Fire safety issues dog battery storage growth in New York City, slowing deployment

reports in UtilityDive that a lack of consensus on fire safety codes for battery storage has limited deployment for storage projects in New York City.

March 21, 2017–Last fall, New York City became one of the few cities in America to implement an energy storage mandate when Mayor Bill Di Blasio announced a 100 MWh by 2020 solar-plus-storage target, but progress has been slow. By the end of 2016, the city had only installed 4.8 MWh of storage.

A new report by the City University of New York, the National Renewable Energy Laboratories and Meister Consultants examines the barriers to deploying solar-plus-storage installations in New York City. The report cites the high cost of battery storage and the lack of city and state incentives for storage. The report also identifies the city’s arduous permitting process as one of the barriers developers face. More….

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Gas turbine microgrids on two continents: mirror images of reliability

reports in Microgrid Knowledge that microgrids with gas turbines as prime movers in Alaska and Australia offer mirror images of microgrid capabilities, as explained in this excerpt from Gas Turbine Microgrids: Reliability and Sustainability through Intelligence.

One of the benefits of gas turbine microgrids is their ability to “island” electrical operations from the surrounding grid.

Sitka Alaska

In Sitka, Alaska, the grid is always islanded. The city is the grid, and the city—the largest in the United States in terms of area—occupies most of Baranof Island.

Baranof Island is not electrically connected to the mainland, so all the power for Sitka’s roughly 9,000 inhabitants is produced locally. The power comes from two hydroelectric plants, which give this city on Alaska’s pristine Panhandle the distinction of deriving nearly 100 percent of its energy from renewable resources….

Mirror image in Australia

On the other side of the globe, the City of Esperance, Australia, also operates in isolation. It is not on an island, but it might as well be. The city sits on the south coast of Western Australia State, but is not connected to the grid.

Esperance is also the home of Australia’s first wind farm. The Salmon Beach Wind Farm began operating in 1987, but was decommissioned 15 years later because of urban encroachment. It was replaced by the Ten Mile Lagoon and Nine Mile Beach wind farms. Together they can provide nearly 25 percent of Esperance’s electricity.

Unlike hydropower, however, wind power is not reliable. The primary source of power in the region, an area that extends about 80 miles from the city, comes from gas turbines, the 38.5-MW Esperance Power Station.


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Enel is starting work on geothermal district heating project in Tuscany

The ThinkGeoenergy blog reports that Enel is starting work on geothermal district heating project in Tuscany.

In the next few days Italian Enel Green Power will start construction work on a geothermal district heating system in Piancastagnaio, a small town southeast of Siena in Tuscany, Italy.

The system will be built in the industrial area of the municipality to provide heating to the companies located in “La Rota”. The activity resulted from collaboration between the ‘ Municipal Administration of Piancastagnaio and Enel Green Power to take advantage of geothermal energy for space heating and for sanitary water at significantly lower prices compared to fossil fuels, and with a huge environmental benefit linked to the cancellation of the combustion of gas boilers and diesel emissions to present today.

“Geothermal resource are a public asset and, as such, should be used for the good of all,” said the mayor of Piancastagnaio Luigi Vagaggini. More…

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Ohio’s REV: PUCO to explore grid modernization, utility reform in PowerForward initiative

The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) has announced that it is launching a regulatory proceeding to review technological and regulatory innovations related to utility grid modernization.

Dubbed “PowerForward,” the initiative aims “to chart a path forward for future grid modernization projects, innovative regulations and forward-thinking policies” that could later be integrated into utility business practices, according to a PUCO release.

In particular, the initiative seeks to understand how changes to utility regulation and revenue models could enhance the customer experience, such as through the deployment of distributed resources and efficiency programs.  More…

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One day, two states: history making moves on distributed energy resources

reports in Microgrid Knowledge about bold moves taken by New York and Massachusetts toward supporting the development of distributed energy resources (DER)

It was a shot heard around the world – or two shots rather – when yesterday New York and Massachusetts each took bold steps to accelerate distributed energy resources.

New York ordered actions that begin placing a value on distributed energy resources, a key move in creating the kind of decentralized grid the state is pursuing under its Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) policy.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts issued an awaited solicitation that makes significant funding available for energy storage, a technology that promises to disrupt the way the electric power industry has managed energy for more than a century – and in doing so elevate microgrids, solar and other distributed energy resources.  More…

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Massachusetts issues energy storage solicitation offering $10M

reports in Microgrid Knowledge that Massachusetts has released a much-awaited energy storage solicitation on Thursday offering up to $10 million for new projects.

