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News Article | March 4, 2016
Site: soundcloud.com

What does it take to truly change a large utility? Not just cosmetic changes to branding -- but true structural changes around distributed energy deployment and customized offerings for customers. In this week's show, we’ll talk with an industry veteran who’s trying to usher in those changes. Ed White, vice president of New Energy Solutions at National Grid, joins the Gang to discuss the utility's new plan to integrate solar, efficiency, storage, electric cars and grid automation all into one area of the business. It's not an easy task. But we'll talk with White about how he hopes to pull it off. Later in the show, we'll discuss two major Supreme Court decisions on demand response and Obama's landmark climate rule. And we'll finish with a quick discussion of the positive outcome of California's net metering debate.


News Article | March 29, 2016
Site: www.greentechmedia.com

For Arlen Orchard, CEO and general manager of Sacramento Municipal Utility District, in order to understand how his utility will change over the next decade, it’s helpful to start by looking back. “It’s 2014. Our revenues are flat or declining despite [having] more customers; our customers want more options and choices; we can’t install technology fast enough to keep up with the changes in our industry; and we struggle to manage the data we have from technology we’ve already installed,” said Orchard, speaking at Opower’s PowerUp conference in Miami earlier this month. “And if that’s not enough, more than 70 percent of the electricity I sell to my customers has to be carbon-free by 2030.” “We didn’t see the sharp shift in the path. To be fair, a lot of folks in the industry didn’t, but that’s a really small consolation,” he added. “Now we’re playing catch-up, and that’s a pretty uncomfortable place to be and pretty unfamiliar for SMUD.” Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) is one of several electric utilities that’s now proactively looking for ways to address new customer preferences and capitalize on the change at the same time. For all types of utilities -- municipal, cooperative and investor-owned -- the growing demand for cleaner energy, at a lower price, with more convenient services and greater choice has become impossible to ignore. Results from a recent survey of residential customers conducted by E Source, in partnership with the Smart Electric Power Alliance, demonstrate this trend. The survey found that 80 percent of respondents believe policymakers should encourage people to install solar through subsidies. Support was strong across the country, across age groups and across income brackets. Before conducting the survey, E Source took several steps to educate customers about a utility’s need to cover its fixed costs to support the grid. Even with that information in hand, 69 percent of respondents said it’s fine for solar customers to zero out their utility bill if they produce enough electricity to cover their own needs in aggregate. “Given this overwhelming support, utility efforts to block subsidies for solar installations are likely to be seen in a negative light by most of their customers, resulting in a hit on the utility’s brand image,” the report states. While the policy outlook remains uncertain, an increasing number of utilities are positioning themselves to be a trusted provider of solar and other energy services -- mostly because they see no other choice. “I suppose I could have fought the changes at every turn and focused on self-preservation, but that would have meant ignoring my customers and betting against technology,” said Orchard. “At best, I’d end up as the Comcast of utilities, or at worst the Blockbuster.” To adapt its business, SMUD recently launched a consumer-experience study that includes mapping a customer’s journey through each of the utility’s services. Going through this exercise allows the utility to identify and fix pain points, as well as enhance operational efficiencies, said Orchard. In 2016, SMUD will focus on improving customer experience with billing and payment. In 2017, the utility plans to launch its own online marketplace for energy products and services. By 2025, Orchard said he envisions SMUD as the trusted advisor for all things energy-related. In a decade's time, nearly all of SMUD’s customers will have moved to digital services, there will be automatic payment systems and programs to control energy costs, customers will be able to communicate through the channel of their choice, and they’ll be able to use SMUD’s marketplace to buy everything from LED light bulbs to electric vehicles to home batteries. By that time, SMUD projects that revenues will be on the upswing from the adoption of electric vehicles, fuel switching, sales of new products and services, and by capitalizing on SMUD’s intellectual property. To transition to a 3.0 utility, “We at SMUD have to shift our perspective from a monopoly paradigm to a competitive mindset,” said Orchard. “We have to reimagine our business to be more robust, nimble and innovative.” “To be frank, I think SMUD had become pretty comfortable in our past successes, and that’s a real danger going forward,” he added. “We have to lean in to our discomfort to be successful.” Innovation isn’t only relevant to new products and services. There are many ways for utilities to improve customer satisfaction and engagement by making the basics better. At Con Edison, for instance, Twitter has become an effective communication channel that now operates year-round, 24 hours per day. At the PowerUp event, Craig Ivey, president of Con Ed, said the company boasts a 12-minute Twitter response time. In an unprompted test, the utility delivered with minutes to spare. Social media is just one part of Con Ed’s customer engagement strategy. The New York utility recently announced a partnership with Opower to modernize its relationship with customers as part of its Connected Homes demonstration project, which aims to make energy-saving