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Duke Energy Announces Plans to Invest $30 Million to Install Two Battery Storage Projects in North Carolina

LCG, September 22, 2017--Duke Energy announced yesterday plans to invest $30 million in two new lithium-ion battery energy storage systems in North Carolina that are expected to be online in 2019. The two sites identified are the first of a larger company plan to deploy energy storage for the region, and further details regarding the two projects will be filed with the North Carolina Utilities Commission in early 2018.

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GM Announces Power Purchase Agreements for Renewable Energy from New Wind Farms in Ohio and Illinois

LCG, September 21, 2017--General Motors announced Tuesday long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) for renewable energy from two wind farms with a combined electric generating capacity of 200 MW. The two new PPAs will allow for all of GM's Ohio and Indiana manufacturing facilities to meet their electricity needs with 100 percent renewable energy by the end of 2018. Last September, GM announced last September plans to generate or source all electrical power for its 350 operations in 59 countries with 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.

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Industry News

New Legislation Proposed in U.S. Senate for Offshore Wind ITC

LCG, August 4, 2017--New legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate to create an investment offshore wind tax credit of 30 percent for the first 3,000 MW of offshore wind facilities placed into service in the U.S. The legislation would amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide the incentive to the generate electricity from offshore wind.

Offshore wind projects are defined in the legislation as any facility located in the inland navigable waters of the U.S., including the Great Lakes, or in the coastal waters of the U.S., including the territorial seas of the U.S., the exclusive economic zone of U.S., and the outer Continental Shelf of the U.S. Once a credit is awarded, companies would have five years to install the wind facility.

In the current law, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, Congress amended Section 45 of the tax code to extend production tax credits (PTC) for all wind projects for five years, first phasing-down and then ending December 31, 2019. The PTC is available for 10 years after the date the facility is placed into service.

With the new bill, in lieu of the PTC, companies may claim an ITC for qualifying wind facilities. As a result, any producer that starts construction on a wind facility before December 31, 2019, can claim either the PTC or the ITC. Companies would be prohibited from receiving other production or investment tax credits in addition to the offshore wind ITC created under the bill.

The new bill could reduce costs associated with projects developed to meet the requirements of state energy plans and legislation, such as Massachusetts' Energy Diversity Act, which requires the procurement of approximately 1,600 MW of offshore wind power by 2027, and New York's Offshore Wind Master Plan, which calls for a commitment to develop up to 2,400 MW of offshore wind power by 2030.

Massachusetts utilities, in coordination with the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER), jointly issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for long-term contracts for offshore wind energy projects in June 2017. The RFP calls for bidders to offer from a total of 400 MW of offshore wind energy capacity to up to approximately 800 MW.

Europe is far ahead of the U.S. in developing offshore wind farms, with approximately 14,000 MW now installed. In 2016, Europe installed 1,558 MW of new offshore wind, with cumulative capacity reaching 12,631 MW. This year, a total of 1,300 MW of offshore wind farms were installed through June, comprised of 18 projects in four EU Member States (Germany, UK, Belgium and Finland).

The scale of current offshore wind turbine technology and wind farms is impressive. In May, the Burbo Bank Extension Project, a new offshore wind farm in Liverpool Bay, UK, opened on and became the first offshore wind farm to make commercial use of the MHI Vestas V164-8.0 MW wind turbines. The 8-MW wind turbines are massive, measuring 195 meters from sea level to blade tip. Each blade weighs 35 metric tonnes and measures 80 meters long. The maximum output for the Burbo Bank Extension Project is 258 MW.
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