Renewable Energy Update -- June 2014

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

The EPA’s new carbon rules could be a major boost to renewable energy

Greentech Media - Jun 2

The EPA’s new carbon rule could grow renewable capacity by an additional 70 percent in the next decade. On Monday, the EPA finally announced plans to slash carbon emissions from 1,000 fossil-fueled power plants by 30 percent compared to 2005 levels over the next decade and a half. The proposed rule creates a flexible framework that allows states to cut emissions through utility efficiency programs, renewable energy procurement, on-site pollution controls, and regional cap-and-trade programs. The new EPA rules create the foundation for all 50 states to develop renewable energy targets or carbon trading systems, potentially opening up markets with very little renewable energy penetration.

Governor Brown’s steady march to an alternative energy future

Sacramento Bee - Jun 1

California is poised to spend $120 billion by 2020 toward constructing a sustainable green economy. That is about 10 times greater annually than the amount the United Kingdom, with twice California’s population, invests on wind farms and other solar applications. These renewable investments solidify California’s role as a showcase the Obama administration can point to at the United Nations climate change talks scheduled for Peru in December and for France in December 2015. The $120 billion green stimulus package – about $20 billion annually through 2020 – includes: $14.9 billion in the 2012-13 budget for energy efficiency, renewables, advanced transportation and low-carbon fuels; $2 billion to $5 billion a year in projected annual cap-and-trade revenue; and $500 million to $1 billion a year in the Proposition 39 clean energy job creation fund.

California State Senate approves local energy bill

The Desert Sun - May 30

The California Senate this week endorsed a locally authored plan that would boost California’s geothermal energy production. Senate Bill 1139 would require that energy retail sellers and local publicly-owned electric utilities have more geothermal energy in their renewable energy portfolios. The legislation will now be considered by the state Assembly. If approved, utilities, by 2024, would need to procure 500 megawatts of electricity from new base-load geothermal power plants. The bill was authored by State Senator Ben Hueso and Assemblyman V. Manuel Pérez, two Democrats who represent parts of the Coachella Valley and the Salton Sea.

U.S. residential installations outstrip commercial for first time ever, finds SEIA

PV Magazine - May 31

eport from the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) and GTM Research has revealed that for the first time ever, residential PV installations outstripped commercial PV installations in the first quarter of 2014. However, both research groups expect this dip to be temporary, with commercial forecast to outperform residential for the remaining three quarters of the year. A strong solar leasing market and lower systems costs have helped drive the residential sector, which is still on course for further growth throughout the year, the researchers believe.

Modesto Irrigation District cancels solar rebate program

Solar Industry Magazine - May 27

Citing over-subscription, the Modesto Irrigation District (MID) in California has abruptly canceled its popular solar rebate program, backdating the deadline for applications to May 1. The utility says that its budget ran out for the program, which had just recently been expanded. The MID had been offering incentives to electric customers who purchase and install solar photovoltaic electricity generating systems on their home or business.

Non-hydro renewables outproduce hydro for the first time

Renewable Energy World - May 21

During the first quarter of 2014, electricity generated by non-hydro renewables (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) exceeded that provided by conventional hydropower for the first time, according to data in the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration's "Electric Power Monthly," with preliminary data through to March 31, 2014. Non-hydro renewables provided 53.16 percent of the net U.S. electrical generation from renewable energy sources for the period January 1 to March 31, 2014 while hydropower provided the balance of 46.84 percent. This reflects an increase of 11.3 percent in electrical generation by non-hydro renewables compared to the first quarter to 2013 as well as a decline of 4.5 percent in hydropower's output — possibly contributed to by the worsening drought in California.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

First Solar sells 250-megawatt Nevada plant to NextEra

Bloomberg - May 27

First Solar Inc., the largest U.S. solar-panel manufacturer, sold its 250-megawatt Silver State South power project to NextEra Energy Inc. The project in Clark County, Nevada, will be completed by First Solar in 2016 and sell the electricity to Edison International’s Southern California Edison utility, the Tempe, Arizona-based company said in a statement.

BrightSource’s Palen project back on track

The Press Enterprise - May 23

Plans for two 750-foot-tall solar power towers in eastern Riverside County are under consideration again, the state announced Thursday. The California Energy Commission is placing the project back in the application pipeline, and it has set public hearings for July 8 and 9. The plant is proposed by BrightSource Energy Co. on 5.9 square miles of public land north of I-10 near Desert Center. Five months ago, an energy commission panel recommended denial of the project because of concerns about harm to birds and to sites considered sacred to Native Americans, among other concerns.

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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