Morning Brief: Energy secretary slams ‘radical environmentalists,’ touts gas and nuclear as California’s energy future


DOE Chief Dan Brouillette, writing in an op-ed, has a plan for solving California’s energy problem: For more than a month, Californians have lived with government energy reduction mandates and rolling blackouts during an intense heat wave. Recently, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti cheerfully tweeted, “It’s almost 3 p.m. Time to turn off major appliances, set the thermostat to 78 degrees…” Already paying some of the highest electricity rates in the country and now undergoing energy reduction mandates and rolling blackouts, California residents are rightly asking: Is this what our state leaders had in mind when they touted their 100 percent renewable energy plan? Unsurprisingly, the environmental activists and politicians who pushed the plan through in Sacramento left the disclaimer “may cause blackouts during heat waves” out of the plan’s promotional materials. Of course, this all could have been avoided had the state chosen to prioritize energy security and reliability over appeasing progressive special interest groups Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, which provides 9 percent of the state’s electricity, is slated for premature closure, taking a huge amount of reliable power off the grid. The plant still has years of useful life, and the state must find a way to keep it online if California leaders want to retain this source of clean, reliable electricity. Source: The Orange County Register

Minnesota solar developers fault Xcel for interconnection delays in their projects: The energy firm rejects the criticism; a $1 million fine is at stake. Minnesota solar-energy developers said their proposed projects — from rooftop arrays to community solar gardens — are suffering long delays at the hands of Xcel Energy, hurting customers and investors alike. One solar developer has filed more than 120 complaints with state public utility regulators against Xcel, which could lead to a $1 million fine against the state’s largest electric utility. Xcel, while acknowledging some holdups, is contesting the fine. The quarrel stems from a 2019 standard that Xcel, the solar industry and clean-energy groups all hoped would improve the state’s “interconnection” process. “It’s been pretty abysmal,” said David Shaffer, executive director of the Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association. In some instances, “customers have dropped projects.” Source: Star Tribune

Construction underway in Central Arizona on 100-MW East Line Solar Plant: Salt River Project (SRP) and sPower, a renewable energy Independent Power Producer (IPP), announced construction is underway on “East Line Solar,” a new solar plant which will bring $10 million in 25 years of tax revenue and up to 350 construction jobs to Pinal County. It will also soon deliver 100 MW of solar generation to the Intel Corporation’s Chandler facility. East Line Solar received its conditional use permits in the City of Coolidge in 2019 and is expected to begin operations in December of 2020.  The East Line Solar facility will support Intel’s Chandler Ocotillo Campus, one of the corporation’s largest global, semiconductor manufacturing sites. Source:

More on interconnection — California adopts first interconnection rules to utilize hosting capacity results: The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued sweeping changes to Rule 21, the rules under which distributed energy resources, like solar power and energy storage, may interconnect to California’s electric grid. The changes represent a radical shift in how states handle interconnection policy, with a number of unprecedented changes that will provide a model regulators in other states can look to as they work to enable more renewable energy on the grid through modern interconnection policies. Interconnection to the electric grid is a critical step in the deployment of most renewable energy systems, including solar power and energy storage systems. Yet lengthy processes for interconnection approval that rely on outdated technologies can often be a barrier in the process. The revisions to Rule 21 encompass many issues but three of the most noteworthy include 1) the plan to incorporate data on the actual grid conditions at the locations of projects that request to interconnect; 2) an option for developers to propose project operating schedules that are based on those grid conditions; and 3) the addition of more advanced interconnection policies for interconnection of energy storage projects. Read the details from IREC here.


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