Renewable Energy Update -- March 5, 2013

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

US announces $27 million in solar funding

PV-Magazine - Feb 26

Under its SunShot Initiative, the U.S. Department of Energy has announced that up to $15 million will be paid out to the solar manufacturing industry. It has also made up to $12 million available under the Solar Rooftop Challenge II.

U.S. looks to offer competitive offshore wind leases

Penn Energy - Feb 28

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has announced that the government is considering offering leases for offshore wind development this year. According to the Department of the Interior, there are six areas along the Atlantic coast that have the significant potential for wind energy generation. The Interior's "Smart-from-the Start" strategy identified the areas as off the coast of Virginia, Rhode Island and Massachusetts. These areas offer nearly 278,000 acres of development.

GEA releases 2013 U.S. Geothermal Industry Update

Think Geo Energy News - Feb 26

The U.S. Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) released its 2013 Annual GEA Industry Update, which found that installed geothermal capacity in the United States grew by 5%, or 147.05 MW, since the last annual survey in March 2012. This considerable increase in capacity is part of a larger trend of steady geothermal growth over the past decade, and can be attributed to seven geothermal projects that came online in 2012. GEA also revised its last year’s estimate of total installed capacity upward by 128 MW, bringing current installed U.S. geothermal capacity to 3,386 MW.

Ralls allowed to seek explanation for wind farm decision

Bloomberg News - Feb 22

Ralls Corp. can continue arguing it’s entitled to an explanation for President Barack Obama’s order for it to sell a wind farm project in Oregon on national security grounds even though it can’t challenge his authority to require a sale, a federal judge decided. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson in Washington ruled last week that “a due process claim that raises purely legal questions about the process” can proceed. Jackson threw out the bulk of Ralls’s lawsuit against the Obama administration, which focused on whether the president exceeded his power by ordering the company, an affiliate of China’s Sany Group Co., to sell the wind farm assets.

Solar energy to get boost from cutting-edge forecasts

Electric Energy Online - Feb 22

Applying its atmospheric expertise to solar energy, the National Center for Atmospheric Research is spearheading a three-year nationwide project to create unprecedented 36-hour forecasts of incoming energy from the Sun for solar energy power plants. The research team is designing a prototype system to forecast sunlight and resulting power every 15 minutes over specific solar facilities.

Solar manufacturing much less toxic than fossil fuels

Solar Energy - Feb 22

Everybody knows that once solar’s installed, it doesn’t pollute. But some of the materials in some photovoltaics can be hazardous. Even so, the amount of toxic waste is far, far less than is produced during conventional energy production, according to data from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. For instance, between the period of 2007 to 2011, the manufacture of photovoltaics in California produced a total of 46 million pounds of toxic waste (23,000 tons), most of it tainted water. Roughly 12.5 million pounds of it came from the now defunct Solyndra, which produced cadmium-tainted water as a byproduct of its manufacturing process.

America trials its first freshwater wind farm

DesignBuild Source - Feb 25

A team of experts is spearheading efforts to develop America’s first freshwater offshore wind farm on the waters of Lake Erie in Ohio in a bid to make wind power a viable renewable energy source for the Great Lakes Region. The Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation is responsible for leading the development of the “Icebreaker” project, an advanced technology demonstration program which will see the construction of five to nine wind turbines on the waters of Lake Erie around 10 kilometres off the coast of Cleveland.

Hawaii lawmakers debate geothermal energy proposal

The Washington Examiner - Feb 25

Hawaii lawmakers are debating a bill to give island counties more control over the development of geothermal energy resources. Many state leaders see Hawaii's volcanoes as part of the solution to the state's energy woes.

No cause, no answers seven months after Kahuku wind farm fire

KHON2 News - Feb 27

It was a first of its kind technology - that went up in smoke. Since August, the 12 turbines at Kahuku are at a standstill after a fire inside the facility's battery storage system shut the wind farm down. The battery-storage technology was the first of its kind to regulate the flow of power when trade winds aren't blowing.

Minnesota bill introduced to put state on path to 10% solar power

Solar Server News - Feb 25

On February 20, 2013, Minnesota State Senator Chris Eaton and State Representative Will Morgan introduced the Solar Energy Jobs Act at the State Capitol. The new bill will require utilities in Minnesota to generate 10% of the electricity sold from solar-powered resources by 2030.

Shepherd's Flat wind farm's $30 million in tax credits will be reviewed by Oregon Energy Department

Oregon Live - Feb 23

The Oregon Department of Energy said it will reevaluate its recent approval of $30 million in tax credits for the Shepherd's Flat wind farm, a collection of 338 turbines in Gilliam and Morrow counties that bills itself as one of the largest wind farms in the world.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

Startup OneRoof Energy secures $100M fund for solar homes

Forbes - Feb 28

OneRoof Energy, a California-based startup, has lined up a $100 million fund to finance residential rooftop installations, the company said Thursday. The fund, a mix of equity and debt, is coming from Morgan Stanley‘s MS Solar Holdings, Main Street Power and National Bank of Arizona.

SunPower and the 49ers team up to power new stadium

eSolar Energy News - Feb 26

SunPower Corp., the Santa Clara Stadium Authority and the San Francisco 49ers announced that SunPower has been named the official and exclusive solar technology partner of the San Francisco 49ers and the new Santa Clara Stadium. SunPower will supply 400 kilowatts of its high efficiency solar panels that will be used.

Nestle Waters North America hosts wind turbines

BevNet News - Feb 26

Nestle is celebrating its first wind energy project in the world with the hosting of two wind turbines at its Nestle Waters North America (NWNA) bottling plant in Cabazon, Calif. The turbines will provide wind power for 30 percent of the facility where the company produces its Arrowhead and Nestle Pure Life brand bottled waters. NWNA chose this location for its turbines, along the I-10 corridor in southern California, because of the high wind potential.

California puts McCoy Solar Project on the fast track

eSolar Energy News - Feb 25

Taking action to cut red tape, create new jobs and generate clean energy, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. has certified a second project for fast-tracked judicial and legislative review under the terms of his 2011 CEQA reforms. The McCoy Solar Project, a billion-dollar renewable solar facility that will be located in Riverside County, is now eligible for expedited review.

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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