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NRG Energy Innovations Help Make Levi’s® Stadium the First Venue of its Kind in the U.S. Eligible for LEED Gold Certification as New Construction

July 18, 2014 in Electric Vehicles, Environment, EV charging, EV News, Greentech, Solar, Sustainable San Francisco

Sustainable energy generation goal is to meet power demands for all 49ers regular season home games

Photo courtesy of NRG

Photo courtesy of NRG

SANTA CLARA, Calif.-Jul. 17, 2014- Today, NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NRG), the Santa Clara Stadium Authority and the San Francisco 49ers celebrated the completion of the NRG Solar Terrace as well as the photovoltaic (PV) solar systems for the three NRG Energy Bridges at Levi’s® Stadium, making it the first stadium in the United States that is home to a professional football team with LEED certification standards incorporated into the original design and architecture. Among the installations are solar panels expected to generate enough energy annually to offset the power consumed at the stadium during 49ers regular season home games, with the goal to achieve a “net zero” energy use.

“It is reassuring to know that when leading franchises like the 49ers with a rich tradition of innovation and success decide to embrace clean energy, they turn to NRG,” said David Crane, President and CEO of NRG. “We are pleased to help the 49ers turn their new state-of-the-art stadium into a model for others as we reach for the clean energy future.”

A beacon of innovation in every respect, Levi’s Stadium will be powered with assistance from a 375 kW solar installation, comprised of more than 1,150 solar panels along the NRG Solar Terrace and three NRG Energy Bridges. SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR), the exclusive solar technology partner to the new stadium, supplied its high efficiency, E20/327-watt solar panels for the NRG Energy Bridges and the NRG Solar Terrace. Serving as the main entry and exit avenues to the stadium, the bridges showcase the customizable design of NRG renewable solutions and will provide shade on warm game days. The bridges also serve as inspiration for anyone seeking sustainable energy solutions for themselves on a smaller-scale.

“The vision for an energy-efficient and visually-stunning stadium has been realized,” said San Francisco 49ers President Paraag Marathe. “We’ve never strayed from what we wanted Levi’s® Stadium to represent and that is a place to comfortably enjoy exciting sports and entertainment events and a venue that sparks a new view of what sustainability and being environmentally conscious can look like.”

NRG has also installed six eVgo electric vehicle charging stations in the Great America parking lot which have the ability to charge up to 12 vehicles. These chargers will become part of the NRG eVgo® network that supports charging needs for electric vehicle drivers at home, at work, on the road, at their apartment community or even at the airport.

Levi’s® Stadium is one of seven stadiums used for college or professional football where NRG has installed its smart energy solutions. Other venues, including NRG Stadium, FedExField, Lincoln Financial Field, MetLife Stadium, Patriot Place and Arizona State’s Sun Devil Stadium have partnered with NRG to push the clean energy movement forward and create structures that generate and thrive from their own on-site energy generation. As the sustainable energy partner of the 49ers, NRG will continue to explore other opportunities to help enhance the stadium’s sustainability efforts.

About NRG

NRG is leading a customer-driven change in the U.S. energy industry by delivering cleaner and smarter energy choices, while building on the strength of the nation’s largest and most diverse competitive power portfolio. A Fortune 250 company, we create value through reliable and efficient conventional generation while driving innovation in solar and renewable power, electric vehicle ecosystems, carbon capture technology and customer-centric energy solutions. Our retail electricity providers serve almost 3 million residential and commercial customers throughout the country. More information is available at Connect with NRG Energy on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @nrgenergy.

About Levi’s® Stadium

Levi’s® Stadium will be the new home to the San Francisco 49ers, and will also serve as one of the world’s best outdoor sports and entertainment venues. It was designed by HNTB and is being built by Turner/Devcon for the Santa Clara Stadium Authority. The $1.2 billion venue will have 1.85 million square feet, seat approximately 68,500 and feature 170 luxury suites and 9,000 club seats. It was designed to be a multi-purpose facility with the flexibility to host a wide range of events, including domestic and international soccer, college football, motocross, concerts and various civic events, and will be expandable for major events such as the Super Bowl. Levi’s® Stadium is owned by the Santa Clara Stadium Authority, a public joint powers authority that was established to provide for development and operation of Levi’s® Stadium to ensure that the stadium serves the goals of the City of Santa Clara. For more information, go to

This article is a repost (7-17-14), credit: NRG.

