NV Energy reveals plans for 1.2 GW of new solar projects it is building in Southern Nevada


NV Energy continues to work toward its long-term goal of serving its customers with 100 percent renewable energy, announcing the addition of nearly 1,200 megawatts of new solar photovoltaic generation to be built in the state, along with 590 megawatts of battery storage.

The renewable energy will come in the form of three projects that will be located in southern Nevada. The company will seek approval of these projects from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada as part of its integrated resource plan filing. With the addition of these new projects, NV Energy will also exceed the promise made to its customers last year to double its renewable energy by 2023.

The three new solar energy projects and three related battery-energy storage resources are the result of a competitive solicitation initiated in the fall of 2018, and will create more than 3,000 temporary jobs using project labor agreements. The use of union labor ensures the projects are constructed to the highest industry standards so they can serve Nevada’senergy needs for the long term.

In May of last year, NV Energy announced what was, at the time, the largest renewable energy expansion in Nevada’s history – six new projects totaling 1,001 megawatts of new renewable energy to be built in the state with 100 megawatts of battery storage.
Today’s newly announced projects will be added to NV Energy’s current portfolio of 57 geothermal, solar, hydro, wind, biomass and supported rooftop solar projects both in service and under development.

Each of the three announced projects are expected to be completed and serving customers by the end of 2023:

• Arrow Canyon Solar Project – 200 megawatt solar photovoltaic project with a 75 megawatt – 5 hour battery storage system. The project will be located in Clark County, NV, 20 miles northeast of Las Vegas on the Moapa Band of Paiutes Indian Reservation. It is being developed by EDF Renewables North America, a market leading independent power producer and service provider with over 30 years of expertise in renewable energy. EDF Renewables’ North American portfolio consists of 16 gigawatts of developed projects and 10 gigawatts under service contracts.

• Southern Bighorn Solar & Storage Center – 300 megawatt solar array that includes a 135 megawatt-4 hour Li-Ion battery energy storage system. The project will be built in Clark County, NV on the Moapa River Indian Reservation about 30 miles north of Las Vegas. It is being developed by 8minute Solar Energy, the largest independent developer of solar PV and storage projects in the United States, with over 15 gigawatts of solar and storage under development in California, the Southwest, Texas, and the Southeast, with more than 2 gigawatts of solar power plants now in operation.

• Gemini Solar + Battery Storage Project – 690 megawatt solar photovoltaic array coupled with a 380 megawatt AC battery storage system. The project will be located in Clark County, NV 25 miles northeast of Las Vegas on approximately 7,100 acres of federally-owned land under the management of the Bureau of Land Management. It is being developed by Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners in collaboration with Arevia Power, who are managing the development phases of the project. Quinbrook is a specialist investment manager focused exclusively on lower carbon and renewable energy infrastructure investment and operational asset management.

— Solar Builder magazine

IEEFA report shows utility-scale storage has some serious momentum

Momentum is gaining around an industry shift toward utility-scale battery storage systems nationally, finds a report published by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA). The report – Advances in Electricity Storage Suggest Rapid Disruption of U.S. Electricity Sector – details upstart storage and storage-expansion projects in Arizona, California, Hawaii, Florida, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Nevada, Texas, and Vermont.

IEEFA storage chart

Dennis Wamsted, an IEEFA editor/analyst and lead author of the report, said recent evidence of utility-scale storage adoption is most likely the beginning of a trend that will take hold broadly across the industry, benefitting renewables at the expense of gas- and coal-fired plants.

“Bigger changes loom,” Wamsted said. “In the many examples we researched, each project, by and large was driven by one of several value streams—cutting transmission charges, providing grid resilience, offering peak power, allowing for early plant closures and the like—even if other benefits were accrued too.”

The report details dozens of examples of electric companies large and small finding an assortment of cost savings in electricity-storage technology and portability.

“Installation is still tiny in terms of absolute numbers, but power storage is now ubiquitous and energy storage is no longer a pie-in-the sky proposition,” Wamsted said. “These changes are taking place today.”

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Excerpts from the report

• Battery storage in combination with solar can be used to facilitate closure of coal and natural gas plants currently being used largely for peaking or seasonal needs, as shown by the NV Energy decision to close the North Valmy coal plant in Nevada, and by Florida Power and Light’s’s plan to shut two aging natural gas units in Florida.

• Battery storage can be used to meet system peak needs, as SCE is doing in California in replacing the two-unit Mandalay natural gas peaker plant.

• Battery storage can be used to provide firm renewable power, as both Arizona Public Service and Hawaiian Electric are demonstrating with projects they have named, respectively, “Solar after Sunset” and “Renewable Dispatchable Generation.”

• Battery storage offers utilities significant opportunities to boost system resilience and cut costs at the same time, as is being demonstrated in a number of other projects highlighted in the report.

• Battery storage can be used to enable more residential solar systems to be installed on local distribution lines without requiring potentially costly and time-consuming system upgrades, as can be seen in an existing program in Vermont and in one being proposed in New Hampshire.

• Battery storage can be used to improve the economics of existing utility-scale solar generation, as can be seen in the discussion about Vistra’s battery storage retrofit at a Texas PV plant.

Wamsted said economies of scale will help drive the expansion of utility-scale battery storage, as will a growing recognition by utility companies of the business case for embracing the shift: “It is likely that developers and utilities will be able to stack these benefits, making storage even more economically competitive.”

— Solar Builder magazine

Projects on opposite coasts using Eos’s Aurora 2.0 battery system in two different uses cases


Eos Energy Storage (Eos) announced two new projects deploying the company’s Aurora 2.0 battery system in major markets on both coasts of the United States. The next generation solution integrates the company’s aqueous, zinc Znyth battery technology as a safe, sustainable, and scalable alternative to Lithium Ion. The Eos Aurora 2.0 has been installed by Duke Energy as part of a DC-coupled solar + storage system in North Carolina while Eos concurrently deploys its battery as a behind-the-meter solution at the University of California, San Diego in a project funded by the California Energy Commission.

