Renewable Energy News

New Jersey moves forward with two offshore wind projects representing almost 3 GW of capacity

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-07-01 07:58

This week the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) announced it has selected Ocean Wind 2, an offshore wind energy project proposed by Ørsted, for a 20-year Offshore Renewable Energy Credit (OREC) award at the $84.03 price from the State’s second competitive solicitation for offshore wind energy. The NJBPU also awarded Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind a contract to develop 1,510-MW of offshore wind energy capacity.

Ocean Wind 2

At 1,148 MW, the Ocean Wind 2 project will allow Ørsted to develop the remaining portion of its Ocean Wind federal lease area and could power at least half a million New Jersey homes, according to Ørsted. The offshore wind farm will be located adjacent to the company’s first offshore wind project, Ocean Wind 1, which was awarded by the NJBPU in 2019. Ocean Wind 1 is being developed in partnership with Public Service Enterprise Group (PSEG), which owns 25% equity in the project.

As part of Ørsted ‘s proposal, Ocean Wind 2 will contribute to an expansion of the EEW Paulsboro monopile facility. The facility will be home to 500 full-time jobs and represents an investment of $250 million into southern New Jersey. Additionally, Ocean Wind 2 will generate over $4.8 billion in net economic benefits for the State of New Jersey, said Ørsted.

GE Nacelle Factory + EVs

Ørsted is also bringing a commitment from GE Renewables to locate what will be one of the country’s first offshore wind nacelle assembly facilities in New Jersey. This facility will assemble the nacelles for Ocean Wind 2 and other offshore wind projects in the United States. Anticipated to be located at the New Jersey Wind Port, the GE nacelle assembly facility could also attract sub-suppliers to the state and consequently more manufacturing jobs. Nacelles are one of the most complex parts of a wind turbine, including generator, drive train and brake assembly, controllers, transformer and switch gear.

Ocean Wind 2 also offers significant investments for New Jersey’s environmental justice communities. Ørsted has partnered with Zeem Solutions to roll out 50 electric drayage trucks, associated vehicle infrastructure and mobility training programs for area residents at the Port of Newark.  

Ocean Wind 2 will also establish a new 10-year $1.5 million scholarship and career development program with the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) to create new opportunities for NJIT’s engineering and computer science undergraduate students. The agreement also addresses STEM education gaps for underrepresented students in Newark by aiming to expand a range of STEM outreach events, initiatives, and college-prep programming for local elementary, middle school and high school students at NJIT. Additionally, the scholarship program potentially creates new co-op, internship, and job opportunities for NJIT students at Ørsted’s recently announced North American Digital Operation Headquarters in Newark.

Atlantic Shores

In related news, Atlantic Shores Offshore Wind was awarded a contract to develop 1,510-MW of offshore wind capacity, the largest single project in New Jersey so far.

Atlantic Shores is a 50-50 joint venture between EDF Renewables North America and Shell New Energies US, and its lease area is located approximately 10-20 miles off the coast of New Jersey between Atlantic City and Barnegat Light. In total, the project will bring $848 million in local economic benefits to the state, said the developers.

“Thank you to the Board of Public Utilities for their thorough and well-run process. We are thrilled to be moving forward with our project and cementing our commitment to deliver clean, renewable power and well-paid jobs to the Garden State for years to come,” said Joris Veldhoven, Commercial and Finance Director at Atlantic Shores.

“As offshore wind prepares to take off in the United States, this is a critical moment to lay the groundwork for workforce training and supply chain development. Our robust project includes a number of essential initiatives to train local workers and bring manufacturing jobs to the state that will ensure New Jersey workers and the local economy reap tremendous benefits.”

Investments in Local Communities

Like Ocean Wind 2, the Atlantic Shores project, which aims to begin construction in 2024, includes a number of local investments and initiatives, including an agreement to train and hire local workers for the construction and maintenance of the wind project, an innovative 10-MW green hydrogen pilot with South Jersey Industries and support for the turbine nacelle assembly center to the New Jersey Wind Port named above.

Atlantic Shores’ project also includes a number of investments in New Jersey’s top academic institutions, including Rutgers University, Stockton University and Rowan College, to cultivate the next generation of industry leaders.

“Atlantic Shores has shown us again and again that they are committed to New Jersey communities, and this award cements that commitment for decades to come,” said Joseph Brodie, Offshore Wind Research Lead with the Rutgers University Center for Ocean Observing Leadership. “Our students and scientists benefit greatly from our partnership on cutting-edge environmental and ecological research in and around Atlantic Shores’ Lease Area. As the offshore wind industry takes off in our state, we hope to continue building our essential partnership to advance scientific understanding of the climate, renewable energy, animal migration, our marine ecosystem and more.”

Categories: Renewable Energy

California CCA launches community solar program aimed at energy equity

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-07-01 07:21

This week Marin Clean Energy (MCE) a community choice aggregator in California announced the launch of two new programs, Community Solar Connection and Green Access, aimed at energy equity and affordability. MCE will be offering qualifying customers living in a designated disadvantaged community access to 100% renewable energy and a 20% discount on their electricity bills for up to 20 years. Both programs will be supported by the development of an additional 5.92 megawatts of new local clean energy capacity.

As part of the program launch, MCE is seeking local community and municipal organizations to become sponsors for the Community Solar Connection program. Sponsor organizations will be joined with local developers to create new solar projects located in disadvantaged communities within MCE’s service area that score in the top 25% based on CalEnviroScreen, which is a tool that “identifies California communities by census tract that are disproportionately burdened by, and vulnerable to, multiple sources of pollution.”

Project sponsors will help with the roll-out of Community Solar Connection. Sponsors will solicit community feedback regarding project locations, partner with MCE on a community outreach and recruitment plan and support job training and workforce development opportunities. Learn how to apply here.

“With MCE’s focus on environmental justice, we are excited to launch our Community Solar Connection and Green Access programs,” said Dawn Weisz, MCE CEO. “These programs are a promising next step in increasing access to renewable resources while decreasing customer costs. MCE is committed to keeping the needs of our customers front and center as we move toward an equitable clean energy future.”

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The Community Solar Connection program offers 100% solar energy and provides a 20% discount on the electricity portion of participating customers’ energy bills. At least 50% of the program’s participation capacity will be reserved for customers who are enrolled in CARE or FERA discount programs. Customers will be eligible to enroll in this program as soon as the solar resources come online, currently estimated for late 2022.

The Green Access program will supply 100% renewable power to customers located in a disadvantaged community with an accompanying 20% bill discount. Customers will be automatically enrolled beginning in September 2022, prioritizing customers who live in the highest scoring disadvantaged communities, are currently participating in either the CARE or FERA discount program and who have the need for additional support to get caught up on their energy bills.

Once both programs are fully operational, MCE estimates it will be able to provide almost 2,900 customers with bill discounts and access to more renewable energy. These are customer-funded programs overseen by the California Public Utilities Commission, which has approved MCE’s request to administer these programs for our customers.

MCE is a load-serving entity supporting a 1,200 MW and providing electricity service to more than 480,000 customer accounts and more than one million residents and businesses in 36 member communities across four Bay Area counties.

Categories: Renewable Energy

IRS extends safe harbor provisions for renewable energy projects in the US

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-07-01 07:11
New rules give developers a longer window during which to complete projects in order to qualify for tax credits on projects.

On Tuesday, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance that extends safe harbor provisions for renewable energy projects in order to address impacts from the COVID pandemic. 

The revisions, which are retroactive, do the following:

  • Extends the placed-in-service safe harbor to six years for projects that began construction from 2016-2019;
  • Extends the placed-in-service safe harbor to five years for projects that began construction in 2020; and
  • Allows taxpayers to demonstrate safe harbor compliance by using the “continuous effort” standard, regardless of how construction of the facility began.

Read the complete IRS notice here.

Gregory Wetstone, President and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) said it was the right move on the part of the IRS due to delays that many developers experienced as a result of the pandemic.

