Renewable Energy Update -- August 2014 #6

by Allen Matkins
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Renewable Energy Focus

Underground energy debate powering up

San Diego Union-Tribune - Aug 26

California lawmakers may decide this week whether San Diego County utility customers must underwrite a new fleet of geothermal power plants. The proposed legislation requires the state’s major investor-owned utilities, including San Diego Gas & Electric, to collectively contract 500 megawatts of electrical generating capacity from new geothermal power plants anywhere within California over the next decade, enough electricity to supply some 300,000 homes. Sponsors say the legislation is designed to spur a geothermal renaissance in the Salton Sea area of the Imperial Valley, already home to the nation’s second-largest cluster of power plants that harness underground heat from deep within the earth’s crust to generate electricity.

Huge solar farm proposed south of Silicon Valley wins power contract, but loses major investor

San Jose Mercury News - Aug 24

A proposal to build one of the world's largest solar farms in a rural area south of Silicon Valley has cleared one of its final hurdles after five years of planning and environmental debate. However the $600 million project in Panoche Valley, a vast expanse of rangeland 50 miles south of Hollister, originally proposed as a larger, $1.8 billion project, still faces several significant challenges, as Duke Energy, the North Carolina utility giant, has withdrawn as a major investor.

Warren Buffett’s energy company says net metering should be ‘eliminated’

Greentech Media - Aug 22

Berkshire Hathaway Energy, the holding company owned by famed investor Warren Buffett, is weighing in on the debate over how to compensate distributed generation. In a strategy document written by Senior Vice President Brent Gale for a legal conference in July, Berkshire Hathaway Energy outlined its position on net metering, saying it should be scrapped in favor of a system that recognizes utility fixed-grid costs and utilizes distributed generation at times when it's needed most.

Price of U.S. wind energy at 'all-time low'

The Energy Collective - Aug 22

Berkshire Hathaway Energy, the holding company owned by famed investor Warren Buffett, is weighing in on the debate over how to compensate distributed generation. In a strategy document written by Senior Vice President Brent Gale for a legal conference in July, Berkshire Hathaway Energy outlined its position on net metering, saying it should be scrapped in favor of a system that recognizes utility fixed-grid costs and utilizes distributed generation at times when it's needed most.

Palo Alto’s utility now provides guilt-free electricity

Grist - Aug 27

It’s one thing to own your utility with a commitment to renewable energy, but it’s quite another thing to deliver on it. In 2007, the municipal utility in Palo Alto, California, set an ambitious target of achieving 33 percent renewable energy by 2015, and ultimately a carbon neutral electricity supply. Seven years later, it is on track to reach 48 percent renewable power in 2017, and it has been meeting this carbon neutral goal since late last year.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

SunPower installing 10.2 megawatts of new solar for Verizon this year

Solar Industry - Aug 25

This year, Verizon will install 10.2 megawatts of new solar power systems at eight of its network facilities in five states: California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York. Verizon has contracted with SunPower Corp. to design and install all of the solar systems. With the new solar investment announcement, Verizon is on target to deploy upwards of 25 megawatts of renewables upon completion of the new solar projects.

Researchers develop faster, cheaper way to make solar cells

Renewable Energy World - Aug 28

A faster, cheaper way to manufacture silicon solar cells, partially funded by the Energy Department and fine-tuned at its National Renewable Energy Laboratory, has won a coveted R&D 100 award as one of the top technology innovations of 2013. Crystal Solar's approach to growing high-quality, high-efficiency silicon wafers at 100 times the usual throughput and half the cost could be a game-changer, creating American jobs and stemming the flow of solar cell manufacturing overseas, says T.S. Ravi, chief executive officer of the Santa Clara, California-based company.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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