On Monday, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) released its Renewables Portfolio Standard Annual Report announcing that the State is on track to meet its renewables portfolio standard (RPS) requirement of 50% ten years ahead of schedule. The California RPS sets a requirement that 33% of electricity retail sales be served by renewable resources by 2020, and 50% by 2030. But with aggressive investment in renewables the State’s three large investor owned utilities (IOUs) may achieve the 50% goal by the 2020 deadline, ten years early.
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Southern California Edison (SCE) released The Clean Power and Electrification Pathway, a blueprint for California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollutants. SCE explains that a clean power and electrification pathway is the best approach to meet California’s 2030 and 2050 climate goals, reducing 1990 levels of greenhouse gas emissions by 40 and 80

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) announced the remedy recommendations in its global safeguard investigation regarding imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells (whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products). The USITC previously determined that increased imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells are a substantial cause of serious injury to the domestic

A National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) report shows that utility-scale solar costs fell 29% last year to roughly $35/MWh on a levelized basis. Overall, prices for utility-scale solar power purchase agreements have dropped nearly 75% since 2009, according to the report. The cost decline is attributed to lower module and inverter prices, higher module efficiency,

On September 22, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) determined that increased imports of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells (whether or not partially or fully assembled into other products) are a substantial cause of serious injury to the domestic industry producing competing articles. The determination was made by a 4-0 vote and was in response

Originally posted on Troutman Sanders’ Washington Energy Report

On June 30, 2017, the North Carolina General Assembly ratified compromise legislation that modernizes the state’s solar energy rules but also includes an 18-month moratorium on wind energy projects in the state.  The bill now awaits Governor Roy Cooper’s signature or veto.

House Bill 589 was developed through a year-long process of stakeholder negotiations, including representatives from the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (“NCSEA”).  Of note, when the bill was introduced in the Senate after passing in the House, the wind moratorium was added to the legislation to provide for a comprehensive study on wind energy development in the state, citing concerns over the impacts of the siting of wind energy facilities on the aviation operations of the state’s military installations.
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Originally posted on Troutman Sanders’ Washington Energy Report

On June 8, 2017, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”) released a report on the August 2016 Blue Cut Fire, which resulted in the loss of 1,200 megawatts (“MW”) of solar photovoltaic (“PV”) power generation.  NERC’s report contains recommendations for avoiding similar incidents by reconfiguring solar inverters, the devices that convert solar energy from direct current to alternating current.

On August 16, 2016, the Blue Cut Fire erupted in Southern California’s Cajon Pass, near a significant transmission corridor containing three 500 kilovolt (“kV”) lines owned by Southern California Edison (“SCE”) and two 287 kV lines owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (“LADWP”).  During the incident, the fire interrupted solar PV power generation in the transmission corridor by inducing faults on the transmission system.  In total, the SCE lines experienced 13 faults and the LADWP lines experienced two faults.  The most significant event resulted in the loss of 1,200 MW of solar PV power generation.  The fault events did not de-energize any of the solar PV facilities; instead, the facilities ceased output in response to the faults perceived on the system.
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With New Federal Administration, States Betting Bigger on Renewables

Nearly 1 in 10 States have launched proposals directing utilities to procure anywhere from 50% to 100% of their power from renewable energy resources by mid-century. Currently 29 states and the District of Columbia have renewable portfolio standards (RPS) in place.  Several states, however, have introduced even more aggressive proposals likely in reaction to the fact that new federal requirements are not likely to be promulgated (e.g., the Clean Power Plan).

Some States Move All In For 100% Renewables

In 2015, Hawaii became the first state to adopt a 100% RPS designed to completely decarbonize its power portfolio. Over the next thirty years Hawaii’s RPS will ramp up with incremental requirements starting with 30% renewable generation by 2020 and ultimately achieving 100% renewable generation by 2045.

In recent weeks, state law makers in Massachusetts and California have introduced legislation to require 100% renewable energy output. In Massachusetts, a bill would require the state to get all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2035, and ultimately meet all of its heating, cooling and transportation needs through renewable sources by 2050. 
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On February 13, 2017, a bipartisan coalition of 20 US governors published a letter imploring President Donald Trump to support the renewables industry. The group highlighted the wide impact the industry has across the nation, employing hundreds of thousands of Americans and transforming low-income and rural communities. The Governors highlight four ways in which Congress and the Trump administration could help the renewables industry.

First, grid modernization and transmission development. The Governors argued that any national infrastructure package should provide significant funding for grid modernization to address the electrical transmission challenges created by large expansions of renewable generation across the country. To implement and streamline the grid modernization process, the governors suggested that the administration create a state-federal task force to work with FERC and the National Laboratories.
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