Morning Brief: Flight of the linemen, What will a Biden presidency do to US energy?


Flight of the linemen — Helicopter bare-hand insulator replacement: What would you do when you have to replace insulators and spacer dampers on a line that crosses steep mountains and extends down into orchard-filled valleys? What if there is only limited time to take lines out of service for repair, as the continuous flow of power is expected to remain uninterrupted? During the past four years, Sierra Nevada’s line crews have been perfecting the solution to these complex questions: performing live-line and de-energized maintenance techniques with a helicopter. “I am not aware of any other utility in the nation that is using long-line hot-stick bare-hand methods for this type of work,” said Lineman James Hill, who is featured in some of the  detailed and breathtaking images of the crew’s completion of a multi-year project replacing insulators on several dead-end towers. Source: T&D World

First Solar announced that Vistra Corp. selected its solar modules to power its six recently announced solar energy projects across Texas. Under the agreement, First Solar will supply 869 MW of series 6 modules to power utility-scale solar projects, developed by Vistra, ranging from 50 MW  to 200 MW. Based in Irving, Texas, Vistra is the largest competitive residential electricity provider and largest competitive power generator in the U.S. with a generation portfolio of approximately 39,000 MW. Source: First Solar

The 2020 elections bring U.S. energy policy to a clear fork in the road. A second term for President Donald Trump would mean a continuation of the pattern of the past four years: a generally laissez-faire approach to energy policy, with attempts at the margin to support the oil, gas and coal industries through deregulation and occasional intervention. A victory for Joe Biden would mean an ambitious attempt to use the federal government to restructure the entire U.S. energy sector to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Among the changes that could be introduced by a Biden administration are stricter fuel economy standards, an end to oil and gas lease sales in federal lands and waters, and new obstacles to permitting for fossil fuel infrastructure. Source: WoodMac

Glenwood Springs-based electric cooperative Holy Cross Energy has taken step to expand its solar generation capacity and further its renewable energy goals. On Tuesday, Colorado Mountain College Trustees gave final conditional approval to a land lease for Holy Cross to build a 4.5-MW photovoltaic solar generation array at the college’s Spring Valley campus. Also this week, Holy Cross announced that it has completed the purchase of three existing community solar arrays from Clean Energy Collective that are already connected to HCE’s electric distribution system. Source: Post Independent

Big solar farms could dominate the future of a Utah hamlet trying to preserve its small-town feel: With fewer than 150 residents and vast expanses of undeveloped agricultural lands, the quiet hamlet of Fairfield sits on a crossroads of Utah history, occupying space used as a major military installation and an important waypoint on the Pony Express in the 1850s Now, long after horseback mail carriers and historic Camp Floyd have faded away, Fairfield faces another crossroads — this one about its proposed future as a solar energy vortex. Three major projects have been proposed within its boundaries or on its doorstep, raising concerns that the town’s rural quality of life could be sacrificed to power Utah County’s booming tech center. NextEra Energy Resources, the nation’s largest independent producer of renewable energy, is proposing two 160-MW projects, each occupying about 1,300 acres of rangelands owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Source: The Salt Lake Tribune

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