Wednesday, February 17, 2010

More information on the DOE nuclear loan guarantees: the US will guarantee $8.3 billion of the $14 billion Plant Vogtle development spearheaded by the Southern Company -- and the developers are still saying they are exposed to risks from private financing for the rest. DOE is reportedly looking at three more sites: Unistar's third reactor at Calvert Cliffs in Maryland; a troubled San Antonio, Texas project, facing rising cost estimates and a lawsuit filed by San Antonio's municipal utility against its partner in the project, NRG; and the joint Scana Corporation and Santee Cooper proposal near Jenkinsville, S.C.

An interesting take by Michael Northrup: there is a clean energy gold rush, but the US is being left behind. We have only one out of the top 10 wind manufacturers (General Electric) and only two of the top 10 solar manufacturers (First Solar and Sun Power, both of whom actually make stuff overseas). An interesting tie to Habib Dagher's vision that the opportunities for renewables lie not only in having installed capacity, but in manufacturing the equipment needed for development. Under this model, your production is not limited by your local demand, but rather the global market -- meaning we can import dollars into the country (or our states) from abroad, resulting in a net increase of the pie.

Solar news: NV Energy and NextLight Renewable Power, LLC announced a 25-year power purchase agreement for power from NextLight's Silver State Solar Power photovoltaic plant. This 50 MW project located near Primm, NV should see groundbreak by the end of 2010, employing 230 construction workers and coming online in May 2011. The specific terms of the power purchase agreement were not disclosed, but we do know that the long-term agreement stems from NV Energy's 2009 Request for Proposals for renewable energy and requires approval by Nevada's Public Utilities Commission.

In Maryland, some are pushing for property-assessed energy efficiency loans, and increased incentives for solar. Maine faces a similar proposal in the form of LD 1717.

In Connecticut, U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd calls for rebuilding the Kleen Energy plant that recently exploded while under construction.

$14 million in stimulus grants to Maine ports (Searsport, Eastport, Portland), stated as supporting "green cargo" like wind turbine parts.

Diesel from algae? DARPA says yes, and that it will be cost-competitive with true fossil fuel.

$9 million loan program to retool the old Ethan Allen furniture factory in Island Pond, Vermont, into a pellet factory.

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