Sunrise brief: Veolia NA moves to design stage on a novel solar-based microgrid


Veolia North America is moving to the design stage for a proposed $8 million microgrid powered by a combination of solar power, biogas cogeneration, and backup battery storage. The project would supply power for the Rialto, California, wastewater treatment plant.

The first stage of the microgrid project, a feasibility study by Veolia’s energy consulting firm, SourceOne Inc., was recently completed.

Veolia already operates and maintains the treatment plant through a contract with the city and Rialto Water Services. Once the microgrid is in place, officials expect the plant to be less vulnerable to power outages that could cause it to shut down and lead to potential spills into nearby waterways.

The microgrid could be completed in 2024 with funding as part of an existing 30-year concession pact with Veolia. The concession agreement’s early funding allowed the city to invest in capital upgrades and also set aside money for deferred utility system lease payments and strategic reserves. With most of those initial efforts now complete, the microgrid project is the first of a series of planned projects aimed at supporting the city’s interest in innovation and sustainability.

The microgrid project is expected to save the city around $350,000 a year in energy costs, with an average return on investment in about eight years.

B&V to assess $5.4b green hydrogen plant

Kansas City-based engineering firm Black & Veatch won a contract to conduct feasibility studies central to the development of a $5.4 billion green hydrogen plant. If built, Enegix Energy’s Base One facility in Brazil would use 3.4 GW of solar and onshore wind energy to produce more than 600 million kilograms of hydrogen annually.

The facility would be one of the largest in the world and would have access to a deep-sea port for exports to global markets.

Under terms of the memorandum of understanding, Black & Veatch will deliver analysis from partners with expertise in hydrogen, renewable energy generation, and the interfaces between them.

PPL is buying a utility

PPL Corp. said it will sell its U.K. utility business, Western Power Distribution, to National Grid for £7.8 billion ($10.87 billion) and, in a separate deal, buy National Grid’s Rhode Island utility business, Narragansett Electric, for $3.8 billion.

The moves will transform PPL into a purely U.S.-focused energy company, and also are expected to strengthen the utility’s credit,
improve its long-term earnings growth and predictability, and provide greater financial flexibility to invest in sustainable energy projects.

Under terms of the deals, PPL will sell its U.K. utility unit to National Grid in an all-cash transaction valued at £14.4 billion ($20.6 billion), including roughly £6.6 billion ($9.19 billion) of debt. The sale is expected to result in net cash proceeds of around $10.2 billion.

Separately, PPL will buy Narragansett Electric from National Grid for $5.3 billion, including $1.5 billion of Narragansett Electric debt. PPL said it plans to use a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Western Power to finance its U.S. acquisition.

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