Renewable Energy Update -- December 6, 2012

Renewable Energy Focus

Efforts to Repeal State Renewable Energy Standards Continue

Hoosier Ag Today - Nov 26

The Heartland Institute and the American Legislative Exchange Council are working together to see state renewable energy mandates across the country reversed. Twenty-nine states and Washington, D.C. have binding renewable energy standards. Model legislation – the Electricity Freedom Act – would repeal these standards. The Council says they are essentially taxes on consumers of electricity.

US modernizes Native Indian land regulations for renewables development

PV Tech News - Nov 29

The US Department of the Interior has announced the final regulations that will streamline the leasing approval process on Native Indian land for commercial development, including renewable energy projects. Currently held in trust by the federal government, the new leasing process will expedite the expansion of Native Indian land to generate investment and create jobs in their communities.

Senate gives green light to Pentagon green energy

Norristown Times Herald - Nov 29

The Senate last week gave the green light to the Pentagon's investment in green energy. By a vote of 62-37 on Wednesday, November 28, the Senate backed an amendment that would delete a provision in the defense bill prohibiting the military from spending money on alternative fuels if the cost exceeded traditional fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil. The Pentagon has opposed the provision that a sharply divided Senate Armed Services Committee added in May. The Navy and Air Force have pushed to use more biofuels to operate its aircraft and ships, with military leaders suggesting a greater reliance on alternative sources in the next decade to ease dependence on foreign oil.

DOE funding decision soon on pilot wind floaters off California

Recharge News - Nov 28

A public-private group expects the US Energy Department (DOE) to decide soon on whether to provide funding to support its proposal for a pilot wind project in the Pacific Ocean off California that will demonstrate floating tension-leg turbine platform technology.

Sany Wind-Farm Company asks judge to consider Obama suit

Bloomberg News - Nov 28

An affiliate of Sany Group Co., China’s biggest machinery maker, urged a U.S. judge to consider its lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama’s decision to block a corporate transaction on national security grounds. Lawyers for Ralls Corp. told U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson during a hearing last week that Obama violated the company’s constitutional rights by shutting down a planned Oregon wind-farm project without explanation or any opportunity to seek to change the President’s mind.

Nonprofit sues federal agency to stop Kibby Mountain wind farm

National Wind Watch - Nov 27

A nonprofit organization filed a federal lawsuit last week in a last-ditch effort to prevent the planned expansion of the Kibby Mountain wind farm in northwestern Maine. The Friends of the Boundary Mountains filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Portland against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, claiming the federal agency neglected several federal laws in late September when it provided a permit to TransCanada Maine Wind Development Inc.

Fracking companies embrace solar to cut carbon emissions

Bloomberg News - Nov 29

The vast majority of hydraulic fracturing sites in the U.S. are powered by emissions-spewing, noisy diesel engines. So, Ron Hyden, who’s seen a lot during his four decades in the oil patch, is eager to show off something new: a machine used in fracking that relies on gravity and electricity generated from solar panels to send sand into a labyrinth of tubes before it’s shot underground to prop open tiny cracks in natural gas- or oil-bearing rock.

Just 2% of U.S. geothermal power could supply 2,500 times our energy needs

Money Morning News - Nov 28

MIT estimates that just 2% of the heat below the United States at depths of 3-10 kilometers would be enough to supply 2,500 times the nation's current energy needs. The compelling part about geothermal energy is that it isn't as cost-intensive as solar or wind. It's also far more reliable - available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at consistent, predictable levels. That means more geothermal energy can be uploaded to the grid far more efficiently and on a larger scale than either solar or wind.

Large waste-to-fuel project hangs on federal subsidy renewal

North Bay Business Journal - Nov 26

A $40 million project near Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport that would convert agricultural waste such as chicken manure into natural gas, electricity and certified-organic fertilizer has run afoul of the 2013 expiration of a federal renewable-energy incentive said to be crucial to the economics of the venture. The Sonoma County Farms to Fuel Project had a green light from local government to start construction, approval for $35 million in low-interest state bond financing, a $3.37 million state matching grant and a market for about half the estimated plant revenue. But the project has been on hold for months, after it became apparent it wouldn’t be finished and on line by the end of next year, the current sunset for a federal business energy investment tax credit equal to 30 percent of project costs for renewable-energy sources.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

National Grid invests $40M in wind energy network across states including Oklahoma

National Wind Watch - Nov 28

National Grid Plc, which manages electricity networks in Great Britain and three Northeast states in the U.S., has invested $40 million in Clean Line Energy Partners LLC to help the company build power lines for inland wind farms. Clean Line plans to use the funding to develop four projects that will deliver 14,000 megawatts of wind power generated in Oklahoma, Kansas, Texas, Iowa and New Mexico to consumers in other states.

SunEdison signs 20 MW PPA with the City of Riverside

eSolar Energy News - Nov 29

SunEdison, a leading worldwide solar energy services provider and a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials, announced a new 25 year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to deliver 20 MW to Riverside Public Utilities, the municipal electric utility of the City of Riverside, California. SunEdison will construct the 20 MW North Lake I Solar plant on previously disturbed land owned by the Metropolitan Water District near the Diamond Valley Lake reservoir in western Riverside County.

Cape Wind Proceeds With Financing After Contract Approved

Bloomberg News - Nov 26

Cape Wind Associates LLC, the developer of a 468-megawatt wind farm off the coast of Massachusetts, said regulators approved a power sales contract with utility Nstar, bringing the project one step closer to financing. The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities approved the 15-year power purchase agreement for 129 megawatts of the offshore wind farm’s capacity, Cape Wind said in an e-mailed statement. The Boston-based developer has a separate deal with National Grid Plc (NG/) for half of the project’s output that was upheld by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court in December.

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