Renewable Energy Focus

Wind, solar, biomass provide all new US electrical generating capacity in January 2013

Renewable Energy World News - Feb 20

According to the latest "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's Office of Energy Projects, 1,231 MW of new in-service electrical generating capacity came on line in the United States in January 2013 — all from wind, solar, and biomass sources.

Hard session ahead for renewable energy advocates in Texas

Biz Journal - Feb 15

Renewable energy advocates are bracing this session to defend critical policies that have helped Texas become the leading wind-power state, the Texas Tribune reports. The ascendancy of the Tea Party, an abundance of cheap natural gas and tighter budgets have reduced the sway of the wind industry, according to the Tribune. Solar power advocates anticipate limited gains at best.

Xcel wants to give developers more time for wind credits

Biz Journal - Feb 19

Hoping to give wind-energy developers the time they need to access federal tax credits, Xcel Energy Inc. last week asked Colorado regulators for permission to speed up its request for bids for wind-backed electricity projects. If the PUC approves Xcel’s request, the utility could issue an RFP for wind energy on March 1, and seek approval from the Colorado Public Utilities Commission by October 2013.

S.D. Senate passes incentives for wind projects

Argus Leader News - Feb 19

The South Dakota Senate has approved a measure that would provide financial incentives to encourage construction of wind power projects in the state. The Senate voted 26-7 to send the proposal to the House of Representatives. The bill would give a wind project an incentive payment roughly equal to 2 percent of the construction cost, but wind farms would pay higher taxes later after they begin operating.

Plan to replace NC regulators could hamper solar industry

Biz Journal - Feb 20

Solar developers say a North Carolina Senate proposal to dismiss all the state’s current utility regulators leaves investors and lenders unwilling to commit to new projects, and that unwillingness could persist for months, stalling the growth of the industry in late 2013 going into next year. At issue is a more than half-finished proceeding to set what is called the “avoided-cost rate” for North Carolina’s three major utilities.

NC solar farm to reach 100MWs

Solar Energy - Feb 18

While almost all of the gigantic solar installations in the U.S. are being built out in the Southwest, a growing number of large-scale projects are heading back across the country like a solar jet stream. Most recently North Carolina-based Strata Solar said it would build a $250 million, 100 megawatt photovoltaic farm in Warsaw, N.C. The project is one of the largest solar projects based in the U.S. Southeast (National Solar Group is building a 400 megawatt project in Florida) and proves, again, that utility-scale solar is not the exclusive province of the Southwest. Strata Solar's project is the largest planned for North Carolina, dwarfing the state’s largest PV farm, which is currently at 15.5 megawatts.

Technology advancements key to geothermal growth in U.S.

Think Geo Energy News - Feb 15

As the Geothermal Energy Association prepares to release its annual development report at the State of the Geothermal Energy Industry Briefing on February 26 in Washington, preliminary industry data reveals that year-end geothermal growth in 2012 was up 5% from the previous year. This uptick in development, which produced 147.05 MW of gross online geothermal capacity in 2012, is due in part to pioneering developments in geothermal technology.

Wyden floats plan to boost geothermal energy

Capitol Hill's Energy & Environment Blog - Feb 15

Pieces of new Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden’s legislative agenda are beginning to take shape. On Thursday, Wyden introduced a measure aimed at boosting development of geothermal energy by tweaking the leasing program for tracts of federal land to develop the renewable resource. Currently the Interior Department holds lease sales, and then offers land on a “noncompetitive” basis if no bids are received, Wyden said. The bill, Wyden said, would expand access to land that’s offered outside of competitive lease sales. “This legislation extends the authority for noncompetitive leasing in cases where a geothermal developer wants to gain access to Federal land immediately adjacent to land on which that developer has proven that there is a geothermal resource that will be developed. This will allow a geothermal project to expand onto adjacent land, if necessary, to increase the amount of geothermal energy it can develop.

Sleeping geothermal giant stirs

Forbes News - Feb 20

Rumblings in the geothermal power sector have been highlighted in early 2013 by several important developments. Geothermal startup AltaRock Energy, which is backed by Google, Khosla Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, and Vulcan Capital, has reported cost reductions through the successful creation of multiple engineered geothermal areas from a single drilled well at its Newberry project outside of Bend, Oregon. JP Morgan, meanwhile, has purchased an interest in eight existing geothermal plants owned and operated by a U.S.-based subsidiary of Ormat Technologies.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

LightSail raises another $5.5M for energy storage

Sustainable Business Oregon - Feb 19

LightSail Energy Inc. has raised another $5.5 million -- a second close of its Series D round -- for its compressed air energy storage technology, according to Greentech Media. LightSail is developing utility-scale compressed-air energy storage that would enable renewable energy to be stored for use when it's most needed. For instance, solar power collected in the daytime could be used at night or wind power collected at night could be used in the daytime.

Hannon Armstrong files for $100m clean energy IPO

Think Geo Energy News - Feb 19

Hannon Armstrong, a merchant bank and specialty finance firm, has filed for an initial public offering (IPO) with regulators in the U.S. Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital Inc. is looking to raise $100 million, first as a real estate investment trust and plans then to float on the New York Stock Exchange. The company plans to use the proceeds for the retirement of notes and debt repayment. The company was involved in the development of the Hudson Ranch I geothermal power plant in California by EnergySource, with Mighty River Power (previously via GeoGlobal Energy) and Fuji Electric (for the Hudson Ranch II project) as shareholders that entered during the construction phase of the project. The company is currently constructing phase II of the plant adding another 49 MW to the existing capacity.