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EDF Renewables North America Signs Power Purchase Agreement with BASF for Solar Energy

EDF Renewables North America today announced the Space City Solar Project is progressing with critical development milestones having signed the first tranche of 55 megawatts (MWac) / 73 MWdc to BASF through a Power Purchase Agreement.  The Project’s total capacity is up to 345 MWac / 455 MWdc.  Space City Solar, located in Wharton County, Texas, is expected to commence construction in Summer 2021 and begin delivery of clean electricity in Summer 2022.

Approximately 300 jobs are expected to be created during the construction phase with more than $30 million generated in new tax revenue over the operating life for Wharton County taxing entities.  In addition to providing stable payments to local landowners who chose to lease their land, the Louise Independent School District has the ability to receive $2.5 million in revenue, including $1.8 million in the first year of operation providing the district enacts a Chapter 313 Agreement by December 31, 2020.

Space City Solar is specially designed to generate clean energy while minimizing impacts to wildlife, habitat, and other environmental resources. The project will utilize high efficiency bifacial solar photovoltaic (PV) modules.

“This transaction demonstrates EDF Renewables’ continued commitment to helping corporate customers meet their wholesale power supply needs and sustainability initiatives,” said Matt McCluskey, Vice President, South Region Development for EDF Renewables. “Space City Solar will provide an economic boost to the local economy through construction jobs, local spend and an expanded tax base.”

With 35 years of experience and 16 gigawatts of renewable projects developed throughout North America, EDF Renewables provides a fully integrated bundle of energy solutions from grid-scale wind, solar, and solar plus storage projects to electric vehicle charging and energy storage management.

For more information: https://www.edf-re.com/press-release/edf-renewables-north-america-signs-power-purchase-agreement-with-basf-for-solar-energy/

ERCOT Report Shows Increasing Reserves in Coming Years

Accelerated utility-scale solar growth boosts reserve margins.

New generation resources, including a significant amount of utility-scale solar, continue to be added to the ERCOT region at a rapid pace, resulting in higher planning reserve margins over the next several years.

ERCOT today released its December Capacity, Demand and Reserves (CDR) Report, which includes planning reserve margins for the next five years. The planning reserve margin for summer 2021 is forecasted to be 15.5%, based on resource updates provided to ERCOT from generation developers and an updated peak demand forecast. This is down 1.8% from what was reported in the May CDR due to solar and wind project delays and cancellations. Between 2022 and 2025, the planning reserve margin is expected to reach 25-27%.

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“In 2018 and 2019, ERCOT experienced historically-low planning reserve margins due to plant retirements,” said ERCOT President and CEO Bill Magness. “These business cycles of retirements and new investments are expected in the ERCOT market,and it is ERCOT’s job to maintain reliable electric service through the various changing conditions.” Any changes to generation resources will be accounted for in future CDR reports.

The ERCOT region continues to see growth in customer demand, and will be incorporating demand served by Lubbock Power and Light beginning in June 2021. The forecasted peak demand for summer 2021 is 77,244 MW, and was calculated using revised economic data released by Moody’s Analytics in August. ERCOT’s current system-wide peak demand record is 74,820 MW, set on Aug. 12, 2019, between 4 and 5 p.m.

ERCOT has seen a significant increase in utility-scale solar resources, and based on the grid operator’s current interconnection queue for new generation projects, this trend is expected to continue over the next several years.

The grid operator is also seeing continued and accelerated growth in rooftop solar projects. In response, ERCOT included its first, separate rooftop solar PV forecast in the CDR. The forecast was created to show the incremental capacity growth beyond the historical growth trend reflected in the load forecast.

Based on preliminary data from generation owners, planned resources expected to be available by summer 2021 have a summer-rated capacity of 5,620 MW. This includes 816 MW of gas-fired resources, 1,765 MW of wind resources and 3,039 MW of utility-scale solar resources. An additional 9,273 MW of summer-rated solar capacity is expected to be added by June 2022.

Resources totaling 1,917 MW of installed capacity have been approved by ERCOT for commercial operations since the May CDR, and a total of 12,525 MW of installed capacity became eligible for inclusion in the CDR.

