Thursday, October 21, 2010

Renewable Energy News, October 21, 2010

Vermont solar projects cross party lines
In a field just outside Vergennes, where cows used to graze, steel brackets are sprouting up. Soon, those steel foundations will be covered by some 4,000 solar panels, arched toward the sky to soak up enough sun to produce a megawatt of power.

Once, Burlington developer Ernie Pomerleau thought he might build a shopping center here. It doesn’t have access to sewer lines, however, so the shopping center went across the road, and Pomerleau’s held on onto the property for 20 years. Now, it represents Pomerleau’s newest business venture: selling renewable energy.

Pomerleau is building what will — briefly — be the state’s largest solar farm with the help of federal and state tax credits and with a promise that he can sell the power it generates at a favorable rate for 20 years. That rate — called a standard offer — is an enticement the state Legislature enacted in 2009 to encourage development of home-grown renewable energy over the objection of Republican Gov. Jim Douglas. Vermont is the first state in the nation to use this approach.

Disclosure: SDRS represents the developers mentioned in the article.
Tidal Power: The Next Wave?
Over the next few years, we can expect to see huge advances in our ability to harness power from the ocean’s waves and tides, a new report from IHS Emerging Energy Research, a Cambridge, Mass., consulting firm, predicts.
A tidal energy turbine developed by Atlantis Resources.Getty Images A tidal energy turbine developed by Atlantis Resources.

Until recently, that sector has had limited popularity and mixed success, even as the number of installations generating power from other renewable resources like the wind, sun and biomass has grown rapidly.

“The global ocean energy sector is at a turning point,” the company’s report says. More than 45 wave and tidal prototypes are expected to be ocean-tested in 2010 and 2011. Only nine were tested in 2009.
Ground broken for solar farm in New Jersey
A New Jersey farm that was slated to become a housing development will now be used to cultivate energy from the sun.

Officials broke ground Wednesday on what they expect will be one of the nation's largest solar farms when it begins generating power next spring -- giving New Jersey even more bragging rights when it comes to harnessing the sun's power.
Vermont utilities agree to buy wind power from New Hampshire
Vermont's two largest electric utilities say they've signed contracts to buy power from a wind-power project in northern New Hampshire.

Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power say they signed contracts to buy electricity from Noble Environmental Power's planned 99-megawatt Granite Reliable Power Windpark in Coos County, N.H.

CVPS recently signed a 15-year contract to buy 20 percent of the wind park's output, in addition to the 30.3 percent it announced it would buy in February.
Rhode Island coastal agency OKs plan for siting wind turbines
Two years and more than $8 million later, Rhode Island is a critical step closer to protecting its waters with eco-friendly standards and regulations for offshore wind turbine developers.

The state Coastal Resources Management Council unanimously approved the Ocean Special Area Management Plan (Ocean SAMP) Tuesday night. The hefty document needs final approval from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which produces funding and oversight for the CRMC.

The ocean-mapping work not only identifies the best locations for wind turbines in state waters, but also suggests a suitable site in nearby waters under federal jurisdiction. State officials ultimately want the SAMP to govern that area -- federal waters generally begins three miles offshore -- and be a model for other coastal states.
State of Hawaii Awards $2.1 Million to Promote Renewable Energy Interconnection on Neighbor Islands
The Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT) has awarded $2.1 million in federal stimulus funds for energy storage demonstration projects on Hawaii Island and Maui County to increase the grids’ ability to integrate more renewable energy.

Hawaii Electric Light Company (HELCO) will receive $900,000 and Maui Electric Company (MECO) will receive $1.2 million in ARRA (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) stimulus funds for equipment and installation of energy storage systems. Interconnection costs will be paid by the utilities.
US approves 5th solar plant on western public land
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar has approved a big solar energy plant in the Mojave Desert, making it the fifth such project on western U.S. public lands to win federal authorization.

Salazar's approval Wednesday authorizes the Bureau of Land Management to offer Tessera Solar use of more than 4,600 acres for 30 years to build the Calico Solar Project.

The Interior Department says the 663.5-megawatt project could power 200,000 to 500,000 homes.

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