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U.S. Solar Market Poised for Growth



FEBRUARY 2011 VOLUME 2, NO. 2 w w w. A l t e r n a t i v e E n e r g y N e w s O n l i n e . c o m


Test tubes in an NREL algae lab. Photo courtesy of the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Getting Gas from Green Goo: The Prospects for Algae-based Biofuel Production BY LORRIE BAUMANN

A lot of smart people have put a lot of brain power to work recently on figuring out how to turn sunlight into energy. That being indisputably the case, it can be kind of a knock on the noggin to realize that algae figured it out first. That’s algae—that green film that grows up aquarium walls. Seaweed. This is all the more humiliating because

algae are so far down the food chain that they’d have to be promoted before they can be called plants, lacking as they do the dignities of roots, stems or even leaves. They do, however, have chlorophyll, which as our grade-school science teachers all tried to teach us, is that molecule that allows plants to turn sunlight into energy. Having captured energy from the sun, algae store it in


Continued on Page 9

Austin-based Developer to Build $190 Million Wind Farm

Large-scale Solar Thermal Project Slated for California



Power and will receive the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) generated by production at the wind facility. The Spinning Spur Wind Ranch is expected to generate 650,000 MWh of electricity annually, which is enough to power more than 54,000 households per year. “In the great scheme of the Continued on Page 7


Nobles Wind Farm Now Operational in Minnesota Nordex Wins Order for Iowa Wind Farm

compounds called lipids. Those are the greasy molecules that comprise organic fats and oils. These lipids can, in turn, be refined into conventional hydrocarbon fuels, although not by algae, of course. That’s where people come in, and even for the smartest of them, getting from the


The Texas Panhandle region will soon be home to a new 20,000-acre wind farm slated for construction near Amarillo, Texas. Developed by familyowned Cielo Wind Power, the 161-MW Spinning Spur Wind Ranch is expected to cost $190 million. Xcel Energy recently signed a 15-year power purchase agreement with Cielo Wind

Tucson International Airport to Install Solar Project SunPower to Build California Valley Solar Ranch

After a successful string of licensing solar energy projects, the California Energy Commission recently approved 650 MW of solar power in Southern California. The Palen Solar Power Project and the Rice Solar Energy Project were the eighth and ninth solar thermal power plants that the Energy Commission licensed in the past few

months. Since late August 2010, the Energy Commission has licensed more than 4,100 MW of renewable solar power in California, and the projects are expected to provide more than 8,000 construction jobs and more than 1,000 operational jobs. “We are very pleased to see the large number of solar thermal Continued on Page 5


Philadelphia Eagles to Power Lincoln Financial Field with Renewable Energy Hawaii Hydrogen Fuel Initiative



California Energy Commission Awards $3 Million for Energy Research CODA Holdings Raises $76 Million

Next Issue: Clean Energy Technology Spurring Job Growth

FROM THE PUBLISHER w w w. A l t e r n a t i v e E n e r g y N e w s O n l i n e . c o m

Lee M. Oser Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

Steve Cox Senior Associate Publisher Director of Media

Lorrie Baumann Editorial Director

Danielle D’Adamo Editor

Carrie Bui Justyn Dillingham Associate Editors

Valerie Wilson Art Director

Yasmine Brown Graphic Designer

The Future of Renewable Energy Welcome to the February issue of Alternative Energy News! In this issue you will find intriguing articles on the latest industry news in solar,

Selene Pinuelas Traffic Manager

wind and other alternatives. Our cover stories this month feature an in-depth look at the prospects for algae-based biofuel production from the scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, a report on the latest large-scale solar thermal projects slated for California in the coming years, and a new $190 million wind farm scheduled to be built in the Texas Panhandle region. In addition to our algae-based biofuel story, there is a special report on Cornell University researchers joining other scientists and a biofuel research company to develop a commercial-scale algae-to-fuel facility by 2015. And be sure to check out the solar page for an exclusive

Tara Neal Circulation Manager

first-look at the new solar array to be built at the Tucson International Airport. We also highlight emerging technologies, including the world’s first major sports stadium to convert to self-generated renewable energy, and the new Hawaii Hydrogren Initiative, aimed to integrate hydrogen as an essential building block for Hawaii’s sustainable energy ecosystem with hydrogen-powered vehicles and a fueling infrastructure.

Alternative Energy News is published by Oser Communications Group ©Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.

Our “Power Profiles” this month focuses on how the U.S. solar market is poised to grow at a huge rate. As our country continues to transition away from fossil and carbon-based fuels and move towards a clean energy economy, we are proud to highlight the industry’s leading

BPA Worldwide membership

companies that are making great strides in developing multiple solar projects. In this issue, we recognize John Cheney, President and CEO

applied for February 11, 2010.

of Silverado Power, based in California, and Phil Smithers, Technical Services Leader for Arizona Public Service, based in Arizona. As always, we invite you to read our monthly “Policy Perspectives” column by Jack Jacobs. He writes this month about the recent extension of the investment tax credit, production tax credits, the 1603 Treasury cash grant equivalent program, and why long-term policy is needed. He makes the case that much more needs to be done in order to ensure the continued growth of the cleantech industry.

Executive and editorial offices located at: 1877 N. Kolb Rd., Tucson, AZ 85715 T 520.721.1300, F 520.721.6300 European offices located at: Lungarno Benvenuto Cellini, 11 50125 Florence, Italy T 055.657.5629, F 055.657.5631

Lee M. Oser Publisher


Alternative Energy News

February 2011


Tucson International Airport to Welcome New Solar Project BY DANIELLE D’ADAMO

Travelers going to and from the Tucson International Airport will soon notice a 5-MW PV array on the now vacant land near South Alvernon Way and East Hughes Access Road in Tucson, Ariz. The 50-acre parcel that was once used as a gravel pit will now house a construction site for the new solar farm. The Tucson Airport Authority (TAA) Board of Directors recently approved a 20-year land lease with Tucson Electric Power (TEP), the utility serving Pima County, Ariz. The lease includes two five-year options and TEP will pay a fixed rental rate of $46,716.50 per year. “This is really a triple win for Tucson,” said TAA President/CEO Bonnie Allin in a prepared statement. “The project is a

compatible use for airport property, it is adjacent to a major power distribution site for TEP and will generate power for residents in Pima County.” The 5-MW solar array joins a long list of impressive solar energy projects in Tucson, including the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, which holds the largest solar-powered community in the country; the base is even planning to build the military’s largest solar power plant. The Southern Arizona VA Health Care System recently installed a 302-kW single-axis tracker system at its facilities not long after the Southern Arizona Chapter of the American Red Cross installed a rooftop PV system. And the Science Foundation of Arizona recently announced a $1 million

grant for University of Arizona astronomer Roger Angel’s “energy telescope” project, which uses principles of optics and large telescope design to produce electricity from the sun. “This is just one more opportunity for our community to become less dependent on fossil fuels,” said Paula Winn Perino, Director of Information and Government Affairs for TAA. “We were delighted to have the opportunity to work with TEP on this new solar project. The site selection in particular for the array was based on the fact that it’s adjacent to one of the airport’s major transformers.” The new array is not actually the first project TIA and TEP have teamed up on, according to Winn Perino. There is an

Photo courtesy of Tucson Airport Authority

existing PV solar system at the airport’s main parking lot that was built in 2007. The panels are used to power the parking lot revenue control building, she said. The new TEP installation will be a single-axis tracking PV system to be built by local solar developer, SOLON Corporation. “We worked with TAA for a couple of years on finding the best site for the new solar array,” said Joe Salkowski with TEP. “They have quite a bit of land suitable for solar power and we were excited to work with TAA again to help benefit the community.” At 5 MW, the solar farm will have the capacity to provide a year’s supply of power to about 800 homes. The project is being funded through a monthly surcharge on TEP customers’ power bills. For residential customers, the surcharge is expected to average $3.59 a month in 2011, TEP projects. “Since SOLON is building the 1.6-MW solar system at the University of Arizona (UA), TEP has high hopes that the new array will perform just as well,” said Salkowski. SOLON’s 1.6-MW tracker system at the UATechPark’s SolarZone, a 200-acre project that brings industry, research and solar demonstration components into a solar integration center, was scheduled to be completed in December 2010. The project features SOLON’s Velocity MW Solar System, which provides pre-configured, 1-MW modular solar fields specifically designed to help utilities quickly scale to capacity. While representatives at SOLON were unavailable to comment, the airport solar farm is expected to utilize the same technology as the UA tracker system and be operational by the end of 2011. AEN