and energy-generating as seamless as an Uber ride. Con Ed plans to spend $50 million to enhance the overall digital customer experience, as it rolls out advanced metering infrastructure starting in 2017. As the industry evolves, Ivey said utility call centers could soon deploy services similar to Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and IBM’s Watson. These digital agents would know every rate schedule and rate change, and speak 150 different languages. “Imagine a world where we have Watson or Siri talking to any New Yorker in their own language. I think that’s pretty amazing, and I think that’s a trend that’s starting to happen,” said Ivey. Opower president Alex Laskey said it is easy to see how utility services will become increasingly automated, and how utilities could offer increasingly sophisticated energy programs like peer-to-peer solar sharing. But most utilities need a major digital upgrade before any of that becomes possible, he said. “There’s some basic infrastructure utilities have to have if they’re going to be this new energy market-maker -- they need a better website and customer experience,” said Laskey. “If it takes you four calls to start and stop service, how are you ever going to buy your neighbor’s power?” J.D. Power and Associates has been measuring electric utility customer satisfaction since 1999. The good news for utilities is that there’s been a noticeable increase in customer approval in the last three years, according to Jeff Conklin, senior director of J.D. Power's energy practice. The bad news is that non-utility segments are improving much faster. “Service expectations of the utility, from a consumer point of view, are set by the experiences they get from Amazon and American Airlines and other service providers,” Conklin said. “So that’s the challenge utilities have -- to continue to accelerate and have a sense of urgency about improving their overall customer experiences.” Some may argue that utilities have a harder time providing top-notch service because of the size and complexity of the electrical grid. But Conklin doesn’t think utilities are limited at all. In fact, they have the advantage of having a direct physical link to the customer -- and access to a mountain of customer data as a result. J.D. Power research shows that customer engagement goes a long way toward improving customer satisfaction. By providing customers with information on where the utility is investing in grid upgrades or how they’re responding to an outage, it makes customers feel like they’re getting more value for their money, which can benefit a utility’s bottom line. J.D. Power conducted a study looking at customer satisfaction one year before a rate ask and one year after a rate ask, over more than 10 years of rate cases. Utilities that came into the rate process with top-quartile-level satisfaction for the industry were allowed a much higher rate of return, said Conklin. Rate asks from high-approval utilities were also approved faster. Interestingly, the J.D. Power study found that rooftop solar customers are more satisfied with their local electric utility than customers without solar, Conklin said. A third of solar customers surveyed last year said they have a positive opinion of their utility. “The engagement, even while you’re assisting your customer to take away electricity sales, improves the satisfaction that customer has with [the utility] as a trusted energy services provider,” said Conklin. The challenges and opportunities distributed solar brings are likely only to continue to grow. Today, rooftop solar customers only make up around 1 percent of all residential electricity customers. But that number is expected to increase dramatically, with 28 percent of households surveyed by J.D. Power last fall saying they “probably will” or “definitely will” consider going solar in the next two years. More and more utilities see value in becoming a trusted energy services provider, but the economics are still messy. “When customers are satisfied, it doesn’t directly translate to a higher rate of return, but it translates to a higher confidence that we’re meeting customers' needs, which is exactly what we’re all supposed to be doing,” said Ed White, vice president of the New Energy Solutions unit at National Grid. Through New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision proceeding, utilities in the Northeast are working with regulators and industry stakeholders to find new ways to make money, so that utilities aren’t always reliant on the traditional rate of return. “Regulators are actually looking for us to find other ways to make money -- how to split some revenue, how to earn money for connecting customers to folks in the marketplace,” said White. National Grid created the New Energy Solutions group last year to take on this task. One part of the answer is the creation of a distributed solar marketplace in Rhode Island that allows customers to shop for solar in a transparent manner and receive an incentive for improving energy efficiency at the same time. These types of initiatives take time and money, and require policy shifts as well as business-model changes. It’s taken stakeholders in New York about nine months just to have a conversation around the various types of assets utilities have to offer -- be it infrastructure, IT capability or labor -- and how they can be leveraged to provide services that third-party vendors will pay for. “Do we have it all mapped out how [reforming the electricity industry] is going to be profitable? No,” said White. “But are we being thoughtful in how we put our businesses together? Absolutely.” “I think where other industries and other companies have struggled is if you’re fighting to preserve a business that needs to change, you’re in trouble,” he added. Interested in how other utilities are grappling with these issues? Experts will delve further into issues and opportunities shaping the next-generation energy system at GTM's Grid Edge World Forum taking place June 21-23, 2016 in San Jose, Calif. Register here.