“The COVID pandemic disrupted supply chains, created significant permitting delays and jeopardized the timely completion of many renewable projects. Today’s IRS notice aimed at mitigating those COVID-related impacts is a welcome development and will go a long way toward ensuring these important clean energy projects get done,” he said in a statement.

Abigail Ross Hopper, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) acknowledged that many solar developers faced delays on projects and said the notice “will give them much-needed breathing room to complete these projects.”

“Businesses now have the certainty they need to keep these projects moving forward, and we thank our federal leaders at the Treasury Department for making this decision,” she added.

Further reading:
Understanding ‘safe harbor’ for extending your 30 percent solar ITC qualification
Safe Harbor in the Covid storm for your 2020 solar project: “Do it now.”
IRS Provides Safe Harbor for Solar Contracts with Federal Agencies

Categories: Renewable Energy

V2G pilot project with National Grid to help combat summer peak loads in New England

Renewable Energy - Wed, 2021-06-30 08:02

Climate-tech start-up Electric Frog Company announced this week that it has provided free use of a Nissan LEAF electric vehicle (EV) to the Burrillville Wastewater Treatment Facility in Rhode Island, in a first use of a customer vehicle to support the New England electric grid. When not in use by Burrillville employees the EV will be plugged into a bidirectional charger and monitored by energy management software to transfer power back to the grid on 24-hour notice to help meet peak demand.

Electric Frog partnered with vehicle-to-grid (V2G) company Fermata Energy to install its bidirectional charger and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) software to manage charging of the EV at the Burrillville facility and deliver power on call to the utility.

“This is a unique effort to use an EV to help supply grid power on call,” said John Isberg, Vice President of Customer Sales and Solutions at National Grid. “We welcome this significant step toward a smarter, cleaner and more reliable electric grid of the future.”

National Grid, which serves large parts of New England and New York, offers an incentive in Rhode Island and Massachusetts for customer batteries under their ConnectedSolutions program. The incentive amount is based on the amount of power delivered to the grid during times of peak demand on hot summer afternoons.

“This is the future,” said Brent Alderfer, Founder and CEO of the Electric Frog Company. “It is very exciting to be able to offer an economic electric vehicle to the customer and electric grid reliability to the utility. This is the long-promised ‘vehicle to grid’ advantage at work for the consumer and the environment.”

“Through this partnership we will make EVs affordable for all drivers and we are confident that we will accelerate the adoption of EVs along with the transition to renewable energy on the grid,” said David Slutzky, Founder and CEO of Fermata Energy. “We are excited to see our V2X operations at work in Burrillville.”

Categories: Renewable Energy

Nexamp and ComEd partner on “Give-A-Ray” to expand access to community solar

Renewable Energy - Wed, 2021-06-30 08:00

The Mayor of Rockford, Ill., this week joined community solar provider Nexamp and ComEd to launch Give-A-Ray, a new 15-year program to provide solar energy benefits and savings to low and moderate income customers in Rockford and the surrounding area for free. With the help of local support services, including the Rockford Housing Authority, outreach to potential participants is underway.

“Rockford places a high priority on using more renewable energy to generate electricity and on making sure the many benefits are available to customers regardless of income level,” said Mayor Tom McNamara. “We thank Nexamp and ComEd for bringing this innovative offering to Rockford and we look forward to working with them to increase access to solar among residents who are most in need.”

Community solar allows all customers to participate in the benefits of clean solar energy without installing panels on their own homes. Participants subscribe to a solar energy project and earn credits on their monthly utility bills for their portion of the energy the solar project produces.

The first program of its kind in Illinois, Give-A-Ray will enable about 650 ComEd customers per year to enroll and receive community solar credits at no cost. ComEd will pay for the community solar credits on behalf of customers and manage the identification and enrollment of subscribers to the project.

Eligible customers can earn credits on 75% of their average annual energy usage, resulting in a savings of about $250 annually. Credits will vary monthly based on the amount of energy produced by the community solar project and the seasonal impact on energy generation. Give-A-Ray is enabled by the Illinois Solar for All Program, which was established by the Future Energy Jobs Act enacted by the Illinois General Assembly in 2016.

“We worked closely with ComEd to develop a strong partnership and design a joint program that delivers significant savings to qualified community solar subscribers,” said Allan Telio, senior vice president of community solar at Nexamp. “We credit ComEd for their vision, leadership and enthusiasm in jointly developing this program with us to ensure it will deliver maximum benefits to customers. I hope other utilities will follow their lead.”

“Give-A-Ray offers income eligible customers in the Ogle and Winnebago communities the opportunity to take advantage of community solar without paying for community solar credits,” said Scott Vogt, vice president, strategy and energy policy, ComEd. “This long-term program demonstrates ComEd’s and Nexamp’s shared commitment to lifting up communities in need by ensuring equitable access to clean energy.” 

Nexamp’s Rockford community solar farm will add more solar energy to the local grid when it begins operation in the fall of 2021 and will bring immediate benefits to hundreds of residents in surrounding communities. Located just north of downtown Rockford, the project is sited on a former city landfill, giving new life to an otherwise unusable plot of land. The project features more than 6,600 solar panels with 2.6 megawatts of solar generation capacity.

Categories: Renewable Energy

The climate crisis is a crime story

Renewable Energy - Wed, 2021-06-30 07:13
Fossil fuel companies lied for decades about climate change, and humanity is paying the price. Shouldn’t those lies be central to the public narrative?

By Mark Hertsgaard

Every person on Earth today is living in a crime scene.

This crime has been going on for decades. We see its effects in the horrific heat and wildfires unfolding this summer in the American west; in the mega-storms that were so numerous in 2020 that scientists ran out of names for them; in the global projections that sea levels are set to rise by at least 20ft. Our only hope is to slow this inexorable ascent so our children may figure out some way to cope.

This crime has displaced or killed untold numbers of people around the world, caused countless billions of dollars in economic damage and ravaged vital ecosystems and wildlife. It has disproportionately affected already marginalized communities around the world, from farmers in coastal Bangladesh, where the fast-rising seas are salting the soil and slashing rice yields, to low-income residents of Houston, Chicago and other cities, whose neighborhoods suffer higher temperatures than prosperous areas across town.

This crime threatens today’s young people most of all and calls into question the very survival of civilization. And yet, the criminals responsible for this devastation are still at large. Indeed, they continue to perpetrate their crime, and even make money from it, not least because their crime remains unknown to most of the public.

It’s enough to make your blood boil, especially if you’re a parent. My daughter just turned 16, and I’ve been thinking about the safest place she can spend her adult life since she was a baby and I first started writing about adapting to climate change. The orange skies blanketing her hometown of San Francisco after last summer’s record wildfires were a heartbreaking, infuriating sign that California will not be that safe haven.

The crime in question is the fossil fuel industry’s 40 years of lying about climate change. Arguably the most consequential corporate deception in history, the industry’s lies have had the effect of blunting public awareness and governmental action against what scientists say is now a full-fledged climate emergency. As a candidate in 2020, Joe Biden said he would support efforts to prosecute the oil giants for their lies. It remains to be seen whether he will keep that promise.

Journalists have dedicated years to documenting the crime scene evidence. Then in 2015, the Los Angeles Times, Inside Climate News, and the Columbia Journalism School blew the case open by tracing the crime link to ExxonMobil, then the world’s largest oil company.

Internal records showed that by the late 1970s, Exxon’s own scientists were briefing its top executives that man-made global warming was real, potentially catastrophic, and caused mainly by burning fossil fuels. Climate activists seized on the revelations, launching the hashtag #ExxonKnew.

Further investigations found that Chevron, Shell, BP and other oil giants likewise knew that their products threatened to render the earth’s climate uninhabitable. In short, it wasn’t just that Exxon knew. They all knew.

And they all chose to lie about it.