While there are only a small number of battery facilities on the ERCOT system at this time, there are a significant number of battery projects in the interconnection queue. Through the Battery Energy Storage Task Force, ERCOT has worked with stakeholders to develop new market rules for integrating these resources into the ERCOT system. The next step will be to study operational data for existing batteries in order to better understand their contributions during peak hours so their capacity can be appropriately accounted for in future CDR reports.

ERCOT’s next Seasonal Assessment of Resource Adequacy will be released in March 2021, along with a preliminary summer weather assessment that considers drought conditions in Texas.As ERCOT prepares the summer assessment, it is mindful of the accelerating pace of drought in Texas, which could significantly affect summer weather and demand for electricity. The mid-year CDR report will be released in May 2021.

Background on the CDR report

The CDR report includes a look forward at all currently operational and planned resource capacity as reported to ERCOT by resource developers and owners. It provides annual projections of ERCOT’s planning reserve margins for the summer and winter seasons. The planning reserve margin is the difference between the total generation available in the ERCOT system and the forecasted firm peak demand, with the difference expressed as a percentage of the forecasted firm peak demand.

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ERCOT, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, manages the flow of electric power to more than 26 million Texas customers, representing about 90 percent of the state’s electric load. As the Independent System Operator for the region, ERCOT schedules power on an electric grid that connects more than 46,500 miles of transmission lines and 680+ generation units. ERCOT also performs financial settlement for the competitive wholesale bulk-power market and administers retail switching for more than 8 million premises in competitive choice areas. ERCOT is a membership-based 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, governed by a board of directors and subject to oversight by the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Texas Legislature.

Source: ERCOT
Media Contact: Leslie Sopko, (512) 779-8345, leslie.sopko@ercot.com

Economic Study of Texas Renewables Investment Highlights Massive Benefit to Rural Communities

Energy and economic analysts IdeaSmiths recently released The Economic Impact of Renewable Energy in Rural Texas – a report commissioned by Conservative Texans for Energy Innovation and Powering Texas – which examined the economic development, tax, and landowner impacts of utility scale renewable energy development in Texas.

The findings of the research showed that the financial impacts of these developments are positive, substantial, and growing. Some key findings include:

  • If all projects with interconnection agreements are built, existing and planned utility-scale wind and solar projects will pay between $8.1 billion and $10 billion in total tax revenue over their lifetimes. 
  • Existing utility-scale solar and wind projects in Texas will pay Texas landowners between $4.8 billion and $7.3 billion over the lifetime of the projects. 
  • If all of the projects with signed interconnection queues are built, Texas landowners will directly receive between $8 billion and $13.1 billion over the existing and planned project lifetimes. 
  • Of these taxes and landowner payments, over 70% are paid to rural counties. 
  • A county in Texas could expect to receive between $9.4 million and $13.1 million in lifetime taxes (including school taxes) for a 100 MW solar project located in its boundaries and between $16.8 million and $20.3 million for a 100 MW wind project. 
  • IdeaSmiths estimates that a Texas landowner could expect to collect between $16.2 and $33 million in payments over the lifetime of a 100 MW wind farm, depending on length of contract and location in the state. 
  • IdeaSmiths estimate that a Texas landowner could expect to collect between $5.2 and $27.7 million in payments over the lifetime of a 100 MW solar farm, depending on length of contract and location in the state.
  • Residents and community leaders in rural areas indicated that counties with renewable energy projects tend to see them as good neighbors.  
  • Elected county leaders look favorably on renewable energy projects for the planning stability that comes with having confidence in consistent longterm revenue streams. 
  • Even residents that do not have wind turbines or solar panels benefit from their contribution to the local economy.

For many Texas communities, renewable energy development represents an unparalleled economic opportunity. Many, especially agriculture producing areas, have a limited property tax (ad valorem) base on which to rely for school and local government funding. In an already-underfunded region, utility-scale renewable power development brings much needed infusions of tax revenue and landowner income, bringing local revenues up to meet existing needs without creating new burdens on infrastructure, housing supplies, school systems, or social services.

