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Chicago contracts for 100pc renewables

  • Spanish Market: Electricity, Emissions
  • 09/08/22

The City of Chicago will power all municipal facilities and operations with renewable energy beginning in 2025 through a contract with electricity supplier Constellation.

The Constellation supply agreement will begin in 2023 and run for an initial five-year term, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) said this week.

Starting in 2025, the agreement will include a roughly 300MW share of the 593MW Double Black Diamond Solar project being developed by Swift Current Energy in Sangamon and Morgan counties in western-central Illinois. Once on line, output from the solar farm will partially meet the needs of some of the city's large energy users, including its airports and water purification plant.

Swift Current Energy plans to begin construction on the solar farm, which would be one of the largest in the state, before the end of the year. The developer will remain the long-term owner and operator of the system after completion.

Chicago will also obtain renewable energy certificates (RECs) from "other sources" for the remainder of its power consumption.

Overall, the arrangement will cover 900,000MWh/yr, the entirety of the city's electricity needs for government buildings, facilities and operations. The city will retire all RECs procured from the agreement.

The mayor's office expects the overall deal to lower Chicago's greenhouse gas emissions by over 290,000 metric tonnes/yr, the equivalent of pulling 62,000 light vehicles from the roads.

The city also intends to apply to the Illinois Power Agency's "self-direct" program, through which large electricity customers receive a bill credit for purchasing RECs from qualified wind and solar projects. The initiative supports the state's renewable portfolio standard objectives through large-scale REC procurements. Chicago plans to put those bill credit funds toward decarbonizing its municipal buildings and vehicle fleet.

Chicago has plans to transition entirely to electric vehicles for city departments and ensure all electricity consumption in the city comes from renewables, both by 2035.

As part of the agreement, Constellation and Swift Current Energy have committed financial resources to assist job training in the city, a bid to build out the clean-energy workforce. The Double Black Diamond Solar project will strive to meet labor requirements included in last year's Clean Economy Jobs Act, which raised Illinois' renewable portfolio standard to 50pc by 2040 and required the state to use 100pc zero-carbon electricity by 2050, while phasing out coal- and natural gas-fired generation.

Constellation did not immediately respond to a request for additional details.

The contract covers only the electricity of the City of Chicago, and not the electricity use of sister agencies such as the Chicago Transit Authority.


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15/07/24

Australia’s Snowy, Lochard ink Iona gas storage deal

Australia’s Snowy, Lochard ink Iona gas storage deal

Sydney, 15 July (Argus) — Australian state-owned utility Snowy Hydro has signed a 25-year deal to store gas at the country's largest domestic gas storage in Victoria state to support its gas-fired power stations. The agreement with the 26PJ (694mn m³) Iona site, owned by domestic gas storage firm Lochard Energy, will commence in January 2028. This will be ahead of the permanent closure of the 1,480MW Yallourn brown coal plant, operated by Hong Kong-owned utility EnergyAustralia, in mid-2028. "The gas storage agreement with Lochard Energy will support the operation of our gas-fired power stations in Victoria," Snowy Hydro chief executive Dennis Barnes said on 15 July. Snowy Hydro, which owns and operates three gas-fired power stations totalling 1,290MW at present, is building the 750MW Kurri Kurri gas-fired plant , of which the initial 660MW stage is scheduled to come on line in late 2024. Snowy's 320MW Laverton North and 300MW Valley Power generators are located in Victoria. The deal is expected to underwrite the Heytesbury underground gas storage project , Lochard's chief executive Tim Jessen said, which will expand the capacity of Iona by approximately 3PJ. Australia's southeastern states are expected to face significant shortfalls of gas later this decade as fields supplying Victoria's 1,150 TJ/d (30.7mn m³/d) Longford gas plant deplete. A mixture of pipeline expansions to bring more gas south from Queensland state, LNG import terminals, and reducing demand have been floated to bridge this gap. Two LNG import terminals are proposed for Victoria but both require environmental approvals from the state government. Snowy Hydro is facing significant pressure from the federal government over its delayed Snowy 2.0 pumped hydroelectric project, which has suffered significant cost overruns and delays. Snowy last year said the scheme's costs had doubled to A$12bn ($8.1bn) from a previous A$5.9bn estimate , which was itself higher than the original guidance. By Tom Major Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Japan’s Erex cuts biomass-fired power output in June


