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220-MW Grady Wind power facility in New Mexico now operational

New Mexico’s newest wind power facility is now up and running. Pattern Energy Group 2 LP (Pattern Development) announced it has completed construction and begun operations at its 220-MW Grady Wind facility located in Curry County, New Mexico. This is the third and final phase of a 544-MW suite of wind projects, which now represent the largest investment in clean power in the history of New Mexico, according to Pattern.

Grady Wind is using 84 Siemens Gamesa 2.625-MW wind turbines with 120-meter rotors and has a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement for 100% of the energy produced. The project will deliver wind power across the Western Interconnect transmission line that was also developed and placed into service in 2017 by Pattern Development.

The construction phase of Grady Wind created hundreds of jobs for New Mexicans and it is now delivering additional economic benefits including land lease payments to local landowners and tax revenue for the host communities of eastern New Mexico, according to Pattern.  The facility employs approximately 20 full-time personnel for ongoing maintenance and operations.

“The successful completion of Grady Wind represents an important step in New Mexico’s evolution as a major renewable energy producer,” said Mike Garland, CEO of Pattern Development. “As the leading wind developer and operator in New Mexico, we are proud to be helping position New Mexico as a wind energy leader. We also plan to ramp up construction in early 2020 on more than 800 MW of new wind facilities in central New Mexico, creating hundreds of new construction jobs and generating billions of dollars in economic impact. As wind and solar energy development grow throughout the state, New Mexicans will reap the economic benefits.”

New Zealand to receive first ever floating solar

Auckland’s electricity and water utility companies have announced a project to build New Zealand’s largest solar array in the heart of Auckland’s North Shore, by floating it on top of the Rosedale wastewater treatment pond near the Northern Motorway.

Electricity and water providers Vector Group and Watercare will collaborate to deploy the array. It will be used to supplement electricity from the grid, as well as cogeneration from biogas, which is already generated on-site from wastewater treatment.

Read about the DERMS Track at DISTRIBUTECH International. 

The electricity is used for pumping and aeration for natural bacteria that help break down the waste as part of the treatment process.

Watercare has an ambitious program to reduce its energy use by 8 GWh by 2022 and to achieve energy self-sufficiency at its Mangere and Rosedale wastewater treatment plants by 2025. Solar installations such as this one will help Watercare achieve its targets.

Vector Group CEO Simon Mackenzie and Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram said the system, delivered by Vector PowerSmart, would mark a number of firsts for New Zealand.

“It’s the first time floating solar will be seen in New Zealand and the first megawatt-scale solar project to be confirmed,” said Mackenzie. “It can generate enough power over a year to run the equivalent of 200 average New Zealand homes for a year,” he added.

“Even larger systems are already common overseas and with reports out of Australia of costs as low as 4-5c per kWh, when that scale arrives here we’ll see solar’s real potential to set a new cap on the wholesale market which over the past few days has been around double that”.

“Vector PowerSmart’s capability to design and deliver this innovative system shows how new energy solutions are key to helping business reach their economic and environmental goals, and we’re proud to be working with Watercare to help it achieve both”.

Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram said, “The project is a fantastic example of how utilities can work together for the benefit of their communities”.

“As a large user of energy, it’s important that we look at ways of reducing our environmental footprint and becoming more self-sufficient.  Innovative solutions like this on top of wastewater ponds are a smart way to reduce operational costs”.

Highlights of New Zealand’s first floating solar project:

• The project is funded and hosted by Watercare and delivered by Vector PowerSmart

• First ever floating solar confirmed for deployment in New Zealand

• Located on Watercare’s Rosedale Wastewater Treatment Plant on Auckland’s North Shore

• Visible to road users heading north along State highway 1, which is adjacent to the site

• First megawatt-scale solar system confirmed in NZ, each year generating enough electricity to power 200 average NZ homes for a year

• More than 2700 solar panels (Vector Lights has 248) and 3000 floating pontoons

• Largest solar project of any type so far confirmed in New Zealand and more than twice the size of the country’s current largest solar array

• Reduction of 145 tonnes of CO2e each year – equivalent to the emissions from driving 66 cars in NZ

Ameren Missouri to bring customers solar energy at night

Ameren Missouri, a unit of Ameren Corp., filed plans with the Missouri Public Service Commission to build three solar + storage facilities across Missouri. 

