Renewable Energy Tax Credits News Briefs - November 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) last month approved the first large-scale solar energy plants to be built on public lands. Located in California, the two projects are undergoing DOI review and are the first in a series of planned renewable energy projects on public lands. Tessera Solar’s 6,360-acre Imperial Valley Solar Project is expected to produce as much as 709 megawatts (MW) of energy. Chevron Energy Solutions will generate as much as 45 MW from 40,500 solar panels with its Lucerne Valley Solar Project. The DOI’s approval allows both companies access to nearly 6,800 acres of public lands for 30 years to build and operate the plants, which will generate almost 1,000 new jobs. Tessera and Chevron’s projects are also eligible for $273 million and $31 million in Section 1603 grants, respectively. Project fact sheets are available on the DOI’s web site at www.doi.gov.

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Gregory Rosen joined Union Bank in San Francisco, Calif. as vice president of solar finance. He will be responsible for expanding the bank’s solar business activities and offerings, investigating and financing a variety of solar projects, as well as expanding the bank’s services to solar developers, manufacturers and installers. Rosen previously developed and executed a solar fund with Citibank for the solar finance start-up Helio Micro Utility, and before that served for eight years as a director of structured finance for PowerLight and SunPower.

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The California Energy Commission (CEC) approved the construction of a 370 MW solar project in the southeastern part of the state in September. When developer BrightSource Energy Inc.’s Ivanpah solar electric generating system is complete, the company says its three separate solar thermal power plants will nearly double the amount of solar thermal electricity the United States currently produces. It’s also expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 140,000 tons per year, create more than 1,000 jobs at the peak of construction and provide $650 million in employee wages during its 30-year lifespan. Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison have agreed to purchase power from Ivanpah under separate contracts. BrightSource commenced construction on Ivanpah in October. In February, the developer received $1.37 billion in conditional loan guarantees from the U.S. Department of Energy to support Ivanpah’s financing.

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Gov. Ted Strickland issued an executive order in September to speed the elimination of Ohio’s property tax for advanced and renewable energy project facilities. Executive Order 2010-13S calls for the immediate adoption of implementation rules for S.B. 232, a bill Strickland signed earlier this year that exempts qualified energy facilities from personal property and real property taxes and instead levies lower service payments based on production levels and job creation. The tax reform affects projects that begin construction before 2012, produce energy by 2013 and create jobs in Ohio. Nuclear, clean coal and cogeneration projects must produce energy by 2017 to qualify. The Ohio Department of Development is now accepting applications, available at www.development.ohio.gov. A copy of S.B. 232 is also available for download at www.energytaxcredits.com.

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Russ Landon is KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc.’s (KCBM’s) new managing director and head of clean technology practice within the utility, power and renewables group. He will be based in Boston, Mass. Landon has more than 30 years of investment banking experience, including 10 years devoted to the alternative energy sector. He is a former managing director of Canaccord Adams’ sustainability group and head of its investment banking group.

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More than 85 wind and solar energy companies are now located in the Greater Portland, Ore. area as a result of state and local government efforts to expand clean technology incentive programs and public policies, the Portland-Vancouver Regional Partners Council for Economic Development announced. The focus has triggered production, facilities and workforce growth among alternative energy companies, including solar panel manufacturer SolarWorld, solar provider Solaicx Inc., solar developer Solexant, solar panel manufacturer SANYO Solar, wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems and Portland General Electric, which has teamed up with Ford to develop electric vehicle infrastructure and policy. Reports on the wind and solar industries in the region are available at www.greenlightgreaterportland.com.

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Lazard Ltd. hired Jim Rossman as a managing director in the financial advisory and asset management firm’s power, energy and infrastructure investment banking group. Based in New York, Rossman will focus on Lazard’s alternative energy efforts, bringing 20 years of capital markets and advisory experience from top positions held at Macquarie Group and HSBC. Lazard’s recent alternative energy assignments include advising Amonix, Broadwind Energy and Capstone Turbine Corporation.

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