US Power Outages Double…Ameresco Acquires Solar Firm…Green Slowdown in Puerto Rico?

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US power outages double in EIA report

The US grid is generally reliable, but severe storms are taking their toll and increasing power outages, according to the Energy Information Administration.

EIA reported last week that power outages nearly doubled in 2017, which the federal agency attributed to hurricanes and winter storms.

power outages

Importantly, the calculation did not include Puerto Rico, which would have which created a far worse picture, given the hit the island took from Hurricane Maria in September 2017. The hurricane collapsed most of Puerto Rico’s grid, creating the longest blackout in US history and spurring an aggressive drive to build microgrids in the US territory.

The states with the longest average power outages in 2017 were Maine, Florida, New Hampshire, Georgia, and Vermont. Average outages ranged from 42 hours in Maine to 14 hours in Vermont. The District of Columbia experienced the shortage average interruption time: 58 minutes.

Ameresco acquires California solar developer

Ameresco, a Massachusetts-based energy company often tracked on Microgrid Knowledge because of its strong play into microgrids, has acquired TerraNavigator, a California solar developer.

TerraNavigatorolar specializes in solar projects on landfills and other brownfield or environmentally-impacted sites.

 Ameresco expects the acquistion to expand its pipeline of green energy projects to own and operate in the western US.

“In addition to their pipeline of project opportunities, the TerraNavigator team brings experience and knowledge in the renewable energy industry that adds to our existing expertise and represents an ideal fit with Ameresco’s strategy,” said Lou Maltezos, Ameresco executive vice president. “We look forward to advancing our footprint and capabilities in California and the Central and Northwest U.S.A. as we continue to execute on the company’s strategy in the distributed energy resource space.”

As part of the transaction, Ruben Fontes, former CEO of TerraNavigator, has joined Ameresco as senior vice president, large scale distributed energy resources.

Will Puerto Rico actually move forward with renewable energy goals?

Puerto Rico is becoming a mecca for solar microgrid development, but can it meet ambitious renewable energy goals?

The island made headlines (more headlines, that is) in the Fall with a legislative proposal to pursue 100 percent renewable energy as it attempts to transform its grid following Hurricane Maria’s devastation last year. Now, however, it appears momentum for the effort is slowing.

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Jeffrey Karp and Kevin Fink of Sullivan and Worcester report that two bills have lost momentum: Senate Bill 1121, which pushed for 100 percent renewables by 2050 and SB 773, which called for a more modest 50 percent by 2040.

SB 773  passed the Senate in early November but was then sent back to the House under order by Governor Rosselló reportedly over disagreement related to 75 percent tax credit for renewable energy projects. S.B. 1121 also passed the Senate but has been delayed for further evaluation until January, according to Sullivan and Worcester.

The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, which closely monitors energy regulation and policy in Puerto Rico, also has expressed skepticism about Puerto Rico’s renewable energy goals. While IEEFA found a lot to like about the effort it said the US territory has failed to meet its existing renewable portfolio standard of 12 percent by 2015, getting no further than two percent. “In addition, PREPA is mismanaged and bankrupt — a weak place to start on such an ambitious agenda,” wrote Cathy Kunkel, IEEFA energy analyst.

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Elisa Wood About Elisa Wood

Elisa Wood is the chief editor of MicrogridKnowledge.com. She has been writing about energy for more than two decades for top industry publications. Her work also has been picked up by CNN, the New York Times, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal Online and the Washington Post.

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