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Latest News in Tranquillity, CA
Southern Power turns 640MWh solar-colocated BESS projects online in California
Southern Power has turned two four-hour battery energy storage systems (BESS) totalling 640MWh at two of its solar facilities in California online.The Garland Solar Facility Battery Storage in Kern County (pictured) is a 88MW/352MWh BESS while the BESS at Tranquillity Solar Facility in Fresno now has a 72MW/288MWh of storage capacity. The solar parks both have a maximum output of 205MW and have been operational since 2015/16.The resource adequacy capacity benefits of both BESS are being sold under a 20-year power purch...
Southern Power has turned two four-hour battery energy storage systems (BESS) totalling 640MWh at two of its solar facilities in California online.
The Garland Solar Facility Battery Storage in Kern County (pictured) is a 88MW/352MWh BESS while the BESS at Tranquillity Solar Facility in Fresno now has a 72MW/288MWh of storage capacity. The solar parks both have a maximum output of 205MW and have been operational since 2015/16.
The resource adequacy capacity benefits of both BESS are being sold under a 20-year power purchase agreement (PPA) to Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the California’s big three investor-owned utilities along with SDG&E and PG&E. SCE also has a PPA for the electricity and renewable energy credits (RECs) from Garland.
The Resource Adequacy programme is designed to ensure load-serving entities in California have sufficient capacity to meet their peak load with a 15% reserve margin as a buffer to prevent outages. It needs to be delivered in four-hour blocks, often during evening peaks, making four-hour systems increasingly common.
Rosendin Electric built the sites while Mitsubishi Power Americas supplied the equipment and will service the project under a 20-year service agreement. Powin Energy Corporation supplied the batteries.
A spokesperson for Southern Power confirmed to Energy-storage.news that the two projects are true solar-plus-storage rather than just colocation sharing a grid connection.
“The batteries at Garland and Tranquillity are charged by the PV solar sites (no grid charging is intended). The energy from the batteries is discharged to the grid,” they said.
The storage additions to the solar facilities were first announced a year ago, as reported on by Energy-storage.news. The battery and solar parks mentioned both count AIP Management and KKR as investors (KKR inherited the stake through its acquisition of Global Atlantic Financial Group last year).
At the time of the announcement in February, Southern Power president Bill Grantham said the colocated solar and storage projects would be the two of the first such projects to operate in the California market. In this week’s commissioning announcement, however, he only said it would be the first for the utility itself.
Another massive colocated project, the Edwards Sanborn Solar-plus-Storage with a 2,445MWh BESS, is due to come online in 2022 and 2023.
The California ISO grid had 2,607MW of battery storage connected as of January 31, 2022, the last figures available, around 6% of its stated resource adequacy net qualifying capacity.
This story was updated after publication with a clarification from Southern Power on the solar-plus-storage configuration of the projects.
Back to the future: visiting Time Team’s first new digs in a decade
The popular archaeology series Time Team has returned with its first new episodes in a decade. Felix Rowe took Current Archaeology behind the scenes at two very different excavations, investigating Iron Age Cornwall and Roman Oxfordshire.‘I thought that it was all theatre, cooked up in the edit suite… but it really is as chaotic as it looks!’ Dr Gus Casely-Hayford joked on a sunny late September day in 2021. Sitting in a field of turnips in rural Oxfordshire, Gus – the inaugu...
The popular archaeology series Time Team has returned with its first new episodes in a decade. Felix Rowe took Current Archaeology behind the scenes at two very different excavations, investigating Iron Age Cornwall and Roman Oxfordshire.
‘I thought that it was all theatre, cooked up in the edit suite… but it really is as chaotic as it looks!’ Dr Gus Casely-Hayford joked on a sunny late September day in 2021. Sitting in a field of turnips in rural Oxfordshire, Gus – the inaugural Director of V&A East – was reflecting on his very first experience of filming a Time Team excavation. Just two weeks earlier, he had been exploring an Iron Age souterrain, or fogou, in Cornwall (of which more below), and now the Team were investigating the site of a large Romano-British villa on the estate of Broughton Castle, near Banbury in Oxfordshire.
Despite the rural tranquillity of the setting, the scene before him was a hive of activity, with almost a hundred people darting in all directions, variously armed with trowels, cameras, metal-detectors, drones, or walkie-talkies. This flurry of movement was the result of months of careful planning coming to fruition, with each individual purposefully setting out on a specific task – which, of course, needed to be accomplished over the traditional three-day span.
