Renewable Energy Update -- February 21, 2014

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

San Francisco announces 0-50-100 plan to fight climate change - Feb 14

San Francisco says it is closing in on the goals of its 2004 Climate Action Plan, and the city released its strategy to meet the more stringent goals it set for 2025. San Francisco's Department of Environment believes it can beat its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent below 1990 levels by 2017 and 40 percent by 2025. As one of the plan’s three central objectives, the city aims to source 100 percent of residential and 80 percent of commercial electricity from renewable sources and reduce consumption 2.5 percent a year. San Francisco, which ranks fourth in the country on energy efficiency, mandates that all commercial buildings benchmark and track energy use and large buildings meet LEED-Gold standards. It recently exceeded the milestone of 4000 solar installations.

California will add 9,000 new solar power jobs in the next year

San Francisco Business Times - Feb 11

California, which already employs 47,000 people in the solar power industry, should add more than 9,000 more jobs in that field by November 2014, according to a report from the Solar Foundation, a nonprofit in Washington, D.C. Of those 47,000 solar jobs, more than 21,000 are in the Bay Area, compared with 10,000 in Southern California. Statewide job growth of about 1.1 percent is dwarfed by the expected 22.3 percent growth rate for solar jobs projected over the year.

Mapping the nation’s wind turbines

Renewable Energy World - Feb 11

Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing sectors of renewable energy in the country. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has begun investigating how to assess the impacts of wind energy development on wildlife on a national scale. As part of this effort, the USGS has created the first publicly-available national dataset and interactive mapping application for wind turbines. In addition to the value this powerful tool has to federal and state land managers, non-governmental organizations, the energy industry, scientists, and the public, it will be a useful component in the methodology that the USGS is developing for assessing wind energy impacts.

Solar financing through property taxes now available in select San Diego County cities

eSolar Energy News - Feb 10

Today, residents living in select cities across San Diego County are able to participate in a new government solar financing program, Property Assessed Clean Energy. This innovative program allows property owners to finance solar power systems through property taxes without spending any money out-of-pocket and without a credit score requirement. The cities of Carlsbad, Oceanside, Vista, San Marcos, Solana Beach, and Lemon Grove have opted in to offer homeowners Home Energy Renovation Opportunity financing through Renovate America, which launches today.

For the third time in a month, wind energy protects consumers during cold snap

REVE Wind News - Feb 10

Wind energy proved its value to California consumers last Thursday and Friday by providing a large amount of energy when natural gas prices and electricity prices spiked during a cold snap. In a replay of events seen twice in the last month across nearly every region of the country, wind energy played a critical role in keeping electricity and natural gas prices in check. Specifically, wind energy provided around 2,000 megawatts of output at the time of peak demand last Thursday evening, and wind energy output remained high at around 2,500 megawatts for most of the rest of Thursday evening.

Electric vehicles charge forward with 150-mile range - Feb 17

Electric vehicles (EVs) are slowly winding their way into the hearts and minds of drivers, and the pace is expected to pick up this year. Worldwide production of all-electric and plug-in vehicles is expected to rise 67 percent in 2014 to 403,000 vehicles, up from 242,000 last year, according to market research firm IHS Automotive, when they were the fastest growing segment of the auto industry. Last year, 96,000 EVs sold in the U.S.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

NRG Energy begins commercial operations of world’s largest solar thermal power project

Energy Business Review - Feb 12

NRG Energy, through its wholly-owned subsidiary NRG Solar, has begun commercial operations of the Ivanpah solar electric generating system in California. Jointly developed by NRG, Google, and BrightSource Energy, the project generates 392 megawatts of solar power, which is enough to power around 140,000 California homes and curb 400,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually.

California firm seeks to harness Wyoming's wind energy

Los Angeles Times - Feb 8

Anschutz Corp., known for owning the Staples Center, is looking to set up the largest wind generation facility in the nation — in a state that wouldn't use a kilowatt of it. The Wyoming facility would produce as much power as three nuclear reactors, making it the largest wind-generation facility in the nation. The facility would feed a new 750-mile transmission line to the California grid, where the electricity would help California's crusade against global warming, while much of Wyoming continues to rely on the fuel that is one of the big contributors to climate change: coal. The Anschutz sales pitch is simple: its power will be plentiful, reliable, and cheap, not to mention green — just what California needs as it faces an era of escalating electricity prices.

Water-cleaning technology could help farmers

New York Times - Feb 16

The 377-foot giant solar receiver installed on a wheat field in Firebaugh, California does not generate electricity but instead creates heat used to desalinate water. It is part of a project developed by a San Francisco area start-up called WaterFX that is tapping an abundant, if contaminated, resource in this parched region: the billions of gallons of water that lie just below the surface. Financed by the Panoche Water District with state funds, the $1 million solar thermal desalinization plant is removing impurities from drainage water at half the cost of traditional desalinization. WaterFX’s project exploits two things the Central Valley possesses in abundance — fallow land and sunshine — to cut desalinization costs.


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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