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The Hidden Cost of Solar + Energy Storage

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Tom McCalmont, President McCalmont Engineering has been working on large solar projects for more than 15 years. The former CEO of Regrid Power, which in 2008 was purchased by Real Good Solar, his six-year old company McCalmont Engineering is fully dedicated to large solar and energy storage projects in California. “We do medium voltage interconnections, we do energy storage, we do NGOM meters, reverse-power relays, SCADA systems — so all of the things that people have problems with, we have expertise in,” he explained.

This expertise means that McCalmont understands what goes into interconnection and utility requirements for permitting and a little-known utility requirement called the NGOM, or “net-generation output meter” is making him very worried about the future of solar + energy storage projects, particularly in California.

What's the Problem?

“The issue that utilities are absolutely paranoid about is that people will use energy storage to somehow arbitrage energy rates,” explained McCalmont.

Because solar is net-metered and the owner is being paid at retail for exporting power to the grid, utilities are worried that if you add storage, you are going to sell all of your power at retail rates when they are high and buy it back when it is cheap, he explained. In other words, utilities are worried that system owners will sell more energy to the utility than their solar is actually producing because they could, in theory, draw down their energy storage system and put it on the grid.

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In Kansas, Abengoa has decided to suspend production at its new cellulosic ethanol plant in Hugoton as well as its corn-based ethanol plant in Colwich as part of the recent financial troubles the company is suffering from what may eventually lead to bankruptcy.

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Siemens said on Dec. 4 that it will supply five of its 6 MW offshore wind turbines for a floating wind farm that Statoil is developing in Scottish waters about 15 miles off the coast of Peterhead in Aberdeenshire.

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British homes to get smart meters under EUR 315 billion Investment Plan for Europe

By WoR Network Editor

More than 7 million smart meters will be installed in homes across Great Britain under a new GBP 1 billion mass roll-out programme backed by the European Investment Bank alongside six commercial banks (Barclays, Crédit Agricole CIB, HSBC, Santander, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd) and Infracapital. The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide GBP 360 million to this initiative that will significantly increase the roll-out of smart meters to reduce energy use and help households save money.

The programme is a key part of the scaling up the use of smart meters in Britain, and one of the largest smart meter schemes in Europe to date. The roll-out will be managed by Calvin Capital, a leading funder, owner and manager of gas and electricity meters. Individual meters will then be used by customers of energy suppliers.

“This is a significant step for Calvin’s ambition of becoming the leading provider of financing and management services to energy retailers in respect of smart metering. Calvin has been, and continues to be, a pioneer in smart meter funding and management. Working with our world class lenders and shareholders, including the EIB for the first time, has allowed us to develop funding solutions that are flexible and cost effective in meeting the requirements of our customers over the next few years.” said Jim Macdonald, Chief Executive Officer of Calvin.

“Smart meters make it easier for households and businesses to save energy and this huge roll-out will help to significantly cut carbon emissions. As part of our commitment to support GB energy investment, the European Investment Bank is pleased to provide GBP 360 million to back Calvin’s crucial project that will enable millions of energy users to save money. This programme provides a benchmark for similar smart meter schemes across Europe in the future.” said Jonathan Taylor, European Investment Bank Vice President.

This is the largest project so far to be backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe and the second in the UK. EFSI was established earlier this year by the European Investment Bank and the European Commission and will enable increased lending and attract private capital for crucial projects by the European Investment Bank in strategic sectors such as renewable energy, digital infrastructure, transport and R&D; as well as financing for SMEs. Since the start of EFSI more support for projects in GB have been approved by the board of the European Investment Bank than in any other country.

European Commission Vice-President Jyrki Katainen, responsible for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, added: “I’m very pleased that the European Fund for Strategic Investments – which is at the heart of the EUR 315 billion Investment Plan for Europe – is helping to finance this worthwhile project. Smart meters improve customer awareness of how much they are spending on their energy bills so they can make informed decisions on their energy use. With COP 21 taking place right now, it is very positive that over half of the EFSI projects to be approved by the EIB so far are in energy efficiency and renewable energy.”

The programme will support the UK Government’s plans to ensure that over 53 million smart electricity and gas meters are installed in every domestic property in Great Britain by 2020. The energy industry has spent the last four years learning, testing, trialing and developing how the roll-out will work in practice. The mass roll-out will begin in 2016.

Calvin was advised by The Royal Bank of Scotland (financial) and Hogan Lovells. The commercial lenders were advised by Allen & Overy while Linklaters acted for the EIB.


Read more here: British homes to get smart meters under EUR 315 billion Investment Plan for Europe

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Google Makes Big Clean Energy Purchase to Power Data Centers

By 8665879395 Mountain View says its purchase of 842 megawatts is the largest ever by a non-utility company. By: Billy Steele Powering #Google‘s online empire takes a lot of energy, and the company wants to use all clean sources to run its data centers by 2025. The company announced the next step towards that milestone today with […]

Read more here: Google Makes Big Clean Energy Purchase to Power Data Centers

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