15/07/24
15/07/24

Japan’s Erex cuts biomass-fired power output in June

Tokyo, 15 July (Argus) — Japanese renewable electricity producer Erex reduced its biomass-fired power generation output in June compared with a year earlier, according to the company data. Erex's combined biomass-fired output across the 50MW Saiki, the 75MW Buzen, and the 49MW Nakagusuku power plant in June fell by 8.5pc from a year earlier to 108GWh. The company does not publish output data for its 75MW Ofunato plant, while the 20MW Tosa plant has been under periodic maintenances since March. Erex operates a total of 269MW of biomass capacity in Japan, including Ofunato, burning mainly imported wood pellets and palm kernel shells. The company aims to start coal and biomass co-firing generation at the 149MW Itoigawa plant that has only consumed coal so far. The company plans to start operations at two more biomass plants, the 75MW Sakaide Hayashida in 2025 and the 300MW Niigata Mega Bio around 2029-2030. Erex is also accelerating biomass projects in southeast Asia, aiming to build up to 19 generation plants in Vietnam and five in Cambodia that will burn mainly wood residue and chips, in addition to several wood pellet plants in both countries. By Takeshi Maeda Erex's biomass generation in June 2024 Capacity(MW) Generations(GWh) Start of Operations Tosa 20.0 0.0 Jun-12 Saiki 50.0 31.0 Nov-16 Buzen 75.0 46.0 Jan-20 Nakagusuku 49.0 31.0 Jul-21 Ofunato 75.0 - Jan-20 Total 269.0 108.0 Source: Erex Erex biomass generation (MWh) Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Japan’s Shikoku to shut Ikata reactor for maintenance


12/07/24
12/07/24

Japan’s Shikoku to shut Ikata reactor for maintenance

Osaka, 12 July (Argus) — Japanese utility Shikoku Electric Power is planning to shut down the 890MW Ikata No.3 nuclear reactor on 19 July, to carry out regular maintenance works. The absence of Shikoku's sole reactor could prompt the utility to boost thermal power generation at coal-, gas- and oil-fired units to meet expected rises in electricity consumption for cooling purposes during the peak summer demand season. The Ikata No.3 reactor is set to close for a three-month turnaround, after around 13 months of continuous operations. Shikoku plans to start test generation in the final phase of the maintenance on 30 September and complete the entire turnaround process on 25 October. The potential fall in nuclear output could theoretically increase LNG demand by 170,270t over August-September, assuming an average gas-fired generation efficiency of 50pc. Shikoku operates four thermal power plants, including the 1,385MW Sakaide gas- and oil-fired plant, 750MW Saijo coal-fired plant, 700MW Tachibanawn coal-fired plant and 450MW Anan oil-fed plant. Thermal capacity accounts for around 60pc of the utility's power portfolio. By Motoko Hasegawa Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Australia's Climate Active program drives ACCU demand


