APPA offers new resources on integrating solar into your energy mix

Public power utilities seeking to integrate solar power into their energy mix should check out a new publication from American Public Power Association You are leaving WAPA.gov. (APPA). Solar Engagement Options for Public Power, explains the four ways — purchased power, utility ownership, customer engagement and community solar — and discusses the benefits and challenges of each option.

The publication covers costs and financing, solar forecasting and energy storage information. Public power case studies and charts are included to help utilities understand and evaluate the options. The Solar Electric Power Association You are leaving WAPA.gov. prepared this reference guide with funding from APPA’s Demonstration of Energy & Efficiency Developments program.

For more on developing solar power in the utility setting, attend APPA’s new series of five webinars on distributed generation, Feb. 26-May 7.

The series will review how solar technologies benefit utilities and customers; explain the value of community solar; discuss the impact of rooftop solar on costs and retail rates; and outline the different ways in which public power utilities can provide solar options to customers.

  • Distributed Generation: A Primer – Feb. 26
  • Distributed Generation: Implications for Public Utilities – March 12
  • Understanding the Potential Value of Community Solar – April 2
  • Solar Rooftop Impact on Retail Rate Recovery – April 21
  • Solar Engagement Options for Public Power Utilities – May 7

Recordings of completed webinars are available for purchase.

Source: American Public Power Association, 3/10/15

FEMP offers renewables management training

Renewable energy technology is so diverse and evolving so quickly that it can be difficult to determine if a resource is going to be the right fit for your power portfolio. Utility resource managers can gain a better understanding of the capabilities and constraints of different renewable technologies from a new on-demand training series from the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP).

This updated series of e-learning courses, focused on renewable energy technology applications for federal sites, will have much to offer utility professionals as well. Participants will learn how to evaluate and select the technologies that are most effective for their specific sites. Presentations will also cover integration of intermittent renewable energy into the grid. Each course offers 0.1 CEU (continuing education unit).

Covering bases
The series highlights six forms of renewable energy and concludes with a course addressing interconnection.

  • Solar Thermal and Concentrating Solar Power Technology: Discover the non-PV applications for solar energy, such as solar ventilation air preheating, solar water heating, types of solar collectors, dish engine technology, parabolic troughs, linear Fresnel systems and power towers.
  • Wind Energy Technology: Learn about types of towers, and scale-oriented wind applications, and find out how to evaluate wind resources and site turbines.
  • Biomass Technologies: Gain an understanding of biomass sources and conversion processes, including direct combustion, gasification and pyrolysis.
  • Hydropower and Ocean Energy Technologies: This overview of hydropower covers dams, micro-hydro and run-of river, as well as ocean energy technologies for wave, tidal, current and ocean thermal energy conversion.
  • Geothermal Energy Technologies: Discover the benefits and challenges of open- and closed-loop ground source heat pumps as well as dry steam, flash steam and binary cycle geothermal power technologies.

Partnering with best
The instructor for this series is Andy Walker, Ph.D., principal engineer at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. At NREL, Walker conducts engineering and economic analysis of renewable energy projects for FEMP and other non-governmental clients.

FEMP is hosting the series in partnership with the Whole Building Design Guide You are leaving WAPA.gov., a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences. These interactive courses are designed to support the Federal Building Personnel Training Act competencies, and to provide up-to-date information needed by federal energy, water and sustainability managers.

At your convenience
Like all FEMP e-learning seminars, the Renewable Energy Technology Applications series is free to all interested individuals, and you do not need to travel to attend. The courses are available on-demand, and are self-tracking and self-paced. You will need a computer with Google Chrome, Firefox 4.0+, Internet Explorer 7.0+ or Safari, and the Adobe Flash player or Adobe Flash 9+ plug-in to participate.

There is no better time—or price—to expand your knowledge of the expanding energy choices available to utilities. Register today, or contact the FEMP training manager at 202-586-7753 for more information.

PV interconnection tools for co-ops explored in free webinar

May 28, 2014
9:30-11 a.m. MDT

Join the Distributed Generation Interconnection Collaborative (DGIC) May 28 for the fourth webinar in its informational series. Enhanced Modeling and Monitoring Tools for Distributed PV InterconnectionRedirecting to a non-government site spotlights the challenges rural cooperatives and municipal utilities face in trying to integrate distributed photovoltaic arrays into their grids.

Presentations will highlight the Open Modeling FrameworkRedirecting to a non-government site, a software development effort by the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA) aimed at making advanced power systems models usable for electric cooperatives.

Rick Thompson, president and cofounder of Green Tech Media, will open the webinar with a brief overview of his company’s new Grid Edge InitiativeRedirecting to a non-government site.

