable than it is now. It was feared that she wouldn’t fit in and there was a concern that local people could have damaged this relatively expensive piece of equipment. Certainly, Eunice looks a little bit different. Resembling a lunar lander or space probe, at first glance her figure is perhaps more suited to the Martian landscape than the ancient hills and valleys of Greece. As a result, Eunice Energy Group looked to recruit local shepherds to guard this alien-like figure and ward off any potential attacks during her lonely vigil. Eunice needn’t have worried about angry locals, although she didn’t escape unscathed. It seems some wild goats grazing nearby got a taste for the cable connecting the Lidar to her power supply. Their gnawing damaged the link and her guardians soon learned to cover the cables for the ancillaries with protective plastic tubes as a key adaptation to her new home.

In her many deployments since, Eunice has grown to be a firm favorite among the Eunice Energy Group family of engineers, developers and customers. She has already played a key role in the evaluation of the bulk of Eunice Energy Group’s existing wind power capacity and in planning campaigns for many new projects across Greece for both Eunice Energy Group and others. Among her many achievements, Eunice conducts power performance measurements determining wind speeds downstream of wind turbines helping to assess if there are any technical issues with the generator. She also allows Eunice Energy Group to sell measurement services to third parties under the Eunilab brand.

Read more: 10 Myths About Wind Lidar Technology Debunked

Leading through Lidar

Always a pioneer and definitely an outdoorsy individual, today Eunice is already a teenager with more than 14 years of exemplary service. Eunice remains in robust good health and is nowhere near retirement age. It’s hard to imagine any piece of digital equipment still in front line service well into a second decade but with support from ZX Lidars, Eunice continues to hold her own. The ancient hillsides of Greece are her home, but Eunice retains strong links with her birthplace and her always supportive parents who continue to offer advice and technical guidance when needed.

She plans to continue working as much as possible and for many years to come. With the help of ZX Lidars, her friends and family and the love and care that is given to maintaining her in optimum condition, Eunice will continue to serve the winds of Greece and operate as a loyal partner to Eunice Energy Group and its partners.

As a tool Eunice is very similar to renewable energy systems themselves – initially more expensive than an average solution but ultimately delivering many tangible and long-term benefits. Eunice is better at measuring wind characteristics, offers faster and cheaper installation and delivers much greater value than the traditional met mast approach. Considered as a movable 200 meter met mast that has already delivered well over a decade of service, she clearly represents great value.

Eunice also continues to play a key role in the spirit of innovation that is the cornerstone of Eunice Energy Group and its transformation of the Greek energy market. One such innovation is a smart energy management and distribution system known as S4S (Storage for Sustainability, Smart Grid, Solutions, Security). Implemented for the first time in the archipelago of the Dodecanese, using S4S the island of Tilos became the first energy autonomous island in Europe.

Today, Eunice Energy Group’s vision is to offer the opportunity for everyone to become an independent and autonomous energy ‘NetProsumer’ and contribute to renewable energy sovereignty. NetProsumers are typically eco-conscious, strive for energy autonomy and independence, and seek out rational management of energy consumption through technological advances. The group intends to achieve this goal in part through a smart energy management system based on blockchain technology, artificial intelligence (Al) and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Combining wind, PV, and storage to trade energy throughout a community requires precise information on wind power and this is information which is provided by Eunice. By helping to implement more renewable energy, Lidar was and still is the perfect tool to help create the future of Greece as envisioned by Eunice Energy Group in which every household and every business plays a part. Indeed, Eunice has been so successful that Eunice Energy Group intends to expand its Lidar contingent and adopt some of her younger sisters. Tirelessly executing complex measurement tasks across extremely challenging Greek terrain, Eunice has already played a key role in leading the county’s green transition. An innovator, pioneer, traveler, and reliable partner, Eunice – a wind Lidar – is not the destination, but she is a big part of the journey to clean energy for all.

About the author:

Alexander James is a freelance journalist specializing in energy and technology

Categories: Renewable Energy

First half of 2021 sees record investment in renewable energy

Renewable Energy - Wed, 2021-08-04 07:41

More money was invested in renewable energy in the first six months of 2021 than the first half of any other year, according to tracking by BloombergNEF. But analysts still say “immediate” funding is needed to reach global net-zero emissions goals.

Globally, $174 billion of new investment was made in renewable energy capacity, equity raised by specialist companies, and related areas, like storage, through June – a 2% increase from the same period last year. The total was, however, 7% less than the record set for a six-month period in the second half of 2020.

