Friday, September 17, 2010

Renewable Energy News, September 17, 2010

California Braces for Showdown on Environmental Law
A ballot initiative to suspend a milestone California law curbing greenhouse gas emissions is drawing a wave of contributions from out-of-state oil companies, raising concerns among conservationists as it emerges as a test of public support for potentially costly environmental measures during tough economic times.

Charles and David Koch, the billionaires from Kansas who have played a prominent role in financing the Tea Party movement, donated $1 million to the campaign to suspend the Global Warming Solutions Act, which was passed four years ago, and signaled that they were prepared to invest more in the cause. With their contribution, proponents of the proposition have raised $8.2 million, with $7.9 million coming from energy companies, most of them out of state.

US DOE Awards Almost $100M To Renewable Energy Research
The Obama administration has made it clear from day one that it is interested in furthering the development and deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects throughout the United States. Announcements made this week and last by the government highlight that commitment.
State OKs $4 billion SoCal solar project
State regulators have approved a $4 billion solar project that officials say will produce hundreds of construction jobs and ultimately generate enough electricity to power 800,000 homes in Riverside County.

The California Energy Commission voted unanimously Wednesday to begin construction of the thousand-megawatt Blythe Solar Power Project on public land near the Arizona border at the end of the year.

The project still needs approval from the Bureau of Land Management, which is expected to vote next month.
Legal battle delays $120 million wind farm in Maine
Town leaders in the western Maine town of Roxbury say a legal appeal has tied up financing for a 22-turbine wind farm.

Selectmen say work was supposed to begin this month on Record Hill Wind's $120 million project, but construction will have to await the outcome of a legal battle.

Record Hill principal Robert Gardiner tells the Sun Journal newspaper that the wind project opponents' appeal has tied up financing pending a favorable decision.
ACORE Releases a State-by-State Report on Renewable Energy
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) released a report on September 14 that compiles data on renewable energy developments, resource potentials, and financial, market, and policy information on a state-by-state basis. The report is intended to be an executive summary of the renewable energy sector in each state. The state summaries show the wide range of renewable energy development in the United States, ranging from Louisiana, with only 200 kilowatts of grid-connected solar power and production capabilities for 1.5 million gallons of biofuels per year, to California, with 2.7 gigawatts of wind power, 2.6 gigawatts of geothermal power, 1.1 gigawatts of grid-connected solar power, 705 megawatts of biomass power, and production capabilities for nearly 200 million gallons of biofuels per year.
Solar projects becoming more feasible through Rural Development
Small businesses and farmers are beginning to take advantage of a program through USDA Rural Development that provides a grant of up to 25 percent of the costs of installing renewable energy systems, up to $500,000 with a minimum of $2,500.

Of particular interest has been solar panels, which cost around $5-$6 per watt to install, but which often pay for themselves within a few years as well as provide income when energy is sold back to the electric utility.

“We are gratified that more rural Georgia businesses and farmers are willing to install solar,” said Donnie Thomas, acting state director of USDA Rural Development. “Solar does require an upfront investment from the business, but the return on that investment is lessened when USDA funds, state tax credits and federal tax payments are used. Solar is good for the environment and is good for Georgia.”

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