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EGEB: Solar designed for 155MPH hurricane holds up, rooftop tracking solar, Eversource jack prices $3.6B?, more

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

The header image is of the 27MW San Fermin solar plant in Puerto Rico four days after Hurricane Maria swept the island. The image came from the NOAA by way of (and reader Will Driscoll). The system was designed back in 2012 to withstand up to 250-260kph (155-162mph) wind speeds. All hardware is two meters off of the ground and there is a local energy storage system hooked into the power plant. We’re nearing the end of a discussion – solar that is designed to withstand a hurricane will do so.

Eversource, Avangrid artificially constrained gas pipeline capacity for years, report argues – Local gas distribution utilities owned by the two holding companies regularly scheduled more gas than they needed on the Algonquin Pipeline in Connecticut and Massachusetts, only to cancel some of the orders later in the day — too late for the pipeline space to be resol. Referred to as down-scheduling, “essentially locks up some pipeline capacity.” On the worst days, including during the Polar Vortex of 2013-2014, up to 7% of Algonquin’s capacity could be artificially constrained. I don’t know enough about the nature of buying gas within pipelines to give an opinion on this. Is it important to overbuy in these volumes at the beginning of the day due to potential usage later in the day? Do other gas utilities have this issue? We’ll see as story develops. $3.6B and threats of system challenges during a polar vortex are pretty serious consequences to empty pipes…

EDISun Microgrids has a cool rooftop commercial tracker – Nice pictures of hardware. I like their case study very much (see data below). In this system’s case you get 35% more electricity per watt than a non-moving panel, but flat panels can install 47% more solar panels in the same space. However – because less total hardware is used, the payback period is better for Edison. Though – there are now moving parts introduced to the equation. On larger roofs where more space is available than electricity is need – it becomes very compelling.

Altamonte Springs forms its own utility as it moves toward renewable energy – City wants to save $2/M a year feeding government facilities with clean energy. Their goal was to make a municipal power company. In the article, it mentions that the local power lines are owned by the utility and that there’s a contract through 2022 to use those poles. Seems a lot of moving parts before the deal is completed or fully voted on. Are city level microgrids led by local municipalities going to become a thing?

Qld renewables tender swamped by 115 projects, 6,000MW of storage – On the one hand, we see that there is plenty of demand whenever the state puts out a request for development of energy resources in Australia – “Renewables 400” program seeks at least 400MW of large scale renewable project including 100MW of energy storage. The volumes in these proposals could probably put a decent sized dent in the overall electricity infrastructure of the region. The only difference between Australia and the rest of the world seeing these exact same things happen is cost of electricity on the grid currently. Of course the other hand – if we’re getting such large volumes of responses…isn’t it time we do something major? What’s holding back the change? Why not drop the big nationwide bomb?

Great video GE – got some drone action relative to solar panel inspection – plus pretty pictures:

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