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01/26/2011 03:23 PM     print story email story         Page: 1  | 2  | 3  | 4  

Weekly Clean Energy Roundup: January 26, 2011

Page 1

  • World's Largest Solar Project Receives DOE Loan Guarantee  
  • 300,000 Homes Weatherized in Recovery Act Milestone
  • DOE, Commerce Department Form Renewable Energy Modeling Partnership
  • DOE Promotes Clean Energy in Tribal Communities
  • EPA Grants E15 Fuel Waiver for 2001-2006 Vehicles
  • Delayed NASA Solar Sail Satellite Finally Orbits
  • Oil Prices to Average $99 a Barrel by Late 2012
  • World's Largest Solar PV Project Receives DOE Loan Guarantee

    A 290 MW thin-film solar project - expected to be the world's largest - received a $967 million DOE loan guarantee. DOE's backing will support construction of NRG Solar's Caliente Solar generating facility in Yuma County, Arizona.

    The project, which will use First Solar thin-film solar panels, is scheduled to be completed in 2014. It will power about 100,000 homes and create 400 solar jobs.

    The Agua Caliente Solar project will deploy fault ride-through and dynamic voltage regulation, technologies that are new to US solar plants. The technologies improve the reliability and predictability of electricity generated by solar plants and supplied to the electricity grid. PG&E will purchase power generated from the project for California consumers.

    DOE, through the Loan Programs Office, has issued loan guarantees or offered conditional commitments for loan guarantees totaling more than $17 billion to support 17 clean energy projects. See the DOE press release, the NRG press release , and the Loan Programs Office Web site.

    300,000 Homes Weatherized in Recovery Act Milestone

    More than 300,000 low-income homes have been weatherized under the Recovery  Act as of November, 2010. States are more than half way toward meeting President Obama's goal of weatherizing 600,000 homes under the Recovery Act.

    The weatherization program is helping low-income families save money on their energy bills by improving home energy efficiency with upgrades like insulation, air sealing, and more efficient HVAC systems. The program has trained a new generation of clean energy workers and employs more than 15,000 workers nationwide.

    The pace of the work has accelerated -  a network of state offices, local agencies, and weatherization providers completed over 100,000 jobs in the last four months.

    Weatherization assistance reduces energy consumption for low-income families on average 35%, saving families about $400 each on their heating and cool bills in the first year alone. Nationwide, the weatherization of 300,000 homes is estimated to save $161 million in energy costs in just the first year. See the DOE press release, a list of the homes weatherized by state , and the Weatherization Assistance Program website.

    DOE, Commerce Depts Form Renewable Energy Modeling Partnership

    DOE and the U.S. Department of Commerce announced on January 24 a new agreement to further collaboration between the agencies on renewable energy modeling and weather forecasting.

    This teaming will enable U.S. renewable energy resources to be used more effectively by businesses. The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the DOE and the Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will encourage the agencies to disseminate weather and climate information needed for renewable energy technologies that depend on short-term weather and longer-term climate trends. Better information on weather patterns and improved modeling of the variability of the wind, sun, water, ocean currents, and other sources of renewable energy will ultimately increase the ability to reliably integrate renewable energy into the electrical grid.

    For example, DOE's 20% Wind Energy by 2030 identifies several key research areas, such as improved wind forecasting techniques, that would enhance electrical grid system operations. NOAA's Next Generation Strategic Plan states they will develop integrated environmental information services for the unique needs of weather-sensitive sectors, including solar, wind, and oceanographic information critical to  development, production, and transmission of renewable energy.

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