Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Renewable Energy News, July 27, 2011

Vermont Electric approves line upgrade needed for Lowell wind project
Members of Vermont’s third-largest electric utility decided overwhelmingly Tuesday that their company should share a transmission line with a controversial wind energy project.

The vote among Vermont Electric Cooperative Inc. members was 5,340 to 1,379 in favor of upgrading a transmission line between Lowell and Jay under an agreement with Green Mountain Power Corp. Co-op officials pitched the plan as a way to save members’ money on an upgrade that had to be done anyway.
UK sails ahead in offshore wind power generation
The UK has sailed ahead in offshore wind power generation in the past six months, building more offshore windfarms than any other country in the world, and accounting for almost all of the turbines erected in European waters this year.

Of only 108 offshore turbines built around Europe's coastline from January to June, a whopping 101 were built around the UK, with only six built in Germany, and a single one in Norway, according to estimates published on Wednesday by the trade body European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

Chris Huhne, energy and climate change secretary, told the Guardian the figures showed how fast the UK was moving in renewable power. "The UK is the undisputed home of offshore wind energy. Our natural resource and competitive advantage mean we have the biggest market in the world. We're blowing away the competition," he said. "It's part of the low-carbon revolution that's under way in the UK, bringing jobs and growth in new industries and building us a future less exposed to volatile global energy prices."
Pentagon streamlines approval for energy projects
A Defense Department clearinghouse for renewable energy projects has approved 229 of 249 projects proposed in 35 states and Puerto Rico, Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III said recently.

"These projects represent 10 gigawatts of renewable energy generation capacity in wind energy alone," Lynn said.

"Our action removes a major stumbling block for developers who are trying to attract financing, showing the department's commitment to supporting the president's vision for energy ... without compromising our national security," the deputy secretary said.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu noted during a speech at the same forum that DOD has played a crucial role in developing technologies, including the GPS system, the Internet and semiconductor electronics.
DOE Offers Support for Student-Focused Clean Energy Business Contests
DOE on July 21 announced $2 million in funding to support up to six regional competitions that will inspire, mentor, and train students from across the country to develop successful business plans for a new generation of U.S. clean energy companies. Under a new nationwide initiative called the National University Clean Energy Business Challenge, regional competitions will take place before May 1, 2012. Winners of the regional competitions will compete for a national grand prize at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C., in early summer 2012. This national initiative will enable student participants to gain the skills required to build new businesses and transform promising innovative energy technologies from U.S. universities and national laboratories into innovative new energy products that will solve our nation's energy challenges.
DOE to Award $6.3 Million to 31 Clean Energy Projects on Tribal Lands
DOE announced on July 21 that 31 tribal energy projects will receive $6.3 million over two years as part of DOE's ongoing efforts to support tribal energy development and continue strengthening the partnership with Tribal Nations. These competitively selected projects will allow Native American tribes to advance clean energy within their communities by developing strategic energy plans, expanding the skills and knowledge of tribal members, and improving the energy efficiency of their buildings.
Calif. Governor Vows to 'Crush' Foes of Renewable Energy
California Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday promised to overcome those working to block widespread renewable energy.

"When local communities try to block installation of solar like they did in San Luis Obispo, we act to overcome the opposition," Brown (D) said, referring to the city where environmental groups have been protesting two large-scale solar plants over environmental and endangered species concerns.

"In Oakland I learned that some kind of opposition you have to crush," the former Oakland mayor said. "You can talk, but you have to move forward."

Brown's goal, being fleshed out this week at an invitation-only conference at the University of California, Los Angeles, is to build 12,000 megawatts of distributed renewable energy, building on and extending former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's target of 5,000 MW by 2020.

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