Developing Strategies to Engage the Public on Renewables

One key to developing a strong board is to cultivate members with a wide variety of backgrounds. That type of diversity is well exemplified in TREIA board member Jeff Risley, Chief Strategy Officer at marketing firm Saxum.  

Risley – who joined the board in January – brings a broad variety of experience and talents to the game. In his 25-year career, Risley has dedicated time to managing associations in Washington, D.C., working for an advertising agency in Kansas City, and overseeing marketing and communications activities in jobs at an engineering firm, a solar developer, and a Kansas wind-advocacy group. He recently joined Oklahoma City-based marketing firm Saxum. In his role there, Risley assists renewables developers in creating and implementing engagement strategies for interacting with the public.

Powering up the local economy: Xcel Energy says half a billion dollars were invested in region in 2017

From infrastructure upgrades for the power grid to property expenses and maintenance, Xcel Energy says much of its expenses over the last year are going straight into our economy.

According to a new financial analysis, Xcel spent close to a half billion dollars in 2017 with vendors located within its service area here in West Texas, as well as Eastern New Mexico.

Board Member Chris Foster of Georgetown Utility Systems: 100% Renewables and Eyeing the Next Challenge

TREIA’s GridNEXT Conference at the Sheraton Georgetown Hotel and Conference Center  will be powered by 100% renewables this year. TREIA didn’t have to take any specific action to make that claim. Unlike other carbon-free conferences, TREIA didn’t have to bring in temporary biomass generators, or contract to buy renewable energy credits to offset power consumption.  That’s because the City of Georgetown’s electric supply is now 100% renewable – powered by a combination of the wind and the sun.

In recent years, Georgetown has often been in the news for its commitment to renewable energy, in part because it was the most cost-effective option for the City’s ratepayers. The first deals, three wind contracts for 164 MW of wind across multiple installations were contracted from 2008 to 2013. These contracts are comprised of 20 MW running through 2028, and 144 MW extending through 2035.

With Big Texas Order, Senvion ‘Excited To Be Back In The U.S.’

Senvion has signed an agreement for the supply and commissioning of 275 MW of turbines for a wind project in Knox County, Texas.

The TG East Wind Project is owned by Finland-based Taaleri Energia Ltd. NorthRenew, a renewable energy development firm, will co-develop the project with Taaleri.

Senvion will supply 58 Senvion 4.2M140 turbines with a hub height of 110 meters, as well as 10 Senvion 3.2M114 turbines at a 93-meter hub height. Commercial operations will commence in 2020. The agreements include a 25-year operations and maintenance contract.

RES to put down grid-scale PV-plus-storage marker in ERCOT territory

RES' Elwood battery energy storage system, which along with its 'brother' project Jake, delivers frequency regulation in the US in PJM Interconnection's service area. The pair of projects are named after characters from the film 'Blues Brothers'. Image: RES Group.

Known historically for its oil and in the present day for deploying large amounts of wind energy and latterly for deploying batteries at wind farms, the US state of Texas is less well known for solar-plus-storage projects.

Property values near wind energy projects show no decline

Property values near wind energy projects show no decline

In many public forums across Nebraska, local residents have expressed concerns related to proposed wind energy projects in their communities. A consistent worry is the effect wind farms would have on neighboring property values.

In response to these concerns, the Center for Rural Affairs prepared a fact sheet that reviews findings of studies conducted by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory — as well as the Universities of Rhode Island and Connecticut — which analyze factors influencing property values prior to the announcement of a project, after the announcement, before construction and post-construction.

MEMBER HIGHLIGHT: David Jankowsky & Francis Solar Building A Better Solar Home

This month, we have decided to profile a new member, Francis Solar, and its president, David Jankowsky.  Jankowsky has enjoyed a wide-ranging career as a lawyer and project developer that has taken him across the planet. Over the course of that professional trajectory, he has worked on energy project development and project finance across multiple asset classes – including an LNG regasification facility in Peru and a wind project in California (we won’t talk about the coal plant). Following his stint as a lawyer, Jankowsky joined SunEdison, then one of the world’s largest solar developers, to lead their business development efforts in the Asia-Pacific region.

Much of the US Electric Grid could go the way of the landline phone

IF YOU’RE OLD enough to remember landlines, maybe you remember the feedback loop that turned them from must-haves to luxury items. As customers started switching to mobile, the phone companies had to raise rates on the cord keepers to cover the cost of their telephone lines. That only pushed more people to defect, exacerbating the problem—and increasing the cost.

It’s this sort of feedback loop that worries Sonny Garg. He’s the head of energy research for Uptake Technologies and spearheaded the data analytics firm’s new report showing that over the past two decades, the investor-owned utilities that represent nearly half the US grid’s electrical load saw the effective cost of generating one megawatt of electricity rise 74 percent.

Q&A with Julie Beggs - TREIA Development Officer

What’s your background and what are your main responsibilities at TREIA?

I've had the privilege in my career to work with non-profit, for-profit, and municipalities delivering communications strategies, customer service, and leadership skills to achieve the mission and vision of the organization. This has provided an opportunity to serve in organizations experiencing tremendous change, while evolving to meet the growing needs of its members/customers. My work at TREIA includes welcoming new members and retaining existing ones, while sharing the many opportunities that exist for members to get involved. Currently, my priority is ensuring our 2018 GridNEXT Conference reflects the diverse community that comprises TREIA Membership.