The digs also marked a significant milestone, representing the first new Time Team excavations in a decade. First airing in 1994, Time Team quickly became a Sunday teatime staple and a celebrated British institution. The flagship Channel 4 series produced 20 series, over 230 episodes, and countless spin-offs and specials, before finally drawing to an end in 2014 (see CA 274). Its success saw Channel 4 essentially ploughing £4 million directly into British archaeology during the show’s run, and the post-excavation reports that were produced by Wessex Archaeology represent a significant body of research that is a remarkable archaeological legacy in itself.
While the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic posed serious problems for archaeological fieldwork, though, it sparked a global renaissance for Time Team, as locked-down fans began to reconnect with old episodes, or to discover them anew on YouTube. Today, the Time Team Classics channel (see ‘Further information’ on p.29) receives two million views a month. The path was set for a long-anticipated return – and one that would take a thoroughly 21st-century approach, actively involving fans in the process (CA 375). Thanks to the support of thousands of fans worldwide on Patreon (an online funding platform where supporters, or ‘patrons’, pledge monthly donations to projects in exchange for exclusive access to extra content and other benefits), Time Team is currently premiering two brand new, three-part episodes on YouTube. And that’s just the start, with two new partnerships set to shed light on Sutton Hoo (CA 383), and more potential sites currently in development for further excavations this year.
The new approach brought an entirely novel set of challenges, in sharing the production process as much as the finished ‘product’. Previously, the viewer was first introduced to the site only when watching the completed episode on TV. The Patreon model flips the script entirely, with fans directly interacting in development from Day Zero, even helping to decide which sites to take forward to excavation. One fan likened it (with evident glee) to ‘flying the plane while still building it’. Patrons also enjoyed unrivalled behind-the-scenes access during the excavations, with a daily virtual ‘walkabout’ of the site, Q&A sessions with the team, and 3D models to explore.
The first episode, set in Cornwall, captures the nervous excitement of getting the band back together. It was like the first day back at school after the long summer holidays: old friends reuniting and sharing trench talk, while new bonds are being forged with fresh arrivals, revelling in wide-eyed anticipation of experiencing a ‘Time Team’. Everyone was finding their feet, settling into a rhythm – but come Dig Two in Oxfordshire, the process was already starting to feel like a well-oiled machine. So, what did the Team find?
The Cornish fogou at Boden
Time Team has a long-standing association with Cornish prehistoric archaeology. In 1995, the Team investigated the site of another fogou (a kind of underground, dry-stone structure) at Boleigh, and six years later they uncovered the remains of a prehistoric settlement complete with several roundhouses at Gear Farm, just a stone’s throw from their current site at Boden on the Lizard Peninsula.
The Boden fogou is under the thriving custodianship of Meneage Archaeology Group (MAG), led by James Gossip of Cornwall Archaeological Unit. The site has yielded some interesting finds over the years, including a bronze dagger (now held at Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro) and sherds of imported pottery originating from the distant shores of North Africa. To build on this, one of the key aims for Time Team’s dig was to get a greater understanding of the fogou’s plan and extent. Earlier excavations by James Gossip and MAG have unearthed a significant L-shaped passage – but, in keeping with other contemporaneous fogous that open out into larger chambers, there was evidence (including partially revealed cavities) to suggest that these subterranean spaces once extended further into the surrounding area. In one section, excavated steps had been cut into the bedrock to descend deeper underground beneath the field.
A wider (though, by nature, more elusive) aim was to shed further light on the original function of fogous – a debate that has raged since these mysterious spaces were first investigated by Victorian antiquarians. Were they intended as a defensive refuge, a spiritual space, or simply a place for storing food? They certainly represent monumental feats of engineering. Witnessing one first-hand and walking its passages, you really appreciate how its construction involved shifting tons of earth, lifting huge capping stones, and selecting fine stones according to their aesthetic qualities. As James Gossip highlighted, the endeavour that went into its construction and the peculiarities of its design clearly imply a status that’s elevated beyond a purely utilitarian purpose alone.
Classicist Natalie Haynes (who joins Gus as one of Time Team’s new presenters) has remarked on the sense of clearly defined spaces within the fogou, describing it as a ‘liminal’ moment, an ancient Greek idea evoking the threshold (physical, symbolic, or spiritual) from one world into another. Do functional practicality and some deeper ceremonial purpose need to be mutually exclusive, though? Could a fogou be both cathedral and grain store? Throughout history, a bad harvest could be disastrous for any community; grain was quite literally the giver of life – a valuable resource that demanded protection, respect, perhaps even reverence.
It could be prescient that a broken quern stone (used for grinding cereal) was discovered during Time Team’s dig, just metres from the fogou, inside a deep pit that has speculatively been identified as a ‘ritual shaft’ or well. One theory is that important items were deliberately deposited into the ‘well’ as offerings in a symbolic or spiritual gesture, as was common practice in the ancient world.
