Duke Energy Files for More Solar
Top consumer smart energy news hand-selected and brought to you by the Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative.
Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, recently announced plans for three new solar power plants. All told, the three facilities could bring in enough power to charge 69,000 homes each year, thanks to the additional 224.3 megawatts they should bring online. Each project should bring between 200 to 300 temporary jobs with them and, when finished, will be owned, operated and maintained by Duke Energy Florida. Construction is expected to finish late next year and will bring the company’s total solar power holdings up to 700 MW.
How can economies recover from the COVID-19 pandemic whilst also ensuring that they meet clean energy goals? Mathias Steck, Managing Director, DNV GL – Energy, talks to Dave Turk, Acting Deputy Executive and Head of the Strategic Initiatives Office at the International Energy Agency on the DNV GL Talks Energy podcast, on the importance of including renewables in economic stimulus packages and why clean energy technologies are showing resilience in these unprecedented times.
Southern Company announced plans to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across its system by 2050 during its annual shareholder meeting last week, after setting a "low- to no-" carbon by 2050 goal in 2018. CEO Tom Fanning said the company is pacing ahead of meeting its midway climate commitment: to reduce the company's emissions 50 percent below 2007 levels by 2030 — a goal that might be achievable by 2025. The company said it can invest in tree planting or in carbon reduction technology to offset emissions from fossil-fuel powered generation and achieve its net-zero goal.
With lay-offs, reductions in hours and other job changes due to COVID-19, more households are having difficulties paying their utility bills. In response, a significant number of utilities have instituted moratoriums on disconnecting customers, voluntarily or under orders by their regulators. With over 23 million people unemployed nationwide, and some industries being shut down or dramatically altered, preventing disconnections for nonpayment meets a critical need to help keep homes stable.
Residential batteries outperformed the rest of the energy storage sector in first-quarter deployments. The first quarter of 2020 marked the fourth consecutive record for home battery installations, according to the new Energy Storage Monitor from Wood Mackenzie and the Energy Storage Association. The sector delivered 44 megawatts/102 megawatt-hours – up 10 percent from Q4 2019. That’s all the more striking because home solar installations typically dip in the first quarter of a given year.
Green Mountain Power (GMP) in Vermont launched a new program called Go, Save & Share Green, which includes incentives and initiatives to save customers money and help the community. As part of this program, GMP is increasing rebates on heat pumps, heat pump water heaters, electric mowers and electric bikes through the end of August. “These new rebates and energy-sharing programs are innovative ways we can help customers save money while helping each other, the economy and the environment at the same time,” GMP President and CEO Mari McClure said.
Missouri’s largest electric utility plans to offer 1,000 of its customers access to energy efficiency improvements minus the often-substantial upfront cost. Instead, Ameren Missouri will pay the initial cost and then add a small portion of it to the customer’s monthly bill. In theory, the customer’s total bill goes down because energy savings exceed the repayment charge. Evergy is also working out the details of a 12-month pilot that state regulators approved in January. Company spokesman Damon Smith said the PAYS experiment will take place before the end of 2022. Liberty Utilities-Empire District is considering moving ahead with a pilot as well.
If cities are to hit their targets of using 100-percent renewable energy, they need to build more expertise, invest more money into those goals and garner more support from utilities, according to a report from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, the University of Michigan's School for Environment and Sustainability and other partners. Cities should also focus on equity and make sure the most vulnerable are not neglected in the transition away from fossil fuels, the report said.