Beginning in the 1990s, oil companies spent millions upon millions of dollars on public relations campaigns to confuse the press, the public, and policymakers about the dangers posed by burning fossil fuels. Their aim was “to reposition global warming as theory, not fact,” one planning document stated. Front groups and friendly politicians spread the companies’ lies. News outlets, especially in the United States, swallowed and regurgitated those lies to an unsuspecting public.

Humanity ultimately wasted precious decades arguing about whether global warming was real rather than defusing the threat. Instead of launching a transition to renewable energy, the consumption of fossil fuel increased. More than half of the total greenhouse gases now overheating the planet were emitted after 1990–after Exxon and other fossil fuel giants privately knew what havoc they were seeding.

Exxon “could have ended the pretend debate over climate change as early as the 1980s,” the author and activist Bill McKibben later wrote. “When scientists like Nasa’s Jim Hansen first raised public awareness of climate change [in 1988], think of what would have happened if Exxon’s chief executive had gone to Congress, too, and said that their internal scientific efforts show[ed] precisely the same thing.”

While pockets of the American public may already know about big oil’s crime, the vast majority of its victims almost certainly do not. How could they? Big oil’s record of lying never became part of the public narrative about climate change, largely because most news outlets did not incorporate it into their continuing coverage of climate change.

The initial Exxon Knew revelations in 2015 received relatively little follow up coverage beyond the outlets that published them. Television, which even in the internet era remains the primary source of news for most people, ignored the revelations entirely. There were a few stories in the business press and independent media, especially years later when New York state and other local governments began suing oil companies for damages. But the media as a whole seems to have forgotten that big oil’s climate lies ever happened.

It’s long past time to right these wrongs. To date, the oil companies, the executives in charge of them, the propagandists they’ve employed and the politicians they’ve funded have largely escaped blame, much less had to pay–whether through financial penalties or prison time – for the immense damage they have done. News outlets also owe the public an apology for mishandling this story, along with a commitment to doing much sharper coverage in the future.

Humanity cannot get back the 40 years lost to big oil’s climate lies. It is now beyond urgent that rich and poor countries alike quit fossil fuels in favor of renewable energy and other climate-smart practices. Equally crucial, we must fortify our communities against the fearsome climate impacts that, because of our decades of delay, can no longer be avoided.

All this will cost money – lots of it. The world’s governments will be arguing from now through the make-or-break UN climate summit in November about who pays how much. Restoring big oil’s lies to their rightful place at the heart of the climate story would offer an answer to that riddle, one that Joe Biden should be pressed on: big oil knew – shouldn’t big oil pay?

Mark Hertsgaard is the author of books including HOT and Earth Odyssey and is the co-founder and executive director of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of news outlets strengthening coverage of the climate story.

This story originally appeared in The Guardian and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

Please help amplify this message by sharing it and tagging @CoveringClimate and using the hashtag #CCNow.

Categories: Renewable Energy

World’s second largest hydropower plant begins operating in China

Renewable Energy - Tue, 2021-06-29 08:40

The 16-GW Baihetan hydropower plant on the upstream branch of China’s Yangtze River has begun generating electricity for the first time, according to China’s state broadcaster CCTV.

CCTV reported that the project’s first two 1-GW turbines will start up after a three-day trial. The project will eventually consist of 16 such units, making its total generation capacity second only to the 22.4-GW Three Gorges Dam once it is fully completed in July 2022.

The Baihetan hydropower station is located at the boundary river section between Yunnan and Sichuan, the second among the four cascade hydropower stations in the downstream section of the Jinsha River.

The project forms part of a national drive to generate electricity and deliver it to high energy-consuming regions on the east coast. To this end, an ultra-high-voltage electricity transmission line, expected to launch in 2022, will connect Baihetan to the eastern province of Jiangsu. Another UHV line from Baihetan to Zhejiang province, also in eastern China, is waiting for Beijing’s approval.

According to 2016 estimates from China’s National Development and Reform Commission, the project will cost about US$6.3 billion.

Baihetan, built by the China Three Gorges Corporation, is said to be one of China’s largest and most challenging engineering projects. According to CTGC, the project’s main structures consist of the dam, flood discharge structures, water diversion and power generation facilities. The dam is a double-curvature arch dam with a maximum height of 277 m, a crest elevation of 827 m, a crest width of 13 m and a maximum bottom width of 72 m.

The underground powerhouse will contain 16 generating units at 1 GW each and have an average annual power output of 60.24 TWh, which is equal to two-thirds of Beijing’s electricity consumption in 2015, CTGC said in 2017.

The project is located in a transitional region that stretches from the Tibetan Plateau and Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau to the Sichuan Basin, an area with complex geological conditions that have caused hundreds of landslides.

This article is adapted from one originally published on Power Engineering International and is reprinted with permission.

Categories: Renewable Energy

Why a seasoned energy executive sees a bright future in long-duration energy storage from ESS

Renewable Energy - Tue, 2021-06-29 08:00

(Sponsored Content)

Executive interview with Eric Dresselhuys, CEO of ESS Inc.

When Eric Dresselhuys got a call from the board of directors at ESS earlier this spring asking him to come on as Chief Executive Officer of the company that provides an Iron Flow Battery (IFB) for long-duration storage, he didn’t hesitate.

“It was a pretty easy yes,” he said in an interview.

Dresselhuys isn’t new to the energy space. In fact, he was creating technology that electric utilities could use to make their grids smarter before the words “smart grid” were well known. In 2002, he founded Silver Spring Networks, which combined IoT with big data for smart grids. In 2013 Silver Spring went public and in 2018 it was acquired by Itron.

Dresselhuys sees great growth for long-duration storage, which he defines as energy storage technology that can take energy, most likely produced by renewable sources like wind and solar, and store it for a very long time, well beyond the understood and accepted maximum of four hours that lithium-ion technology is used for.

“We’re talking about electrifying everything. We want to take the carbon out of not just the power system but the economy. And by the way, we have to do that cost effectively and with no toxicity,” he said.

We won’t be able to achieve those goals without cost-effective, safe long-duration storage, he said.

Indeed, a world powered by upwards of 25-30% wind and solar still needs electricity 24 hours a day. Further, many clean energy advocates point to a scenario in which we overbuild vast amounts of wind and solar power generating facilities — because their cost to build is so low — and then store the power so it can be used later. A good way to store gigawatts of excess energy safely and reliably is through flow batteries like the systems ESS manufactures.

Advantages of Flow Batteries

Flow batteries have been around for decades and while there are various chemistries involved among different types of flow batteries, the technology is straightforward. Essentially, an electrolyte fluid is housed in tanks and electricity is used to charge particles in that fluid (that’s the storage). Then to discharge the battery, the fluid is passed through a membrane that releases the charged particles and creates energy. When the battery loses its strength, electricity is used to recharge the particles, which in turn recharges the battery.

Dresselhuys sees many advantages to this type of storage. First, its ability to scale is simple.

“Let’s say you need a 1 MW battery, but you want it to last for 10 hours,” he explained. “You create enough fluid to have 10 hours of supply and that gives you a 1 MW/10 MWh battery. And then you can fluctuate that up or down based on the amount of energy that’s needed in the application.”

Unlike lithium-ion, which scales by the addition of more battery banks, with ESS technology, you need only add inexpensive tanks and electrolyte to get longer and longer duration energy storage. That means that the more storage you need, the lower the average kWh price of the storage.

Second advantage: flow batteries don’t degrade over time.

“Everybody’s had the experience with a lithium battery in their phone. It works great when you first get it and then, a few years in, you find you are charging it three times a day to keep it going because it degrades over time,” he said.

That same degradation occurs with grid-scale lithium-ion batteries, said Dresselhuys. “You might be able to reuse power electronics and fire suppression systems and other balance of plant items that a lithium battery requires, but the battery itself is going to wear out.”

“Flow batteries like ours don’t do that.” He said the technology is expected to function for 20-25 years without degradation.

In addition, the chemistry that ESS uses is based on simple non-toxic elements: salt and iron. Hence the name, iron flow battery. “One of the dirty secrets of a lot of energy storage technologies is that they involve toxic materials, rare earth minerals, with significant environmental impacts from extraction and production,” he added.