Issued by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) and the Department of Energy Resources (DOER), the solicitation makes available $100,000 to $1.25 million in matching funds for each chosen project.

The solicitation springs from a state report issued last year that found Massachusetts could save electricity ratepayers $800 million by incorporating 600 MW of energy storage projects. The state plans to set a specific energy storage goal, now the subject of a separate proceeding before the DOER.   More….

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Schneider Electric to help enable energy resiliency at USMC LB

Schneider Electric, a global specialist in energy management and automation, today announced it has been awarded a subcontract from Constellation, a subsidiary of Exelon Corp., to support the development of smart controls as part of an energy savings performance contract at the U.S. Marine Corps Logistics Base (MCLB) in Albany, Georgia. Schneider Electric is a member of the International District Energy Association (IDEA).

The project includes the installation of an 8.5-megawatt biomass-fueled, steam-to-electricity (STE) generator, high-efficiency transformers, lighting and boiler upgrades, as well as system controls for a landfill gas electricity generator and centralized monitoring and operation of electricity generation and distribution for the base.


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5 Cities around the world leading the charge on climate action

As a result of findings in its Climate Reality Project, EcoWatch has identified five cities around the world that are leaders in climate action programs: Copenhagen, San Francisco, Vancouver, Stockholm and Singapore.

These are just five examples of cities that have become leaders in clean energy and sustainable development. To learn more about additional sustainable cities and how they’re working toward solutions to the climate crisis, download the Cities100 guide. The Cities100 guide shares 100 solutions from 61 cities in 10 different sectors, ranging from clean energy to transportation to social equity and more.

For details click here.

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Jakarta Energy Ministry plans converting palm waste to energy

News365 reports that in Jakarta the Director General of New Renewable Energy and Energy Conversion (EBTKE) for the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry is planning a program that would impose mandatory conversion of palm waste to energy.

“Palm oil mill must convert POME [palm oil mill effluent] to electricity,” EBTKE director general Rida Mulyana said in an event titled Biogas and Waste to Energy Indonesia Forum 2017 in Jakarta on Wednesday, March 15, 2017.

Rida said that the Energy Ministry is currently deliberating on the regulation with the Environment and Forestry Ministry.

He elaborated that over 800 palm oil mills in Sumatra and Kalimantan generate liquid and solid waste.

Palm oil solid waste can be processed into biomass fuel to generate up to 700 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Liquid waste, that contains methane, can be converted into biogas. Palm oil mills, however, prefer to burn liquid waste, an activity that could endanger the environment.

He added that the program would provide financial benefits to palm oil mills as well as help the government fulfills its commitment to support climate action i.e. reduce carbon footprint.

Moreover, the government is aiming to provide new renewable energy source of 23 percent by 2025.

Rida said that many developing countries still rely on fossil fuel, such as oil, gas and coal that will become scarcer in 2025.

Therefore, the Energy Ministry continues to push regulation to increase the use of new renewable energy, including through Energy Ministry’s Regulation No. 12/2017 on new renewable energy investment in eastern part of Indonesia.

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Copenhagen, striving to be carbon-neutral: Part 1, The Economic Payoffs

John J. Berger reports in Foreign Affairs that Copenhagen’s rapid energy transition creates new jobs, new economic activity, and new businesses.

Copenhagen, Denmark— By focusing on reducing carbon emissions and becoming more sustainable, can cities enhance their citizens’ health, well-being, and comfort, while improving their economies?

One need not knock on too many doors in Copenhagen’s Town Hall to find city officials who find this proposition self-evident. They point toward a mounting body of evidence indicating that the same policies that protect the climate also improve the capital city’s economy and global competitiveness.

Unpretentious in blue jeans and close-cropped blond beard, Morten Kabell, Copenhagen’s Mayor of Technical and Environmental Affairs, clearly enjoys explaining the rapid progress Copenhagen is making toward becoming the world’s first carbon-neutral city by 2025.  “Making environmental sense, makes economic sense,” he says.  More…

John J. Berger, PhD. ( is an energy and environmental policy specialist who has produced ten books on climate, energy, and natural resource topics. He is the author of Climate Peril: The Intelligent Reader’s Guide to the Climate Crisis, and Climate Myths: The Campaign Against Climate Science, and is at work on a new book about climate solutions.

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