Reuters – January 21
Building on his executive orders signed on the afternoon of Inauguration Day, President Joe Biden will announce a second round of executive orders focused on combating climate change early next week as he rushes to reverse environmental rollbacks, according to a memo seen by Reuters. The announcements, to be unveiled January 27, include an “omnibus” climate change order that kicks off a “series of regulatory actions to combat climate change domestically and elevates climate change as a national security priority,” according to the memo, which did not provide details. The orders would follow of the initial climate-related executive actions rejoining the Paris climate agreement, canceling the presidential permit for the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, and halting oil leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska.
Greentech Media – January 21
President Biden named Richard Glick to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, giving leadership and agenda-setting authority to the agency’s longest-running Democratic member, and a key opponent to some of FERC’s most clean energy-unfriendly decisions under the prior administration. The appointment was welcomed by clean energy groups as a critical early step to put a supporter of Biden’s energy and climate push in charge of setting the agenda of the federal agency that holds regulatory authority over interstate electricity transmission and natural gas networks. Most notably, Glick has been vocal in his opposition to FERC’s minimum offer price rule order expected to reduce the competitiveness of state-subsidized energy resources in the capacity market operated by mid-Atlantic grid operator PJM.
Utility Dive – January 19
California regulators adopted rates, tariffs, and rules governing how the three largest investor-owned utilities in the state, Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric, will facilitate microgrid deployment in California. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered the utilities last summer to submit reports and plans on new resiliency programs and their support of microgrid development. CPUC also ordered the utilities to create a Microgrid Incentive Program, which would fund clean energy microgrids from a $200 million budget for vulnerable communities impacted by grid outages.
PV-Tech – January 21
Solar is now the cheapest form of new electricity in a host of international markets, driven by cost reductions and growth of bifaciality, large-area solar modules, and trackers, according to a new report released by Wood Mackenzie. The report also forecasts that the cost of solar PV could fall by a further 25% in the next decade. The report found solar to be the cheapest form of new power generation in various markets including Spain, Italy, India, and 16 U.S. states. The cost of solar has fallen by 90% over the last two years and is forecast to fall by a further 15% – 25% by 2030.
Courthouse News Service – January 13
The California Independent System Operator (CAISO) released a report last Wednesday exploring the cause of the state’s power outages during the summer of 2020. The report said there was no one cause for the power grid being overtaxed, but three factors came together to form a perfect storm that sparked the energy crisis. Front and center was the extreme heat wave. The second factor is somewhat of a coincidence, because CAISO says “reliable, clean, and affordable” energy sources are to blame. Those renewable energies have not kept pace to meet the demand for energy consumption in California — especially in the evening hours. The third factor that contributed to the 2020 power outages in California is a bit of an inside baseball issue and has to do with the energy market. CAISO explained that market practices contributed to the blunder that shortchanged the state’s electrical grid.
Solar Power World – January 19
EDF Renewables has started commercial operation of the Maverick 1 (173.4 MW) and Maverick 4 (135.9 MW) Solar Projects. Maverick 1 provides 125 MW of electricity to Southern California Edison under a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA), while Maverick 4 supplies 100 MW energy and renewable attributes to Shell Energy North America under a 15-year PPA. The two projects, part of the Palen Solar portfolio, are located adjacent to each other on unincorporated land in Riverside County, administered by the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
ReNEWS – January 20
The U.S. Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has filed a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare two environmental studies under the National Environmental Policy Act on the Pacific Outer Continental Shelf off the coast of northern and central California. The step paves the way for future commercial wind lease issuance off the coast of Humboldt and San Luis Obispo Counties. Publication of the NOI opens a 45-day public comment period.