David Byrne explores how Texas became No. 1 in the US in wind power

Electrek | April 28, 2020

David Byrne (yes, that David Byrne, of the band Talking Heads) runs an online publication called Reasons to be Cheerful. Yesterday, Byrne published a feature that he authored that explores “how a conservative, oil-pumping state became one of the world’s biggest generators of wind power.” And that state is Texas. Byrne’s feature is a fascinating piece, because as regular readers of the Electrek Green Energy Brief know, we report regularly on how Texas leads the United States in wind energy generation.
But Byrne explores how this red state came to embrace green energy. You can read the whole piece here, but here’s an excerpt: West Texas is oil country. But there is something else going on in West Texas: It is a world capital of wind energy. Last year, Texas got more of its energy from wind — 23.4% — than any other US state. In fact, if Texas were a country (which some might argue it is) it would rank fifth in the world in wind power generation, just behind Germany and India.

Spotlight

The Shams Ma'an solar plant, which will be engineered and constructed by First Solar, is an important component in Jordan’s strategic diversification of its generation portfolio.

Spotlight

The Shams Ma'an solar plant, which will be engineered and constructed by First Solar, is an important component in Jordan’s strategic diversification of its generation portfolio.

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EDP Renewables, Facebook, and Salt River Project's Partnership Brings a New Solar Park to Arizona

EDP Renewables | August 13, 2021

EDP Renewables SA (EDPR), through its fully owned subsidiary EDP Renewables North America LLC (EDPR NA), and Salt River Project (SRP) have executed a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for 200 megawatts (MW) at the Randolph Solar Park in Pinal County, located in south-central Arizona. This announcement expands on the communication issued on July 27, 2021. The 200-MW Randolph Solar Park is expected to be operational in 2023 and will provide economic benefits to the local project communities and state of Arizona by way of payments to local landowners and governments, job opportunities during construction and operations, and an increase in money spent at local businesses in the vicinity of the solar park. Randolph will also generate enough electricity to annually power more than 49,000 average Arizona homes and will save approximately 355 million gallons of water a year. SRP’s investment in the Randolph Solar Park is part of the utility’s expanded commitment to add 2,025 MW of utility-scale solar resources to its power system by 2025 and serve customer energy needs with renewable energy. The entire capacity of the Randolph Solar Park will be dedicated to supporting Facebook's newly announced data center in Mesa, Arizona, and to help meet the company’s renewable energy commitments. “We enjoy working with partners who share our sustainability vision, and we are happy to work with EDP Renewables to support Facebook’s new data center with renewable solar energy,” said Kelly Barr, SRP’s Chief Strategy, Corporate Services and Sustainability Executive. “All organizations involved in this effort are jointly reducing carbon emissions in Arizona and setting a precedent for a green energy future.” “We are excited to partner with SRP and EDP Renewables to bring new solar energy resources to the Arizona grid. Access to renewable energy and a strong grid were an important part of our decision to build in Mesa,” said Urvi Parekh, Facebook’s Head of Renewable Energy. “Facebook is committed to having a positive impact on local communities, and we’re excited to help bring this additional investment and jobs to the area.” Randolph is EDP Renewables’ second solar project in Arizona, joining the company’s 158-MW Sun Streams Solar Park in Maricopa County, which EDP Renewables acquired in 2019 and now owns and operates. Randolph is EDP Renewables’ first greenfield development project to execute a PPA in the state, and the company will continue its efforts to add more to its portfolio in Arizona in the coming years. “Arizona has an abundance of opportunities in the solar space, and this transaction allows EDP Renewables to expand our presence in this growing market,” said Miguel Prado, EDP Renewables North America CEO. “We are eager to break ground next year on this project, which will provide an economic boost to the local economy and sustainable, reliable energy to Arizonians.” About EDP Renewables North America EDP Renewables North America LLC (EDPR NA), its affiliates, and its subsidiaries develop, construct, own, and operate wind farms and solar parks throughout North America. Headquartered in Houston, Texas, with 58 wind farms, eight solar parks, and seven regional offices across North America, EDPR NA has developed more than 8,300 megawatts (MW) and operates more than 8,000 MW of onshore utility-scale renewable energy projects. With more than 800 employees, EDPR NA’s highly qualified team has a proven capacity to execute projects across the continent.

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California Starts to shape vehicle-grid integration strategy, considers using EVs during power shut-offs