NRG Solar and SunPower Agree to Build 250-MW California Valley Solar Ranch N

RG Solar, a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc. and SunPower Corp. announced groundbreaking agreements to construct the 250-MW California Valley Solar Ranch in San Luis Obispo County. The solar power plant is expected to create approximately 350 jobs during construction, will power about 100,000 homes and will be one of the largest PV solar power plants in the world, when complete. NRG Solar plans to invest up to $450 million of equity in the project over the next four years, subject to final total project cost and negotiation of the financing terms and conditions. Under the agreement announced, NRG will, subject to certain conditions, assume all ownership and financing responsibilities for the California Valley Solar Ranch. SunPower will continue to develop the project, and will design, build, operate and maintain the solar power plant. Construction is expected to start in the second half of 2011, with a portion of the project expected to begin operating by the end of 2011 and the balance coming on line in 2012 and 2013. When fully operational, the solar power plant will help California achieve its 33 percent renewable portfolio standard. The project is currently seeking a loan 4

guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Loan Guarantee Program Office, which supports accelerated commercial use of innovative energy technologies to help sustain economic growth, yield environmental benefits and produce a more stable and secure energy supply. The DOE Loan Guarantee Program Office has provided a draft term sheet for the California Valley Solar Ranch project, which is a significant milestone in the process leading to a conditional loan guarantee commitment. “California Valley Solar Ranch will be an important component of our multi-technology portfolio of clean, zero-emission solar power facilities,” said Tom Doyle, President of NRG Solar. “We are pursuing large-scale photovoltaic projects across the Southwest and working with like-minded companies that can ensure our projects will be exceptionally successful. SunPower has the proven technology and experience building solar power plants around the world to deliver a well-designed solar project that will be a major contributor to helping California meet its ambitious renewable portfolio standard by the end of the decade.” “This partnership with NRG Solar and

the DOE represents a major milestone in delivering 250 MW of clean, renewable solar power to California’s electricity customers,” said Howard Wenger, President of the utility and power plants business group at SunPower. “For two years, SunPower has been working to develop this project responsibly, with respect for the environment and the community. We are delighted to have found in NRG a partner that shares our vision to build a solar power plant in San Luis Obispo County that enhances the local economy, protects local habitat and generates emission-free solar power for California. The DOE is

playing a critical leadership role in supporting renewable energy that provides economic and environmental benefits, as well as a secure, stable energy supply in the U.S.” California Valley Solar Ranch has executed a 25-year power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas & Electric for delivery of 250 MW. The power purchase agreements have been approved by the California Public Utilities Commission. By the end of 2010, SunPower will have installed more than 1,500 MW of solar power systems worldwide, including 400 MW of groundmounted power plants. AEN

Photo courtesy of SunPower Corporation Alternative Energy News

February 2011

SOLAR POWER CALIFORNIA (Continued from Page 1)

Bosch solar installation in Flat Rock, Mich.

Bosch Installs First On-site U.S. Solar Panels C

ompleted in late 2010, Bosch announced the first on-site installation of its ground-mount solar panels in the U.S. Spanning 15,000-square-feet of surface area at the Bosch Proving Ground in Flat Rock, Mich., the crystalline silicon and thin-film paneling system showcases technologies developed by both Bosch Solar Energy Group, based in Palo Alto, Calif., and Bosch Rexroth Drive and Control Technology, based in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Funded in part through Michigan-based electric utility provider Detroit Edison’s SolarCurrents program, the system is expected to generate 63,400 kWh per year— nearly enough energy to power eight U.S. homes for 12 months each. Featuring an innovative slide-in mounting system developed by Bosch Rexroth for frameless thin-film solar modules, the solar panel system offers reduced costs, lowest number of components and half the installation time required by conventional mounting systems. The two businesses are currently exploring further development of the system and its use in framed modules and diverse applications, such as on residential rooftops and in coastal regions, where salt water mist corrosion is an atmospheric consideration. Selected in fall 2009 as the pilot installation location, the Flat Rock Proving Ground offers the open space necessary for a large number of solar modules and also serves as a convenient showcase for visiting Bosch customers and associates. “The solar panel installation at Flat Rock is one of many ways that we are leveraging our U.S. resources to further the development of renewable energy technologies. There is a great opportunity for growth in the U.S. solar market and our pilot installation is only the first step in Bosch’s North American alternative energy efforts,” said Peter Marks, Chairman,

Alternative Energy News

February 2011

President and CEO, Robert Bosch LLC and member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. To ensure continued innovation within the renewable energy field, Bosch Research and Technology Center North America, also located in Palo Alto, Calif., in partnership with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, 3M and DuPont, recently applied for and received $1.6 million in grants by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency. The grant will fund a collaborative two-year project, which will focus on the development of a longer-lasting, cost-effective way to store renewable energy collected from sources, such as solar panels for use in off-peak hours. As a part of Bosch’s corporate social responsibility efforts, the company currently invests 45 percent of its global research and development budget in technologies that help protect the environment and conserve resources. AEN

power projects that are being approved in California,” said Energy Commission Chairman Karen Douglas. “Even the number of wind and PV projects that the Energy Commission doesn’t permit is still a huge success. It’s refreshing to see a growing wedge of new, clean renewable energy in California after such a long absence of permitted solar projects.” Indeed, it had been 20 long years before the first solar thermal project was approved to be constructed in California. The Beacon Solar Energy Project, permitted in August 2010, helped lead the way for the Energy Commission to sign off on future solar projects, including the 500-MW Palen Solar Project that will be located halfway between Indio and Blythe in eastern Riverside County. Developed by Solar Millennium LLC, a subsidiary of Solar Trust of America LLC, the Palen project will actually consist of two power plants, each generating 250 MW. Together, they will provide enough electricity to power up to 150,000 homes each year. Solar Trust of America is also the developer behind the world’s largest solar thermal project at Blythe, Calif. The 1,000-MW project will utilize the same concentrating solar trough thermal technology as the Palen project, in which parabolic mirrors are used to heat a transfer fluid that is then used to generate steam. Electricity is produced from the steam expanding through steam turbine generators. “Even though parabolic trough power plants have been in operation in California since the mid ‘80s, Solar Millennium has developed a special HelioTrough collector technology that is double the size of the current industry standard, has less moving parts, better mirrors and geometry,” said Bill Keegan, Director of Corporate Communications for Solar Trust of America. “So we are able to use fewer collectors to produce the same amount of energy.” The Palen project will also implement dry-cooling technology, which will use approximately 90 percent less water than wet-cooled facilities, according to Solar

Millennium Chairman and CEO Uwe T. Schmidt. “We decided to spend the extra money on dry cooling because it’s a huge benefit in very arid parts of the country. There isn’t much water available, and the water that does exist should be conserved.” During the permitting process for Palen, there were two alternative configurations presented to help eliminate impacts on biological resources, such as the Mojave fringe-toed lizard, sand dune habitat and sand transport corridor. One alternative would occupy 4,365 acres, while the other would take up 4,330 acres. “Solar Millennium takes great pride in interfacing with the local communities, planning job creation and the infrastructure needs that will be required,” said Schmidt. “But we always keep in mind that when building large facilities in the Mojave Desert, we are sensitive to the environment and the species that live in the area.” Construction is expected to create 1,100 direct jobs in Southern California, thousands of indirect supply chain jobs in related industries, and 130 long-term operational and maintenance jobs at the facility once it’s completed. Solar Millennium has also applied to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for a 5,200-acre Right-of-Way (ROW) located north of U.S. Interstate-10 and 30 miles west of Blythe. Pending BLM’s decision, the Palen project will add to Solar Trust of America’s California portfolio of approved solar thermal projects totaling 1,500 MW. AEN Solar Millennium’s HelioTrough collector technology that will be used at the Palen Solar Energy Project.



Nobles Wind Farm Now Operational in Minnesota


cel Energy announced that its new Nobles Wind Farm in southwestern Minnesota is fully operational and supplying electricity to the regional transmission grid. The 201-MW wind farm, located in Nobles County, is the second wind project completed by Xcel Energy in Minnesota. The wind farm consists of 134, 1.5-MW General Electric wind turbines that, together, can generate enough power to serve approximately 66,500 homes. “The Nobles Wind Farm advances our efforts to provide our customers with more reasonably priced, renewable energy,” said Judy Poferl, President and CEO of Northern States Power Co., an Xcel Energy company. “Developing wind resources, abundant in the Upper Midwest, will help meet our customers’ growing needs for electricity at a reasonable cost while minimizing impact on the environment.” Xcel Energy also owns Grand Meadow Wind Farm in southeastern Minnesota’s Mower County. A third company-owned wind project, the 150-MW Merricourt Wind Project, is currently under development in southeastern North Dakota. Merricourt is expected to be operational in late 2011 and represents the first major wind undertaking for Xcel Energy in North Dakota. The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in June 2009 allowed Xcel Energy to include both the Nobles and Merricourt projects in its plan to meet the state’s Renewable Energy Standard. With the addition of the Nobles Wind Farm, Xcel Energy receives energy from nearly 1,500 MW of wind-powered generation on its Upper Midwest system. Company plans include an inventory of approximately

