Hawaii mandates 100 percent renewable energy by 2045
Hawaii lawmakers voted 74-2 to pass the nation’s first state-wide requirement for 100 percent renewable energy generation. House Bill (HB) 623 mandates that the entirety of the state’s energy portfolios must be generated using renewable energy resources no later than 2045./. As reported by eSolarEnergyNews, Jeff Mikulina, Executive Director of the Blue Planet Foundation said, “Hawaii lawmakers made history passing this legislation–not only for the islands, but for the planet. Passage of this measure is a historic step towards a fossil fuel-free Hawaii. This visionary policy is a promise to future generations that their lives will be powered not by climate-changing fossil fuel, but by clean, local, and sustainable sources of energy.”
“Local renewable projects are already cheaper than liquid natural gas and oil,” said Chris Lee, Chairman of the House Energy and Environmental Protection Committee and introducer of HB 623. “Our progress toward meeting our renewable energy standards has already saved local residents hundreds of millions on their electric bills. Moving to 100 percent renewable energy will do more to reduce energy prices for local residents in the long term than almost anything else we could do.”
House Bill 623 also increases interim requirements for renewable energy to 30 percent by 2020. Last year, Hawaii generated about 22 percent of its electricity from renewable resources.
NextEra Energy breaks ground on New York solar projects
NextEra Energy Resources started construction on two distributed generation solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in Oneida County, New York. The systems will have the capacity to produce 5.2-MW of solar power. “The state of New York has made a commitment to a cleaner energy future, and we’re happy to play a role in helping them to achieve this vision,” said Matt Handel, vice president of development for NextEra Energy Resources. “Now we’re entering the most exciting phase of a solar project, watching the system come to life and begin generating clean, reliable power for the local community.”
The two systems will feature 17,086 solar modules from Suntech Power and Canadian Solar. Oneida County will purchase the electricity generated under a 25-year power purchase agreement with NextEra Energy, which will own, operate and maintain the systems for the life of the contract.
Panel backs plan for nuclear waste disposal near Lake Huron
A Canadian advisory panel has endorsed a long-debated plan to bury waste from nuclear power plants less than a mile from Lake Huron.
The Joint Review Panel made its recommendation in a report to Canada’s environment minister, who is expected to render a decision within 120 days.
Publicly owned Ontario Power Generation wants to bury 7.1 million cubic feet of low- and intermediate-level waste from nuclear plants about 2,230 feet below the earth’s surface at the Bruce Power generating station near Kincardine, Ontario.
Company officials say it would be entombed in rock and wouldn’t reach the lake. Opponents say there’s no way to assure that, as some material would be radioactive for centuries.
The advisory panel says it concluded the project is unlikely to harm the environment, including Lake Huron.
CHP market worth $14 billion a year by 2024
The combined heat and power (CHP) market is expected to be worth $14 billion annually by 2024. That’s according to a report recently published by Navigant Research.
The forecasted growth is thought to be due to the concerns of policymakers, utilities, and facility owners about grid reliability, electricity demand, and greenhouse gas emissions.
“While the market as a whole is experiencing steady growth, CHP’s penetration into global building infrastructure has been minimal,” says Brett Feldman, senior research analyst with Navigant Research. “In 2015, globally, the technical potential of floor space that could be served by commercial CHP is estimated at 441 billion square feet-but only a fraction of this total can be realistically served due to the high upfront capital cost associated with these types of systems.”
In addition to the high upfront expense, additional conditions including high spark spreads, thermal requirements, and utility cooperation must be present for installed systems to be viable according to the report.
As such, the majority of today’s installations are confined to developed areas such as the United States, Northern Europe, South Korea, and Japan.
Con Edison acquires 140 MW of solar power projects
Con Edison Development, a unit of Consolidated Edison, bought six solar photovoltaic (PV) projects totaling 140-MW from a PV project portfolio developed through a joint venture between SolarReserve and GCL Solar Energy.
Ranging in size from 20-MW to 25-MW, the projects acquired by Con Edison Development are in Tulare, Kings and Fresno counties. The projects are all fully permitted, with interconnection agreements in place.
Power purchase agreements have been secured with Southern California Edison (SCE) for four of the projects and with Pacific Gas & Electric for the remaining two.
