Renewable Energy Update -- August 2014

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

Renewables now ‘mainstream’ business for U.S. utilities, says report

PV-Tech - Aug 1

NV Energy, Xcel, PG&E, Sempra, and Edison International have topped a new index ranking investor-owned utilities on their deployment of clean energy. According to the report, the country’s 32 largest investor-owned utility companies, which account for nearly 70 percent of U.S. retail electricity sales, now source on average 5 percent of their power from renewable sources. The report by non-profit sustainability body CERES, and market research firm, Clean Edge, is the first of its kind to rank U.S. utilities on their renewable energy sales and energy efficiency savings.

California Energy Commission advances construction of hydrogen refueling and electric vehicle charging stations

California Energy Commission - Jul 22

The California Energy Commission gave final approval today for nearly $50 million in construction projects to advance the consumer market for zero-emission electric vehicles, continuing the state's progress towards a clean transportation future that curbs greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. California's zero-emission vehicle goal is to get 1.5 million hydrogen, battery electric, and plug-in electric vehicles on the roadway by 2025.

California, Mexico sign agreements to cooperate on clean energy, climate

Bloomberg - Jul 30

California and Mexico have signed a bilateral pact aimed at advancing cross-border investments in clean energy. Signed on July 29 by Governor Jerry Brown and Mexico's Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquin Coldwell during the governor's trade visit to Mexico City, the agreement calls for the two governments to work together in developing and deploying renewable energy, biofuels, and other clean energy technologies.

Stanford research shows how to power California with wind, water, and sun

Solar Thermal Magazine - Jul 24

A new Stanford study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert California’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by clean, renewable energy. Published in Energy, the plan shows the way to a sustainable, inexpensive, and reliable energy supply in California that could create tens of thousands of jobs and save billions of dollars in pollution-related health costs.

For Californians, higher costs dampen support for clean energy

Reuters - Jul 24

An overwhelming majority of California residents support the state's mandate for reducing heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions, so long as they do not bear the higher costs of cleaner energy themselves, according to a new public opinion poll released by the Public Policy Institute of California. Eighty percent of adults surveyed believe climate change poses a serious threat to California's economy and lifestyle, and nearly seventy percent back a 2006 law for lowering statewide greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. However support for specific initiatives to reach the goal appeared to wane sharply in the face of higher energy costs.

Super hurricanes versus wind farms

Maritime Executive - Jul 23

A new study from a Stanford University professor notes that building offshore wind farms could dissipate hurricanes. The study found that installing 78,000 turbines 90 meters high off the coast of New Orleans could have reduced Hurricane Katrina’s wind speeds by as much as 158 kilometers per hour by the time they reached land.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

Work set to begin on LA’s 250-megawatt Beacon Solar project

PV-Tech - Jul 23

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is to begin construction of its 250-megawatt Beacon Solar project in Kern County. LADWP issued a request for proposal for the solar power project in March 2013. A competitive bid was held to allocate the segments of 200 megawatts of the Beacon solar project, with LADWP awarding two sites totaling 88 megawatts to SunEdison, and two sites totaling 112 megawatts to Hecate Energy.

Solexel shows there's still life in Silicon Valley solar sector, raises $31 million

Silicon Valley Business Journal - Jul 23

Solar energy equipment companies haven't gotten much love in Silicon Valley lately but one of them, Solexel, just raised $31 million in funding to help it move to commercial production. The Milpitas company, led by CEO Michael Wingert, makes thin-silicon cells and modules, which it has been testing out on a pilot production line at its headquarters.

Community solar gardens sprout from contaminated sites

Renewable Energy World - Jul 23

From California to New Jersey, countless landfills and brownfield sites lie abandoned — waiting to be transformed into clean energy-generating facilities. To encourage the revitalization of degraded lands, the EPA created the "RE-Powering America’s Lands Initiative," which identifies the renewable energy potential of contaminated sites across the U.S. As of June 2014, the EPA facilitated the construction of over 709 megawatts of solar on brownfield sites through cleanup grants and other resources.

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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