Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Renewable Energy News, August 10, 2011

Illinois Gov. Quinn signs bill to study offshore wind energy
Gov. Pat Quinn has signed bills creating a council to study the potential for wind energy projects in Lake Michigan and allowing counties to establish wind farm districts.

Quinn’s office announced the new laws Sunday and said both take effect immediately.

Two Evanston lawmakers — state Rep. Robyn Gabel and Sen. Jeff Schoenberg — sponsored the bill that creates the Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Energy Advisory Council to review the potential for offshore wind energy projects.
U.S. wind industry rebounds in second quarter
U.S. wind energy continued to rebound in the second quarter, with 2,151 megawatts (MW) of electrical generating capacity installed in the first half of 2011 versus 1,250 MW during the same time in 2010, up 72 percent.

However, analysts at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) cautioned that without stable policy such as an extension of the Production Tax Credit, set to expire in 2012, the industry's recovery will stall.

Project activity and orders for 2013 and beyond are scant because of the lack of a predictable business environment, causing layoffs and even bankruptcies in American manufacturing plants and the supply chain, said AWEA. These struggles for U.S. wind manufacturers will only worsen if Congress were to allow the tax credit to expire.
NEK Wind Project Clears Another Hurdle
Green Mountain Power has cleared more hurdles in its effort to build a large wind energy project on a Northeast Kingdom ridgeline.

As VPR's John Dillon reports, the latest step has involved wetlands on Lowell Mountain.
Arizona Solar Project Gets a $967 Million DOE Loan Guarantee
DOE announced on August 5 that it has finalized a $967 million loan guarantee to Agua Caliente Solar, LLC, for a solar photovoltaic generating facility in Arizona. The loan guarantee will support the construction of a 290-megawatt solar power plant, called Agua Caliente Solar, in Yuma County. The project will use thin-film solar panels manufactured by First Solar, Inc. Sponsor NRG Solar LLC estimates the loan guarantee will fund approximately 400 construction jobs and 10 full-time operating jobs at the plant, one of the largest of its kind in the world.
Yosemite Installs Largest National Park Solar Array
Yosemite National Park is known for El Capitan and the breathtaking views captured by Ansel Adams, but visitors may soon remember another sight from their trip. Yosemite has installed the largest solar power array of all the national parks with a 672 kW system that will provide 12 percent of the park's power needs.

Installed by Suntrek, the system consists of a 500 kW solar canopy over a parking lot, a 100 kW rooftop array on a warehouse and a 72 kW wall mounted array, all located within the park's maintenance and administrative complex. The whole system is made up of 2,800 solar PV panels.

The $4.5 million installation will save the park $50,000 a year on energy costs and the park also expects to receive $700,000 in energy rebates from PG&E over the next five years.

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