QUICK NEWS, February 11: PV PLANT COMPLETES $4.6 BILLION DOE LOAN SUCCESSES; JOBS GROUP, EXELON IN ILLINOIS NEW ENERGY DUEL; DUKE ACQUIRES REC SOLAR
PV PLANT COMPLETES $4.6 BILLION DOE LOAN SUCCESSES Launch of world’s largest PV plant drives home the pro-ITC message
Ben Willis 10 February 2015 PV Tech
The 550 MW Desert Sunlight project co-owned by NextEra Energy Resources, GE Energy Financial Services, and Sumitomo just went online, joining MidAmerican Energy Holdings’s 550 MW Topaz Solar project, which went online late last year, as the two biggest solar power plants in the world in full operation. MidAmerican Energy’s 579 MW Solar Stars project will take the "world’s biggest" crown when it goes fully operational later this year. SunPower, manufacturer of the most efficient solar modules, is the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for it. Desert Sunlight is the last of five 100-plus MW PV solar projects backed by the Department of Energy’s Loan Project Office (LPO) to go online. LPO loan guarantees of $4.6 billion for them led to 17 subsequent 100-plus MW solar projects representing 3.6 GW of installed capacity built without federal support.
The other four original DOE-backed projects, according to a new DOE report, are the 290 MW Agua Caliente co-owned by NRG Solar and MidAmerican, the 242 MW Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One owned by Exelon, the 250 MW California Valley Solar Ranch co-owned by NRG Energy and NRG Solar, and the 170 MW Mesquite Solar co-owned by Sempra Companies and Consolidated Edison. The US had 22 MW of utility-scale solar when the first five projects were awarded LPO backing in 2008 and the Energy Information Administration predicted there would be only 140 MW of utility-scale PV by 2015. Total U.S. utility-scale PV capacity was 8.1 GW at end of Q3 2014. click here for more
JOBS GROUP, EXELON IN ILLINOIS NEW ENERGY DUEL Coalition urges Illinois to boost energy goals
Julie Wernau, February 4, 2015 Chicago Tribune
The Clean Jobs Coalition of labor, business, environmental, and ratepayer advocacy groups and headed by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is pushing Illinois legislators to increase the state’s 25% renewables mandate to 35% by 2030 and up the state’s targeted 2025 electricity consumption reduction from 13% to 20%.Chicago-based Exelon, not part of the coalition, has called for an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy and is pushing state legislators to include nuclear power in the revised mandate so it will not be forced to shutter three of its six Illinois nuclear facilities. Nuclear power is increasingly unable to compete in the electricity market with low cost natural gas generation and fuel-free wind generation. Exelon argues that meeting the Clean Power Plan’s goal of a 30% reduction of greenhouse gases from 2005 levels by 2030 would be challenging for Illinois without nuclear generation but members of Mayor Emanuel’s coalition say emissions can be cut with ramped up energy efficiency and new renewables. click here for more
February 9, 2015 (Duke Energy/REC Solar)
Duke Energy acquired a controlling interest in commercial and industrial scale developer REC Solar and plans to invest up to $225 million in REC solar-developed projects. REC Solar began as a residential rooftop installer but last year sold that part of its business to Sunrun to focus on sales and financing of larger installations. REC Solar has over 400 commercial-industrial installations representing over 140 megawatts of capacity built or in development.
By offering third-party funding to finance installations, REC Solar allows its customers who do not want to invest cash and use the tax equity to avoid high up-front costs and ownership and maintenance responsibilities. Duke Energy Renewables has a commercial-industrial and utility-scale renewables portfolio of 15 wind projects and 22 solar installations in 12 states representing about 1,800 megawatts of total installed capacity. The $225 million fund will be used by REC Solar in markets across the country.click here for more