Renewable Energy Update -- August 8, 2012

Renewable Energy Focus

Mitt Romney would let wind energy tax credit expire, campaign says

Denver Post Political Spot Blog - Jul 30

Mitt Romney ’s campaign said last week the Republican presidential candidate would let the wind production tax credit expire, drawing a clear distinction between Romney and President Barack Obama on an issue that could affect up to 5,000 jobs in Colorado. Obama supports the tax credit – which is set to expire at the end of this year – and has urged Congress to extend it. The Romney campaign has indicated in the past that he didn’t think “technology-specific incentives” are a good idea , but until last week the campaign has not said if Romney would phase out the credit or allow it to expire this year.

Solyndra files reorganization plan

SF Gate - Jul 30

Solyndra LLC, the solar-panel maker that received a $535 million U.S. Energy Department loan guarantee before seeking bankruptcy protection, has filed a Chapter 11 reorganization plan. The plan, filed July 27 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del., provides for holders of allowed administrative expenses and priority claims to be paid in full, and assets of Solyndra will be vested in the Solyndra Residual Trust.

California carbon twice as expensive as European

Solar Thermal Magazine - Jul 29

A reduction in regulatory uncertainty in California, and concern about a nuclear power outage, have helped to push the price of a carbon allowance in the US’ most populous state to more than double that in the much longer-established European Union Emissions Trading System. The value of a California Carbon Allowance (CCA) for delivery in December 2012 closed at $19.50 per metric ton of CO2 equivalent (EUR16.04/tCO2) on 24 July, the highest closing price of the year so far. The price for European Union Allowances (EUAs) for delivery in December 2012 closed at EUR7.20/tCO2 on the same day.

Wildlife kill data under scrutiny

National Wind Watch - Aug 1

Wildlife lobby group American Bird Conservancy (ABC) has filed a lawsuit accusing the government of withholding public information on the number of birds and bats killed by wind farms. ABC submitted Freedom of Information Act requests for all documents belonging to the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) department that relates to proposed and operating wind projects in multiple US states.

Bankruptcy Court Confirms Liquidation Plan for Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. and United Solar Ovonic LLC

Solar Thermal Magazine - Jul 31

Energy Conversion Devices , Inc. and its wholly-owned subsidiary United Solar Ovonic LLC announced that the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan has confirmed its Second Amended Joint Plan of Liquidation. On July 30, 2012, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan entered a confirmation order in respect of the Second Amended Joint Plan of Liquidation. The confirmation order is expected to become final on August 14, 2012.

Solar plan “shaves years off” solar permit process in NV

Fox Reno - Jul 31

It's been two years in the making, and now "Smart from the Start" planning for solar development in the Southwest is expected to start paying off for the Silver State. The federal government has identified a half-dozen sites for large-scale solar development, mostly in Southern Nevada. Former president of the National Association of State Utility Consumer Advocates, Timothy Hay, says rather than taking a dartboard approach to site selection where they hope to hit the bulls-eye, this plan identifies locations for large-scale solar projects where developers reduce the risk running into such difficult environmental issues as potential harm to endangered species.

Suntech Capital Needs Won’t Be Met by Wall Street, Analysts Say

Bloomberg News - Jul 31

Suntech Power Holdings Co., the Chinese solar-panel producer that may have been defrauded by an affiliate, has about $541 million in debt due in March and won’t get any help from Wall Street, three analysts said. U.S. investors have lost confidence in the world’s largest solar company after it said it hadn’t verified the existence of 560 million euros ($689 million) in German bonds.

Palo Alto, Calif. Had a Solar Feed-In Tariff and Nobody Came

GreenTech GridTech News - Aug 2

One of the problems with solar feed-in-tariffs is that if the price is set too high -- there's a frantic goldrush to claim the richly subsidized projects. If the price is too low -- there's not too much enthusiasm by developers to build marginal projects. That's what appears to have occurred in Palo Alto in the heart of Silicon Valley, California. Jon Abendschein, Resource Planner at The City of Palo Alto Utilities just sent out a letter which said: Tuesday, July 31 was the deadline for submitting an application to receive a Palo Alto CLEAN contract in August. No applications were received, so there is still 4 megawatts of capacity remaining in the program.

Sierra Club targets GOP lawmakers for opposing wind energy tax credit

Capitol Hill's Energy & Environment Blog - Jul 30

An environmental group launched ads last week targeting three GOP lawmakers for failing to push for an extension of a tax credit for wind energy producers, charging them with killing green energy jobs. The Sierra Club will air commercials attacking Reps. Blake Farenthold (Texas), Bill Shuster (Ariz.) and Bob Latta (Ohio) in their respective districts for the next two weeks. The ads spotlight the lawmakers' opposition to the wind energy production tax credit (PTC), which pays 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour of wind energy to producers.

SoloPower’s Second Generation Flexible Modules Certified to UL and IEC Standards

Solar Thermal Magazine - Jul 29

SoloPower, the San Jose, California-based manufacturer of high efficiency, lightweight, and flexible thin-film solar cells and modules, has received certification of its next-generation SF1, SP1, and SP3L SoloPanels(R) to both Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standards.

