EGEB: New York’s ‘Future Grid Challenge,’ floating solar avoids NIMBYs, Vineyard Wind, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • New York introduces the first round of funding for its Future Grid Challenge.
  • A look at how floating solar could take off in the US.
  • Massachusetts offshore wind farm Vineyard Wind could see development delays.
  • The largest municipal rooftop solar project in Canada is now online.

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

New York has already announced its desire to upgrade its electrical grid to better integrate renewable energy, and the state’s new Future Grid Challenge will give $15 million to companies and institutions that “will address challenges ranging from the need for greater real-time system data to incorporating smart technologies and energy storage into power grid planning and operations.”

The Future Grid Challenge will have two rounds, with the first offering $6 million in funding. The state said initial proposals should focus on:

  • Helping Con Ed advance Distributed Energy Resource (DER) monitoring, control, data analytics, and advanced forecasting
  • Assisting Orange and Rockland (counties) with improving smart inverter functionality to provide seamless integration of distributed resources, improve grid stability, and reduce system losses

The state is accepting proposals until October 9.

Float on

Floating solar has taken off in Asia, but it’s barely made a dent in the US solar market. However, E&E News notes a number of projects in California and Florida while pointing at a number of reasons floating arrays could become more appealing in the United States.

Both floating wind and solar can work in deeper ocean waters than traditional offshore wind turbines can handle, and floating solar won’t take up valuable land real estate in more crowded areas. As Chris Bartle of floating solar developer Ciel et Terre said, “There’s a little bit of the NIMBY effect with ground systems. No one wants it in their backyard.”

Like other renewable technologies, floating solar looks to benefit from decreasing costs over the coming years, along with its other benefits.

There are questions of durability, but mostly, it seems the largest obstacle is people not being used to the idea of solar panels floating above the water. “Every day I’m answering initial questions like, ‘How can you mix electricity and water?'” Bartle said.

Vineyard wait

Construction was expected to start on the Vineyard Wind offshore wind project in Massachusetts by the end of this year, but the environmental impact statement from the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has thrown that into question. As the developers announced,

Vineyard Wind has been informed by the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) that they are not yet prepared to issue the final Environmental Impact Statement for the 800 MW Vineyard Wind 1 project. We understand that, as the first commercial scale offshore wind project in the US, the Vineyard Wind project will undergo extraordinary review before receiving approvals. As with any project of this scale and complexity, changes to the schedule are anticipated. Vineyard Wind remains resolutely committed to working with BOEM to deliver the United States’ first utility-scale wind farm and its essential benefits — an abundant supply of cost-effective clean energy combined with enormous economic and job-creation opportunities.

Up top up North

Canada’s largest municipal rooftop solar system, consisting of 3,800 solar panels on Airdrie’s Genesis Place Recreation Centre, is now operational, rdnews Now reports. No exact capacity was given, but the article does say that “during the peak summer months, 140 kilowatts of energy per hour will go back into the city grid.”

The system, which looks like it covers virtually the entirety of the recreation center’s large roof, is expected to meet up to 30% of the facility’s energy needs. A second phase of the project is going to be completed later this year, and it involves modules on the facility’s carport.

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