Renewable Energy Update -- April 12, 2013

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

DOE awarding more than $1.2 billion in energy subsidies despite sequester

The Washington Examiner - Apr 3

More than $1.2 billion in cash payments has been awarded to renewable energy projects by the Department of Energy and the Treasury Department since the beginning of the year, with the majority of them going to solar electricity. While other agencies grapple with furloughs and service cuts, the DOE continues to hand out 30 percent of the cost basis for renewable projects under its 1603 program, part of the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

BP puts wind farms up for sale

Houston Business Journal - Apr 3

BP Plc said it will sell its U.S. wind farms, but did not disclose an asking price. The London oil giant said it will sell 16 wind farms across nine states, Bloomberg reports. “BP has decided to market for sale our U.S. wind energy business as part of a continuing effort to become a more focused oil and gas company and re-position the company for sustainable growth into the future,” spokesman Mark Salt said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg. BP Plc said it will sell its U.S. wind farms, but did not disclose an asking price. The London oil giant said it will sell 16 wind farms across nine states, Bloomberg reports. “BP has decided to market for sale our U.S. wind energy business as part of a continuing effort to become a more focused oil and gas company and re-position the company for sustainable growth into the future,” spokesman Mark Salt said in an emailed statement to Bloomberg.

Xcel unit that scrapped $400M wind farm deal beats suit

Law360 - Apr 4

A Minnesota federal judge on Thursday granted an Xcel Energy Inc. subsidiary's bid to toss enXco Development Corp.'s suit over the unit's failure to fulfill a contract to buy a $400 million wind farm, which had problems handling the safety of endangered birds. Northern States Power Co. and enXco sued each other in May over whether enXco's delay in addressing the $400 million North Dakota wind farm project's impact on endangered birds justified Northern States' disputed termination of an agreement to buy the farm from enXco.

BLM looks for solar energy proposals for Colorado land

Green Environment News - Apr 2

The U.S. Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking suggested solar energy development plans on 3,714 acres of BLM-managed land in Conejos and Saguache counties in southwestern Colorado. The BLM's current actions come after 2 years of planning to pave the way for utility-scale solar development on public lands that will be capable of producing 20 megawatts or more of energy.

Coal out, renewables in with NV Energy's new plan

The Washington Examiner - Apr 3

Nevada's largest utility plans to begin closing four coal-fired power plants northeast of Las Vegas and invest more money in renewable energy. NV Energy officials said the closures long sought by a neighboring tribe, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and others are scheduled to begin by the end of next year. A summary of the plans being presented to state lawmakers on Wednesday concludes the move could cost ratepayers nearly 4 percent more over the next 20 years — with some individual annual rate increases bigger than that over the course of the project.

USDA seeking applications for rural renewable energy projects

Solar Industry Mag - Apr 2

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack says the USDA is seeking applications to provide assistance to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects, including solar projects. Funding is available from the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The USDA remains focused on carrying out its mission, despite a time of significant budget uncertainty, the department notes. The REAP represents part of the department's efforts to strengthen the rural economy.

Energy co. loses bid for enviro data for wind farm funding

Law360 - Mar 29

Energy company Addison Energy Resources LLC on Wednesday lost its bid to force a wind farm company to hand over environmental data Addison allegedly needs to secure financing for its planned “multihundred million" wind farm project at a Kern County, Calif., site. U.S. District Judge Robert Timlin denied Addison’s preliminary injunction motion against Rising Tree Wind Farm LLC — with whom Addison is locked in a dispute over which of them has superior option rights to the property — ruling that it has not shown irreparable harm.

BrightSource shelves second major solar project this year

Reuters - Apr 3

BrightSource Energy Inc has shelved a major solar power project in California, its second such move this year. The solar plant developer said in a document filed with the California Energy Commission on Wednesday that it was suspending its application for permission to build the 500 megawatt Hidden Hills solar thermal power project until further notice. It added in an emailed statement that it had agreed with Pacific Gas and Electric to terminate the utility's plan to purchase power from the plant due to "challenges associated with the project schedule and uncertainty around the timing of transmission upgrades".

Wyoming and Colorado benefit by combining wind power

The Billings Gazette Wyoming - Apr 1

Wyoming and Colorado would benefit by combining their wind energy resources, studies released Monday by the University of Wyoming and a national research laboratory show. One study conducted by the university's Wind Research Center showed that Wyoming's wind is stronger than Colorado's and blows during the day, the ideal time to meet Colorado electric customers' demands. The second study, conducted by the Colorado-based National Renewable Energy Laboratory, showed that construction of a transmission line connecting Wyoming and Colorado would bring 4,000 jobs and almost $4 billion in economic activity to the two states.

Oregon health dep't: Turbines are safe, but caution needed

Sustainable Business Oregon News - Mar 29

The Oregon Public Health Division has recommended that wind energy planners and developers need to minimize the noise generated by wind turbines. The report urged industry types to "evaluate and implement strategies to minimize noise generation when outdoor levels exceed Oregon’s standards for wind turbine noise." However, current state noise standards for turbines aren't harmful to the public's health, according to the Division.

NC could lose solar lead as neighbors promote development

Biz Journal - Apr 2

As North Carolina legislators consider ending some of the state’s incentives for solar energy development, legislators and utilities in neighboring states are increasing efforts to attract it. Mike Whitson of PCGSolar Inc. in Davidson says the two factors could leave the state losing its edge as the solar leader in the Southeast. The Solar Energy Industries Association says North Carolina ranks fifth in the nation for the amount of solar capacity installed in 2012.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

APS to set up 32MW solar power plant in Arizona, US

Clean Technology Business Review - Apr 5

Arizona Public Service (APS) has selected Black & Veatch to design and construct 32MW Gila Bend Solar Power Plant in the region. The proposed project, located on 400 acres in Gila Bend, will deploy around 170,000 single-axis tracker polycrystalline modules and will generate solar energy to power 8,000 Arizona homes and businesses. The single-axis tracker design will allow the solar panels to follow the sun across the sky.

$50 million solar farms planned south of Indianapolis

Biz Journal - Apr 4

A Minnesota company believes Indianapolis is definitely on the sunny side of life. The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that Sunrise Energy Ventures LLC will spend more than $50 million to develop two solar farms in southern Marion County. The company plans to install solar panels and power stations in each location to generate electricity for Indianapolis Power & Light.

Reznick Capital Markets completes sale of 22 MW solar portfolio

eSolar Energy News - Apr 2

Reznick Capital Markets Securities announced the sale of ImMODO International Corporation’s solar portfolio located in Tulare County, California, to an Institutional Investor. Financial details of the sale were not disclosed. The 22 MW aggregated solar portfolio (the Tulare PV Portfolio) has offtake contracts with Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric.

First Solar Buys 150-Megawatt California Solar Power Project

Bloomberg News - Apr 2

First Solar Inc. bought the 150- megawatt Solar Gen 2 project in California from an affiliate of Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Energy Power Partners and a third unnamed partner. Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed. Construction is expected to start this year and the project will be done in 2014.


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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