Morning Brief: Six Midwest utilities to spend $15B to deploy 4 GW of solar, 3.6 GW of wind and 1 GW of battery storage


Six Midwest utilities have said they expect to spend more than a combined $15 billion over the next several years to install or buy roughly 4 GW of solar generation, more than 3.6 GW of wind generation and just over 1 GW of electric battery storage. Each of the utilities also said during third quarter 2020 earnings presentations that they intend to continue to retire long-held coal-fired capacity as they pursue carbon reduction targets that in most cases they have set for the years 2025, 2030 and 2050. The six Midwest utility holding companies — the WEC Group, which serves mainly Wisconsin, Alliant, which serves both Wisconsin and Iowa, Xcel’s Minnesota utility subsidiary, Michigan’s CMS Energy and DTE Energy and Ameren Energy based in St. Louis, Missouri — reported Q3 earnings in the last week of October and the first week of November and said they expect to retire a combined total of 5.8 GW of coal-fired capacity by the years 2022-2023. Source: S&P Global

A largely rural Virginia county grapples with the pros and cons of a proposed $200 million, 149 MW solar farm. The proposed Maroon Solar power plant that would connect with the Dominion transmission line on relatively remote farm and timberland in southern Culpeper.  According to Maroon’s developer, Strata Solar of Durham, N.C., the 149-megawatt, $200 million project will infuse tax money and jobs into the community. But according to a months-long analysis by the Culpeper County Planning Department, the project—while perhaps well-sited—is too big and proposed to be built too fast to maintain the area’s rural nature. Source: Culpeper Star-Exponent.

Utah’s solar advocates plan to fight decision by state regulators: Utah solar advocates plan to challenge a regulatory decision last week to lower utility compensation for solar power, saying it will be “difficult, if not impossible” to project customers’ savings under new rules. Rooftop solar advocates are gearing up to challenge last week’s ruling by Utah utility regulators lowering the credit Rocky Mountain Power awards its customers for the excess electricity they generate from rooftop photovoltaic panels and “export” into the grid. Even more troubling to solar-installation companies is the Public Service Commission’s decision to reevaluate “solar export credit” every year. They say throwing such uncertainty into homeowners’ calculus for deciding whether it’s worth investing in a rooftop system could be a deal-breaker for many. Most vexing of all to solar advocates was the commission’s refusal to consider the broader public interest and to support consumer choice in resetting the credit, according to residents’ emails to the commission shortly after its decision became public Oct. 30. Source: Salt Lake Tribune

The Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange launched a new index that will comprise shares of firms in the cleantech subsector. Companies in the index include Ormat, Enlight Energy and Energix. Source: Tase

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