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Photo voltaic decommissioning information goals to assist cities reduce long-term dangers, group issues


Credit score: STG Photo voltaic

The College of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Heart for Public Service issued a policy roadmap on planning and paying for the decommissioning of photo voltaic amenities, filling a important hole in info because the clean-energy business quickly accelerates throughout the Commonwealth.

Massive- and utility-scale photo voltaic amenities are a fast-growing supply of electrical energy in Virginia and a key element of the Commonwealth’s decarbonization technique. Nationwide knowledge point out that as of June 2022, not less than 62 photo voltaic amenities produce energy in Virginia, with quite a few different initiatives below building or consideration. Photo voltaic is presently the least costly supply of Virginia’s electrical energy provide and is now producing extra energy than coal.

However on the different finish of the photo voltaic growth comes a time when a few of as we speak’s amenities retire, in about 30 years, and stakeholders more and more must plan for finally eradicating them.

In its 60-page report, the Cooper Heart gives steering on the authorized, regulatory and monetary framework for decommissioning photo voltaic amenities, filling a useful resource hole that was revealed in its Virginia Solar Survey earlier this yr, which discovered the problem to be among the many prime 5 matters of curiosity to localities in terms of photo voltaic growth.

“Localities have expressed they want extra details about decommissioning with the intention to really feel snug that in approving large-scale photo voltaic amenities, they’re defending the monetary and environmental pursuits of the group,” mentioned Elizabeth Marshall, senior coordinator of the Cooper Heart’s Virginia Photo voltaic Initiative. “To this point, there was little or no complete analysis or steering on the topic, and virtually nothing that’s Virginia particular. That is undoubtedly of curiosity to photo voltaic builders, localities and stakeholders statewide.”

Marshall added that different states that don’t have already got decommissioning steering might discover the report a superb mannequin that may be custom-made as wanted.

Decommissioning a photo voltaic area by eradicating the photo voltaic panels and help constructions is a comparatively easy course of however can include prices upwards of $1 million. When allowing a big photo voltaic facility, localities typically require monetary assurance that the set up firm can pay for its final removing.

“Selecting essentially the most applicable type of monetary safety is usually a difficult determination for localities, because it has essential implications for the photo voltaic challenge’s building and financing,” mentioned Irene Cox of the Cooper Heart and the creator of the report. “We offer a number of choices in order that decommissioning is a manageable danger for localities however not an undue burden on builders.”

The report compiles details about state and native legal guidelines, suggestions from state and federal businesses, and numerous approaches in comparable markets to current a list of customizable decommissioning finest practices. For instance, the report suggests localities contemplate adopting a decommissioning ordinance that, amongst different issues, specifies monetary assurance choices, circumstances for land restoration and post-closure land-use. In the end, the middle’s report will help shield the monetary pursuits of localities, cut back pointless prices to challenge builders and supply assurance that the land is left in appropriate situation.

“Considerations over decommissioning prices can add pointless problems to the method of allowing new photo voltaic amenities,” mentioned William Shobe, director of the middle’s Power Transition Initiative. “Our new information ought to assist easy negotiations over amenities that may be an actual asset to the native economic system, in addition to profit ratepayers throughout the state whereas additionally serving to tackle local weather change.”

Information merchandise from the College of Virginia

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