Renewable Energy Update

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

New DOE loan guarantee program

Green Tech Solar News - Feb 27

The Department of Energy is targeting from $1.5 billion to as much as $4 billion for a new renewable energy project loan guarantee program, one that could open the door to solicitations for a range of smaller-scale, distributed, and grid-integrated projects by the end of this year. The amount will be a lot less than the $16 billion in loans DOE delivered to the first round of utility-scale solar PV and solar thermal projects like SunPower's California Valley Solar Ranch, Abengoa’s Solana project, NRG Solar's Agua Caliente project, and others. The last loan from that program, known as the 1705 program, was issued in September 2011, and DOE has remained mostly quiet on new loan guarantee opportunities since then.

Google, SunPower, Adobe, and eBay innovate to save water in drought-hit California

The Guardian - Feb 25

Silicon Valley companies are employing low and high tech measures, from robotics to 'hydrozoning', to help save water. For instance, SunPower has turned to robots to minimize the water used to clean hundreds of thousands of solar panels installed at the photovoltaic power plants it develops. Water consumption by solar power plants built in the desert Southwest of the U.S. has been a hot-button issue in recent years.

New report shows increased investor interest in commercial solar power

Solar Builder Magazine - Feb 25

Investor interest in commercial solar projects has more than doubled in the last 12 months according to a report by Mercatus, Inc. The organization’s year-end analysis of commercial solar project investment and development trends revealed a large increase in the investment in solar projects. The report shows growth by more than 200 percent in the number of projects evaluated for investors and developers from 2012 to 2013.

California startup turns old wind turbines into gold

- Feb 25

PowerWorks is part of a niche market that is emerging for selling old wind turbines. The firm takes old, 100-kilowatt models that would otherwise head to the scrap yard and replaces their well-worn screws, gears, bearings, and generators with gleaming new parts. While earlier attempts by U.S. companies to sell the models at home have waned, demand appears to be picking up in developing countries and island nations—places where wind power costs far less than electricity from imported fossil fuels, but where ponying up millions of dollars for today's massive wind turbines doesn't make sense.

Solar with batteries could allow U.S. 'grid defection' by 2030

PV Tech News - Feb 26

A new Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) report claims that it could be possible for portions of the U.S. to "defect" away from using grid networks entirely by 2030, using PV coupled with storage. The report features what RMI claims is the first detailed analysis of when and where it will be possible for users of solar coupled with storage in the U.S. to go off-grid.

U.S. 2014 National Geothermal Student Competition launched

Think Geo Energy News - Feb 25

The 2014 National Geothermal Student Competition (GSC), sponsored by the Geothermal Technologies Office in the U.S. Department of Energy, seeks to engage college and university students in its goal of advancing the development of geothermal as a domestic clean energy resource. In previous years, GSC topics have included field analysis of the Snake River Plain and development of a geothermal power business plan.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

Tesla announces plans for Gigafactory - Feb 27

Tesla is back in the news again, this time announcing plans for a Gigafactory, which could transform the power industry. The company plans to start construction of the world's biggest battery factory next year, with it up and running in 2017. The goal is to quickly bring down the cost of batteries to produce a "compelling, affordable electric car in about three years," and accelerate battery innovation - a game-changer for electric cars and the entire energy storage industry.

Abengoa to build a photovoltaic project for EDP Renovaveis in California

Solar Thermal Magazine - Feb 25

Abengoa, a Portuguese company that applies innovative technology solutions for sustainability in the energy and environment sectors, has been chosen by EDP Renovaveis to carry out the engineering, building, and implementation of a 30-megawatt photovoltaic project in San Bernardino County. It will supply enough clean energy to power around 5,000 homes, reducing energy and fuel consumption, as well as carbon emissions to the atmosphere.

250-megawatt wind project in San Diego County cancelled

Wind Power Monthly News - Feb 25

The U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs announced that it has cancelled the environmental impact assessment for the Shu'luuk project in San Diego County due to local opposition. Last year, the general council of the Campo Reservation voted against the construction of the project because of concerns over supposed health effects and the risk of fire. According to the project's developers, Invenergy Wind and San Diego Gas & Electric, the project was to be made up of up to 100 turbines, but a manufacturer was not named in the proposals.


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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