QUICK NEWS, September 28: OCEAN WIND SEES OPPORTUNITY; BIG SUN’S REAL CHALLENGE; ADVANCED BIO-REFINING GETS FED BACKING
OCEAN WIND SEES OPPORTUNITY
Utility merger could end up helping 1st offshore wind farm sell its power, get financing
Jay Lindsay, September 25, 2011 AP via Minneapolis Star Tribune)
"…The nation's first offshore wind farm…Cape Wind…needs to attract big power customers to obtain the financing to fully build out its 130-turbine project in Nantucket Sound…[because] the utility NStar has taken a tepid public stance on Cape Wind…[but a] pending merger between NStar and Northeast Utilities has become a possible pressure point to get NStar to buy Cape Wind power.
"Since the merger was announced last year, regulators added a requirement that such deals must advance the state's clean energy goals, which include developing offshore wind. The state also made a request, still pending, to stay proceedings for a review of the merger's effect on rates — a lengthy process that could lead to a merger-killing delay."
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"The moves are obvious attempts to pressure NStar to buy power from a favored private developer, [opponents say]… Robert F. Kennedy Jr. accused Gov. Deval Patrick's administration of ‘trying to hold hostage the proposed NStar-Northeast Utilities merger unless the two electric companies agree to buy Cape Wind's power.’
"But the state says it's just upholding the law and protecting the public interest…The state is now in discussions with NStar about the utility buying Cape Wind's power..."
BIG SUN’S REAL CHALLENGE
Solyndra: Solar sector’s storm in a teacup; Political backlash aside, the Solyndra bankruptcy isn’t likely to have a lasting impact on the solar energy sector, nor does it toll the death knell of support for CSP…
Dan McCue, 22 September 2011 (CSP Today)
"Solyndra, a Silicon Valley-based solar company promoting an innovative, rolled-tube technology, has cost US taxpayers US$535 million in federally guaranteed loans and exposed the Obama administration to unrelenting criticism from Republicans in the US House of Representatives…
"Solyndra was supposed to have been the poster child for clean-energy job creation…Then came the collapse and a subsequent investigation…[and] the media’s frenzy over the case…[but] the blow up of a loan to a technology-specific manufacturer…[does not mean failure of] project related investment…"
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"CSP is under a lot of pressure from competing technologies…[There is] little interest right now in buying electricity in 250 MW and 500 MW chucks, when there’s the option…[of] acquiring the same amount of capacity from a portfolio of smaller PV projects…
"…[But] the US has got quite a few CSP projects already in the works, including a 400 MW project by Brightsource, two 250 MW projects by Abengora, a 250 MW project by NextEra, and a 110 MW molten salt storage power tower by SolarReserve…The bigger problem for CSP…[is] that it hasn’t been able to reduce costs quite as rapidly as PV…"
ADVANCED BIO-REFINING GETS FED BACKING
Energy Department Finalizes $105 Million Loan Guarantee for First-of-its-Kind Cellulosic Bio-Refinery in Iowa; It is expected to generate around $14 million in new revenue to area farmers who will provide the corn crop residue.
26 September 2011 (World of Renewables)
"…[The U.S. Department of Energy] finalized a $105 million loan guarantee to support the development of one of the nation's first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants. Project LIBERTY, sponsored by POET, will be built in Emmetsburg, Iowa and is expected to produce up to 25 million gallons of ethanol per year. POET estimates the project will fund approximately 200 construction jobs and 40 permanent jobs. It is expected to generate around $14 million in new revenue to area farmers who will provide the corn crop residue…"
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"Project LIBERTY’s innovative process uses enzymes to convert cellulose from corncobs, corn leaves and corn husks into ethanol. The facility will produce enough biogas to power both Project LIBERTY and most of POET’s adjacent grain-based ethanol plant. POET plans to replicate its unique process so that it is integrated into all the company's 27 grain-ethanol plants for a combined annual capacity of one billion gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol. The company estimates that 85 percent of Project LIBERTY will be sourced with U.S. equipment…"