Read more: NY Green Bank raises $314 million to meet financing demand

Analysts noted that a decline in investment in new renewable energy projects was offset by record private ($28.2 billion, +509%) and public ($5.7 billion, +111%) fundraising.

“Renewable energy investment has withstood the effects of the global pandemic, in contrast to other sectors of the energy economy where we have seen unprecedented volatility,” said Albert Cheung, head of analysis at BloombergNEF. “However, a 1.8% year-on-year increase is nothing to write home about. An immediate acceleration is needed if we are to get on track for global net zero.”

Read more: Renewables became second-most prevalent U.S. electricity source in 2020, per EIA

Solar

Investment in solar projects reached a record $78.9 billion in the first half of 2021, according to the report. China saw $7.7 billion invested in solar projects in 1H 2021 while U.S. large-scale project investment totaled $11.7 billion. Analysts noted limited available data for small-scale solar investment, primarily in Europe, but still signaled healthy growth.

Read more: What’s in Congress’ infrastructure bill for renewable energy

Wind

Wind investment in the first half of 2021 declined to $58 billion compared to $85 billion during the same period last year. Chinese investment totaled $21 billion in 1H 2021 while Finland became the top onshore market, part of Europe’s continued strength in the market.

Categories: Renewable Energy

Top 5 tips to bring a renewable energy equipment prototype to market

Renewable Energy - Wed, 2021-08-04 06:30

Contributed by Scott Baxter

It’s no secret that the renewable energy equipment industry is a sector that is forecasted to grow, with new innovative energy technologies entering the market every day.

Each week different technologies in the energy sector, such as fuel cell power generation, energy storage, solar/photovoltaic, and wind energy, make another index forward. The reality is that this industry is in a race to compete with a depleting supply of fossil fuels, and energy OEMs are creating more groundbreaking technologies today than ever before. Incubators, universities, entrepreneurs, private investors, and even corporate giants are toiling night and day to create tomorrow’s clean technology. 

Read more: 3 reasons to invest in renewable energy now

With so much focus on solving core technology issues, there is a common theme throughout the industry. These core technology experts offer unimaginable ingenuity and brilliance when designing and building their proof of concepts and prototypes. However, where new product teams and entire organizations find a chasm is in the ability to turn early-stage technologies into production scale volumes. A client recently wrote: “We needed to find a true manufacturing partner that could not only build our product but work with our technical team on its design, functionality, and refinement,” which emphasizes the previous point exactly.

Navigating this long and rocky road requires specialized talent. Whether the organization chooses to perform the task themselves or hire a contract manufacturer, it is important that the right planning and preparation are taken. Solving manufacturing and design problems at the early stage will prevent magnified problems at scale volumes in production.

Read more: The importance of long-term planning in short-term power operations

Because the ability to scale production is a key requirement of renewable energy equipment, OEMs can use some quick tips for bringing prototype energy equipment to market. Please note that these tips assume the proven feasibility of the technology.

Tip 1: Assembling a competent team

First, assembling a team of manufacturing professionals is paramount. Members of the team may be internal, external, or some hybrid of internal and external. Your team should consist of three types of personnel:

  1. Engineering experts
  2. Manufacturing experts
  3. Core Technology experts

Once the team has been assembled and briefed, clear roles must be assigned so no responsibilities are blurred. Finger-pointing when introducing new-to-the-world renewable energy hardware will eat up time that most innovators do not have. At the minimum, industry experts suggest the following roles:

  • Program manager
  • Design engineer
  • Subject matter engineer
  • Manufacturing engineer
  • Quality engineer

Your manufacturing personnel and infrastructure will support these main characters.

Tip 2: Compiling a bill of materials (BoM)

The Bill of Material (BOM), sometimes known as an Indented Bill of Materials, is a listing of all the components and quantities within the top-level product.

Most CAD modeling systems will auto-generate your BOM. It is crucial that extreme care is taken to maintain this BOM for revision, quantity, price, and component changes. Maintaining a BOM in this way can be very difficult, but its importance cannot be overstated.

A proper bill of materials should be organized in a hierarchical structure, from top-level down to sub-assemblies and individual component parts. For instance, if an energy storage system is to be built, it would be assigned to level 0, where a major sub-assembly like an ECM might be assigned a level 1. 

Tip 3: Create CAD models & detailed prints

CAD models and detailed prints are a visual aid to understanding the manufacturing of a product.  Furthermore, they are part of the contractual commitment for the delivery of manufactured components.

