Renewable Energy Update -- February 19, 2013

Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

Three environmental groups sue BLM over Solar Energy Zones

Solar Energy - Feb 14

Despite gaining support from national conservation organizations, the Obama Administration’s Solar Energy Zones on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the Department of the Interior (DOI) have come under fire from three conservation organizations: Western Lands Project, Desert Protective Council and Western Watersheds. The groups contend that the DOI failed to consider alternatives focused on developing solar on rooftops, lots and degraded lands. In all, the BLM designated 285,000 acres of federally managed land identified as Solar Energy Zones throughout California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah. The zones are areas on BLM and DOI-managed land that are fast-tracked for solar development.

California sets 50MW target for grid energy storage

GreenTech Policy News - Feb 13

California has just set a big new target for energy storage on the grid – 50 megawatts of it, to be exact. That’s how much energy storage capacity the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is asking Southern California Edison to procure over the next 8 years, according to a final decision issued Wednesday. It’s not a lot, compared to the total of 1,400 to 1,800 megawatts CPUC is asking the massive Southern California utility to procure between now and 2021 – but it's still among the first, if not the first, state regulatory ruling that puts grid storage at center stage.

Global wind capacity increased almost 20% in 2012 to 282 gigawatts

ThinkProgress - Feb 11

While global investment in clean energy fell by 11 percent in 2012, the dip still left last year as the second most successful year ever for the sector. And despite the speed bump, the planet’s installed capacity to generate wind power shot up from 238 gigawatts to slightly more than 282 gigawatts last year, according to numbers compiled by the Global Wind Energy Council. The increase was driven by China and the United States, which both installed roughly 13 gigawatts a pop, bringing their cumulative totals to 75.6 gigawatts and 60 gigawatts, respectively.

House GOP to put wind power credit under microscope

Capitol Hill's Energy & Environment Blog - Feb 13

The wind production tax credit will be the subject of oversight this Congress, Rep. James Lankford told The Hill last week. Congress, with a strong push from the White House, extended the credit for one year in a January deal to avoid the “fiscal cliff.” With it came an alteration that allowed wind projects to collect the credit once developers commence construction, rather than when turbines begin producing power. It’s a change that will allow more projects to qualify over the next year – and one that’s raising eyebrows on Capitol Hill.

In first test, U.S. military's SPIDERS microgrid uses 90% renewable energy

Clean Technica - Feb 12

The SPIDERS Microgrid Project is a $30 million project lead by Sandia National Laboratories, under a partnership between the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy that involves numerous other federal laboratories, agencies and military commands. SPIDERS stands for Smart Power Infrastructure Demonstration for Energy Reliability and Security, and one thing it clearly demonstrates is that the “drill baby, drill” framework is a rather primitive response to the national security challenges of today. SPIDERS, which has the eventual aim of widespread adoption in the civilian sector, is designed to keep critical military facilities in operation in case of grid outages while inserting a healthy dose of clean, locally sourced energy into the picture.

California Governor names two appointees to California Energy Commission

Solar Industry Mag - Feb 12

Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. has announced two new appointees to the California Energy Commission. Both bring to the commission extensive experience in the renewable energy sector. The first new appointee, David Russell Hochschild, served as vice president of external relations at Solaria Corp. from 2007 to 2012, as well as a San Francisco public utilities commissioner from 2007 to 2008. The second appointee, Janea Ashanti Scott, has been deputy counselor for renewable energy and special assistant to the counselor at the U.S. Department of the Interior's, Office of the Secretary since 2009. She has also served in multiple positions at the Environmental Defense Fund from 2000 to 2009, including senior attorney and staff attorney.

DOE launches report on environmental effects of marine energy development

Offshore Wind - Feb 10

As part of an international collaboration with the International Energy Agency, the Energy Department has launched a new database that includes results of environmental monitoring and research efforts on wave, tidal, and current energy development worldwide.

Another record falls in the Texas wind

Fuel Fix - Feb 14

A cold front that blew through Texas late last week helped push Texas wind power generation to a record, the state’s main grid operator reported Wednesday. Wind turbines in the state generated 9,481 megawatts of power at 7:08 p.m. Saturday, according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, surpassing the previous record of 8,667 megawatts on Jan. 29. When it reached the new record Saturday, wind generated almost 28 percent of the system’s total load at that point, the grid operator said.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

Company plans to unveil Wyoming-Nevada transmission line plan in March

The Star Tribune Energy - Feb 12

The company planning a $3.5 billion transmission line between Wyoming and Nevada expects to choose a preferred route next month. A representative of Duke Energy American Transmission Co., owner of the Zephyr Transmission Project, told the Wyoming Infrastructure Authority board last week in Jackson that his company will make an announcement in late March. Duke has for about a year been considering five or six options for the 900-mile line capable of transporting 3,000 megawatts of wind power.

Texas wind power transmission set to skyrocket as energy exec hints at end of nukes

Clean Technica - Feb 10

A $7 billion project that will send wind power from remote areas in West Texas to Dallas, Houston and other big cities is on the verge of completion, and that could pound yet another nail into the coffin for U.S. nuclear power and, for that matter, coal. The new Texas wind power project was authorized by the state’s Public Utility Commission (PUC) in 2008. When completed sometime this year it will include 3,500 miles of new line carrying up to 18,456 megawatts, and according to a trade news report, PUC is already looking to order more wind power transmission lines, apparently with connections to out of state markets.


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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