Renewable Energy Update -- May 29, 2013

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

U.S. new solar installations may only reach 3.5GW in 2013

Digi TImes Solar News - May 23

The U.S. has rich natural resources, and states in the southwest region have sufficient sunshine with an annual average of over 2,200 hours. Western states in the U.S. have been introducing large-size solar projects, helping new installations in 2012 to reach 3.3GW, an on-year growth of 78.6%. However, as the California Solar Initiative is about to reach its installation target, and competition from other energy resources has been rising, new solar installations in the first quarter of 2013 only reached 537MW in the U.S., less than market expectations.

Solar-powered oil extraction technology

Energy and Capital - May 22

California-based GlassPoint Solar Inc. is moving ahead with its first solar crude extraction plant in Oman, and the success is likely to lead to further operations in the Middle Eastern region. The facility, which produces some 50 metric tons of steam per day for injection into Oman's Amal oilfield, is a 7-megawatt installation. This solar-powered enhanced oil recovery facility is part of a recent shift in thinking on part of energy companies. Conventionally, natural gas is used to produce the steam that is then injected into hard-to-extract oil reserves. Oman, for example, uses nearly 22 percent of all its natural gas for steam production purposes. However, the use of solar power offsets the total carbon footprint of such oil extraction operations, and it earns energy companies a good bit of credibility with environmental agencies.

KPMG Survey: most energy executives indicate potential for U.S. energy independence by 2030; some say 2020

KPMG Press Release - May 17

Nearly two-thirds of energy executives believe the United States can attain energy independence by 2030 eliminating the U.S. dependency for foreign oil, according to the results of the 11th annual Energy Industry Outlook Survey conducted by the KPMG Global Energy Institute. In fact, survey results indicate a 10 percent decrease in those who previously believed the U.S. would never attain energy independence. KPMG’s annual energy survey, which polled more than 100 senior executives in the U.S. representing global energy companies, found that 62 percent of respondents think the U.S. can attain energy independence by 2030, up from 52 percent in last year’s survey. Of the 62 percent, nearly one quarter (23 percent) think energy independence is possible by as soon as 2020.

BLM studies impact of northwestern Arizona wind farm

West Valley News Valley & State - May 17

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is favoring a scaled-back version of a wind farm in Mohave County. BP Wind Energy North America had proposed building 283 wind turbines on BLM and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation land that could produce up to 500 megawatts of electricity. The BLM released a final environmental impact statement Friday for the project, about 40 miles northwest of Kingman. The agency's preferred alternative is to allow no more than 243 turbines and reduce the acreage on which the project will be built by 12 square miles.

U.S. Senate confirms Moniz as new energy secretary

Solar Industry Magazine - May 17

By a unanimous vote Thursday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Ernest Moniz as the new secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy. Moniz, who replaces Steven Chu, previously served as Under Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton. He has also directed the Energy Initiative at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. President Barack Obama announced his nomination of Moniz in March.

Google X acquires Makani Power and its airborne wind turbines

Tech Crunch Blog - May 22

After previously investing into the company, Google has now acquired Makani Power, a green energy startup that is currently building airborne wind turbines. The acquisition was first reported in Brad Stone’s Businessweek story about Google X and judging from Stone’s story, the team will join Google X. Google invested $10 million in the Alameda, CA-based company in 2006 and another $5 million in 2008.

Brownfields + renewables = award-winning innovation

Greensource Construction News - May 14

Landfills, decommissioned mines, and Superfund sites are being put to good use through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) RE-Powering America’s Land Initiative. Now the program has received top honors from Harvard University’s Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. The EPA program provides mapping tools, technical support, and other resources to help ensure that much-needed development of solar and wind farms happens on previously developed land rather than on greenfield sites. RE-Powering so far boasts 73 installations in 26 states totaling 217 MW of capacity—about two-thirds of that capacity from photovoltaics. Most of the projects sell power wholesale to the grid, according to EPA.

Maui County wants to buy solar photovoltaic power from up to 15 sites

Biz Journal - May 20

Maui County is looking for solar photovoltaic firms to install, operate, maintain, and own solar PV systems, and then sell the energy generated to the county under a power purchase agreement. Doug McLeod, energy commissioner for Maui County, told PBN that the size of the project isn’t known, but it hopes to install 1-megawatt of solar energy. The county has issued an RFP that covers 15 sites, several of which involve multiple buildings, said McLeod, who noted that it also allows rooftop, ground mount, and carport PV.

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, Consolidated Edison Development announce solar partnership

eSolar Energy News - May 21

Sempra U.S. Gas & Power and Consolidated Edison Development (ConEdison Development) today announced an agreement to partner in two of Sempra U.S. Gas & Power's solar power facilities, the 150 MW Copper Mountain Solar 2 plant near Las Vegas and the 150 MW Mesquite Solar 1 power plant near Phoenix.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

CalEnergy remarkets power from geothermal facilities in California

Think Geo Energy News - May 21

MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. and TransAlta Corp. have joined forces and founded CAlEnergy LLC, a new special purpose entity to remarket electricity from the 10 geothermal power plants that the companies own in the state of California. MidAmerican Geothermal, a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables (and essentially MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.) holds 50% in those 10 geothermal facilities in the Imperial Valley in California, with Canadian TransAlta owning the other 50%. The facilities: Vulcan, Del Ranch, Elmore, Leathers, CE Turbo, Salton Sea I – V have a combined capacity of 326 MW.

Blue Earth completes construction of two more solar PV projects in California Desert

eSolar Energy News - May 17

Blue Earth, Inc. (OTCQB: BBLU) announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Xnergy Inc., finalized the construction of two renewable energy projects utilizing solar PV (photovoltaic) technology. The two projects include a 60 kw system for Leja Farms in Coachella, California, and a 55 kw system for Vessey & Co. in Holtville, California.


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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