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Hawaiian Electric announces plans for approval of pending solar applications

November 5, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar

Solar Inverter  Image courtesy of HiQ Hawaiian Electric announces plans for approval of pending solar applications

Solar Inverter
Image courtesy of HiQ
Hawaiian Electric announces plans for approval of pending solar applications

HONOLULU – The Hawaiian Electric Companies have announced a plan to clear the backlog of customers awaiting approval to interconnect their rooftop solar systems in neighborhoods with high amounts of solar already installed.

“We have been working diligently with inverter manufacturers, other national technical experts, and the solar industry to address potential safety and reliability issues which no other utility in the nation has yet faced,” said Jim Alberts, Hawaiian Electric senior vice president of customer service. “Applying results of recent inverter testing, over the next five months we expect that we’ll be able to approve almost all of the customers who have been waiting for interconnection on these high solar circuits.”

“We again apologize for the long and frustrating delay they’ve experienced,” said Alberts.

Under the plan, by April 2015 customers currently awaiting interconnection under the net energy metering program to neighborhood circuits with high levels of installed PV (PV capacity over 120 percent of daytime minimum load) will be approved for interconnection after meeting the following conditions:

  1. Their PV systems must use inverter models that meet stricter settings for preventing transient overvoltage, or rapid voltage spikes, that can endanger customers, their appliances and utility equipment.Some inverter models are now being tested. Other models may be certified as meeting the new requirements using tests approved by the Hawaiian Electric Companies. Testing protocols are being provided to inverter manufacturers.
  2. Their PV systems must use inverter models capable of complying with Hawaiian Electric specifications to “ride through” possible unstable frequency and voltage conditions during emergencies on the island-wide electric grid.Once inverter models have been certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), customers and their solar contractors or inverter manufacturers must reset inverters to these new settings. In the meantime, they must use recently approved interim settings.

In some cases, the normal technical review process may identify other issues for which more significant equipment upgrades may be needed. About 250 applications may be in this category, but it is anticipated they will be approved for interconnection no later than December 2015.

The above actions are based on favorable results from initial inverter testing. The Hawaiian Electric Companies will consider the final testing results and evaluate the applicability of these solutions for future customers who apply for interconnection.

Year to date, the Hawaiian Electric Companies have approved about 7,500 applications from customers to interconnect their rooftop solar systems to the grid. As of October 2014, the list of applications in progress for Oahu includes approximately:

  1. 1,100 customers seeking interconnection on circuits with installed PV equal to or less than 120% of the daytime minimum load. These applications are moving through the normal process and are likely to receive prompt approvals. In this category, new applications come in and, after review, approvals are sent out on an ongoing basis.
  2. About 1,000 customers are awaiting completion of upgrades to substations or other modifications to their own systems and will soon receive approvals.
  3. 2,700 customers are on circuits over 120% daytime minimum load. These will be approved over the coming months as this plan is implemented.

Similar approval plans will go into effect for Maui Electric and Hawaii Electric Light with each company having about 330 customers awaiting approvals on circuits with high amounts of installed PV.

Beyond these solutions for customers already awaiting rooftop solar interconnection approval, the companies are working on a range of other customer options, such as a non-export model incorporating battery storage and a community solar program, that will support a tripling of customer-sited solar in coming years. The companies’ have submitted a Distributed Generation Interconnection Plan and Integrated Interconnection Queue Proposal for review to the Hawai‘i Public Utilities Commission.

Across the three Hawaiian Electric Companies, more than 48,000 customers have rooftop solar. As of September 2014, about 11% of Hawaiian Electric customers, 10% of Maui Electric customers and 8 percent of Hawaii Electric Light customers have rooftop solar. This compares to a national average of one-half of one percent (0.5%) as of December 2013, according to the Solar Electric Power Association.

This article (11-3-14) is an EV News Report repost, credit: Hawaiian Electric.

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California ISO, PacifiCorp launch first western energy market

November 4, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Solar, Wind

Image courtesy of CalISO California ISO, PacifiCorp launch first western energy market

Image courtesy of CalISO
California ISO, PacifiCorp launch first western energy market

The six-state wholesale electricity market will generate millions in cost savings for consumers

FOLSOM, Calif. – The California Independent System Operator Corporation (ISO) and Portland- based PacifiCorp announced today that the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) went live on November 1. The real-time market is the first of its kind in the West.

“Consumers across the West win one today as the Energy Imbalance Market is live, performing well and working to reduce costs to consumers,” said Steve Berberich, ISO President and CEO. “When combined with EIM’s inherent ability to enhance reliability by improving responsiveness and visibility, the western grid will drive the use of clean resources, such as solar and wind, to power our modern, high-tech society well into the future.”