The full study is available on the IdeaSmiths website at: https://www.ideasmiths.net/reports-publications/.

Advanced Power Alliance Recognizes Texas State Representative Jim Murphy as “Texas Energy Champion”

June 25, 2019 – Advanced Power Alliance President Jeff Clark and American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Vice President Susan Sloan presented the “Texas Energy Champion” award to Texas State Representative Jim Murphy (District 133 – West Houston) at a meeting in Houston this morning.

The award was presented by the APA and AWEA in recognition of Murphy’s policy work to support economic development in the state, and for his commitment to promoting all of Texas’ diverse energy industries. Representative Murphy is serving his sixth term in the Texas House where he chairs the Committee on Pensions, Investments, and Financial Services and serves as a member of the Committee on Ways and Means.

In presenting the award to Chairman Murphy, Clark cited the Chairman’s willingness to make economic development a priority for the state:

“Because of his expertise in important business and economic development issues, his commitment to growing our state’s economy, and his willingness to work with all stakeholders, Chairman Murphy is a respected and effective member of the Texas House of Representatives.

“He is a lawmaker who wants to see Texas to achieve its incredible economic potential and he is working to enact free market policies to promote prosperity and ensure that our state remains internationally competitive.

“His work to promote all of Texas’ diverse energy industries is paying dividends by creating a business climate that attracts capital investment and creates job opportunities for workers across the state. That translates into a better quality of life for all Texans.

“This Texas Energy Champion award represents the appreciation of our many energy industries and their employees, from the Panhandle to the Rio Grande and from the Rockies to the Piney Woods. Chairman Murphy’s visionary work is helping to create jobs and keep Texas in the forefront as America’s energy leader.”

Jeff Clark, President
Advanced Power Alliance

When Wind Turbines Move to Town – How Do Rural Communities Benefit?

By Anna Luke, American Wind Energy Association
Originally published on Into the Wind

It wasn’t always the case, but nowadays rural places are often among those in greatest need of new economic development. Sadly, the farm belt and Rust Belt have been losing jobs and investment for decades. It will take significant change to raise up rural communities, including welcoming new opportunities like wind. Rural areas already are home to 99 percent of the country’s wind turbines, with more on the way.

Building a wind farm can be a big change for a small town, but a number of benefits come along with those changes, including:

1. Job Creation

Hundreds of construction workers come to town during the build-out, bringing new regulars to the local diner. And full-time employees will have jobs at the wind farm, often a major new town employer. There are now more than 100,000 people working in the wind industry, and wind turbine technician is the fastest growing job in America. This is a huge opportunity for young men and women who are looking for good-paying jobs in rural towns.


2. Economic Development

It’s typically pretty rare when a multi-million dollar economic investment comes knocking at the door of a small town. When else does that happen? Maybe when a new superstore wants to open a location near you or a sports team relocates to your area.

3. Increased tax revenue and/or lower taxes for individuals

When April 15 rolls around, how would you like to pay no local taxes? For the town of Sheldon, N.Y., the project generated so much tax revenue that local residents paid no taxes for eight years. Payments went to improving roads, building a basketball court at the town park, and erecting new walls at the town’s cemeteries.


4. Landowner Lease Payments

Rural landowners receive nearly a quarter of a billion dollars in lease payments every year for hosting wind turbines, acting as their new “drought-resistant cash crop.” Many project developers also provide payments to other residents living nearby as a goodwill gesture as well. These payments are significant income streams and can help keep the farm in the family.


5. Funding for Community Projects

The companies that own wind projects want to be good corporate citizens, and often donate to local charities and community projects like parades, restoration efforts, and youth clubs. For example, Enel Green Power North America and TradeWind donated $50,000 to renovate Leonardo Children’s Museum in Enid, Oklahoma, which included improvements like an interactive Power Tower exhibit on oil, natural gas, wind and solar power.

Utility-scale wind projects are a big adjustment for small communities, but they bring significant benefits to town. To hear about some on-the-ground experiences with wind, check out some more YouTube testimonials.

