Thursday, January 27, 2011

Renewable Energy News, January 27, 2011

Obama Calls for 80% "Clean Energy" by 2035
In an unprecedented move, last night U.S. President Barack Obama put clean energy front and center on the agenda of the American government -- calling for an 80% clean energy target by 2035.

In his yearly State of the Union address to the nation’s lawmakers, Obama said that it is time for America to invest in the energy of the future and stop supporting the energy of the past. He called on Congress to remove all subsidies for fossil fuels and to reinvest the money saved into clean energy initiatives.

The President said that he hopes America can obtain 80% of its energy from clean sources by 2035, the most aggressive target ever set forth by a president. While renewable energy supporters were thrilled with the bold target, they were reminded during the speech that Obama’s idea of clean energy is broad: His target includes nuclear energy, clean coal and natural gas, in addition to traditional renewables like wind, solar, biomass, geothermal and hydro.
Wyoming Senate gives initial approval to wind rights bill
A proposed bill that aims to establish wind as a property right in Wyoming has won initial approval in the state Senate.

Senate File 22 was approved on voice vote Tuesday but still must be voted on two more times in the Senate before it can advance to the House of Representatives.

The bill essentially establishes that land in Wyoming comes with wind rights along with surface and mineral rights. The idea is to establish wind rights so landowners can be compensated for wind produced on their land.

Supporters say the legislation is significant because the wind energy industry is growing rapidly in Wyoming.
DOE, Commerce Department Form Renewable Energy Modeling Partnership
DOE and the U.S. Department of Commerce announced on January 24 a new agreement to further collaboration between the agencies on renewable energy modeling and weather forecasting. This teaming will enable U.S. renewable energy resources to be used more effectively by business and entrepreneurs. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by DOE and the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will encourage the agencies to disseminate weather and climate information needed for renewable energy technologies that are dependent on short-term weather and longer-term climate trends. Better information on weather patterns and improved modeling of the variability of the wind, sun, water, ocean currents, and other sources of renewable energy will ultimately increase the United States' ability to reliably integrate renewable energy into the electrical grid.
UK Feed-In Tariff Enjoys Early Success
A recent report has revealed that, since its introduction in April 2010, the United Kingdom's renewable energy feed-in tariff has enjoyed record levels of success.

The latest official figures published by UK energy regulator Ofgem (PDF) show that an impressive 15,468 installations have registered to take part during the first six months.

The scheme, designed to promote the uptake of small-scale renewable electricity generation, has already paid out more than £2.5 million (around US $4 million) to applicants – with the subsidies proving particularly popular in the solar PV sector, which has accounted for the lion’s share (around 60%) of participants to date.
Oil giant Saudi Arabia looks toward alternative energy
With vast oil reserves that are far from exhausted, Saudi Arabia, facing rising domestic energy demand that could cut into its oil exports, has decided to explore nuclear and renewable energy, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said Monday.

“We have started to take the required steps to utilize several energy sources locally, in particular solar and nuclear energy,” he told a conference in Riyadh.

The kingdom has massive proven reserves. In November, Naimi put the figure at 264 billion barrels, and said Saudi Arabia was capable of supplying crude for the next 80 years at current production levels “even if we never found another barrel.”

However, Saudi Arabia anticipates a rise in domestic energy demand, which within 20 years could see an increase in domestic oil consumption to around 8 million barrels per day, approaching its current output, a former commerce minister and head of a Saudi energy research centre said.

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