ENERGY

National Grid Renewables' 40 MW Michigan Solar Portfolio, Built by Michigan Workers, will Provide Millions of Dollars in Economic Benefit

National Grid Renewables | June 14, 2021

National Grid Renewables today announced significant economic benefits provided by its MiSolar Portfolio, which recently began operation and includes two Michigan solar projects, Bingham Solar and Temperance Solar, located in Clinton and Monroe counties, respectively. Combined, the projects produce 40 megawatts (MW) of clean solar energy. Together with its affiliated entities, National Grid Renewables owns and operates both solar projects, and each project has a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Consumers Energy.

National Grid Renewables contracted with Michigan-based Engineering, Procurement, and Construction (EPC) contractor J. Ranck Electric, Inc. to construct the projects. During peak construction, MiSolar employed approximately 160 workers, 95% recruited from communities within 100 miles of each site. Additional MiSolar job and economic benefits resulted from utilizing Michigan-based subcontractors, including The Hydaker-Wheatlake Company, based in Reed City, Michigan.

Now operational, three full-time operations and maintenance staff work at the MiSolar project sites. During the first 20 years of operation, MiSolar is projected to further benefit the community by creating approximately $6 million in new tax revenue, based on current Michigan law. Throughout that same period, using the United States Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) greenhouse gas equivalencies calculator, the combined projects are estimated to offset carbon dioxide emissions by over 50,000 metric tons annually.

About National Grid Renewables
National Grid Renewables, part of the competitive, unregulated National Grid Ventures division of National Grid, develops, owns, and operates large-scale renewable energy assets across the United States, including solar, wind, and battery storage. As a farmer-friendly and community-focused business, National Grid Renewables develops projects for corporations and utilities that seek to repower America's electricity grid by reigniting local economies and reinvesting in a sustainable, clean energy future.

National Grid Renewables has a robust development pipeline of wind, solar, and battery storage projects in various stages of development throughout the United States and geographically diverse operational assets across the country. It supports National Grid's vision of being at the heart of a clean, fair, and affordable energy future for all.

About Consumers Energy
Consumers Energy, Michigan's largest energy provider, is the principal subsidiary of CMS Energy, providing natural gas and electricity to 6.8 million of the state's 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Spotlight

Amazon is on a path to power operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025 – five years ahead of its 2030 target. Amazon is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy, and the Amazon energy team is using AWS cloud services to monitor and optimize wind and solar projects around the world.

Spotlight

Amazon is on a path to power operations with 100% renewable energy by 2025 – five years ahead of its 2030 target. Amazon is the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy, and the Amazon energy team is using AWS cloud services to monitor and optimize wind and solar projects around the world.

