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 Week of March 19, 2012 Contact us Subscribe  Previous issues

Green Power

Green Power Network Update for February 2012

This update summarizes recent green power marketing activity, including news and information on competitive green power marketing, utility green pricing programs, renewable energy certificates, green power purchasing, and related market activity. Additional information on green power markets and products, as well as links to the companies mentioned below, can be found on the U.S. Department of Energy's Green Power Network website http://apps3.eere.energy.gov/greenpower/.
 
News

Renewable Energy RFPs

Visit U.S. DOE EERE Green Power Network for more information.

 

Renewable Energy Technologies

LBNL/NREL Analysis Predicts Record Low LCOE for Wind Energy in 2012-2013

A recent analysis conducted by the Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory (LBNL) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) suggests that lower capital costs and continued increases in wind turbine productivity will drive down the levelized cost of wind energy for U.S. wind projects constructed in 2012 to 2013. Estimates focused on changes in capital costs and turbine production indicate that the levelized cost of energy—a standard for comparing wind energy with other sources of electricity generation—for projects in 2012 to 2013 could be 5 to 26 percent lower than the previous lows observed in 2002 to 2003. The most substantial improvements are expected at low-wind-speed sites (e.g., 6–7 m/s annual average wind speed at 50 meters above ground). These anticipated trends are good news for the wind industry and stand in stark contrast to the period of 2003 to 2010, when the cost of wind energy was pushed higher by increasing turbine prices. Read more. Source: EERE Wind Program Newsletter, 3/13/12

Renewable Energy Will Double by 2035, Supplying 16% of US Energy

Renewable energy production will more than double by 2035 even without Dederal tax credits, says the Energy Information Agency (EIA) in its "Annual Energy Outlook 2012."

To develop its projections, EIA bases assumptions on the laws, reguations and trends in place today. Based on economic recovery and increasing energy efficiency, it expects energy demand in transportation to grow 0.2 percent a year between 2010- 2035, and electricity demand to grow 0.8 percent a year. Energy consumption per capita will decline 0.5 percent a year. Read more. Source: Sustainable Business, 3/5/12

Robust Geothermal Growth Expected Even if Tax Credits Expire, EIA Reports 

The Energy Information Agency (EIA) issued its report this week, Annual Energy Outlook 2012, which projects U.S. renewable power production more than doubling by 2035, even with the expiration of Federal tax credits The report projects robust growth for geothermal, which is expects to triple its production by 2035 outpacing the overall trend. Read more. Source: Renewable Energy World via Geothermal Energy Association Newsletter, 3/2/12

First Solar replacing more solar panels

Tempe-based First Solar Inc. said this week it is making more warranty replacements of its solar panels in hot climates than expected, just as it is building billions of dollars worth of power plants in the desert Southwest.

Company officials said the issue was not significant, but some analysts are concerned the heat issue could spell trouble down the road for the company.

First Solar took a $37 million fourth-quarter charge to set aside money to handle potential warranty claims related to temperature, and plans on setting aside a larger portion of its sales going forward to cover warranty expenses. Read more. Source: The Republic, 3/1/12

EIA projects U.S. non-hydro renewable power generation increases, led by wind and biomass

Wind and biomass dominate projected increases in U.S. renewable electricity generation, excluding hydropower, in EIA's Annual Energy Outlook 2012 Early Release Reference case.

Increased generation from non-hydro renewable energy resources in the electric power sector accounts for 33 percent of the overall growth in electricity generation from 2010 to 2035. The non-hydro renewable share of total generation in the projection increases from 4 percent in 2010 to 9 percent in 2035. Read more. Source: Energy Information Administration, 2/28/12

Energy Department Launches New Research Program to Advance Solar Technologies

As part of the Obama Administration's blueprint for an American economy built to last, Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced $3 million available this year to support research to significantly lower the cost of solar energy. The funding will enable collaborative research teams from industry, universities and national laboratories to work together in the Energy Department's research centers including the Scientific User Facilities to develop solutions to drive down the cost of solar energy. By accelerating scientific breakthroughs, these research teams support the Department's SunShot Initiative goal to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade—creating jobs, enhancing U.S. energy security, and boosting American competitiveness in the global clean energy economy. Read more. Source: EERE Progress Alerts, 2/23/12

Coal-fired power plant completes total conversion to renewable biofuel energy

Macpherson Energy Company and DTE Energy Services (DTEES) announced that Kern County’s Mt. Poso cogeneration plant is completely converted to run 100 percent biomass fuel instead of coal, and is successfully delivering its full capacity of 44 megawatts of clean, renewable energy to the California grid.

