Thursday, July 07, 2011

Renewable Energy News, July 7, 2011

EIA Report: Renewables Surpass Nuclear Output
According to the most recent issue of the "Monthly Energy Review" by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), renewable energy has passed a milestone as domestic production is now greater than that of nuclear power and is closing in on oil.

During the first quarter of 2011, renewable energy sources (biomass/biofuels, geothermal, solar, water, wind) provided 2.245 quadrillion Btus of energy or 11.73 percent of U.S. energy production. More significantly, energy production from renewable energy sources in 2011 was 5.65 percent more than that from nuclear power, which provided 2.125 quadrillion Btus and has remained largely unchanged in recent years. Energy from renewable sources is now 77.15 percent of that from domestic crude oil production, with the gap closing rapidly.

DOE Offers $4.5 Billion in Loan Guarantees for Three Solar Power Plants
DOE announced on June 30 offers of approximately $4.5 billion in conditional commitments for loan guarantees for three California solar power plants. The support is for three solar generation facilities using solar photovoltaic (PV) panels made from thin films of cadmium telluride. DOE is offering a conditional commitment for a $680 million loan guarantee to support the Antelope Valley Solar Ranch 1 project, conditional commitments for partial loan guarantees of $1.88 billion in loans to support the Desert Sunlight project, and conditional commitments for partial loan guarantees of $1.93 billion in loans to support the Topaz Solar project

First Solar, Inc. is sponsoring all three projects and will provide PV modules for the projects from a new manufacturing plant that has begun construction in Mesa, Arizona, as well as from its recently expanded manufacturing plant in Perrysburg, Ohio. The company expects that the projects will create a combined 1,400 jobs in California during peak construction.
Solar Plant in Spain Generates Electricity for 24 Straight Hours
Spain's Gemasolar concentrating solar power plant just became the first solar power plant to generate power for 24 continuous hours.

The plant uses a Power Tower design where a field of mirrors concentrate the sun's heat onto a boiler in the central tower. That boiler creates steam which turns a turbine. None of that is out of the ordinary when it comes to concentrated solar power, but the Gemasolar plant is the only one in the world to use molten salt as a heat transfer fluid, which allows for the storage and generation of electricity even once the sun goes down.
Duke Energy to build new wind farm in Kansas
Utility company Duke Energy Corp. is building its second large-scale wind farm in Kansas.

Duke Energy said Wednesday it will build a 131-megawatt wind power farm in Gray County, Kansas, about 200 miles west of Wichita. The company said it plans to start construction on the wind farm this fall, and the facility should be operational by 2012.

All the electricity from the wind farm will be sold under a 20-year contract to Kansas City, Mo.-based utility Kansas City Power & Light.

The wind farm, called Cimarron II, will be located on 16,000 acres of leased farmland and will generate enough electricity to power about 40,000 homes.

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