Renewable Energy Update -- November 8, 2013.

by Allen Matkins

Renewable Energy Focus

Feds move to choose vendors based on environmental performance - Oct 29

The U.S. General Services Administration, the government's purchasing arm, is proposing a new way to choose vendors that compete for government contracts. It's starting with companies that deliver packages across the government - a $1.5 billion contract that begins in 2014 and runs for five years. GSA proposes that companies be selected not only based on price but also on meeting annual targets for fuel efficiency, greenhouse gas intensity, and use of clean fuels. GSA's solicitation is for express and ground shipping of an estimated 15 million to 35 million packages a year between 2014-2018.

Stanford students maximize solar efficiency in DOE’s Solar Decathlon

Renewable Energy World - Oct 23

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy hosted the 2013 Solar Decathlon at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, California. The Solar Decathlon challenges collegiate teams to build solar-powered, efficient, and affordable houses, with a premium on aesthetic and functional design. Stanford University, whose entry is the Start.Home, was one of only 20 teams selected to participate from candidates around the world. The Start.Home is a simple three-by-three modular grid that combines multiple technologies to maximize value and energy efficiency.

DOE awards $60 million for solar research and development

PV-Magazine - Oct 23

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced $60 million in grants to support innovative solar energy research and development. The investments are part of the Department's SunShot Initiative and in line with the Obama administration's broad-based plan to cut carbon pollution and support clean energy innovation across the country. The DOE’s new investments include more than $12 million across 17 companies to help commercialize a wide range of technologies and services, from online tools that can map a rooftop’s solar potential to automated installation systems for utility scale photovoltaic plants.

Pacific Northwest leaders combat climate change together - Oct 29

Leaders in the Pacific Northwest agreed to move in lock-step, harmonizing their policies to fight climate change and promote clean energy. California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia signed the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy, which commits the states to aligning their clean energy policies. Oregon and Washington will adopt carbon pricing programs and clean fuel standards already in place in California and British Columbia. All four states will have the same mid- and long-term targets for cutting emissions. Signatories are the governors of the three states and the prime minister of British Columbia.

Bay Area Council, Chinese business group link on clean air and carbon trading

Biz Journal - Energy & Environment News - Oct 23

The San Francisco-based Bay Area Council will work with the Chinese Chamber of Commerce for Imports and Exports for Machine and Electronics, which represents more than 10,000 industrial and electronics manufacturers, to develop clean air and carbon reduction technologies. The two groups will appoint representatives to promote trade, joint ventures, and investments in clean technology to support clean air and carbon reduction targets.

Sonoma Clean Power lays out green energy goal

The Press Democrat - Oct 18

Officials overseeing Sonoma County’s startup public power agency, Sonoma Clean Power, unveiled terms of a proposed power supply contract they contend would make their venture immediately greener than PG&E. The aim is to begin serving the first wave of customers, mostly commercial accounts, by May 2014. For the initial power supply deal, officials revealed terms dictating that 70 percent of the electricity purchased by the agency must come from carbon-free sources. By comparison, PG&E’s carbon-free power amounts to 51 percent of its supply, according to the utility’s power content label, which is filed with the state and visible on customer bills.

Denver public auction for solar development zones draws no bids

PV Tech News - Oct 25

The first competitive auction of federal lands in the U.S. specifically for developing solar power took place in Denver, Colorado on Thursday, but ended having seen no bidders take part. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management, which hosted the auction, announced it in August, and offered three parcels of Denver land designated as Solar Energy Zones (SEZ), part of the wider Western Solar Plan. The Western Solar Plan created 17 SEZs across 6 states for the purpose of developing up to 6 gigawatts of solar capacity, as outlined in President Obama’s re-election campaign.

Who is driving solar energy? It's the middle class - Oct 25

The Center of American Progress (CAP) recently released a study on who has been purchasing solar power over the past few years. While wealthy people helped by being early adopters, CAP concluded that the middle class is driving widespread installation. In fact, rooftop solar installations are overwhelmingly located in middle-class neighborhoods where median incomes range from $40,000 to $90,000. CAP analyzed data from Arizona, California, and New Jersey, states that lead on solar deployment, from 2011-2012. Solar power is growing the fastest in neighborhoods in Arizona and California where median incomes are $40,000 to $50,000, and even lower in New Jersey - $30,000 to $40,000. This counters what many utilities say these days - that the low- and middle-income customers who can't afford solar are subsidizing the wealthy people who can.

Notable Renewable Energy Projects and Deals

Panasonic Eco Solutions and partner acquire California solar projects

Penn Energy - Renewables - Oct 25 ,p>Panasonic Eco Solutions North America and Coronal Management, LLC have acquired 16.2 megawatts of California CREST (California Renewable Energy Small Tariff) projects from Macquarie Capital. The portfolio consists of nine solar projects located in Tulare and Kings Counties in central California, which will provide enough energy to Southern California Edison’s grid to power approximately 14,500 homes annually.

California Center for Sustainable Energy selected to lead DOE regional clean energy partnership

Business Wire Energy News - Oct 21

The San Diego-based California Center for Sustainable Energy will receive $2.2 million over four years from the U.S. Department of Energy to provide support and technical assistance throughout California, Nevada, and Hawaii to drive wider development of cogeneration energy technologies as solutions to the nation’s energy issues. CCSE will direct the Pacific regional Combined Heat and Power Technical Assistance Partnership, one of seven regional partnerships. The main purpose of the DOE regional partnerships is to increase the nation’s clean energy capacity using combined heat and power systems that capture energy that would normally be lost in industrial and commercial facilities.

Carbon-negative energy, a reality at last

CNET - Oct 19

In Berkeley, California, All Power Labs is turning out machines that convert cheap and abundant biomass into clean energy and rich, efficient charcoal fertilizer. Located in one of the grittiest areas of town, where train tracks, garbage, and broken-down cars are far more prevalent than the hippies Berkeley is famous for, All Power Labs has set up shop inside the Shipyard. Run by CEO Jim Mason, the 5-year-old startup now produces technology used to transform dense biomass like cornhusks or wood chips into clean, sustainable, and cheap energy. All Power Labs makes machines that use an ancient process called gasification to turn out not only carbon-neutral energy, but also a carbon-rich charcoal by-product that just happens to be a fertilizer so efficient that Tom Price, the company's director of strategic initiatives, calls it "plant crack."


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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