Renewable Energy Update -- March 29, 2013

Renewable Energy Focus

California ISO Gives Green Light To Renewable Energy Transmission Projects

North American Wind Power - Mar 21

The California Independent System Operator Corp.'s (CAISO) board of governors has approved five new power-line projects specifically intended to meet California's renewable energy goals. The projects were part of the 2012-2013 transmission plan approved by the board. The plan also identified the need for 36 projects that support regional and national reliability standards. According to the CAISO, the 41 transmission projects approved in the plan - which are estimated to cost approximately $1.7 billion - are needed to maintain the reliability of the transmission system and allow the state to meet its 33% by 2020 renewable portfolio standard.

Senators Introduce Bipartisan Offshore Energy Revenue-Sharing Legislation

North American Wind Power - Mar 21

Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Mary Landrieu, D-La., have introduced legislation designed to ensure that all states receive a fair and equitable share of the revenues from energy production on federal lands and waters. Although states that produce onshore energy keep 50% of royalties, rents and bonuses, states that produce offshore energy receive virtually nothing, Landrieu says. The Fixing America's Inequities with Revenues (FAIR) Act aims to change that by giving 27.5% of revenue from the development of offshore energy - including oil, gas, wind and other renewable energy sources - to coastal states, plus another 10% if the state creates a clean energy or conservation fund, for a total of 37.5%.

Wind Energy Constituted Over 60% Of New U.S. Generating Capacity Added In January And February

North American Wind Power - Mar 18

Wind energy made up 60.5% of all new U.S. electric generating capacity in January and February, according to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) latest Energy Infrastructure Update. According to FERC's report, wind energy beat every resource installed during the first two months of the year, with six projects totaling 958 MW installed. Solar power came in second, with 24 projects totaling 424 MW (26.8% of new generating capacity), followed by natural gas, with two projects totaling 170 MW (10.7%), and biomass, with 25 projects totaling 32 MW (2.0%).

Texas: Wind energy takes off

REVE Wind News - Mar 17

The Texas Panhandle’s wind energy industry is about to be blown away. An international mix of companies has committed to more than doubling the region’s production capacity by spending more than an estimated $3.3 billion on construction of wind farms in the next two years.

How Natural Gas Pipelines Could Boost Hydrogen

EarthTechling - Mar 21

A new report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy on blending hydrogen into natural gas pipelines – an idea being explored in Germany – suggests it could be a worthwhile strategy to pursue, both now to help take advantage of surpluses in intermittent renewable energy production and down the road as a means of distributing hydrogen for use in fuel cells.

Suntech unit nears insolvency, but company may survive

Reuters - Mar 20

A group of Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd lenders want the Chinese solar panel maker's main unit declared insolvent, a sign Beijing's support for the struggling industry is waning. The failure of Wuxi Suntech would be one of China's biggest corporate collapses in recent history and could also be the first big test for China's bankruptcy law since it was introduced in 2007.

Apple Says Data Centers Now Use 100% Renewable Energy

Bloomberg News - Mar 22

In its environmental update, Apple said a 100-acre solar farm next to its largest data center, in Maiden, North Carolina, became fully operational in December. Apple Inc. now uses only renewable energy sources to power its data centers, the iPhone maker said in an updated report on its environmental policies. The company’s data centers now run on energy sources such as solar, wind and eothermal, instead of coal or other fossil fuels, Apple said on its website. The centers house server computers that store and distribute songs, applications and other content from services such as iTunes, iMessage and iCloud.

Report: Inconsistent US regulatory oversight unnecessarily confusing

Think Geo Energy News - Mar 19

The Deputy Inspector General of the U.S. Department of the Interior recently published a report on the activities of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, talking about that the current “regulatory approach differs by region” and thereby “creating confusion. The BLM oversees the development of geothermal resources on federal land and is currently faced with a variety of regulation and not standardized inspection and enforcement program.

California solar capital could require rooftop arrays

Solar Energy - Mar 20

If the Lancaster, California, City Council approves a proposed new building code next week, it will be the first city in the country to require solar panels on all newly constructed homes. The new zoning code would require at least 1 kilowatt of solar on the roofs of all new homes in the Los Angeles suburb.

Wind energy: Eagle death investigated

National Wind Watch - Mar 18

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking for help in investigating the death of a golden eagle found in January near a turbine at a wind farm built recently in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range about 12 miles northeast of Tehachapi.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

Wind Farm Expects Construction Start Off Cape Cod By Year-End

The Huffington Post - Mar 19

Cape Wind said Tuesday it expects to complete financing for its long-delayed 468-megawatt offshore wind farm and start construction of the project in federal water off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, by the end of the year.

SunPower To Pay $20M To Shareholders Over False Reports

Stanford Securities Clearinghouse Settlements - Mar 15

A California federal judge Thursday preliminarily approved a $19.7 million settlement between SunPower Corp. and a class of shareholders who claim the solar-power company falsely inflated earnings reports, leading stock values to fall 20 percent the day the alleged misconduct was revealed.

NextEra Seeks $45 Million for Solar Project Funding

Bloomberg News - Mar 21

NextEra Energy Capital Holdings Inc., a unit of Nextera Energy Inc., sued banks including Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA over claims it’s owed $45 million in funding obligations related to solar power projects in Spain. NextEra Energy, the largest U.S. wind-power operator, filed suit seeking a declaratory judgment against 16 banks for failure to pay a 2011 credit “guarantee agreement” to finance the Spain projects.


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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