David Pinney, lead software engineer at NRECA, and Mark Rawson, project manager of Advanced, Renewable, and Distributed Generation at Sacramento Municipal Utility DistrictRedirecting to a non-government site (SMUD) are the featured speakers. Participants will learn about SMUD’s pilot project focused on distribution feeder monitoring and the supply of data available to stakeholders for analysis and modeling.

There is no cost to participate in the DGIC webinar series, but registration is required. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing instructions for joining the event.

This webinar series examines current and emergent processes and protocols for the interconnection of distributed PV, with the goal of fostering information and data exchange among stakeholders. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory facilitates the DGIC with support from the Electric Power Research InstituteRedirecting to a non-government site and Western Area Power Administration.

NREL launches website for distributed PV group

A working group created to provide a forum for exploring issues and solutions related to deploying grid-connected, distributed photovoltaic (PV) resources now has a website where members and stakeholders can find the latest information on the topic.

The Distributed Generation Interconnection Collaborative (DGIC) aims to bring utilities and other energy industry professionals together to arrive at innovative approaches to distributed generation that address concerns of time, costs, grid safety and reliability. The website, hosted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), provides visitors with a meeting schedule, contact information and a link to registration. Presentations from past webinars are available to download, no password necessary.

DGIC invites stakeholders to participate in monthly webinars focusing on specific PV interconnection practices and related research. Minimum Day Time Load Calculation and ScreeningRedirecting to a non-government site is the subject of the next meeting on April 30. It is the first in a three-part series on supplemental screening procedures. Discussions will cover current and emerging processes and protocols for interconnecting distributed PV, with the goal of encouraging stakeholders to share information and data to improve practices.

Western is partnering with NREL and the Electric Power Research InstituteRedirecting to a non-government site to sponsor the Distributed Generation Interconnection Collaborative. “Western customers are at both ends of the spectrum in terms of experience integrating solar, and at all points in between,” noted Randy Manion, Western Renewable Energy Program manager. “We would like to see as many utilities as possible get involved in DGIC, because each one has something unique and valuable to contribute to the conversation.”

Meetings generally occur on the last Wednesday of each month, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. MDT. Participation is free but registration is required. Topics to be covered in upcoming webinars include:

  • Lessons Learned with Early PV Plant Integration
  • Supplemental Screening Procedures: Voltage and Power Quality
  • Supplemental Screening Procedures: Safety and Reliability
  • Interconnection as Part of a Strategic Resource Planning Process

For more information on how to participate in the DGIC, visit the website or contact Kristen Ardani, NREL Solar Technology Markets and Policy Analyst, at 303-384-6461.

DOE to fund utility projects for solar planning, research, training

Working with the Solar Electric Power Association Redirecting to a non-government site (SEPA) and other organizations, the Energy Department (DOE) this week released two Funding of Opportunity Announcements (FOA) related to utilities.

Solar Utility Networks: Replicable Innovations in Solar Energy (SUNRISE) is being issued by DOE to solicit applications for two topic areas. Topic A focuses on enabling utilities to develop long-term strategic plans for integrating high levels of renewable energy generation and ensuring that power systems operate reliably in real time under high renewable penetration. Topic B aims to provide technical assistance for building capacity through utility-scale photovoltaic planning and installation. 

DOE’s express purpose in issuing this FOA is to demonstrate cost-effective and reliable solar integration in real time, at utility-scale, in successful utility business models. DOE anticipates providing up to $12 Million through this FOA, for projects two to four years long, depending on the topic area. Awardees must share project costs. This FOA is part of the DOE SunShot Initiative.

SUNRISE deadlines:

  • Concept papers due: March 8, 2013
  • Expected date for response to concept papers: March 20, 2013
  • Deadline for questions: April 21, 2013
  • Full applications due: April 24, 2013

The second FOA, Grid Engineering for Accelerated Renewable Energy Deployment (GEARED) seeks applications to increase power system research, development and analytical capacity. Projects should also be designed to prepare electric utility professionals to manage high penetrations of solar and other distributed energy technologies. To achieve these dual goals, GEARED will support two activities:

  • Training consortia focused on quickly bringing their findings into training and educational initiatives
  • A national coordination network that will link these consortia to one another and other relevant power system research and development and training activities

Increasing the power systems capabilities and talent pool promotes electric grid security, as well as environmental and economic benefits for all consumers. The GEARED FOA provides funding to support creating three to five regional consortia that work with universities and utilities to incorporate power systems analysis, research and development into curricula and short courses, cooperative internships and continuing education. GEARED will also support the creation of a national training network for distributed power system professionals. The FOA does not apply to undergraduate or graduate fellowships.

