US steps up solar roll-out
Solar projects are coming thick and fast across the US as states accelerate community facilities and strive to reduce their carbon footprint.
SMT Energy and Goldman Sachs Renewable Power (GSRP) have announced a strategic partnership to develop renewable energy assets. Initially, GSRP is acquiring 55MW of community solar facilities located in upstate New York from SMT.
The upstate NY community solar facilities encompass nine separate projects and will be operational in 2022. Once operational, the community solar facilities will avoid the emission of approximately 60,225 tons of carbon dioxide per year.
CenterPoint Energy has announced its Indiana-based electric and natural gas business, CenterPoint Energy Indiana South, is seeking approval from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to enter into an agreement on the ac quisition of a 300MW solar array as part of the company’s long-term electric generation transition plan announced in June 2020.
The company is also requesting approval to enter into a power purchase agreement for an additional 100MWs of solar energy.
Altus Power America will be constructing a 4.5MW ground-mounted solar energy project in Kapolei, Hawai’i on the island of O’ahu. Once constructed the project will be the largest Community-Based Renewable Energy project in Hawai’i.
The project is expected to be online in Q4 2021 and will generate over 6,500MWh of electricity during its first year.
The Public Service Commission of South Carolina (PSCSC) has approved Duke Energy's Green Source Advantage program in South Carolina, enabling the company to expand renewable energy options for customers.
Electrify America has added 30 solar-powered EV charging stations with two Level 2 chargers each to its network in the state of California (click here).
But amid all the positive developments, there are challenges domestically and internationally.
The Illinois Power Agency recently announced the close of all state renewable energy incentives, effectively ending Illinois’ renewable energy program. "The end of incentives will force thousands of layoffs at renewable energy businesses across the state as Illinois’ solar market dries up," according to a statement.
With competition intensifying globally, American-made solar panels “cannot compete” with Chinese prices as the demand for green energy, according to one US manufacturer (click here).
The solar push coincides with President Biden’s emphasis on green energy, pledging to achieve a net-zero electricity grid by 2035 and a net-zero economy by 2050. To read the new president's top 10 energy priorities, click here.
Sharply declining costs have been key to solar's potential. The price US residential consumers pay to install rooftop solar PV systems plummeted from nearly $7 per watt peak of capacity in 2008 to $4 or less in 2013, reports McKinsey, and from 2017 to 2018, the average construction cost of solar in the US fell 21% to $1,848 per KW, according to the EIA.
Awesense launches digital clean energy marketplace
Awesense has launched what it claims is the only energy-focused repository of solutions built to drive the industry's decarbonization agenda.
The Awesense Marketplace aims to provide a common framework for companies to collaborate towards the future of clean energy and digital transformation, uniting applications, solutions and algorithms to solve energy and grid challenges.
Solutions listed on the marketplace cover a range of cases, and launch companies include Doosan GridTech, Kitu Systems, vadiMAP, LO3 Energy, ENGIN, Utilidata, Clir Renewables, ChargeLab, SensorLink, Exeri, Easy SmartGrid, and Athena Power.
“We are welcoming a new era in the decarbonization of energy systems,” said Mischa Steiner, CEO of Awesense. “The goal of achieving a clean energy future requires collaboration amongst key industry players in the utilities and energy sectors. Sharing resources through the Marketplace means that our customers and partners have a truly seamless approach as we work towards our common goal - ultimately, decarbonizing the world’s energy system.”
Utilities, consulting companies, and other organizations struggle to develop solutions that can be scaled across many jurisdictions due to complex data integration and the lack of a standard, open data model. Using the solutions offered throughout the Marketplace, organizations can rapidly accelerate their transition to a decentralized, decarbonized future and develop solutions that are scalable across industry. The platform will open up new revenue streams in areas such as:
Distributed energy resource integration and control
Electric vehicle charging
Demand response and smart-home management
Intelligent asset management
Advanced distribution system management
The new marketplace builds on Awesense's Digital Energy Platform, a digital twin based energy analytics platform that allows utilities to scale at the same pace as the rapidly changing technology landscape of the energy grid.
Together, the Open Energy Data Model and the Awesense Marketplace removes hurdles around data mapping and transformation, expedites data preparation and refining, and provides a common framework for companies to collaborate.
“The energy-specific data model allows utilities, technology companies, consulting firms, and other vendors to build solutions that can be easily integrated by other energy companies, to make a real impact on the industry as a whole, and develop new revenue streams for their organizations” said Steiner. “We’re looking forward to seeing the Awesense Marketplace grow as more partners committed to energy decarbonization join us.”
There are no simple solutions to putting the world on a sustainable path to net-zero emissions, according to the IEA. Reducing global CO2 emissions will require "a broad range of different technologies working across all sectors of the economy in various combinations and applications." it notes.
Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia formed
Amp Power Australia has established the Renewable Energy Hub of South Australia, a strategic portfolio of large scale integrated Solar PV, Wind and Battery Energy Storage assets located in South Australia. The hub also includes the siting of the Spencer Gulf Hydrogen Energy Ecoplex, forming part of the South Australian Government's Hydrogen Action Plan.
The portfolio, acquired from EPS, includes three large Solar PV projects totalling over 1.3 GW of generation, located at Robertstown (636 MW), Bungama (336MW) and Yoorndoo Ilga (388MW) with a total BESS capacity of up to 540MW across the portfolio.
Amp's expansion in Australia will include the implementation of Amp X, a proprietary digital energy platform 100% owned by Amp, which provides a diverse portfolio of disruptive and interoperable grid edge solutions, and includes a smart transformer, which enables real-time autonomous management and optimised dispatch of all forms of distributed generation and loads across the grid.
Palmetto recently opened its marketplace in Arizona, and is now serving 20 states across the country, claiming its proprietary technology, marketplace business model, and consumer mobile application "are all designed to democratize access to clean energy".