Renewable Energy Update -- June 4, 2013

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

Terra-Gen receives approval for wind farm in wake of condor decision

LA Times - Science News - May 24

On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, with approval from the Fish and Wildlife agency, gave Terra-Gen a right of way to begin construction of a 153-megawatt wind farm, about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. To reduce possible harm to wildlife, including golden eagles, Terra-Gen voluntarily reduced the size of the project from 106 turbines to 51. The 450-foot-tall structures will be spread across four square miles, most of which is publicly owned. The system will include a telemetry system to track signals from radio transmitters already attached to tagged condors, radar to detect untagged birds, and on-site biologists to report condor sightings. If a condor ventures within two miles, the speed of rotating turbine blades will be reduced within 2 minutes to about 3 mph, Terra-Gen said.

Top grid regulator stepping down

Utility Products Magazine - Power Industry News - May 30

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, who oversaw a broad expansion of the regulator's oversight of the electric grid and several probes into improper trading tactics by Wall Street banks, will depart his post. FERC has a broad set of regulatory powers over interstate power and natural gas lines, energy markets, and hydropower facilities, and Wellinghoff, a Democrat, rankled some Republican lawmakers for rebuffing requests that the agency conduct more analyses on whether EPA air regulations might threaten the reliability of the power grid. Wellinghoff also shepherded the agency's landmark Order 1000, in 2011, which required grid planners and public utilities to coordinate regional power line projects and encouraged the integration of solar and wind installations.

Big solar, California desert county make peace

EarthTechling - Green Tech, Green Products & Energy News - May 28

Solar developers and Riverside County, which borders Orange county on the west and stretches some 200 miles east, all the way to Arizona, had been at odds for more than a year over the county’s plan to charge $450 per acre used to produce power. The desert of eastern Riverside County is prime territory for large-scale solar development. That could add up to a lot of money for a project like the 550-megawatt Desert Sunlight PV plant that will cover more than 4,000 acres near Desert Center. Solar developers brought a suit to stop imposition of the fee. They labeled it a “Sun Tax,” which was more than glib; it was something of a legal argument. In the end, the sides worked out a negotiated settlement – the amount of the fee/tax will be $150 per acre, and the Independent Energy Producers Association and the Large-Scale Solar Association, who had brought the suit, gives up the right to take the county to court over the issue.

U.S. Senators introduce bill for energy-storage tax incentives

Bloomberg News - May 24

Four U.S. Senators proposed legislation offering tax incentives to homeowners and companies that install energy-storage systems in an effort to boost investment in renewable power. The bill would provide a 30 percent tax credit, capped at $1 million per project, to homeowners and businesses that use power-storage equipment, according to a statement today from Senators Ron Wyden and Jeffrey Merkley, Oregon Democrats, Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, and Angus King, an independent from Maine.

Former EPA administrator Lisa Jackson joins Apple as environmental czar

Venturebeat - May 28

Lisa Jackson, the former administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will soon be joining Apple, the company’s chief executive Tim Cook announced today. Jackson, who was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2008 and served from 2009 until earlier this year, will oversee Apple’s environmental efforts, including its move to manufacture less-toxic and more energy-efficient products. Cook said she will also oversee the company’s efforts to make its facilities run more energy efficiently.

Connecticut House approves renewable energy measure

Smart Brief - Wind Energy - May 29

The Connecticut House of Representatives voted 112-33 to advance its version of a bill on renewable energy, sending the measure back to the Senate for further refinement. The House bill would allow large-scale hydropower to count toward the state's renewable energy goal only if there is a shortfall in renewable-energy sources such as wind or solar power. Critics say the addition of large-scale hydropower would have a negative impact on renewable energy sources.

Grid storage market poised for major growth

Solar Energy - Clean Energy Authority - May 29

The grid storage market is poised to grow dramatically from $200 million today to $10.4 billion by 2017. Increased adoption of renewable energy like wind and solar is driving the market, said Steve Minnihan, a senior analyst with Lux Research and author of the report: “Global grid storage market to grow to $10.4 billion in 2017.” Minnihan said he and his team calculated the internal rate of return on investment in grid storage for every individual country and found that about 70 percent of the demand for new grid storage will come from the deployment of renewable energy sources like solar and wind.

U.S. could add 20GW extra wind power by 2016

Wind Power Monthly News - May 24

The U.S. wind energy sector could add as much as 20GW of new capacity by 2016 as developers take advantage of new incentive rules, according to the Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration.

