Bakersfield Californian - Feb 22
Mt. Poso Cogeneration Co. announced that its 44MW power plant near Bakersfield no longer burns coal but runs entirely on tree trimmings, agricultural residue and other biomass feedstock. The announcement marks the end of a 15-month project, earlier estimated to cost $50 million, to convert the plant in a way that reduces emissions. After producing limited biomass-fueled power in November, Mt. Poso said it is now at full capacity, generating enough electricity to supply about 35,000 homes.
Forbes - Feb 17
First Solar has settled the permit issues that have been delaying the completion of funding for the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch project the company has been building in California for Exelon. The company previously said that a DOE loan crucial to the project had been delayed due to a local permitting issue, and that First Solar might have to buy back the project from Exleon if the issue could not be resolved. A Collins Stewart analyst writes in a research note that he has had multiple conversations with various permit-issuing groups in Los Angeles County, and that most were unaware that there remained an outstanding permitting issue on the project.
Business Wire / Borrego Solar - Feb 21
California-based Borrego Solar Systems was awarded a contract by the General Services Administration (GSA), under which the company will provide solar installation services to federal agencies. The company's solar installation services are in increased demand, particularly with the Department of Defense, which is expected to continue to increase spending on renewable energy, reaching $10 billion annually by 2030, according to Pike Research. The GSA contract win will help bolster Borrego Solar's growing federal portfolio.
Renewable Energy World - Feb 17
Southern California Edison has won approval to modify a PV program that won praise for its intent to promote distributed, rooftop generation when it received the initial thumbs-up from state regulators in 2009. With the changes, though, the utility will look for larger and more ground-mounted projects and scale back the plan to build some of the projects on its own. The CPUC approved the changes to the 500MW PV program, a year after SCE filed the request for modification.
Imperial Valley Press - Feb 22
The Imperial Irrigation District Board of Directors showed support for an economic-based wheeling rate. However, a vote will have to wait 60 days while the district gets stakeholder input on an adjusted charge on renewable energy developers, said CFO Greg Broeking. Concerns have been raised about the wheeling rate -- a charge to transport electricity across IID power lines to areas outside the district's service area -- specifically about whether the district's fee would be "pancaked" on to the California Independent System Operator's existing rate. The rate proposed would increase the wholesale transmission rate cost from $3.29 per MWh to $3.94 per MWh. It is a smaller rate than the California ISO's $6.82 per MWh. While it does not eliminate the "pancaking" effect, the district hopes to mitigate it substantially, Broeking said.
Greentech Media - Feb 21
The Southern California Edison Tehachapi Wind Energy Storage project will test the capabilities of an 8MW, 32 MWh lithium-ion battery at SCE's Monolith substation in the wind-rich Tehachapi Mountains, according to Mark Irwin, a director in SCE's advanced technology department. To fund the $53.5 million test, DOE will supply nearly $25 million and other partners, including the CPUC and A123 Systems, will supply over $29.9 million. The battery storage system is now being installed and is scheduled to go operational late in 2012. Testing will run for a minimum of 24 months. The lithium-ion phosphate battery system will take four hours to charge and will discharge over four hours. It will occupy an unmanned 6,300-square-foot building at Monolith. Monitoring will be done remotely.
SustainableBusiness.com - Feb 20
Two of California's largest utilities are now getting 20% of their energy from renewables as required by the state's Renewable Portfolio Standard -- 20% by 2010. The companies are a year late, but Southern California Edison and SDG&E hit the target in 2011. That is impressive considering the law was passed five years ago (in 2006) and, just 10 years ago, SDG&E sourced only 1% from renewables.
Los Angeles Times - Feb 21
California companies raked in $2.8 billion, or 57%, of the $4.9 billion in venture capital offered up in the so-called clean-tech category of funding nationwide in 2011, according to an analysis from Ernst & Young. Massachusetts companies were a distant second with $465.1 million, followed by Colorado companies, which pulled in $363.3 million. The $4.9 billion in total venture funding was a 4.5% decline from 2010. But Jay Spencer, Ernst & Young's Americas clean-tech director, said the amount was encouraging for an industry still finding its footing in a weak economy.
Capitol Weekly - Feb 21
As California's attempt to curb climate-changing greenhouse gases ramps up, critical pieces of the landmark law remain uncertain, including the impact of the auctions of hundreds of millions of so-called "emission allowances" that will serve as the spur for utilities, refiners and others to comply. Over the next eight years, the quarterly auctions by some estimates are projected to raise between $8 billion and $41 billion, with the money going to everything from helping balancing the state budget to promoting the virtues of clean energy to giving breaks to millions of residential and commercial electricity customers. In this electronic auction, bids may be submitted weeks in advance.