Michigan RPS hits 15% by year’s end
Solar small but increasing part of fuel mix
US solar power and storage developer Borrego has been awarded a contract from AES Corp. to build three utility-scale solar installations in Michigan totaling 72 MW of capacity and expected to come online by mid-2022, helping the state meet its renewable portfolio standard, Borrego said Aug. 19.
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“Our ongoing working relationship with AES is based on trust and transparency and is an example of our focus on powering our customers’ growth,” Brian Barker, general manager of Borrego’s utility-scale engineering, procurement and construction division, said in a statement. “We are excited to bring our expertise to Michigan and help the state decarbonize its grid.”
The three projects are to be located in Cement City, Pullman and Letts Creek. The solar farms will use bifacial solar modules on single-axis trackers, Borrego said. Once completed, AES will own and operate the solar plants, with the electricity sold to local utility Consumers Energy through a long-term power purchase agreement.
“We look forward to working with Borrego to safely bring these impactful projects to life, bringing substantial benefits to the local communities while helping Consumers Energy and the State of Michigan reach their renewable energy goals,” Mike Belikoff, chief operating officer of AES Clean Energy, said in the statement.
Renewable goals, fuel mix
Michigan’s renewable portfolio standard increases from at least 12.5% for 2019 and 2020 to at least 15% by the end of 2021, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission. Through 2019, solar power renewable energy credits accounted for 1% of the state’s RPS program.
Wind power RECs accounted for 52%, biomass 13%, hydropower 12% and landfill gas 9%, according to the commission.
According to trade group Solar Energy Industry Association, 0.37% of Michigan’s electricity was produced from solar as of the first quarter of 2021. However, utility-scale solar installations increased significantly during the quarter, adding nearly all the state’s incremental 200 MW of solar power capacity.
In 2020, 11% of Michigan’s electricity generation came from renewables, mostly from wind power, according to the US Energy Information Administration.
“By the end of 2022, Michigan will have 3,354 MW of operational renewable energy in response to the renewable energy standard,” according to the state Public Service Commission’s 2021 annual Renewable Energy Standard report.
The weighted average price of renewable energy contracts approved by the commission from 2009 through 2020 was $64.48/MWh, “which is considerably less than forecasted in the initial 2009 renewable energy plans,” the PSC said. In addition, the weighted average price of renewable energy contracts approved since 2017 has been $55.46/MWh, it said.
“For the utility-scale division in engineering, procurement and construction, we will be bringing 420 MW online in 2022 across four states and are just getting started,” a Borrego representative said in an Aug. 19 email.
Borrego has recently won contracts to build large-scale solar and energy storage plants in Maine, Montana, South Dakota, New York and other states, the developer said in the statement.
Read More: Borrego to build three utility-scale solar projects for AES in Michigan by 2022