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Gov. Malloy: State Selects Two Large-Scale Clean Energy Projects Furthering Connecticut’s Commitment to Renewable Energy

September 21, 2013 in Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar, Wind

In-State Solar Installation and Maine Wind Farm Will Help Achieve Goal of Cleaner, Cheaper and More Reliable Energy for Connecticut Residents
MAPLE RIDGE WIND FARM in and around Lowville, N.Y. (Photo by-Michael  Okoniewski) Courtesy of EDP Renewables North America

MAPLE RIDGE WIND FARM in and around Lowville, N.Y. (Photo by-Michael Okoniewski)
Courtesy of EDP Renewables North America

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced today that Connecticut is taking another step forward toward achieving a cheaper, cleaner, and more reliable energy future for residents and businesses with the selection of two projects that will generate large amounts of electricity from clean energy sources – helping to achieve renewable energy goals at lower costs to ratepayers.

The Governor said the cost of power from the two projects – a solar installation slated for land in Sprague and Lisbon, Conn., and a wind energy farm in Maine – will average under eight cents per kilowatt hour (k/Wh), a price close to matching the cost of power generated from conventional fossil fuel plants and some of the lowest costs ever obtained for solar and wind power in the region.

“The selection of these two projects is a major milestone in implementing our Comprehensive Energy Strategy,” said Governor Malloy.  “These projects bring real benefits – cleaner power with no air emissions and improved reliability by diversifying our energy portfolio – all at a cost comparable to electricity generated from conventional power plants.  This is the most significant step Connecticut has ever taken to harness the power of clean energy and this announcement is truly a historic moment in Connecticut’s energy history.”

The two projects have signed long-term contracts with the state’s two major electric distribution companies – Connecticut Light & Power and United Illuminating – for the purchase of the combined 270 megawatts (MW) of electricity and related renewable energy credits they will produce.

The two projects, both expected to be operational by the end of 2016, are:

  • Number Nine Wind Farm, a 250 MW land-based wind farm to be located in Aroostook County, Maine.  EDP Renewables North America LLC, an international leader in large-scale wind installations, is the project developer. 
  • Fusion Solar Center, a 20 MW AC solar photovoltaic system which will be located in Sprague and Lisbon, CT on land primarily owned by the Connecticut-based Fusion Paperboard Company.  The project developer is HelioSage Energy, known nationally for its solar expertise.

“The pricing offered by these projects demonstrates that Connecticut’s new approach to clean energy can spark innovation and competition among various technologies and drive down costs,” said Commissioner Daniel C. Esty of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). “We had wind, solar, fuel cells, tidal and biomass all competing for the same long term power contracts with the electric distribution companies – and the clear winners were Connecticut’s ratepayers.”

Comments from Public Officials

State Senator Bob Duff and State Representative Lonnie Reed, co-chairs of the General Assembly’s Energy and Technology Committee, were principal architects of the legislation that enabled the procurement to move forward.

Sen. Duff said, “I am thrilled to see that we are moving forward with renewable energy projects that provide environmental benefits, diversify our energy portfolio, improve reliability while leveraging federal tax credits to benefit Connecticut ratepayers.”

Rep. Reed said, “This news is exciting evidence that we can indeed fulfill our promise to protect and also expand Connecticut’s ambitious commitment to renewables. And we can do it by purchasing large scale, clean power generation at rational, affordable prices.  It’s proof positive that the new energy policies we fought for and adopted are great for consumers and great for the environment.”

“These projects represent a significant step toward meeting our state’s renewable energy goals in a cost-effective way that protects both the environment and ratepayers,” said Attorney General George Jepsen. “We are pleased to have overseen the legal framework for the innovative and successful selection process. I congratulate Governor Malloy and Commissioner Esty as well as the project developers for these important achievements.”

Consumer Counsel Elin Swanson Katz said, “This renewable energy procurement is a great success achieved in a tight time frame.  We seemed to be facing a potential shortage of the renewable energy needed to meet the state’s legal requirements by the end of the decade but the projects selected in this process will help to alleviate that concern, at prices that are quite attractive.  I am also pleased the procurement process was conducted with great attention to detail, a focus on fairness to all bidders, included solid analysis, and that professionals in my Office were involved and informed at every step.”