3,000 MW of both owned and purchased wind power capacity in the Upper Midwest by 2020. Xcel Energy is the nation’s No. 1 wind power provider, according to the American Wind Energy Association. enXco, an EDF Energies Nouvelles Company, developed and constructed both the Nobles and the Grand Meadow projects, and is currently developing the Merricourt project. Once each project is completed, ownership transfers to NSP-Minnesota, an Xcel Energy company. “enXco is once again pleased to extend our experience and successful relationship with Xcel Energy to bring the economic and renewable benefits from the Nobles Wind Project to their customers in the Upper Midwest. This project marks our sixth wind project to deliver electricity to Xcel Energy’s renewable energy portfolio,” said Steve Peluso, Senior Vice President of Origination for enXco. “We look forward to being a continued partner with Xcel Energy and the communities of Minnesota to further our efforts to supply clean energy to the nation’s grid.” Joint developments between enXco and Xcel Energy have resulted in a significant increase in wind resources on the utility’s system. The completion of the Nobles and Merricourt projects will bring the total to 784 MW of capacity developed by enXco for Xcel Energy through either or purchased power agreements. Other projects constructed by enXco include Grand Meadow Wind Farm, Fenton Wind Farm, Viking Wind Farm and Chanarambie Wind Farm all in Minnesota, as well as Peetz Table Wind Farm in Colorado. AEN

The Nobles Wind Farm under construction in southwestern Minnesota. Photo courtesy of Xcel Energy

Nebraska Springview Wind Facility to Receive New Turbines W

ind turbines will once again be part of the skyline at the former Springview Wind Facility in Keya Paha County, following the signing of a power purchase agreement between Nebraska Public Power District and Bluestem LLC, based in Omaha, Neb. NPPD’s Board of Directors gave approval in September for management to seek a power purchase agreement for two, new 1.5-MW direct-drive wind turbines, a new technology in the design of utility-scale wind turbines. The facility is expected to be operational by mid-2011, after site work began in late December. The two new turbines will bring Nebraska’s first wind farm back into operation for the first time since 2007. Partners for Springview with NPPD include Omaha Public Power District, Lincoln Electric System, Municipal Energy Agency of Nebraska, Grand Island Utilities and KBR Public Power District, headquartered in Ainsworth, Neb. “This is new technology in the wind industry we want to thoroughly look at, particularly in maintenance costs and turbine availability. It also returns NPPD to the starting point of the wind industry 6

in Nebraska—the Springview Wind Farm,” said Dave Rich, NPPD Renewable Energy Manager. “This is a great opportunity for public power in Nebraska to learn firsthand about the benefits of direct-drive wind turbines.” Direct-drive wind turbines are significantly different than the wind turbines used at NPPD’s Ainsworth Wind Energy Facility and other wind farms in Nebraska. Direct-drive turbines do not use a gear box, which is a major component used to increase the slow rotation speed of the large rotor to several hundred revolutions per minute for the generator. For this new technology, electric inverters are used to synchronize the generator into the grid versus using gearboxes. “Bluestem LLC would like to thank Nebraska Public Power District and KBR Rural Power District for their foresight and commitment to wind energy in Nebraska. Decisions to research and test new products allow an industry to expand by providing viable options for future decisions,” Amber Hawley, spokesperson for Bluestem LLC stated. “The partnership between KBR, NPPD and Bluestem LLC will allow for a competitive rate for small

wind energy and act as a catalyst for future community-based wind generation.” The power purchase agreement is for a period of 20 years with NPPD purchasing the electric energy produced by the turbines. Bluestem LLC will be responsible for construction, maintenance and operation of the facility. Energy generated from the two turbines will be interconnected into the KBR Rural Public Power District electric distribution system, as were the former Springview wind turbines. The original turbines at Springview began operation in 1998 as a demonstration project to verify turbine technology available at that time, and to prove the efficiency and reliability of wind energy at distribution voltages in Nebraska. In 2007, after nearly 10 years of operation, the two 750-kW wind turbines at the Springview Wind Energy Facility were retired. Lack of available replacement parts, significant maintenance issues as the units aged and the opportunity to sell the turbines at an attractive price, were the prime reasons for the decision to retire the units at Springview. The equipment was eventually sold to FPL Energy LLC, of Juno Beach, Fla. AEN

Existing turbine at Springview Wind Facility

Alternative Energy News

February 2011


Nordex USA Wins 41-MW Order for Iowa Wind Farm N

ordex USA announced an order with wind farm developer RPM Access for a 41-MW wind farm in Delaware County, Iowa, just weeks after finalizing a 75-MW order with EverPower Wind Holdings. Nordex’ new manufacturing plant in Jonesboro, Ark., will produce the turbines. The contract includes a 10-year premium service contract, as well as the delivery, installation, commissioning and testing of 17 Nordex N100 turbines. The Elk Wind Farm is Nordex’ first project with RPM Access, and represents the second order Nordex has received since dedicating its plant in October 2010. The project strengthens a growing local workforce in Arkansas that has reached more than 70 new hires already, with the potential of increasing to 700 over the next four years, in accordance with the market. “RPM Access is one of the most experienced

and knowledgeable developers in the Midwest,” said Ralf Sigrist, President and CEO of Nordex USA. “And as Nordex is also a pioneer in wind, working together was a real meeting of minds. We share the same passions—building new energy sources for the future, bringing cost predictability to a volatile electricity market and using the best technology available to achieve these goals.” Elk Wind is a construction-ready project slated for completion in October 2011. RPM Access will own and operate the wind farm, and Central Iowa Power Cooperative will purchase the power via a 20-year power purchase agreement. Based in West Des Moines, RPM Access has initiated the development of six operating wind projects in Iowa, representing 370 MW, over the past 10 years and has a robust project pipeline. “The Nordex model N100 is a near-perfect

match for the wind regime found at the Elk Wind site in North East Iowa,” said Stephen Dryden, Principle of RPM Access. “In our diligence, we found Nordex’ global record for reliability, efficiency and service to be a key selling point that will help us maximize power output. We are also extremely happy to be sourcing American-made turbines that support American jobs, as well as to bring more green energy to the Midwest.” Iowa is the second largest generator of wind energy in the U.S., producing nearly 20 percent of its electricity from wind with more than 3,500 MW installed. Iowa has been able to significantly reorder its energy portfolio by way of forward-thinking public policies, including a requirement that utilities offer the opportunity to purchase green energy to their customers. Nordex has both completed and planned installations in several states, including Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Maryland, Colorado and now Iowa. Currently, Nordex’ largest U.S. order to date— 150 MW/60 turbines—is being installed at BP Wind Energy’s Cedar Creek wind farm in Colorado. AEN

An example of a Nordex N100 turbine that will be installed at Elk Wind Farm.

Expansion Of Arizona’s First Wind Energy Farm Nearly Complete Second Phase will Double Amount of Clean Energy from Facility Near Snowflake. In October of 2009, 30 giant wind turbines at the Dry Lake Wind Project northwest of Snowflake began producing electricity as part of Arizona’s first major commercial wind development. Now, Oregon-based Iberdrola Renewables has nearly doubled the number of wind turbines at Dry Lake, as well as its energy capacity. With 75 percent of the Phase 2 facilities expansion now completed, Salt River Project (SRP) is taking 100 percent of the power generated at the site. To date, 28 of the giant turbines for Phase 2 have been erected and construction will continue at the site until all 31 new turbines are completed. SRP already purchased 100 percent of the 63-MW of electricity generated from Phase 1 and signed an agreement earlier this year for up to 64 MW from Phase 2. When completed, the expanded Dry Lake Wind Farm will provide clean,

AUSTIN WIND FARM (Continued from Page 1)

wind industry, it may not sound like a big project, but for our company and this region in particular, it’s very important,” explained Walt Hornaday, Cielo Wind Power President. “The wind potential is so great that there is an excess of projects that could be built. But it’s very hard to find the right economics to organize a decent wind project. We are extremely appreciative of our relationship with Xcel Energy to move forward with this long-term PPA.” The Spinning Spur Wind Ranch will be situated west of Vega, Texas, adjacent to Cielo Wind Power’s existing Wildorado Wind Ranch. At the time of construction, Wildorado was the largest single wind power facility to be built in the Southwest Power Pool, and is still considered one of the best Alternative Energy News