“Better coordination in the way we manage energy in the West is crucial to reduce costs for customers and more effectively integrate renewable energy sources,” said Pat Reiten, President and CEO of Pacific Power, a unit of PacifiCorp. “We’re confident the EIM will grow and the benefits of coordination will increase further.”

The real-time market that covers six western states – California, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Idaho and Wyoming – culminates work that began in fall 2012 when the Western Interstate Energy Board’s PUC-EIM Group (composed of utility commissioners from 12 states) asked interested western entities to provide a proposal for a real-time imbalance market. In February 2013, the ISO and PacifiCorp announced plans to jointly develop an EIM using the ISO’s proven state-of-the-art technology and market platform. After running EIM for a month under non-binding conditions, the market became financially binding on November 1.

“Over the past 22 months, technology and market experts from PacifiCorp and ISO spent thousands of hours bringing EIM online,” said Petar Ristanovic, ISO Vice President, Technology. “The innovation and ability to merge highly sophisticated systems is an amazing feat. I am very proud of what we have jointly accomplished in launching the EIM.”

The ISO and PacifiCorp would also like to acknowledge the extensive collaboration with Bonneville Power Administration (BPA), which is the transmission provider for PacifiCorp’s rights across the BPA system, in support of EIM’s launch while ensuring efficient and reliable delivery of power.

Although the overall EIM launch was successful, there were some challenges leading to price volatility, primarily in the first 11 hours. The volatility in prices was seen mostly in the PacifiCorp service territory and due to a number of data and software factors during the initial transition from systems in the parallel environment to actual production mode. The ISO has initiated price corrections for the first 11 full hours after launch and is assessing other price results, as part of its normal process.

“The overall launch was successful when considering the magnitude of creating a new real-time energy market over six states,” said Mark Rothleder, ISO’s Vice President of Market Quality & Renewable Integration. “Also, this time of year presents challenges on its own, with lower load levels and reduced resource availability. Given we are in the first days of operations and the underlying system conditions, we are more than satisfied with the initial results and will continue to refine our processes to more easily add future market participants.”

A major benefit EIM brings to the West is cost savings. An Energy+Environmental Economics (E3) study released in March 2013, PacifiCorp-CAISO Energy Imbalance Market Benefits, identified savings to consumers of EIM market participants of $21 million to $129 million per year with minimal annual costs to participants. And as the market is using the ISO’s sophisticated system to automatically balance demand in the West every five minutes with the lowest cost energy available, savings are expected to increase as other energy entities in the West join. Other benefits include reducing the amount of costly energy reserves utilities have to carry because they can draw upon resources from across the West to fill their demand needs that are not available without the EIM.

EIM also greatly improves the efficiency of dispatching resources by employing systems that analyze the needs of the grid every five minutes then automatically finds the lowest cost generation to meet demand. Without an EIM, utilities have to meet demand with resources in their own service areas which often means using higher priced generation or even more expensive energy reserves.

Renewable integration is another significant benefit of EIM. Wind and solar power generated in one state can now be scheduled to meet consumer demand in another. Regional coordination can unlock more efficiency in dispatching renewable resources, can help reduce potential overgeneration of mid-day solar production, and assist states in meeting their renewable energy goals.

The EIM also translates into less risk for participants and their consumers. Rather than building an EIM from scratch that could cost tens of millions of dollars, utilities and their service area resources can tap into the ISO’s advanced platform for only a modest per use fee.

In less than a year, the next EIM participant is expected to enter the market. Las Vegas-based NV Energy, which is the major energy supplier in Nevada, recently received the greenlight from the Public Utilities Commission of Nevada to participate in the EIM starting in October 2015.

The ISO and PacifiCorp will be monitoring the effectiveness of the EIM and reporting its benefits through a quarterly report beginning early next year.

This article (11-3-14) is an EV News Report repost, credit: CalISO.

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ABB commissions HVDC station improving grid stability in Michigan

November 3, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, HVDC

Back-to-back HVDC Light system to facilitate power flow control and integration of renewables

ABB commissions HVDC station improving grid stability in Michigan Image courtesy of ABB

ABB commissions HVDC station improving grid stability in Michigan
Image courtesy of ABB

Zurich, Switzerland  – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, has successfully commissioned a power solution that will control the flow of power and enhance grid stability in the State of Michigan, US.

ABB’s low-loss and eco-efficient HVDC Light (high-voltage direct current) technology controls the power flow between the Upper and Lower Peninsulas of Michigan. Furthermore it provides dynamic voltage support, thereby increasing regional grid reliability and also enabling integration of additional wind generation. The HVDC Light station has been commissioned on schedule and handed over to the customer, American Transmission Co. (ATC).

