Renewable Energy Update -- February 6, 2013

Renewable Energy Focus

All energy, including renewables, impact water resources

EarthTechling - Jan 26

Water resources, energy and land use are so mutually dependent that climate-related disruptions to any one of them could lead to economically devastating ripple effects — especially as a growing population puts increasing strains on all three. That’s one conclusion of a recent report issued by a federal advisory committee charged with assessing how climate change has already affected the U.S., and what the future holds. The National Climate Assessment draft report, nearly 1,200 pages long, explores how the Earth’s climate is controlled by a complex system of interconnections, and, more specifically, how when the climate changes, those interconnections can make for all sorts of troubles.

7 projects looking to use big data to cut the cost of solar power

Earth2Tech Blog - Jan 31

The Department of Energy is putting a collective $9 million into 7 projects being developed at universities and government labs that will use big data to lower the cost of solar in various ways. The projects, at places like Yale, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, will be focused on using analytics to lower the cost of solar installations and make solar cells more efficient.

Cape Wind might land federal loan

Cape Cod Times - Jan 25

The Department of Energy is again considering a loan to Cape Wind, the planned Nantucket Sound wind farm whose request for federal aid was shelved in 2011. In a sign of fresh activity in the Obama administration's loan program to jump-start renewable-energy production, Cape Wind's application for a government loan is again under "active review," said a representative for Cape Wind developer Energy Management Inc. of Boston. Cape Wind, which would be the U.S.'s first offshore wind farm, had previously applied to the federal government for a nearly $2 billion guaranteed loan, but is now being considered for a "considerably" smaller loan, with a decision possible by spring, according to a person familiar with the loan application. The DOE currently has the authority to back about $1.5 billion in renewable-energy loans.

Ralls sues to void U.S. wind-farm purchase Obama blocked

Bloomberg News - Jan 29

Ralls Corp., the Chinese-owned company blocked on national security grounds from operating wind turbines near a U.S. Navy base in Oregon, asked a judge to void its agreement to buy assets for the project. President Barack Obama’s order blocking development of the wind project nullifies Ralls’s acquisition of the project’s property from Terna Energy Holding USA Corp., Ralls said in a complaint filed in federal court in Washington against a Delaware-incorporated unit of Terna Energy SA, a Greek energy company.

Winds of uncertainty still blowing through Texas turbines

The Star-Telegram - Jan 26

The wind turbines that dot parts of rural Texas will be around for years, but the days of new wind farms popping up seemingly overnight appear to be slowing down, if not coming to an end. Many wind farm developers are waiting for a clear definition from the Treasury Department on what starting construction by the end of 2013 actually means before committing to new projects.

Plan would bring wind power from the Great Plains to California

The Sacramento Bee - Jan 27

Denver billionaire Philip Anschutz, who has pushed to bring a football stadium to Los Angeles, also wants to bring wind power to California. A plan being marketed in Sacramento would bring California utilities thousands of megawatts of electricity from a massive wind farm in Wyoming being developed by the entertainment and energy mogul who also developed L.A. Live and Staples Center.

Environmental groups fight Kern County over wind farm

CourtHouse News - Jan 28

Kern County and environmentalists filed opening briefs in a CEQA battle in Kern County Superior Court over a proposed 300-megawatt wind farm. The lawsuit is one of many nationwide in which environmentalists claim that clean energy wind farms pose their own threats to the environment. This lawsuit involves a plan by North Sky River Energy to build up to 116 wind turbines on 13,535 acres of privately owned land northeast of Tehachapi in the southern Sierra Nevadas. The environmental groups arrayed against the County in this lawsuit are Sierra Club, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Defenders of Wildlife.

Terra-Gen to install bird monitoring at Alta Wind Energy Centre

Wind Power Monthly News - Jan 25

In California, Kern County supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the 318MW Alta East. Currently the cluster has a combined capacity of 1.3GW and will eventually go to 3GW. As a condition of the expansion, developer Terra-Gen Power must install a special VHF monitoring system. It will detect signals from radio transmitters worn by some of the condors even from 16 miles away. Turbines would then be shut down selectively if the condors come closer.

Hawaii Electric Light Co. seeks developers of geothermal energy on Big Island

Biz Journal - Jan 25

Hawaii Electric Light Co. said Friday that it filed a proposed final geothermal request for proposals with the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission. HELCO, a subsidiary of Hawaiian Electric Industries subsidiary Hawaiian Electric Co., is seeking approval to issue the 50-megawatt geothermal RFP and begin the bidding process to find potential developers of geothermal resources on the Big Island.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

First Solar acquires 50 MWAC Macho Springs Project from Element Power Solar

eSolar Energy News - Jan 31

First Solar, Inc. and Element Power Solar announced that First Solar has acquired the 50-megawattAC Macho Springs Solar project that Element Power Solar has developed in Luna County, N.M. When complete, it will be the state’s largest solar power project.

CPUC approves 150-MW Concentrating Solar Power Project in California

REVE Wind News - Jan 26

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) approved a power purchase agreement for PG&E Corp., the owner of California’s largest utility, to receive power from a 150-MW solar-thermal project in California’s Sonoran Desert.


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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