February 2011

renewable electricity to nearly 20,000 typical residential homes in SRP’s service territory. The estimated environmental benefits of the project will result in the annual offset of more than 340 million pounds of carbon dioxide, which is equivalent to removing 30,000 cars from the road. The turbine towers are approximately 250 feet tall. The turbine rotors are about 280 feet in diameter. Once assembled, the towers (with the blades at high noon) are about 400 feet or 30 stories tall. Under SRP’s Sustainable Portfolio set by its publicly elected Board of Directors, SRP’s goal is to secure sustainable and renewable resources to meet 15 percent of its retail energy needs by 2025. SRP is the third-largest public power utility in the nation, serving nearly 940,000 electric customers in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. Iberdrola Renewables, Inc., headquartered in Portland, Ore., has installed nearly 5,000 MW of wind power in the U.S. It is part of Iberdrola Renovables, the largest

provider of wind power in the world, with more than 12,000 MW in operation in 23 countries. Iberdrola Renewables employs more than 830 people in the U.S. and has

performing wind facilities in the country. “The western part of the Texas Panhandle has significant drops and lots of breeze,” said Wes Reeves, Media Relations Representative for Xcel Energy. “It made sense to build the Spinning Spur Wind Ranch in that prime location just like it made sense to continue our decade-long relationship with Cielo Wind Power to make the project a reality.” Another reason why the Spinning Spur Wind Ranch was such a compelling project for Xcel Energy was the good relationship Cielo Wind Power had with the local authorities, county and school district, said Reeves. Cielo Wind Power was able to obtain property tax breaks from the county and local school district where the Spinning Spur Wind Ranch will be located. The project is also expected to benefit from the U.S. Treasury cash grant program that covers 30 percent of

eligible renewable energy project costs. “The tax incentive agreements were key reasons to why this project will be located in Oldham County,” said Hornaday. “Without that, it’s extremely hard to be competitive with other developers offering similar incentives. Since the cost for wind technology keeps getting more and more competitive, you have to find ways to stand out and make it work.” Even though Texas has a wide variety of economic development incentives that helped to install more wind-generated power than any other state, Amarillo is not within the Texas Electric Reliability Council of Texas footprint; it’s outside the main electric grid used by the rest of the state. Reeves noted that in the spring of 2010, the Southwest Power Pool approved a series of new transmission lines in several Xcel Energy

created over 14,200 indirect jobs in the U.S. since 2006. It has also made some $5.5 billion of purchases from U.S. companies over the last three years. AEN

Photo courtesy of Arizona Salt River Project.

states, including Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma, to help improve electric reliability, strengthen the existing transmission grid and provide outlets for additional renewable wind generation. “There are companies building $5 billion worth of transmission structure for the sole purpose of harvesting wind to deliver electricity to the outlying areas,” he said. “So that will open up a lot of future development in the Panhandle, especially since wind farms don’t employ a lot of people directly once they’re built. The construction process is where the money is for contractors.” Cielo Wind Power has yet to select the turbine manufacturer for the project, but construction is slated to begin in July. The company estimates 150-200 jobs will be created on-site during the peak of construction in 2011 and 2012. AEN 7


Philadelphia Eagles Announce Plan to Power Lincoln Financial Field with Renewable Energy T

he Philadelphia Eagles announced a plan to power Lincoln Financial Field with a combination of on-site wind, solar and dual-fuel generated electricity, making it the world’s first major sports stadium to convert to self-generated renewable energy. The Eagles have contracted with Orlando Fla.-based SolarBlue, a renewable energy and energy conservation company, to install approximately 80 20-foot spiralshaped wind turbines on the top rim of the stadium, affix 2,500 solar panels on the stadium’s facade, build a 7.6-MW on-site dual-fuel cogeneration plant, and implement sophisticated monitoring and switching technology to operate the system. Over the next year, SolarBlue will invest in excess of $30 million to build out the system, with a completion goal of September 2011. SolarBlue will maintain and operate the stadium’s power system for the next 20 years at a fixed percent annual price increase in electricity, saving the Eagles an estimated $60 million in energy costs. The Eagles and SolarBlue estimate that over the 20-year horizon, the on-site energy sources at Lincoln Financial Field will provide 1.039 billion kWh of electricity—more than enough to supply the stadium’s power needs—enabling an estimated four MW of excess energy offpeak to be sold back to the local electric grid.

“The Philadelphia Eagles are proud to take this vital step towards energy independence from fossil fuels by powering Lincoln Financial Field with wind, solar and dual-fuel energy sources,” said Team Owner and Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Lurie. “This commitment builds upon our comprehensive environmental sustainability program, which includes energy and water conservation, waste reduction, recycling, composting, toxic chemical avoidance and reforestation. It underscores our strong belief that environmentally sensitive policies are consistent with sound business practices.” Added Eagles Owner Christina Lurie, “We believe the iconic stature and universal appeal of professional sports can become a powerful, visible, motivating example of how renewable energy sources can replace fossil fuels and create a cleaner, sustainable environment for people everywhere.” Against a backdrop of trees symbolizing the Eagles’ commitment to reforestation, the Luries invited special guests to join them in signing the Go Green! Team’s Declaration of Energy Independence, which “seeks to create a better living environment by reducing the world’s dependence on fossil fuels.” The greening of Lincoln Financial Field is a significant step by a major sports franchise to achieve that goal. The energy to be generated by on-site renewable sources is

Artist rendering of Philadelphia Eagles Stadium, Lincoln Financial Field, when project is complete

comparable to the annual electricity usage of 26,000 homes. Engineers at Solar Blue estimate that converting the stadium to renewable energy will eliminate CO² emissions equivalent to 500,000 barrels of oil or 24 million gallons of gasoline consumed annually. That equates to removing the carbon emissions of 41,000 cars each year. “The Eagles’ plan for Lincoln Financial Field represents one of the most extensive renewable energy commitments by any major facility,” said Lee Maher, Chairman and CEO, SolarBlue. “The energy plan will utilize the most technologically advanced wind turbines and solar panels. With this installation, we anticipate that many

Hawaii to Welcome Hydrogen-Powered Vehicles and Fueling Infrastructure T en companies, agencies and universities have joined an initiative between The Gas Company (TGC), and General Motors to make hydrogen-powered vehicles and a fueling infrastructure a reality in Hawaii by 2015. The plan, called the Hawaii Hydrogen Initiative (H2I), aims to integrate hydrogen as an essential building block for Hawaii’s sustainable energy ecosystem. The effort to reduce the state’s 90 percent dependence on imported oil is expected to make hydrogen available to all of Oahu’s 1 million residents by 2015. The goal is for 20 to 25 hydrogen stations to be installed in strategic locations around the island. “Hydrogen, used as a fuel, will reduce our dependence on petroleum starting today,” said Jeff Kissel, TGC president and CEO. The plan builds on a May 2010 memorandum of understanding between TGC, one of Hawaii’s major utilities, and GM. TGC today produces enough hydrogen to power up to 10,000 fuel cell vehicles and has the capacity to produce much more hydrogen. GM is a leader in hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and fielded the world’s largest fuel cell demonstration fleet—more than 100 vehicles—beginning in 2007. The hydrogen initiative partners are 8

evaluating methods to distribute hydrogen through existing natural gas pipelines, addressing the long-standing problem of how to cost effectively produce and distribute hydrogen. “In Hawaii, we want to address the proverbial chicken or egg dilemma,” said Charles Freese, Executive Director of GM Fuel Cell Activities. “There has always been a looming issue over how to ensure that the vehicles and the necessary hydrogen refueling infrastructure are delivered to market at the same time. Our efforts in Hawaii will help us meet that challenge. “Once the key hydrogen infrastructure elements are proven in Hawaii, other states can adopt similar approaches,” Freese said. “Germany, Japan and Korea are all building hydrogen infrastructures within this same time frame. The work in Hawaii can provide a template for other regions.” In addition to GM and TGC, the hydrogen initiative partners include the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism (DBEDT); U.S. Department of Energy; FuelCell Energy; Aloha Petroleum Ltd; Louis Berger Group; U.S. Pacific Command, supported by the U.S. Pacific Fleet, U.S. Pacific Air Forces, U.S. Army Pacific,

and U.S. Marine Forces, Pacific; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; the County of Hawaii; University of California—Irvine, and the University of Hawaii. “Hawaii is on the cutting edge of developing the infrastructure for hydrogen-powered vehicles and adopting the latest clean energy technologies to move our islands toward energy independence and sustainability,”

businesses will see the benefits of renewable energy and be inspired to emulate the Eagles’ bold leadership.” Beyond the substantial environmental advantages, the Eagles’ renewable energy plan will create hundreds of jobs for the Philadelphia area. SolarBlue anticipates directly employing 200 local people during the year-long design and installation phase. One-quarter of these jobs will be permanently maintained over the 20-year operational horizon. In addition, the project will generate approximately 600 indirect jobs in the surrounding region as a result of Solar Blue’s commitment to utilize local contractors, vendors and suppliers, as available. AEN said Richard Lim, Acting Director, State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. “H2I is a unique, innovative partnership that has brought together public, private and community partners to improve the quality of life for our citizens and become a worldwide model.” In 2008, the state launched the Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative (HCEI), a partnership with the U.S. DOE with a goal of generating 70 percent or more of Hawaii’s energy through energy efficiency and clean, renewable resources, such as solar, wind, wave, biofuels and geothermal. AEN

