Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - December 2010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Google recently invested in the Atlantic Wind Connection (AWC) backbone transmission project off the Mid-Atlantic coast. The company will provide 37 percent of the equity in the initial development phase of the project, which will stretch 350 miles off the coast from New Jersey to Virginia and be able to connect 6,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind turbines when completed. Developer Trans-Elect, an independent transmission company, will build the backbone around offshore power hubs that collect power from offshore wind farms and deliver it to the land-based transmission system via undersea cables. According to Google, the Mid-Atlantic region's great offshore wind potential in relatively shallow waters make it ideally suited for offshore wind development, and with few other renewable energy options, the AWC backbone helps states meet their renewable energy goals and standards. The company also said the project will help accelerate offshore wind development, create thousands of jobs and relieve grid congestion.

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The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) made a conditional commitment to provide a $1.3 billion partial loan guarantee to the Caithness Shepherds Flat wind project, the world's largest wind farm to date. Caithness Energy LLC and General Electric (GE) Energy Financial Services are sponsoring the 338-turbine, 845 MW wind-powered generating facility, located in eastern Oregon. After completion, the project will sell all the power generated to Southern California Edison through 20-year fixed price power purchase agreements. Caithness said the project will create 400 construction jobs and 35 permanent jobs on-site. DOE is providing the loan guarantee under its Financial Institution Partnership Program, a program that guarantees as much as 80 percent of a loan provided to a renewable energy project by qualified financial institutions. The loan is expected to be funded by a group of institutional investors and commercial banks led by Citi as lender-applicant and joint lead arranger.

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The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) elected four new members to its corporate board of directors, chosen from among its member organizations' employees and officers. The board manages and controls ACORE's affairs and property. New members are: Stephen E. Morgan, American Clean Energy CEO; Judy Siegel, Energy & Security Group president; Kenneth Westrick, 3TIER CEO and founder; and Cathy Snyder, Lockheed Martin vice president of energy and operations.

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The U.S. solar industry experienced significant growth in the first half of 2010 despite the overall economy's struggles, a report from the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and GTM Research indicated. The inaugural "U.S. Solar Market Insight" report found that a total of 341 MWs of solar electric capacity were installed in the first six months of the year. California led states for solar electric capacity installed with 120 MWs, followed by New Jersey, Arizona and Florida. The report noted that this year will mark the solar heating and cooling market's sixth consecutive year of growth, with approximately 3 million square feet of installed solar thermal collectors expected by year-end. In addition, the report's market demand projections forecasted that solar electric installations will approach SEIA's industry goal of 10 gigawatts per year, enough to power two million homes annually, by 2015. SEIA said the release highlights a new partnership between SEIA and GTM Research to provide U.S. solar industry data on a quarterly basis. Download a free executive summary at www.seia.org.

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Fred Butler, Petra Solar's chief of regulatory affairs, was appointed to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability Electricity Advisory Committee (EAC). The EAC's 27 members advise the office on its mission to modernize the nation's electricity infrastructure and implement the Energy Policy and Energy Independence and Security Acts. EAC makes recommendations on a range of policy and technical issues that affect electricity delivery, including challenges to smart grid deployments and integrating renewables to the grid; electricity-related research and development priorities; ways to enhance transmission infrastructure benefits; and improving coordination among the DOE, local officials and the private sector on matters affecting electricity supply.

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