This Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered large investor-owned utilities to engage in multiple planning exercises in order to accelerate the deployment of microgrids within their service areas. The CPUC also approved plans by Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to support microgrid adoption. PG&E plans to have 73 microgrids operational by the end of 2020. Microgrids and other resiliency programs are the first step in a multifaceted approach to wildfire preparation, according to CPUC Commissioner Genevieve Shiroma.
Seventeen community choice aggregators (CCAs) in California purchased 16.4 million megawatt-hours of electricity in the first quarter of 2020, a year-on-year increase of 37.8 percent, showed quarterly data filed by power sellers to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and compiled by S&P Global Platts. CCA power purchases have steadily risen over the seven years they have been active. CalCCA, an organization that represents the interests of the CCAs in the state’s legislature and at state regulatory agencies, said in March that 19 CCAs were servicing more than 10 million customers, and the total number of CCAs eventually in operation this year could rise to 21.
Pattern Energy Group LP has completed the acquisition of the Clines Corners wind power development opportunity in Torrance and Guadalupe counties, New Mexico, from Orion Wind Power Resources LLC, a joint venture between Orion Renewable Energy Group LLC and MAP Energy. Pattern Energy will add the southernmost portion of the development opportunity, totaling 325 megawatts, to its suite of Western Spirit wind projects, which now comprise over 1,000 megawatts of New Mexico wind energy slated for construction later this year, alongside the construction of the Western Spirit Transmission Line, which is owned by the New Mexico Renewable Energy Transmission Authority and being co-developed by Pattern Energy. The remaining portion of the acquisition could add up to 650 megawatts to Pattern Energyâ€™s suite of projects intended to connect to the SunZia Transmission line.
Two California CCAs, Monterey Bay Community Power Authority and Silicon Valley Clean Energy, have signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with 8minute Solar Energy for a 250-megawatt solar PV plant with 150 megawatt-hours of battery storage. The deal marks 8minute Solar Energyâ€™s first PPA with community choice groups. CCAs exist in several states and enable communities to choose their own energy providers while sitting within the service areas of utility companies.
A new 419-megawatt wind farm in Fisher County, Texas, called Mesquite Star, is now online. Corporate and institutional customers including Intuit, Ecolab, Loweâ€™s, and Brown University have contracts for the wind farmâ€™s output. Intuitâ€™s aggregated power purchase agreement with developer Clearway Energy Group for wind power from Mesquite Star allowed the Mountain View-based software company to hit its 100 percent renewable electricity goal 10 years early, said Sean Kinghorn, Intuitâ€™s global sustainability leader. Loweâ€™s, which has committed to reducing their carbon emissions footprint by 40 percent by 2030, signed an agreement for 100 megawatts from the wind farm.