Horses for Courses

Dresselhuys doesn’t see flow batteries as a replacement for lithium-ion battery storage. Rather, he sees each technology as having applications for which it is better suited.

“It’s really about using the right tool for the job. My dad would have said it’s ‘horses for courses,’” he said.

Increasing penetrations of wind and solar are driving the need for longer-duration energy storage, said Dresselhuys. When wind and solar made up just a small percentage of the energy mix, variable energy supply wasn’t such a big deal. But now, as those renewables approach 25% or 30%, the need for storage is becoming greater and greater.

“I live in California and there are billboards all up and down Highway 101 that say ‘hey, turn your power off between 4:00 and 9:00 pm. Don’t do the laundry until after 9:00 o’clock at night.’ Because we have the duck curve problem,” he said.

“Lithium batteries with two hours of life and a limited number of operating cycles aren’t going to solve that duck curve on a daily basis,” he said. Lithium-ion does a lot of power applications really well, such as providing ancillary services, peak shaving, and short-term redundancy for blips in the home.

“But it doesn’t solve the broader need for long-duration storage. So when you look at states like California and New York that have decarbonization goals of 70% by 2030 or 100% by 2040, we’re going to need a much broader toolkit to go solve all of those problems,” he said.

Going Public through a Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC)

ESS will soon be merging with ACON S2 Acquisition Corp. for the purpose of becoming a public company, traded under the ticker symbol “GWH” on the NYSE. Dresselhuys said raising funds via a SPAC buys the company time to focus on executing its projects, as opposed to spending time focusing on how to get more funding.

“In the traditional private funding world you march along a little bit, then you say ‘look at how much progress we made, give us a little bit more money,’ and then you march a little farther and so on,” he explained.

By raising funds with a SPAC, everyone in the company can focus on making the product the best it can be.

“A SPAC is a time machine,” he said. “It allows you to pull in a ton of time because you’re working now with the pace of the business, not at the pace of funding,” he added.

Made in the USA

Dresselhuys was quick to point out that one of the underappreciated elements to the ESS story is that the product is made in Wilsonville, Oregon.

“We build the product with locally sourced materials, with things bought in the U.S. We’ve got a factory out back that’s building modules. So this is all domestically produced,” he said.

President Biden is pushing infrastructure development as a vehicle to increase the amount of clean energy the country uses, as well as to create jobs. ESS is poised to tick both of those boxes, said Dresselhuys.

In addition, the opportunities for partnering are vast.

“From my experience back at Silver Spring, we built a huge ecosystem of companies around us. We built a better product and served our customers and the market better by being part of that ecosystem,” he said.

Energy storage is one part of that complex energy system and there are opportunities to partner with software companies, wind and solar providers, renewable energy developers and more, said Dresselhuys.

Long-Duration Storage for Long-Term Value

Just as the term “smart grid” has evolved to encompass different solution sets and services, so too will our evolving power grid require multiple forms of energy storage, from short (minutes) to long-duration (many hours). ESS iron flow batteries fill the sweet spot for long-duration (4-12 hours) capacity that pairs perfectly with renewables, while also providing resilience, reliability and the flexibility to deliver grid services.

From his perspective as an industry veteran and visionary, Eric Dresselhuys fully appreciates this opportunity. He also knows how difficult it is to be a startup in the energy industry.

“A lot of people that have worked in startups, come to this [energy] space and they don’t love it and, in some cases, the reason they don’t love it is it’s really hard here. You actually have to build real products that work really reliably and you’re always competing against some incumbent way of doing things,” he explained.

That’s why he believes he’s come to ESS at just the right time. The industry is beginning to learn about other energy storage technologies (beyond the one that most people carry in their pocket) while simultaneously getting very serious about decarbonization. ESS has invested a decade into developing and proving the technology, so now it’s ready to meet those needs. That’s setting the stage for what Dresselhuys believes will be significant project deployments leveraging long-duration storage, beginning in the 2023-2025 timeframe and extending for decades.

Learn more about ESS by visiting EssInc.com

Categories: Renewable Energy

The potential of green bonds in emerging markets

Renewable Energy - Tue, 2021-06-29 05:45

By Sarah Casey, Portfolio Director, Climate Council

Since 2011, annual global energy transition investment (renewable energy, CCS, electrified transport, hydrogen, electrified heat, energy storage) has almost doubled, from $290b to $501b. Between 2015 and 2018, emerging markets accounted for an increasingly larger share of this investment, yet high-income economies have accounted for the majority since 2018.

Clearly the green finance revolution has taken the world by storm, with investment in low-carbon energy remaining robust throughout the pandemic. A 2020 report co-authored by Amundi and the IFC pointed out that investment flows since the start of the COVID-19 crisis have proven more resilient towards green investments when compared to their traditional counterparts. This is supported by findings published in their most recent report (2021), which described a 21% increase in emerging market (ex-China) green bond issuances from 2019 and a total of $40billion emerging market green bond issuances in 2020.

Amidst this success however, there must be an acknowledgment that emerging economies will likely be disproportionally hit by the crisis as their governments cannot always provide fiscal and monetary stimulus, and many are heavily affected by the price declines in energy and raw materials, reductions in trade, tourism, and also remittances. As the world begins to recover and rebuild, there is the danger that developing nations may be left behind.

So whilst the green finance revolution is well and truly underway, it risks leaving out emerging markets, including some of the world’s most vulnerable nations to climate change.

What is the potential of green bonds to address this imbalance?

By 2019, the global green bond market had surpassed $700 billion in outstanding issues and the IFC & Amundi expect emerging market green bond issuance to double in the next three years compared to the previous three and the market to cross the US$100 billion mark of annual issuance by 2023.

The global green bond market is a crucial source of financing for positive environmental projects and enables investors to direct funding towards environmentally-friendly activities with a comparable risk-return profile to traditional bonds, in both developed and emerging nations. This market is set to continue growing as investor appetite for green bonds continues to grow, and emerging market issuers are likely to benefit from this increasing demand.

Demand for green bonds in emerging markets rose by 21% to $52bn (€54bn) in 2019, with emerging market green bond issuances in 2019 amounting to $52 billion (a 21% increase from 2018). After renewable energy, transport, followed by green buildings, waste, water, biodiversity conservation, and adaptation, comprise other areas for proceeds.

China is the leader in emerging market green bond growth, while east Asia and the Pacific region is responsible for 81% of the market. In addition to China, emerging market issuers are India, Chile, Poland, the Philippines, the UAE and Brazil. Financial institutions are the largest issuing sector in emerging markets, making up 59% of issuances, compared with 19% in developed markets, followed by non-financial corporates at 35%, sovereigns at 12%, government agencies at 5% and municipals at 0.1%.

Clearly there is positive growth, as both issuers and investors are becoming more comfortable with and recognising the benefits including stable and predictable returns, and a greater awareness of environmental, social and governance (ESG) products and strategies. Yet concerns over soft corporate and national targets remain, as some investors question how green these bonds really are. This is a rather large potential obstacle which, unless addressed, may hinder investment in emerging economies and thus stagger the current growth in clean energy projects and a green recovery post-pandemic.

What is a green project anyway?

report published by London’s Imperial College Business School in March 2021 argued that there is  too much emphasis on developed-market standards to define emerging market bond rules. The report interviewed over 40 asset managers and banks and found that whilst it’s the developing countries with the worst environmental situations and thus in greater need of capital to transition, it will be increasingly difficult for them to attract the funding required.

The pertinent issue remains: What constitutes a green project?

Indeed, what green means varies depending on context. As the report highlighted, it may be more important that an emerging market issuer has a realistic, ambitious transition goal and framework, rather than assessing opportunities through Western-built, one-size-fits-all lens.

In order to increase investment into emerging markets, the Imperial College report argues that green bonds are in fact not an appropriate vehicle for many of the heaviest emerging market polluters and instead transition bonds should be the focus.

