California gas plant to be re-powered with batteries + solar

While it has been no secret that the City of Glendale, California has been looking to re-power the aging gas-fired Grayson Power Plant with renewables, details the scope of that project, as well as the carveouts for each specific type of generation proved to be scarce.

That all has changed, however, as the city has released a plan to replace all but one of the plant’s existing generation facilities with a mix of battery storage, distributed solar and geothermal energy. Broken down by capacity, the plan calls for a 75 MW, 300 MWh battery energy storage system, up to 50 MW of distributed solar projects, energy efficiency and demand response programs. not all of the gas is going by the wayside, however, as a 50 MW simple-cycle gas turbine known as Unit 9 will remain, and Glendale will retain rights to the 50 MW Magnolia power plant in Burbank.

The plan also proposes the addition of 93 MW of “peaker” gas generation from up to five combustion turbines.

And if you’ve ever doubted that strong policy leads to real change, know that the City of Glendale has stated that the plant’s re-powering is being done pursuant to SB 100. That bill is the clean energy mandate passed last year, which has a looming benchmark of  60% renewable generation from utilities by 2030, on the way to its 100% clean energy by 2045 mandate.

This now marks the second California power plant this month that is set to be replaced, at least partially, through battery storage. The other is an infamous jet fuel-burning plant in Oakland, set to be replaced by a 20 MW, 80 MWh battery storage system.

In fact, this news from Glendale will likely mark the final bit chapter what has been themonth of the battery. Battery deployment is likely the next domino to fall in the path of the energy revolution, and with those future capacity predictions from the Energy Information Administration and the wild increase in year-to-year battery investment, it’s falling fast. What’s especially exciting is that not only are we now seeing large-scale batteries as a solution for retiring power plants, but these batteries are now being fed by distributed energy. Every day, the dream of a grid built upon distributed generation becomes less of a hope and more of a reality, thanks to town like Glendale.

 

California gas plant to be re-powered with batteries + solar, by Tim Sylvia, PV Magazine, July 29, 2019.

LA Mayor Boots DWP Chief The Day After FBI Raids Connected To 2013 Overbilling Scandal

A day after the FBI served a search warrant on the L.A. Department of Water and Power, Mayor Eric Garcetti showed General Manager David Wright the door.

FBI agents searched the downtown offices of LADWP and City Attorney Mike Feuer on Monday. While spokespeople for both the FBI and U.S. attorney’s office declined to describe the subject of the investigation, the city attorney’s office acknowledged it is linked to the aftermath of the utility’s 2013 overbilling scandal.

Wright had announced his retirement last month, but had been expected to leave in October. On Tuesday, Garcetti said the change in leadership couldn’t wait another day.

Meanwhile, the DWP board has appointed Chief Operating Officer Marty Adams as general manager on an interim basis, recommending the mayor and City Council approve him for the permanent post.

“Marty Adams has the experience and integrity to reassure Angelenos — the residents who own this utility — that the agency works for them,” Garcetti said in a statement.

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Los Angeles is finally ditching coal — and replacing it with another polluting fuel

The smokestack at Intermountain Power Plant looms mightily over rural Utah, belching steam and pollution across a landscape of alfalfa fields and desert shrub near the banks of the Sevier River.

Five hundred miles away, Los Angeles is trying to lead the world in fighting climate change. But when Angelenos flip a light switch or charge an electric vehicle, some of the energy may come from Intermountain, where coal is burned in a raging furnace at the foot of the 710-foot smokestack.

The coal plant has been L.A.’s single-largest power source for three decades, supplying between one-fifth and one-third of the city’s electricity in recent years.

It’s scheduled to shut down in 2025, ending California’s reliance on the dirtiest fossil fuel.

But Los Angeles is preparing to build a natural gas-fired power plant at the Intermountain site, even as it works to shut down three gas plants in its own backyard. Although gas burns more cleanly than coal, it still traps heat in the atmosphere. It also leaks from pipelines as methane, a planet-warming pollutant more powerful than carbon dioxide.

Critics say Los Angeles and other Southern California cities have no business making an $865-million investment in gas, especially when the state has committed to getting 100% of its electricity from climate-friendly sources such as solar and wind. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has touted his decision to close the three local gas plants as part of his own “Green New Deal” to fight climate change.

