Thursday, August 26, 2010

Renewable Energy News, August 26, 2010

Early tidal power test in Eastport, Maine called a success
The Coast Guard’s 41-foot search and rescue boat eased away from the dock Tuesday morning, its batteries fully charged by electricity generated from the waters beneath its hull.

Since Aug. 18, a tidal energy generator developed by Ocean Renewable Power Co. has been producing clean, grid-compatible power for the Coast Guard boat. On Tuesday, the renewable power company and Coast Guard officials welcomed dignitaries and local residents to view up close what they described as the first-ever successful implementation of tidal energy at a federal facility.

“This has put Eastport on the world map,” said Chris Sauer, president and CEO of ORPC. “Folks in Australia, the UK, Chile, New Zealand know all about Eastport, Maine. They’re watching us and hoping it happens to them.”
Communities go solar together, save money
It wasn't until her neighbors decided to take the plunge together — generating significant savings — that she made up her mind to do it.

"It takes the right financial incentive to make it happen," Arntson said.

The group of neighbors, called "Solarize Salem," is the latest in a wave of grass-roots efforts around the country to connect homeowners interested in solar power.

The homeowners attend educational workshops, buy solar panels in bulk and negotiate a group discount with a panel installer. The practice can save 10% to 30% off the cost of installation, organizers say.
California Approves First New U.S. Thermal Solar Plant
California regulators on Wednesday approved a license for the nation’s first large-scale solar thermal power plant in two decades.

The licensing of the 250-megawatt Beacon Solar Energy Project after a two-and-a-half-year environmental review comes as several other big solar farms are set to receive approval from the California Energy Commission in the next month.

“I hope this is the first of many more large-scale solar projects we will permit,” said Jeffrey D. Byron, a member of the California Energy Commission, at a hearing in Sacramento on Wednesday. “This is exactly the type of project we want to see.”
Idaho building its largest wind complex to date
Idaho is building what will be the state's largest wind project to date near land once traversed by Lewis and Clark, and Sacagawea.

As part of the groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday for the 183-megawatt Idaho Wind Partners project, Idaho Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter and others signed the giant blade of a wind turbine. Most of the land being used for the Idaho project consists of both active and idle farmland across Magic Valley, part of which is considered a piece of the iconic Oregon Trail.
Hydro leads China's renewables plan
China will construct 100GW of hydropower in the next decade, head of the country’s National Energy Administration announced yesterday, forming a majority of Beijing’s non fossil-fuel 2020 energy targets.

Administration head Zhang Guobao said that the country will invest RMB1tn ($174bn) in hydropower over the next five years, aiming for it to account for nine per cent of Beijing’s energy needs.
California starts to lay energy storage foundations
California this week moved a step closer to mandating the rollout of energy storage systems capable of supporting new renewable energy projects, passing a critical bill in the state senate.

Bill AB2514 would require the Public Utilities Commission to set targets for systems that store energy. Both public and private utilities in the state would then be required to help meet the targets, the legislation said.
Green Prince Charles looks to sun for electricity at his London home
The Prince of Wales was granted permission yesterday to install dozens of solar panels on his home at Clarence House in the latest move to cut his carbon footprint.

The 32 solar photovoltaic panels, which produce electricity, can now be installed on the south-east roof of the central London residence, which has been a home to royalty for 170 years.

The panels are expected to produce around 4,000 kilowatt hours of green electricity a year – equivalent to the electricity used by the average household in the capital.

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