Renewable Energy Update -- October 23, 2012

Renewable Energy Focus

BP off-loads assets as it withdraws from China's solar markets

New Energy World Network - Oct 15

Oil giant BP has passed its equity in two solar business joint ventures in China to local business TBEA at no cost in a move that highlights its desire to exit the market. The move, reported in the China Daily, indicates the unsuccessful nature of BP Solar’s activities in the country, since it entered the market seven years ago.

Solyndra presses for bankruptcy plan OK over US objection

Reuters News - Oct 17

Failed solar panel maker Solyndra pressed a federal judge on Wednesday to approve its plan to end its politically charged bankruptcy over objections by the U.S. government, which argued the plan was being used by investors to dodge taxes. Critics say government involvement in the company has cost taxpayers twice: for a $528 million government loan, and for tax breaks potentially worth $340 million that will go to venture capitalists.

Fracking boom boosts water treatment business

Houston Business Journal Headlines - Oct 18

Applying new fracking technology to recover oil and gas from formations such as shale and oil sands creates more wastewater than conventional methods, say scientists with the American Chemical Society — which is good news for the water-treatment industry.

California Sued by Conservation Groups Over Fracking Risk

Bloomberg News - Oct 16

California was sued by the Sierra Club and other groups seeking to block approval of new oil and gas wells because regulators have allegedly failed to consider or evaluate the risks of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Giant Wyoming Wind Project Could Have Bird Issues

EarthTechling - Oct 15

The Obama administration last week approved a Carbon County, Wyoming, site as appropriate for development of the wind farm, which could consists of 1,000 turbines. Environmental groups, however, say the area is prime habitat for the greater sage grouse, a ground bird that the federal government calls “an icon of western sagebrush ecosystems” and that is under consideration for Endangered Species Act listing.

Oregon sees wind energy jump in third quarter

Sustainable Business Oregon News - Oct 18

Thanks to the giant Shepherds Flat wind farm, Oregon saw a significant jump in its installed wind energy capacity in the third quarter, contributing to the 1,833 megawatts of new wind power installed in the U.S. between July and September.

No Agreement Reached In Idaho Wind Curtailment Case, But Some Progress Made On Renewable Energy

North American Wind Power - Oct 18

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) is taking comments through Oct. 25 on a partial settlement proposed by some of the parties to a case addressing contract provisions for small renewable energy projects that enter into sales agreements with regulated electric utilities. The proposed partial settlement requires renewable energy projects to post a security deposit, or performance bond, within 30 days after the commission issues its final order approving a power purchase agreement (PPA).

Idaho PUC Denies Wind Energy Developers' Requests To Reconsider PPAs

North American Wind Power - Oct 16

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission (IPUC) has declined to modify its June 2011 order that denied power purchase agreements (PPAs) between three Murphy Flats wind projects and Idaho Power Co. Last week, the commission denied complaints from the XRG wind project developers regarding what the IPUC calls a "failed attempt to reach sales agreements with PacifiCorp."

Hydrogen Eyed As Clean Grid Stabilizer In Hawaii

EarthTechling - Oct 16

Hydrogen for renewable energy storage, obtained by electrolysis of water, hasn’t gotten much play in the United States, but a novel project unfolding in Hawaii could provide some real-world insight into the viability of the technology as a grid-management tool.

Electric Car Battery Maker A123 Systems Files Bankruptcy

Bloomberg Law Legal News - Oct 16

A123 Systems Inc., a maker of rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for electric cars, filed for bankruptcy after failing to make a debt payment that was due last week.


Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

SolarCity scores first utility deal, and why that's important

Earth2Tech Blog - Oct 18

SolarCity, which started as a residential solar installer and is planning a $201 million IPO , has now jumped into building solar panel farms for utilities. The company announced on Thursday a deal to build a 14 MW project for Hawaiian utility Kaua’i Island Utility Cooperative. The project is unusual because SolarCity, founded in 2006, has spent most of its resources building up an installation and financing business for residential and business customers (including schools and public agencies). This business has positioned the company as an electric retail service provider who competes with utilities.

Solar Junction Breaks Its Own World Record

SYS-CON - Oct 15

Silicon Valley based solar energy company Solar Junction, a developer of high efficiency multi-junction solar energy cells for the concentrating photovoltaics market, has set a world record for energy efficiency of a commercial-ready production solar cell.

First Solar And Its Antelope Valley Solar Project Chug Along

EarthTechling - Oct 24

Behind schedule because of their standoff with Los Angeles County, First Solar is powering ahead to get phase one of its 230-megawatt Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One on-line by the end of 2012.

Solar Power Generates Big Savings in Salinas, California

Department of Energy Blog - Oct 15

From a distance, the new structure at Monterey County’s Laurel Yard Complex in Salinas, California, looks like an ordinary parking lot canopy, but a closer inspection shows it is actually an impressive array of solar panels that is expected to save the county thousands of dollars a year in energy costs. Monterey County’s new 141 kilowatt solar photovoltaic energy system has the capacity to convert sunlight into 192,000 kilowatt hours of energy per year -- an energy output equivalent of more than 15,000 gallons of gas or 1,150 60-watt light bulbs. The system generates enough energy to power all eight public works facilities and offices at the county-owned Laurel Yard Complex for six months out of the year, effectively cutting annual power bills in half.

T. Boone's wind farm plans finally blow away

Earth2Tech Blog - Oct 15

Looks like former oil-baron turned clean power advocate, T. Boone Pickens, won’t be building his wind farm after all, according to a report in the Minneapolis StarTribune . Pickens has reportedly sold off all of his stake in a wind farm in Goodhue County, Minnesota, which has been under discussion for about two years.

AltaGas Ltd. commissions its first wind farm in the U.S.

OilVoice Headlines - Oct 17

AltaGas Ltd. announced the successful commissioning of the Busch Ranch Wind Project in southern Colorado. AltaGas owns a 50 percent interest in the 29 MW wind project with the local utility Black Hills/Colorado Electric Utility Company LP. The power generated from AltaGas' 50 percent interest is sold pursuant to a 25-year renewable energy purchase agreement with Black Hills Energy.

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