Archive for June 2016

Community choice aggregation expands into New York

June 27, 2016 | By

New York is the seventh state to allow community choice aggregation, the Associated Press reported, joining California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Ohio, Rhode Island and New Jersey with a state policy that permits local governments to aggregate electricity demand, often requiring alternative energy sources, while maintaining the existing electricity provider for transmission and distribution services.

Consumers pay a fixed price for power under a contract negotiated by the local buying group, or can opt out and switch back to the local utility. In New York, the development of community choice programs began as part of the state’s 2014 energy reforms intended to promote more renewable energy development, energy efficiency and a move from large-scale centralized power plants to a locally generated power network.

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Sign up for our FREE newsletter for more news like this sent to your inbox!Westchester Smart Power, which includes 112,000 homes in 20 communities in Westchester County, took bids from energy service companies to supply electricity for two local utility territories. ConEdison Solutions, sister company to utility Consolidated Edison, and Constellation Energy won the contracts, and agreed to charge lower rates than 2015 prices for either 100 percent renewable energy or a mix of fossil fuels, nuclear and some renewables.

“As an energy delivery company, we aren’t affected by our customers’ choice of energy supplier,” Clay Ellis, a spokesman for the utility NYSEG, which serves part of Westchester, told the AP. “We do buy energy since we’re also the default supplier for many customers, but the energy supply costs we pay are passed directly through to the customer with no markup.”

Consumers are expected to save $4 to $5 million a year, according to AP’s reporting. The region has some of the highest energy prices in the country, and 14 of the 20 communities opted for 100 percent renewable energy. About 7,000 customers, or 6.3 percent, opted to switch back to buying energy through the local utility.

“We’re getting calls from municipalities and grass-roots activists throughout New York,” said Mike Gordon, coordinator of Westchester Smart Power, launched as a pilot project in 2015 as the first community choice energy program in the state. “We are transforming the way we buy, consume and generate energy.”

Apple is making plans to sell excess power generated by rooftop solar panels

A subsidiary named Apple Energy LLC has applied to the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to sell power from the site’s solar panels and hydrogen fuel cells, as well as from solar farms, hydroelectric plants and biogas facilities in Oregon, North Carolina, California, Nevada and Arizona, according to a June 6 application submitted by Apple to the agency. The filing was reported earlier by

[Alex Webb / BLOOMBERG]

The company has announced plans for 521 megawatts of solar projects globally. It’s using that clean energy to power all of its data centers, as well as most of its Apple Stores and corporate offices. In addition, it has other investments in hydroelectric, biogas, and geothermal power, and looks to purchase green energy off the grid when it can’t generate its own power. In all, Apple says it generates enough electricity to cover 93 percent of its energy usage worldwide.

[Jordan Golson / THE VERGE]

Though Apple is not planning to move into Apple Campus 2 until next year, it can start selling the energy starting this August. Last year, Apple invested $850 million in a 1,300-acre solar farm in Monterey County to provide energy for its offices, retail stores, and a data center in the state.


As The Verge notes, the company’s newest environmental responsibility report says it only generates enough energy to provide 93 percent of the electricity it needs worldwide. However, Apple might have plans to expand its farms even further to prepare for new projects, such as charging stations for the long-rumored Apple car.


French Floating Solar Company Sets Up Shop In U.S.

France-based Ciel et Terre says it is extending its large-scale floating solar photovoltaic (PV) technology to the U.S. with a new team in Petaluma, Calif., and manufacturing facility in Georgia in order to provide a system that is entirely made domestically.

The company’s floating Hydrelio platform allows standard solar PV panels to be installed on large manmade bodies of water, such as industrial reservoirs, dams or irrigation ponds. This is especially valuable for energy- and water-intensive industries that cannot afford to waste resources, including at water treatment plants and reclamation facilities, wineries and dairy farms, according to the company.

Ciel et Terre says that in addition to the direct benefits of generating renewable energy and avoiding the use of valuable land, floating PV technology also helps the environment by covering a significant surface area on a body of water, thus conserving water by reducing evaporation and limiting algae growth.

The company has implemented projects in seven countries, including Japan, Korea, China, U.K., France, Brazil, and most recently in the U.S., with demo systems in California and Florida. With more than 40 MW of solar PV power production currently utilizing the Hydrelio system, Ciel et Terre says it will be expanding to 100 MW of floating solar this year.