Friday, January 21, 2011

Renewable Energy News, January 21, 2011

Texas OKs New Wind Power Transmission Lines
Texas is in the midst of a wind-power boom, and at the heart of it lies a conundrum: While plenty of ranchers are eager to host wind turbines, few want the unsightly high-voltage transmission lines needed to carry the power to distant cities running through their property.

The lack of transmission lines — and the relatively low price of natural gas — has thwarted the ambitions of wind-power advocates to expand the use of this alternative energy source in Texas. The oilman T. Boone Pickens, for example, bet heavily on wind a couple of years ago, ordering hundreds of turbines and announcing plans to build the world’s largest wind farm in the Panhandle at a cost of up to $12 billion. He later scaled back, canceling some of the turbine orders, giving up his land lease and saying he was looking elsewhere to build.

To encourage others, the state is moving forward on a contentious project to erect $5 billion worth of transmission wires to connect the turbines to the cities that need power. On Thursday, state regulators met in Austin and approved the route of a controversial line that will run about 140 miles through the Hill Country, one of the state’s most scenic regions.
Proponents of renewable energy flock to Virginia's capital to lobby legislators
In an era where new power plants cost billions and the huge components of offshore wind farms require an industrial base to manufacture, solar power proponent Kent Baake came to the Capitol on Thursday backing two low-key alternative energy bills.

One would create a state fund for homeowners to finance solar power installations. The other would loosen homeowner association covenants that restrict rooftop solar collection panels.

Baake said the bills' passage would encourage more residents to try solar, and enrich the state's economy.

"This renewable energy stuff creates jobs," Baake said during a one-day drive by dozens of alternative energy proponents to win the support of legislators. "There are success stories out there."
CT Legislature's Energy and Technology Committee Approves Creation of New Energy Reform Bill
The legislature's Energy and Technology Committee, taking the first step to resurrect last year's energy reform bill, on Thursday unanimously approved drafting a new policy bill.

The bill is expected to include provisions that would seek to lower electricity rates, promote renewable energy and stimulate the growth of Connecticut's green industries. The planned legislation has not yet been drafted, and has no specifications on how those changes would be implemented.
Greentech Generated 4 of 5 Largest VC Deals in 2010
U.S. greentech startups captured four out of the five highest grossing VC rounds of 2010, according to the MoneyTree Report based on data from Thomson Reuters, which was released on Friday. If it weren’t for Twitter, greentech might have landed all five top spots.

While last year ended on a high note for green technology with global investment reaching record levels in areas like clean power asset financing, greentech venture capital investing actually declined in the third and fourth-quarters. But clearly the year was dominated by these massive bets.
90 Michigan schools to get renewable energy systems
An Ann Arbor-based nonprofit technical resource center says it's expanding the energy efficiency of Michigan schools by installing solar and wind power generation systems at 90 institutions during the next three years.

Energy Works Michigan said Thursday that the expansion of its Michigan Renewable Schools Program is made possible by a $4.4 million contract with the Michigan Public Service Commission.

New Orleans City Council votes to allow solar panels on French Quarter building
The New Orleans City Council voted today to allow a French Quarter resident to install photovoltaic panels on the roof of his home, a $50,000 project that was denied in October by the Vieux Carre Commission.

Local housing officials and renewable energy advocates say the project would be the first of its kind in the French Quarter, which they consider to be the "final frontier" as solar and other energy-efficient technologies take hold in the rebuilding city.
Cincinnati Zoo To Power Park With Solar Panels
The Cincinnati Zoo has begun installing a solar power array that it hopes will provide about a fifth of the park's energy needs by April.

The zoo says it will be the country's largest urban solar array that is accessible to the public.

The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that workers began installing the first of 6,400 panels on metal canopy structures Wednesday.

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