Renewable Energy Update -- July 17, 2012

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

Republicans Offer Bill to Bar Backing for Future Solyndras

Bloomberg News - Jul 10

House Republicans investigating the collapse of Solyndra LLC proposed legislation that would bar the U.S. Energy Department from issuing any loan guarantees for projects submitted this year or in the future. The measure also requires the Treasury Department to review U.S. financing for applications submitted before Dec. 31, a response to concerns among Republicans the Energy Department ignored “red flags” about Solyndra.

California Energy Commission Awards Nearly $1.2 Million for Energy Research Projects

Solar Thermal Magazine - Jul 11

The California Energy Commission last week awarded $1,154,230 to spur research for projects including one improving climate change projections used for energy forecasts. Funds for the 10 projects come from the Commission’s Public Interest Research Project (PIER) program.

GE Wins Wind-Turbine Patent Case Brought by Mitsubishi Heavy

Bloomberg News - Jul 6

General Electric Co. (GE) didn’t infringe a patent owned by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. over a way to control the angle of wind-turbine blades to reduce wear and tear, a federal judge said. The decision by U.S. District Judge John Antoon in Orlando, Florida, eliminates the need for a trial that was scheduled to begin later this month. Antoon ruled that GE’s turbines adjust the angle of the blades in a way that’s different than that covered by Mitsubishi Heavy’s patent.

Wind Farm Called Threat to Condors

Courthouse News - Jul 6

California illegally approved a giant wind farm in the Tehachapi Mountains that will kill California condors and golden eagles, environmentalists claim in Kern County Court. Sierra Club, Defenders of Wildlife, and Center for Biological Diversity claim the Department of Fish and Game violated its own regulations by issuing an "incidental take" permit to the co-defendant developer, North Sky Energy. The environmentalists also sued the Kern County Board of Supervisors. The wind farm at issue includes the North Sky River and Jawbone Wind energy projects, which stretch across a combined 13,353 acres of windy desert roughly 200 miles north of Los Angeles. When completed, 116 turbines will produce up to 300 megawatts of clean energy, according to the complaint.

California Farm Bureau Opposes Project on Prime Farmland

Justia - Jul 8

A state law requiring a third of California's power to be generated from renewable sources by 2020 has generated concern for the California Farm Bureau in regards to a recent solar development project on Valley farmland.

Political tide turning against solar in California, warns ally

Recharge News - Jul 12

After a long run of legislative success, pro-renewables policies in California are facing “a very big push-back”, says one of the industry’s political champions. “California was already way ahead of other states regarding our policies in both climate protection and renewables, but the last three years we did more,” says State Assembly member Nancy Skinner, a Democrat who has co-sponsored numerous bills for solar and other renewables and, most recently, legislation to open the market for energy storage. “Now we are experiencing a very big push-back, from the utilities, from various companies,” she told a gathering of solar executives on the sidelines of Intersolar North America.

Insuring Your Solar Power Investment

Solar Thermal Magazine - Jul 11

GCube Insurance Services, Inc., the leading provider of insurance for the renewable energy industry and Assurant, Inc., a premier provider of specialty insurance , announced they have signed a distribution agreement to provide U.S. commercial solar project developers greater access to a comprehensive insurance bundle and warranty management program at affordable prices. Effective immediately, GCube will be able to offer and market Assurant Solar Project Insurance for commercial-sized solar projects in the range of 100kW to 3 MW nationwide.

U.S. Imports of Chinese Solar Panels Continues to Fall

Solar Thermal Magazine - Jul 12

Imports of Chinese solar cells and panels into the United States decreased for the second straight month in May year-over-year, according to the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM). Chinese solar imports totaled $124.1 million in May, down about 45 percent from $225.8 million in May 2011, according to the Department of Commerce’s “U.S. Imports of Merchandise” database.

