Press release: Utilities Announce Nearly 1 Gigawatt of New Solar Capacity

Three U.S. utilities unveil plans to increase renewable energy generation; implement CLEAN Programs to drive growth of distributed solar.

Craig Lewis

July 25, 2013

NEWS RELEASE: Utilities Announce Nearly 1 Gigawatt of New Solar Capacity

Three U.S. utilities unveil plans to increase renewable energy generation; implement CLEAN Programs to drive growth of distributed solar

PALO ALTO, CA – Utilities in Georgia, New York, and Colorado announced plans this month to bring a total of 840 megawatts (MW) of solar energy online by 2016.  These programs highlight that increasing local renewable generation is a smart economic investment for utilities across the country.

On July 11, the Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) approved a motion to expand Georgia Power’s Advanced Solar Initiative (ASI) from 210 MW to 735 MW.  As part of the ASI, Georgia Power – an investor-owned utility serving more than two million customers – will bring at least 190 MW of distributed solar online through a CLEAN Program.  Notably, the decision by Georgia’s all-Republican PSC shows renewables are increasingly attractive to fiscal conservatives looking to keep energy rates affordable.

“Commissioner McDonald’s motion adding 525 MW of solar to our 20-year energy plan is a hedge against more coal regulation and natural gas price volatility,” explained PSC commissioner Tim Echols.

Georgia Power is not alone in pursuing greater distributed solar energy through a CLEAN Program.  On July 12, Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) announced plans to expand its CLEAN Solar Initiative (CSI) from 50 MW to 150 MW, which will bring enough solar energy online to power roughly 13,000 homes.  The CSI expansion includes a premium of 7 cents per kilowatt-hour for solar projects sited at critical points on LIPA’s grid, which will enable the utility to defer expensive transmission investments.

“LIPA’s detailed assessment that distributed generation can provide at least 7 cents per kilowatt-hour of incremental value by avoiding additional costs associated with transmission-dependent generation provides an important lesson for the rest of the country,” said Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition.  “The locational value of wholesale distributed generation is substantial and the compensation of such will ensure that energy generation is deployed where it is needed most – and in a timely fashion.”

Just two days ago, Fort Collins Utility (FCU) – the municipal utility in Fort Collins, Colorado – unveiled its CLEAN Program, known as the Solar Power Purchase Program.  This pilot program will bring 5 MW of distributed solar online by 2015 and serve as a model to expand local renewable generation throughout Colorado.

Georgia Power, LIPA, and FCU are building upon successful CLEAN Programs implemented by utilities in Sacramento, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and Gainesville, FL.

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Contact:
John Bernhardt
john@clean-coalition.org
(703) 963-8750

About the Clean Coalition

The Clean Coalition is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to accelerate the transition to local energy systems through innovative policies and programs that deliver cost-effective renewable energy, strengthen local economies, foster environmental sustainability, and provide energy resilience.  For further information on the Clean Coalition, please visit www.Clean-Coalition.org.

Craig Lewis

Founder and Executive Director

Craig has over 20 years of experience in the renewables, wireless, semiconductor, and banking industries. Previously VP of Government Relations at GreenVolts, he was the first to successfully navigate a solar project through California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard solicitation process. Craig was also the energy policy lead on Steve Westly’s 2006 California gubernatorial campaign, and his resume includes senior government relations, corporate development, and marketing positions at leading wireless, semiconductor, and banking companies such as Qualcomm, Ericsson, and Barclays Bank.