News Article | December 15, 2016
Site: www.rechargenews.com

Norway's Statoil submitted a winning $42.5m bid to gain commercial development rights to a high-profile offshore wind zone that could feed power to New York City, setting a US industry record after 33 rounds of bidding in a lease auction that spilled over into a second day. Statoil says the zone could accommodate more than 1GW of offshore wind capacity, and it would likely start with a 400-600MW development. New York state has a 50% renewables target for 2030, and has been vocal about its intention to procure substantial amounts of offshore wind power. The first project could be operating by the early 2020s, a Statoil spokesperson tells Recharge. Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil´s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, says: “As today’s announcement shows, Statoil is well positioned to take part in what could be a significant build out of offshore wind in New York and other states over the next decade.” “The US is a key emerging market for offshore wind – both bottom-fixed and floating – with significant potential along both the east and west coasts." The New York zone has been seen as the most attractive tendered in US waters so far, given its proximity to the greater New York City metropolitan region, the largest electric load on the east coast. As a result, analysts had forecast that the lease sale would be more competitive than five earlier ones held for zones facing states along the US Atlantic coast. But few expected such intense levels of competition, with bidders driving the cost to $42.5m, shattering the previous record winning bid for a US offshore wind zone of $8.7m, paid by US Wind for a lease area off Maryland in 2014. The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which held the New York auction, set the initial asking price at just $158,700. Aside from Statoil, other bidders in New York included Avangrid Renewables, Dong Energy, Innogy US Renewable Projects, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Germany's wpd. The inclusion of NYSERDA, a state entity, was one unusual feature of the New York tender. NYSERDA's plan was to win the tender, de-risk the project, including helping secure an off-take agreement, and then tender the zone back out for a second time to private developers. In a statement, Rummelhoff said Statoil will "work closely" with NYSERDA as it studies the zone and then brings projects through permitting, and also while evaluating its "power off-take options". Statoil's spokesperson said that given New York's ambitious renewables target, the company does not expect challenges in securing an off-take deal. The New York zone is 14-30 miles (30-60km) offshore, spans 127 square miles (320 sq km), and covers water depths of 65 metres to 131 metres. "This auction underscores the growing market demand for renewable energy among our coastal communities,” says Sally Jewell, secretary of the Department of Interior. BOEM, part of DOI, manages offshore wind development on the outer continental shelf beyond state territorial limits. “It not only marks another milestone for the US offshore wind energy program, but also demonstrates how our collaborative efforts with state, local and private sector partners can advance a clean energy future in the United States." The New York area is spread over five full Outer Continental Shelf blocks and 143 sub-blocks, extends 24 nautical miles southeast from its western edge and is 11.5 nautical miles at its longest portion in shallow waters. The lease will have a preliminary term of one year, during which Statoil may submit a Site Assessment Plan (SAP) to BOEM for approval. The SAP will describe the facilities it plans to install or deploy for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of the lease zone. Following approval of a SAP, Statoil will then have four and a half years to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to BOEM for approval. This plan will provide a detailed proposal for construction and operation of a wind energy project within the lease area. Once BOEM receives a COP, it will conduct an environmental review of the proposed project and reasonable alternatives. Public input will be an important part of BOEM’s review process. If BOEM approves the COP, Statoil will then have a term of 25 years. Statoil has been looking to penetrate the emerging US offshore wind market since pulling the plug in 2013 on a $120m pilot project to place four 3MW turbines on floating spar-buoy structures about 12 miles off the coast of Maine. Statoil won US Department of Energy project funding support for the project but ran into opposition from Maine Governor Paul LePage, who favoured a competing proposal backed by the University of Maine. Beyond New York, Statoil is eying other opportunities in the US. In October, it informed BOEM that it might want to lease both the 240-sq-mile (621.6 sq km) Oahu North and 517-sq-mile Oahu South zones off Hawaii’s most populous island. Both zones would require use of floating foundations for turbines, given the water depths involved. Statoil has been developing and successfully testing its spar foundation technology since last decade. The agency has not said when it could hold a lease auction for one or both of the zones there. Another potential site in the Pacific Ocean is off the coast of California, where officials led by Governor Jerry Brown want to explore possible ways to develop what would be a new and immense source of clean energy.


