Tuesday, May 19th, 2009
The Australian government plans to build the world’s largest solar power station, a 1,000-megawatt plant that would generate three times as much electricity as the world’s largest solar electric plant, now located in California, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced.
Preliminary plans call for the construction of four individual plants — two solar thermal plants that use mirrors to focus the sun’s heat on steam-generating pipes or towers and two plants that use photovoltaic cells. Over all, the proposed facility would cost about U.S. $1 billion, Rudd said, and would generate electricity equivalent to a large coal-fired power plant.
Monday, May 18th, 2009
Ormat Technologies is combining with Itochu Corporation to build a 330 megawatt (MW) geothermal power plant in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia.
The project will cost an estimated $800 million, according a report in Reuters. Ormat and Japan’s Itochu Corp. were originally awarded the contract in 2006 and are working in collaboration with Indonesian energy firm PT Medco.
Friday, May 1st, 2009
I spent the last couple days learning about how countries in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean might best to stimulate the implementation of renewables at the first annual REEM Conference. The conference was largely an attempt to identify and some lessons learned and best practices from the EU, and even the US, which could help shape policy in these regions.
I would contend that knowledge sharing is always constructive. Yet, as some of the entrepreneurs on the panel explained their decidedly unique and varied frustrations and successes surrounding each of their projects, I could not help but feel that the concept of pontificating on would be effective policies for a developing countries from a well lit and air conditioned downtown San Francisco hotel ball room was a bit cheeky, if not resoundingly inadvisable.
Tuesday, April 21st, 2009
Updating my previous post, VP Biden announced plans to distribute more than $3.3 billion in smart grid technology development grants and an additional $615 million for smart grid storage, monitoring, and technology viability late last week.
The announcement comes with mixed reviews, including warnings that the $20 million cap on grant awards ($40 million with matching funds) is too small to incentivize large and medium IOUs to deploy smart meters. This post notes that Xcel Energy’s SmartGridCity is a $100 million dollar project on it’s own and involves only a single city.
Friday, April 17th, 2009
Following up from my last post. Other areas of interest at the World Bank’s Energy Week conference included rural electrification. Grid connection is notoriously poor throughout Africa. Tanzania, for example, is around 22% depending on whom you talk to. In addition, just because a community has a grid penetration, it doesn’t mean everyone in that community has power at their house. Connections are expensive. The waiting list for the utility to make the connection is long.
Often time people take it upon themselves to make their own connection. Even if they do have power, it might not be reliable. Kenyan Power and Lighting Company is estimated to have around 11,000 outages per month. The other option for people to address lack of (or unreliable) grid connection is to support it with solar PV or fuel based generators. These two technologies support communities, can add capacity to the grid (if connected), and provide a potentially cheaper way to provide power to end-users (factoring in the implied costs associated with transmission) .
Tuesday, April 14th, 2009
I hope that by now it is widely understood, at least by this audience, that the future of Clean Technologies is strong. In case you were still wondering why… I would like to pick out a few headlines from the front page of yesterday’s Wall Street Journal.
Oil Industry Braces for Drop in US Thirst for Gasoline
Shell Said it is Shutting Flow
GM’s Bankruptcy likely to be challenged
Car-Battery Maker A123 is expected to announce $69M Raise
Snipers Kill Pirates, Save Captain
China Pledges $25Bn to SE Asia Economies
Social Responsible Funds still drawing investor Dollars
Asian Shares Spike
Monday, April 13th, 2009
With specific dollar allocations published for Conservation Block Grants, $780 million released for energy efficiency and Weatherization (more to come), and grant announcements worth $2.4 billion for next generation electric vehicles issued, the first wave of DOE stimulus has come and gone.
In its wake, state, city, and county energy offices, agencies, commissions and departments are scrambling to make sense of how to funnel additional money into their respective jurisdictions. This includes readying Strategic Energy Plans for SEP program approval and drafting State Comprehensive Applications for the remaining Weatherization funds, as well as exploring potential partnerships and programs to win highly competitive grants for additional projects.
Wednesday, April 8th, 2009
Last week I went to the World Bank’s Energy Week in DC. It was an exciting event in which the World Bank hosted “energy and finance industry executives, senior donor and developing country government officials, stakeholders and leading-edge thinkers of the energy sector”. Seminars discussed energy efficiency, rural electrification, alternative energy resources, and climate change. The Global Energy Assessment was an interesting topic discussed by US renewable energy trade organization and private sector. If you’ve been paying attention to renewable energy there was nothing new, except the passion to engage the emerging markets.
Thursday, April 2nd, 2009
$3.2 billion in energy efficiency and conservation projects for US cities, counties, states, territories, and Native American tribes was released last Thursday. The announcement comes on the heels of $8 billion for Weatherization programs and $2.4 billion for Next Generation Electric Vehicles released earlier in March, all part of $16.8 billion allocated under ARRA for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy programs.
The most recently released funds will be administered under the DOE’s Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program (EECBG), which provides federal grants to reduce energy use and fossil fuel emissions through improvements in energy efficiency in the transportation, building, and “other appropriate sectors.” Unlike the State Energy Program, EECBG emphasizes a bottom-up, community-based energy efficiency strategy through Title V of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007.
Friday, March 27th, 2009
Until recently, T. Boone Pickens was better known for greenmail than green energy. Pickens – oilman turned corporate raider - leveraged Mesa Petroleum and Michael Milliken’s junk bonds to make billions during the 1980’s hostile takeover craze.
But with his recent $10 billion tilt toward Texas wind farms and solar, who’s to say whether Pickens is an energy visionary or just the consummate frontrunning egomaniac? One thing is certain: Pickens has always had a plan, and he’s been spotting trends and making fortunes in energy for over half a century.
The “Pickens Plan” is basically a $58 million marketing campaign to wean the US off foreign oil within 10 years by using natural gas for vehicles, and wind and solar for utilities – and for Pickens to receive as much credit for it as possible.