NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, February 27: WHAT U.S. OFFSHORE WIND NEEDS; MASSACHUSETTS PLANNING FOR MORE SUN; 2,500MW WYOMING WIND MOVES AHEAD

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    Wednesday, February 27, 2013

    QUICK NEWS, February 27: WHAT U.S. OFFSHORE WIND NEEDS; MASSACHUSETTS PLANNING FOR MORE SUN; 2,500MW WYOMING WIND MOVES AHEAD

    WHAT U.S. OFFSHORE WIND NEEDS Fulfilling the Promise of U.S. Offshore Wind; Targeted State Investment Policies to Put an Abundant Renewable Resource within Reach

    February 22, 2013 (National Resources Defense Council)

    “Offshore wind is an inexhaustible resource that lies just off our shores…[According to the Department of Energy,] the United States could obtain 20 percent of its electricity from wind by 2030, and more than 15 percent of that wind power could come from offshore projects, totaling 54,000 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity…

    “…[Yet] zero MW of offshore wind capacity are installed or even under construction…[and] only three projects [are] in advanced stages of development…The underlying limiting factor for offshore wind development in the United States, a factor not found in places where the sector has advanced, is that the basic economic and financial conditions for offshore wind success are not in place…"

    “The way forward…[is to] put in place targeted investment polices that provide the revenue certainty and debt capacity necessary to make projects viable and attractive to the equity and debt investors [and make investors comfortable providing capital]…

    [Fulfilling the Promise of U.S. Offshore Wind] focuses on the German policy successes and the lessons they present for the United States and also briefly examines the very unsuccessful German approach to transmission as a cautionary tale that should not be replicated in the United States.”

    MASSACHUSETTS PLANNING FOR MORE SUN After The First 400 MW: Massachusetts Makes Plans For More Solar

    Jessica Lillian, 26 February 2013 (Solar Industry)

    “…Massachusetts is now seeking to avoid the dreaded drop-off point with its popular solar carve-out program, which began in 2009 and currently has a 400 MW cap in place. The administration of Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., recently announced that it had begun work on a new policy to sustain solar development past 400 MW [and overcome an oversupply of solar renewable energy credits (SRECs) and a draining of incentive funds]. The [Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (DOER)] also plans to tweak carve-out compliance requirements and the queuing process for projects now in the market…

    “The DOER action comes as a relief to developers building in Massachusetts. With 150 MW installed last year alone, the industry can expect to hit the 400 MW cap soon…Industry stakeholders and the DOER itself are generally pleased with the results and mechanisms of the current program…PV system costs have dropped, fostering increased competition among integrators and their partners.”

    “Although the next version of the program may feature a few changes in order to tackle any vulnerabilities, the Massachusetts SREC market as a whole has managed to avoid much of the SREC pricing volatility seen in other states - most notably in New Jersey...First, the reactive design formula takes into account supply…[A] solar credit clearinghouse auction allows for [absorption of] any unsold credits…[and a mechanism preventing] SRECs exceeding the cap from entering the market…

    “By the time Massachusetts reaches that 401st megawatt, the DOER expects to have its new cap and associated plans in place…[A]t least one major stakeholder has already weighed in: The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) called on the commonwealth to triple or quadruple the 400 MW cap…citing New Jersey's 4 GW solar goal and Maryland's 1.3 GW solar goal…”

    2,500MW WYOMING WIND MOVES AHEAD Massive Wyoming wind farm developer to seek state permit

    Adam Voge, February 19, 2013 (Casper Star-Tribune)

    “…Power Company of Wyoming, developer of the [$5 billion] 1,000-turbine Chokecherry and Sierra Madre wind project…was set to file an application with the Wyoming Industrial Siting Council…[but delayed because of] now-dead legislation which…would have required companies…to spend at least 25 percent of the anticipated cost in the first two years after approval…

    “Now that the measure appears to be dead, the company plans to meet with the council…[The application is] among the last in a series of approvals needed for the project, which could generate between 2,000 and 3,000 megawatts of wind power…[Power Company of Wyoming remains determined to begin construction on the massive wind farm, targeting a possible 2014 groundbreaking. It has has spent about $25 million on project development so far]…”

    “If the project receives the permits and approvals to go forward, it would quickly become the backbone of Wyoming's emerging but sputtering wind energy industry. Developers statewide have lately faced issues both political and logistical in their efforts to farm and export Wyoming wind, a top-notch resource.

    “Chief among the hurdles facing Wyoming wind developers is a lack of transmission lines to carry the state's abundant resource to markets hungry for renewable energy. At least three major transmission line projects which could address the issue remain up in the air…TransWest Express-- owned by Power Company of Wyoming's parent company, Denver-based Anschutz Corp…would carry about 3,000 megawatts of power…to just south of Las Vegas…[A] draft of the federal Bureau of Land Management's environmental impact statement is expected this spring…”

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