NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, March 26: GOOGLE WANTS MORE WIND; MINNESOTA SOLAR STANDARD MOVES AHEAD; CHEAPER TO SCRAP SAN ONOFRE THAN RESTART IT

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    Tuesday, March 26, 2013

    QUICK NEWS, March 26: GOOGLE WANTS MORE WIND; MINNESOTA SOLAR STANDARD MOVES AHEAD; CHEAPER TO SCRAP SAN ONOFRE THAN RESTART IT

    GOOGLE WANTS MORE WIND Thanks To PTC Extension, Google 'Actively Looking' To Procure Wind Energy

    12 March 2013 (North American Windpower)

    “Encouraged by the extension of the production tax credit (PTC), Google will continue to work with utilities to procure wind energy to power the company's data centers…[T]he company is actively looking at wind projects in the Midwest…

    “Google is leading a growing number of industrial users that serve as wind power off-takers. According to the American Wind Energy Association, at least 18 companies purchased wind energy under long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) or direct ownership from on-site generators. At least 11 schools and universities, as well as eight towns or cities, also joined the list of nontraditional power purchasers.”

    “Google’s initial foray into wind energy procurement dates back to 2010, when the company worked directly with NextEra Energy Resources…[T]he company has since refined its approach to wind energy procurement [taking direct delivery at its data centers]…Google has also invested $1 billion in renewable energy projects, such as the 845 MW Shepherds Flat wind farm, located in Oregon; the massive Alta Wind Energy Center, located in Southern California; the Atlantic Wind Connection, a proposed transmission backbone for offshore wind projects; and four solar photovoltaic (PV) plants in Southern California.

    “Although Google has a 1.7 MW solar PV installation at its Mountain View, Calif.-based headquarters, the company is waiting until costs decrease before making more investments in solar…Google’s commitment to sustainable energy is part of the company's goal of becoming carbon neutral…”

    MINNESOTA SOLAR STANDARD MOVES AHEAD The Making of a Midwestern Solar Energy Standard

    John Farrell, March 14, 2013 (Institute for Local Self-Reliance)

    “…[The Minnesota state legislature House Energy Policy Committee] voted 8-6 to approve a 4% by 2025 solar energy standard, with an innovative new approach to financing solar power. It’s a powerful first step for what would be one of the more robust policies to support distributed, local solar power in the country…

    …[The] Solar Standard…sets a timeline for utilities to add solar to their electricity mix…0.5% of electricity sales by 2016…2.0% of electricity sales by 2020…4.0% of electricity sales by 2025…And, an “objective” of 10% solar by 2030…[but it] is not a carve-out of the existing 25% by 2025 renewable energy standard…”

    “…[T]he legislation [also] requires utilities to mimic the VOS calculation popularized by Austin Energy in Texas, essentially setting a market price for solar power (per kilowatt-hour) on the basis of its value [in seven ways] to the grid…Line loss savings from avoided electricity imports on the transmission and distribution grid…[S]avings from avoiding upgrades to transmission and distribution…[S]avings from reducing wholesale energy purchases…[S]avings from offsetting the need for new (peak) capacity…Fuel price hedge value from a zero fuel cost…Environmental benefits…Economic benefits from the growth of the state’s solar industry…”

    “The VOS price will be combined with a production-based incentive (PBI) to offer solar energy generators a price sufficient to provide a reasonable return…Utilities must develop and use a standard [20 year] contract…This dramatically simplifies the financing and development of distributed solar…[growing] a diversity of utility-scale and distributed solar…[The standard] promises to deliver over 2,100 megawatts of solar power…create over 8,000 jobs and…[add] $5.8 billion in the state’s economy in the next decade….[at] a forecast blended cost per kilowatt-hour (for the incentive) of just 2.7¢ per kWh…”

    CHEAPER TO SCRAP SAN ONOFRE THAN RESTART IT San Onofre: Restart plan would cost customers $150M more than replacement power; Edison financials show keeping reactor shut down three times cheaper than startup

    Adam Russell, March 22, 2013 (Friends of the Earth)

    “…[After both reactors at the crippled San Onofre nuclear power plant being offline for 14 months, restarting one of them] this summer would cost Southern California Edison’s customers three times as much as keeping it shut down and buying [readily available] power from other sources, according to an independent analysis commissioned by Friends of the Earth.

    “In an emergency motion filed today with the California Public Utilities Commission, Friends of the Earth said Edison’s own figures show that restarting reactor Unit 2 and running it at partial power for five months, as the utility proposes, would cost almost $150 million more than buying readily available replacement power on the open market. If Edison can’t justify that cost, the group said, the PUC should rule at once that Edison cannot pass those costs on to consumers, which could lead to Edison deciding to keep it closed…”

    “The analysis…found that Edison’s publicly reported cost of operating San Onofre in 2012 was $640 million -- an amount charged to customers even though the plant produced electricity for just one month. The cost of replacement power was $175 million for the year. Scaling Edison’s figures to five months of operation shows that operating Unit 2 would cost about $214 million, versus $66 million for replacement power…

    “…Friends of the Earth asked the PUC to…[to require of Edison] a cost-benefit analysis for its restart plan within two weeks…[T]he issue is an emergency because the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has indicated that it could rule as early as May whether to allow Edison to restart the reactor and run it at 70 percent power for five months -- an untested experiment that could further damage the plant’s severely worn steam generators -- this damage already caused the release of radioactive steam in January 2012…”

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