Renewable Energy Update -- August 2014 #4

Solar plant's downside? Birds igniting in midair

CBS News - Aug 19

Workers at a state-of-the-art solar plant in the Mojave Desert have a name for birds that fly through the plant's concentrated sun rays: "streamers," for the smoke plume that comes from birds that ignite in midair. Federal wildlife investigators who visited the BrightSource Energy plant last year and watched as birds burned and fell, reporting an average of one "streamer" every two minutes, are urging California officials to halt the operator's application to build a still-bigger version.

Geothermal bill closer to becoming law

The Desert Review - Aug 15

Proposed legislation that would diversify California’s energy portfolio by requiring energy retail sellers to procure 500 megawatts of electricity from baseload geothermal power plants in the next 10 years continues to move through the state Legislature. Senate Bill 1139 advanced from the Assembly Appropriations Committee today and is expected to go before the full Assembly for a floor vote sometime before the Legislature’s end-of-the-month voting deadline. This legislation is considered critical by the Imperial Irrigation District and the County of Imperial to advance its Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative.

It’s official: California moves grid planning toward the edge

Greentech Media - Aug 15

On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission officially opened a proceeding that will set the ground rules for a multi-year transformation of distribution grid planning. It’s the first state in the country to take explicit steps to merge the traditional world of distribution grid planning -- centralized, one way, and predicated on the past -- and replace it with a two-way, customer-engaged, and networked grid model.

Carport market expected to reach $843 million by 2016

Solar Power World - Aug 13

According to a new GTM Research report, the U.S. is expected to add over 180 megawatts of solar carports in 2014, making it the fourth consecutive year with more than 100 megawatts installed. The report notes that solar carport installations in California have historically represented over half of the national market with lower penetration levels nationwide.

Why other renewables are surpassing hydropower generation

Clean Technica - Aug 20

According to Energy Information Administration data, 2014 will be the first year in history that non-hydropower sources generate more energy than hydropower in the U.S. Only a decade ago hydropower produced three times as much electricity in the U.S. as the combined contributions of non-hydro sources such as wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal. The shift is in part due to the declining costs of solar and wind, a drop in hydropower production due to drought, and lack of available hydropower dam sites.

Agency corrects number of eagle deaths at wind farms

The Desert Sun - Aug 18

More than a month after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said it had reports of 15 golden eagles killed at wind farms in the Palm Springs/San Gorgonio Pass area, the agency retracted that number. Federal officials said this week that most of the eagle deaths actually occurred at Altamont Pass in Alameda County.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

Anheuser-Busch installs second giant windmill

North Bay Business Journal - Aug 15

Anheuser-Busch’s Fairfield brewery on Thursday morning started receiving its second towering windmill, which is set to bring clean energy generation there to 30 percent of the facility’s needs. When operational in October, it will produce 1.6 megawatts, according to resident engineer Damon Waker.

NRG to acquire mobile solar startup Goal Zero

PV Magazine - Aug 14

NRG Energy is set to take over mobile solar startup Salt Lake City-based Goal Zero, a leading provider of personal solar products. The move to acquire the rapidly growing consumer products company marks NRG's entry into the mobile solar sector. The companies did not disclose financial details of the deal, which remains subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory clearances, and is expected to be finalized in the third quarter.

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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