Fort Hood Renewable Energy Facilities Enter Commercial Operations

Killeen, Texas – The U.S. Army’s largest single renewable energy project began officially generating clean electricity on April 27.Apex Clean Energy (Apex) developed, managed construction of, and currently operates the groundbreaking hybrid wind and solar complex, which will provide more than 50 percent of the annual load at U.S. Army Garrison Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.

Apex and Northleaf Capital Partners (Northleaf) own the renewable energy portfolio of which the complex is a part: the 50.4 MW Cotton Plains Wind and 151.2 MW Old Settler Wind facilities in Floyd County, Texas; and the 15.4 MWac Phantom Solar on-site at Fort Hood.

The Defense Logistics Agency–Energy, on behalf of the Army, is purchasing the power from Cotton Plains Wind and Phantom Solar to supply energy to Fort Hood. The two facilities will save the Army—and taxpayers—an estimated $168 million in direct energy costs over the life of the project. Old Settler Wind, meanwhile, is generating enough clean electricity to power 51,000 average U.S. homes. Apex is providing asset management services for all three facilities.

“With our deep corporate ties to the military, Apex is honored to partner with the Army on its goals to increase our country’s energy independence and protect our national security,” said Mark Goodwin, president and CEO of Apex. “We are all proud to help Fort Hood ensure decades of consistent, affordable, and secure clean energy.”

“We are pleased to partner with Apex, given the company’s reputation as a leading renewable energy company,” said Jared Waldron, a director at Northleaf. “Direct investments in fully contracted wind and solar assets are consistent with Northleaf’s investment strategy and offer stable cash flows and attractive long-term returns for our investors.”

Apex and Northleaf arranged debt financing and tax equity commitments for the renewable portfolio. CohnReznick Capital served as financial adviser to Apex.

The U.S. Army and Apex Clean Energy will host a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Fort Hood on June 2 to commemorate the start of operations. More information will be provided as the date approaches.

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About Apex
Apex Clean Energy builds, owns, and operates utility-scale wind and solar power facilities. Apex was the U.S. market leader in 2015 and has brought nearly 1,700 MW online over the past two years.

With a team of over 200 professionals and the nation’s largest wind energy project pipeline, Apex is a leader in the transition to a clean energy future. For more information, visitwww.apexcleanenergy.com.

About Northleaf Capital Partners
Northleaf Capital Partners is a leading independent global private equity, infrastructure and private credit manager, with more than $9 billion in commitments under management on behalf of public, corporate and multi-employer pension plans, university endowments, foundations, financial institutions and family offices. Northleaf’s global infrastructure program pursues direct investments in mature, conservatively-positioned infrastructure assets in developed markets.

Northleaf’s 85-person team, located in Toronto, London, Chicago, and Menlo Park, is focused exclusively on sourcing, evaluating and managing private markets investments globally. Northleaf currently manages seven global private equity funds, two specialist private equity secondary funds, two infrastructure funds, a private credit fund and a series of customized investment mandates tailored to meet the specific needs of institutional investors and family offices. For more information on Northleaf, please visitwww.northleafcapital.com.

The Home Depot Taps Texas Wind Farm for Renewable Energy

(Atlanta, Georgia)  The Home Depot® today announced its first major investment in a wind-powered renewable energy project.

The energy purchased from the wind farm is enough to power 100 Home Depot stores for a year while also providing $150,000 in local community benefits.The Los Mirasoles Wind Farm, owned and operated by EDP Renewables North America, is located in Hidalgo and Starr Counties, northeast of McAllen, Texas. Through a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA), The Home Depot’s annual purchase of 50 megawatts (MW) is a fifth of the wind farm’s 250 MW capacity. The farm utilizes Vestas V110 2.0 MW wind turbines and produces enough power to provide more than 70,000 average U.S. homes with clean electricity each year.

The Home Depot partnered with EDP Renewables for the Texas development in 2016. EDP Renewables operates globally with 41 wind farms across North America.  As a part of its renewable energy initiative, The Home Depot’s goal is to procure 135 megawatts of various renewable energy sources, including solar and wind, by the end of 2020.

