Fatal Flaws Assessment of Utility-Scale Renewables

Prepared by Jesse Montano, Herve Pare, & Brian Rahman P.E.

The development of renewable energy generation impacts the reliability of the power grid while affecting the price of energy paid by end users, the retail consumers. Investing in renewable energy projects is a multifaceted process that involves complex considerations encompassing project revenues, capital investment, operating costs, return on investment, tax incentives, environmental limitations, land availability, interconnection capacity costs, project scheduling, and other determinative factors. These considerations collectively determine the long-term viability and profitability of such investments.

During the initial phases of a project, some of these factors are already established, while others remain uncertain. Pre-determined factors are those shaped by federal, state, and local policies and regulations, while undetermined factors are often intricate and elusive, necessitating in-depth analyses.

This case study delves into the complex interplay of these variables and their impact on the development cycle, using a real-life project to illustrate the key elements of transforming an ordinary project into one that is attractive.

ZGlobal staff also have a remarkable 37-year track record in the realm of project development, engineering, construction, and operations. ZGlobal staff also have profound knowledge of the California energy market and the operation of utility power grids. In the past 18 years, ZGlobal’s expertise has been instrumental in facilitating the development of more than 656 large-scale utility-generating projects across the United States. These projects include over 97,822 megawatts (MW) of generation, 48 high-voltage transmission, distribution, and substation projects ranging from 500 kV to 34.5 kV. As depicted in Figure 1, project development is a multifaceted process that necessitates collaboration with a diverse array of stakeholders. These stakeholders encompass landowners, federal, state, and local governmental bodies, utility providers, vendors, load-serving entities, environmental advocates, water agencies, indigenous tribes, neighboring communities, and the public.

Figure 1- ZGlobal Infrastructure Development Interface Diagram
Figure 1- ZGlobal Infrastructure Development Interface Diagram

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