“This is a proud day – we’re creating jobs, reducing emissions, and delivering clean renewable electricity,” said Donald Macpherson, President and Chief Executive Officer of Macpherson Energy. “The new Mt. Poso biomass plant is good for the Kern County economy and good for the environment.” Read more. Source: Penn Energy via MacPherson Energy Company, 2/22/12

Geothermal energy project set to break ground in April

After failing to reach an underground water source last year, the city of Aspen is aiming to drill a second time for geothermal energy in a riverside parking lot this spring.
 
The city’s open space board unanimously voted Thursday evening to allow drilling from April 1 through May 25 in the city-owned parking lot of the Prockter Open Space. The lot is across Neale Avenue from Herron Park and sits near the north bank of the Roaring Fork River.
 
Board members stressed the importance of completing drilling, and clearing the 3,500-square-foot drilling operation, before Memorial Day weekend, to return Herron Park to its public use for the holiday. Read moreAspen Daily News, 2/20/12

Learn more about renewable resources.

 

Outreach, Education, Reports & Studies 

DOE Funds Consensus Building Institute to Host Facilitating Wind Energy Siting Workshop: A Wind Powering America Success Story

In March 2011, the Consensus Building Institute (CBI), in conjunction with Raab Associates Ltd., hosted a 3-day Facilitating Wind Energy Siting Workshop in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The event was a culmination of work that began in 2009 when the group received $99,785 in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under a competitive funding opportunity announcement to address market and deployment challenges identified in DOE's 2008 report "20% Wind Energy by 2030."

CBI received 260 applications to participate in the event, and from these applications 100 attendees representing 16 states were selected. Participants included non-governmental organizations, as well as government and private-sector stakeholders.

According to Patrick Field, managing director of North American Programs at CBI, the event was developed to address issues relating to the public acceptance of wind projects to further the renewable energy technology. Read more. Source: Wind Powering America, 3/8/12

Renewable Portfolio Standards Update: 2012’s Compliance Modifications, Progress, and Prognostications

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has estimated that by the year 2015, mandated electrical generation from state renewable portfolio standards (RPS) will exceed 150 million Mwh.  At a time of seemingly stalled federal energy legislation, state RPS mandates are contributing to increased generation capacity nationwide from renewable sources like geothermal, biomass, wind, solar, and hydrogen.

Whether due to statute or new legislation, many state RPS mandates are intransition in 2012 and 2013.  Register for the REMA webinar and hear from two renewable energy experts as they delve into generation technologies, sourcing requirements, and other revisions changing the face of renewable energy in the states. Read more. Source: Renewable Energy Marketers Association, 3/6/12

Download presentations from webinar on State Renewables Policies

Presentations from the ABA/ACORE Webinar “State Renewables Policies – Lessons Learned after a Decade of Success” are now available to download.

Please join the American Council on Renewable Energy Wednesday, March 21, for its next webinar, "Waste Energy Recovery from Industrial Processes; Emergence of a Key Component of the Nation’s Energy and Economic Future." Source: American Council on Renewable Energy, 3/6/12

Partner Announcement: Lex Helius: The Law of Solar Energy Guidebook

LEX HELIUS-Stoel Rives LLP, a U.S. business law firm, released its third edition of its solar energy guide, in English and Chinese. Titled Lex Helius: The Law of Solar Energy, the guide is part of a series of books published by Stoel Rives that provide developers, investors and lenders with a general overview of the legal issues encountered in a typical renewable energy project. Lex Helius reviews issues such as real property procedures, regulatory and permitting requirements, interconnection issues, power purchase negotiations, financing, taxes and construction contracting. Read more. Source: Stoel Rives, LLP, 2/15/12  

Learn more about education and outreach activities.