News Article | December 15, 2016
Site: www.rechargenews.com

Norway's Statoil submitted a winning $42.5m bid to gain commercial development rights to a high-profile offshore wind zone that could feed power to New York City, setting a US industry record after 33 rounds of bidding in a lease auction that spilled over into a second day. Statoil says the zone could accommodate more than 1GW of offshore wind capacity, and it would likely start with a 400-600MW development. New York state has a 50% renewables target for 2030, and has been vocal about its intention to procure substantial amounts of offshore wind power. The first project could be operating by the early 2020s, a Statoil spokesperson tells Recharge. Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil´s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, says: “As today’s announcement shows, Statoil is well positioned to take part in what could be a significant build out of offshore wind in New York and other states over the next decade.” “The US is a key emerging market for offshore wind – both bottom-fixed and floating – with significant potential along both the east and west coasts." The New York zone has been seen as the most attractive tendered in US waters so far, given its proximity to the greater New York City metropolitan region, the largest electric load on the east coast. As a result, analysts had forecast that the lease sale would be more competitive than five earlier ones held for zones facing states along the US Atlantic coast. But few expected such intense levels of competition, with bidders driving the cost to $42.5m, shattering the previous record winning bid for a US offshore wind zone of $8.7m, paid by US Wind for a lease area off Maryland in 2014. The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which held the New York auction, set the initial asking price at just $158,700. Aside from Statoil, other bidders in New York included Avangrid Renewables, Dong Energy, Innogy US Renewable Projects, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Germany's wpd. The inclusion of NYSERDA, a state entity, was one unusual feature of the New York tender. NYSERDA's plan was to win the tender, de-risk the project, including helping secure an off-take agreement, and then tender the zone back out for a second time to private developers. In a statement, Rummelhoff said Statoil will "work closely" with NYSERDA as it studies the zone and then brings projects through permitting, and also while evaluating its "power off-take options". Statoil's spokesperson said that given New York's ambitious renewables target, the company does not expect challenges in securing an off-take deal. The New York zone is 14-30 miles (30-60km) offshore, spans 127 square miles (320 sq km), and covers water depths of 65 metres to 131 metres. "This auction underscores the growing market demand for renewable energy among our coastal communities,” says Sally Jewell, secretary of the Department of Interior. BOEM, part of DOI, manages offshore wind development on the outer continental shelf beyond state territorial limits. “It not only marks another milestone for the US offshore wind energy program, but also demonstrates how our collaborative efforts with state, local and private sector partners can advance a clean energy future in the United States." The New York area is spread over five full Outer Continental Shelf blocks and 143 sub-blocks, extends 24 nautical miles southeast from its western edge and is 11.5 nautical miles at its longest portion in shallow waters. The lease will have a preliminary term of one year, during which Statoil may submit a Site Assessment Plan (SAP) to BOEM for approval. The SAP will describe the facilities it plans to install or deploy for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of the lease zone. Following approval of a SAP, Statoil will then have four and a half years to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to BOEM for approval. This plan will provide a detailed proposal for construction and operation of a wind energy project within the lease area. Once BOEM receives a COP, it will conduct an environmental review of the proposed project and reasonable alternatives. Public input will be an important part of BOEM’s review process. If BOEM approves the COP, Statoil will then have a term of 25 years. Statoil has been looking to penetrate the emerging US offshore wind market since pulling the plug in 2013 on a $120m pilot project to place four 3MW turbines on floating spar-buoy structures about 12 miles off the coast of Maine. Statoil won US Department of Energy project funding support for the project but ran into opposition from Maine Governor Paul LePage, who favoured a competing proposal backed by the University of Maine. Beyond New York, Statoil is eying other opportunities in the US. In October, it informed BOEM that it might want to lease both the 240-sq-mile (621.6 sq km) Oahu North and 517-sq-mile Oahu South zones off Hawaii’s most populous island. Both zones would require use of floating foundations for turbines, given the water depths involved. Statoil has been developing and successfully testing its spar foundation technology since last decade. The agency has not said when it could hold a lease auction for one or both of the zones there. Another potential site in the Pacific Ocean is off the coast of California, where officials led by Governor Jerry Brown want to explore possible ways to develop what would be a new and immense source of clean energy.


