New York State’s Public Service Commission has approved a $279-million funding package for small-scale renewable energy projects over the next five years. The plan approved yesterday will help thousands of homeowners and businesses to install solar panels, fuel cells, wind turbines and other renewable energy devices, the Commission said. The $279 million funding package will come from the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard initiative. In addition, the Commission said $150 million would be made available for large-scale solar photovoltaic, anaerobic digestion and fuel cell projects in and around the Hudson Valley and New York City, Brighter Energy.org reported. “In these difficult economic times, we are keeping our focus on the long-term need to support the investment in renewable energy. The development and expansion of our critically important renewable energy resources will allow us to take greater control of our energy future,” said Gary Brown, PSC chairman. For the smallscale funding program, equipment up to 50kW will be eligible for funding, which breaks down into $144 million for solar photovoltaic projects, $70.5 million for anaerobic digesters, $21.6 million for fuel cell projects and $18.1 million for small wind turbines. For the first time, solar heating projects will also receive support, with the technology allocated $24.7 million. New York is striving to meet a target under its RPS to source 30% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2015. The Public Service Commission claimed that its funding program would see 466,000 megawatt-hours of renewable electricity generated over its five year period – enough power to supply 72,000 homes.
Lithium battery-maker EnerDel is planning a new manufacturing plant at the Mount Comfort Business Park in Hancock County, IN. The company says it expects to employ 1,100 people at the facility over the next five years. The company expects to invest $277 million in the plant. EnerDel also is seeking a $480 million federal loan from the Department of Energy to underwrite its expansion. EnerDel will receive state and local government incentives worth $53.1 million in exchange for its expansion commitment. Hancock County will provide $30 million in incentives, primarily in the form of tax abatements. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. is offering another $21.3 million in performance-based incentives. The average wage for EnerDel’s new jobs is expected to be $18.50 per hour. EnerDel looked at sites across central Indiana, including Marion and Hamilton counties, and locations in Michigan, before selecting the Hancock County site. According to CB Richard Ellis , which represented EnerDel in its search, EnerDel was attracted to the Mount Comfort site because it is shovel ready. Last September, Browning Inc. completed construction on a pair of buildings there designed for light manufacturing or distribution. EnerDel chose the larger of the two, a 423,000-square-foot facility with multiple back doors and cross-docking.
Business and elected leaders in Clarksville-Montgomery County, TN were presented this week with Business Facilities’ 2009 Economic Development Deal of the Year Silver Award
Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter has signed a bill mandating that the state generate 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Ritter said the bill, which also requires that at least 3 percent of electric power come from solar projects, would create “thousands” of new jobs and 100,000 new solar rooftops over the next decade. “Today we continue to chart a new course for Colorado’s New Energy Economy and America’s clean energy economy,” Gov. Ritter said, signing the bill at SolSource, Inc., a Denver-based solar installation company. “Colorado is giving every state and the entire nation a template for tomorrow. This is a game-changer. We are transforming the future of Colorado and our country.” The new 30% renewable energy goal follows on from Colorado’s 10% by 2015 target, as adopted in 2004, and takes over from a 20% by 2020 target set in 2007. The action by Colorado brings the total of states with Renewable Electricity Standards to 29, with Colorado’s 30% among the highest targets thus far. California has set the highest goal, a 33 percent target. Sponsors of the renewable energy standard legislation said Colorado has attracted more than 230 solar companies to our state. The bill states that energy will have to come from renewable or recycled energy sources to count towards the Standard. Recovered heat and energy-from-waste will count, but nuclear power will not. Utilities would have to increase the proportion of electricity sourced from renewable projects from 3% in 2007 to 5% for the period 2008-2010, then requirements increase to 12% from 2011 to 2014, up to 20% for 2015 through 2019, then 30% in the years following. Power suppliers will also have to provide a growing proportion of power from distributed generation systems—small-scale renewable projects—under the Bill. This rises from 0.5% of retail sales in 2010 up to 2% from 2011 to 2014, 3% from 2015 through 2019 and 3.5% from 2020. Companies will have the incentive to develop utility-scale renewable energy plants within Colorado, by being allowed to count an extra 250 watts of energy towards the Standard for every kilowatt generated in utility-scale plants located inside state boundaries. The bill also seeks to set up a rebate program that would provide financial incentives for renewable equipment below 100 kW in scale. The rebates would be around $2 for every watt a utility customer produces above their requirements.