The California Public Utilities | November 19, 2020

As of August 2019, California had more than 600,000 electric vehicles out and about, as well as 20,000 public charging ports, as per a report from Gridworks. That number is set to increase; Newsom's chief request, signed in the wake of several devastating wildfires that consumed millions of acres in California this year, instructs the state's Air Resources Board to create regulations ordering the zero-emission vehicles objective, which is estimated to decrease over 35% of greenhouse gas emissions from cars in the state. In any case, experts say the request could also change the idea of California's heap — one analysis from Energy Innovation suggests that staying on target to arrive at the objective could prompt a 9% increase in power interest by 2030 — and make the minimum amount of EVs needed to understand the VGI potential that the sector has been discussing for quite a long time. VGI is fit for giving a wide suite of benefits to the framework — for instance, charging vehicles when there's excess solar on the network, giving resiliency services and back-up power when the lattice is down, and decreasing interest or sending out force back on to the matrix, Muller said. "So I think it's going to be absolutely integral to transportation electrification going forward," he said. In 2019, California lawmakers passed a bill requiring the CPUC to establish strategies and metrics to increase the integration of EVs into the grid by 2030, and the agency's new proposed decision lists some of those. This includes reforming retail rates, especially dynamic pricing structures — something that the commission is already reviewing for EV customers in Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric service territories. The proposed decision, if approved by regulators, would also authorize utilities to propose vehicle-grid integration pilots, to prove that integration technologies can be scaled up and implemented in the real world. Another potential strategy evaluated by the commission concerns designing wholesale market rules for vehicle-grid integration applications, and the proposed decision would instruct utilities to work with the California Independent System Operator and report back with possible updates. In addition, the proposal also looks at reforming interconnection rules to allow EVs to export power to the grid. The commission also identified several near-term actions that "should be pursued as soon as possible," including instructing utilities to host a workshop in early 2021 with potential vehicle-grid integration demand response providers, and look into possible challenges that exist on that front. Utilities would also be tasked with finding ways to deploy technologies to manage EV charging load as part of their transportation electrification program applications, with an eye to using EVs to reduce congestion on the distribution grid and avoid expensive physical upgrades to the system. But there are multiple challenges in integrating vehicles with the grid, as the Gridworks report notes — there's little understanding around the costs involved, as well as the ability to actually engage customers. "In a way, part of the difficulty is that VGI encompasses so much, so there's no one silver bullet to make [it] a reality," Muller said. Instead, it requires a number of different policies or refinements to existing policies, investments in new technologies and customer familiarity, Muller added. The proposal, if approved, will eventually allow California to test the marketplace and determine what it's going to take for people to participate in VGI programs, what incentives should be involved, and what back office systems utilities need to develop, according to Mauro Dresti, senior advisor of transportation electrification (eMobility) technology strategy at Southern California Edison. "I think the biggest challenge is trying to figure out what the incentives should be for the customers, and to get them to participate," Dresti said.

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Solar FlexRack Supplies Trackers and Mounting Solutions to Swinerton Renewable Energy for a Total of 80 MW of Distributed Generation Solar Projects

Solar FlexRack | August 03, 2021

Solar FlexRack™, a division of Northern States Metals and an innovative leader in photovoltaic (PV) mounting and solar tracker solutions, announced that it has supplied its solar trackers and mounting technology to Swinerton Renewable Energy (SRE), named the top U.S. EPC, for a total of 80 MW of distributed generation solar projects. Located in Connecticut, California and Illinois, SRE's latest 30 MW of projects will utilize Solar FlexRack's TDP 1.0 and TDP 2.0 Solar Trackers in eleven community solar projects and builds upon the prior 50 MW of completed solar projects between the two companies. Swinerton Renewable Energy will provide design, procurement and construction management on the portfolio and SOLV, Inc, a wholly owned subsidiary of SRE, will provide O&M services on the latest set of projects. "Our SOLV Construction Management Services team is committed to building solar projects that provide maximum value for our clients, our partners and local communities, and our suppliers are critical in meeting this goal," said George Hershman, President of Swinerton Renewable Energy and SOLV, Inc. "Solar FlexRack's team helps de-risk projects through their reliable solar trackers, mounting systems and robust support services. We look forward to working closely with Solar FlexRack on this new set of projects." In 2019, community solar projects in the U.S. exceeded 2 GW for the first time, and new community solar installations are set to reach 1 GW per year by 2021, according to Wood Mackenzie. In addition to bringing the benefits of clean energy to local communities, this set of distributed generation community solar projects will contribute to California's Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 60 percent by 2030, Connecticut's RPS of 40 percent by 2030, and Illinois' RPS of 25 percent by 2025. Solar FlexRack's single axis tracker systems were selected for these projects due to their versatility, land use optimization and ability to easily fit into smaller parcels. "We're looking forward to working further with SOLV Construction Management Services to deliver clean energy access and cost savings to local utilities and their customers through these additional community solar projects," said Steve Daniel, Executive Vice President of Solar FlexRack. "We truly appreciate having long-term partners who share our dedication to completing high quality projects with maximum efficiency." Construction of this additional 30 MW of solar projects is underway and these projects are expected to be complete in 2022. Once complete, the total 80 MW of joint solar projects between the two companies will produce enough energy to power nearly 60,000 homes per year and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to removing 108,000 cars from the road. SRE and Solar FlexRack also anticipate an additional 20 MW of joint solar projects to be delivered in the coming year to eventually bring the size of the companies' joint projects completed to 100 MW. About Solar FlexRack Solar FlexRack, a division of Northern States Metals, is an integrated solar company that offers custom-designed, fixed tilt ground mount and single-axis solar tracking systems in the commercial and utility-scale solar mounting industries. Solar FlexRack also offers full turnkey packages, including engineering, geotechnical, pullout testing, field, layout, and installation services to address the actual site conditions of an installation and provide a full scope of services from design to delivery and installation. Solar FlexRack has completed over 2.5 GW of solar racking installations in 40 states across America and five countries globally.

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