News Article | December 16, 2016
Site: www.businesswire.com

HOUSTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Statoil has been declared the provisional winner of the U.S. government’s wind lease sale of 79,350 acres offshore New York. Statoil will now have the opportunity to explore the potential development of an offshore wind farm to provide New York City and Long Island with a significant, long-term source of renewable electricity. Statoil submitted a winning bid of $42,469,725 during the online offshore wind auction concluded today by the U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). “We are excited to have submitted the most competitive bid in a highly attractive project, Statoil’s first offshore wind lease in the United States. We now look forward to working with New York’s state agencies and contributing to New York meeting its future energy needs by applying our offshore experience and engineering expertise,” says Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil´s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions. The lease comprises an area that could potentially accommodate more than 1 GW of offshore wind, with a phased development expected to start with 400-600 MW. The New York Wind Energy Area is located 14-30 miles (30-60 km) offshore, spans 79,350 acres (321 km2), and covers water depths between 65 and 131 feet (20-40 meters). Statoil will next conduct studies to better understand the seabed conditions, the grid connection options and wind resources involved in the lease site. “We will work closely with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) on these studies and throughout the permitting process, and in connection with power offtake options,” says Rummelhoff. The State of New York projects that offshore wind will be a significant part of the renewable energy generation needed to meet its Clean Energy Standard in 2030. “The US is a key emerging market for offshore wind – both bottom-fixed and floating – with significant potential along both the east and west coasts. As today’s announcement shows, Statoil is well positioned to take part in what could be a significant build out of offshore wind in New York and other states over the next decade. This effort is in line with the company’s strategy to gradually complement our oil and gas portfolio with viable renewable energy and other low-carbon solutions,” says Rummelhoff. In Europe, Statoil is developing an offshore wind portfolio with the capacity of providing over 1 million homes with renewable energy. Statoil currently holds a 40% share in the Sheringham Shoal wind farm in the UK, which has been in production since 2012. The Dudgeon offshore wind farm, also located offshore Norfolk in the UK – and the world’s first floating offshore wind farm, Hywind Scotland – will come in production in 2017. Earlier this year, Statoil acquired 50% of the Arkona offshore wind farm in Germany, which will come in production in 2019. Statoil is an integrated, technology-based international energy company primarily focused on upstream oil and gas operations. From a daily production of approximately 1.8 million barrels of oil equivalent (BOE), more than 270,000 BOE stem from the company’s onshore and offshore oil and gas fields in the U.S. Statoil’s Energy Ventures Fund, launched in February 2016, is one of the world’s largest clean technology venture capital funds, dedicated to the successful advancement of viable renewable energy projects.


News Article | December 15, 2016
Site: www.rechargenews.com

Norway's Statoil submitted a winning $42.5m bid to gain commercial development rights to a high-profile offshore wind zone that could feed power to New York City, setting a US industry record after 33 rounds of bidding in a lease auction that spilled over into a second day. Statoil says the zone could accommodate more than 1GW of offshore wind capacity, and it would likely start with a 400-600MW development. New York state has a 50% renewables target for 2030, and has been vocal about its intention to procure substantial amounts of offshore wind power. The first project could be operating by the early 2020s, a Statoil spokesperson tells Recharge. Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil´s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, says: “As today’s announcement shows, Statoil is well positioned to take part in what could be a significant build out of offshore wind in New York and other states over the next decade.” “The US is a key emerging market for offshore wind – both bottom-fixed and floating – with significant potential along both the east and west coasts." The New York zone has been seen as the most attractive tendered in US waters so far, given its proximity to the greater New York City metropolitan region, the largest electric load on the east coast. As a result, analysts had forecast that the lease sale would be more competitive than five earlier ones held for zones facing states along the US Atlantic coast. But few expected such intense levels of competition, with bidders driving the cost to $42.5m, shattering the previous record winning bid for a US offshore wind zone of $8.7m, paid by US Wind for a lease area off Maryland in 2014. The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which held the New York auction, set the initial asking price at just $158,700. Aside from Statoil, other bidders in New York included Avangrid Renewables, Dong Energy, Innogy US Renewable Projects, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Germany's wpd. The inclusion of NYSERDA, a state entity, was one unusual feature of the New York tender. NYSERDA's plan was to win the tender, de-risk the project, including helping secure an off-take agreement, and then tender the zone back out for a second time to private developers. In a statement, Rummelhoff said Statoil will "work closely" with NYSERDA as it studies the zone and then brings projects through permitting, and also while evaluating its "power off-take options". Statoil's spokesperson said that given New York's ambitious renewables target, the company does not expect challenges in securing an off-take deal. The New York zone is 14-30 miles (30-60km) offshore, spans 127 square miles (320 sq km), and covers water depths of 65 metres to 131 metres. "This auction underscores the growing market demand for renewable energy among our coastal communities,” says Sally Jewell, secretary of the Department of Interior. BOEM, part of DOI, manages offshore wind development on the outer continental shelf beyond state territorial limits. “It not only marks another milestone for the US offshore wind energy program, but also demonstrates how our collaborative efforts with state, local and private sector partners can advance a clean energy future in the United States." The New York area is spread over five full Outer Continental Shelf blocks and 143 sub-blocks, extends 24 nautical miles southeast from its western edge and is 11.5 nautical miles at its longest portion in shallow waters. The lease will have a preliminary term of one year, during which Statoil may submit a Site Assessment Plan (SAP) to BOEM for approval. The SAP will describe the facilities it plans to install or deploy for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of the lease zone. Following approval of a SAP, Statoil will then have four and a half years to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to BOEM for approval. This plan will provide a detailed proposal for construction and operation of a wind energy project within the lease area. Once BOEM receives a COP, it will conduct an environmental review of the proposed project and reasonable alternatives. Public input will be an important part of BOEM’s review process. If BOEM approves the COP, Statoil will then have a term of 25 years. Statoil has been looking to penetrate the emerging US offshore wind market since pulling the plug in 2013 on a $120m pilot project to place four 3MW turbines on floating spar-buoy structures about 12 miles off the coast of Maine. Statoil won US Department of Energy project funding support for the project but ran into opposition from Maine Governor Paul LePage, who favoured a competing proposal backed by the University of Maine. Beyond New York, Statoil is eying other opportunities in the US. In October, it informed BOEM that it might want to lease both the 240-sq-mile (621.6 sq km) Oahu North and 517-sq-mile Oahu South zones off Hawaii’s most populous island. Both zones would require use of floating foundations for turbines, given the water depths involved. Statoil has been developing and successfully testing its spar foundation technology since last decade. The agency has not said when it could hold a lease auction for one or both of the zones there. Another potential site in the Pacific Ocean is off the coast of California, where officials led by Governor Jerry Brown want to explore possible ways to develop what would be a new and immense source of clean energy.