It concludes that the need for an established taxonomy that makes funding contingent on ambitious commitments to reduce carbon emissions must be prioritised to enable polluting countries to access green finance, and sustainability-linked bonds, which tie an issuer’s borrowing rate to an environmental target.

Putting emerging markets on an even footing

Whilst the green bond market is growing in emerging economies, there is clearly a lot of work that needs to be done to encourage further investment and perhaps alternative routes do need to be considered, as the Imperial College report suggested.

One way to encourage further growth is through using both public and private capital. One real time example of this is the REGIO fund, anchored by HSBC and the IFC. It is a green bond investment fund that uses public and private capital to help businesses in developing countries transition to cleaner, more efficient energy use and invest in other climate-friendly solutions and has already raised nearly $500 million.

As always, education will be vital. In 2018 the IFC launched its Green Bond Technical Assistance Program (GB-TAP), a training course to give bankers a grounding in the Green Bond Principles and the importance of green bond issuers’ disclosures to investors, with an aim to filling a critical knowledge gap and thus growing the green bond market in developing countries.

Global collaboration will also be vital. Financing developing nations climate and sustainable development commitments is a huge task and it will undoubtedly require global investment on an unprecedented scale.

Whilst a lot has been achieved, there is still a long way to go and all possible routes should be explored to help us reach the 1.5-degree scenario. Certainly green bonds will play a major role in increasing investment into emerging economies but perhaps we will also see increased traction in transition deals as investors take a more holistic view, instead of applying a simplistic blanket approach to ESG.

About the Author

Sarah Casey has experience across both the energy and finance industries and is particularly interested in the intersection between renewable energy and investment. As Portfolio Director of the Climate Council, Sarah’s aim is to bring together renewable energy players with the finance and investment community to accelerate investment into renewables. Through technical interviews to Q&As delving into industry trends and thought pieces, Sarah sheds light on some of the ways in which the international finance community can collaborate to mobilise capital to sustainable activities. Topics of focus include ESG investing, digital finance, financing emerging economies and the just transition. You can reach her directly at: sarah.casey@climatecouncil.com

Categories: Renewable Energy

SRE and OGUSA to deliver 120 MW of community solar capacity to Maine customers

Renewable Energy - Mon, 2021-06-28 14:10

Today, Summit Ridge Energy (SRE) announced that it has entered into a joint venture with Osaka Gas USA Corporation (OGUSA), a subsidiary of Osaka Gas Co., Ltd., to construct, own and operate over 120 MW of community solar projects throughout the state of Maine.  

Once operational, the portfolio of 20+ distributed solar farms will generate enough clean energy to provide approximately 11,000 residential and commercial customers with monthly utility savings, said SRE. Land has been secured for all of the projects and customers located in Versant and Central Maine Power (CMP) territories will be able to benefit from solar via bill credits from their utilities under Maine’s Net Energy Billing (NEB) program.

Community solar farms are unique in that they enable households, businesses and municipalities who may be unable to put solar at their locations (no roof space, renters, too much shade, etc) to take advantage of the clean energy that solar provides.

Versant and CMP will be responsible for providing the bill credits on monthly statements for customers who have signed up to participate in the program.

CohnReznick Capital acted as the exclusive financial advisor on the transaction. 

This announcement comes just two years after the launch of SRE’s initial joint venture, Summit Ridge Capital Holdings, which has financed over 150 MW of solar capacity across Illinois and Maryland.  

Categories: Renewable Energy

Like the solar transition, federal action is critical to launching the e-mobility economy

Renewable Energy - Mon, 2021-06-28 08:03

Asaf Nagler, Senior Director, Government Relations, ABB Inc.

In 2010, solar power was just 4 percent of new electric generating capacity and there was a patchwork of state solar policies and renewable portfolio standards.[1] At the end of 2020, that number had risen to 43 percent of new generating capacity and utility scale solar became cheaper than coal, nuclear power, and natural gas[2]—saving taxpayers money, creating nearly a quarter of a million new jobs, and reducing harmful emissions.

These dramatic changes did not happen in a vacuum. The technological advances and dramatic drop in cost would not have been possible without robust federal, state, and local policies and investments. The 2009 U.S. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery Act) catalyzed the solar transition across the country by investing in solar research, development, and demonstration projects, in addition to creating tax grants and incentives; states ramped up renewable and solar deployment targets; localities began issuing new rules for rooftop solar; while utilities created new interconnection protocols and public utility commissions issued new rate structures and approved investments in solar generation.

Today, we are at a similar inflection point with the transportation sector. In the US, battery electric vehicles represent about 2.5 percent of new sales for light duty vehicles[3] and many forecast that EVs will be at least 30 percent of new sales by 2030[4]; about the same 10-year time frame for similar market growth we experienced with solar.

The e-mobility economy is coming; and, like we experienced with solar, it will lower costs for taxpayers, create new careers, and mitigate the costs of climate change. Currently, there are a number of good-intentioned policy proposals in Washington, state capitols, and local and municipal governments to grow the economy and create new e-mobility jobs. However, to be a powerful engine of US economic growth this patchwork of disparate efforts must coalesce. Federal legislation and leadership can be the catalyst of the e-mobility economy.  

The Biden Administration’s American Jobs Plan and a number of bills in Congress hit many of the right notes for launching the e-mobility economy. Smart policy actions currently being considered include:

  • 1) foundational investments in research, development, and deployment of vehicles and charging;
  • 2) policies that drive demand like updating and extending tax credits for vehicles and charging infrastructure;
  • 3) supporting the growth of domestic manufacturing for electric vehicles, chargers, and batteries by revitalizing investment tax credits and loan guarantee programs; and
  • 4) setting zero emission vehicle (ZEV) deployment targets and converting the federal fleet to electric.

Like the Recovery Act did for the solar industry, concerted federal action will jumpstart state and local actions too, empowering states and municipalities to pass ambitious e-mobility plans. Some smart policies include, setting ZEV targets for cars, trucks, and medium and heavy-duty vehicles, streamlining permitting processes for EV charging stations, passing EV charger-friendly building codes, and incentivizing multi-unit dwellings and rural communities to install charging infrastructure.

With leadership from Washington, a comprehensive EV policy playbook will supercharge the e-mobility economy and unlock its benefits for all Americans. While some states and cities aren’t waiting around for Washington, without catalyzing national leadership, the e-mobility economy will not propel forward. Instead, it will putter along with a patchwork of uneven impacts. Federal policy and investments launched a lower cost, job creating, zero emissions solar energy sector, we can do the same for the transportation sector and lock in US leadership in the coming e-mobility economy.

[1] Solar Energy Industries Association, “Solar Market Insight Report, 2020 Year in Review”, March 16, 2021. Available at:www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-market-insight-report-2020-year-review. Accessed on June 4, 2021.

[2] Lazard, “Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis—Version 14,” October 2020. Available At: www.lazard.com/media/451419/lazards-levelized-cost-of-energy-version-140.pdf. Accessed on June 4, 2021.

[3] Cox Automotive & Kelly Blue Book, “Electrified Vehicle Growth Energized in Q1,” April 15, 2021. Available at: www.coxautoinc.com/market-insights/electrified-vehicle-growth-energized-in-q1/. Accessed on June 4, 2021.

[4] BNEF, “Electric Vehicle Outlook 2020,” 2020. Available at: www.about.bnef.com/electric-vehicle-outlook/. Accessed on June 4, 2021.

Categories: Renewable Energy

EY report says EVs will gain market share much quicker than previously thought

Renewable Energy - Mon, 2021-06-28 07:56

Electric vehicle (EV) sales in the US, China and Europe will outstrip all other engines five years sooner than previously expected, according to new EY research and analysis.

The latest predictions show that by 2028 EV sales in Europe will surpass those of other powertrains, a trend that will be repeated in China by 2033 and in the US by 2036. The analysis also shows that by 2045, non-EV sales will shrink to less than 1% of overall sales. In terms of EV sales volumes, Europe is expected to lead the way until 2031, with China taking the lead from 2032 to 2050.