The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB) has approved agreements that will allow two wind energy developers to construct up to 227 wind turbines in the Hardin County, OH the Ada Herald reports. Up to 348 megawatts will be generated from the turbines, which will make the Hardin Wind Energy Farm the largest in the state. Construction is projected to begin later this year on the developments, undertaken by JW Great Lakes Wind, LLC (JWGL) and Hardin Wind Energy, LLC (HWL). JWGL plans up to 27 wind turbines that can produce up to 48 MW of power, at a wind farm that will be located between Ada and Dola. HWL expects to construct up to 200 wind turbines yielding 300 MW on properties south of Alger and McGuffey. OPSB Chairman Alan R. Schriber called the projects “an important step forward for Ohio’s alternative energy industry.” “The Hardin Wind Energy wind farm will become the largest of its kind in Ohio. Wind projects such as this provide clean, renewable electricity and help to ensure Ohio meets the new alternative energy portfolio standard,” Schriber told the Herald. Under Ohio’s alternative energy portfolio standard, by 2025, 25 percent of electricity sold in Ohio must be generated from alternative energy sources. At least half of this energy must come from renewable energy sources, including wind, and one half of the renewable energy facilities must be located in Ohio. The construction phase, beginning this year, is expected to provide between 50 and 100 temporary construction jobs. The project will also include a 69 kilovolt overhead transmission line that will connect to American Electric Power’s (AEP) substation in Dunkirk, OH.
The people may be made to follow a path of action, but they may not be made to understand it. — Confucius A long-simmering dispute between Google and the government of the People’s Republic of China appears to be coming to a head this week, as the Internet search giant began re-directing traffic from its google.cn Chinese-language search engine to its google.com.hk site, based in Hong Kong. With this action, Google has taken a giant leap over the great wall of censorship the Chinese government has tried to maintain between its 1.3 billion citizens and information the Chinese leaders don’t want them to have. Web searches by China’s huge pool of Web users—the largest in the world, an estimated 400 million people—that were routed through Google’s mainland-China based servers were run through the PRC’s censorship filter, which blocked access to Web pages that made the rulers unhappy (think TiananmenSquare.com). The Hong Kong servers are filter free. Google says it made the move as a last-ditch compromise to preserve its technology business in China, which employs more than 600 people on the mainland. A few months ago, the California-based search titan accused agents of the PRC government of hacking into its servers to gather some dirt on Chinese dissidents. For a brief time after the hacking incident, Google shut down the censorship filter on its mainland servers, raising the ire of the Chinese politburo. The filter eventually was restored and intense negotiations ensued. The U.S. government, meanwhile, has been conspicuously silent about this issue, treating it as private business matter. Google is gambling that the Chinese government will not take the drastic step of extending the censorship curtain to Hong Kong, which under an international agreement transferring control of the island from Great Britain to China in 1999 has been able to maintain a separate, more open system than the iron fist that rules the mainland. However, Google apparently is preparing for the worst and may soon exit China altogether. Market analysts already are speculating that Google’s worst-case scenario will be a boon to Google’s competitors, including Microsoft’s Bing and China’s emerging home-grown search products. We hope not. The recent history of engagement between Western high-tech companies and China has been sullied by the eagerness with which the companies dispose of their principles as they salivate over the massive Chinese market. The most notorious example of this was Yahoo’s willingness to provide the Chinese secret police with confidential user information, a shameful act that may have sent hundreds of Chinese to […]
Chevron Corp. has unveiled a huge solar energy test facility in California, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. The oil giant has revealed that it filled an 8-acre site in Bakersfield, CA with 7,700 solar panels to test low-cost energy systems for its operations. The panels, in various sizes, represent seven cutting-edge photovoltaic technologies from seven companies that Chevron reportedly is considering as possible candidates to power its operations worldwide. Chevron, which has operations in 100 countries, told the Los Angeles Times it is seeking panels that cost less and are more reliable and efficient than what’s available today. “We’re quite a large company that uses quite a lot of energy,” Des King, president of Chevron Technology Ventures, told the LA Times. King’s division evaluates alternative energy technologies. The test complex just outside Bakersfield is the latest in a move by large companies to tap emerging technologies as a way to cut energy costs. BP Solar, a subsidiary of British oil giant BP, designs, manufactures and markets solar products and says it invests more than $10 million annually in photovoltaic research and development. Royal Dutch Shell has invested more than $1 billion in alternative energy projects. Chevron plans to spend at least $2 billion more over the next three years on renewable power ventures and research. Chevron researchers will study how the panels perform against a benchmark system provided by Japanese firm Sharp Electronics Corp. The entire system, known as Project Brightfield, is located on the site of a former refinery tank yard that Chevron used from the early 1900s until 1986 and was later demolished. Six of the solar panel companies—Sharp, Abound Solar, Schuco, Solar Frontier Ltd., Solibro and MiaSole of Santa Clara, Calif.‚provided thin-film panels. Innovalight Inc., based in Sunnyvale, Calif., was the sole supplier of crystalline-silicon panels. The panels will produce about 740 kilowatts of electricity that will be used to power the pumps and the pipelines operated at Chevron’s Kern River oil field facility nearby. Extra power will be transferred to the local Pacific Gas & Electric Co. utility grid under a metering system that gives Chevron credit for the excess energy.