News Article | December 15, 2016
Site: www.rechargenews.com

Norway's Statoil submitted a winning $42.5m bid to gain commercial development rights to a high-profile offshore wind zone that could feed power to New York City, setting a US industry record after 33 rounds of bidding in a lease auction that spilled over into a second day. Statoil says the zone could accommodate more than 1GW of offshore wind capacity, and it would likely start with a 400-600MW development. New York state has a 50% renewables target for 2030, and has been vocal about its intention to procure substantial amounts of offshore wind power. The first project could be operating by the early 2020s, a Statoil spokesperson tells Recharge. Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil´s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, says: “As today’s announcement shows, Statoil is well positioned to take part in what could be a significant build out of offshore wind in New York and other states over the next decade.” “The US is a key emerging market for offshore wind – both bottom-fixed and floating – with significant potential along both the east and west coasts." The New York zone has been seen as the most attractive tendered in US waters so far, given its proximity to the greater New York City metropolitan region, the largest electric load on the east coast. As a result, analysts had forecast that the lease sale would be more competitive than five earlier ones held for zones facing states along the US Atlantic coast. But few expected such intense levels of competition, with bidders driving the cost to $42.5m, shattering the previous record winning bid for a US offshore wind zone of $8.7m, paid by US Wind for a lease area off Maryland in 2014. The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), which held the New York auction, set the initial asking price at just $158,700. Aside from Statoil, other bidders in New York included Avangrid Renewables, Dong Energy, Innogy US Renewable Projects, New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) and Germany's wpd. The inclusion of NYSERDA, a state entity, was one unusual feature of the New York tender. NYSERDA's plan was to win the tender, de-risk the project, including helping secure an off-take agreement, and then tender the zone back out for a second time to private developers. In a statement, Rummelhoff said Statoil will "work closely" with NYSERDA as it studies the zone and then brings projects through permitting, and also while evaluating its "power off-take options". Statoil's spokesperson said that given New York's ambitious renewables target, the company does not expect challenges in securing an off-take deal. The New York zone is 14-30 miles (30-60km) offshore, spans 127 square miles (320 sq km), and covers water depths of 65 metres to 131 metres. "This auction underscores the growing market demand for renewable energy among our coastal communities,” says Sally Jewell, secretary of the Department of Interior. BOEM, part of DOI, manages offshore wind development on the outer continental shelf beyond state territorial limits. “It not only marks another milestone for the US offshore wind energy program, but also demonstrates how our collaborative efforts with state, local and private sector partners can advance a clean energy future in the United States." The New York area is spread over five full Outer Continental Shelf blocks and 143 sub-blocks, extends 24 nautical miles southeast from its western edge and is 11.5 nautical miles at its longest portion in shallow waters. The lease will have a preliminary term of one year, during which Statoil may submit a Site Assessment Plan (SAP) to BOEM for approval. The SAP will describe the facilities it plans to install or deploy for the assessment of the wind resources and ocean conditions of the lease zone. Following approval of a SAP, Statoil will then have four and a half years to submit a Construction and Operations Plan (COP) to BOEM for approval. This plan will provide a detailed proposal for construction and operation of a wind energy project within the lease area. Once BOEM receives a COP, it will conduct an environmental review of the proposed project and reasonable alternatives. Public input will be an important part of BOEM’s review process. If BOEM approves the COP, Statoil will then have a term of 25 years. Statoil has been looking to penetrate the emerging US offshore wind market since pulling the plug in 2013 on a $120m pilot project to place four 3MW turbines on floating spar-buoy structures about 12 miles off the coast of Maine. Statoil won US Department of Energy project funding support for the project but ran into opposition from Maine Governor Paul LePage, who favoured a competing proposal backed by the University of Maine. Beyond New York, Statoil is eying other opportunities in the US. In October, it informed BOEM that it might want to lease both the 240-sq-mile (621.6 sq km) Oahu North and 517-sq-mile Oahu South zones off Hawaii’s most populous island. Both zones would require use of floating foundations for turbines, given the water depths involved. Statoil has been developing and successfully testing its spar foundation technology since last decade. The agency has not said when it could hold a lease auction for one or both of the zones there. Another potential site in the Pacific Ocean is off the coast of California, where officials led by Governor Jerry Brown want to explore possible ways to develop what would be a new and immense source of clean energy.