Comments from Environmental Leaders

President of the Conservation Law Foundation John Kassel said, “Wind projects like the one in the package of contracts presented today are ready-to-go and are a critical element in both our fight against global warming and regional efforts to build a clean energy economy.  Building thriving communities means working to address climate change and building a sound and stable economy; “going long” for wind, a step the legislature has smartly chosen to take and which the administration and utilities are now moving to make real, is a great way to do both.”

“The New England Clean Energy Council was pleased to see Connecticut move quickly on long term contracting for Class I renewable energy projects since passing its significant energy bill this spring,” said NECEC President Peter Rothstein. “This looks like a major step in the development of these vital new projects.”

“Contracts for wind power are an important part of a diverse energy portfolio for the Northeast. They keep costs down and help avoid pollution and future rate increases because wind turbines need no fuel,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “We’re doing our part to keep the national commitment to reduce carbon emissions and slow climate change that threatens us all.”

Executive Director of the Connecticut Fund for the Environment Don Strait said, “This renewable procurement represents a major win for clean energy in Connecticut and the region. This procurement will provide cleaner generation for Connecticut residents at costs that are competitive with fossil fuel-based generation, which is a major breakthrough.”

Comments from Project Leaders

“We thank Governor Malloy and the Connecticut legislature for their vision of a cleaner, cheaper, and more reliable energy future,” said Gabriel Alonso, CEO EDP Renewables North America, which will be developing the Maine wind farm.  “EDP Renewables is pleased to have been a winner in this very competitive solicitation, and looks forward to working with the state of Connecticut and providing affordable fixed price clean energy to Connecticut customers for the next 15 years.”

“HelioSage is pleased to continue its role as a major participant in Connecticut’s growing clean energy sector,” said Danny Van Clief, Executive Vice President, Business Development, HelioSage Energy.  “When completed, our project will stand among the largest solar projects east of the Mississippi and will deliver clean, renewable power to thousands of in-state energy users for years to come. This is an exciting day for Connecticut, and for everyone who wants to see solar become a meaningful component of our nation’s energy mix.”

Comments from Electric Distribution Companies

“We commend Governor Malloy and DEEP Commissioner Esty for their on-going dedication and effort to promote regional renewable energy projects as part of the state’s Comprehensive Energy Strategy.” said James Daly, Vice President of Energy supply for Northeast Utilities, parent company of CL&P. “These new agreements allow Connecticut Light and Power to further demonstrate our commitment to helping the state reach its goals by adding to the significant amount of renewable energy we currently deliver to our customers.”

“It was exciting working with the procurement team at DEEP to help bring this opportunity to fruition for UI’s customers,” said Alan Trotta, Director of Wholesale Power Contracts at United Illuminating.  “EDP Renewables and Heliosage have been a pleasure to work with, and we are looking forward to the long-term business relationships.”

Background on the Selection of Projects and Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)

The two projects were selected after extensive analysis and ranking of 47 proposals submitted in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP) issued by DEEP on July 8.  The RFP was released just weeks after the General Assembly approved and Governor Malloy signed into law Public Act 13-303, An Act Concerning Connecticut’s Clean Energy Goals.  This Act restructured Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), authorizing the state to go forward with this clean energy procurement process for up to four percent of Connecticut’s total electricity load and recommitted Connecticut to obtaining 20% of its electric power from clean energy sources by the year 2020.

The two projects selected will provide 3.5 percent of Connecticut’s total energy load, which represents almost one-fifth of the RPS goal (20% by 2020).  The quick timeframe for the procurement process allows the projects to take advantage of federal tax credits for renewable energy projects that expire at the end of 2013, which is helping to reduce the cost of the power they will provide.  The procurement team that reviewed the proposals consisted of members of DEEP’s Bureau of Energy and Technology Policy, the Offices of the Consumer Counsel, and Connecticut’s Attorney General.