The acquisition adds to Con Edison Development’s existing portfolio of solar projects in California and to its overall renewable energy asset base around the U.S.
Report says 8,700 MW to be retired in PJM during May and June
The already significant pace of coal plant retirements in PJM Interconnection is about to kick into high gear over the next couple of months, according to a new study by Genscape.
The onslaught of coal capacity retirements in May and June could likely exert upward pressure on power prices in PJM, which have so far been running below 2014 levels, according to Genscape.
From June 2014 through the end of March 2015, more than 2.5 GW of generation has retired within the PJM footprint, and a number of retirements are planned for the next couple months, Genscape said in the white paper, which was shared with GenerationHub.
That first major wave of retirements was primarily coal, along with some natural gas and oil-fired capacity.
More than 1.4 GW of capacity in PJM is set to retire this month. The May retirements will be followed by another round of retirements set for June 1, 2015, when more than 7.3 GW of capacity is scheduled to be deactivated.
“Should any of the units slated to retire on June  come offline in May, there is significant bullish risk to prices especially during the last week of May,” Genscape said. “The retirements that are coming in June are major, baseload coal units in Western PJM including Big Sandy (800 MW), Tanners Creek (988 MW), Muskingum River (1,400 MW), and Sporn (600 MW),” according to Genscape. All four of those facilities are affiliated with American Electric Power.
Between April 15 and June 15 of this year almost 10,000 MW, or 9,983 MW to be exact, are expected to have retired, according to Genscape data. The vast majority of these retirements come from coal-fired capacity – as well as some oil and natural gas capacity.
Allete Clean Energy to acquire wind facilities in three states
Allete Clean Energy secured a contract to acquire wind farms in Minnesota, Iowa and Oregon from The AES Corp.
In addition, the company signed an option agreement to buy a fourth wind energy facility in Pennsylvania in mid-2015.
Under the acquisition agreement, Allete Clean Energy would acquire AES’ position in operating wind energy projects in Lake Benton, Minn., Storm Lake, Ia., and Condon, Ore. with a total output of 231 MW for $27 million. All three wind farms to be acquired have power purchase agreements in place for their entire electric output.
The project sites enjoy favorable wind energy resources in their respective areas, are strongly supported by local communities, and are currently staffed by about 40 skilled technicians.
Pursuant to the option agreement, Allete Clean Energy will have an option to acquire the 101 MW Armenia Mountain, Penn. wind farm.
That project became operational in 2009 and has two long-term power purchase agreements in place.
It is in the PJM Interconnection electricity market area near the Pennsylvania-New York border.
MHPS to supply gas turbine to CHP plant in India
Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) subsidiary Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems India Private Ltd. (MHPS India) was awarded a contract by Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Ltd. (IFFCO) to supply its H-25 gas turbine for a 22-MW combined heat and power (CHP) supply plant.
The contract represents the first turnkey order from the Indian market after MHPS started its operation as a new business entity in 2014.
IFFCO, India’s largest fertilizer producer, will build the cogeneration plant at its existing Phulpur plant in Uttar Pradesh, northern India.
The plant will feature the H-25 gas turbine, a generator and a heat recovery steam generator (HRSG). MHPS India will supply the HRSG and other equipment.
Additionally, MHPS has also proposed a long-term maintenance contract to support the operation of the plant.
The CHP plant is scheduled to go online in July 2016.
The H-25 is a state-of-the-art high-reliability, heavy-duty gas turbine. To date, MHPS has delivered 17 gas turbines to India.
Areva to cut up to 6,000 jobs worldwide
Areva said it would cut between 5,000 and 6,000 jobs globally through 2017
Areva said in a release that it planned to cut labor costs in France by 15 percent and worldwide by 18 percent to help reduce capital costs and shore up cash.
The company announced a 4.8 billion euros ($5.4 billion) loss in March due to delayed nuclear projects and hesitation toward nuclear following the 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan.
Several Chinese companies and France-based EDF and Engie – formerly known as GDF Suez – have all expressed an interest in buying sectors of Areva’s business. Areva said the economic situation calls for immediate cost saving measures of one billion euros by 2017.
The company said negotiations with labor organizations are expected to take place in May and June to plan voluntary staff reductions.
Areva currently employs 44,000 workers in 30 countries.