Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Renewable Energy News, December 15, 2010

Renewable-energy grant program has chance of extension
A federal stimulus program that has helped keep renewable-energy projects afloat during the recession could get a second wind despite industry fears that it might become a casualty of partisan bickering in Congress.

In a last-minute push, a Senate committee cleared the way for congressional approval as early as Wednesday to extend the Treasury Department's 1603 cash grant program, which has funneled roughly $18 billion into nearly 1,500 wind and solar projects.

The program, which covers up to 30% of the cost of renewable-energy projects such as solar-panel installations, is set to expire by the end of the year.

The subsidy is lumped into a larger tax package that is expected to go up for a vote in the House on Wednesday. If it passes, installers of thousands of renewable-power projects in the pipeline — including small rooftop solar-panel installations on suburban homes and sprawling and remote wind-turbine farms — could tap the funds in 2011.
Report: Renewable Energy Investments in India Likely to Rise 370% by 2020
According to a report published by the Pew Charitable Trust, investments in the Indian renewable energy sector are likely to increase by a staggering 369 percent over the next decade.

The report analyses the potential growth in the G20 nations on the basis of three sets of scenario — present policies, Copenhagen policies and enhanced renewable energy policies.

The report states that even if India maintains the current set of policies, it is likely to attract highly significant amount of investment over the next decade. The report states that under the current policy scenario, investment in India's clean energy sector is likely to increase to $18 billion in 2020 compared to $2 billion in 2009. The cumulative investment over ten years from 2010-2020 are likely to reach $118 billion, that is, an increase of 369 percent.
China Wins in Wind Power, by Its Own Rules
Judging by the din at its factory here one recent day, the Spanish company Gamesa may seem to be a thriving player in the Chinese wind energy industry it helped create.

But Gamesa has learned the hard way, as other foreign manufacturers have, that competing for China’s lucrative business means playing by strict house rules that are often stacked in Beijing’s favor.

Nearly all the components that Gamesa assembles into million-dollar turbines here, for example, are made by local suppliers — companies Gamesa trained to meet onerous local content requirements. And these same suppliers undermine Gamesa by selling parts to its Chinese competitors — wind turbine makers that barely existed in 2005, when Gamesa controlled more than a third of the Chinese market.
A Plan for a Renewable Utah
To cut human-generated carbon dioxide emissions by 80 percent, an oft-quoted goal, the electricity sector might have to reduce its own emissions even more because other sectors like agriculture or aviation could find 80 percent impossible. Many states have quotas for reliance on renewable electricity, but the highest is California’s at just 33 percent.

Yet how much renewable energy can an electric grid tolerate?

A lot more than is generally assumed, according to a new report commissioned by an environmental group, HEAL Utah.Yet the group takes a different tack from that of most other organizations that envision a low-carbon future; it wants to forswear both nuclear power and coal-fired power with carbon dioxide capture.

Utah has no renewable energy quota. But the report, released on Tuesday, proposes a system that would be nearly entirely based on solar, wind and geothermal power and the mass deployment of two technologies that are still in their infancy: compressed air energy storage, and a smart grid that takes control of customers’ appliances.
DOE Closes $400 Million Loan Guarantee for Thin-Film Solar Manufacturing
DOE announced on December 14 that a $400 million loan guarantee has been finalized for Abound Solar Manufacturing, LLC to manufacture state-of-the-art thin-film solar panels. The Abound Solar project represents the fifth America Recovery and Reinvestment Act project to close to date. The project, which includes facilities in Longmont, Colorado, and Tipton, Indiana, will use new manufacturing technology for cadmium-telluride panels that has never been deployed commercially. At full capacity, the project will be capable of producing solar panels with 840 megawatts of capacity each year. The company estimates the project will create 1,200 new jobs for ongoing manufacturing and operations—including 200 in Colorado and 1,000 in Indiana.

The facility will produce photovoltaic panels using an innovative process in which thin films of cadmium-telluride are deposited onto glass panels. The company said it believes the technology offers numerous improvements over existing manufacturing methods and reduces overall production costs. Production and installation of these panels produces significantly less greenhouse gas emissions than crystalline silicon panels.
UW: Admiral Inlet an ideal spot for tidal power
University of Washington researchers say nearly two years of monitoring show the Admiralty Inlet is an ideal place to harness tidal energy.

UW oceanographer Jim Thomson says they have measured currents of up to 8 knots, or 9 miles per hour, faster than initially expected. He says data collected so far also show the site isn't used much by marine species.

The Snohomish County Public Utility District wants to put two large turbines about 200 feet below the surface of Puget Sound.

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