Wyoming lawmakers say state's wind power industry doesn't need tax credit

National Wind Watch - News Watch - May 28

Federal lawmakers and wind industry advocates are battling over the production tax credit that put wind energy on the map. Wyoming’s congressional delegation wants to see it expire. Champions of renewable energy want to see it continue. The tax credit hung on by the skin of its teeth in the closing moments of 2012. It was on the brink of extinction in the final minutes of the fiscal cliff negotiations, but in a surprise move Congress extended the credit for one year. The extension came to the chagrin of lawmakers who see the credit as corporate welfare for an industry that’s outgrown its dependence on federal subsidies. For the producers and other players in the industry, the credit’s survival puts wind on a level playing field with fossil fuels.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

Xcel looking to add 550MW of wind power

Washington DC Examiner Business News - May 30

Xcel Energy Inc. is looking to add about 550 megawatts of wind power to its system in Colorado by 2016, which would boost its wind power by about 25 percent to more than 2,700 megawatts. The utility issued a request for proposals for wind in March after a federal tax credit for developers of new wind projects was extended.

Tenaska Imperial Solar South first to deliver electricity to SDG&E's Sunrise Powerlink

Clean Technica - Jun 4

Last week, Tenaska Imperial Solar South announced that it was the first utility-scale solar power facility to send electricity to San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)'s 117-mile-long Sunrise Powerlink high-voltage transmission line. In June 2012, SDG&E announced it had completed the five-year project and put into service the Sunrise Powerlink, a $1.9 billion, 500,000-volt transmission line that provides a power link between the Imperial Valley and San Diego. The first utility-scale solar energy facility to break ground in Imperial Valley, Tenaska Imperial South “is one of the largest commercially financed solar projects in the US to date,” Tenaska Solar Ventures, the solar energy development affiliate of Omaha-based and independent Tenaska energy company Tenaska, notes.

California developer approves sale of wind farm in Canada

Smart Brief - Wind Energy - May 30

California-based firm Quantum Fuel Systems Technologies Worldwide has approved the sale of its 10-megawatt wind farm in Canada for about $942,000. The undisclosed buyer will also cover liabilities for 75% of the project in the first phase of the agreement.

Berkshire Hathaway unit MidAmerican Energy will buy NV Energy for $5.6B

Yahoo! Canada News - May 29

Berkshire Hathaway's MidAmerican Energy utility said Wednesday that it would buy Nevada electric and natural gas company NV Energy Inc. for $5.6 billion as it expands its footprint in the energy sector. MidAmerican has been aggressively investing in renewable energy projects in recent years, and the companies expect that MidAmerican's experience will help NV Energy develop renewable projects in Nevada, which has vast solar, wind, and geothermal resources.

U.S. Army in search of solar partner for 20 MW project

PV-Magazine - May 28

The U.S. Army is on the lookout for a PV company to build and maintain a 20 MW solar power plant at an Arizona military base as part of a 30-year energy supply deal. The U.S. government is currently conducting market research in order to determine which companies would qualify for the project, to be built at Fort Huachuca in Cochise County, located in southeastern Arizona.

Deep Earth plans Canada's first geothermal power amid oil wells

Bloomberg News - May 24

Deep Earth Energy Production Corp., a closely help developer, is planning Canada’s first geothermal power plant that will tap into heat resources underneath oil and natural gas fields in Saskatchewan, according to Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Marcia. The project may cost C$35 million ($33.9 million) and would have 5 megawatts of generating capacity, Marcia said today in a telephone interview. Construction is expected to begin in 2014. The region is already home to oil and gas production companies that have studied the geology and documented reserves of heat energy needed to run geothermal power plants since the 1950s.

Castle & Cooke moving forward with Hawaii 'Big Wind' project

Biz Journal - Energy & Environment News - May 24

One half of Hawaii’s controversial 400-megawatt “Big Wind” project — in which large wind farms on Lanai and Molokai would pump electricity to Honolulu via an undersea cable — is still moving forward. Castle & Cooke Inc., which kept the rights to build a wind farm capable of producing up to 200 megawatts of renewable energy when CEO David Murdock sold the majority of the Pineapple Island to Oracle Corp. CEO Larry Ellison last year, has remained mum about its plans until Friday. A Castle & Cooke spokesman told Pacific Business News that the company remains committed to addressing the reduction of foreign oil and that the Lanai wind farm and Mililani Solar Park are projects it continues to pursue.


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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