Renewable Energy Update -- February 14, 2014

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

Department of Energy announces $30 million for novel and hybrid solar technologies

Solar Server News - Feb 6

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has announced $30 million in Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy funding to 12 projects to develop solar technologies, which can produce electricity when the sun is not shining. The 12 award recipients will develop technologies that span solar photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power, and concentrating photovoltaics, including applications that store the waste heat from PV generation.

2013 carbon emissions drop in Northeast, rise in U.S. - Feb 10

While greenhouse gas emissions rose 1.9 percent last year in the U.S., they fell 6 percent in the Northeast, where nine states participate in the very successful cap-and-trade program, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI). Carbon emissions in RGGI states dropped for the third consecutive year as electricity use declined in four states - thanks at least partially to efficiency efforts - and renewable energy usage rose. U.S. emissions remain about 10 percent below 2005 levels, still on track, albeit with some difficulty, to meet President Obama's goal of 17 percent below those levels by 2020.

Solar thermal technology poses challenges for drought-stricken California

Technology Review - Feb 2

California’s ambitious goal of getting a third of its electricity from renewable energy sources by 2030 is being tested by its driest year on record, part of a multi-year drought that’s seriously straining water supplies. The state plan relies heavily on solar thermal technology, but this type of solar power also typically consumes huge quantities of water. The drought is already forcing solar thermal power plant developers to use alternative cooling approaches to reduce water consumption. This will both raise costs and decrease electricity production, especially in the summer months when demand for electricity is high. Several research groups across the country are developing ways to reduce those costs and avoid reductions in power output.

Department of Energy announces $30 million for novel and hybrid solar technologies

Solar Server News - Feb 6

Already struggling with cuts to agricultural production and other impacts from a record setting drought, California faces the prospect of lower hydroelectric power generation as well, a U.S. government report said on Thursday. In a previous forecast released in January, the Energy Information Administration said the western U.S., including California, would produce 475,000 megawatt hours of electricity per day in 2014, up from 470,000 megawatt hours in 2013. Hydroelectric dams have accounted for varying portions of electricity generated within California since 1989, from 11 percent in 1992, a low-water year, to 28 percent in 1995, a high-water year.

Floating power turbines envisioned off Oregon coast

Los Angeles Times - Feb 5

A Seattle energy company, Principle Power, received initial regulatory approval Wednesday to build five massive wind turbines floating 16 miles off the Oregon coast. The pilot project off Coos Bay would be the first offshore wind facility on the West Coast. The turbines would be as tall as a 60-story building, vastly larger than typical turbines on land-based wind farms, and able to tap strong ocean winds that blow consistently in southern Oregon, said Kevin Banister, Principle’s Vice President for Business and Government Affairs.

Ocean energy industry turns to crowdfunding - Feb 10

Crowdfunding is everywhere today, and now the ocean energy industry has launched its own platform: Clean Reach. Designed to address a lack of early-stage funding for this high potential energy industry, Clean Reach wants to help entrepreneurial start-ups, coastal communities, and even mature ocean energy developers to get funding and other resources that take it from a good idea to commercial technology. Just 0.1 percent of the ocean's energy could provide energy for 15 billion people, according to Michael Bernitsas, Professor of Naval Architecture at University of Michigan. Yet, 3 percent of venture capital supports development of the industry.

Ocean energy industry turns to crowdfunding - Feb 6

Californians would have to buy motor oil with 25 percent biodegradable content beginning in 2017 under a bill aimed at protecting the state's waterways from petroleum-based oil. State Senator Lou Correa, D-Santa Ana, has introduced legislation mandating the bio-oil blend requirement. Oil industry insiders reacted with concerns about the cost of the environmentally-friendly oil and whether such a law would be effective.

New technique makes "biogasoline" from plant waste

Green Building Elements - Feb 4

Gasoline-like fuels can be made from cellulosic materials such as farm and forestry waste using a new process invented by chemists at the University of California, Davis. The process could open up new markets for plant-based fuels, beyond existing diesel substitutes.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

SunPower, Bank of America in $220 million rooftop program

Bloomberg - Jan 28

SunPower Corp., the second-largest U.S. solar manufacturer, plans to develop $220 million of U.S. residential rooftop solar projects through a leasing program with Bank of America Corp. Homeowners will get solar systems with SunPower panels at little-to-no upfront cost by agreeing to buy the electricity through long-term contracts, the San Jose-based company said today in a statement. SunPower has about 20,000 existing solar leasing customers. First Solar Inc. is the biggest U.S. panel maker.

Tres Amigas, Broadview Energy to interconnect up to 500 megawatts

Electric Light & Power PowerGrid International - Feb 4

Tres Amigas and Broadview Energy announced the execution of agreements that would facilitate the development and construction of up to 500 megawatts of wind power in northeast New Mexico. This agreement will enable Broadview, Tres Amigas’ first customer, to deliver its high-quality New Mexico wind power for the next 25 years to California starting by year-end 2015.


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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