These installations would improve customer reliability and enable access to solar energy around the clock, according to Ameren Missouri. Each location will connect a large solar energy generation facility to battery storage. The installations will be the first-of-their-kind facilities in the state and among only a handful of solar + storage facilities in the Midwest.

Read about the Energy Storage Track at DISTRIBUTECH International

“At Ameren Missouri, we’re leading the region with this technology. These non-traditional solutions are expected to benefit customers by increasing reliability, growing the amount of renewable energy generation on the grid, and investing in the communities we call home,” said Michael Moehn, chairman and president of Ameren Missouri. “Innovative projects such as solar + storage are moving Missouri forward with smart energy.”

Ameren Missouri is investing nearly $68 million in these solar + storage facilities as part of the company’s smart energy plan, which includes thousands of electric projects designed to create a smarter, stronger, more reliable energy grid and introduce new sources of renewable energy, all while keeping rates stable and predictable. The solar + storage installations are scheduled to be completed next year.

How it Works

The proposed solar + storage facilities will be located in the communities of Green City, Richwoods and Utica and are expected to bring increased reliability to customers. Building renewable facilities in these communities is cost-effective due to their particular locations.

Each location is expected to have a 10 MW solar facility, making them the three largest investor-owned utility solar installations in the state. During sunny days, customers near the proposed facilities will receive their energy primarily from the solar facility. 

The solar energy will also charge the battery. In the case of a service interruption, each battery will be able to power connected homes for several hours, giving Ameren Missouri repair crews time to fix the service issue without causing an extended outage. Customers will also remain connected to the larger energy grid.

Ameren Missouri is taking action on its commitment to transition to cleaner forms of energy in a responsible fashion. The solar + storage facilities are part of the company’s plans to add 100 MW of solar generation by 2027. This announcement comes soon after Ameren Missouri’s first Community Solar installation, near St. Louis Lambert International Airport, began serving customers.

Customers can learn about more ways to support cleaner energy here. Construction of the solar + storage facilities is subject to a number of conditions including approval from the MoPSC.

FERC issues license for 5-MW Grant Lake Hydroelectric Project in Alaska

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the U.S. has issued an original operating license to Kenai Hydro LLC for its proposed 5-MW Grant Lake Hydroelectric Project in Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska.

The small hydro project will be located on Grant Lake and Grant Creek near the town of Moose Pass. It will occupy about 1,689 acres of federal land within the Chugach National Forest.

Kenai Hydro filed the application for an original license in April 2016. A final environmental impact statement was issued in May 2019.

The Grant Lake project will consist of the following new facilities: an intake, diversion weir, bypass flow pipe, power tunnel, surge chamber, penstock, powerhouse, tailrace, detention pond, transmission line and switchyard, and access roads. The powerhouse will contain two horizontal Francis turbine-generator units and generate an average of 18,600 MWh of electricity annually. The project will operate in a peaking mode.

FERC determined the project will cost $86.02/MWh in the first year of operation, more than the likely alternative cost of power. However, “it is the applicant who must decide whether to accept this license and any financial risk that entails,” FERC noted.

The license for the Grant Lake project is effective for 40 years from Aug. 1, 2019.

Houston Mayor selects developer for 70-MW urban solar array in revitalization plan

Last week, Houston, TX Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that Sunnyside Energy, led by developer Dori Wolfe of Wolfe Energy LLC, has won a competition to be considered to repurpose a 240-acre former landfill in Sunnyside. Subject to meeting certain terms and conditions, the team will construct one of the largest urban solar farms in Texas., if not the largest.

