Morning Brief: D.E. Shaw buys Rancho Seco Solar II, DTE Energy must procure renewables

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D.E. Shaw Renewable Investments buys the Rancho Seco Solar II project: The project set to be the largest in Sacramento County has a new owner, as D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments has acquired the 160 MWac project from Lendlease. The project’s site is located on a decommissioned nuclear power plant and began construction last year. As for where the energy will go, Rancho Seco has a 30-year power purchase agreement in place with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD). The Rancho Seco project relates interestingly to SMUD’s approved plan to eschew the California solar home mandate, which is detailed further here. Source: D. E. Shaw Renewable Investments

DTE Energy must issue a procurement for solar and wind power, say Michigan regulators: The Michigan Public Service Commission sent DTE Energy’s resource plan “back to the drawing board,” noting that a lack of competitive bidding “inhibited the Commission from assessing the full range of alternatives, such as utility- and third party-owned wind and solar projects.” The Commission indicated that DTE would need to submit a request for proposals for such resources before its resource plan could be approved. The national solar association SEIA testified last summer that in developing its resource plan, DTE hard-coded its preferred generating resources, rather than letting its model select the optimal mix of resources. Vote Solar, which co-sponsored SEIA’s testimony, supported the Commission’s decision, with Will Kenworthy, the group’s Midwest regulatory director saying “recent experience in the Midwest has shown that it is cheaper to replace fossil generation with new clean energy resources.” Sources: Michigan Public Service Commission; Vote Solar

CVE closes construction financing of 31.3 MW SMART portfolio: CvE has successfully completed construction financing on 31.3 MW across six projects in Massachusetts. By time of the close, financing came in at $57 million. The company currently has 16 projects in development totaling 82 MW. The power and solar credits generated by the project will be sold to a pool of residential and commercial customers through CVE’s “Halo” program. Source: CVE North America | pv magazine has covered the SMART program’s development in depth, including changes in land use, an investigation into National Grid’s practices and other project acquisitions.

SolarEdge, Karamba Security sign production agreement for inverter security software: In an effort to increase inverter security, SolarEdge has chosen to embed Karamba Security’s XGuard software into its products. The XGuard software  continuously and automatically conducts runtime integrity checks, preventing and reporting any potential deviation from factory settings to the SolarEdge management cloud. Source: Karamba Security | Inverter cybersecurity is a rising concern that has already caught the attention of some U.S. Senators.

CIT leads $140 million financing for esVolta: CIT’s power and energy business has led a round of financing for esVolta to develop an energy storage portfolio, closing on $140 million in total. The funding will allow esVolta to develop 136 MW of energy storage units across eight energy projects in California. esVolta has long-term revenue contracts on all of the projects, partnering with Southern Power Company on four of them. Source: CIT Group