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Those ads ripping Garcetti on homelessness? They’re about fighting his Green New Deal

When Eric Garcetti ran for mayor six years ago, he rode a wave of anger over the political power wielded by the union that represents workers at the Department of Water and Power — and later vowed to reform the agency that Los Angeles residents love to hate.

That effort has since been eclipsed by a homelessness crisis that has brought tents and encampments to nearly every corner of the city.

Now, as he faces mounting anger over the crisis, Garcetti is locked in a rematch with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18. Union leaders have launched a frontal assault on Garcetti’s sweeping environmental plan — and are using homelessness as a cudgel.

Working Californians Research Fund, a nonprofit operated by IBEW Local 18, has run television and radio commercials attacking Garcetti over the homelessness crisis and his Green New Deal, a package of proposals to address climate change locally. Those initiatives would eliminate thousands of jobs amid a serious housing crisis, the group said.

On Facebook and Twitter, the group also has warned that Garcetti’s green plan could double electricity rates and “dramatically increase” gasoline prices for drivers. And DWP workers have picketed Garcetti events, carrying signs that call the Green New Deal “a raw deal” for workers and ratepayers.

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Clean Power Alliance Signs Three New Renewable Energy Power Purchase Agreements

Los Angeles, CA–Clean Power Alliance (CPA) signed three new competitively priced long-term power purchase agreements, including two new solar projects and one existing small hydroelectric project. The projects were approved by CPA’s Board of Directors at their June 28th board meeting.

All of the projects are located in Southern California in areas with low environmental impacts and specifically designated for renewable energy development. The projects will enable CPA to meet its customers’ renewable energy demand, lower costs, and comply with state renewable energy mandates. The two new solar facilities will create approximately 500 jobs, contracting well-paid and skilled workers to deliver on CPA’s mission to invest in a green energy workforce.

“These contracts demonstrate that Clean Power Alliance’s environmental commitments are translating into high impact investments and competitive pricing for our customers, while combatting climate change,” said Diana Mahmud, Board Chair of Clean Power Alliance and South Pasadena City Councilmember.

The first project contracts 233 megawatts from the Arlington Solar project in Riverside County, which will be owned and operated by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. That project will come on-line in two phases, with the first 100 MWAC delivered December 2021 and the next 133 MWAC delivered December 2022. It has an expected output of 718,220 MWh/year and a 15-year long contract.

The second project contracts 40 megawatts from Clearway Energy Group’s Rosamond Solar project in Kern County, beginning in March 2021. It has an expected output of 114,780 MWh/year and a 15-year long contract.

The last project contracts all of Isabella Partners’ existing 12 megawatt Isabella small hydroelectric project in Kern County, beginning in December 2020. It has an expected output of approximately 48,000 MWh/year and a 10-year long contract.

The projects resulted from CPA’s 2018 Clean Energy Request for Offers (RFO) and complement a long-term contract for the Terra-Gen owned Voyager wind project, executed in late 2018. CPA is negotiating additional long-term contracts from its 2018 Clean Energy RFO and will launch another Clean Energy RFO this coming fall.

CPA’s newly signed contracts follow a trend of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) programs across the state exercising their buying power and driving new renewable energy development. Collectively to date, California’s CCAs have signed long-term renewable energy contracts for over 2000 megawatts.

“Our customers and the local governments who comprise Clean Power Alliance have overwhelmingly chosen competitively priced renewable energy options. These contracts will allow us to give our customers what they want while meeting California’s ambitious renewable energy goals ten years early,” said Natasha Keefer, Director of Power Planning and Procurement, Clean Power Alliance.

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Clean Power Alliance believes in a clean energy future that is local, where communities are empowered, and customers are given a choice about the source of their energy. As of June 2019, Clean Power Alliance serves over one million customer accounts and has the most customers on 100% renewable energy rate plans than any other electricity company in the country. Visit www.cleanpoweralliance.org or call Clean Power Alliance at 888-585-3788 for more information.

Environmentalists balk as Glendale power plant officials unveil ‘portfolio of tomorrow’

A proposal to rebuild Glendale’s aging power plant includes significantly less natural gas than a now-scrapped plan from last year — but still doesn’t sit well with environmental advocates who think any amount is too much.