“The Mackinac station is the world’s first HVDC back-to-back system for transmission using voltage source converter technology. This is a milestone demonstrating how ABB can help customers achieve efficient grid control and stabilization,” said Hans-Peter Faessler, Head of the Grid Systems business within ABB’s Power Systems division.

ABB designed, supplied and installed the 200 megawatt (MW) back-to-back HVDC Light station in Upper Michigan. An HVDC back-to-back system comprises two HVDC converters connected directly to each other, without any DC transmission line, making it possible to fully control the power transfer through the connection.

The voltage and reactive power control features of the system enable the integration of additional wind energy and stabilization of the network. Its ‘black-start’ capability allows for fast network restoration using power from the other end of the system in the case of a power outage.

ABB pioneered HVDC transmission technology 60 years ago (read more here) and has built a vast global installed base, having completed almost 100 HVDC projects around the world, with a total transmission capacity of over 95,000 MW. That accounts for about half of the global installed base. ABB remains at the forefront of HVDC innovation and is uniquely positioned in the industry with in-house manufacturing capabilities for all key components of HVDC systems, including power semiconductors, converters and high voltage cables.

ABB (www.abb.com) is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility, industry, and transport and infrastructure customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in roughly 100 countries and employs about 145,000 people.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: ABB.

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Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey opened West of Duddon Sands Offshore Wind Farm

October 30, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Politics, Wind

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey opened West of Duddon Sands Offshore Wind Farm today Photo courtesy of GOV.UK

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey opened West of Duddon Sands Offshore Wind Farm today
Photo courtesy of GOV.UK

Today, the Secretary of State Edward Davey officially opened the West of Duddon Sands Offshore Wind Farm, which is located 20km off the Barrow-in-Furness coastline in North West England.

He was joined by ScottishPower and Iberdrola Chairman, Ignacio Galan, and DONG Energy Executive Vice President Wind Power, Samuel Leupold.

With 108 wind turbines, West of Duddon Sands will be able to generate 389 MW of electricity, which is enough to power over a quarter of a million homes. It is among the largest offshore wind farms in the world.

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said:

“This wind farm will generate enough clean electricity to power more than a quarter of a million homes and give the local economy a major and sustained boost.

“We want an energy mix that is built on diverse, home-grown sources to make sure our supplies are clean and secure. Wind has a huge role to play, which is why the UK is the best place in the world to invest in offshore wind projects.”

The wind farm was a £1.6 billion joint venture by ScottishPower Renewables and DONG Energy. Over 1,000 people have been employed on the renewable energy project, which has also seen more than 200 km of undersea cables installed.

West of Duddon Sands has been one of the most efficient offshore projects completed to date in the UK. It is the first to use next generation facilities, vessels and construction techniques. The foundations and the turbine components were installed in record time, enabling the whole project to be completed two months ahead of schedule.

One of the biggest benefits to the project has been the new £50 million offshore wind terminal at Belfast Harbour. The terminal is the first purpose-built offshore wind installation and pre-assembly harbour in the UK and supports up to 300 jobs, ranging from welders to electricians and engineers.

The wind farm’s newly constructed Operations and Maintenance Base in Barrow will support another 40 highly-skilled jobs for at least the next 20 years. This is the fourth major offshore wind farm that will be managed from Barrow, which is a major hub for skills and resources for supporting offshore wind, and the UK’s leading region for the offshore wind industry.

This new build contributes to our future low carbon energy mix. It demonstrates how the UK market is rated as the most attractive place to invest in offshore wind in the world, and why major manufacturers are investing here, creating jobs and benefitting the UK economy.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: GOV.UK.

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UK energy projects awarded €75 million of European funding

October 30, 2014 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, HVDC

UK energy projects awarded €75 million of European funding Photo courtesy of GOV.UK

UK energy projects awarded €75 million of European funding
Photo courtesy of GOV.UK

The European Commission has announced €647 million to be invested in key energy infrastructure to enhance security of supply across Europe.

The European Commission has announced €647 million to be invested in key energy infrastructure to enhance security of supply across Europe. This includes €75 million for UK projects with cross-border benefits, including electricity interconnection (enabling electricity to be transferred between countries), smart grid and gas storage projects.

UK projects awarded in this round include the longest proposed subsea cable in the world, the NSN interconnector linking us to Norwegian hydropower, and two interconnectors to France. ElecLink will benefit from using the existing infrastructure of the Channel Tunnel and a further cable, FABLink, holds potential to connect to future tidal generation being developed off the Alderney coast. Together these projects would almost double the power the UK is able to receive over our interconnectors.

The Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) provides grant funding to eligible ‘projects of common interest’. A further window for projects to apply for funds is expected in early 2015. A total of €5.85 billion has been allocated to Trans-European energy infrastructure for the period of 2014-2020.

This article is an EV News Report repost, credit: Department of Energy & Climate Change.