U.S. Renewable Energy Group (US-REG) and its Chinese partner A-Power Energy Generation Systems, Ltd. (Nasdaq: APWR) have decided to locate an enormous wind turbine factory in Nevada. The factory will employ about 1,000 workers and will have an annual capacity of 1.1 gigawatts (GW) worth of turbines. A large portion of those will be heading to Texas, where the two companies are building a 600-megawatts (MW) wind farm. The rest will supply projects throughout North and South America.
Britain's Crown Estate announced the winning bids for the world’s first
leasing round for commercial ocean power projects. The proposals include 1.2 GW of wave- and tidal-power projects at ten sites off the coast of Scotland. Awards were split between technology companies, project developers and power companies. Many of the usual suspects made the cut, including Aquamarine Power, Pelamis Wave Power, Marine Current Turbines, Scottish Power Renewables and E.ON (EOAN.DE). The Crown Estate owns the UK seabed out to 12 nautical miles offshore and has already leased large sections for offshore wind projects.
BC Hydro, the primary power company in British Columbia, Canada, has selected a group of 19 renewable energy projects to be awarded power purchase agreements under its Clean Power Call. With a combined 293-MW of capacity, the projects represent about half of BC Hydro's goal to produce 5,000 gigawatt hours of clean electricity annually. The projects include run-of-river hydrokinetic systems and wind farms. Finavera Renewables (FVR.V) was a big winner with four separate wind farms receiving approval. Cloudworks Energy and Creek Power received approval for three hydrokinetic projects each. BC Hydro said it expects to announce additional awards by the end of the month.
Leading US solar company First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) announced that it has joined the Desertec Industrial Initiative as an Associated Partner. Desertec is a European-led initiative that wants to
develop solar and wind farms in the desert regions of Northern
Africa and the Middle East. The Initiative was started last year by German companies including Siemens (NYSE: SI), Deutsche Bank (NYSE: DB) and E.ON (EOAN.DE). The goal is to provide for 15% of Europe’s energy needs and a
substantial part of local demand. First Solar is the first pure photovoltaic (PV) company to join the group and already has experience building in desert conditions in the US and United Arab Emirates.
US power company NV Energy (NYSE: NVE) announced that it has signed a definitive grant
agreement with the Department of Energy (DOE) for $138
million in Recovery Act funding that will contribute to the company's $301
million smart grid infrastructure project. This was the first such agreement to be announced with an investor-owned utility. Congress appropriated $3.4 billion in funding for smart grid projects last year, but awards were on hold until the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance earlier this month stating that the grant money would not be subject to federal taxes. NV Energy expects to complete installation of its project by 2012, and the DOE will announce additional grants in the weeks to come.
Solar company Fidelis Energy (FDEI.PK) signed a long-term supply agreement with TinSol Energy of
Johannesburg, South Africa.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but Fidelis said it will begin shipping the first of 207 MW of solar modules during 1Q11. Fidelis is currently building a Chinese manufacturing plant that is scheduled for completion in 4Q10. Fidelis owns a unique solar technology that incorporates ceramic sleeves and light-transmitting wave guides. The company says the advantages include less exposed surface area and lower production costs. TinSol plans to use the modules for several solar parks in Africa.
The rush is on to complete solar projects in Italy before the end of the year, when generous subsidies expire. This week, Norwegian power generator Statkraft and Siemens Energy (NYSE: SI)
agreed to build up to 40 MW of new capacity by the deadline. Siemens will provide turnkey development of the projects in Statkraft's pipeline. These are part of a larger push by the company to build 75 MW in Southern Europe by 2012.
SunPower Corp (Nasdaq: SPWRA) is supplying solar panels to Italian partner Energy Resources for a 5-MW project. SunPower recently announced a separate deal to build numerous 1-MW power plants throughout southern Italy with investment company K6 S.a.S.
The U.S. Department of Energy selected Lockheed Martin
(NYSE:LMT) to receive two grants totaling $1 million to advance the commercialization of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC).
The goal is to produce an economically
viable renewable energy source leveraging the
temperature difference of the ocean's warm surface water and colder
water below. Under the first grant, Lockheed Martin will estimate
the amount of energy that can be extracted from the thermal
layers. A software
tool will be used to identify regions of the world viable for OTEC and
also for seawater-based air conditioning (SWAC). The resource map
will be available to policy makers and the energy industry. Under the second grant, Lockheed Martin will develop estimates of
performance and life-cycle costs associated with utility-scale