The figures come as EY launches the EY Mobility Lens Forecaster, an artificial intelligence (AI) powered forecast modeling tool that provides an outlook for the supply and demand of mobility products and services through 2050.

A new market

As the global auto industry continues to recover from the issues it’s facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be met by a new group of car buyers. Many people who had rejected ownership in lieu of ridesharing and public transport have reassessed in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to EY analysis.

The EY Mobility Consumer Index published in November showed that almost one-third of non-car owners planned to buy a car in the next six months (19% plan to buy new, 12% used cars), and about half of those are millennials. Among both current car owners and non-car owners, 30% said they’d prefer a non-ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicle for their next purchase.

In terms of regulatory support, the new US administration’s announcements include continuity of EV buying incentives and the development of charging infrastructure. In Europe, incentives to purchase EVs are part of COVID-19-related relief measures in France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Austria. The UK has announced that it will ban the sale of ICE vehicles starting from 2030. China also continues support for EVs through regulatory measures, wide product range and increasing customer demand. From the supply perspective, automakers globally have also begun to set their own twilight dates for gasoline-and diesel-powered vehicles, in favor of EVs.

Randall Miller, EY Global Advanced Manufacturing & Mobility Leader, says:

“A mix of changing consumer attitudes, ambitious climate-focused regulations and technology evolution is about to change the landscape of vehicle buying forever. While the automotive industry has begun to more fully embrace the move toward electrification, the impact of this seismic shift is arriving sooner than many expected. This new outlook also has implications for governments and energy industries in terms of infrastructure and electricity generation and storage, and forward-looking organizations are already using this data to help ensure a smooth transition to this new EV-dominated market, which will be here much sooner than expected.”

A better way to forecast

EY automotive analysts and data scientists built the EY Mobility Lens Forecaster on a neural network model that uses AI to analyze several variables that influence demand and supply for mobility. These include variables that reflect consumer behavior, regulatory trends, technology evolution (vehicle and ecosystem) and manufacturers’ announced strategies. The model is updated with new market inputs to keep up with the ever-changing reality, including disruptions and available technology. As its predictions are matched up against actual outcomes, the model adjusts its calculations and learns from any mistakes for future predictions, essentially becoming smarter and more accurate over time.

Given its adaptation capability, the EY Mobility Lens Forecaster can also generate forecasts for possible future scenarios to help inform business or government planning decisions, sitting at the center of the EY cross-sector eMobility offering and linking up with solutions such as EY UtilityWave. 

For example, a breakthrough in autonomous vehicle technology could shake up the landscape, creating opportunities for fleet operators and cutting into owner-operator sales. Similarly, policy intervention from governments can accelerate the tipping point for the powertrain mix in favor of EVs. Future travelers may adopt an integrated urban mobility model where users make little or no distinction between public and private transport, driving the ownership mix toward shared rather than privately owned vehicles. These factors – and more – can be accounted for using the EY Mobility Lens Forecaster.

Categories: Renewable Energy

Meet 100% clean energy expert and Stanford Professor Mark Z. Jacobson

Renewable Energy - Mon, 2021-06-28 05:33

Mark Z. Jacobson is not only a clean, renewable energy expert, but he’s an athlete, an author, a globally recognized speaker and a legendary & beloved atmospheric science professor and climate leader at Stanford University. He’s also the author of a complete guide to renewable energy: “100% Clean, Renewable Energy and Storage for Everything,” which I reviewed for REW previously.

I recently conducted a Zoom interview with Jacobson in which he shares his journey from a competitive tennis player in smog-filled 1970s Los Angeles to his invitations to speak with Google execs, David Letterman, Vice President Joe Biden and attendees of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. 

What drew him to these audiences? 

In a nutshell, Jacobson, with the help of his students, his colleagues at UCLA, Cornell University and The Solutions Project used their math, science and technology expertise to map the globe for a 100% clean, renewable energy transition by 2050.

A lot of folks talk about it, but Jacobson did something about it.

Jacobson was first inspired to solve atmospheric pollution problems when he played competitive tennis in California as a teen. From there, he racked up degrees from Stanford and UCLA. His mapping work as a Stanford professor began with one state—New York—and that achievement led to 49 more states and, eventually, 143 countries.

In the interview below, Jacobson explains how he maps each region for clean, renewable energy. It’s a collection of data that is entered into a model, which can be updated as new information becomes available. As he explains (at 8:10 min) energy data for each fuel type used today is entered and its use projected out to 2050. The energy demand is then converted to renewable energy with each area mapped given their resources and space for new solar, wind and water technologies. Jacobson and his teams feed in the costs of climate on the environment and human health and create a balance between the supply of renewable energy and the demand for its use.

Jacobson revisits the creation of The Solutions Project just ten years ago this summer, when his friend, Marco Krapels, introduced him to actor Mark Ruffalo and filmmaker Josh Fox. The four men joined forces—and their social networks—to build the 100% renewable energy maps that would help policy makers make their case for an energy transformation. Cultural influencers came aboard to help, including Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Rockefeller, Robert Redford, Yoko Ono and Leilani Munter, then a professional race car driver. Her contribution to the energy transition story is a unique one that Jacobson details.

In the interview Jacobson shares details on his 100% clean, renewable energy home in Stanford, CA, which he meticulously designed. It’s become a showcase for how we can all harness the sun an become energy independent. Jacobson’s home—complete with four Tesla wall-mounted batteries—powers all of his family’s needs: heating and cooling, lighting, cooking, appliances, devices and his electric vehicles. He even sells excess electricity back to the power company.

One of the take-aways from this interview is how important public speaking is to the success of an idea. Not only did Jacobson have the determination as a young man to solve the climate crisis and air pollution, he also has the will, courage and emotional intelligence to get out into the world and share his knowledge with diverse audiences. From his appearance at the Nantucket Project to his talks at international energy conferences, Jacobson has made his life’s work resonate with students, investors, innovators and global leaders. It’s a super-hero kind of story and he’s still a young man.

What’s next for the brainy athlete from California? Stay tuned…

To watch the complete interview between me and Mark Jacobson, play the video below!

Categories: Renewable Energy

US government halts certain PV panel shipments due to issues of forced labor in China

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-06-25 08:45

On June 24, the U.S. government took action against forced labor in Xinjiang, China. As a result, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) have issued a Withhold Release Order (WRO) on silica-based products made by Hoshine Silicon Industry Co., Ltd., a company located in Xinjiang, and its subsidiaries.

Personnel at all U.S. ports of entry will detain all shipments that contain polysilicon that was manufactured in Xinjiang, China. Polysilicon is a key ingredient in solar panels.

In addition, the Department of Commerce has added the following Chinese companies to a blacklist restricting their products from the U.S. market “for participating in the practice of, accepting, or utilizing forced labor in Xinjiang and contributing to human rights abuses against Uyghurs and other minority groups in Xinjiang.”

The companies are:

  • Hoshine Silicon Industry (Shanshan);
  • Xinjiang Daqo New Energy;
  • Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals;
  • Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Technology,
  • and XPCC

Abby Hopper, CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) issued a statement about forced labor in January 2021.

“We’ve said it before and will say it again: we are disgusted by these practices, and forced labor has no place in the solar industry. These claims are a direct contrast to our values and how we strive to operate as an industry. We expect our companies to hold themselves to the highest standards possible when it comes to the environment and health and safety of their workers, and many embrace strict operating standards.

“Since the fall, we’ve been proactively telling all solar companies operating in the Xinjiang region to immediately move their supply chains. We’d like to reiterate this call to action and ask all solar companies to immediately leave the Xinjiang region,” her statement read.

In December 2020, SEIA took proactive measures against supply chain disruptions such as this. The measures included creating traceability protocols for products in the solar supply chain. In addition, SEIA asked solar companies to sign a pledge to oppose forced labor, which hundreds did.

See the signatories here.

We will continue to update this story as events unfold.