In addition to the wind farm, the company also procures energy from solar farms in Delaware and Massachusetts with a combined annual output of 14.5 million kilowatt hours (kWh). More than 150 stores and distribution centers utilize on-site fuel cells that produce roughly 85 percent of the electricity each store needs to operate.

For more on The Home Depot’s wind energy project, visit: https://corporate.homedepot.com/newsroom/texas-wind-farm-renewable-energy

The Home Depot is the world’s largest home improvement specialty retailer, with 2,278 retail stores in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. In fiscal 2015, The Home Depot had sales of $88.5 billion and earnings of $7.0 billion. The Company employs more than 385,000 associates. The Home Depot’s stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

SOURCE: The Home Depot

 

Natural Gas and Renewables, A Partnership With Which Coal Can’t Compete

By Jeffrey Clark
http://eecn.johnshopkins.edu/index.php/2016/11/15/1512/#ixzz4VtCXZCTF

In an ugly weekend for Texas football fans, the Longhorns were defeated by the West Virginia Mountaineers.  Sitting in the stadium, I reflected on our just-ended Presidential election in which energy issues – particularly the promise of a coal renaissance – played a major role.  I was struck by the bigger battle between these two states currently unfolding off the gridiron.  That competition is for the future of American electric power generation and, campaign rhetoric aside, it is one in which natural gas, wind, and solar from states like Texas and Oklahoma will resoundingly defeat the dirtier and increasingly more expensive coal from the mines of states like West Virginia.

Peaking in 2007 when it was used to generate half of the United States’ electric power, coal use has been declining steadily while the use of low-priced natural gas has been on the rise.  By 2015, coal’s share had fallen dramatically, with each fuel then providing about one-third of our nation’s power generation.  In coal country, this shift is often blamed on environmental policies, overregulation, and the growth of renewable energy.  In reality, the causes are more complicated.  While new regulations reducing harmful emissions from coal power plants have increased their cost of operations, the reduction in our use of coal is driven by economics, attributable primarily to the arrival of inexpensive and abundant natural gas.

Fuel switching by power generators is becoming common, with low natural gas prices the primary driving force.  A study by BTU Analytics concluded that natural gas priced near $2.50/MMBtu provides sufficient economic justification for shutting down coal plants and replacing them with newer gas generation.  This switching is also driven by the flexibility of natural gas generation, which allows it to work in concert with other low or no emission generators, especially renewables.

Unlike coal power plants which cannot be efficiently started and stopped, new gas generation units can ramp quickly, meaning that they can serve to balance generation fluctuations from variable generation resources like wind and solar.  A recent study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that a 1% rise in fast reacting natural gas generation was associated with a 0.88% rise in renewable generation.  The authors, analyzing data from 26 OECD countries, concluded “that renewables and fast-reacting fossil technologies appear as highly complementary and that they should be jointly installed to meet the goals of cutting emissions and ensuring a stable supply.”

That “highly complementary” relationship is a simple one. Natural gas power plants provide power with reduced emissions, high reliability, and some price volatility; while renewables offer emission-free, low cost, fixed-priced power with variability in generation output.  Married together, they offer high reliability, lower prices, moderate price stability, and reduced emissions.

There is irony in the fact that many of America’s most energy-rich states import the fuels currently essential to powering their lives and economies.  The symbiotic partnership between natural gas and renewables is helping these states, including Texas, break their addiction to imported coal bringing wide-ranging economic benefits including energy independence, consumer savings on power, emissions reductions, rural economic development, and new tax revenue for governments and schools.

President-Elect Donald J. Trump has promised much to energy producers, leaving constituencies in the natural gas and coal producing communities hoping that their fortunes are about to rise.  But, unlike the annual battle that plays out on the football field, the contest between West Virginia coal and Texas natural gas is already in the fourth quarter and fans are walking out of the stadium.  Coal is not clean enough, affordable enough, or flexible enough to compete in the clean energy market of the future.  Instead, the future will be dominated by a new group of states harnessing new technologies, their infinite renewable energy resources, and their vast supplies of cleaner-burning natural gas.

