How DG and microgrids change the game for utilities.
Michael T. Burr
Energy microgrids have emerged as more than just a curiosity. The technology is improving, costs are falling, and developers are lining up to build projects. How will microgrids overcome the substantial challenges that stand in their way?
SunEdison signed an agreement with Petrobras to build one of the largest photovoltaic (PV) power plants in Brazil. The plant will be located in Alto do Rodrigues, Rio Grande do Norte. Once completed, SunEdison will manage the plant from its central operations center. The energy generated will be fed into Brazil’s National Interconnected System. The plant will have an installed capacity of 1.1 MW DC and will be built on land adjacent to the Thermoeletric Plant Jesus Soares Pereira that belongs to Termoacu S.A.
Dominion acquired a solar energy development project from Smart Energy Capital and Jacoby Development. The Azalea facility, planned near Augusta in east-central Georgia, is expected to produce approximately 7.7 MW (AC) using photovoltaic technology. Dominion plans to select a contractor and oversee the construction of the project, which is expected to sell power to Cobb Electric Membership Corp. under a 25-year agreement, starting in December 2013. Financial details weren’t disclosed.
NRG Solar started commercial operations for the Alpine solar generating station, a 66-MW (AC) photovoltaic (PV) facility, which NRG says is the largest fully operational solar plant in California. The station’s output will be sold to Pacific Gas & Electric under a 20-year agreement.
Sempra U.S. Gas & Power completed construction of Mesquite Solar 1, the first 150-MW phase of the company’s Mesquite Solar complex in Arlington, Ariz., about 40 miles west of Phoenix. The photovoltaic (PV) solar energy project now is operational and ranks among the largest in the United States.
Duke Energy Renewables completed construction of a 12.5-MW solar power project in Beaufort County, N.C. North Carolina Eastern Municipal Power Agency (NCEMPA) is purchasing the output under a 15-year agreement. Duke contracted with SunEnergy1, a solar design, engineering and construction company based in Mooresville, N.C., to build the 53,000-panel photovoltaic (PV) project.
Five forces are putting the squeeze on electricity consumption.
Ahmad Faruqui and Eric Shultz
It’s tempting to attribute the recent slowdown in electricity demand growth entirely to the Great Recession, but consumption growth rates have been declining for at least 50 years. The new normal rate of demand growth likely will be about half of its historic value, with demand rising by less than 1 percent per year. This market plateau calls for a new utility strategy.
(December2012) KC Electric Association expects soon to finalize installing a Sensus FlexNet network and iCon A electric meters to serve about 4,000 residential and small commercial members across a 5,000-square-mile territory in rural Colorado. Itron and C3 Energy formed an alliance to integrate and jointly market an energy management solution to North American utilities. And others...
MidAmerican’s Topaz solar financing proves that bond investors have an appetite for green investments.
Scott M. Gawlicki
When MidAmerican Energy Holdings issued $850 million in bonds in February 2012 to finance construction of the massive 550-MW Topaz Solar photovoltaic (PV) farm, it raised more than a few eyebrows in the financial and renewable energy communities.
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