In 2017, Mayor Turner joined C40 Reinventing Cities – a global competition for innovative carbon-free and resilient urban projects. Together with 13 other cities across the globe, underutilized parcels of land were identified for redevelopment. Through this competition, the Sunnyside Energy team of engineers, architects, neighborhood groups, and artists have created a vision to transform the unmaintained closed landfill into a beacon of sustainability and resiliency.

The preliminary design calls for the development of a 70-MW ballasted solar array that would:

  • Generate enough electricity to supply about 12,000 homes
  • Prevent potential future environmental hazards posed by the landfill
  • Provide power discounts for low-income residents in the neighborhood
  • Train and employ local labor
  • Store and filter stormwater on the tract to help reduce flooding
  • Include educational attributes at the restored site

Sunnyside Energy is a partnership among EDF Renewables, MP2-Shell, and Wolfe Energy. Sunnyside Energy will supply electricity to the Houston-area power grid through MP2-Shell and CenterPoint, meaning the solar-generated power would be distributed across the metropolitan region.

“It is fitting that Sunnyside would be home to one of the largest urban solar farms in Texas,” Mayor Turner said. “The project proposes to not only revitalize an underutilized piece of property that has been an eyesore to the community for years, but could also make Sunnyside a more complete, sustainable and resilient community.”

“Reinventing the landfill into a solar farm will help bring much-needed economic development to the community and makes Sunnyside part of the international energy transition to using ‘clean,’ renewable energy sources, reducing pollution and limiting climate change in the process,” the mayor added.

“Reinventing Cities recognizes low-carbon solutions in cities around the world and makes it possible for these innovative ideas to become reality. It is evident why Houston’s Sunnyside Energy project is one of the world’s best,” said David Miller, Director of International Diplomacy and the Regional Director of North America at C40 Cities. “Transforming a former landfill into a site that will be carbon-positive by its fifth year illustrates how taking bold action gets us closer to achieving the future we want.”

Sunnyside solar will not only bring jobs to the area, but also help teach future generations of Houstonians about renewable energy. Houston Renewable Energy will provide solar installation training at the neighboring Sunnyside Community Center. Qualifying graduates of the training program will have an advantage in securing a job during the construction of the 70 MW solar farm, designed and constructed by EDF-Renewables.

Next steps will be for the City of Houston and Wolfe Energy LLC. to complete the financial and environmental feasibility, finalize the design plan with community input and negotiate contract lease terms for use of the land. The project is estimated to begin in 2021.

Solar project development is a topic discussed at POWERGEN International, which takes place in New Orleans, November 19-21, 2019. Register to attend!

Company trying to tackle renewable energy curtailment enters European market

This week, Scottish software company Smarter Grid Solutions (SGS) announced that it will be expanding into Europe after completing successful trials with a utility company in Germany.

SGS’s German trial demonstrated “dynamic curtailment,” where very small amounts of electricity produced by renewable energy generators like wind farms or solar parks are reduced if too much power is pumped into the grid.

Taking a dynamic curtailment approach can double the hosting capacity for renewable energy and vastly reduces the amount of curtailment required by existing dispatch methods.

Related: Wind Power Curtailment in China on the Mend


As well as reducing curtailment, SGS’s distributed energy resource management system (DERMS) technology allows distribution system operators (DSOs) to reduce connection times and the requirement for grid upgrades, which in turn improves customer service, increases efficiency and reduces customer bills, according to SGS.

DERM technology can now be applied across Europe thanks to regulatory changes introduced by the European Union’s (EU’s) Clean Energy Package. Alan Gooding, co-founder of SGS, will lead the expansion as European general manager, in addition to his responsibilities as UK general manager and EVP of channel and partners.

“Only last week we hosted a European DSO in the UK, running through the use cases that can be supported by our products and how they deliver value to DSOs,” said Gooding.

From a one-way system to a two-way system

In the past, large coal and gas-fired power stations were connected to the main national transmission network, with their electricity then fed down into local distribution networks. Today, many renewable energy generators as well as batteries and other smart grid devices are connected to distribution networks, meaning power flows in both directions on the grid. This is what triggers the need for DSOs to implement new forms of control and system flexibility, such as DERMS and dynamic curtailment.

