SEIA says FEMA’s proposed change to a building code is not good news for solar; Eolus is selling 750 MW AC plant in the US; Sabanci acquires 272 MW solar from Advanced Power; Ameresco and Bright Canyon Energy building Hawaiian project; Ontario to source 4 GW of new electricity generation and storage resources.
SEIA warns about IBC change: The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) says a proposed change to the 2024 International Building Code stands to threaten the clean energy development in the US. The ‘misguided proposal’ for code change S76-22 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends raising the structural risk category for ground mounted solar installation, energy storage systems and wind turbines to the ‘highest level possible, on par with requirements for hospitals and fire stations’. Projects will be required to source more material to comply. The association believes this code if changed will make most solar and storage projects too costly to build, eventually weakening the grid and ‘stop clean energy development in its tracks’. Stating that there is no extended record of irreparable damage to solar arrays from higher seismic, wind or snow loads, hence there is ‘no justification’ for these codes, SEIA President and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper termed it a ‘gross overreach’.
The association recommends a carve-out for solar projects to be designated at risk category 2 to ensure a reasonable approach to allow more projects to get built. “Solar deployment will undoubtedly drop without this carve-out, setting America backward on clean energy, which is a key solution to the intensifying natural disasters that bring us to this dilemma in the first place,” stated Hopper. Clean energy developers have also written to the ICC’s voting members to reject the proposal.
Eolus to sell its 3rd solar project in the US: Sweden’s Eolus has signed an agreement to sell its 750 MW AC solar power plant with storage to an unidentified buyer in the US. The Arizona located facility is scheduled to come online in 2025 and it currently at mid-stage development. Eolus said the buyer is a US based portfolio company backed by a large publicly traded global private equity investment firm. This is Eolus’ 3rd project to be sold in the US. “More than a third of our total project portfolio is in the US and we are well positioned to take part in the increase in renewable energy projects that we expect as a result of the new tax legislation that the US Congress passed during the summer,” said Eolus CEO, Per Witalisson.
Sabanci buys 272 MW solar project: Switzerland headquartered independent power producer (IPP) Advanced Power has sold its 100% interest in Cutlass Solar II LLC to Turkey’s Sabanci Renewables. This is the latter’s 1st US energy venture. The 272 MW Cutlass Solar II project is located in Fort Bend County, Texas with construction expected to begin in Q4/2022. It will supply clean energy from 2024 to the load centers of Houston and Freeport. Sabanci Renewables is a subsidiary of Turkish industrial and financial conglomerate. Both the companies will collaborate on the construction of the 272 MW project. Advanced Power energized 140 MW DC Cutlass Solar in July 2022 and Cutlass Solar II is the 2nd and final phase of this solar project.
Solar & storage project enters construction in Hawaii: Ameresco and Bright Canyon Energy have started construction of 42 MW Kūpono Solar Project with 42 MW/168 MWh (4-hour duration) of lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS) in Hawaii. The duo is building the project at the Joint base Pearl Harbor-Hickam West Loch Annex. It will be grid connected to Hawaiian Electric’s (HECO) grid on the island of O‘ahu under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) when it comes online in 2024. Ameresco said the project will benefit the state’s long-term clean energy transition plan. Bright Canyon won the project in June 2020 under a competitive solicitation process concluded by Hawaiian Electric (see Winners List For 16 Hawaiian Electric PV Projects).
Ontario wants 4 GW new energy capacity: Canada’s Ontario will source 4 GW of new electricity generation and storage resources to ensure electricity supply for the growing population in the province. The Ontario government has directed the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) to source this capacity which will include at least 1.5 GW of standalone energy storage resources, up to 1.5 GW of natural gas generation with remaining coming from other sources. This 1.5 GW energy storage represents the largest battery procurement in Canada’s history, it added.
“Our government is building the electricity generation and storage needed to support our success in driving electrification and attracting new jobs to the province including unprecedented investments, from electric vehicles and battery manufacturing to clean steelmaking,” said Ontario’s Minister of Energy, Todd Smith.