Photo courtesy of General Motors. Alternative Energy News

February 2011

OTHER alternatives

Cornell University Joins Team on Algae Fuel Facility C ornell University researchers have joined other scientists and a biofuel research company on a mission to develop a commercial-scale algae-to-fuel facility by 2015. The effort is backed by a $9 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy. Cellana, an algal biofuel research company based in Kailua Kona, Hawaii, is leading the consortium. Cornell, along with Duke University, San Francisco State University, the University of Hawaii and the University of Southern Mississippi, will work out plans for developing a 100-acre commercial-scale facility to produce fuels and animal feeds from microalgae. “Relative to other fuels, algae produce at least 10 times more biomass per hectare than terrestrial land plants,” said Charles Greene, a Cornell Professor of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, who is a principal investigator on the project. Algae use nutrients more efficiently than land plants, so there is no runoff of nutrients into the water. They are also grown in seawater, so there is no demand for fresh water, and they don’t require soil, “so you don’t have to compete with food plants for good agricultural land,” the way terrestrial biofuels do, Greene said. Greene is working with Jeff Tester, a Professor of Sustainable Energy Systems in the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Associate Director of the Cornell’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, to analyze the economics, energy

costs and carbon footprint of the project. “In the ideal sense, all biofuels should approach carbon neutrality,” said Greene. To help improve the economic viability of the project, Cellana is looking into extracting proteins for nutritional supplements for animal feeds from the byproducts of algal biofuel production. Such supplements could

BIOFUEL (Continued from Page 1)

a commercial scale are turning it into nutritional supplements. If you buy and consume spirulina capsules, for instance, you’re already trying to benefit from algae’s commercial potential. “The market for that stuff is minuscule compared with a billion gallons of biofuels,” Pinkos said. Producing enough algae to make a meaningful difference to our energy future is a bit more difficult. Scientists at NREL are working to develop strains of algae that’ll grow and reproduce quickly. “Productivity of the algal strain is the key element in reducing cost,” Pienkos said, noting that some laboratories working on the problem are claiming that they can achieve 50-100 grams of algal mass per square meter of algae pond per day. There are claims in the scientific literature that analyses at some labs have shown 60 to 70 percent lipids in their algal biomass. Doing the math on that, if you’ve got 50 grams of algae per square meter of algae pond per day with 60 percent lipids, then you can produce 30 grams of lipid per square meter per day. And as Pienkos points out, that’s a far cry from the billions of gallons of biofuels we’d need to replace the foreign oil we’re using now. That brings us to the second problem: generally speaking, fast growth and high lipid production work against each other. The algae can either put their energy into growing more algae, or they can put it into making lipids. “You can have one or the other; you can’t have both,” Pienkos said.

simple observation that there are lipids in the algae to an actual practical way to exploit the algae’s hard work requires several leaps across a wide gap. Dropping down the stepping stones to cross that gap is the work of Dr. Philip Pienkos and his fellow scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), where Pienkos is the acting group manager in charge of a number of projects attacking these basic problems: how to grow algae in commercial quantities, how to encourage the algae to optimize their production of lipids, and how to separate the lipids from the algae once they’ve done that. Once all those problems have been overcome, commercial production of biodiesel, jet fuel, or maybe even gasoline from algae could be a mere decade or two away, according to Pienkos. Whether that’s ever economically feasible, of course, depends on what happens to the price of petroleum over the coming years. Research into algae-based fuels at the NREL was discontinued for a decade in 1996 because petroleum was then selling for $20 a barrel, while the most optimistic estimates put the cost of algae-derived fuels at $50$70 a barrel. “It simply couldn’t compete,” Pienkos said. Times have changed, and now the NREL is looking at the problem again. Current Science Right now, the only folks producing algae on Alternative Energy News

February 2011

provide revenue to subsidize some of the biofuel production costs, especially in the early stages. Cornell’s Xingen Lei, Professor of Molecular Nutrition in the Department of Animal Sciences, is now conducting feeding trials of such algal-based nutritional supplements in chickens and pigs. “We’re hopeful that we can create a

product that will be competitive with fossil fuels even at today’s prices,” said Greene. The grant is funded through the DOE’s Office of Biomass Programs as part of the implementation of the agency’s National Algal Biofuels Roadmap. Cellana also receives substantial support from Royal Dutch Shell. AEN

Raceway ponds at Cellana’s pilot facility in Kona, Hawaii, where the algae are grown prior to harvesting them for biofuels.

Economy, however, requires both. So how do you get that? NREL scientists are studying how they might be able to change growing conditions, find new strains of algae, or genetically modify current strains, but how to achieve both high biomass production and high lipid production is still very much an open question. “If we get a strain that grows rapidly and makes a lot of lipid, that’s the Holy Grail for us,” Pienkos said. “The ideal process, irrespective of economics, is probably in reasonable growth with reasonable lipid.” Let’s say that you decide to give this a shot. Once you’ve got algae that you think is making enough lipid to get you into business, then you’ve got to figure out how to get the lipid out of the algae. It turns out that that’s not a simple problem either, and solving it goes back to how you figure out if you really do have enough lipids, because before you know if you have enough, you’ve got to get the lipids out of the algae to measure it. And of course, if you can’t get the lipids out of the algae to measure what you’ve got, then for sure you can’t get the lipids out to turn it into fuel. That’s a fundamental problem that the NREL scientists are working on right now. “There are a lot of things we can do in the laboratory, but the amount of brute force that’s needed isn’t a route to doing that at a commercial scale,” Pienkos said. Future Commercial Prospects The first step toward real commercial

production of algae biofuel would be construction of a pilot plant that could produce, say, 100,000 gallons a year. Once it’s built, the plant would have to be operated for long enough to give its backers confidence that it works they way they thought it would—say a year at least, preferably two, to account for seasonal variations. The next step would be to scale up to a demonstration plan and operation of that for a couple of years before everything learned from the pilot and demonstration plants could be incorporated into construction of a real production facility. “We’re talking about a minimum of several years before you could start to produce something on what I would call a commercial scale,” Pienkos said. And right now, the technology isn’t even ready to start on the pilot plant, he added. “The smart move would be to run technology development work and scale up at the same time in hope that it would all be in place when your commercial facility is ready.” That all being the case, it’s going to be a minimum of seven to 10 years before anybody’s going to be ready to produce biofuels from algae on a commercial scale, and even that’s only going to be possible with a serious, sustained commitment to the project, according to Pienkos. “People have been overstating where we are and underestimating the challenges,” he said. “The thought that it’s going to be ready for commercialization in the next month or the next year is absurd.” AEN 9


U.S. Solar Market Poised for Growth John Cheney

Phil Smithers

President and CEO, Silverado Power

Technical Services Leader, Arizona Public Service

AEN: Please tell our readers how you became involved in the alternative energy industry.

cost-effective solar projects that address local community needs while meeting quality requirements of utilities and value for rate payers.

JC: Before co-founding Silverado, I founded and served as CEO/Managing Partner of several companies including Varitel Video, RTE One, Avenue Technologies and RocketFiber. In my current role as CEO and co-founder of Silverado Power, I lead the management team in developing distributed solar PV projects positioning Silverado as the largest independent developer of solar PV projects in the U.S. My goal is to provide excellent energy solutions that balance viability of projects with low-cost power for utilities and rate payers.

JC: We signed one of the largest North American solar photovoltaic PPAs in 2010 with Southern California Edison for 113 MW of clean power for Southern California. The projects are slated for completion in 2013 in Los Angeles County and are forecasted to supply clean power to thousands of homes via a 20 year contract with Southern California Edison (SCE).

Recently, I focused my work on distributed solar generation in my previous role as Vice President of Sales and Business Development for MMA Renewable Ventures where I helped form the company in 2006, and in less than two years, helped turn it into the largest financier of solar photovoltaic installations in the U.S. I have also supported environmental policy through Environmental Entrepreneurs and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). I helped champion energy policy with economically sound approaches by relying on fact-based policy expertise with both the California Legislature and Congress. AEN: What can you tell us about your company and its commitment to solar energy? JC: When we created Silverado, we decided to take a non-traditional approach to solar development while maintaining ties to the established industry processes. Silverado Power delivers a fresh solution to the burgeoning solar market. Unlike other players in the solar energy development space, Silverado Power’s handson approach shepherds the full life cycle of utility-scale solar development projects—from site acquisition, interconnection and through PPA financing, physical plant development to owning and operation. Leveraging the broad experience of a seasoned team, and conducting the process from inception through completion, allows Silverado Power to create highly viable, 10

AEN: Are there any new solar projects your company is currently working on?