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ENERGY,INDUSTRY UPDATES

Vanguard Renewables Announces Acquisition by BlackRock Real Assets

Vanguard Renewables | July 22, 2022

Vanguard Renewables, a U.S. leader in organics-to-renewable energy, announced that a fund managed by BlackRock Real Assets has acquired the company from Vision Ridge Partners. BlackRock Real Assets will partner with Vanguard Renewables’ management team to build upon the company’s market-leading track record and drive its next phase of growth, including its plans to commission more than 100 anaerobic digesters to produce renewable natural gas across the country by 2026.Since its founding by John Hanselman and Kevin Chase in 2014, Vanguard Renewables has been changing the perception of U.S. food waste and how that waste can be recycled into renewable energy to benefit the planet. The company mitigates greenhouse gas emissions from food waste and cow manure through two distinct business lines: Vanguard Organics and Vanguard Ag. Vanguard Organics’ Farm Powered® anaerobic codigestion process converts inedible food and beverage waste and dairy manure into renewable natural gas and liquid low-carbon fertilizer. Vanguard Ag, developed in partnership with Dominion Energy in 2019, converts manure into renewable natural gas. This multi-year partnership is essential to Vanguard Ag’s growth and Dominion Energy’s commitment to further its ESG goals via significant investments in renewable natural gas projects. We are pleased to invest in Vanguard Renewables, a leading producer of renewable natural gas from agriculture and organic food waste in the U.S., supported by long-term contracts,” said Mark Florian, Head of Diversified Infrastructure, BlackRock Real Assets. “Renewable natural gas is an attractive and fast-growing market that provides decarbonization solutions for both the provider of the waste, as well as the natural gas consumer. We look forward to partnering with Vanguard Renewables’ experienced management team to support the company’s strong growth momentum. “Today is the beginning of an exciting next chapter for Vanguard Renewables as we scale our Farm Powered® program across the nation. We are thankful for the steadfast support of Vision Ridge over the past eight years and look forward to our new partnership with BlackRock Real Assets, one of the world's most forward-thinking and environmentally-focused investors, as we continue to develop solutions to protect our planet.” -Neil H. Smith, Chief Executive Officer at Vanguard Renewables Since our investment in Vanguard Renewables in 2014, we have worked closely with Neil, John, Kevin, and the entire team to enable them to grow the company from its modest beginnings into the national leader in the development of organics-to-renewable energy projects,” commented George Polk, partner at Vision Ridge Partners. “We are proud to have helped build Vanguard Renewables into an unmatched RNG platform pioneering a decarbonizing pathway in the U.S. while generating strong returns for Vision Ridge investors, and are pleased to transition ownership to a likeminded investor, BlackRock Real Assets. John Hanselman, Founder and Chief Strategy Officer at Vanguard Renewables, concluded, “I am immensely proud to have helped build a company from the ground up into a national organic waste-to-renewable energy leader. Vanguard Renewables’ mission has always been to help America realize a future where waste is a resource for renewable energy generation and regenerative agriculture practice.” Onpeak Capital LLC served as the exclusive financial adviser to Vanguard Renewables. Evercore served as exclusive financial adviser and Simpson Thacher, & Bartlett served as legal counsel to BlackRock Real Assets. Ropes & Gray LLP served as legal counsel to Vision Ridge Partners. About Vanguard Renewables Vanguard Renewables, based in Wellesley, Massachusetts, is a national leader in developing food and dairy waste-to-renewable energy projects. The Company owns and operates on-farm anaerobic digester facilities in the northeast and currently operates manure-only digesters in the south and west for Dominion Energy. Expansion plans include more than 100 anaerobic digestion facilities by 2026. Vanguard Renewables is committed to advancing decarbonization by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from farms and food waste and supporting regenerative agriculture on partner farms through anaerobic digestion. To learn more about the Company, its energy partners, and the Farm Powered Strategic Alliance, visit www.vanguardrenewables.com. About BlackRock Real Assets In today’s dynamic and complex global investing market, BlackRock Real Assets seeks to help clients access real assets that could help meet their investment goals by providing a distinct range of well defined, outcome orientated strategies, along the investment risk-return spectrum. BlackRock Real Assets’ dedicated teams of industry and sector specialists deliver global reach, with deep local expertise. They have decades of relevant experience, are deeply embedded in their operating industries by sector and geography and have developed strong partnership networks over time. BlackRock’s culture of risk management, knowledge sharing and investment discipline sets BlackRock Real Assets apart and underpins all that they do. With over 400 professionals in 30 offices managing over $70 billion in client commitments as of June 30, 2022, BlackRock Real Assets partners with clients to provide solutions tailored to individual portfolio needs such as income, growth, liquid or balanced real assets outcomes. About Vision Ridge Partners Vision Ridge Partners is a preeminent investor in sustainable real assets that seeks to deliver superior financial returns while driving positive environmental impact. Founded by Reuben Munger and joined by partners Justin Goerke and George Polk, Vision Ridge manages approximately $2.5 billion, as of December 31, 2021, across its three funds and associated co-investments. Vision Ridge has offices in Colorado and New York. For more information visit https://vision-ridge.com.

