Brian Nese

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Brian J. Nese is an associate in the Renewable Energy practice group.


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City of Palo Alto Issues Community Solar RFP

On July 1, 2014, the City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to create a CPAU-branded Community Solar Program. According to CPAU, "the primary objectives for the program are 1) to help facilitate reaching the City’s target of meeting 4% of its energy needs from local solar energy by 2023 (from 0.7% in 2013), and 2) to give all of its customers – including those who rent and those without sufficient solar access – the opportunity to experience and derive benefit from cost-effective local solar development."

CPAU expects to purchase the full output of electricity produced by a 3rd-party owned, operated, and maintained solar facility resulting from the program and all associated attributes, including renewable energy credits (RECs) and environmental benefits. The desired capacity of a community solar facility is 1 to 3 MW (CEC-AC), to be interconnected to CPAU’s distribution grid.

The RPF is available here.

A pre-proposal webinar will be held Wednesday, July 9, 2014 at 2:00 p.m. PST (https://global.gotomeeting.com/meeting/join/891095109; dial in (712)432-1212; meeting ID 430-877-385). CPAU encourages all prospective bidders to participate.
 

SDG&E Issues Renewables RFO

On December 16, 2013, San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) issued its 2013 Request for Offers ("RFO") seeking Eligible Renewable Resources. This solicitation will facilitate SDG&E’s compliance with California’s Renewables Portfolio Standard (“RPS”).

The solicitation seeks Eligible Renewable Resources from all types of renewable technologies providing both Renewable Energy Credits (“RECs”) and Energy (“Bundled Products”), and REC-only products. SDG&E is soliciting Category 1 and 2 products for a term of 15 years or less and with contractual deliveries beginning in 2020. The Commercial Operation Dates of these facilities may be as early as 2016 or as late as 2021. SDG&E is also soliciting Category 3 products generated in 2018 at the earliest, with a preference for those generated in 2020 and 2021.

SDG&E encourages respondents to carefully review submission documents and provide sufficient details in all required bid forms. One pre-bid conference will be held via webinar on January 15, 2014 from 9:30am-12pm PST. Webinar information will be posted on the RFO website once it is finalized. Any party interested in attending the webinar should register on the PowerAdvocate® site and must send the company name, attendees’ names, titles and contact information to renewablerfo@semprautilities.com. Please limit your participation to two representatives per organization.

Offers in response to the RFO are due January 29, 2014 via the PowerAdvocate® online platform. In order to submit a bid, applicants must register at www.poweradvocate.com. Please monitor the RFO website and PowerAdvocate® online platform for subsequent updates, notices and announcements.

Important RFO Dates

• Bidder’s Conference: January 15th
• RFO Closing Date: January 29th (bids are due by 12 NOON PST on January 29th)
• Shortlisted Respondents Notified: March 10th


For additional information and to download the required documents visit: http://www.sdge.com/renewable-portfolio-standard-rfo-december-2013

Questions/comments can be submitted to: renewablerfo@semprautilities.com
 

Post-Conference Report: Solar Power International 2013

Thousands of solar industry participants gathered in Chicago for the Solar Power International expo in Chicago, Illinois on October 21-24 to discuss the state of the solar industry. Participatnts included banks, investors, developers and equipment suppliers, and also several Stoel Rives attorneys.

Many themes emerged during the week-long event, and a common thread running through these themes was “change.” The solar industry is undergoing significant changes, as demonstrated by the following:

  • Stoel Rives announced that Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff will join the firm later this year following his impending resignation from the Commission;
  • The regulatory environment continues to morph as the 1603 cash grant phases out while the ITC reemerges pending its expiration, net-metering battles rage on in multiple states, and California has required investor owner utilities to procure and invest in significant amounts of energy storage;
  • Companies continue to search for investment grade projects while developers continue to hunt for PPAs with sustainable pricing;
  • Chinese equipment manufacturers continue to factor in the space, and several companies from mainland China attended the expo for the first time, now also joined by a growing number of Taiwanese and Korean companies;
  • As utility scale development opportunities in the United States continue to stagnate, many companies are turning their focus to Latin America where new and potentially lucrative opportunities are emerging;
  • The industry seems ripe for consolidation and the remainder of 2013 and 2014 may witness several significant mergers.

In this time of significant change, Stoel Rives will continue to serve the solar industry by providing high quality legal services and innovative solutions for the issues of today and the issues of the future.