AEN: What are the biggest challenges facing the solar industry right now and how has your company met these challenges? JC: The U.S. markets are on the verge of a very large expansion of the solar PV market. California is expanding and other states are finally taking advantage of the enormous fall in the cost of solar PV. The whole market is growing at over 40 percent per year, however growth is happening with many stops and starts as policy makers learn and deploy programs. Silverado Power has approached these stops and starts by focusing on developing the core value of real projects that retain value regardless of the timing of public policy programs. AEN: Where do you see the solar industry headed in the next five to 10 years? JC: The world and the U.S. are in the midst of a trillion dollar transition away from fossil and carbon based fuels to renewable energy sources. Solar PV is now less expensive than wind in parts of California. Other states are currently developing programs to take advantage of the falling cost of Solar PV. The U.S. market overall is poised to grow at a huge rate. Manufacturing in the U.S. for renewable energy technologies, including solar PV, has been overtaken first by European manufacturers and now Chinese manufacturers. China is now poised to be the overall dominant renewable energy manufacturing country in the world. Consequently, many future energy projects plan around both sourcing and financing with respect to Chinese manufacturer’s strategies and Chinese government financial policies. Silverado Power was founded with these realities in mind and is well positioned to work within this framework. AEN

AEN: Please tell our readers a little bit about yourself and how you became involved in the alternative energy industry. PS: I have held a variety of positions in several different areas in more than 20 years in the energy utility industry. My experience ranges from generation to transmission to transmission siting. This broad base of experience allowed me to get involved in renewable energy development at Arizona Public Service (APS). In 2007, as APS began to expand its renewable portfolio, the company realized the need to establish a group responsible for creating a better understanding of the technical aspects and impacts of renewable energy. I was hired to lead this initiative. AEN: What can you tell us about your company and its commitment to solar energy? PS: APS is Arizona’s largest and longestserving electric utility, and serves more than 1.1 million customers in 11 of the state’s 15 counties. With headquarters in Phoenix, Ariz., APS is the principal subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital Corp. APS understands the role renewable energy plays in a balanced generation portfolio and is committed to providing customers more electricity created from these generation technologies. APS’s online renewable portfolio has grown from less than one MW in 2001 to more than 280 MW today. This amount will continue to grow as the company adds more than 1,600 MW of renewable resources over the next 15-20 years. With Arizona’s abundant sunshine, APS wants to make the state the solar capital of the world. AEN: Are there any new solar projects your company is currently working on? PS: APS continually uses a stringent quantitative and qualitative process to find new sources of renewable energy. Currently, APS has more than 500 additional MW of renewable energy in development. This includes Solana, the 280 MW solar thermal plant beginning construction in Gila Bend. When completed in 2013, it will be the largest solar plant in the world. In addition to APS’ solar initiatives,

the company also has a contract for power from a 100-MW wind project that is being constructed in Northern Arizona. In 2010, APS signed contracts for the first 70 MW of utility-owned solar power under the AZ Sun program. Through the program, APS plans to invest up to $500 million for the construction of 100 MW of multiple solar photovoltaic power plants across Arizona. APS will finance and own the projects, which are being designed and constructed by third-party developers. The contracts are for an 18-MW plant in Gila Bend, a 15-MW plant at Luke Air Force Base, a 17-MW plant in Hyder (40 miles east of Yuma) and a 20-MW plant in Chino Valley (15 miles north of Prescott). AEN: What are the biggest challenges facing the solar industry right now and how has your company met these challenges? PS: One of the challenges with solar is a lack of understanding of its impact on the distribution system, when deployed in concentrated amounts. With distributed solar continuing to become more popular, we at APS have identified the need for a better technical understanding of the energy source. For developing industries, such as solar, consistency in policy is important. When tax credits and other policy mechanisms continually bump up against expiration before they are extended, industry development suffers. For solar to really reach its full potential, energy policy needs to be more stable or the price of solar to more closely resemble wholesale electricity prices to be competitive without incentives. It is also important that national energy focus on those things that support the market in general, such as the existing tax credits. AEN: Where do you see the solar industry headed in the next five to 10 years? PS: Much of what the next 10 years holds for solar is dependent on several factors, including the continued declining price of photovoltaic panels, the continuation of state policies that promote the use of solar and/or a national policy taxing carbon. Any of these could have a major impact on the development of solar. One of those policy’s, the elimination of the $2,000 cap for federal tax credits, has been a huge driver of solar. What occurs with solar at that point would depend that on the appetite of Public Service Commissions to see renewable energy costs increasing by 20 percent. AEN Alternative Energy News

February 2011



Long-term Policy is a Must for Growth of Cleantech Industry BY JACK JACOBS AND AMELIA TIMBERS

As part of a last-minute deal to persuade the Republicans to enact the “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010”, President Obama successfully negotiated the extension of the investment tax credit (ITC), production tax credits (PTC) and 1603 Treasury cash grant equivalent program for one more year. The first incarnation of these incentive programs has been instrumental in the development of the burgeoning green energy industry by significantly increasing profit margins and encouraging investment. So, I wasn’t surprised at all when a client began singing Hallelujah upon hearing the good news that it was renewed for one more year. But while the Obama Administration should be applauded for their achievements and broad efforts to endorse the creation of green jobs and a green economy, much more needs to be done to ensure the long-term growth of the cleantech industry in the U.S. and around the world. If the U.S. really wants to shift away from its dependence on oil, then it must enact renewable energy laws and policies that have an expiration date that is longer than a can of tuna fish! In addition to feed-in tariffs, laws that could help provide a predictable rate of return on renewable energy investments and a comprehensive climate change law that finally makes the prevention of global warming a national priority, the Administration could also begin to shift some of the massive subsidies away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. And there are plenty of those subsidies to go around. In fact, a recent report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that 10 to 12 times more funds ($557 billion) worldwide are spent on subsidies for oil, coal and gas than renewables ($57 billion). Even though the U.S. was not included among the 37 countries analyzed by IEA, it too has traditionally given more incentives to fossil fuels than renewable energy. From 2002-2008, the U.S. allotted $72 billion to fossil fuels, but only $29 billion to renewable energy over the same period, according to the Environmental Law Institute. Until legislators can refill their pens and start drafting new laws and policies to protect the environment and encourage the development of the renewable energy industry, cleantech entrepreneurs around the world will continue to develop innovative green technologies that are less expensive and more efficient than ever before. AEN

California Cap-and-Trade Program Lauded by Climate Law Co-sponsor


nvironmental Defense Fund (EDF) praised the California Air Resources Board (CARB) for adopting an innovative program that will cap and reduce global warming pollution, while growing the state’s clean energy economy. “California is turbo-charging its already fast-growing clean energy economy by creating incentives and a market for pollution reducing technologies,” said Fred Krupp, President of EDF. “The state is leading a new industrial revolution that will give U.S. companies an edge over foreign competitors in a global market opportunity valued at $2.3 trillion.” The regulation CARB approved is a vital component of its clean energy plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, as required by The Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32). The trading program will create a firm limit on pollution that covers 80 percent of the state’s emissions, including those from the

utility, large industry, natural gas and transportation fuels sectors. A recent Field Poll found that 64 percent of Californians favor cap-and-trade and that nearly 75 percent believe the state can reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming, while creating jobs and economic prosperity. This finding follows the overwhelming general election defeat of Proposition 23 that affirmed Californians’ desire to implement AB 32 without delay. The “No on Prop 23” campaign generated more votes than any other initiative in the country and showed continued support for taking action to fight climate change, even in tough economic times. The regulations are designed to minimize risks of economic harm and job loss. By putting a price on carbon, investors and businesses get the certainty they need to invest in new technologies. A recent study from Next 10 concluded that job growth from cap-and-trade will range from around 65,000

to almost 625,000 jobs by 2020, depending on the program’s design. “The next great economy will be in energy technology, presenting huge opportunities for investments, manufacturing and jobs,” said Derek Walker, Director of the California Climate Initiative at Environmental Defense Fund. “California is leading America’s charge to fight climate change by capping pollution and starting a domestic clean tech revolution that will help us more effectively compete against China, India and Europe.” Cap-and-trade is a proven, effective mechanism for cutting pollution quickly at the lowest cost, a particularly important consideration given the economic downturn. In the 1990s, a cap-and-trade program that was added to the Clean Air Act achieved full compliance in reducing sulfur dioxide emissions—which cause acid rain—at a third of the cost forecast by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. AEN