SGS said that its DERMS software is already adding around 1.3 GW of renewable energy, battery storage and flexibility services to global electricity grids.

Renewable energy project development is the topic of multiple sessions at POWERGEN International, which takes place in New Orleans, November 19-21. Register to attend the event today.

DERMS, Solar PV, Batteries and other DER are discussed at length at DISTRIBUTECH International, which takes place in San Antonio, January 28039, 2020. Learn more!

Covering Climate Now signs on more than 170 news outlets

by Mark Hertsgaard

MORE THAN 170 NEWS OUTLETS from around the world have now signed up for Covering Climate Now, a project co-founded by CJR and The Nation aimed at strengthening the media’s focus on the climate crisis.

All outlets have committed to running a week’s worth of climate coverage in the lead-up to the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York on Sept. 23. At that meeting, the world’s governments will submit plans to meet the Paris Agreement’s pledge to keep global temperature rise “well below” 2 degrees Celsius.  

“The need for solid climate coverage has never been greater,” said Kyle Pope, CJR’s editor and publisher. “We’re proud that so many organizations from across the US and around the world have joined with Covering Climate Now to do our duty as journalists—to report this hugely important story.”

Covering Climate Now now ranks as one of the most ambitious efforts ever to organize the world’s media around a single coverage topic. In addition to The Guardian—the lead media partner in Covering Climate Now—CJR and The Nation are joined by major newspapers, magazines, television and radio broadcasters, and global news and photo agencies in North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. 

Among the outlets represented are: Bloomberg; CBS News; El País; the Asahi Shimbun; La Repubblica; The Times of India; Getty Images; Agence France-Presse; national public TV broadcasters in Italy, Sweden, and the United States; most of the biggest public radio stations in the US; scholarly journals such as Nature, Science, and the Harvard Business Review; and publications such as Vanity Fair, HuffPost, The National Observer, and The Daily Beast. Covering Climate Now also includes a wide array of local news outlets and non-profit websites reporting from Rhode Island, Nevada, Turkey, Togo, and dozens of places in between.

“Collaboration with like-minded colleagues makes both journalistic and business sense in today’s media environment, and The Nation is happy to encourage such collaboration and proud to share our climate coverage as part of this exciting initiative,” said Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation.

All of the news outlets participating will decide for themselves how many climate stories to run during the September week of coverage, and what those stories say.  The only requirement is that the participating outlets make a good faith effort to run as much high-quality climate coverage as they can—and thereby signal to their audiences the paramount importance of the climate story.

Some of the outlets participating in Covering Climate Now will share their climate coverage with one another, though this is by no means obligatory.  Many outlets will publish or broadcast only stories they themselves produce. This decision is entirely up to each participating outlet.

Renewable Energy World is committed to continuing its coverage of how renewable energy solutions are growing throughout the world. In addition, two events, POWERGEN International and DISTRIBUTECH International, exist to showcase new and innovative technology trends that are helping to shape the future of the electricity industry — including the transition to renewable energy. Join us in New Orleans, November 19-21, 2019 and San Antonio, January 28-30, 2020 at each event. 

A full list of participating outlets follows. 


  1. Columbia Journalism Review (Co-founder)
  2. The Nation (Co-founder)
  3. The Guardian (Lead Media Partner)


Wire Services and News & Photo Agencies:

  1. Agence France-Presse (AFP)
  2. Bloomberg
  3. Getty Images



  1. The (Colorado Springs) Gazette
  2. The Christian Science Monitor
  3. The Daily Hampshire Gazette
  4. DigBoston
  5. The Minneapolis Star Tribune
  6. The National Catholic Reporter
  7. The Oklahoman
  8. The Philadelphia Inquirer & Inquirer.com
  9. The Portland Press Herald (Maine)
  10. The San Francisco Chronicle
  11. The Seattle Times
  12. The (New Jersey) Star-Ledger & NJ.com
  13. La Nacion (Argentina)
  14. The Queen’s Journal (Queen’s University, Canada)
  15. The Toronto Star (Canada)
  16. The Varsity (The University of Toronto, Canada)
  17. La Tercera (Chile)
  18. The Hindustan Times (India)
  19. The Times of India (India)
  20. La Repubblica (Italy)
  21. The Asahi Shimbun (Japan)
  22. The Nepali Times (Nepal)
  23. The New Zealand Herald (New Zealand)
  24. Público (Portugal)
  25. The Straits Times (Singapore)
  26. The Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
  27. El País (Spain)
  28. Trouw (The Netherlands)
  29. The i Paper (The United Kingdom)