News Article | December 5, 2016
Site: www.marketwired.com

Companies to expand energy storage offerings for commercial and industrial electricity users NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Dec 5, 2016) - Convergent Energy + Power, a market-leading energy storage asset developer, has received a strategic investment from Statoil Energy Ventures, one of the world's largest corporate funds dedicated to renewable energy. Statoil joins a group of five other strategic investors committed to supporting Convergent in developing, financing, and operating cost-effective energy storage assets. "Our partnership with Statoil represents the continuing expansion of our energy storage offerings," said Johannes Rittershausen, Convergent's CEO. "We are leveraging our experience with over 70 MW and $200 million in contracted energy storage projects, as well as the expertise of one of the largest energy companies in the world, to provide compelling solutions for both utilities and large end-users of electricity." For many such customers, energy storage can create significant savings and increase operating efficiencies without emissions or other negative environmental impacts. Convergent specializes in designing, building, operating, and optimizing client-tailored energy storage solutions. "Statoil has been an innovator in the energy sector for many decades, from deep sea oil recovery to offshore wind project development, and we see energy storage as an integral part of our ambition as our clean energy business continues to grow," said Gareth Burns, Vice President in Statoil and managing director of Statoil Energy Ventures. "Our partnership with Convergent is a natural addition to our portfolio and another way to stay ahead of the curve in a rapidly expanding and evolving energy storage industry." Convergent continues to position itself to respond to new opportunities. "Ultimately, the success of this emerging sector will depend on our collective efforts to define, deliver, and monetize the value energy storage creates," continued Rittershausen. "Working with Statoil enhances our ability to execute on existing projects, as well as reach new customers." Convergent Energy + Power is a technology-neutral energy storage asset developer with experience across a wide range of projects, from commercial and industrial applications to grid-connected systems. The company manages all aspects of the energy storage asset development cycle, including project-specific opportunity identification and economic evaluation, contract and financial structuring, engineering-procurement-construction, as well as operations and maintenance. For more information, visit www.convergentep.com or contact info@convergentep.com Statoil Energy Ventures was established as part of Statoil's new business area New Energy Solutions, reflecting the company's aspirations to gradually complement its oil and gas portfolio with profitable renewable energy and low-carbon solutions. The fund will invest up to $200 million. For more information, contact seven@statoil.com.