DOE to Fund up to $50 Million to Demonstrate Innovative, Cost-competitive Solar Energy Technologies


nergy Secretary Steven Chu announced the Department’s intent to fund up to $50 million to test and demonstrate innovative technologies that will lead to costcompetitive solar energy technologies. The demonstration program will be a critical link between the Department of Energy’s advanced technology development programs and full-scale commercialization efforts. The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) will serve as a proving ground for cutting-edge solar technologies, such as concentrating solar thermal power and concentrating photovoltaic energy, which can be used for utility applications in the southwestern United States where there is an abundance of solar energy. “This funding will allow the Department to further test advanced and innovative solar energy technologies in real-world conditions,

providing critical data for companies and communities looking to invest in large-scale solar projects,” said Secretary Chu. “The Solar Demonstration Zone in Nevada is part of an integrated effort to expand the solar energy industry, helping to put America on a path to a sustainable energy future and create the jobs of the 21st century economy.” The Department expects to announce the Funding Opportunity Announcement early next year. Potential technology applications include Concentrated Solar Power systems that use mirrors to reflect and concentrate sunlight on a heat absorbing fluid, convert it to steam, and ultimately generate electricity, as well as concentrated photovoltaic power that uses lenses to concentrate sunlight to improve the efficiency of conventional photovoltaics. The demonstration projects as part of the Solar Demonstration Zone will be deployed at a large enough scale

to provide useful operating and economic data for the eventual deployment of solar energy projects at utility-scale, which are typically grid-connected projects larger than 20 MW. The Solar Demonstration Zone at the Nevada National Security Site will complement the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Land Management’s 24 Solar Energy Study Areas (SESAs) on public lands across the Southwest United States by providing essential data about the commercial viability of the most advanced solar technologies. As part of the DOE and the Department of Interior’s continuing collaboration, the Departments are working together to implement this project, including conducting environmental reviews and coordinating necessary infrastructure planning for the site. Department of Energy funding for the project is dependent upon congressional appropriations. AEN

Mass. EEA Announces Clean Energy Plan to Reduce GHG Emissions T

he Massachusetts Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) has set the statewide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions limit for 2020, as required by the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2008, at 25 percent below 1990 levels. The Global Warming Solutions Act, signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, D-Mass., in August 2008, mandates the reduction of GHG emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, and requires the secretary of the EEA to set a legally enforceable GHG emissions limit for 2020 of between 10 percent and 25 percent below 1990 levels. In his formal determination of the 2020 emissions limit, EEA Secretary Ian Bowles Alternative Energy News

October 2010

noted that “established state policies to promote energy conservation and cleaner energy sources are expected to produce GHG reductions of 18 percent below 1990 levels by 2020,” and that the remaining question before him in making the determination was “where in the remaining statutory range of 18 percent to 25 percent reduction it is practical and appropriate to set the 2020 limit. Central to that question is what additional actions of policy, regulation and legislation could be pursued that would achieve additional emissions reduction by 2020 and beyond.” The 136-page Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 contains a portfolio of

established and new measures designed to reduce energy waste, save money and stimulate the adoption of clean energy technologies. It is estimated that 42,000 to 48,000 jobs would result from full implementation of the plan in 2020. In electricity supply, established programs, such as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and the renewable portfolio standard, will be supplemented by efforts to obtain additional clean energy and a proposed Clean Energy Performance Standard, which would require electricity suppliers to favor lower- and no-emissions sources in the mix of electricity delivered to their customers. AEN 11


California Energy Commission Awards Nearly $3 Million for Energy Research


emonstrating the importance of funding innovation, the California Energy Commission approved $2,868,787 for four energy research projects, including solutions for retrofitting lighting in commercial buildings. The research projects are funded by the Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. The University of California Davis (UC Davis) will receive $1,995,032 to develop and demonstrate whole building retrofit solutions for existing multi-tenant light commercial buildings. The goal is to increase energy efficiency, reduce peak electricity demand and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. Multi-tenant light commercial buildings include strip malls, small office parks and mixed-use developments. Research on retrofitting existing commercial buildings—many of which have outdated technologies—is needed and represents a promising opportunity in reaching the state’s greenhouse gas and energy efficiency targets. The research will identify an appropriate menu of retrofit technologies for multi-tenant light commercial buildings, show market barriers to avoid and recommend strategic mechanisms, and solutions to provide an integrated solution for retrofitting those buildings. The UC Davis team that will do the work consists of

three principal investigators, as well as the faculty and staff from the California Lighting Technology Center, the Energy Efficiency Center, the Graduate School of Management and the Western Cooling Efficiency Center. The Commission also approved a $400,000 grant to Utility Savings and Refund, LLC of Irvine for a project to demonstrate the benefits of using energy storage systems in conjunction with an on-site fuel cell power generation. Another $2.5 million for the project is coming from other sources, with $1.3 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and $1.2 million from the California Public Utilities Commission. The project hopes to demonstrate a number of things including an overall energy bill reduction of 20 to 25 percent, a reduction in peak utility demand charges, and a reduction in fuel cell down-time. The demonstration site is the Dublin San Ramon Services District’s Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility in Pleasanton. Integrating specific rechargeable flow battery (i.e vanadium redox) energy storage systems with fuel cells is an approach that can benefit a number of energy-intensive industries and institutions including colleges, universities and military bases. Federspiel Controls of El Cerrito will

receive $250,000 to help demonstrate and field test energy efficient cooling control technologies at data centers. The funding will be used as a cost share to the $548,078 that Federspiel Controls received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The project will demonstrate cooling control technology integrated with wireless network sensors to control the cooling of data centers. The project will also employ air management best practices. The demonstration sites are eight data centers in the Sacramento area and in Los Angeles that are operated by State of California agencies. The project’s methods could be used by a wide range of data centers and energy consumption could be reduced by 26 percent. The U.S. Geological Survey will receive $223,755 to provide new and enhanced habitat suitability models that will be used to predict the potential distribution and habitat of the Mohave ground squirrel, which is state-listed as threatened. The work will help identify important corridors and potential compensation land locations and assess the impacts of solar energy projects in the Mojave and Colorado desert regions. The research will help guide habitat preservation decisions and provide information to assist in the siting, design, permitting and mitigation of solar energy projects. AEN

USABC Grants $5.43 Million in Advanced Battery Technology Contracts to Five Firms T

he United States Advanced Battery Consortium LLC (USABC), an advanced research collaboration among Chrysler Group LLC, Ford Motor Company and General Motors Company, announced approximately $5.43 million in advanced battery development and technology assessment contracts to five firms. The competitively bid contract awards are funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and include a 50 percent cost-share from each of the contracted companies. USABC awarded the contracts to develop and assess advanced energy storage technologies for hybrid-electric vehicles (HEV), a lower-energy energy storage system (LEESS) for power-assist hybrid-electric vehicles (PAHEV) and electric vehicle (EV) applications. The companies receiving advanced battery development contracts are: Envia Systems Inc. of Newark, Calif., which was awarded a $3.65 million contract for a three-year project to develop a high-energy cathode material for vehicle applications and pouch cells that exhibit 12

performance metrics that meet or exceed the minimum USABC EV goals. Quallion LLC of Los Angeles, Calif., which was awarded a $1.41 million contract for an 18-month technology assessment of its Matrix™ battery design, a hybridized battery pack using a mixture of high power and high-energy lithium-ion cells, and to demonstrate the performance of the packs against USABC EV goals. The companies receiving technology assessment contracts are: ActaCell Inc. of Austin, Texas, which was awarded $179,015 for a 16-month technology assessment contract to evaluate the company’s high-power lithium-ion cells for increased cycle and storage life against USABC PAHEV goals. Leyden Energy Inc. of Freemont, Calif., which was awarded a $117,733 contract for an eight-month technology assessment of its lithium-ion technology for EV applications in a pouch cell and to evaluate them against USABC EV battery goals. K2 Energy Solutions Inc. of Henderson, Nev., which was awarded a $73,644

contract for a 12-month technology assessment of the company’s 51 amp-hour (Ah) cells and planned 45 Ah cells configured in “flat-pack” modular batteries and large laminated cells in relation to USABC EV battery targets. “We are pleased to announce the award of these contracts as part of USABC’s broad battery technology research and development programs,” said Steve Zimmer, Executive Director of USCAR. “These programs are essential to advance the technology needed to meet both near- and long-term goals that will enable a broad spectrum of vehicle electrification.” USABC is a subsidiary of the United States Council for Automotive Research LLC (USCAR). Enabled by a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), USABC’s mission is to develop electrochemical energy storage technologies that support commercialization of electric, hybrid electric and fuel cell vehicles. As such, USABC has developed mid- and long-term goals to guide its projects and measure their progress. AEN