Categories: Renewable Energy

Vattenfall selling 49.5% of 1.5-GW Hollandse Kust Zuid offshore wind farm to BASF

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-06-25 08:04

BASF and Vattenfall have signed a contract for the purchase of 49.5% of Vattenfall’s 1.5-GW Hollands Kust Zuid offshore wind farm by BASF.

The purchase price amounts to €300 million and takes into account the achieved status of the project. Including its contribution to fund the wind farm construction, BASF’s total commitment amounts to around €1.6 billion. Closing of the transaction is expected in the fourth quarter of 2021, subject to the approval of the relevant authorities.

Construction of the wind farm will start in July 2021, and when fully operational in 2023 it will be the largest offshore wind farm in the world with 140 turbines and a total installed capacity of 1.5 GW. The Hollandse Kust Zuid wind farm will also be the first fully merchant offshore wind farm in the world, which does not receive any price subsidies for the power produced. A significant part of the electricity production of Hollandse Kust Zuid is reserved for Vattenfall’s Dutch customers.

BASF is acquiring the electricity from the wind farm for its ownership share through a long-term power purchase agreement. It will enable BASF to implement innovative, low-emission technologies at several of its production sites in Europe. BASF’s Antwerp Verbund site — the largest chemical production site in Belgium and the second largest BASF Group site worldwide — will benefit from the renewable power to a significant extent. The supply scheme to other BASF sites in Europe will depend on the further development of the respective regulation for renewable energy.

“This wind farm will be an important building block to supply our Antwerp Verbund site and other European sites with renewable electricity. It is the first major investment of BASF in facilities for renewable power. With this investment we are securing significant volumes of electricity from renewable sources for BASF, which is a key element of our transformation towards climate neutrality,” said Dr. Martin Brudermüller, chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE.

The wind farm will also support the Netherlands in reaching its target share of renewable power generation and greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets.

“Vattenfall and BASF share a common objective of phasing out greenhouse gas emissions from our operations. With this cooperation, Vattenfall once more proves that partnerships with industries are a key element to accelerate the European energy transition across sectors. I am particularly proud that we can do this, while at the same time securing the delivery of fossil-free electricity to our Dutch customers,” said Anna Borg, president and chief executive officer of Vattenfall.

Vattenfall has a mission to enable fossil-free living within one generation. To reach this goal, the company invests heavily in renewable energy. A cornerstone of Vattenfall’s growth strategy is to look for partners to balance the significant investment costs of its future assets.  Strong investors will support Vattenfall to accelerate and drive the transformation of the energy landscape because it will open up financial space for new investments in renewables and decarbonization, according to a release.

BASF aims to reduce its GHG emissions by 25% by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. One important lever to further bring down emissions is replacing fossil-based electricity with fossil-free electricity. BASF will secure the required amounts of renewable power through a “make and buy” approach. This includes the intention to bring in financial co-investors to this project allowing for an efficient use of capital.

Categories: Renewable Energy

DISTRIBUTECH International Initiate! winner Electriphi acquired by Ford

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-06-25 07:42

Last week, Ford announced it is acquiring Electriphi, a California-based provider of charging management and fleet monitoring software for electric vehicles. Electriphi participated in (and won) DISTRIBUTECH’s 2020 Initiate! program, which brings startups to the annual event to showcase their solutions. Watch a video interview with the founder, Muffi Ghandiali below.

Based in Silicon Valley, Electriphi’s team of more than 30 employees has developed and deployed a purpose-built electric vehicle fleet and charging management platform that simplifies fleet electrification, saves energy costs, and tracks key operational metrics like real-time status of vehicles, chargers and maintenance services, according to the company. The team brings deep expertise in charging infrastructure, commercial electric vehicles and enterprise software, and has provided services to government, commercial businesses, energy utilities and OEMs.

Electriphi’s team and services will be integrated into Ford Pro – a new global business within Ford committed to commercial customer productivity and to developing the most advanced charging and energy management experiences.

While more commercial vehicle customers are considering all-electric vehicles, charging management remains a hurdle to mass adoption. Ford Pro plans on leveraging Electriphi’s technology to help customers with this transition.

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“As commercial customers add electric vehicles to their fleets, they want depot charging options to make sure they’re powered up and ready to go to work every day,” said Ford Pro CEO Ted Cannis. “With Electriphi’s existing advanced technology IP in the Ford Pro electric vehicles and services portfolio, we will enhance the experience for commercial customers and be a single-source solution for fleet-depot charging.”

Ford Pro estimates that the depot charging industry will grow to over 600,000 full-size trucks and vans by 2030. This acquisition supports Pro’s target to capture over $1 billion of revenue from charging by 2030.

The Electriphi acquisition comes as Ford prepares for the launch of all-electric versions of two of the world’s most popular, high-volume commercial vehicles – the Transit van and F-150 pickup. Ford will start shipping E-Transit to customers later this year; F-150 Lightning Pro will be available in spring 2022.

“Customers have been clear – electrification of their fleets is inevitable, with significant economic and sustainability benefits. They now need solutions that enable a seamless transition to electric vehicles,” said Electriphi CEO and co-founder Muffi Ghadiali. “Our synergies with Ford Pro will supercharge this transition. We’ll delight customers by helping them reap the benefits of electrification, so they can focus on what matters most – running their businesses effectively.” (Watch an interview with Ghadiali below.)

Electriphi’s charging platform will complete the purpose-built, charging ecosystem services for commercial customers, including employee home charging, public charging and e-telematics solutions. Customers in North America can sign up for Electriphi charge management services now at electriphi.ai. Ford Pro plans on making these services available in Europe at a later date.

The Electriphi acquisition is expected to close this month. Terms are not being disclosed. Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC is serving as Ford’s financial advisor in connection with this transaction.

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!

Categories: Renewable Energy

Global Zero Carbon Buildings Accelerator wants to remove carbon emissions from buildings by 2050

Renewable Energy - Fri, 2021-06-25 06:55

On Tuesday, World Resources Institute (WRI), with support from the Global Environment Facility, UN Environment Programme and World Green Building Council, among others, launched the Zero Carbon Building Accelerator (ZCBA) to speed up the transition to zero-carbon, efficient buildings

Buildings account for nearly 40% of energy-related CO2 emissions, according to WRI. But they are also the biggest, most cost-effective climate mitigation solution available – making up 58% of urban mitigation potential, the organization added in a press release.

The new Zero Carbon Building Accelerator will coordinate the development of national roadmaps and action plans toward a zero-carbon building sector by 2050, beginning in partner countries Colombia and Turkey and eventually spreading throughout the expansive network of subnational partners to the Building Efficiency Accelerator.

Lead project partner cities Bogotá and Santiago de Calí in Colombia, and Gaziantep and Konya in Turkey, will pilot the development of aligned local action plans.

“For people and the planet, we know how important it is not only to improve building efficiency but to reach net zero emissions,” said Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO and Chairperson of the Global Environment Facility. “The GEF is proud to build on five years of work with WRI’s Buildings Initiative and the UN Environment Programme through the Zero Carbon Building Accelerator. Together we look forward to pushing further toward a decarbonized global building sector and supporting new pathways to a low carbon future for ambitious countries and cities alike.” 

The Zero Carbon Building Accelerator helps governments eliminate building sector CO2 emissions through four strategies:

  • Outreach: Working with national and local governments to map potential building decarbonization pathways and adopt public commitments on zero-carbon buildings.
  • Dialogue: Exploring how to achieve zero-carbon building commitments through facilitated policy dialogues with national and local governments, utilities, the private sector and civil society.
  • Planning: Developing and initiating short- and medium-term action plans and long-term national roadmaps linked to nationally determined contributions and other national strategies to achieve zero-carbon buildings by 2050.
  • Enabling Action: Developing and initiate adoption of policies to support stakeholders to accelerate market transformation towards zero-carbon buildings.

Every $1 invested in efficiency alone saves $2 in new electricity generation and distribution costs, said WRI. Yet despite their extraordinary potential to drive a more sustainable future, 80% of economically viable energy savings in buildings remain untapped. To meet carbon reduction and climate resilience goals, the world’s building stock must be zero-carbon by 2050. 