 

News from Washington

Energy Department Announces $180 Million for Ambitious New Initiative to Deploy U.S. Offshore Wind Projects

As part of President Obama's all-out, all-of-the-above approach to developing every domestic energy resource, Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced the start of an ambitious initiative to capture the potential of wind energy off American coasts. As part of a planned six-year $180 million initiative, an initial $20 million will be available this year as the first step in supporting up to four innovative offshore wind energy installations across the United States. These offshore wind projects will accelerate the deployment of breakthrough wind power technologies that will help diversify our nation's energy portfolio, promote economic development, and launch a new industry here in America. Read more. Source: EERE Progress Alert, 3/1/12

Army Kicks Off $7 Billion Alternative Energy Project

The Army issued a draft request for proposals today to purchase over a 30-year period $7 billion worth of power generated from alternative energy sources, including solar, wind, geothermal and biomass.

Katherine Hammock, assistant secretary of the Army for installations, energy and environment, announced plans for the project last year to support the service's goal of having installations produce more energy than they consume.

The Army Corps of Engineers' Engineering and Support Center in Huntsville, Ala., which is managing the procurement, said the alternative energy power generation plants will be located on or near federal property.

Hammond said last year that the Army would support their development by leasing land on installations, and the draft RFP backs this up with language that says the service endorses "the procurement of large scale renewable energy generated on or near Army land."

The Army is really serious about going green. Source: NextGov, 2/24/12

Obama Administration FY 2013 Budget Proposal: Sustainable Energy and Transportation

President Obama released his $3.8 trillion fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget proposal on February 13, 2012, which includes a continued emphasis on renewable energy and infrastructure spending. Obama called for an “all of the above” energy strategy during his State of the Union speech in January to grow the economy, create jobs and promote green technology development. Read more. Source: Environmental and Energy Study Institute, 2/15/12

Learn more about national activities.

 

State Activities, Marketing & Market Research

Oregon can’t afford not to invest in renewables

Renewable portfolio standards, as enacted in both Oregon and Washington, were passed to promote economic development and job creation as well as encourage each state to become less dependent on fossil fuels.

Washington’s law, known as I-937, was passed as a voter initiative in 2006. It requires large utilities in the state to acquire at least 15 percent of their electricity from new renewable resources by 2020.

Oregon’s law, SB 838, was passed by the Legislature in 2007. It requires Oregon’s three largest utilities to meet a 25 percent standard by 2025. Read more. Source: Daily Journal of Commerce Oregon, 3/14/12

Study: 100% of state's power can come from wind, solar

If you've ever driven past the wind farms in southern Minnesota or seen a house with solar panels, maybe you've wondered how much of the state's total electricity demand wind and solar power could support.

According to a study released Tuesday, March 13, the answer is 100 percent.

All of Minnesota's electricity generation could be met by a combination of wind and solar energy, as long as it's combined with big energy storage and grid improvements that dramatically reduce demand, the study by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research says. Read more. Source: Pioneer Press, 3/14/12

Renewable Energy Investments Result in Nevada Jobs and Expansion of Nevada Businesses

Clean Energy report released by Senator Reid outlines Nevada's winning strategy and highlights SolarReserve's Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project 

United States Senator Harry Reid released a new report today that puts a bright spotlight on the importance and benefits of federal and state policies to support the development of renewable energy sources.

"We are proud to be a leading example in Senator Reid's Nevada Clean Energy Report that demonstrates how public-private partnerships create jobs and economic growth for the local community and state," said Kevin Smith, CEO of SolarReserve. "Clearly, SolarReserve's Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project that is currently under construction near Tonopah, Nevada, could not have gone forward without supportive public policies and the leadership of Senator Reid and other members of congress and the administration." Read more. Source: Market Watch via PR Newswire, 3/12/12

Council Approves New CLEAN Program Promoting Local Renewable Power

Tonight the Palo Alto City Council approved implementation of a new initiative to encourage electricity generation right here in our city---Palo Alto CLEAN (Clean Local Energy Accessible Now). The City’s Electric Utility is now authorized to purchase renewable energy from generation systems located here in Palo Alto. The Utility will begin accepting applications for these power contracts on April 2, 2012.