Solar Panels Proposed as Hazardous Waste under DTSC

My colleagues Wayne Rosenbaum and Ryan Waterman authored, "DTSC Rulemaking Proposes to Classify All Discarded Solar Panels As Hazardous Waste" today on our California Environmental Law blog

On June 27, California’s Department of Toxic Substance Control (“DTSC”) announced a 15 day comment period on new regulations concerning the disposal of photovoltaic (PV) modules—broadly defined as “any photovoltaic device that converts photons from the sun into electricity for general use . . . .”

The proposed rulemaking would treat discarded PV modules as Universal Waste, placing them in the same category as electronic devices, batteries, and aerosol cans. As such, PV modules would be subject to special handling and treatment rules, and would be barred from disposal in sanitary landfills. This could have significant impacts on decommissioning costs for PV arrays as well as increasing the costs of routine maintenance for operating systems.

While DTSC considered four options in developing the proposed rule, it considered and rejected the option of testing the modules for hazardous characteristics in favor of its preferred approach of declaring all non-functioning modules to be hazardous. DTSC’s rationale for this approach is based on the assumption that all damaged PV modules contain toxic heavy metals that have the potential to leach into the environment in toxic amounts. Accordingly, DTSC assumes that by defining all damaged modules to be hazardous, the rule would avoid ambiguity for end users and create a robust recycling industry. DTSC did not appear to consider the impacts the rule could have on attempts by PV manufacturers to reduce the use of metals in their products, however, and may unintentionally stifle innovation of green technologies.

Comments on the new rule will be accepted until 5 PM on Thursday, July 11, 2013. Details regarding DTSC’s rulemaking are available at: Proposed Regulations: Proposed Standards for the Management of Hazardous Waste Solar Modules

 

KenGen Issues Invitation to Geothermal Developers

The Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen) has issued an invitation for pre-qualification for selection of developers for a 560 megawatt geothermal project pipeline.  The government of Kenya has granted KenGen a license to develop geothermal power plants in the Olkaria geothermal field located in the Rift Valley in Kenya.  KenGen is embarking on a program to develop up to 560 MW of new generation in 140MW phases. 

To meet this objective, KenGen is seeking to partner with developers through either (1) a joint venture, whereby KenGen and the developer will jointly develop and own the power plant, or (2) a tolling arrangement whereby the developer will build, own and operate the plant and KenGen will provide the steam. 

Interested parties may submit an application for pre-qualififcation on or before November 2, 2012.  Applicants must specify which option (JV or tolling agreement) they wish to pursue and meet other qualifications (experience, balance sheet, etc.) that are set forth in the KenGen tender available here.

Georgia Power Files for Advanced Solar Initiative

On September 26, 2012, Georgia Power filed with the Georgia Public Service Commission a proposal for the creation of the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative, a program that would result in the procurement of up to 210 megawatts of solar generation through power purchase agreements. Of the 210 MWs, 180 will come from utility scale projects while 30 MW will come from distributed projects.

Utility Scale Projects.  The proposal calls for Georgia Power to issue RFPs in 2013, 2014, and 2015 for utility scale solar projects up to 20 MWs in size and to be located in Georgia.  The PPAs would have twenty year terms and with pricing not to exceed 12 cents per kWh. 

Distributed Projects.  Georgia Power will also enter PPAs with Small-Scale projects (up to 100 kW) and Medium-Scale projects (greater than 100kW and smaller than 1 MW).  In each of 2013, 2014 and 215, Georgia Power will enter 10 MW worth of PPAs with Small/Medium-Scale projects until anoverall cap of 30 MW is reached.

More information and a copy of Georgia Power's filing is available here.

SDG&E to Host RAM Forum

On June 22, 2012, SDG&E will host a forum on the Renewable Auction Mechanism.  The forum will be held at the SDG&E Energy Innovation Center located at 4760 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA 92117.   The forum begins at 10 AM and concludes at 12 PM.  The forum will also be available via webinar.  In person or webinar reservations can be made by sending an email by June 19, 2012 to ramsolicitation@semprautilities.com.

The forum will cover the following topics:
 

  1. Overview of the results of the November 2011 RAM (including feedback from the Independent Evaluator)
  2. Overview of the important changes between the November 2011 RAM and the May 2012 RAM
  3. Request for feedback from RAM participants and stakeholders on various topics, including: eligibility requirement, bid evaluation methodology (including Resource Adequacy value, and SDG&E process (website, email communication, Q&A, etc.)