Under the plan recommended by the Glendale Water & Power Commission this week, several soon-to-be retired gas turbines at the Grayson Power Plant would be replaced by a combination of battery storage, wind and solar power, and programs to reduce energy consumption by homes and businesses, as well as five internal-combustion engines that run on natural gas.

Gary Dorris, president of the consulting company that developed the proposal, said it balances several goals, including environmental sustainability, low energy costs and keeping the lights on.

“I think this portfolio represents a perfect vision of a clean-energy supply portfolio of tomorrow,” Dorris said during the commission meeting on Wednesday.

 

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Malibu City Facilities Move To 100% Renewable Energy

MALIBU, CA — Malibu City Council approved having all City facilities to run on 100 percent renewable electricity generated from non-polluting, clean and renewable sources such as solar, wind, and hydroelectric power during the June 24 City Council meeting, as part of the Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Budget, the City of Malibu press release said.

“Malibu is proud to be a leader in environmental protection policies, and we continued that tradition when we approved 100% clean energy for City facilities,” Mayor Jefferson Wagner said. “All cities, counties and states should come together to be part of the global effort to combat climate change.”

In Dec. 2018, Malibu joined the Clean Power Alliance (CPA), a public agency made up of 31 local governments across Los Angeles and Ventura counties “working together to bring clean, renewable power choices to their communities,” the press release said. CPA purchases clean power and Southern California Edison (SCE) delivers it — SCE will continue to send just one bill and be responsible for resolving any issues with electricity service, the City said.

Malibu will meet the California Senate Bill 100 mandate of 100 percent zero-carbon, clean renewable energy electricity by 2045, by selecting 100 percent clean energy for City facilities. About one third of CPA members selected the 100% Green Power tier, including Culver City, Manhattan Beach, Rolling Hills Estates, Santa Monica, South Pasadena and West Hollywood, among others.

“Unlike fossil fuels, such as oil, natural gas, and coal, which cannot be replaced and produce greenhouse gas emissions, renewable energy regenerates naturally in a short period of time,” City officials said. “The facilities that produce CPA’s electricity are located in California and on the western grid.”

CPA energy for residential customers in Malibu began in Feb. 2019 and for non-residential customers in May 2019. Malibu customers are automatically enrolled to receive 50 percent of their power supply from renewable sources at the same cost as SCE, which consists of only 34 percent renewable electricity, the press release said. Customers can also choose to get 36 percent of their energy from renewable sources and get a 1 percent discount, or choose 100 percent renewable electricity and pay an additional nine percent. Customers can also opt out completely. Customers can change their rate option online or by calling CPA at 888-585-3788.

 

Malibu City Facilities Move To 100% Renewable Energy, by Emily Holland, The Patch Malibu, July 2, 2019.

Clean Power Alliance signs PPA for 12-MW Isabella small hydro project in California

The Clean Power Alliance (CPA) has signed three long-term power purchase agreements, including two new solar projects and one existing small hydro project.

All three projects are located in southern California and will enable CPA to meet its customers’ renewable energy demand, lower costs and comply with state renewable energy mandates, according to a press release.

“These contracts demonstrate that Clean Power Alliance’s environmental commitments are translating into high impact investments and competitive pricing for our customers, while combatting climate change,” said Diana Mahmud, Board Chair of Clean Power Alliance and South Pasadena City Councilmember.

CPA reports it has contracted all of Isabella Partners’ 12-MW Isabella hydroelectric project in Kern County, for 10 years beginning in December 2020. It has an expected output of about 48,000 MWh/year.

The first solar project contracts 233 MW from the Arlington Solar project in Riverside County, which will be owned and operated by a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources LLC. That project will come on-line in two phases, the first 100 MW in December 2021 and the next 133 MW in December 2022. It has an expected output of 718,220 MWh/year and a 15-year contract.

The second solar project contracts 40 MW from Clearway Energy Group’s Rosamond Solar project in Kern County, for 15 years beginning in March 2021. It has an expected output of 114,780 MWh/year.

The projects resulted from CPA’s 2018 Clean Energy Request for Offers and complement a long-term contract for the Terra-Gen-owned Voyager wind project, executed in late 2018.

CPA says its newly signed contracts follow a trend of community choice aggregation (CCA) programs across the state exercising their buying power and driving new renewable energy development. Collectively to date, California’s CCAs have signed long-term renewable energy contracts for over 2,000 MW.