“With the building and construction sector responsible for almost 40% of our energy and process-related greenhouse gas emissions, taking joint action to realize a zero-carbon future has never been more important,” said Martina Otto, Chief a.i., Energy and Climate Branch (UNEP) and Head of the GlobalABC Secretariat, UN Environment Programme. “The Global Alliance for Building and Construction (GlobalABC) has united the sector to chart the way forward, with its global and regional roadmaps, and facilitates an exchange of members who are now translating these plans to reality at the national level. The ZCBA is playing a crucial role in this.”

“To ensure the success of this initiative, working together with local governments is fundamental. For this reason, Bogotá and Calí will be part of the project with the country’s traditional and sustainable construction trade associations in order to build specific action plans that include monitoring systems and business models,” said Nicolás Galarza, Deputy Minister of Environment and Territorial Development, Colombia. “With this project, which is aligned with our Long-Term Climate Strategy, we seek to contribute to the fulfillment of our international commitments on climate change, such as the implementation of the NDC.” 

Since 2015, World Resources Institute’s Buildings Initiative has led the Building Efficiency Accelerator (BEA), a global partnership in support of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All initiative to assist national and subnational governments with policy and programming to improve energy efficiency. The Zero Carbon Building Accelerator builds on this success and takes lessons, expertise and resources from the BEA to new ambitions, with a broader mandate to support global implementation of urgent climate goals through decarbonizing the world’s buildings by 2050. 

“Getting to zero-carbon in buildings by 2050 requires the alignment of national ambition with local implementation on the ground,” said Clay Nesler, Global Lead for Buildings and Energy, WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities. “The Zero Carbon Building Accelerator will assist countries and cities in defining viable pathways for action including policy development, capacity building and financial support.”

“Turkey supports global efforts like the Zero Carbon Building Accelerator which integrate climate change policies in development policies,” said Güneş Cansız, Director of WRI Turkey Sustainable Cities. “The Turkish Ministry of Environment and Urbanization is making significant environmental investments to reduce its ecological footprint, and to mitigate the adverse impacts of environmental pollution and global climate change.”

Learn more about the Zero Carbon Building Accelerator here

Categories: Renewable Energy

FPL’s 900-MWh energy storage project receives first battery unit installations

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-06-24 15:34

Crews have started work installing the first energy storage battery units at Florida Power & Light’s massive Manatee Energy Storage Center.

The utility says FPL Manatee Energy Storage Center will be the biggest solar power-battery storage facility in the world when operational. The Parrish, Fla., center will have 400 MW of output and 900MWh of capacity, enough to power about 329,000 homes for more than two hours, according to the release.

It is expected to be completed later this year. Irby was awarded the contstruction contract on the project.

“Energy storage is an essential piece of the puzzle when it comes to building on our rapid solar expansion and delivering a brighter, more sustainable energy future that all of us can depend on, including the next generation,” FPL CEO Eric Silagy said. “But the Manatee Energy Storage Center isn’t just bringing the Sunshine State one step closer to around-the-clock solar power, it is also helping turn Florida into a world leader in clean energy and sustainability.”

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The newly installed storage container is the first of 132 units that will ultimately be installed onsite. Each unit weighs approximately 38 tons, is roughly 36 feet long by 11 feet in height and width and will hold roughly 400 battery modules, with each battery module being equivalent to about 2,000 iPhone batteries.

The battery modules will store the extra solar energy produced by the neighboring FPL Manatee Solar Energy Center when the sun’s rays are strongest and send it to the grid when there is a higher demand for electricity.

FPL operates 41 solar energy centers across more than 20 Florida counties. In addition to completing Manatee Energy Storage Center, FPL is also in the midst of constructing nine additional solar energy centers.

By the end of the decade, FPL forecasts that nearly 40% of the company’s power will be generated by zero-emissions energy sources—a 65%-plud increase from 2020.

Energy Storage will be the focus of the December POWERGEN+ online series. Contact us if you have a session idea

Categories: Renewable Energy

Drax seeking permission to add pumped storage at 440-MW Cruachan facility

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-06-24 09:55

Drax Group is seeking planning permission to build a new 600-MW underground pumped hydro storage power station at its 440-MW Cruachan facility in Scotland, which would more than double the site’s electricity generating capacity.

The project, announced as the UK prepares to host the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow, will support almost 900 jobs in rural areas across Scotland during construction and will provide critical storage capacity needed to support a net-zero power system.

The new power station will be located within a new, hollowed-out cavern inside Ben Cruachan, Argyll’s highest mountain, to the east of Drax’s existing pumped storage hydro station. More than a million tonnes of rock would be excavated to create the cavern and other parts of the power station. The existing upper reservoir, which can hold 2.4 billion gallons of water, has the capacity to serve both power stations.

Like Drax’s existing site, the new station will be able to provide lifeline stability services to the power system alongside acting like a giant water battery. By using reversible turbines to pump water from Loch Awe to the upper reservoir on the mountainside, the station can store power from wind farms when supply outstrips demand. The stored water would then be released back through the turbines when demand increases. This will help to cut energy costs by reducing the need for wind farms to be paid to turn off when they are generating excess power.

“This is an exciting and important project which underlines Drax’s commitment to tackling the climate crisis and supporting the energy system as it continues to decarbonize,” said Will Gardiner, Drax Group chief executive officer. “Our plans to expand Cruachan will unlock more renewable electricity to power homes and businesses across the country, and support hundreds of new jobs in rural Scotland. We need to stop renewable power from going to waste by storing it, and Drax is ready to move mountains to do just that.”

To deploy this critical technology, Drax must secure consent under Section 36 of the Electricity Act 1989 from Scottish Ministers, a process that takes about one year to complete from the application’s submission. The project will also require an updated policy and market support mechanism from the UK Government. The existing lack of a framework for large-scale, long-duration storage and flexibility technologies means that private investment cannot be secured in new pumped storage hydro projects, with no new plants built anywhere in the UK since 1984 despite their critical role in decarbonization, according to a press release.

Drax Group’s purpose is to enable a zero-carbon, lower cost energy future and in 2019 announced an ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) technology. Drax owns and operates a portfolio of renewable electricity generation assets in England and Scotland. The assets include the UK’s largest power station, based at Selby, North Yorkshire, which supplies 5% of the country’s electricity needs. 

Categories: Renewable Energy

Connecticut sets 1 GW energy storage goal

Renewable Energy - Thu, 2021-06-24 09:14

This week Connecticut Governor Lamont signed a new law that will require the state to install 1 GW of energy storage by 2030 with milestone requirements every three years: 300 MW by 2024, 600 MW by 2027 and 1 GW by 2030.

Connecticut’s regulator the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) will initiate a proceeding to develop and implement one or more programs, and associated funding mechanisms, for electric energy storage resources connected to the electric distribution system and establish different programs for residential storage programs, C&I programs and “front-of-the-meter” programs which would be storage that isn’t owned by a customer. In addition, the bill lays out that hydropower facilities with a nameplate capacity of less than 100 MW may also be used to help meet the goal.

The Energy Storage Association (ESA) applauded the move. In a statement, ESA CEO Jason Burwen said:

“Connecticut today becomes the eighth state to set a storage deployment target, growing in-state storage jobs and investment while accelerating progress toward a decarbonized, resilient power system. We thank Governor Lamont and state Congressional leaders for recognizing the importance of deploying energy storage at scale to ensure electric grid infrastructure is ready for 21st century demands. We look forward to working with the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to see this target become a reality and bring benefits to all Connecticut residents and businesses.”

PURA chair Marissa Paslick Gillett was a former VP of external affairs with the Energy Storage Association and had explained at a conference in 2019 that energy storage was an important part of her grid modernization goals for the state.

The bill authorizes the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection to issue RFPs for projects once the programs have been developed.  

Categories: Renewable Energy

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