On June 2nd, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) issued record requests for proposals from qualified developers to build renewable energy projects that will generate 2.5 million megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity a year. The two requests combined total the largest renewable RFP issued in any state. Alliance for Clean Energy New York estimates that the solicitation “will drive between 600 and 1,600 megawatts of new capacity depending on the mix of technologies ultimately developed.”
On June 1st, 2017, President Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the landmark Paris climate accord, sparking serious concern about the future of global efforts to mitigate climate change. In response, cities, states, and corporations across the United States are collaborating to submit a plan to the United Nations ensuring that the U.S. fulfills its emissions targets under the Paris accord – with or without support from the United States federal government.
The Massachusetts Senate Committee on Global Warming and Climate Change is hosting hearings across the Commonwealth to gather input on clean energy and climate change. Launched by Senate President Pro Tempore Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), the “MA Clean Energy Future Tour” began its nine-stop tour on May 8 and will end on June 26 in Boston. To learn more about this tour, read on!
Last Sunday, the Massachusetts Legislature passed a compromise energy bill to significantly increase electricity produced by renewable energy sources. The state’s utilities will be required to purchase power from on and offshore wind farms, as well as power from hydroelectric dams located largely in Canada. Governor Baker is expected sign the bill in short order, as he has strongly supported purchasing imports of clean energy. To learn more about this bill, read on!
On July 15, the Los Angeles Times Summit on renewable energy brought together government officials, academics, regulators, fossil fuel executives, and renewable energy advocates to discuss the challenges California faces in meeting the state’s goal of supplying 50% of its electricity through clean energy by 2030.
Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom affirmed California’s commitment to its renewable energy goal despite issues concerning electricity costs, economic stagnation, and consistent sourcing in his remarks at the summit. However, he also acknowledged, “We have to be sensitive to issues related to energy costs.” To learn more about the summit, continue reading!
On Monday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed a solar energy bill into law that increases the statewide limits on the amount of solar capacity that will qualify for net metering, but also lowers the value of net metering credits for large-scale projects. The bill, which was recommended last week by a joint legislative committee formed to reconcile differences between the separate House and Senate proposals, is the culmination of five months of negotiations between the chambers. The controversial bill passed the House and Senate last week by large majorities. For more on this legislation and what it means for solar energy development in Massachusetts, read on!
Tom Burton, Chair of Mintz Levin’s Energy Technology Practice, has published a weekly installment providing insight into the challenges and possible solutions that, if implemented, promise a bright future as clean energy moves America forward. In this series, Tom included one challenge per week and the potential solution(s). This is the sixth and final installment of the series. Click to read Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V.
The Problem: Renewables Intermittent Power Generation
Renewable energy sources are intermittent in nature, depending on when the sun shines and the wind blows. Because of this, suppliers face “ramp up” and “ramp down” issues.
- Ramping up: Renewable supply is typically lowest during the evening, while at this time demand spikes as people return home from work. The California Independent System Operator (ISO) developed a “duck curve” to describe how massive amounts of customer-sited PV systems could cause problems to the state’s supply-demand balance on its electricity grid. The ISO worries that the “neck” of the duck curve, situated where consumers come home and turn their electricity on as the sun sets, could overwhelm the state’s available generating capacity.
- Ramping down: Generation is highest in the middle of the day as demand troughs. This creates an overgeneration risk where grid operators often have to ask renewable suppliers to reduce production so as not to overwhelm transmission lines. In Vermont, Green Mountain Power has, on several occasions, had to cut back the power it sends to the grid because the operator told them it was overloading capacity. Compounding the issue is that it is more difficult to synchronize wind’s fluctuating power flow with a system built for the steadier electric stream of fossil fuel plants. This comes with financial consequences – for example, cutbacks cost the Vermont Electric Cooperative $1.5 million in 2013.
A widespread, cost effective method is necessary to smooth out the duck curve and deliver clean power at all hours of the day.
On September 29, 2015 the Department of Energy released the 2014-2015 Offshore Wind Technologies Market Report, assessing the nation’s offshore wind potential and planned projects through June 30, 2015. The report summarizes domestic and global market developments, technology trends, and economic data with the purpose of aiding U.S. offshore wind industry stakeholders. The Report builds upon previous market reports conducted by the Navigant Consortium between 2012 and 2014, which would track U.S. wind projects that had reached an “advanced stage” of development. The 2015 Market Report not only assesses the progress of offshore wind projects in various stages but it also analyzes projects in a range of countries. To learn more about where the U.S. offshore wind industry stands in comparison to other countries as well as about domestic and global ongoing projects and expected trends, read on!
After meetings last week with Pope Francis and Xi Jinping, this week President Obama continued his environmental push with a visit to the UN General Assembly and an interview in Rolling Stone. On Capitol Hill, Senators and Congressmen are dealing with energy tax extenders among a host of other issues, including avoiding a government shutdown.
Also of note in D.C., the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced that on November 9th it will auction land off the coast of New Jersey for wind development. It has identified 13 companies as qualified to participate in the upcoming sale. According to the agency, the area could support up to 3400 MW of commercial wind generation. For more on the week in Washington check out the latest update from ML Strategies.
On Thursday, September 10, The New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC) hosted its third annual Legislative Roundup. The event brought together clean energy advocates and technology developers from around the Northeast to discuss the region’s latest policies and their impact on residents, businesses, and other key entities. The panel presentation, moderated by NECEC President Peter Rothstein and NECEC VP of Policy and Government Affairs Janet Gail Besser, included Jeff Marks of E2Tech, Kate Epsen of the New Hampshire Sustainable Energy Association, Gabrielle Stebbins of Renewable Energy Vermont, as well as Dan Bosley and Sue AnderBois, both of NECEC. Read below for a look at the latest in regional energy policy trends: