Morning Brief: US clean energy giants to join to build lobbying muscle


U.S. clean power giants to join forces to build lobbying muscle: Some of the biggest U.S. clean-energy companies are joining forces with the nation’s top wind-power trade group to create a new lobbying organization ahead of a presidential election that could tip federal policy in favor of renewables. The new group, called the American Clean Power Association, will include industry titans such as NextEra Energy, Avangrid and Berkshire Hathaway Energy. The American Wind Energy Association, founded in 1974, plans to merge with the new organization with the goal of propelling “renewables to be the dominant power source in America,” it said in a letter to its members. Democratic nominee Joe Biden aims to accelerate the country’s transition to clean energy with a $2 trillion plan that seeks to eliminate carbon emissions from the power sector by 2035 — a prospect that would require an unprecedented building boom of solar panels, wind turbines and batteries. At the same time, the renewables industry is facing a large capital shortfall amid the coronavirus pandemic. Source: Bloomberg

Community microgrid gets boost from energy storage in California’s Goleta load pocket: As part of an ambitious project that aims to deploy a community microgrid that will help avoid outages due to fires, earthquakes, mudslides and other disasters in the Goleta Load Pocket, 40 MWh of utility-scale storage will go online in December. Groundbreaking on the project, called the Vallecito Energy Storage Resilience (VESR) project, has just begun in the load pocket, which has been affected by the rolling blackouts imposed as a result of high temperatures and an energy shortage, according to the Clean Coalition. The organization initially envisioned and is facilitating the community microgrid project, called the Goleta Load Pocket Community Microgrid. The storage will be up and running by the end of the year. VESR will be located in Carpinteria, Calif. and is the first piece of a community microgrid–planned to go online in 2025 or so–that will provide resilience to an area that desperately needs it. The storage will be owned by ORMAT, an independent power producer. The Goleta Load Pocket, where mudslides in 2018 destroyed 400 homes and killed 23 people in the Montecito area, is home to about 300,000 people. The VECR project earlier was awarded a 20-year Energy Storage Resource Adequacy Agreement by the utility. Source: Microgrid Knowledge

Utility definition continues to dog regulators as PSC considers Milwaukee solar case: Despite multiple attempts to sidestep the issue, Wisconsin regulators continue to wrestle with the legal question of who is allowed to sell electricity. The Public Service Commission voted 2-0 Thursday to allow the state’s largest utility to introduce evidence and arguments about who is considered a utility under state law — a question the commission has declined to address — as part of a related case. Chairwoman Rebecca Valcq said the information is relevant to the narrower question before the commission: whether We Energies wrongfully blocked an Iowa company from installing solar panels to serve the city of Milwaukee. “I don’t believe it would serve us well to prohibit information from being presented,” Valcq said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that it will inform our final decision. Whatever case we’re looking at, we are better served to have a more robust record.” Eagle Point Solar won a contract to install 1.1 megawatts of solar panels on municipal buildings in Milwaukee and lease them to the city, which is seeking to meet some of its electricity needs with renewable energy. Source:

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