There were more surprises to come: showing up, clear as day, in John Gater’s new geophysics results was a rigidly square-shaped anomaly, stamped among the swirly, fluid curves that characterise this prehistoric landscape. Everything about its uniform, ordered, rectilinear footprint screamed: ‘Roman’. The word ‘temple’ was mooted tentatively in hushed tones – such a structure would be a significant discovery anywhere in Britain, but particularly rare and ground-breaking in far west Cornwall. Evidence of late Roman influence had already been discovered on the site, including a colossal sherd of Gaulish Samian-ware – but you will have to watch the full episode to discover whether Time Team was able to settle the question of this strange geophysical anomaly.
This is an extract of an article that appeared in CA 386. Read on in the magazine (click here to subscribe) or on our new website, The Past, which details of all the content of the magazine. At The Past you will be able to read each article in full as well as the content of our other magazines, Current World Archaeology, Minerva, and Military History Matters.
It’s Smiles All Around at Sunnyside High Campus
Photography students from Sunnyside High School unveiled “Project Smile” on Monday, 268 large black-and-white posters of smiling students and staff that have been attached to pillars, walls, and the face of each staircase.More than 100 Sunnyside students spent part of their Saturday hanging up the 3-foot by 4-foot posters to surprise their ...
Photography students from Sunnyside High School unveiled “Project Smile” on Monday, 268 large black-and-white posters of smiling students and staff that have been attached to pillars, walls, and the face of each staircase.
More than 100 Sunnyside students spent part of their Saturday hanging up the 3-foot by 4-foot posters to surprise their schoolmates on Monday.
The big photo display, taken by teacher Tamela Ryatt’s classes, will remain on campus through the end of the school year. The goal of the project is to promote happiness, the district says.
“This project, wonderful smiling faces of Sunnyside staff and students, will bring joy to the campus and the Sunnyside community. Our students are practicing real-world skills while also honoring our district’s value of people and our community,” Superintendent Bob Nelson said in a news release.
Also in School Zone:
Speaking of smiles … there may be more happy campers among high school students who won’t have to sweat out the standardized testing that previously was required for admission to California State University.
The CSU Board of Trustees voted last month to permanently discontinue requiring students to take the SAT or ACT tests. The tests had been temporarily discontinued when testing sites remained closed because of the pandemic. The University of California had already decided to end the requirement, and the board’s vote made the ban permanent. Critics say students from affluent homes tend to do better on the SAT and ACT, giving them an unfair admissions advantage.
Clovis Unified spokeswoman Kelly Avants said the CSU decision came too late for the Class of 2022, who submitted their applications in the fall of 2021 and had already previously tested. She said the district does not expect any change in the number of students applying for college now that the CSU doesn’t required the SAT and ACT. However, the testing will continue and the district will monitor and report the results on its website, Avants said.
Although the SAT and ACT are no longer required for the UC and CSU as well as many colleges and universities nationwide, students who are hoping to enroll at the highly competitive Massachusetts Institute of Technology will still need to score big on those tests. MIT announced last month that it is reinstating the two tests, which the admissions dean says help the university assess students from all backgrounds.
Central Unified keeps working on closing the digital gap for students whose family can’t afford internet services or to buy the devices they need to access the web.
The district recently installed a radio antenna tower at Biola-Pershing Elementary School, using CARES Act money, that gives students in the community access through the district’s filtered Wi-Fi service.
And on Friday, the district handed out devices to families that students will use to connect to the district’s Wi-Fi.
Fresno Unified also is in the process erecting radio towers at some of its schools, starting in southwest and southeast Fresno, so students and their families can access the internet.
Here are a couple of scholarships that Valley students going to college can apply for:
DARK TRANQUILLITY & KATAKLYSM Cancel Canadian Tour Dates, Add More U.S. Shows
Dark Tranquillity, Kataklysm, and Nailed to Obscurity have unfortunately had to cancel their Canadian tour dates due to new COVID restrictions. The shows were originally scheduled for Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, and Tor...
Dark Tranquillity, Kataklysm, and Nailed to Obscurity have unfortunately had to cancel their Canadian tour dates due to new COVID restrictions. The shows were originally scheduled for Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto, and have been replaced by two new U.S. dates in February.
"We are very sad announcing that due to the Covid restrictions in Canada we are not able to do our shows in Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. Things are moving fast and just after recording this video we got news that Vancouver also need to be cancelled this time around.
"We are extremely frustrated since Canada is one of our favourite places on earth to perform. We will make sure to come back and do this properly as soon as possible.