The South Carolina Department of Commerce, Newberry County and the Central SC Alliance have announced Caterpillar plans to increase operations at its facility in Newberry County. The company expects employment at the Newberry facility to increase by about 500 people as a result of the capacity expansion project. Caterpillar is making a multi-year, significant capital investment in support of the Newberry expansion plan. The company opened the Newberry generator set facility in 2006 as part of Caterpillar’s Electric Power Division. “The expansion of our Newberry operation is part of the Electric Power Division’s strategic global manufacturing plan for better serving our customers,” said Joseph Mulay, Newberry facility manager for Caterpillar. “South Carolina has been an excellent fit for our company, and we are pleased to be increasing operations at our Newberry facility. We appreciate the continued support we have received from the state Department of Commerce and local officials in Newberry County.”. Caterpillar’s Electric Power Division includes global design, packaging and marketing responsibilities for Caterpillar electric power generation products, including U.S. locations in South Carolina, Illinois, Indiana and Georgia and international locations in Northern Ireland, India, China and Brazil. The Electric Power Division includes products branded with the FG Wilson, Olympian and Caterpillar names. The Newberry facility currently produces a full range of diesel gensets under 200 kW for the North American market. It also produces a limited range of products in the 250 KW to 700KW range. The expansion plan would increase genset production in the 250-1250 kW range primarily for North American customers. These gensets are typically used as backup power for smaller retail operations, homes, farms and in municipal applications. “As we work to compete in today’s global economy, our state’s commitment to lowering taxes, reducing regulatory burdens and maintaining a pro-business environment is critical,” Gov. Mark Sanford said. “Today’s announcement to create 500 new jobs is indeed a sign that we are moving in the right direction, and we remain committed to further enhancing the state’s business environment to allow our existing businesses, like Caterpillar, to be more competitive during these challenging economic times. I’d like to thank Caterpillar for choosing to grow in our state, and also applaud the hardworking team at Commerce as well as the local economic development community in Newberry County.” SC Secretary of Commerce Joe Taylor also hailed the expansion announcement. “Caterpillar continues to enhance its four-county footprint in South Carolina, and this expansion is a positive indication that the efforts of dedicated economic development professionals at the state and local level are […]
The Renewable Energy World Conference & Expo North America brought together top players and industry experts from the exploding green energy sector.
Michigan Economic Development Corp. is helping 11 companies grow in Michigan and also backing two brownfield redevelopment projects. Combined, the 13 projects are expected to create 7,182 new jobs (2,790 direct and 4,392 indirect), retain 781 total jobs, and generate over $742.4 million in new investment in the state. The projects include an overseas company launching U. S. operations in Muskegon Township to research and develop rechargeable batteries; a new-to-Michigan renewable energy, water and telecommunications company planning a new headquarters in Flint; and an expansion in Plymouth Township by a company that specializes in three-dimensional, medical-image processing used to help injured soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. “From advanced batteries to homeland security and life sciences to building materials, companies across all industry sectors are choosing Michigan for their growth plans, because our state is a great state in which to do business,” said Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm. The Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) board approved incentives for the following projects: ADCO Products Inc., producer of sealants and adhesives for the roofing, transportation, construction and solar markets, plans to invest $17.3 million to consolidate in Michigan Center and further establish itself in the solar panel industry by making an investment in the photovoltaic panel adhesive market. The project is expected to create 673 new jobs, including 212 directly by the company. The MEDC estimates that the increased economic activity created by the project will create an additional 461 indirect jobs. Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the MEGA board approved a state tax credit valued at $1.2 million over five years to encourage the company to expand in Michigan over a competing site in Indiana. Leoni Township is considering an abatement in support of the project. Ash Stevens Inc., provider of life sciences research services, plans to invest $14.9 million in an expansion to address new market segments at its location in Riverview. The project is expected to create 202 new jobs, including 60 directly by the company. The MEDC estimates increased economic activity created by the project will create an additional 142 indirect jobs. Based on the MEDC’s recommendation, the MEGA board approved a state tax credit valued at $710,019 over seven years to help convince the company to locate in Michigan over a competing site in Massachusetts. The city of Riverview is considering local incentives in support of the project. Fortu PowerCell, developer of rechargeable batteries, plans to invest $623 million in a new integrated battery-cell manufacturing plant in Muskegon Township. The multi-phase project is expected to create 1,971 new […]