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Joint solar+storage project planned for Silicon Valley, Monterey Bay

Canadian Solar announced its wholly owned subsidiary Recurrent Energy has signed two 15-year power purchase agreements with Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Monterey Bay Community Power for a 150-MWac solar power system with 180 MWh of battery storage. This joint procurement effort represents the largest contracted solar+storage project in California to date.

This partnership resulted from a joint procurement process that Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Monterey Bay Community Power launched in September 2017 to source cost-effective, renewable power for their respective communities.

“As a community choice aggregator, we are proud to help California lead the transition to clean, reliable and flexible energy,” said Girish Balachandran, CEO of Silicon Valley Clean Energy. “We are proud to partner on a new renewable energy project that makes a significant investment to reach our state’s carbon-free energy goals and contribute to solving the state’s grid integration problem by investing in large grid-scale energy storage.”

“We are excited to bring online the largest solar+storage project by CCAs to date,” said Tom Habashi, CEO of Monterey Bay Community Power. “Joining forces in this process with Silicon Valley Clean Energy and Recurrent Energy has been invaluable, as we bring onto the grid the clean electricity that we know our customers desire.”

Power will be supplied from Recurrent Energy’s Slate solar+storage project to be built in Kings County, California. The project is scheduled to reach commercial operation in 2021, and the energy represented by the contracts is enough to power 37,500 homes, providing Silicon Valley Clean Energy with 55 percent of the energy, and Monterey Bay with the other 45 percent of the combined output.

“We’re excited to have participated in this joint procurement effort that will not only include solar, but a landmark amount of energy storage for the state of California as well,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar. “With the integrated storage component, both CCAs will have the flexibility to fill the battery when wholesale energy prices are low and then discharge the energy when prices are higher to meet their unique load requirements in a cost-competitive manner. Recurrent Energy was the first developer to close financing for a utility-scale solar project with CCA off-takers and we will leverage this expertise to ensure the project is successful.”

The project’s lithium-ion battery component is 45 MW nameplate with 180 MWh of energy capacity, allowing for four hours of flexible energy delivery.

 

Joint solar+storage project planned for Silicon Valley, Monterey Bay, by Billy Ludt, Solar Power World, October 30, 2018.

SV Clean Energy Signs Major Contracts for California’s Largest Solar-Plus-Storage Projects

Sunnyvale, Calif. – Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) signed two long-term agreements for the largest utility-scale, solar-plus-storage projects to be built in California. The two projects will provide 153 megawatts (MW) of solar and 47 MW of storage and will be developed by Electricité de France (EDF) and Recurrent Energy Development Holdings, LLC. (Recurrent). These projects will come online in 2021 and will harness enough energy to power 39,000 homes annually.

Image from Silicon Valley Clean Energy

Building storage in addition to solar turns the sun’s energy into a resource that can be used on demand, rather than only when the sun is shining. These projects will combine solar panels with large batteries to store energy that the sun produces during the day so that more clean energy can be discharged onto the grid during times of high energy usage in the evening.

“As a Community Choice Energy agency, we’re proud to partner on these groundbreaking developments that not only increase the long-term supply of renewables to our customers, but also make the electricity grid cleaner,” says Courtenay Corrigan, SVCE Board Chair. “These projects show our maturity as an agency, our financial strength and our continued commitment to decarbonization.”

“We are excited to help California lead the transition to clean, reliable and flexible energy,” said Girish Balachandran, CEO of Silicon Valley Clean Energy. “These new renewable energy projects are a significant investment towards reaching our state’s carbon-free energy goals and contribute to solving the state’s grid integration problem by investing in large grid-scale energy storage.”

The contracts are the result of a competitive bidding process that began in September 2017. SVCE’s collaboration with its neighboring Community Choice Energy agency, Monterey Bay Community Power (MBCP) took advantage of economies of scale for the combined four counties, allowing for more purchasing power to invest in these long-term agreements. The two agencies issued a joint RFO which received over 80 offers for new projects that were in various stages of development. The overwhelming response represents the vast amount of interest in new renewable energy development that continues to grow.