"This creates a gap in our schedule and we have been offered to do the following shows instead:
"Feb 03 – Fort Wayne"Feb 04 – Cudahy
"The rest of the tour is unaffected. All ticket details available at darktranquillity.com"
The new tour schedule is as follows.
1/28 Asbury Park, NJ – House of Independents1/29 Reading, PA – Reverb1/3 Worcester, MA – The Palladium2/1 Quebec City, QC – Imperial Bell2/3 Fort Wayne, IN – Piere's2/4 Cudahy, WI – X-Ray Arcade2/5 Pontiac, MI – The Crofoot Ballroom2/6 Chicago, IL – Metro2/8 Minneapolis, MN – Fine Line2/9 Lawrence, KS – Granada Theater2/1 Denver, CO – The Oriental Theater2/11 Salt Lake City, UT – Soundwell2/13 Portland, OR – Bossanova Ballroom2/15 Seattle, WA – El Corazon2/17 San Francisco, CA – August Hall2/18 San Diego, CA – Brick By Brick2/19 Anaheim, CA – Chain Reaction2/2 Los Angeles, CA – 1722/21 Mesa, AZ – The Nile Theatre2/23 Austin, TX – Come and Take It Live2/24 Dallas, TX – Amplified Live2/25 Houston, TX – Scout Bar2/26 Baton Rouge, LA – Chelsea's Live2/28 Winter Park, FL – The Haven3/1 West Palm Beach, FL – Respectable Street3/2 Tampa, FL – The Orpheum3/3 Atlanta, GA – Heaven at The Masquerade3/4 Greensboro, NC – The Blind Tiger3/5 Columbus, OH – The King of Clubs3/6 Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom3/7 Rochester, NY – Montage Music Hall3/8 Baltimore, MD – Baltimore Soundstage3/9 Pittsburgh, PA – Crafthouse Stage & Grill3/11 Richmond, VA – The Canal Club3/12 New York, NY – The Gramercy Theatre
Covid: Europe set for ‘long period of tranquillity’ in pandemic, says WHO
Europe could soon enter a “long period of tranquillity” that amounts to a “ceasefire” in the pandemic thanks to the less severe Omicron variant, high levels of immunity and the arrival of warmer spring weather, the World Health Organization has said.In ...
Europe could soon enter a “long period of tranquillity” that amounts to a “ceasefire” in the pandemic thanks to the less severe Omicron variant, high levels of immunity and the arrival of warmer spring weather, the World Health Organization has said.
In an upbeat assessment, Hans Kluge, the WHO’s Europe director, said the region was in a position of “higher protection” that could “bring us enduring peace”, even if a new, more virulent variant than Omicron should emerge.
Kluge said the 53-country region – which includes the UK – had recorded 12 million new coronavirus cases last week, the highest single weekly total of the pandemic, with about 22% of all tests returning a positive result.
However, hospital admissions, although growing, were not rising at the same rate and the number of patients in intensive care was not increasing significantly, he said. The number of deaths across the region was also starting to plateau.
Kluge said “a large capital of vaccine-derived and natural immunity, a favourable seasonality pause and a lower severity of the Omicron variant” meant governments now had “a singular opportunity to take control of transmission”.
This opened up the prospect of “a long period of tranquillity and a much higher level of population defence” against any fresh resurgence in infection rates, he said.
The optimistic forecast comes days after Kluge said it was “plausible” the region was “moving towards a kind of pandemic endgame”.
But Kluge stressed on Thursday that authorities must use the respite constructively, by continuing vaccine and booster campaigns, protecting the most vulnerable, promoting individual responsibility and intensifying surveillance to detect new variants.
“I believe it is possible to respond to new variants that will inevitably emerge without reinstalling the kind of disruptive measures we needed before,” he said. But he added it must now be a top priority to ensure all countries are equally well protected.
“This demands a drastic and uncompromising increase in vaccine-sharing across borders,” Kluge said. “We cannot accept vaccine inequity for one more day – vaccines must be for everyone, in the remotest corner of our vast region and beyond.”
On the eve of World Cancer Day, the WHO regional director also noted the “catastrophic impact” the pandemic had had on people with cancer as health systems struggled with screening, diagnosis and treatment during the past two years.
During the early stages of the pandemic, he said, diagnosis of invasive tumours fell by 44% in Belgium, colorectal screenings decreased by 46% in Italy, and in Spain the number of cancers diagnosed in 2020 was 34% lower than expected.
The situation in many countries had improved since then, he said, but “the knock-on effect of this disruption will be felt for years” and any respite from the pandemic must be used immediately to reduce backlogs for chronic care services.