Sunrise brief: Green light for 185 MW/565 MWh solar + storage project

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A proposed 185 MW/565 MWh battery energy storage project won approval from Hawaii state utility regulators, paving the way for Plus Power to begin construction on behalf of Hawaiian Electric Co.

The Kapolei Energy Storage project was selected a year ago by the utility as part of its transition away from coal-fired generation. In all, 15 renewable energy and battery storage projects located across three islands were selected. Plus Power’s Kapolei project was the largest battery storage project in the group.

The lithium-ion battery project will be located on eight acres in an industrial area, where it will interconnect with a Hawaiian Electric substation. The project will provide load shifting and fast-frequency response services to Hawaiian Electric, enhancing grid reliability and accelerating the integration of renewable energy. The project is planned to enter service in June 2022 in advance of the closing three months later of the island’s last coal-fired power plant.

State regulators opened a docket in March into Hawaiian Electric’s interconnection processes, which regulators said were causing “unnecessary delays and increasing project costs.” The docket called problems “pervasive” across community-based renewable energy as well as utility-scale projects.

At the time, the utility said that the Kapolei project’s timeline could slip to the end of 2022 without affecting reserve margins or grid reliability. However, it said a project delay past 2022 and up to mid-2023 “would prove more problematic.”

Ørsted completes a solar + storage project

Ørsted has completed its Permian Energy Center project, a 460 MW hybrid solar and battery storage facility located in Andrews County, Texas. Permian Energy Center brings Ørsted’s onshore operating capacity to 2.1 GW. The project and its 420 MW of solar PV and 40 MW of battery storage are on a 3,600-acre site alongside existing oil and gas installations and will supply growing West Texas demand for electricity.

Aerial view of the Permian Energy Center.

Ørsted said it is one of the first developers to own the full spectrum of new renewable energy technologies at utility scale in the U.S., onshore and offshore wind, solar PV, and storage.

Solar is on track to make up the largest share of new capacity additions in Texas between 2020 and 2022. Almost 50% of the additions during this time period will be solar, surpassing wind (35%) and natural gas (13%) additions, according to the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration.

Factors driving solar investment in Texas include lower solar technology costs and plentiful sunlight, particularly in West Texas’s Permian Basin, where about 30% of the state’s planned solar capacity will be built.

JV to speed ReneSola pipeline

Connecticut-based ReneSola signed a joint venture agreement with Eiffel Investment Group intended to speed the development and financing of ReneSola Power’s solar project pipeline across Europe.

The two created European Solar Energy Development JV with ReneSola Power having a 51% ownership stake and Eiffel a 49% stake. The initial portfolio will consist of 340 MW of advanced stage development projects located in Poland, Spain, and France, which both partners will support and develop to reach ready-to-build stage. The joint venture company intends to fund the development of up to 700 MW of solar projects in the next three years across Europe. Eiffel has been ReneSola’s financial partner for several years.

Acquisition closes

Solar and storage design-build firm CS Energy said it has closed its acquisition by affiliates of American Securities LLC, a U.S. private equity firm. American Securities acquired the equity interests from a fund managed by the Infrastructure and Power strategy of Ares Management Corporation and The Conti Group.

Revolt Energy’s  new owner

Energy Services of America said that its Nitro Construction Services unit completed the purchase of Revolt Energy, a solar installation company located in Nitro, West Virginia. Terms were not disclosed. Revolt Energy is completing a 487 kW solar array that will power Nitro’s office and fabrication shop.

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