Renewable Energy Focus

DOE's Loan Programs Office has financed $16 billion in renewables, and more is coming

Renewable Energy World - Aug 24

The Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office (LPO) has loaned $16 billion to renewable energy projects with 85 percent going to solar projects as part of the Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Guess how much it lost during the nation’s worst recession since the Great Depression? Less then $1 billion. Overall, the LPO has about $34 billion in funds that have supported new technologies, from Tesla Motors (which paid back its $465 million loan in May) to nuclear power to new fossil fuel technologies.

DOE releases clean energy resource guide

North American Wind Power - Aug 29

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has developed a comprehensive resource guide that will allow both public and private sectors to find capital for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. The DOE's "Guide to Federal Finance Facilities Available for Energy Efficiency Upgrades and Clean Energy Deployment" lists the various federal financing programs for which clean energy and energy efficiency qualify. The guide is intended to serve as a "Yellow Pages” to identify in one place the various finance facilities available for clean energy.

NREL study suggests cost gap for wind, solar in Western U.S. could narrow by 2025

Renewable Energy Magazine - Sep 10

A new National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) study suggests that if future development of renewable energy projects occurs in the most productive locations in the Western U.S., wind and solar electricity generation could become cost-competitive, without federal subsidies, by 2025. The report, "Beyond Renewable Portfolio Standards: An Assessment of Regional Supply and Demand Conditions Affecting the Future of Renewable Energy in the West," compares the cost of renewable electricity generation (without federal subsidy) from the West’s most productive renewable energy resource areas — including any needed transmission and integration costs — with the cost of energy from a new natural gas-fired generator built near the customers it serves.

Wind turbines don't hurt home values, study says

LA Times - Money & Company News - Aug 27

Wind power turbines, which are increasingly dotting California's mountain and desert regions, don't appear to be having a negative effect on home values, according to a new report by the Lawrence-Berkeley National Laboratory. The research, supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, analyzed more than 50,000 home sales near 67 wind farms in 27 counties across nine states. "We find no statistical evidence that operating wind turbines has had any measurable impact on home sales prices," said Berkeley's Ben Hoen, the lead author of the study.

Americans want more wind, less costs

Fuel Fix - Aug 27

Americans overwhelmingly want more wind energy, but projects that could make that happen have been mired in controversy and concern, experts said at a Houston conference on Tuesday. About 76 percent of Americans want more wind energy to be added to electric grids nationwide, according to a Texas A&M study that was cited at the Texas Offshore Wind Energy Roundtable Conference in Houston’s Galleria area. While offshore wind projects could tap into an abundant resource of wind, the United States has been slow to add any turbines in its waters. This year alone, Europe has added 6 gigawatts of offshore wind power generating capacity, said John Pappas, director of the Texas A&M Wind Energy Center. The U.S. has only added 20 kilowatts, a fraction of 1 percent of the European 2013 total, Pappas said.

Hawaii jumps to second place in Ernst & Young rankings of U.S. state solar markets; California continues to lead

Solar Server News - Aug 26

Ernst & Young (London) has moved Hawaii to second place among U.S. states in its assessment of the state's long-term solar market outlook. The state now follows only California in the company's August 2013 “United States renewable energy attractiveness indices." Hawaii also earned second place in the “all renewables” category, up from seventh place. Ernst & Young notes that Hawaii currently gets a larger percentage of its electricity from solar than any other state, as part of its goal to reach 40 percent renewable energy by 2030.

U.S. solar installation frequency hits one every four minutes

PV Tech News - Aug 23

The uptake of residential solar PV systems has elevated installation rates to one installation every four minutes in 2013 and could rise to one system every 83 seconds by 2016, according to leading industry analysts. Shayle Kann, vice president of GTM Research, said that although the data is taken from the first quarter of this year, the frequency of installations indicates a bullish few years ahead for the residential market. "This is tracking is the frequency of installations which is a proxy for the number of installations," he said. "That goes up a lot year over year which can only happen if we have relatively bullish expectations for the residential market." GTM Research forecasts that there will be 136,000 systems installed this year, 128,000 of which will be residential. This is a dramatic increase from 43,000 system installations in 2010 from 2006, when installers were putting up one system every 80 minutes.

NRG Energy makes a strategic move into demand response

GreenTech Efficiency News - Aug 23

NRG Energy acquired Energy Curtailment Specialists on Thursday to make a play in the demand response market, particularly in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic regions. ECS was one of the largest private demand response players out there, with more than 2,000 megawatts under its control. Although ECS works across the U.S., much of the load it manages is in the Northeast. ECS is headquartered in Buffalo, New York. The move is part of NRG’s retail ambitions to provide more than just energy. “We look for sustainable, competitive products that go beyond per commodities,” said Jim Steffes, president of NRG Retail Northeast. “We want to give our product a more wholesome energy solution.” Many energy retailers and big utilities are starting to understand that they cannot simply sit back and deliver electricity like they used to. One of ECS’ strengths was its customer-driven approach to demand response, which it used to quietly build a sizable portfolio of more than 5,000 customers.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

Ormat receives approval for 40-megawatt project near Mammoth Lakes

Think Geo Energy News - Aug 29

Ormat Nevada received Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service approval for the 40-megawatt Caso Diablo IV geothermal project near Mammoth Lakes, California. Ormat Nevada will develop the project on public and private land, and the project will generate more than 180 construction jobs. When completed, the project will produce enough energy to power 36,000 homes.

Heating up: Klamath Basin geothermal project keeps getting warmer

Klamath Herald News - Aug 27

New geothermal projects on public and private lands in the Klamath Basin are one step closer to becoming a reality. Entiv Organic Energy announced Monday that it is applying for construction permits on the 9.7-megawatt Klamath Hills project south of Klamath Falls. The proposed geothermal plant would be on the land of the Barnes family, leased by Entiv Organic Energy. Entiv is a company formed to pursue such projects and spearheaded locally by Mike Noonan, a Klamath Basin farmer. Thus far, high-volume, low-heat geothermal energy plants of this sort operate only in Germany, Japan, and Iceland, Entiv officials said previously.