Projects submitted in response to the RFP were scored and ranked in three categories, with the most significant being price. The other two categories were: viability, or the likelihood of achieving the proposed commercial operation date; and ability to improve reliability of the electric system in Connecticut, with considerations for  contributions to improved transmission, local sourcing requirements, meeting peak demand and other technical requirements.

Next Steps in the Process

The power purchase agreements signed by both projects and the state’s electric distribution companies will be submitted to the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) for review and approval.  Under provisions of Public Act 13-303, PURA has 30 days to act on the contracts.  The projects will also be required to obtain all other necessary local and state approvals.

As the next step in broadening Connecticut’s energy mix and achieving the state’s RPS goals, DEEP anticipates moving forward this fall with an additional procurement under Public Act 13-303 that will focus on biomass projects that can meet state requirements.

This article is a repost (release 9-20-13), credit: State of Connecticut.

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Californians Participating In Solar Generation and Reducing Climate Change Pollution, By Evan Gillespie, Sierra Club

May 31, 2013 in Climate Change, Environment, EV News, Greentech, Solar

Earlier this month, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere passed 400 parts per million (ppm), far exceeding what the scientific community deems permissible to minimize the impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on the planet’s climate.

The month of May brought good news too: we welcomed California’s 150,000th rooftop solar installation. Demand-side management, including conservation, energy efficiency, and rooftop solar are increasingly cost-effective and accessible to Californians. Roughly two-thirds of all rooftop solar installations in 2011 were put in place in middle-income zip codes, and growing numbers of Californians from all walks of life are looking for ways to manage their energy use as a way to control costs and protect the environment.

Promoting individual participation and enabling customer choice is critical to reducing climate change emissions. When given the option, Californians vastly prefer clean energy to dirty and are pushing to go above and beyond the state’s current minimum clean energy mandates by installing rooftop solar, while slashing energy use inside their homes. The more that public policy can do to enable Californians take their energy use into their own hands, the faster we will eliminate fossil fuels.

One key tool for allowing greater participation in clean energy is utility rate design. The economic signals built into how an electric bill is calculated go a long way towards encouraging or dissuading millions of Californians from going solar or cutting their energy use.

Earlier this week, Sierra Club and a number of other stakeholders, including environmental groups, consumer organizations, and the utilities themselves, submitted proposals recommending how these incentives in the rate structure should be laid out. A comment period now begins, and ultimately the California Public Utilities Commission will weigh the merits and propose a new rate structure that will influence the future of energy in California.

Sierra Club’s proposal puts forward two principles to guide rate design:

1. New rate structures should enhance economic incentives for customers to reduce energy consumption and install solar; and

2. It should also allocate costs to customers based on their impact on the grid, rather than assuming all that users have equal impact on peak generation capacity requirements and the costs of transmitting electricity long distances, since some customers use solar and energy efficiency on-site to ease their demand for electricity from their home or business.

Another big-picture improvement should be increasing the use of “time of use” pricing for electricity, which means pricing electricity according to the time of the day. At times when demand is low, like late at night or during the winter, prices will be lower, and at times when demand is high, like hot summer days when air conditioners are running full blast and fossil fuel plants have to come online to meet demand, prices are relatively higher.

Increasing “time of use” pricing will provide an economic incentive for developers of “smart” controls and energy efficient appliances, encourage the further use of solar panels meet demand on hot days, and generally create a more flexible and efficient energy grid that will offer lower prices and be more resilient to spikes in demand. Our proposal argues that “time of use” pricing can be combined with the current tiered system of charging high-demand customers more than those who use very little, resulting in a new rate structure that is both fair and flexible.

EcoShift Consulting, LLC, who assisted Sierra Club in developing its proposal, estimates that, as customers adjust to time of use pricing, we will see a 25 percent reduction in peak energy consumption and a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions of 288,000 metric tons per year. That’s good for our economy and good for the planet.

When it comes to a customer’s energy use, it’s quite often the case that the smartest move for their wallet is also the best move for the environment, and the expanding use of rooftop solar and energy efficiency opportunities are the perfect example. As California determines its new rate structure, it’s critical that we provide the right incentives for solar and energy efficiency so that more and more Californians keep our economy moving towards clean energy.

This article is a repost, credit: Evan Gillespie, Campaign Director for Sierra Club’s My Generation Campaign,