Magazines, Journals, and Digital News Sites:

  1. The Alpinist
  2. Bay Nature
  3. Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists
  4. Bustle
  5. The Chicago Review of Books
  6. Circle of Blue
  7. Civil Eats
  8. Climate Desk
  9. CQ & Roll Call
  10. The Daily Beast
  11. DeSmog
  12. EcoRI News
  13. Ecosystem Marketplace
  14. EcoWatch
  15. Ensia
  16. Green Philly
  17. Grist
  18. Harvard Business Review
  19. Honolulu Civil Beat
  20. HuffPost
  21. IEEE Spectrum
  22. The Intercept
  23. In These Times
  24. InsideClimate News
  25. IPS Inter Press Service
  26. Jolon Indian Media
  27. Journal for the Planet
  28. Lapham’s Quarterly
  29. Literary Hub
  30. Mongabay
  31. Mother Jones
  32. New Mexico In Depth
  33. The New Republic
  34. Newsweek
  35. Nexus Media
  36. The Oklahoma Observer
  37. PassBlue
  38. PublicSource
  39. Quartz
  40. The Real News Network
  41. Renewable Energy World
  42. Rethinking Schools
  43. Rock and Ice
  44. Rolling Stone
  45. Science
  46. Scientific American
  47. Sentient Media 
  48. Silica Magazine
  49. The Shoestring
  50. Slate
  51. Sludge
  52. StateImpact Pennsylvania
  53. Talking Points Memo
  54. Teen Vogue
  55. The Texas Observer
  56. The Tuscon Sentinel
  57. Truthout
  58. Vanity Fair
  59. VICE Media
  60. Vox
  61. VTDigger
  62. The Weather Channel Digital
  63. WhoWhatWhy
  64. Yale Climate Connections
  65. Yale Environment 360
  66. Croakey Health Media (Australia)
  67. Eureka Street (Australia)
  68. Revolve (Belgium)
  69. My News Brasil (Brazil)
  70. The Coast (Canada)
  71. Corporate Knights (Canada)
  72. Kingstonist News (Canada)
  73. Maclean’s (Canada)
  74. The National Observer (Canada)
  75. Planet Friendly News (Canada)
  76. The Sprawl (Canada)
  77. Taproot Edmonton (Canada)
  78. TVO (Canada)
  79. The Tyee (Canada)
  80. Ojo al Clima (Costa Rica)
  81. K-News.dk (Denmark)
  82. Solidaritet (Denmark)
  83. Clean Energy Wire & Klimafakten.de (Germany)
  84. Correctiv (Germany)
  85. KlimaSocial (Germany)
  86. Spektrum der Wissenschaft (Germany)
  87. People’s Archive of Rural India (India)
  88. The Wire (India)
  89. Newsweek Japan (Japan)
  90. Newsroom (New Zealand)
  91. The Spinoff (New Zealand)
  92. Stuff (New Zealand)
  93. The Daily Maverick (South Africa)
  94. WOZ Die Wochenzeitung (Switzerland)
  95. De Groene Amsterdammer (The Netherlands)
  96. The Confidential Report (Togo)
  97. NewsLab Turkey (Turkey)
  98. BusinessGreen (The United Kingdom)
  99. Climate News Network (The United Kingdom)
  100. The Conversation (The United Kingdom)
  101. Immediate Media (The United Kingdom)
  102. Nature (The United Kingdom)
  103. Physics World (The United Kingdom)


Television & Multimedia:

  1. CBS News
  2. Democracy Now
  3. PBS NewsHour
  4. The Years Project & Years Of Living Dangerously
  5. WFAA (Dallas-Forth Worth, Texas)
  6. WJCT (Jacksonville, Fla.)
  7. WNET’s Peril and Promise (New York, N.Y.)
  8. News18 (India)
  9. RTÉ’s Brainstorm Project (Ireland)
  10. TG1/RAI (Italy)
  11. TVNZ’s 1 News (New Zealand)
  12. Politically Aweh, TV news show (South Africa)
  13. Swedish Television / SVT (Sweden)


Radio & Podcasts:

  1. Climate One (podcast)
  2. Elemental: Covering Sustainability (regional collaborative of NPR stations in Denver, Colo.; Phoenix, Ariz.; and Los Angeles, Calif.)
  3. Global GoalsCast (podcast)
  4. Hudson Mohawk Radio Network (WOOC, WOOS, and WOOA, in Upstate N.Y.)
  5. KALW (San Francisco Bay Area, Calif.)
  6. KPCC (Los Angeles, Calif.)
  7. KQED (San Francisco Bay Area, Calif.)
  8. KUOW (Seattle, Wash.)
  9. Marketplace Tech, by American Public Media
  10. Nevada Public Radio
  11. Science Friday, by WNYC Studios   
  12. The Allegheny Front, on WESA (Pittsburgh, Pa.)
  13. WAMU (Washington, DC)
  14. WBEZ (Chicago, Ill.)
  15. WBUR (Boston, Mass.)
  16. WFPL (Louisville, Ky.)
  17. WHYY (Philadelphia, Pa.)
  18. WNYC (New York, N.Y.)
  19. WRAL (Raleigh, N.C.)
  20. WWNO (New Orleans, La.)
  21. The World, by PRI and the BBC (The United Kingdom)



  1. Boston Institute for Nonprofit Journalism
  2. Boston University
  3. Climate Matters & Climate Central (George Mason University Center for Climate Communications, and Climate Communications)
  4. Journalist’s Resource (The Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics, and Public Policy, at Harvard University)
  5. Solutions Journalism Network
  6. Yale Climate Change & Health Initiative
  7. Insper (Brazil)
  8. blogdroiteuropéen (Europe)
  9. Netzwerk Weitblick (Germany)
  10. Manchester University (The United Kingdom)
  11. The Lancet Countdown on Climate Change and Health (The United Kingdom)


Independent Journalists (outlets & affiliations listed for identification purposes only):

  1. David Biello (TED Talks)
  2. Rex Dalton (Formerly of Nature)
  3. Mike Favetta (Founding meteorologist, WeatherPrep)
  4. Dan Gardner
  5. Paul Gross (Chief meteorologist, WDIV in Detroit, Mich.)
  6. Stephen Leahy (Freelance biosphere journalist)
  7. Bill McKibben 
  8. Mike Nelson (Chief meteorologist, Channel 7 in Denver, Colo.)
  9. Don Paul (Contributing meteorologist, The Buffalo News)
  10. Jake Price
  11. Yereth Rosen (Formerly of The Anchorage Daily News)
  12. Benjamin Ryan (The New York Times)
  13. Dan Satterfield (Chief meteorologist, WBOC in Salisbury, Md.)
  14. Peter Schwartzstein (freelance environmental & Middle East correspondent)
  15. Alex Steffen
  16. Isabel Seta (Brazil)
  17. Sean Holman (Canada)
  18. Tracy Sherlock (Freelance journalist, Canada)
  19. Manka Behl (The Times of India, India)
  20. Preeti Jha (India)
  21. Marcello Rossi (Freelance environmental reporter, Italy)
  22. Angelina Davydova (Freelance journalist, Russia)
  23. Alex Thomson (Channel 4 News, The United Kingdom)
  24. Michael Tatarski (Vietnam)

ABB delivers solar plant at Antarctic research base

The Uruguayan government agency Instituto Antarctico Uruguayo (IAU) is collaborating with ABB, Uruguay utility UTE and the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining (MIEM) to provide a second solar power installation at the IAU’s research base in the Antarctic.