GEARED deadlines:

  • Concept papers due: April 12, 2013; 5 p.m. EST
  • Deadline for questions: April 16, 2013; 5 p.m. EST
  • Full applications due: April 19, 2013; 5 p.m. EST

Some of the topic areas are seeking utility applicants, while others are seeking utility groups or other types of entities.  SEPA member utilities that wish to apply directly or would like to apply in partnership with SEPA should contact SEPA President Julia Hamm at 202-559-2025 as soon as possible.

DOE offers $20mn for projects integrating solar and fossil fuels

The U.S. Energy Department (DOE) announced $20 million in new funding for two to four projects that will help integrate concentrating solar power (CSP) systems with fossil fuel power plants. The DOE seeks applications from industry, universities, and national laboratories. Read the full story.

If interested, act quickly as a letter of intent is due by Jan 14, 2013 with the full application due in mid-March, 2013. See the RFI for more information on the funding. Source: Renewable Energy World, 12/31/12

DOE Tribal Webinar Series Presents Today’s Energy Supply, Yesterday’s Grid

 May 30, 2012
11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. MDT

Utilities’ generation portfolios are changing—often faster than the infrastructure that supports it—and power providers now face the challenge of integrating new generation and demand (load) response technologies into a grid that was designed to operate a different way. Western, the U.S. DOE Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs and the DOE Tribal Energy Program invite tribal utility managers and resource engineers to Today’s Energy Supply – Yesterday’s Grid, a free, informative webinar May 30 to explore strategies for meeting these demands.

Speakers include experts from the DOE Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, the MIT Center for Energy and Environmental Policy Research and the Western Grid Group. Presentations will cover:

  1. Key findings in the MIT Energy Initiative Report on the changes needed in the US Grid to handle expected challenges such as the influx of electric cars and wind and solar generation
  2. Western Grid Group’s Clean Energy Vision Project, which charts a sustained, orderly transition from the carbon intensive electricity system of today to a cleaner, smarter and healthier electricity system of the future.

There is no charge to attend the webinar, however you must register to participate.

Take SEPA’s utility solar integration survey

The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is now collecting responses to the 2010 Utility Solar Integration Rankings Survey.  This annual survey collects utility data on solar electricity installations in the United States, both photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar power (CSP), on the customer and utility side of the meter.  The resulting rankings have appeared in such media outlets as the Wall Street Journal, Renewable Energy World, Transmission & Distribution World and Reuters. The information also helps utilities (regardless of rank) to compare their solar capacity with their peer utilities. 

All electric utilities are eligible to take the survey.  You can access the online survey until Feb. 14, 2011.  SEPA will release the 2010 Utility Solar Rankings Report in May 2011, and awards will be presented during SEPA’s Utility Solar Conference from July 26 to 27, 2011, in San Diego, Calif.  Please contact Becky Campbell with any questions.

Scholarships available to Wind/Solar Interconnection Workshop

Don’t let a tight travel budget keep you from attending the Distributed Wind/Solar Interconnection Workshop Jan. 19 to 21, 2011. A limited number of $500.00 travel scholarships are available to utility representatives who want to learn how to analyze the impacts of these variable resources on utility distribution networks.

The Utility Wind Integration Group (UWIG) is presenting this workshop at Western’s Electric Power Training Center in Golden, Colo.  The agenda is highlighting UWIG’s online DG Evaluation Toolbox, which enables engineers to analyze the impacts of these types of variable generation on utility distribution networks.  Participants will also be able to tour the Electric Power Training Center and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s National Wind Technology Center.

Registration for the workshop is limited to 30, and scholarships are offered on a first come, first served basis.  To secure a scholarship, contact Randy Manion, Western Area Power Administration, at 720-962-7423. Learn more about the agenda, accommodations and registration.

UWIG is sponsoring this workshop in partnership with Western, American Public Power Association, Wind Powering America, National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, U.S. Department of Energy Wind Technologies Program, American Wind Energy Association and Solar Electric Power Association.

Webinar shares lessons from SEPA Japan mission

Dec. 9, 2 p.m. EST

The Solar Electric Power Association’s (SEPA) annual solar fact-finding mission visited the “Land of the Rising Sun” this year. Japan was an early leader in solar technologies with a sustainable long-term rooftop PV market. With its strong focus on integrating high levels of PV into the grid and a forward-looking national energy policy, the country offered an excellent learning environment for utility executives and managers. This webinar will share the lessons learned from SEPA’s trip to Japan and new report with a broader SEPA audience. Register today.