Gulf turbine plan sparks wildlife debate

National Wind Watch - Jul 29

The 300 offshore wind turbines proposed for the Gulf of Mexico near South Padre Island would rival the Tower of the Americas in height, with 280-foot blades longer than the wingspan of a Boeing 747. They would be almost twice the size of any turbine currently in the United States. The electricity produced could meet the demand of millions. But the towers, blades and transmission lines could also mar an iconic Texas landscape, restrict fishing and impair endangered species.

California: Ground Zero For Battery-Backed Solar

EarthTechling - Jul 28

California leads the nation in rooftop solar panels, which means it may soon start leading the nation in the technologies that integrate that solar into the grid – like batteries, if they can do it at the right price. That’s the test that Greensmith Energy Management Systems will be taking on a megawatt scale soon. The Bethesda, Md.-based startup makes software and hardware for managing batteries and their connection to the grid, including several solar-balancing projects with the likes of Hawaii Electric Co., Carolina utility Progress Energy (now part of Duke Energy), and big Southeast utility Southern Co.

No plans to dump Wyoming’s wind energy tax

National Wind Watch - Jul 28

Wyoming’s tax on wind energy, the only one of its kind in the nation, isn’t likely to go away anytime soon. The Wyoming legislative committee that voted down revisions to state wind taxes doesn’t plan to revisit the matter before the upcoming session, according to two of its members. But others are hopeful lawmakers will reconsider the issue. At stake are millions of dollars in taxes that some worry will drive wind energy projects out of Wyoming.

Hartz accuses NY hedge affiliate of fraud over energy credit deal

North Jersey News - Aug 1

A subsidiary of Hartz Mountain Industries has filed suit accusing a New York investment fund of fraud by reneging on a pledge to buy energy credits from the Secaucus company’s South Jersey solar project, at a cost of $230,000.

Fracking boom lifts hopes for geothermal project at Ore. volcano

E&E Greenwire - Jul 30

No matter what it may sound like, Susan Petty insists she's not trying to frack a volcano. Petty, the founder and president of the Seattle startup AltaRock Energy Inc., says she is just trying to do for geothermal energy what hydraulic fracturing has done for oil and gas.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

FirstSolar to develop 139MW Campo Verde Project in US

Clean Technology Business Review News - Aug 2

First Solar is to develop the 139MW Campo Verde Solar Project, near El Centro in Imperial County, California. The company is expected to begin construction of the project in the latter half of 2012 with the completion expected in 2013. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) will purchase the energy produced by the project under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

Borrego secures financing for Mass. solar installations

Solar Energy - Aug 1

Borrego Solar secured $64.4 million in new financing that will enable the company to install more than 18 megawatts of solar in Massachusetts. San Diego-based Borrego has been established in Massachusetts since 2007 with 40 percent of its employees based there. Borrego owns and operates the solar systems it installs and signs power purchase agreements with its clients, who buy power from the company.

Borrego Joins OneRoof, SolarCity and Sunrun in the Third-Party Solar Cash Boom

GreenTech GridTech News - Jul 31

Third-party-owned solar from firms like SolarCity, Sunrun , Borrego, and OneRoof continues to be an attractive investment and asset class for banks with an appetite for tax equity. $200 million went to SolarCity and Sunrun last week . This week saw OneRoof indicate their plans for a $100 million rooftop fund. Borrego Solar just announced their own $65 million fund for corporate, education and municipal customers with backing from U.S. Bank and National Cooperative Bank (NCB). That brings Borrego's total to $225 million of solar funds being applied to PPAs.

First Green Mountain Power wind turbine raised on Lowell Mountain

VT Digger News - Jul 30

The first of 21 wind turbines for Green Mountain Power’s Kingdom Community Wind project was erected last week, and it has already weathered a protest and an unexpected traffic accident. The wind farm is expected to be complete by the end of 2012, if the winter weather permits. But about two weeks ago, dozens of protestors temporarily blocked trucks carrying equipment from driving to the Lowell Mountain site. Then three days later, a truck carrying turbine equipment tipped over on a highway. Critical reaction to the project and its first turbine tower remains heated.

Blue Earth acquires rights to Hawaii solar farm in West Oahu

Biz Journal - Jul 27

Nevada-based Blue Earth Inc. has acquired the rights to a 497-kilowatt solar farm in West Oahu. The photovoltaic system, called Waianae PV-2, has a fully-executed 20-year power purchase agreement with Hawaiian Electric Co., Blue Earth. Construction of the $2 million project, which will be mounted on the ground, is expected to begin in the third quarter and completed by the first quarter of 2013.

GCL Solar Energy Unloads 92 MW of U.S. Pipeline for $266M

Green Tech Solar News - Jul 27

GCL Solar Energy, the industry-leading polysilicon manufacturer 's project development subsidiary, has sold 92 megawatts of its U.S. project pipeline to an undisclosed New-York based developer for $266 million, approximately $2.89 per watt. The two projects, the 26-megawatt Alpaugh North and 66-megawatt Alpaugh 50 PV farms, are currently under development in Tulare County, California.

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Published In: Energy & Utilities Updates, Environmental Updates

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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