Capital Dynamics invests in 2 GW Tenaska solar pipeline; US module shipments hike 24% in September

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Capital Dynamics invests in Tenaska solar pipeline in US Midwest

Clean Energy Infrastructure, a subsidiary of Capital Dynamics, has signed an agreement with independent power producer Tenaska to develop 2 GW of solar projects in the U.S. Midwest, the companies announced November 27.

The pipeline incorporates 14 solar projects in the Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO) market, situated in the states of Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana and Minnesota.

Clean Energy Infrastructure is the second-largest owner of solar projects in U.S. and manages $4.9 billion of renewables and gas-fired assets for a total capacity of around 3.1 GW. Capital Dynamics has already invested in two utility-scale solar projects developed by Tenaska in California, representing a total capacity of 280 MW.

“This agreement was a unique opportunity for us to acquire a meaningful pipeline of solar capacity in an efficient project development structure within a market poised for growth,” Benoit Allehaut, director of Capital Dynamics’ Clean Energy Infrastructure team, said in a statement.

Tenaska and its affiliates have developed around 10 GW of gas-fired power capacity. Tenaska also owns a majority stake in Soltage, a distributed solar generation company based in New Jersey.

US module shipments climb 24% in September

U.S. PV module shipments hiked by 23.6% in September to 741.3 MW, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said in its latest monthly shipments report.

The monthly value of module shipments rose by 18.6% to $319.4 million, the EIA said. The average module price was $0.43/W in September, compared with $0.45/W in August.

In comparison, module shipments rose by 4.1% in September 2017, to 1.1 GW of capacity. Shipments then remained strong in October-November 2017, at around 1.2 GW per month. The EIA’s report includes data from 90% of U.S. market participants, it said.

Global solar costs are continuing to fall and U.S. project procurement hiked earlier this year after the Trump administration implemented section 201 module tariffs, removing market uncertainty.

In September, GTM Research raised its outlook for U.S. utility-scale solar installations in 2018-2023 by 1.9 GW after 8.5 GW of projects were announced in the first half of 2018.

U.S. developers installed 1.2 GW of utility scale PV in the second quarter of 2018, accounting for 55% of installed solar capacity, GTM Research said in a quarterly market report. A total of 2.7 GW of utility-scale projects were under construction and targeting completion in 2018, it said.

The forecast for 2018-2023 remains 7.9% lower than before the Trump administration indicated section 201 tariffs would be implemented, GTM Research noted.

Almost half of coal plants unprofitable as renewables growth bites

Some 42% of global installed coal-fired capacity is unprofitable due to high fuel costs and low wholesale power prices, Carbon Tracker said in a report published November 30. Carbon Tracker is a UK-based think tank that advocates protection against climate change.

By 2040, 72% of global coal-fired capacity could be operating at a loss as wind and solar costs continue to fall and existing carbon pricing and pollution regulations drive up coal plant costs, Carbon Tracker said.

By 2030, the cost of wind and solar plants will be lower than 96% of the world's coal-fired capacity, it said.

        Share of coal-fired generation at higher cost than renewables

                                                          (Click image to enlarge)

Source: Carbon Tracker, November 2018.

Carbon Tracker assessed the operating costs of coal plants based on fuel and maintenance costs, investments required to meet existing environmental standards and carbon pricing where relevant.

In China, the research group used satellite images and advanced machining learning to estimate the activity of each plant.

This technique was "found to be more than 90% accurate when trialled against known data in the U.S. and EU," it said.

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