The project aims to facilitate crucial climate change research, as well as strengthen the use of solar photovoltaic systems at the Artigas base, to further the use of renewable energy instead of using stand-by diesel generators.

The base enables the IAU to reduce the country’s dependency on fossil fuels – vitally important as many of the world’s largest global economies work towards a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The ABB solution will include the solar inverter UNO-DM-6.0-TL (6 kW at 230VAC 1ph), MCB 40A 2-pole and RCD 40A 300mA 2-pole, 24 ground-mounted solar panels JINKO 270W (12 modules per string), and a connection to ABB’s Aurora Vision Plant Management portal via the inverter’s embedded WI-FI interface. 

The Aurora Vision portal provides the ability to remotely monitor the performance of the installation, so the teams involved can compare the new solar plant’s performance to the existing panels. The data gathered will provide invaluable insight to inform future expansions. IAU also made the portal available to view real-time online, encouraging public engagement with the base’s sustainability efforts.

ABB’s plug and play solar inverter also means that installation was significantly simplified. It took only three days to install the PV system with the help of Smart Green Uruguay (SGU). 

Due to the harsh and unpredictable weather conditions, and the short timeframe to complete the installation, ABB pre-configured the equipment by testing it in a laboratory that recreated the adverse Antarctic environment. ABB then provided extensive training for the installers, and real-time support to SGU throughout the installation via the Aurora Vision Management platform.

In 2018, ABB solar solutions played a key part in establishing the first solar system at the Artigas Base, so it was the natural partner for this second major PV installation in 2019. However, in the first phase of installation the solar panels had been mounted onto building walls to minimize wind interference. This compromised performance as the panels weren’t positioned at the optimum tilt of 55° North.

Taking this learning into the second installation, the solar panels were ground mounted, achieving a better position for sunlight to ensure maximum performance. In other words, during sunlight hours in summertime, up to 10 per cent of the instant power demanded by Artigas Base can be provided by the optimized solar plant. It has already offset 0.8 metric tons of carbon emissions in the first two months since its installation – reducing Artigas’ impact on the delicate Antarctic ecosystem, and creating operational (OPEX) savings that will be put back into critical scientific research.

Diego Giacosa, engineer at UTE, commented: “This was a very challenging project, which was only possible to deliver if everybody worked as a team. The insights gleaned from the management platform enable us to track, monitor and diagnose issues before they arose, helping us manage teams and resources effectively. We are encouraged by the results and solar is a reliable fuel choice to help us meet zero carbon targets.”

Francisco Manfredi, service sales specialist at ABB, added: “We were able to take the considerable learnings from the first installation in 2018 and apply them to this project. Hence, we were able to provide an even more reliable solution and support the IAU in its goal of powering Artigas by renewable energy. The results so early into the project are fantastic and will help contribute to vital scientific research as the world reduces its reliance on fossil fuels to meet its climate challenges.”


Brazil to support construction of four new hydropower plants

Brazil advancing hydro

Brazil has included four hydropower plants among the projects that will receive support as part of the country’s investment partnerships program, called Programa de Parcerias de Investimentos or PPI. 

According to BNamericas, the government’s support will come in the form of environmental licensing studies for the 650-MW Bem Querer, 140-MW Castanheira, 118-MW Telemaco Borba and 430-MW Tabajara plants, fulfilling President Jair Bolsonaro’s campaign promise to speed up the environmental licensing processes for large hydro plants.

Bem Querer, located in the Amazonas river in Roraima state, is considered critical to Brazil’s energy security. Roraima is the only state not yet connected to the country’s main power grid (SIN). Bem Querer will have a transmission line connecting to SIN and the government sees it as a necessary plant to reduce the region’s dependence on energy imports from crisis-ridden Venezuela and diesel-fired thermal power plants.   