The purpose of CLEAN programs is to develop small local renewable energy systems. In its first year, the City’s goal is to contract for up to 4 megawatts (MW) of solar energy delivered by systems located on local large commercial rooftops in Palo Alto.

"We are aiming for this program to generate over 6,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of renewable energy every year, enough to power 1,000 homes," noted Valerie Fong, Director of Utilities. Read more. Source: City of Palo Alto, 3/5/12

Winds of change in W. Texas

Every workday before sunrise, 10 BP workers gather on a West Texas sheep farm for morning calisthenics.

They need loose limbs to manage BP's 22,000 acres in the oil-rich Permian Basin, where temperatures can soar beyond 110 degrees.

The oil giant leases the land from farmers and ranchers to expand its reach in the energy world.

But you won't find any oil wells or drilling rigs here.

BP and other energy companies are funneling millions of dollars into building and operating wind farms in West Texas, helping to transform the oil country into one of the nation's leading hubs for green energy production. Read more. Source: My San Antonio, 3/5/12

EERE State News Monthly Report for February 2012

The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) publishes this summary of news stories posted the past month on the EERE State Activities & Partnerships Web site. EERE collects news stories dealing with state involvement in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects from EERE technology program Web sites, the State Energy Program, and EERE Network News.

Source: DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 3/1/12

California Geothermal Energy Collaborative

This newsletter will catch you up on the latest developments in geothermal power. Source: University of California, Davis, 2/24/12

Learn more about energy analysis.

 

Grants, RFPs & Other Funding News

U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Tribal Energy Program

Obama Administration Announces $15 Million Multi-Agency Challenge To Foster Job Creation and Business Innovation in Rural America

The Tribal Energy Program is pleased to forward the following announcement on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development program.

On March 8 the Obama Administration announced a $15 million multi-agency Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to spur job creation and economic growth in distressed rural communities. This competition, which is being funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce's Economic Development Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Delta Regional Authority, and the Appalachian Regional Commission, was designed by the Taskforce for the Advancement of Regional Innovation Clusters and the White House Rural Council.

The Rural Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge is expected to give out approximately 20 awards, depending on the number of eligible applications. To be eligible for an award, projects must benefit rural communities, but the applicant is not required to be located in a rural area. Nonprofits, higher education institutions, tribes, and state and local governments can collaborate to apply for funding. Although businesses are not eligible to apply directly, applicants can also partner with the private sector on implementation.

In addition to the four funding partners, the initiative is supported by nine other federal agencies: Commerce's U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and National Institute of Standards and Technology Manufacturing Extension Partnership; Denali Commission; U.S. Department of Education; U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration; U.S. Department of Energy; U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; and the Small Business Administration.

The deadline for applications is May 9, 2012. See the guidelines. Read more. Source: Tribal Energy Program, 3/4/12

Energy Department Launches New Research Program to Advance Solar Technologies

As part of the Obama Administration's blueprint for an American economy built to last, Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced $3 million available this year to support research to significantly lower the cost of solar energy. The funding will enable collaborative research teams from industry, universities and national laboratories to work together in the Energy Department's research centers including the Scientific User Facilities to develop solutions to drive down the cost of solar energy. By accelerating scientific breakthroughs, these research teams support the Department's SunShot Initiative goal to make solar energy cost competitive with other forms of energy by the end of the decade—creating jobs, enhancing U.S. energy security, and boosting American competitiveness in the global clean energy economy. Read more. Source: EERE Progress Alerts, 2/23/12

Tribal Clean Energy Projects Awarded $6.5 Million from U.S. Energy Department

As part of the Obama Administration's commitment to strengthening partnerships with Tribal Nations and supporting tribal energy development, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced 19 clean energy projects to receive more than $6.5 million. These competitively selected projects will allow Native American Tribes to advance clean energy within their communities by assessing local energy resources, developing renewable energy projects and deploying clean energy technologies. These projects will help Tribal communities across the country save money and create new job and business opportunities. Read more. Source: EERE News/Tribal Energy Program, 2/16/12

Learn more about funding solicitations.

This news item comes to you as a service of Western's Renewable Resources Program.

Western Area Power Administration, 12155 W. Alameda Parkway, Lakewood, Colorado, 80228-8213,

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