“These two projects represent an important step in our journey to help accelerate clean energy while ensuring that it is competitive and reliable. With over ten years of testing and refinement, these deployments demonstrate that our system is ready to scale in two of the fastest growing renewable energy markets in the world,” said Philippe Bouchard, Eos’ SVP of Business Development.

In North Carolina, one of the fastest growing solar markets in the U.S., Duke Energy is commissioning a 30kW/120kWh system at its McAlpine test facility. The battery has been directly integrated, or DC-coupled, to a grid-connected solar array using a DC-DC converter instead of an AC-inverter to eliminate unnecessary hardware and reduce efficiency losses. Because the Eos system does not require HVAC or fire suppression, it can be decentralized and distributed throughout the solar array allowing developers to maximize energy production while minimizing upfront capital cost and O&M.

“With $500 million of battery storage projects slated for the Carolinas over the next 10 years, Duke Energy is actively deploying the technology in our communities as a way to enhance reliability, defer system upgrades and deliver operational benefits for all customers,” said Tom Fenimore, Business Development Manager at Duke Energy.

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Meanwhile, California continues to surge forward to 60% renewable electricity by 2030, 100% clean electricity by 2045, and 2GW of near-term storage procurement. The deployment at University of California, San Diego will demonstrate the Eos Aurora’s multi-hour discharge capability as a means to reduce demand charges and manage retail energy consumption for commercial and industrial customers. The system provides 30kW/120kWh as a modular, AC-integrated, plug-and-play solution optimized for behind-the-meter applications. The project also prepares Eos for delivery of a larger 10MW/40MWh utility-scale project contracted by developer Convergent Energy + Power with Pacific Gas & Electric. To date, Eos is the only non-Lithium energy storage technology contracted through California’s statewide procurement mandate AB2514.

“As a national site host for laboratory and field testing of innovative and unique energy storage system for a rapidly growing and important market, UC San Diego looks forward to testing of the CA Energy Commission project with Eos,” said UCSD Director, Strategic Energy Initiatives Byron Washom.

Both projects are installed and undergoing commissioning; they will be monitored to test the Aurora 2.0 performance in different use cases and operating conditions.

— Solar Builder magazine

West Valley-Mission Community College District adds solar + storage system via SunPower

sunpower logo

West Valley-Mission Community College District (WVMCCD) recently selected SunPower to deploy a fully integrated solar and storage project across its West Valley and Mission College campuses in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley. SunPower Helix Carport systems installed will total 5.4 megawatts, allowing the District to offset approximately 75 percent of grid electricity use with solar energy. A Helix Storage system will be installed at each campus, totaling a combined 2 megawatts (3,800 kilowatt hours) and delivering significant demand charge savings to WVMCCD.

This SunPower solar initiative will be the second for WVMCCD. Since 2011, 2.2 megawatts of highly-customized SunPower solar carports operating at both West Valley and Mission Colleges have generated an estimated $860,000 in electricity savings each year to the District. In addition to renewable energy, the colleges are home to a total of five U.S. Green Building Council LEED certified buildings, and feature drought tolerant landscaping and bioswales across campuses.

“Our district has a long-standing commitment to creating environmentally responsible and highly sustainable campuses for students, faculty and staff,” said Ed Maduli, Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services, West Valley-Mission Community College District. “Renewable energy from SunPower has proven to be a valuable investment and a critical component to reaching our goals, and we look forward to building on our efforts with storage which will allow us to avoid expensive utility demand charges for years to come.”

Solar-and-storage system construction is planned to commence this fall, with completion expected in 2020. The project is funded through local Measure W which authorizes the District to issue bonds to finance facility and technology updates. The District will own its solar power system, with SunPower providing operations and maintenance, as well as a performance guarantee for 25 years.

— Solar Builder magazine

ACES project in Utah to combine diverse mix of storage tech for 1 GW of capacity

Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS) and Magnum Development joined Utah Governor Gary Herbert to announce the launch the Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project in central Utah. In what is being billed as the world’s largest project of its kind, the ACES initiative will develop 1,000 MW of energy storage.

In many parts of the western United States, there are times of day when demand for electricity is lower than the production of renewable power. This leads to curtailment of renewable generation and negative electricity pricing. Continued deployment of renewables will require that excess power be stored for later use. To serve the needs of the entire western United States, many gigawatt-hours of storage capacity are required.

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Initially developing enough energy storage to completely serve the needs of 150,000 households for an entire year, the ACES initiative will deploy four types of clean energy storage at utility scale. These energy storage technologies include:

  • Renewable hydrogen
  • Compressed Air Energy Storage
  • Large scale flow batteries
  • Solid oxide fuel cells

“Mixing natural gas and storage, and eventually using 100 percent renewable storage, is that next step. The technologies we are deploying will store electricity on time scales from seconds to seasons of the year,” said Paul Browning, President and CEO of MHPS Americas. “For example, when we add gas turbines powered with renewable hydrogen to a hydrogen storage salt-dome, we have a solution that stores and generates electricity with zero carbon emissions.”

Magnum Development owns and controls the only known “Gulf Coast” style domal-quality salt formation in the western United States. With five salt caverns already in operation for liquid fuels storage, Magnum is continuing to develop Compressed Air Energy Storage and renewable hydrogen storage options. Strategically located adjacent to the Intermountain Power Project, the Magnum site is positioned to integrate seamlessly with the western U.S. power grid utilizing existing infrastructure.

— Solar Builder magazine