The RE Slate 1 project, developed by Recurrent, will be built in Kings County and will provide 150 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity, plus 45 MW of storage, for a 15-year agreement. The BigBeau Solar project, developed by EDF, will be built in Kern County, providing 128 MW of solar capacity and 40 MW of storage and is a 20-year agreement. These projects will support approximately 840 jobs during construction. SVCE will receive 55% of the output, and MBCP will receive 45%.

SVCE signed long-term power purchase agreements with each development, ensuring that customers will be receiving clean power from California renewables for years to come.

About Silicon Valley Clean Energy

Silicon Valley Clean Energy is a community-owned agency serving the majority of Santa Clara County communities, acquiring clean, carbon-free electricity on behalf of more than 270,000 residential and commercial customers. As a public agency, net revenues are returned to the community to keep rates low and promote clean energy programs. Member jurisdictions include Campbell, Cupertino, Gilroy, Los Altos, Los Altos Hills, Los Gatos, Milpitas, Monte Sereno, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Saratoga, Sunnyvale and unincorporated Santa Clara County. SVCE is guided by a Board of Directors, which is comprised of a representative from the governing body of each member community. For more information, please visit SVCleanEnergy.org.

Media Contact:
Pamela Leonard
Communications Manager
pamela.leonard@svcleanenergy.org
(408)721-5301 x1004

Hitting Back Against Silicon Valley Clean Energy Rumors

Silicon Valley Clean Energy (SVCE) recently started providing carbon-free electricity to Milpitas residents and businesses. For those who have not followed the progression of this change over the past 2 years, concerns about it may arise. Rumors from people who don’t know the facts make things worse.

Here are some myths I have heard…

An opt-in plan for customers would have been better than an opt-out plan.

There are 3 reason this is false. First, current California law requires all customers to be switched over to a newly formed Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) with an opportunity to opt out. Second, opt-out is easier for the 98% of customers who are either satisfied with the change or actually prefer it. Lastly, as the latest IPCC Report clearly states, Global Warming is the biggest issue facing civilization; we should take every chance we get to reduce our carbon footprint.

The cost of SVCE’s clean energy could go up.

The trend lines for renewable energy costs are heading down, as they have been doing for decades. While there is a small chance of those trends reversing, there is a high probability that electricity from carbon-energy sources will rise with the arrival of a carbon-fee and dividend (CF&D) program, or an outright tax on carbon. Fortunately, as a locally-governed agency, SVCE is nimble and able to quickly adjust prices to remain competitive. Meanwhile, PG&E rates continue their upward trend, with an average increase of 9% in 2018.

The City should have chosen Green Start for its own use.

GreenStart is SVCE’s competitively-priced, standard electricity offering. All customers are automatically enrolled in GreenStart, with electricity generated from renewable sources such as wind, solar, and carbon-free sources like large hydropower. GreenPrime, SVCE’s 100% renewable generation service, was chosen for City use to demonstrate our commitment to a clean energy future. Buying GreenPrime further expands generation from new and competitive renewable energy sources. For a typical residential customer like me who upgrades to GreenPrime, the extra few dollars a month is an investment in future generations.

Milpitas is on the bleeding edge of CCAs.

Back in 2007, the CPUC authorized its first CCA application. And most cities in the County chose to switch to SVCE about 2 years before Milpitas. Although invited to join the others in 2016, at that time Milpitas’ leaders failed to respond. Now that we have joined SVCE, we can start sharing in the roughly 20% net profit, estimated at $20 million in 2018.

For both financial and environmental reasons, our new City leadership made the right choice in joining SVCE. By purchasing our electricity at wholesale prices from 21st-century renewable sources, our CCA will be able to provide residents and businesses with opportunities for future energy savings. Soon, SVCE will start deciding what to do with that extra money. If you have ideas, please contact our SVCE representative, Marsha Grilli, at mgrilli@ci.milpitas.ca.gov

 

Rob Means
Activist
http://meansfordemocracy.org

 

Opinion: Hitting Back Against Silicon Valley Clean Energy Rumors, by Rob Means, The Milpitas Beat, October 16, 2018.