The detail prints are a 2D rendering of each part and assembled with critical tolerances and notes that fully describe the part (usually by part number). Manufacturers read these parts in detail to deliver the parts needed for integration. 

The CAD models are a 3D representation of the parts, assemblies, and final product. Today’s 3D modeling software programs are ultra-powerful and can provide mechanical, electrical, and functional simulations of real equipment. Ideally, the part numbers and revisions of the drawings and models will perfectly synchronize with the Bill of Materials. 

Tip 4: Create pilot builds following the prototype

Pilot builds are the iteration between prototype and production. For high ticket renewable machinery, the first 5 to 25 units will typically be part of the pilot build.

At the pilot build stage, the new product team incorporates lessons learned from the prototype phase. These might be performance, design for manufacturability, quality, or others.

At this time, the manufacturer will choose to optimize the production layouts in anticipation of the production orders. The final pilot build will be nearly identical to the production-ready revision.

Tip 5: Establish & conduct factory acceptance testing (FAT)

The pilot stage is a great place to define the Factory Acceptance Test (FAT) procedure. Ultimately, both parties must determine how a machine can be deemed “Good” before being shipped off to the customer. 

The FAT usually asks and answers critical questions related to functionality. Are we producing the correct amount of amperage? Is the leak rate within specification? Do the cycle times match our expectations? 

FATs are highly customized and perfectly defined so that expectations are met, documented, and archived. Factory acceptance testing usually involves powering up the entire machine and running it through various cycles with different inputs and outputs. In many cases, a custom test rig and a technician can perform the work in minutes or hours. 

Conclusion

Gathering a team of skilled individuals will set the foundation for project success. Ensuring Bills of Materials, Models and Prints are correctly created and maintained will set the framework for manufacturing. Producing pilot builds and defining acceptance testing will generate a deep product knowledge that can be translated into production scale manufacturing. 

These tips are just a piece of the puzzle for bringing new renewable energy hardware technology to market. In one article, one could hardly scratch the surface on this topic. In addition to the topics covered in this article, a secondary emphasis must be placed on the role of forecasting, supply chain, critical parameters and prototype builds. Implement these tips into any commercialization process, and the probability of success will increase greatly.

  About the author:

Scott Baxter, Business Development & Marketing Manager, PEKO Precision Products, Inc.

Scott Baxter has spent over 12 years as the lead content writer at PEKO Precision Products. He has a passion for manufacturing that shines through his work and business relationships. He truly enjoys giving tours of the PEKO facility to professionals within renewable energy and other sectors, as well as finding solutions for customers to help their businesses grow. At home, he loves making sure his three kids play outside and at work loves giving advice that helps machinery and equipment project stakeholders bring their products to market.

Categories: Renewable Energy

NY Green Bank raises $314 million to meet demand for clean energy project financing

Renewable Energy - Tue, 2021-08-03 10:45

NY Green Bank – a division of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) – announced this week a $314 million transaction in its first private capital raise to support clean energy project financing.

The transaction with Bank of America is the largest ever conducted by a green bank in the United States, according to a press release from NYSERDA, and allows the bank to meet financing demand without requiring additional public funds.

NY Green Bank Portfolio

“This transaction demonstrates that we have achieved our goal of increasing private sector activity in clean energy markets and leverages that progress to fuel our focus on new areas where market transformation is still needed,” said Andrew Kessler, acting president of NY Green Bank. “This is a natural step in NY Green Bank’s continued evolution and will allow us to advance our goal to put as much capital as possible to work in disadvantaged communities and other priority areas in the coming years.”

Read more: Long-term financing for solar is possible and critical for supporting continued industry growth

According to BloombergNEF’s tracking of global investment in renewable energy, $174 billion of new investment was made in the first half of 2021.

NY Green Bank has made cumulative overall investments of $1.6 billion as of June 2021, according to NYSERDA CEO Doreen Harris, in support of New York’s Climate Act. The bank’s financing portfolio includes community solar, bioenergy, electric vehicle deployment, wind systems, and energy efficiency projects.

“This is a significant milestone that demonstrates NY Green Bank’s success in forging a new path to expanding its investments that benefit all New Yorkers without the need for additional public funds,” Harris said. “NY Green Bank’s continued leadership in mobilizing private sector capital into clean energy markets highlights its essential role in advancing the State’s ambitious climate agenda as we transition to a renewable energy future.”

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Categories: Renewable Energy

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