Other Reading:

How Renewables Can Save Natural Gas – Bloomberg

Invenergy to Provide Clean Power to 3M Company

Renewable Energy Producer Partners with 3M to Reduce Emissions Through Wind Power.  Agreement Brings Invenergy’s Corporate Customer Renewable Energy Portfolio to 570 MW

Chicago, Illinois – Invenergy today announced that it has signed a 120 MW wind power purchase agreement (PPA) with 3M to provide the global science-based company with renewable energy to help support its operations across North America.

“3M is a global company with a commitment to sustainability and we’re very proud to help them strengthen that commitment with this agreement,” said Invenergy’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing Craig Gordon. “Corporate off-site renewable energy procurement is one of the most exciting changes we’ve seen recently in our industry as the sector nearly tripled from 2014 to 2015 with more than 3,400 MW announced. We expect 2016 to be another strong year for direct corporate procurement.”

The agreement with 3M includes the sale of wind energy from the Gunsight Wind Energy Center located in Texas. Energy from the 120 MW project will be delivered into the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) regional electricity grid. With the addition of Gunsight, Invenergy will operate more than 1,700 MW of power plants in the state.

“This agreement is an important and significant step toward accomplishing our company goal of increasing renewable energy to 25 percent of our total electricity use by 2025,” said Jean Bennington Sweeney, vice president, 3M Environment, Health, Safety and Sustainability. “Perhaps even more importantly, this is an exciting step in helping to transform the way the world uses energy. Innovation and partnerships like this one with Invenergy are critical to improving our business, our planet and people’s lives across the globe.”

In January, Invenergy announced a 225 MW wind power purchase agreement with Google to provide the multinational technology giant with renewable energy to help support all of its data centers worldwide. Google first announced this deal in November at the COP21 conference in Paris. And in late 2015, Invenergy also announced two separate wind power purchase agreements with Equinix, Inc. and another Fortune 500 corporation to provide the companies with renewable energy to support their ambitious corporate sustainability goals. Each of those agreements, along with the PPA with 3M, brings Invenergy’s total corporate customer renewable energy portfolio to 570 MW.

As a signatory to the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, Invenergy is dedicated not only to meeting its own sustainability goals, but to helping its corporate customers achieve their goals. Invenergy is also a founding member of Rocky Mountain Institute’s Business Renewables Center, which is a collaborative platform aimed at accelerating corporate renewable energy procurement.

About Invenergy
Invenergy is delivering innovation in energy. Invenergy and its affiliated companies develop, own, and operate large-scale renewable and other clean energy generation and storage facilities in the Americas, and Europe. Invenergy’s home office is located in Chicago and it has regional development offices in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Europe.

Invenergy and its affiliated companies have developed more than 10,300 MW of projects that are in operation, in construction, or under contract, including wind, solar, and natural gas-fueled power generation projects and energy storage facilities. For more information, please visit www.invenergyllc.com.

Wind Turbines Powering the City of Georgetown, Texas

From the City of Georgetown:

Wind turbines are providing for Georgetown’s energy needs three months ahead of schedule. The Spinning Spur 3 wind farm near Amarillo, which was projected to start producing electricity in January, became operational September 28, 2015. The wind plant is now providing energy to meet most of Georgetown’s daily power needs, positioning Georgetown on the path to a 100 percent renewable energy goal.

The Spinning Spur 3 wind farm owned by EDF Renewable Energy produces 194 megawatts of electricity, which is enough to power 58,200 homes annually. Georgetown’s 20-year contract is for 144 megawatts.

The 18,000 acre Spinning Spur 3 plant has 97 wind turbines, each of which produces 2 megawatts of power, or enough to power 600 homes annually. Electricity generated at the Spinning Spur 3 wind farm is sent to Georgetown via transmission lines.

The grid will ensure a constant power supply to Georgetown if the turbines are not online, but on most days, Georgetown’s energy needs will be supplied by the wind plant. When a solar plant comes online at the end of 2016, Georgetown will have enough power under contract to serve the entire demand for the utility.

In March, the City of Georgetown announced that the municipal electric utility will be powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2017. The utility will be powered by the EDF Renewable Energy wind plant and a SunEdison solar farm that will be constructed near Fort Stockton next year.