Valos and Gehrlicher joint venture to offer large-scale solar PV projects for utilities in California

Renewable Energy Focus News - Jul 9

Valos Solar Ventures and Gehrlicher Solar America Corporation, a subsidiary of Germany’s Gehrlicher Solar AG, have joined forces to provide solar energy to investor and municipal-owned utilities in California. The Valos-Gehrliche joint venture has 235MW of projects in development – including sites for PG&E, SCE, SDG&E - with Gehrlicher providing the utility-scale PV plant EPC.

Wind Power in Colorado: Has It Reached Its Peak?

Renewable Energy World News - Jul 11

Wind power has grown slowly but steadily in Colorado over the last decade. But now, with wind farms frequently coming online and manufacturing facilities buzzing with activity, the state faces the possibility of the wind energy industry screeching to an abrupt halt. Colorado currently receives 9.2 percent of its generation capacity from wind power, generating the third highest percentage of power from wind of any state, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

Satcon Receives Funding To Reduce Effects Of Renewable Energy Intermittency

Solar Industry Mag - Jul 11

Satcon Technology Corp., a provider of utility-grade power-conversion solutions for the renewable energy market, and A123 Systems, Renewable Energy Services (RES) and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) have been selected by the California Energy Commission (CEC) to receive a $2 million grant to develop and demonstrate methods to reduce the effects of renewable energy intermittency. The funding is part of a larger initiative to develop solutions to enable higher penetration of renewable energy onto the electric grid through solar energy harvest, storage and array control capabilities.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

Invenergy proposes 502MW wind project in Oregon

Recharge News - Jul 12

Independent developer Invenergy is seeking permission to build a 502MW wind project in Oregon, in a welcome sign that US growth plans have not completely ground to a halt. Invenergy has filed a notice of intent with the Oregon Energy Facilities Siting Council for the Heppner Wind Energy project, which would spread across some 60,000 acres (243sq km) of private land in Morrow County, a hotbed of wind development between the Columbia River and Blue Mountains in eastern Oregon.

2.5 MWdc solar farm project in Pittstown, NJ is being built and managed by Sunperfect Solar, Inc.

Your Renewable News - Jul 9

Sunperfect Solar, Inc. is a solar modules distributor, solar farm project developer and management company based in Silicon Valley, California. Sunperfect Solar, Inc. is the exclusive solar panel distributor for Shanghai Chaori Solar in Northern America.

Hertz Plans Solar-Power Projects at JFK, Newark Airports

Bloomberg News - Jul 9

Hertz Global Holdings Inc., the second-largest U.S. car-rental company, is building 11 solar plants this year, including two at New York-area airports, as it seeks to increase its use of renewable power. Hertz has completed a project at its Park Ridge, New Jersey, headquarters and is planning systems at John F. Kennedy International Airport and Newark Liberty International Airport.

First Wind opens second phase of Maui wind farm

Pacific Business News of Honolulu - Jul 6

Commercial operations at First Wind's 21-megawatt second phase of the Kaheawa Wind project above Maui's Maalea Harbor have started, with a battery storage system that will allow Maui Electric Co. to better use the power generated by the wind farm.

Making mirrors for the sun

PhysOrg News - Jul 6

Commercial operations at First Wind's 21-megawatt second phase of the Kaheawa Wind project above Maui's Maalea Harbor have started, with a battery storage system that will allow Maui Electric Co. to better use the power generated by the wind farm.

Utility Scale Solar Monitoring Company Expands to Meet Utility Scale Solar Demand

Solar Thermal Magazine - Jul 6

inAccess, a leading vendor of monitoring & control solutions for energy and telecom markets , announced that it is expanding operations in US in view of forthcoming installations of its inSolar platform in several utility-scale solar plants in the country. To support this expansion, inAccess has established a new office in San Jose,California, and is extending its partner network in order to best serve its existing customers and expand its customer base.

Devine William R

William R. Devine
Land Use | Real Estate | Energy & Cleantech | Environmental & Natural Resources | Water Rights & Resources
Orange County
(949) 851-5412
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Emily L. Murray
Energy & Cleantech | Land Use | Litigation | Environmental & Natural Resources | Wireless Telecom Real Estate
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Patrick A. Perry
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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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