Renewable Energy Update -- March 19, 2013

Renewable Energy Focus

DOE Issues Guidebook For Large-Scale Renewable Energy Development At Federal Facilities

Clean Technica - Mar 13

Under the Obama Administration, federal government agencies – the EPA, Departments of Energy, Interior, Defense, and others – have been playing a leading role in blazing the trail toward a clean-energy, low-carbon society. Aiming to keep US clean energy development and growth going strong, the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) on March 11 published a guidebook that “provides best practices and other helpful guidance for federal agencies developing large-scale renewable energy projects.”

Nuclear Industry Withers in U.S. as Wind Pummels Prices

Bloomberg News - Mar 10

A glut of government-subsidized wind power may help accomplish a goal some environmentalists have sought for decades: kill off U.S. nuclear power plants while reducing reliance on electricity from burning coal. That’s the assessment of executives and utility experts after the U.S. wind-energy industry went on a $25 billion growth binge in 2012, racing to qualify for a federal tax credit that was set to expire at year’s end. The surge added a record 13,124 megawatts of wind turbines to the nation’s power grid, up 28 percent from 2011.

O'Malley wins three-year battle over subsidy for offshore wind industry

The Washington Post - Mar 8

After three years of debate, countless revisions and lots of downsizing, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s plan to subsidize development of offshore wind energy passed the state Senate on Friday, all but ensuring final approval in coming days.

Enviros Claim Wind Farm Could Cause Cancer, Diabetes

Law360 - Mar 13

Conservation groups in Southern California sued the Department of the Interior on Tuesday in an attempt to block construction of a wind farm they claim could cause nearby residents to develop health problems ranging from diabetes to cancer to attention deficit disorder. The Protect Our Communities Foundation and Backcountry Against Dumps allege the agency failed to take a “hard look” at the potential for the 186-megawatt project to emit low-frequency sound and “dirty electricity” to cause a litany of ailments, including vertigo, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.

Groups petition for Steens wind project revocation; ONDA, Audubon Society call project 'ill-sited and illegal'

National Wind Watch - Mar 8

The Bend-based Oregon Natural Desert Association (ONDA) and the Audubon Society of Portland said Thursday they have filed a petition asking Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to revoke a 2011 decision allowing “industrial-scale” wind development on southeast Oregon’s Steens Mountain.

Global Geothermal Getting A World Bank Bump

EarthTechling - Mar 9

Geothermal, the renewable energy source with so much going for it but so many hurdles to overcome, is getting some help from the World Bank. The bank last week called on “donors, multilateral banks, governments and the private sector” to back its Global Geothermal Development Plan, which is aimed at supporting exploratory drilling that can help build a steady pipeline of “commercially viable projects that are ready for private investment.”

California City To Buy Only Carbon-Neutral Electricity

North American Wind Power - Mar 8

The Palo Alto (California) City Council has voted to implement a Carbon Neutral Plan, which commits the city to pursuing only carbon-neutral electric resources, effective immediately. Palo Alto owns all of its utilities, and the city has many contracts for renewable energy in its electric portfolio, including wind farms, solar arrays and landfill gas. In addition to these renewable resources, about 50% of the city's electric supply comes from hydroelectric generation.

San Diego Announces Initiative To Go Solar

eSolar Energy News - Mar 9

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and two members of the County Board of Supervisors announced last week an initiative to improve energy efficiency in public buildings, and increase the government, commercial and residential use of solar energy.

Gov. Brown Says Calif. Should Consider Fracking

Law360 - Mar 14

California Gov. Jerry Brown said last week that the state should consider hydraulic fracturing as a means of utilizing its vast fossil fuel deposits, but cautioned that potential implementation of the controversial natural gas extraction method should be carefully examined first.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

DOI Approves Searchlight Wind Energy Project

North American Wind Power - Mar 14

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has approved the 200 MW Searchlight Wind Energy Project, which will be built on land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in Searchlight, Nevada. The Western Area Power Administration is proposing to construct, operate and maintain a new switching station to connect the project to the existing power grid. When built, the project will provide enough electricity to power approximately 70,000 homes, according to the DOI.

BOEM Closer To Awarding Virginia Offshore Wind Energy Research Lease

North American Wind Power - Mar 14

The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has found that there is no competitive interest in the area where the Commonwealth of Virginia's Department of Mines Minerals and Energy (DMME) has proposed to conduct offshore wind energy research. Last year, the DMME submitted to BOEM an unsolicited nomination for a research lease for an area offshore Virginia. As an initial step in the leasing process, BOEM published a public notice to determine if there was other interest in acquiring a research lease for the area in which the proposed project would be located.