News Article | February 14, 2017
Site: www.rechargenews.com

Statoil won’t make unrealistically low bids to expand in offshore wind and is wary of setting capacity targets for its fledgling clean energy business, said the executive leading the Norwegian oil & gas giant’s New Energy Solutions operation. Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil's executive vice president for New Energy Solutions, said offshore wind will continue as the main focus of the group’s foray into renewables “in the short term”, reflecting its established expertise in the offshore energy sector. “We’re going to chase opportunities in Northwest Europe and the US,” Rummelhoff told Recharge after a presentation of Statoil’s corporate strategy to financial analysts in London. “But we’re not going to do it at any cost.” Rummelhoff said the company’s bid for the 600MW Kriegers Flak wind farm off Denmark last year had “shown a very exciting decrease in the cost picture…and we’ll bring that learning with us into new projects”. However, “we were not willing to go as low as someone else did”, Rummelhoff said of Krieger’s Flak, which was won by Vattenfall of Sweden with a record-low €49.90 ($53.10) per megawatt hour bid. Statoil’s offshore wind business is forging ahead apace elsewhere. The Norwegian group last week exported first power from the Dudgeon offshore wind farm off eastern England, in which it has a 35% stake, and caused a stir in December when it won an auction for commercial development rights off New York. Statoil is also building the world’s first commercial floating offshore wind farm with the 30MW Hywind Scotland pilot project. Rummelhoff said last month’s decision by Abu Dhabi clean energy group Masdar to take a 25% stake in Hywind Scotland “proves other people see the [floating wind] concept and are willing to help move it forward. “It’s important for us that floating wind happens – more so than maintaining the secret ourselves.” Rummelhoff said gaining momentum for the floating wind sector is now a key priority for Statoil. “We need new projects. We’re ready to move onto larger scales,” she said, adding that the floating sector should benefit by being in the slipstream of the massive cost-of-energy advances of the fixed-bottom offshore sector – not least through improvements in turbines. Statoil CEO Eldar Saetre sees renewables as a “fully integrated part of its strategy”, with “new energy” set to account for 15-20% of Capex by 2030. Statoil is already on course to enjoy returns of 9%-11% from Hywind and Dudgeon, Saetre added during a presentation at the London event. But Rummelhoff said Statoil is wary of setting capacity goals in the style of Dong Energy, the Danish offshore wind pacesetter which earlier this month raised its own offshore wind target to 11-12GW by 2025. “I think it’s a bit dangerous to have a capacity target,” she said. “I’d rather go after one project and make sure it’s the right project, and that it’s profitable. Rummelhoff said Statoil had “learned a lesson” through setting production targets in oil and gas. “We’re trying not to fall into the same trap and would rather evaluate each project on its own merits.” While offshore wind is the immediate focus, “longer term we're going to be very open to other technologies and solutions”, said Rummelhoff. “We’re spending a significant amount of R&D money and venture money on testing the various technologies. “I’m excited about the cost reduction [seen in the solar sector] and I think we’ll somehow need to test the waters in that space.” Rummelhoff said batteries and storage are also “high on our agenda”, pointing to the pioneering Batwind battery technology that will be trialled at Hywind Scotland.


News Article | December 27, 2016
Site: cleantechnica.com

Norwegian oil and gas company Statoil has won the offshore wind lease to 79,350 acres off the coast of New York with a winning bid of $42.5 million. Statoil announced earlier this month that it had been named the provisional winner of the auction conducted by the US Department of the Interior’s (DOI) Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). While the winning bid price is likely to be subsequently amended with future costs and savings, this nevertheless marks the continuing development of one of the world’s potentially-largest but-still-infant offshore wind energy markets. “We are excited to have submitted the most competitive bid in a highly attractive project, Statoil’s first offshore wind lease in the United States,” said Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil´s executive vice president for New Energy Solutions. “We now look forward to working with New York’s state agencies and contribute to New York meeting its future energy needs by applying our offshore experience and engineering expertise.” The lease gives Statoil the potential to develop up to 1 gigawatt (GW) of offshore wind, though the company is setting its sight on a more manageable 400 to 600 megawatts (MW) to start things off. Located 14 to 30 miles off the coast of New York, the area spans 79,350 acres (or 321 square kilometers) and covers water depths ranging between 20 meters to 40 meters. Next on the list of things for Statoil to deal with is a study of the seabed conditions. “We will work closely with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority on these studies and throughout the permitting process, and in connection with power offtake options,” added Rummelhoff. This is definitely not Statoil’s first foray into offshore wind energy development, with several projects already under development. Most noticeably, of course, is the 2.4 GW Dogger Bank Offshore Wind Farm, of which Statoil is one of four members of the Forewind consortium developing the project. The Dogger Bank Zone as a whole has a potential of up to 7.2 GW — though that figure was originally labeled at 9 GW, before being downgraded. Statoil is also a co-developer for the 402 MW Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm and is scheduled to be completed in late 2017. This will be the company’s second wind farm, following the successful development of the 316.8 MW Sheringham Shoal Offshore Wind Farm completed back in 2012. Of course, Statoil is also working on one of the world’s largest floating wind farms, with the Hywind pilot park, set to be located offshore of Peterhead in Aberdenshire, Scotland, being developed with five floating 5 MW wind turbines. Buy a cool T-shirt or mug in the CleanTechnica store!   Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech daily newsletter or weekly newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

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