NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, March 30: TEXAS TOWN GOES 100% NEW ENERGY TO SAVE $$$; LOW COST SOLAR OPPORTUNITIES; RESILIENCE MICROGRIDS TO BOOM

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    Tuesday, March 31, 2015

    QUICK NEWS, March 30: TEXAS TOWN GOES 100% NEW ENERGY TO SAVE $$$; LOW COST SOLAR OPPORTUNITIES; RESILIENCE MICROGRIDS TO BOOM

    TEXAS TOWN GOES 100% NEW ENERGY TO SAVE $$$ Texas city opts for 100% renewable energy – to save cash, not the planet; Georgetown, Texas decision not about going green: ‘I’m probably the furthest thing from an Al Gore clone you could find,’ says city official

    Tom Dart, 29 March 2015 (The Guardian)

    “…Georgetown, a community of about 50,000 people some 25 miles north of Austin…[will] become the first city in the Lone Star State to be powered by 100% renewable energy…[I]n Georgetown, the city utility company has a monopoly…When its staff examined their options last year, they discovered something that seemed remarkable, especially in Texas: renewable energy was cheaper than non-renewable. And so last month city officials finalised a deal with SunEdison, a giant multinational solar energy company. It means that by January 2017, all electricity within the city’s service area will come from wind and solar power…In 2014, the city signed a 20-year agreement with EDF for wind power from a forthcoming project near Amarillo. Taking the renewable elements up to 100%, SunEdison will build plants in west Texas that will provide Georgetown with 150 megawatts of solar power in a deal running from 2016 or 2017 to 2041. With consistent and reliable production the goal, the combination takes into account that wind farms generate most of their energy in the evenings, after the sun has set…[T]hey are getting the security of a fixed rate plan that will be similar to the current cost of about 9.6 cents per kilowatt-hour and will protect them against the impact of fluctuations in the price of fossil fuels…” click here for more

    LOW COST SOLAR OPPORTUNITIES The Innovation That Lets Low-Income People Profit From the Solar Energy Boom A Colorado community solar farm is likely the first of many that lets people buy cheaper, greener electricity.

    Kristine Wong, March 30, 2015 (TakePart)

    “Thanks to net metering—a practice that lets homeowners sell excess electricity generated by solar panels to utilities—Americans in more than 45 states enjoy cheaper and carbon-free power…Yet one group has missed out on the solar bonanza: Low-income families, who are more likely to rent or live in multifamily housing where net metering isn’t available…[But] the United States’ first utility-built community solar farm [from Colorado’s Grand Valley Power] hopes to plug the roofless [in Grand Junction, a mainly rural, low-income area,] into the green-energy boom… Residents will be able to…[save] an estimated $50 to $75 on their monthly utility bill..The solar farm is likely to be the first of many if state legislation encouraging their construction is approved…

    …[Six to 10 families, still being selected, based on demonstrated need] must pay a $30 monthly fee to access the grid. They also must pay two cents per kilowatt-hour for the amount of electricity consumed, which is a steal compared to the 11 cents per kilowatt-hour Grand Valley Power normally charges…Each family will sign a four-year contract, which is renewable if they continue to qualify for the program…To keep costs down, GRID Alternatives negotiated agreements with SunEdison, Enphase Energy, and IronRidge to supply solar panels and other components at a discount. And local organizations Atlasta Solar and Alpine Bank made donations to the project…Legislation now before the Colorado legislature could encourage the spread of community solar farms by letting utilities count them toward a mandate that they obtain 30 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020…” click here for more

    RESILIENCE MICROGRIDS TO BOOM Community Resilience Microgrids; Utility and Third-Party Public Purpose Microgrids: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    1Q 2015 (Navigant Research) “…[T]his report seeks to provide market estimates centered on recent programs and projects specifically linked to resilience in communities in light of recent natural disasters and technology mishaps. Some microgrids may serve multiple purposes, ranging from increasing reliability to renewables integration as well as economic optimization. That is the beauty of this flexible distributed energy resources (DER) networking platform…Despite the obstacles, the [Community Resilience Microgrids (CRM)] market still represents opportunity. While implementation revenue is expected to start out at $162.9 million in 2015, the market is projected to reach $1.4 billion by 2024 under a base scenario. Though the United States leads in terms of policy and technology innovation, the Asia Pacific region is expected to capture the largest market share due to government programs in place in Japan and China. By 2024, this region is projected to represent roughly half of the total CRM market…” click here for more

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