CPA is a “locally operated electricity provider” in Los Angeles and Ventura counties in California, serving about 3 million customers and 1 million customer accounts. The power CPA purchases is delivered by Southern California Edison.

 

Clean Power Alliance signs PPA for 12-MW Isabella small hydro project in California, Press Release, Hydro Review, July 2, 2019.

The time has come to say ‘no’ to Grayson plan and ‘yes’ to renewable energy

Imagine you are driving a truck loaded with hundreds of millions of dollars in cash. You are moving at a fast speed when you see a sign that says “End of Road.” You continue past the sign and see another billboard with a skull and crossbones that says “Cliff Ahead, Stop Immediately.” You ignore the sign and instead press the accelerator. The next thing you know, you are in free fall.

The current plan for the Grayson gas plant is the health and financial equivalent of driving a truck filled with money off a cliff.

The scientific consensus is that we need to take immediate and aggressive action to avoid a climate catastrophe. Recent record-breaking temperatures and natural disasters are just a prelude to the what we will face if we don’t take action now. Massive species loss, collapsing food systems, and waves of climate migration may be just around the corner. We are simply out of time for half measures.

 

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Los Angeles seeks record setting solar power price under 2¢/kWh

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Board of Commissioners was presented with the Eland Solar & Storage Center in Kern County, California, from an LADWP internal team on June 18, 2019.

The team told the commissioners that on July 23, they plan to seek approval of a two phase 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA) priced at 1.997¢/kWh for 400 MWac / 530 MWdc of solar electricity delivered at time of generation plus a adder 1.3¢/kWh for the excess electricity later delivered from a co-located 400 MW / 800 MWh energy storage system.

Per an email from 8minute, the project will be built in two 200 MWac solar phases. There is no price escalator, and the solar portion is a record low price for the United States. It even beats out the current U.S. pricing leader – 8minute’s 2.375¢/kWh from the 300 MW Eagle Shadow Mountain solar project.

The project includes the option to add 50 MW / 200 MWh of energy storage for an additional adder of 0.665¢/kWh. It was suggested that the excess electricity will be used during the evening peak period to ease ramping, though one presenter also brought up that the morning peak was as important to consider (see analysis of this volume at end of article).

The Kern County website holds thousands of pages of development documents – mostly related to environmental analysis – but some describing the installation itself. The project will be built among more than 1 GWac of solar power projects, including others developed by 8minute. The site documents state that there is more than 500 MWac of capacity available within various pieces of land in the Eland development proposal, meaning this site will probably expand with more solar as more PPAs are signed in the future.

The current record solar power price in the world was signed in Mexico at 1.97¢/kWh as part of a batch of projects averaging just over 2¢/kWh. And while there was a lower bid submitted in Saudi Arabia at 1.79¢/kWh, it wasn’t signed.

The LADWP representative noted that there were probably about seven other projects on their short list that they were in advanced negotiations with.

The project is expected to receive Note to Proceed with Construction in later 2022, with first installed capacity able to deliver in April of 2023, and a guaranteed commercial operation date of the last day of 2023. The presenting team noted that the project would represent approximately 5% of the LADWP RPS goal (below image) of 100% clean electricity by 2050.

Using Helioscope (pdf), and data from the Kern County documents, pv magazine USA did a rough simulation of a single 2.0 MW section, with 2.65 MW of modules attached using single axis trackers located at the site. The purpose of doing this was to determine the volume of electricity that could be captured from clipping if a 1 MW / 4 MWh battery was put behind the above layout.

This author does believe that the output will be even greater than is projected here as standard solar modules are modeled, while we expect bifacial on this project.

Note in the image below from the simulation – there will be approximately 2.7% clipping loss over the course of the year equal to ~181 MWh/year (called “Constrained DC Output” in below left chart). A 1 MW / 4 MWh battery that cycles once a day for a year can move 1.4 GWh/year.

Since these units will only be able to cycle once per day with excess solar power, they could also be performing other tasks in periods outside of the charging to discharging period. The presenters noted that the morning electricity ramp needs support as well, so there could be other services that the project delivers to LADWP.

 

Los Angeles seeks record setting solar power price under 2¢/kWh, by John Weaver, PV Magazine, June 28, 2019.

All images sourced from PV Magazine.