Wednesday, December 23, 2009

This week the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission issued an order that will lead to third-party power purchase agreements between consumers and renewable energy developers.
The PRC upheld an earlier ruling by a hearing examiner, who found developers are not considered public utilities if they install, own and operate renewable energy generation equipment — e.g. solar panels, wind turbines — on a customer's property and sell the power to the customer. Like the hearing examiner, the PRC decided such third-party agreements are legal and developers are not subject to state utility regulations because the deal involves only a single customer.

Duke Energy will pay a $93 million settlement over clean air violations at a southern Indiana power plant. States, the Justice Department and environmental groups sued Duke over the violations. Pursuant to the consent decree filed Tuesday, Duke will spend $85 million to cut sulfur dioxide emissions by almost 35,000 tons per year at its coal-fired plant along the Ohio River. Duke will also fund energy conservation and air pollution reduction measures in affected states, including New York.

Rhode Island's Department of Environmental Management (DEM) is negotiating with Chevron to install wind turbines on state and town lands in Narraganset, RI. No state or municipal funds are required to site and construct the wind turbines. The DEM will use the energy produced to support DEM's operations at the Port of Galilee, and state parks in Narragansett, while the town's share of the energy will go to the sewage treatment plant and other municipal needs.

California solar developer SolarReserve LLC has signed power purchase agreements with two utilities for the sale of electricity from its projects. Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E) will purchase power from the 150 MW Rice Solar Energy Project, to be located in eastern Riverside County as early as 2011. SolarReserve also signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with NV Energy for the sale of electricity from the 100 MW Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.

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