Sunrise brief: Intel signs on to 138 MW Avangrid solar project


Intel signed a 15-year offtake agreement with Portland General Electric, enabling the Oregon-based utility to move ahead with a new 138 MW solar facility being developed by Avangrid Renewables.

The solar facility, Daybreak Solar, will produce a portion of the energy needed to power Intel’s advanced technology development and manufacturing facilities in Hillsboro, Oregon. Intel will be the only power purchaser from this new facility.

As part of the agreement, Intel will also buy and retire the associated renewable energy credits from Avangrid Renewables. Since 2004, Intel has been the largest buyer of the utility’s Green Future Enterprise (formerly Clean Wind) product.

Avangrid Renewables will develop the Daybreak project on 1,100 acres of privately owned land. The project is expected to enter service in 2022.

PGE’s agreement with Avangrid Renewables marks the second local renewable energy project made possible through the utility’s Green Future Impact program. In 2020, the two announced development of a 162 MW solar facility to serve 17 Green Future Impact subscribers, including businesses and municipalities. That project is expected to come online in late 2021.

 $100 million in ARPA-E funding

The U.S. Department of Energy announced up to $100 million in funding for “transformative clean energy technology” research and development through its Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy’s (ARPA-E) OPEN 2021 funding opportunity.

DOE said the funding represents the first of “billions of dollars” of R&D opportunities to be announced this year. The initial release is intended to help identify what it said would be “cutting-edge, disruptive clean energy technologies” to address the climate crisis.

DOE also said it will participate in the National Climate Task Force’s Climate Innovation Working Group, announced February 11 by the White House. The group will coordinate federal government-wide efforts to foster technologies that can help achieve the goal of net zero economy-wide emissions by 2050, and emphasize research to bolster and build domestic clean energy supply chains and strengthen domestic manufacturing.

Senator Joe Manchin, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, welcomed the announcement and said he will “continue supporting the Department’s investment in these much needed technologies of the future.” Manchin is widely seen as the gatekeeper for much of the Biden Administration’s planned investment in energy and climate initiatives.

Potential applicants can visit ARPA-E’s newly launched OPEN 2021 website for information and resources.

A worried California looks for energy resources

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ordered Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas & Electric to immediately contract for energy resources that can be online in time to serve peak and net peak demand this summer.

Regulators worry that extreme weather events like those that forced rolling blackouts last August could re-occur this summer. The order is part of a series of actions the CPUC is taking in an effort to ensure that enough demand-side and supply-side resources are procured for the state to maintain electricity reliability.

The Commission directed all load-serving entities serving load within the region known as the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) to procure 3,300 MW of incremental capacity as a “least regrets” strategy. It also encouraged load serving entities to exceed the minimum requirements to address what the CPUC referred to as “potential” system reliability challenges that it said are now “actual system reliability challenges.”

Both utility-owned generation and third party-owned generation may provide the capacity to meet the summer 2021 peak and net peak demand.

The decision focuses on utility procurement of new generation resources. The CPUC said it will release a separate decision in early March focused mainly on increasing the amount of demand-side resources.

BESS financing

CIT Group Inc. said that its Power and Energy business served as a co-lead arranger on $93.3 million in financing for six battery energy storage systems in Texas.

The battery energy storage systems (BESS) are owned by Key Capture Energy, an Albany, New York-based developer, owner, and operator of projects in the United States.

Together, the six BESS projects represent a total of 230 MW of energy storage capacity. Three of the six projects are operational, and completion of the other three is expected by the end of the year.


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