Toshiba to Pay $3.68 Billion for Vogtle Westinghouse Reactors
Toshiba Corp. will pay $3.68 billion toward the construction of two reactors in Georgia by its U.S. unit Westinghouse, which has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Tokyo-based Toshiba said Saturday the payment, under agreement with the operator of the Vogtle plant, will be made from October through January 2021.
Toshiba said the expense has already been figured in its earnings. Toshiba reported a 950 billion yen ($8.6 billion) loss for the fiscal year ended March.
Costs in the nuclear industry have ballooned since the March 2011 nuclear disaster in northeastern Japan, as safety requirements get tougher and the construction of the Westinghouse reactors has fallen behind schedule.
Toshiba’s shouldering of Westinghouse’s costs was part of the initial 2008 reactor construction deal, and the latest agreement sets the maximum for the payment, according to Toshiba.
GE Rolls Out Hybrid Battery Package to All Gas and Coal Plants
After a successful demonstration in April, GE is now making its hybrid battery storage solution available to all of its gas and coal-fired power plants.
The system combines gas turbine peakers and batteries with power-management software that allows for immediate power as gas turbines ramp up. When the gas turbine is fully operational, it recharges the batteries as it supplies power to the grid.
GE and Southern California Edison first deployed this system, which combined a 50-MW turbine and a 10-MW battery, at two sites near Los Angeles.
The company indicated falling battery costs will make the hybrid system more affordable to an array of power generating facilities.
“As an industry, I think we’re just scratching the surface in terms of the opportunities to optimize these hybrid solutions,” said Brian Gutknecht, chief marketing officer for GE Power.
Three Decommissioned Coal Units in Kansas to be Demolished
Empire District Electric Co. plans to demolish three decommissioned generators than ran most of their lives as coal-fired units, the Joplin Globe reported.
Riverton units 7, 8 and 9 were all constructed in the 1950s and were converted to natural gas plants in 2012 before being retired in 2014 and 2015.
Riverton Unit 12, a new combined-cycle plant, will continue to operate.
Empire said the demolition will be carried out by the end of June, though the exact date was not revealed.
U.S. Solar Grows by 2 GW in First Quarter
Solar companies added 2,044 MW of new capacity in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2017, the Solar Energy Industries Association reported.
The quarter was the sixth straight in which more than 2 GW of solar and more than 1 GW of utility-scale solar came online. However, the first quarter experienced a drop from the same time last year.
“The solar market clearly remains on a strong upward trajectory,” said Abigail Ross Hopper, SEIA’s president and CEO.
Utility-scale solar represented more than half of all installations during the quarter. Much of the capacity came from projects that were slated for completion in 2016, but were pushed back due to the extension of the federal Investment Tax Credit.
GTM Research indicates 12.6 GW of solar will come online in 2017 as a whole, down 16 percent from the previous year. The company predicted more than 18 GW of solar will be installed annually by 2022.
Prices for solar generation continued to fall, with utility-scale system prices dropping below the $1 per watt level for the first time.
California Officials Rethinking Plans for More Gas Plants
A number of energy entities in California are rethinking plans for more large natural gas plants in the wake of an oversupply of electricity, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has put their $2.2 billion plan to rebuild older natural gas plants on hold as it looks into renewable energy sources. The Scattergood, Haynes and Harbor plants are slated for demolition, and have generated less than 20 percent of their combined capacity since 2001.
Reiko Kerr, the DWP’s senior assistant general manager of power systems, said the assessment is necessary in light of changes in generation, including solar systems and batteries at homes and businesses.
“The whole utility paradigm has shifted,” Kerr said. “We really are doing our ratepayers a disservice by not considering all viable options.”
DWP’s analysis of potential alternatives will be completed no later than early 2018.
Additionally, the California Energy Commission could decide to halt NRG Energy’s Puente natural gas project in Ventura County after the California Independent System Operator offered to study renewable alternatives.
A Los Angeles Times investigation indicated energy use in the state has stagnated since 2008, though developers continue to build new generation stations.
Global Renewable Installations Reach 161 GW in 2016
A record 161 GW of renewable energy was installed across the globe in 2016, according to the Renewables 2017 Global Status Report released by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century.
That total increased global capacity nine percent to nearly 2,017 GW.
Solar saw the most growth at 47 percent of the new capacity, followed by wind at 34 percent and hydropower at 15.5 percent.
The report indicated renewable energy deals in Denmark, Egypt, India, Mexico and Peru and the United Arab Emirates delivered electricity at five cents per KW/h or less, well below equivalent costs of coal, gas and nuclear.
Global carbon dioxide emissions from electrical generation remained stable for the third year in a row.
Duke Ohio Proposes 10-MW Battery Storage System
Duke Energy Ohio has proposed installing a 10-MW battery energy storage system in the southwest part of the state.
The energy storage system would provide ancillary services tPJM Interconnection, including frequency regulation.
Duke Energy Ohio also proposed a non-bypassable PowerForward rider to recover costs associated with any advanced grid installations or other innovations approved by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio.
Europe Pledges 60 GW of Offshore Wind
Energy ministers from Germany, Denmark and Belgium backed a pledge to install 60 GW of new offshore wind power over the next decade, or more than five times the world’s existing capacity.
Other signatories on the statement included CEOs from 25 companies including DONG Energy. WindEurope plans to ask countries who did not participate in Tuesday’s event to also support the statement.
As of last year a total of 13.8 GW of offshore wind generated power were in operation.
New York State Issues RFP for $1.5 Billion in Renewables
As part of the newly-launched Clean Climate Careers initiative, New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has issued RFPs for $1.5 billion in major renewable energy projects.
All told, the requests for development will generate an additional 2.5 million MWh per year, according to a press release issued by the governor’s office. The state claims it will be the largest clean energy procurement by a state in U.S. history.
New York’s solar capacity is set to double from 800 MW now to more than 1,600 MW by the end of 2018.
The Clean Climate Careers initiative will also establish an Environmental Justice & Just Transition Working Group to develop priority programs and help underserved communities prepare for renewable energy.
Coronal Energy, Dominion to Build Solar Project in Virginia
Coronal Energy, which has received investments from Panasonic, and Dominion Energy announced the development of the Essex Solar Center, a 20-MW solar development in Virginia.
Spread out over 174 acres in Dunnsville, Essex will sell energy to Dominion via a 20-year power purchase agreement upon its completion. The companies said Essex will be one of the largest solar facilities in the state.
Coronal and Dominion noted the development was made possible by Virginia’s recently-implemented permit by rule process through the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
Approximately 70 acres of Essex is the former site of the Rappahannock Industrial Academy, a school that operated in the first part of the 20th century and was dedicated to educating the children of former slaves.
Revenue from the land lease will support the history and legacy of the site. The remainder is owned by Haile Properties LLC.
California, China Sign Climate Deal
With President Donald Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, China and California signed an agreement Tuesday to work together on reducing emissions, as the state’s governor warned that “disaster still looms” without urgent action.
Gov. Jerry Brown told The Associated Press at an international clean energy conference in Beijing that Trump’s decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris agreement will ultimately prove only a temporary setback.
For now, he said, China, European countries and individual U.S. states will fill the gap left by the federal government’s move to abdicate leadership on the issue.