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Solar news: April 17th, 2020

In this week’s Solar News Roundup, Shell announces a net-zero emissions target for 2050, and Clean Power Alliance contracts a new 100-megawatt battery project in southern California.

Shell commits to a net-zero emissions target by 2050

European oil supermajor Shell has become the second such company to announce a net-zero emissions target for 2050, with a heavy emphasis on investment in renewables. Shell will be pursuing a variety of strategies to meet their emissions targets, including low-carbon power sales expansions (such as natural gas), investment in carbon sinks like planting trees, and continued expansion of its renewables businesses.

Shell has become a large investor in renewables around the world, from their purchase of energy storage company sonnen to continued investments in offshore and floating wind developments. However, a massive part of their decarbonization will have to be rooted in transforming their own business. According to Shell, the company plans to work on decarbonizing through a variety of sectors, including carbon-capture, emission offsets, and energy efficiency measures.

Clean Power Alliance contracts with sPower for 100-megawatt battery project

Clean Power Alliance, a community choice aggregator (CCA) in the greater Los Angeles area, signed a deal with power producer sPower this week for a 100-megawatt (MW) battery project. This is the first battery deal for Clean Power Alliance, and the first time a CCA has ever contracted a 100 MW battery system. 

While southern California has become a popular region for building large battery plants for the purposes of storing energy for the grid from all sorts of sources (including gas-fired plants), this new project is situated near many solar and wind projects, and Clean Power Alliance has stated that it hopes to use the new battery to help integrate more renewables into the grid system.

And, of course, the natural availability of solar energy in the region means that any battery storage additions to the grid have the opportunity to provide power during times of peak grid demand, which are also off-peak hours for solar production. This means fewer fossil fuel generators that need to be fired up once the sun goes down and decreased emissions. “Any given day, once solar ramps down and you’re hitting that peak load time, you have a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions intensity,” said Natasha Keefer, director of planning and procurement for Clean Power Alliance. “Fossil-fueled generators are picking up the slack.” For Clean Power Alliance, battery storage projects like this are poised to shift that trend.


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