CODA Holdings Raises $76 Million in Series D Initial Closing CODA Holdings, a leading developer of lithium-ion advanced battery systems and all-electric vehicles, announced the initial closing of a Series D preferred investment round totaling $76 million, bringing the company’s total invested capital to more than $200 million. The funding will be used to prepare for start of production of the company’s flagship all-electric vehicle, the CODA Sedan, and to support the company’s 2011 sales and marketing efforts. The investment will also fund additional equity investment in the company’s joint venture battery production facility where CODA will manufacture its multi-purpose lithium-ion power battery systems for automotive and utility applications. New investors Harbinger Capital Partners and Riverstone Holdings LLC both led the round, and Morgan Stanley acted as CODA’s exclusive investment advisor and placement agent for this round. Existing investors participating in the offering include: Miles Rubin, CODA’s Founder and Co-Chairman; Steven “Mac” Heller, CODA’s Interim CEO and Co-Chairman, former Goldman Sachs Worldwide Head of Mergers & Acquisitions and Co-Head of the Investment Banking Division; AERIS Capital, the lead investor in CODA’s Series C Round; and Angeleno Group, CODA’s founding venture backers. Harbinger and Riverstone will each have a seat on CODA’s Board of Directors. “The caliber of our investors speaks volumes about our business model and the opportunity that exists within the electric vehicle and battery industry,” said Heller. “I strongly believe that when one thinks about the opportunities presented by the global power battery industry, the global electric vehicle industry and CODA’s proven ability to partner with leading companies in both China and the U.S., one has to believe that what we are doing today at CODA is one of the most exciting businesses in the world. The consummation of this Series D funding and the backing of Harbinger and Riverstone represents a strong validation of this view.” In addition to producing electric vehicles, CODA is a global manufacturer of transportation and utility power storage battery systems through its joint-venture with Lishen Power Battery, LIO Energy Systems. Lishen, the largest shareholder of which is China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of lithium-ion cells. CODA is considering several sites in Ohio for the construction of a power battery manufacturing facility that would also be built in a joint venture with Lishen. Construction of a facility is contingent upon the approval and receipt of a Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing (ATVM) loan. CODA’s debut vehicle, the CODA Sedan, is a four-door, five-passenger allelectric car. The vehicle is powered by a breakthrough lithium-ion battery system with more energy capacity and all-electric range than other electric vehicles in its class. AEN


New Low “e” Coating Product

Newly Certified Flate Plate Collector

PV System Analyzer

New Photovoltaic Module Kit

SOLEC announced the release of its newest insulating coating product, LO/MIT-II MAX. Designed to reduce utility bills, it has the lowest “e” value (0.15) of any spray-on radiant heat insulation product in the market. A water-based, low VOC, one part, pre-mixed coating that emulates foil-type radiant barriers, LO/MIT-II is as easy to apply as standard paint, and makes an excellent retrofit to any building to increase insulation value and significantly lower energy costs. LO/MIT-II is Class A fire-rated, meets ASTM standard C1321-98 for Interior Radiation Control Coating Systems and is RIMAI Certified for energy efficiency.

SunMaxx Solar just received the new Solar Rating and OG-100 Certification for its Flate Plate Collector the TitanPower Plus SU2 2.4 product. The SunMaxx TitanPower Plus-SU2 2.4 is the most technologically-advanced and efficient flat plate produced by SunMaxx to date. Its ultrasonic welded high-density copper absorber and TiNOX selective coating enable it to deliver an astounding 81 percent efficiency based on absorber area. This double harp style collector’s innovative mounting system also provides the versatility needed for residential, commercial and drain-back applications.

The Solmetric PV Analyzer is a complete electrical test solution for verifying photovoltaic array performance. For each string, the analyzer measures current and power as a function of voltage. Measured results are compared to the performance predicted by advanced built-in models. As a result, the PV Analyzer allows for faster installation and repairs, a detailed history of array performance and smarter troubleshooting. The PV system Analyzer is ideal for system verification during installation and for troubleshooting performance problems.

Cooper Crouse-Hinds has developed a photovoltaic module kit fully equipped with battery back-up. The solar power kits provide reliable power for remote applications, eliminating the need for battery-power or costly utility investments in these locations. They effectively eliminate the labor and materials required to run power to remote locations, or to change out batteries on a frequent basis. The solar modules are sold as prewired kitted components, which allows for quick installation by any qualified electrician. Plus, pre-configured systems can be selected to minimize purchasing and specification labors.

SOLEC (tel) 609-883-7700

SunMaxx Solar (tel) 877-786-6299

Solmetric (tel) 877-263-5026

Single Axis Control System

New Generation of Flexible and Modular Grid-Tie Systems

Standing Seam Metal Roofs and PV Modules

Accurate Dosing of Small Mass Flow Rates

Patriot Solar Group introduced a powerful solar tracking control system that can keep drive actuating mechanism facing the sun at any time to make sunlight go vertically to the tracking part, and significantly improve utilization rate of solar energy. The solar tracking controller and sensor can guarantee tracking part of the system facing the sun directly. The single-axis tracking system is composed of sunlight tracking and positioning sensor and driving controller. After receiving signals from the sunlight tracking and positioning sensor, it will drive operation of the actuator to keep the tracking part vertical to sunlight.

SunWize Technologies Inc. has incorporated the microinverter system from Enphase Energy into a new generation of its popular Grid-Tie System packages. SunWize Grid-Tie System packages are complete, pre-engineered residential and small commercial solar solutions that come with permit-ready documentation and a comprehensive installation manual. These new-generation Grid-Tie System packages feature the microinverter system from Enphase Energy and consist of modular building blocks that can be combined to create one or more branch circuits and a system of any size.

In addition to standing seam clamps fitting virtually any standing seam metal roof with unparalleled holding strength, the S-5! line includes many quality products. With its newly redesigned S-5-PV Kit, S-5! has created a solution for the PV industry that fits the majority of solar panels and metal roofs in the market—including exposed fastened and corrugated profiles. With a cost as little as $0.06 per watt, the S-5-PV Kit stands alone in the industry with its penetration-free attachment and ensures accurate and easy installation of PV modules to metal roof systems.

Patriot Solar Group (tel) 517-629-9292

SunWize Technologies Inc. (tel) 707-326-5434

S-5! Attachment Solutions (tel) 888-825-3432

CORI-FILL™, a compact solution for fluid dosage, based around the extremely accurate mass measurement of its (mini) CORI-FLOW series of Coriolis-type instruments, for flow rates between 400 mg/h and 600 kg/h. CORI-FILL technology features integrated batch counters and the facility to directly control a close-coupled shut-off valve for brief batch sequences down to <0.3secs, a proportional valve for longer sequences, or a liquid pump for dosing without the need for pressurized vessels. CORI-FILL offers plug and play simplicity that enables an immediate start to dosage duties after connecting power and fluid accessories, in one compact footprint and from one supplier, with single-point responsibility.

Cooper Crouse-Hinds (tel) 866-764-5454

Bronkhorst Cori-Tech B.V. (tel) +31 573 458890

Are you launching a new product? Alternative Energy News

February 2011

Let us know about it! E-mail with “AEN: New Product” in the subject line for a list of what to include and deadlines.



INDUSTRY calendar • 2011 WHEN




February 1-2

Offshore Wind Power

Boston, Massachusetts, USA

February 8-9

Offshore Wind Farms: Construction & Installation 2011

Copenhagen, Denmark

February 16-18

International Roofing Expo

Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

February 17-19

International Conference on Energy Systems and Technologies

Cairo, Egypt

February 19-20

International Conference on Product Development and Renewable Energy Resources 2011

Hyderabad, India

February 22-23

Solar Power Australia 2011

Melbourne, VIC, Australia

February 22-24

Eilat-Eilot 4th International Renewable Energy Conference

Eilat, Israel

February 24-25

GeoPower Americas

San Francisco, California, USA

February 28-March 1

Green California Summit

Sacramento, California, USA

March 1

Deep Water Offshore Wind

London, England

March 2-4

7th International Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Expo

Tokyo, Japan

March 1-3

Energy Indaba 2011

Johannesburg, South Africa

March 8-10

Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo

Tampa, Florida, USA

March 14-17

EWEA 2011

Brussels, Belgium

March 15-17

SOLARCON China 2011

Shanghai, China

March 23-24

Offshore Wind Power Development 2011

Shanghai, China

March 31-April 2

Sustainable Environment Technologies SET2011

Los Angeles, California, USA

April 3-5

PV America

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

April 7-8

AWEA Wind Power Finance & Investment Workshop

New York, New York, USA

April 10-13

1st International Conference on Clean Energy

Dalian, China ICCE/index.asp

April 12-13

Offshore Wind Power Infrastructure Summit

London, United Kingdom

April 12-14,

Wind Turbine Noise 2011

Rome, Italy

April 13-16

Renewables 2011

Jakarta, Indonesia

April 19-20

PV+Solar India Expo 2011

Mumbai, India









Alternative Energy News

February 2011

Alternative Energy News v2i2  

EMERGING TECH SEE PAGE 8 WIND POWER SEE PAGE 6 SOLAR SEE PAGE 4 ■ Nobles Wind Farm Now Operational in Minnesota ■ Nordex Wins Order for Iowa...

Alternative Energy News v2i2  

EMERGING TECH SEE PAGE 8 WIND POWER SEE PAGE 6 SOLAR SEE PAGE 4 ■ Nobles Wind Farm Now Operational in Minnesota ■ Nordex Wins Order for Iowa...