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Energy News: March 2021

SRP offers $1,000 rebates to drivers buying or leasing EVs

With a goal to support the enablement of 500,000 electric vehicle’s (EV) in Salt River Project’s (SRP) service territory by 2035, the utility just announced it will give $1,000 to any of its residential customers purchasing or leasing a new EV from a local dealership starting in February through to the end of December 2021, or until the program funds have been depleted. The rebate through SRP applies to residential customers who are purchasing or leasing any new plug-in vehicle, including battery electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, from Valley-based car dealerships. In addition, SRP is also offering a $250 rebate for anyone purchasing a residential Level 2 smart charger from SRP’s Marketplace, which is a discount of more than 30%. Learn more >>

Automotive components supplier selects Flagstaff for new EV parts plant

UACJ Automotive Whitehall Industries, a leading supplier of precision extruded aluminum automotive components and assemblies, will take over the former Walgreen’s distribution center in Flagstaff for a new plant that will manufacture parts for electric vehicles. The expansion of the company, based in Ludington, Mich., is anticipated to bring 120 high-paying jobs to the region over the next year and 350 within five years. Company President and COO David Cooper said Flagstaff was selected because it is strategically located to serve UACJ Whitehall’s electric vehicle customers. UACJ Whitehall is expected to begin operations and start to hire employees in April 2021. Read more about this new facility >>


Nikola unveils plans for 2021

After a rocky end to 2020, Nikola Motor Company, the hydrogen-fuel cell and electric vehicle manufacturer, is looking to get back on the road this year. The auto manufacturer set several major milestone goals in conjunction with its fourth quarter earnings report filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the fourth quarter of 2020, Nikola made the necessary changes to refocus and realign the company. These changes include restructuring its agreement with General Motors, cancelling its battery electric (BEV) refuse truck program, discontinuing its Powersports program and realigning the company’s resources with laser focus on its core businesses: battery electric and hydrogen fuel-cell electric (FCEV) heavy-duty trucks, and hydrogen refueling infrastructure. Read more >>

Lucid Motors is going public

One of the most promising electric vehicle start-ups, Lucid Motors, will soon go public. After weeks of speculation, the company recently confirmed that it will merge with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), Churchill Capital IV in a deal that will take it public by the end of June 2021. The post-merger company’s value is expected to be $24 billion. It will retain the Lucid Motors name, will trade under the ticker “LCID,” and will continue to be led by current CEO Peter Rawlinson and the existing senior team. Shareholders of Churchill Capital IV will collectively own 16.1% of post-merger Lucid. The SPAC investors will own an additional 10.4%, and existing Lucid shareholders will own the remaining 73.5%. Check out the key points of the deal >> 

 ElectraMeccanica selects Arizona to establish U.S. base of operations

Electric vehicle designer and manufacturer ElectraMeccanica has selected Mesa for its U.S.-based assembly facility and engineering technical center. Greater Phoenix ranks as the fifth largest city in the U.S. according to 2020 census data, with nearly 1.8 million residents. The proposed facility in Mesa will support ElectraMeccanica’s strategic plan to meet anticipated demand for their flagship SOLO EV. When fully operational, the facility is expected to create 500 new jobs and will be capable of producing up to 20,000 SOLOs per year. The facility will feature a light vehicle assembly plant along with a state-of-the-art engineering technical center, including multiple labs to support comprehensive research as well as vehicle chassis, battery pack and power electronics testing workshops. Read more >>  

Arizona among top states for new solar installations

Arizona continues to be one of the top states for solar installations, moving up a spot in 2020 in the latest U.S. Solar Market Insight yearly report. In what was a record-setting 2020 for the industry as a whole, Arizona added 503 megawatts of installations, the eighth-highest amount among states nationwide. Of that total, 200 megawatts added were in Arizona’s residential market, which grew 43% from 2019, the report’s authors found. The overall total in Arizona was actually down from 2019’s addition of 916 megawatts, but the state posted a record fourth quarter, as did the nation as a whole. Rounding out the top five states for the year were Florida (2,822 megawatts), Virginia (1,406) and North Carolina (785). Read more >>

Arizona utilities well prepared to avoid energy disasters

Arizona electric companies told state utility regulators that they are well equipped to deal with climate extremes to avoid disastrous rolling blackouts and major power outages like those experienced in California and Texas this past year. Poor planning is one reason those two states saw major energy shortages, regional and state power grid experts told members of the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) at the Energy Reliability Summit, which aimed to educate commissioners, legislators and community stakeholders about what went wrong and to be reassured that the same won’t happen in Arizona. At the meeting, representatives from Arizona Public Service Company (APS), Salt River Project (SRP), Tucson Electric Power (TEP), UNS and Arizona Electric Power Cooperative detailed measures they are taking to prevent similar catastrophes. Read more >> 

Los Angeles now has a road map for 100% renewable energy

In a first-of-its-kind study commissioned by the city and released Wednesday, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) concluded Los Angeles is capable of achieving 98% clean energy within the next decade and 100% by 2035, meeting one of President Biden’s most ambitious climate goals. And it can do so without causing blackouts or disrupting the economy, the federal research lab found, undercutting two of the most common arguments used by opponents of climate action. The path forward for the next decade is clear, NREL found: Build solar farms, wind turbines and batteries as fast as possible. Read more >>  

Cities of Light: A discussion on the impact of a solar future

Arizona State University recently hosted a webinar to promote a new book titled “Cities of Light: A Collection of Solar Futures” and to discuss the future economic and social justice implications of a fully sustainable society. The book is a sequel to “The Weight of Light: A Collection of Solar Futures” and is a collaboration between ASU’s Center for Energy and Society and Center for Science and the Imagination and the U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory. According to its Center for Science and the Imagination page, Cities of Light consists of “A collection of science fiction stories, art and essays exploring how the transition to solar energy will transform cities; catalyze revolutions in politics, governance, and culture; and create diverse futures for human communities.” Learn more >>  

Midwestern towns get swept up in the electric vehicle boom

Bloomington and Normal are among several cities nationwide riding the wave of electric vehicle excitement in the last two years. These cities didn’t have a reputation as hotbeds for innovation in decades past. Now, that has all changed. Now Central Illinois, best known for auto insurance, corn and soybeans, finds itself hosting a startup that touts its own expertise in lithium ion battery architecture and cloud computing. Six years after Mitsubishi left Bloomington-Normal, Rivian, an electric vehicle company, surprised everyone when it took over the plant in 2017. Rivian has been on a soaring trajectory since, with its valuation growing to a reported $27.6 billion this year, and local leaders credit the electric vehicle maker’s arrival with invigorating Bloomington-Normal’s future. Read more >> 



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