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SOLAR+STORAGE

PanXchange and NIHC Announce Partnership for Climate-Smart Agriculture

PanXchange | June 17, 2022

PanXchange, the industry market structure solution and benchmark price provider for US hemp, and the Washington DC-based National Industrial Hemp Council of America announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will support the growth of financial incentives for carbon sequestration for the US industrial hemp market. "NIHC is a leading and unifying voice for the industry, particularly in regulatory issues for industrial hemp, Partnering with a strong hemp membership and advocacy organization like NIHC will help grow industrial hemp markets and related climate-smart agricultural practices across the supply chain," -Julie Lerner, founder, and CEO of PanXchange. The two companies said the partnership would allow hemp farmers to take advantage of PanXchange's deep knowledge of commodity trading and the potential impact of implementing climate-smart practices specifically for hemp growing and processing. PanXchange is rolling out a transparent carbon program that provides farmers a viable path toward financial rewards for implementing regenerative agricultural practices. Moreover, Lerner explains that the PanXchange program gives farmers full ownership of the carbon credits earned and full agency to market the credits directly to buyers through its online trade platform. The company already has 31,000 acres of croplands committed to the program for the 2023 crop year. Other aspects of the MOU include: PanXchange's carbon program will be the preferred vendor for NIHC's membership of hemp producers under the new agreement. NIHC will partner with PanXchange to craft joint educational programming on carbon credits and regenerative agriculture. PanXchange will serve as the NIHC preferred vendor for research projects involving climate-smart commodity markets and climate-smart practices specifically related to hemp growing and processing. "Carbon sequestration and the voluntary carbon market are part of hemp's renaissance and will be an important part of North American agriculture. This partnership will be a value-add for American farmers who choose to grow hemp. Producers and the companies using these raw goods will also benefit alongside American consumers who will ultimately fulfill the promise of hemp's potential to power our climate-smart economy," - Patrick Atagi, President and CEO of the National Industrial Hemp Council of America. About PanXchange PanXchange specializes in creating ESG-focused physical commodity trading markets and benchmark pricing for better risk management. The firm is launching a vertically integrated and inclusive agricultural carbon program relying on its strong foundation in regenerative agriculture to generate carbon credits for sale on its platform. In doing so, PanXchange has developed buyer-approved and farmer-friendly carbon project methodologies for croplands and grasslands to lower the cost of entry for the average farmer. PanXchange is the leading benchmark price provider in the US hemp industry and the only institutional-grade trading platform for physical transactions. About National Industrial Hemp Council The National Industrial Hemp Council of America provides high-quality networking and resources for its members, from farm to consumer. Its leadership is composed of leading international, federal, state, private industry, and government professionals throughout the sector. The organization is dedicated to furthering market development, assisting members in entering the industry, and educating consumers on industrial hemp and its applications. Learn more about the NIHC at the 2022 Business, Research and Farm Summit happening August 22-23 in Corvallis, Oregon, at the Oregon State Global Hemp Innovation Center.

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ENERGY,PRODUCTS

Cleco Power and DESRI Announce 240 MWac Solar Power Agreement

Cleco Power and DESRI | August 19, 2022

Cleco Power (Cleco) and D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI), a leading renewable energy producer in the U.S., announce a long-term renewable energy off-take agreement. The Dolet Hills Solar Project includes a 240 MWac facility to be constructed at the recently retired Dolet Hills lignite-fired power plant in DeSoto Parish, Louisiana. The Dolet Hills Solar Project supports Cleco's growing renewable energy fleet and follows the company's recent announcement of Project Diamond Vault, a major economic development and decarbonization initiative to build a state-of-the-art carbon capture facility at its central Louisiana Brame Energy Center. "This solar project is another step forward in Cleco's journey to becoming Louisiana's leading clean energy company,This project continues our efforts to reduce our carbon footprint while affordably and reliably serving our customers." -Bill Fontenot, President and CEO of Cleco Corporate Holdings. Pending project approvals, Dolet Hills will boast one of the largest solar facilities in Louisiana and will represent more than $250 million invested towards powering approximately 45,000 homes. While Dolet Hills Solar is the first power purchase agreement between the companies, DESRI's portfolio in Louisiana will now total nearly 700 MWac in construction and contracted clean power projects. DESRI is proud to deliver low-cost, clean, reliable power to Cleco and its customers from this landmark solar energy facility," said Hy Martin, Chief Development Officer of DESRI. Alongside our partners at Cleco, the project will provide local economic benefits to DeSoto Parish and the surrounding communities for years to come. In addition, the project will replace lignite-fired electricity with renewable power sited on reclaimed mining lands. The Dolet Hills Solar Project is expected to deliver significant community benefits, including the creation of local construction jobs and tax revenue for the Parish. When asked about the project, DeSoto Parish President, Ernel Jones, stated "Cleco has been an integral part of the DeSoto Parish community for over 70 years and we look forward to our continued partnership. At the same time, we welcome DESRI and believe the Dolet Hills Solar Project will lead the way for future economic growth in our area. About Cleco Power, LLC Cleco Power is a regulated electric public utility that owns nine generating units with a rated capacity of 3,035 megawatts. Assets also include 1,335 miles of transmission lines and 12,152 miles of distribution lines. Cleco Power uses multiple generating sources and multiple fuels to serve approximately 291,000 customers in 24 of Louisiana's parishes through its retail business and supplies wholesale power in Louisiana and Mississippi. Parishes served include Acadia, Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Calcasieu, Catahoula, DeSoto, Evangeline, Grant, Iberia, Jefferson Davis, LaSalle, Natchitoches, Rapides, Red River, Sabine, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermilion, Vernon and Washington. About D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments (DESRI) and its affiliates develop, acquire, own, and operate long-term contracted renewable energy assets in the U.S. DESRI's portfolio of contracted, operating and in-construction renewable energy projects currently includes more than 65 solar and wind projects representing more than 6 GWac of aggregate capacity. DESRI is a member of the D. E. Shaw group, a global investment and technology development firm with more than $60 billion in investment and committed capital as of June 1, 2022, and offices in North America, Europe, and Asia.

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