NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, August 25: SOLAR CHEAPER THAN NAT GAS; WIND TO THE RESCUE; NUKE PLANT COSTS STILL RISING

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    Tuesday, August 25, 2015

    QUICK NEWS, August 25: SOLAR CHEAPER THAN NAT GAS; WIND TO THE RESCUE; NUKE PLANT COSTS STILL RISING

    SOLAR CHEAPER THAN NAT GAS SunEdison Solar Farm Beats Gas With Biggest Colorado Project

    Chris Martin, August 20, 2015 (Bloomberg News)

    SunEdison, the world’s biggest renewables developer, began construction in Colorado on the 156 MW Comanche solar installation. Its output will go to Xcel Energy subsidiary Public Service of Colorado (PSC), the state’s dominant electric utility. The project’s 25 year power purchase agreement (PPA) with PSC was won through a 2013 open solicitation. SunEdison’s undisclosed bid price beat bids for natural gas generation at $5.90 per million British thermal units (MMbtu) for 20 years and at $5.96 per MMbtu for 25 years. Natural gas was $2.71 on August 21 but forecasted by PSC to be over $6 by 2020. Record low prices for solar are coming in across the country. Austin Energy's most recent bid came in at under $40 per MWh (less than $0.04 per kWh). NV Energy signed a PPA for the 100 MW output of First Solar’s Playa Solar 2 installation at $0.0387 per kWh, which is thought to be the lowest rate for solar yet made public. click here for more

    WIND TO THE RESCUE A mighty optimistic wind estimate fuels EPA rule

    Peter Behr, August 7, 2015 (E&E Publishing)

    The Clean Power Plan relies on obtaining its 32% reduction in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 through increasing to 28% the share of total U.S. power generation from wind and other renewables. Wind’s capability for meeting its share of that generation hinges on Congress renewing the $0.023 per kWh federal production tax credit (PTC). A recent National Renewable Energy Laboratory analysis showed that despite wind’s falling price, the tax incentive is vital to its growth. The EPA’s analysis shows wind can meet the CPP need without it. If the PTC is not renewed and wind’s growth falters, each state’s CPP implementation will have to find a way to replace it with natural gas, solar, energy efficiency and/or conservation. A Senate subcommittee recently passed a two-year extension of the PTC and its companion investment tax credit 23-3 but prospects in the full Senate are not promising for the $10.5 billion (over 10 years) budget item. click here for more

    NUKE PLANT COSTS STILL RISING Fitch: 'Failure' of new nuke construction means fewer plants

    Matthew Bandyk, August 20, 2015 (SNL)

    The under-construction Vogtle nuclear facility in Georgia and V.C. Summer nuclear facility in South Carolina are both about three years behind schedule and each is expected come in billions of dollars over their original budgets. These poor performances are expected to discourage further U.S. investment in nuclear power in the near term. The U.S. Energy Information Administration forecast of nuclear generation falling by 10,800 MW through 2020 could be understated because political pressure and the higher-than-expected cost of operations and maintenance is forcing plant retirements. Longer term hope for nuclear advocates comes from The EPA Clean Power Plan’s assignment of compliance to states that use new nuclear plants and existing facility upgrades that add new capacity. And the Department of Energy last year announced it would accept applications from nuclear developers for $12.5 billion in loan guarantees. click here for more

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