Being located in Brazil’s most environmentally sensitive area, the Amazon rainforest, Bem Querer is a potential target for environmental groups. An analysis of the project by the upper house in 2007 showed it could have a negative impact on areas occupied by indigenous people.   

Also located in the Amazon region is the Tabajara plant, in Rodonia state. The project on the Jiparana River could impact cities, conservation areas, indigenous lands and people, including communities living on the riverside and fishermen. The federal prosecutor’s office (MPF) has estimated that the plant would affect 28 indigenous communities with more than 72,000 people.   

The other two projects are much less controversial due to their locations.

The Castanheira plant on the Atrinos River in Mato Grosso state is not close to any indigenous lands and the construction works are slated to advance together with environmental programs to preserve and reduce impacts on fauna, flora, fish and water quality. It will also come with social programs to mitigate the impact on the population located in the municipalities that will see their lands flooded.   

The Telemaco Borba plant on the Tibagi River in Parana state is located far from environmentally sensitive areas and small-scale mining in the area is the only activity that could be negatively impacted.   

Hawaiian Electric Companies issue largest clean energy procurement to date; aim to end coal use, replace oil

Last week, the Hawaiian Electric Companies began Hawai‘i’s largest procurement effort for renewable energy resources to end the use of coal and reduce reliance on imported oil for power generation, moving the state closer to its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy by 2045.

With the approval of the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), the companies today issued requests for proposals for renewable energy and grid services from developers locally and globally.

Approximately 900 megawatts of new renewables or renewables paired with storage – generating about 2 million megawatt-hours annually – are sought. It is among the largest single renewable energy procurements undertaken by a U.S. utility, said the companies.

This includes estimated targets of technologies equal to 594 MW of solar for O‘ahu, 135 MW for Maui and up to 203 MW for Hawai‘i Island, depending on whether other renewable energy projects are available on that island.

Projects for Maui must include energy storage. On Hawai‘i Island, solar must include storage but is optional for other technologies. On O‘ahu, pairing generation with energy storage is optional. Storage on O‘ahu and Maui is also being sought to replace firm generating units. This can be provided by renewable generation paired with storage or standalone storage. Contingency storage is also being sought for Oʻahu and Hawai’i islands.

For O‘ahu, new renewable generation and storage is needed to replace the 180-megawatt coal-fired AES Hawaii plant in Campbell Industrial Park due to close by September 2022. It is the largest single generator on O‘ahu, meeting 16 percent of peak demand.

For Maui, new renewable generation and storage is needed for the planned retirement of Kahului Power Plant by the end of 2024.

Grid services

A separate request for proposals for grid services from customer-sited distributed energy resources (DER) will help system operators manage reliability of modern electric grids with diverse, dynamic inputs and outputs. The companies are seeking grid services such as fast frequency response and capacity for O‘ahu, Maui, and Hawai‘i islands with targets ranging from 4 MW to 119 MW. This will create an opportunity for customers to play a direct role in modernizing the electric grid and integrating more renewable energy.

Final requests for proposals are expected to be issued later this year for the equivalent of 4 MW of solar or 3.6 MW of small wind for Moloka‘i, paired with energy storage, and an equivalent up to 9.5 MW of solar paired with energy storage for Lānaʻi, pending approval by the PUC.

Due to the complexity of projects sought, the PUC has chosen independent observers and a technical adviser to assure that all proposals – including “self-build” projects proposed by the companies – are treated fairly and equitably and will not interact to create technical problems on island grids.

These final requests for proposals are the result of extensive collaboration led by the PUC with participation of Hawaiian Electric, the Consumer Advocate, and other stakeholders.

Hawaiian Electric’s guiding principles in seeking renewable energy and grid services include transparency, predictability and streamlining to lower costs for customers, with community engagement essential to success.

Pending negotiations of contracts and final approvals, the first renewable generation projects from this phase would come online in 2022 with the total amount of megawatts expected by 2025. The timelines for proposals are listed below:

Renewable Generation Timeline

Grid Services Timeline

Decarbonization and renewable energy project development play a prominent role at both DISTRIBUTECH International and POWERGEN International