Stoel attorney Brian Nese will be attending the forum.

 

 

 

California Energy Commission Releases Comprehensive Energy Storage Analysis

This week the California Energy Commission's PIER program released a comprehensive report titled "2020 Strategic Analysis of Energy Storage in California."  The report discusses the state of technology, policy, barriers to deployment and suggested reforms.  A staff workshop related to the report will be held on November 15, 2011 at 10 am at the CEC located at 1516 Ninth Street, Sacramento, California 95814 (webex also available).

STOEL RIVES PUBLISHES UPDATED EDITION OF SOLAR ENERGY LAW GUIDE

The Stoel Rives Energy Development group is proud to announce the publication of the third edition of Lex Helius: The Law of Solar Energy.

In the wake of recent state and federal policies and incentives, investment in solar energy has become increasingly competitive. Accordingly, our energy team desires to provide our readers with the most up-to-date solar market insights. The authors, contributors and editors of Lex Helius have done just that.

Lex Helius analyzes critical issues that solar power project developers confront during the development process, including real property acquisition, regulatory and permitting requirements, interconnection issues, power purchase agreements, financing, and construction contracting.  The guide also discusses federal and state incentives available to solar projects, financing structures, market conditions, and sale and transfer of renewable energy credits.

The new edition of Lex Helius will be available at the Stoel Rives booth (#3043) at the Solar Power International 2011 conference in Dallas, October 17-20, 2011.


The guide can also be downloaded, along with the entire Stoel Rives “Law of” library at www.stoel.com/lawofseries.

 


 

Energy Storage Industry Expresses Optimism at Energy Storage Association Annual Meeting

This week I attended the 21st Annual Meeting of the Energy Storage Association in San Jose, California. The meeting broke its attendance record by attracting over 420 attendees, including representatives from electric energy storage (“EES”) technology companies, utilities, venture capital funds, consultancies and government agencies. Key note speakers included Dr. Imre Gyuk of the U.S. Department of Energy, Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner of the California Assembly, Fan Wong of Pacific Gas & Electric, and Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures. Over 50 other distinguished speakers presented lectures and materials on various topics including flow battery applications, advanced storage technologies, smart grid interface, lithium ion battery applications, economics and policy, and venture capital markets. 

The record attendance at the meeting and reports of successful pilot projects were strong indicators that the EES industry has matured over the past years. The general sense at the meeting was that the EES industry is poised to emerge from the product development stage and move into the commercialization and deployment stage. In order to successfully make that leap, the EES industry must first overcome several hurdles.

Prospective EES customers, including utility representatives, contended that, except for pumped hydro, EES applications are not yet cost competitive and that EES systems must achieve significant price reductions before they can be competitive. Various utility representatives encouraged the EES industry to continue to bring down costs with the goal of becoming cost competitive with gas peaker plants. 

Project developers and technology companies acknowledged this reality, but stressed that when comparing EES applications to gas peakers, it is imperative that the market recognize the broad range of combined value streams and utility benefits that EES applications offer. These benefits include:

  • Ancillary services and frequency regulation
  • Reactive power, voltage, and power quality
  • Renewable integration and smoothing
  • Multiple hour peak shifting
  • Demand response
  • Islanding
  • Deferred T/D upgrades
  • Minimizing spinning reserves

In addition to these benefits, various speakers emphasized the siting and permitting advantages EES enjoys over gas plants. From a land use perspective, EES applications are relatively low impact. Many EES projects can obtain required permits based on a negative declaration and thereby avoid the lengthy siting proceedings that can drag on for years for some thermal generation projects. These siting and permitting advantages that EES applications enjoy translate into reduced costs and quicker development timelines and give EES a distinct advantage over gas peakers. 

The future of EES will in part hinge on the development of supportive federal and state regulations. Accordingly, ongoing proceedings at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the California Public Utilities Commission are critical to the future of EES.

Further, EES system providers will face challenges in structuring transactions to finance and build EES projects. Consultants and legal advisors, including Stoel Rives attorneys, are currently wrestling with various options to solve these challenges.

The EES industry will meet again in San Diego for Infocast’s Storage Week  on July 11-14, and several Stoel Rives attorneys will be presenting and attending.