12/07/24
12/07/24

Australia's Climate Active program drives ACCU demand

Sydney, 12 July (Argus) — The Australian federal government-backed Climate Active certification program continued to drive voluntary demand for Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) last year, although future growth remains uncertain as the scheme will undergo a planned reform. Cancellations of ACCUs for Climate Active certification reached 592,837 units in 2022, down from an all-time high of 625,705 in 2021, according to estimated data that the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW) recently disclosed to Argus . Figures for 2023 are not yet available, according to the department, but cancellations may have reached a new high between 650,000-700,000 units, according to Argus estimates ( see table ). Each ACCU represents 1t of CO2 equivalent (CO2e) stored or avoided by a project. The Clean Energy Regulator (CER) said it does not have a dataset of ACCU cancellations for Climate Active certification, despite having disclosed figures in some of its quarterly carbon market reports in recent years. It mentioned late last year that the program accounted for around 0.5mn of a total 0.8mn cancelled for voluntary purposes in the first three quarters of 2023, and later reported total voluntary cancellations of 290,146 units in the fourth quarter alone. Voluntary cancellations reached nearly 1.1mn units in 2023 , a new record high. Certification under the Climate Active standards is awarded to businesses that measure, reduce and offset their carbon emissions to achieve carbon neutrality. More than 700 certifications have been provided to entities including large and small businesses, local governments, and non-profit organisations. But significant changes in climate science, business practices and international benchmarks since the program was established in 2010 prompted the federal Labor government to seek modifications aimed at driving a more ambitious voluntary climate action in Australia, following its separate reform of the compliance market's safeguard mechanism . The DCCEEW late last year launched a consultation with proposals to reform Climate Active, which would require more climate ambition from businesses seeking to be certified under the program. The use of carbon credits to offset emissions that have not been reduced by businesses would be tightened, with a requirement that all eligible international offset units meet a five-year rolling vintage rule, replacing the existing post-2012 vintage requirement. Other proposals include mandating a minimum level of gross emissions reductions and a minimum percentage of renewable electricity use. "The government is working through feedback on these proposals and will announce the consultation outcome later this year," a DCCEEW spokesperson told Argus . No expected changes in eligible offsets ACCUs have been representing a small share of the total offsets used for Climate Active certification at between 5.7-10.8pc in recent years, despite the estimated record high last year, according to DCCEEW estimates ( see table ). Organisations can currently use certified emissions reductions (CERs) and removal units (RMUs) under the program, as well as verified carbon units (VCUs) from the Verra registry and verified emissions reductions (VERs) from Gold Standard. The DCCEEW did not provide a breakdown of cancelled volumes per credit type. No minimum use of ACCUs and no changes to the list of eligible international units are expected in the near term, following advice from a review from Australia's Climate Change Authority (CCA) in 2022. But some market participants have been asking for the removal of CERs, which account for the "vast majority" of carbon offsets surrendered by Australian organisations, according to utility AGL. CERs are "outdated", utility Origin Energy said in its submission to the Climate Active consultation. "We consider it would be consistent with international carbon reduction mechanisms to introduce a clear end date to phase out the use of CERs from the program and ensure greater alignment with the more relevant Paris Agreement," Origin said. "This reform is considered an immediate priority, and of more urgent need than some of the other proposals in this consultation." Uncertainties over future demand More investor and activist pressure in recent years over the use of carbon offsets with perceived low levels of integrity have also been forcing companies to review not only their offset standards, but also claims of ‘carbon neutrality' and similar terms. One of the DCCEEW's proposals is to discontinue the use of ‘carbon neutral' to describe the certified claim and to choose a different description. "A lot of the voluntary demand for carbon offsets in Australia has traditionally come from Climate Active, but the landscape is indeed moving quickly and the concept of carbon neutrality is being replaced by net zero," said Guy Dickinson, chief executive of Australia-based carbon offset services provider BetaCarbon and head of carbon trading at sister company Clima. This should drive more price stratification between carbon removals and carbon avoidance credits, he noted. Telecommunications firm Telstra, one of the biggest companies in Australia, recently announced it will stop using carbon offsets to focus instead on reducing its direct emissions. It will no longer seek Climate Active certification as a result and will remove references that its plans are ‘carbon neutral' or ‘carbon offset'. This could prompt other businesses to follow suit, market participants said. Another source of uncertainty over future voluntary demand comes from a DCCEEWW proposal that abatement from all ACCUs used under Climate Active would count towards meeting Australia's Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement. The use of ACCUs under the program have so far been treated as ‘additional' to Australia's emissions reduction target through accounting under the Kyoto Protocol. If the government goes ahead with such a proposal, this could disincentivise participation in Climate Active as organisations might consider this as "paying to help the government meet its targets through the voluntary action of businesses," utility EnergyAustralia warned in its submission. There has been increased interest in emerging and alternate standards to those acceptable under Climate Active, such as the American Carbon Registry, Climate Action Reserve and Puro.Earth offsets, according to environmental marketplace Xpansiv's vice president of carbon and Australian energy, Peter Favretto. But Climate Active has reported positive growth in certified brands since its inception and will likely continue to create demand for offsets in the international voluntary market and the Australian ACCU market, he said. "With the upcoming mandatory climate reporting legislation in Australia , and a similar atmosphere in other global jurisdictions such as the US and the UK, there is a growing demand that could lead to further growth in Climate Active certifications," Favretto added. By Juan Weik ACCUs used for Climate Active certification units Year Volume Total voluntary ACCU use Climate Active % 2019 243,105 329,145 73.9 2020 417,405 605,499 68.9 2021 625,705 844,445 74.1 2022 592,837 855,081 69.3 2023 650,000-700,000* 1,090,575 60-64* DCCEEW, CER *Argus estimates Total offsets under Climate Active unit Year ACCUs Total offsets ACCUs % 2019 243,105 4,230,011 5.7 2020 417,405 6,857,628 6.1 2021 625,705 5,796,466 10.8 2022 592,837 7,472,711 7.9 DCCEEW Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

Houston power outages creeping down toward 1mn


11/07/24
11/07/24

Houston power outages creeping down toward 1mn

Houston, 11 July (Argus) — Slightly more than 1mn Houston-area homes and businesses were without electricity Thursday afternoon as local power distribution company CenterPoint Energy continues to slowly restore service after Hurricane Beryl. The storm knocked out power to about 2.1mn customers on 8 July when it made landfall southwest of the city as a Category 1 hurricane. The pace of restoration of service to areas that include major oil refineries, petrochemical plants and an LNG export terminal has been seen by many in the region as far too slow. At 6:50mp ET on Thursday about 1.04mn customers were still without power, according to CenterPoint. The company estimates that about 1.2mn customers have had power restored so far, another 400,000 should be restored by the end of day Friday and another 350,000 by the end of day Sunday. The 2 Bcf/d (57mn m³/d) Freeport LNG terminal in Texas remained offline and without power on Thursday after it was shut down ahead of Beryl's landfall. The electric power sector accounts for about 45pc of Texas' gas use, and gas generates about 43pc of the state's electricity, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Spot gas prices at the Katy storage hub, a key natural gas market near Houston, averaged $1.715/mmBtu on Thursday, down by 7.2pc from the previous session but 5.2pc higher from the start of this week. The index began July at $1.97/mmBtu. By David Haydon Send comments and request more information at feedback@argusmedia.com Copyright © 2024. Argus Media group . All rights reserved.

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