DuPont Starts Solar Project on Landfill Site

DuPont has commissioned a 548kw solar installation located on five-acres of former Superfun landfill site in Newport, Delaware. The solar farm will produce enough electricity to power 60 homes and will generate approximately 729,000 kilowatt hours of power per year.

NewportPVSiteAfter successfully completing remediation at the Newport site, and with the support of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Delaware Division of Natural Resources & Environmental Control (DNREC), DuPont collaborated with Tangent Energy Solutions to put develop the solar project. Greenwood Energy owns the project and solar panels were provided by DuPont Apollo.

During a celebration event held at DuPont’s Photovoltaics Application Lab, Delaware Governor Jack Markell said of the new project, “The DuPont Solar Power Project complements Delaware’s commitment toward using clean, renewable energy sources. Generating solar energy benefits the residents of Newport, and positively impacts our state – increasing our competitiveness, reducing air pollution, improving public health and creating jobs.”

Linda Fisher, vice president – DuPont Safety, Health & Environment & Chief Sustainability Officer said to the crowd, “We’re very excited about this project because it is the first time we’ve utilized solar on a former landfill. The project will reduce DuPont’s greenhouse gas emissions by 350 tons a year and reuse a portion of a federal Superfund site that had been considered to be unusable land. This is a great example of what we’re trying to do at DuPont around the world: working collaboratively to help meet the growing demand for energy with renewable fuels.”

This represents the 11th solar installation on DuPont land to date, and the fourth in Delaware.

“Under the RE-Powering America Initiative, EPA encourages renewable energy development on current and formerly contaminated land when it is aligned with the community’s vision for the site,” added Shawn Garvin, regional administrator – EPA Mid-Atlantic Region 3. “When we work together to turn an environmental problem into an opportunity, we create the best of what is possible – here solar energy will serve the families of Newport and inspire others to re-power America with alternative energy solutions.”

PPL Doubles Capacity of Hydroelectric Facility

PPL Holtwood has announced completion of a new, 125-megawatt powerhouse at its Holtwood hydroelectric facility along the Susquehanna River in south-central Pennsylvania. The powerhouse is part of a $440 million expansion project to boost the plant’s generating capacity and improve fish passage over the century-old dam. The integrated improvements to the fish lifts and water flows are expected to better attract fish into the lifts and ease their migration along the Susquehanna River and its tributaries.

The new powerhouse sits adjacent to the century-old powerhouse and more than doubles the plant’s generating capacity from about 108 megawatts to more than 230 megawatts. The additional capacity is enough to power about 100,000 homes.

PPL GENERATION HOLTWOOD PLANT NEW POWERHOUSE“This project, one of the largest expansions of its kind in the U.S., represents a major investment in clean, reliable, renewable energy,” said Victor Lopiano, senior vice president of Fossil & Hydro Generation for PPL. “I thank everyone who was involved in design and construction of the new powerhouse. This project highlights the potential to upgrade existing hydroelectric facilities and expand capacity without the need to build new dams. The new facility’s two 62.5-megawatt turbines are capable of generating more electricity than the 12 existing turbines, combined.”

Lopiano said the hydroelectric expansion further strengthens the diversity of PPL’s competitive generation fleet within the mid-Atlantic. The fleet includes hydroelectric power, nuclear power, natural gas and coal-fired power plants, along with other forms of renewable energy.

China’s Offshore Wind Power Industry on Track

During the 18th Congress of Chinese Communist Party meeting, a call was made to create a “Biological Civilization” strategy that would encompass a plan for more use of green energy including offshore wind. On June 4-6, 2014 Offshore Wind China 2014, Wind Farm O&A China 2014 and Distributed Generation China 2014 are simultaneously taking place at the Shanghai New International Expo Center and Shangri-La’s Kerry Hotel Pudong.

Optimale Bedingungen / Ideal conditionsThe organizers of the June events include Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association, Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Committee, China National Renewable Energy Centre and Shanghai International Exhibition Co., Ltd. The groups have announced they will focus on the seven topics for the conferences in an effort to move the offshore wind industry and green energy industries forward.

1. Experience Wind Power Industry’s Turn-around through Release of Latest Progress on Offshore Wind Projects. Offshore wind power developers along with planning and design organizations will be invited to deliver speeches on progress of offshore wind power projects.

2. Catch New Industry Trends by Bringing together Leading Wind Turbine Manufacturers. Key offshore wind turbines manufacturers, including Vestas / Mitsubishi, Goldwind, Gamesa, United Power, Sinovel, Shanghai Electrics / Siemens and Ming Yang will gather to present the advanced offshore wind technologies.

3. Capture Future Market Opportunities in Sector of Wind Farm Operation and Maintenance. The event features Wind Farm O&M Market to explore life-cycle management and after-sales services of onshore and offshore wind farms.

4. Provide Full-range Solutions with Focus on Offshore Installation and Construction. With a focus on offshore installations and construction, leading offshore installation companies including CCCC Third, ZPMC, Jiangsu Longyuan Zhenhua, CCCC Fourth will gather at this event to showcase installation equipments and share practical experiences.

5. Join Hands with Leading Wind Power Nations to Share in Advanced Experience. Attendees will meet with associations and delegations from developed countries including U.K., Netherlands, Denmark, Germany and U.S. to have exchanges with overseas firms.

6. Improve Trade Mechanism by Expanding On-site Communications and Negotiations. The event will further enhance the trade mechanism to hold “On-Site Match-making Meetings between Turbine Manufacturers and Components Suppliers”.

7. Witness Offshore Mega Project by Visiting Offshore Wind Farm under Construction. Attendees will have opportunity to visit East Sea Bridge Offshore Wind Farm (Phase II) during its construction stage, and the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone, the first of its kind in China.

Ecosphere Receives U.S. Patent for Ecos PowerCube

Ecosphere Technologies, Inc. has announced that the United States Patent & Trademark Office has approved U.S. Patent No. 8,593,102 for Ecosphere’s Ecos PowerCube® – a portable, self-contained micro-utility that uses solar power to provide electricity in the most remote, off-grid locations. Designed to meet the growing demand for off-grid energy, with a unique array of stacked solar panels, the Ecos PowerCube maximizes the total amount Ecos PowerCubeof solar power generation possible in 10’, 20’ and 40’ standard ISO shipping container footprints. With power generation capabilities up to 15 KW, the technology can be transported by land, air, or sea and is ideally suited to support off-grid military, disaster relief, humanitarian and mobile communication efforts.

The company says electricity generated by the Ecos PowerCube can be used to power various onboard systems including satellite communications, Internet connectivity, and mobile water treatment systems. The system can also be used to supply military or disaster relief teams with life-sustaining, mobile infrastructure modules, such as hospitals, command centers, sleeping quarters, and temporary schools.

Dennis McGuire, Chairman and CEO of Ecosphere Technologies, said, “We are pleased to finally announce the U.S Patent Office’s decision to grant our Ecos PowerCube patent and the commercial launch of the Ecos PowerCube product line. We believe the Ecos PowerCube addresses significant infrastructure deficiencies in remote field camp installations or when responding to large-scale disasters. Consistent with Ecosphere’s business model, we are seeking to license the Ecos PowerCube to a wide range of entities, including branches of the U.S. and global armed forces, as well as corporations that provide equipment for the military and a wide variety of disaster relief agencies worldwide.”

With the Army embracing renewables to make the business of war safer for soldiers, Ecosphere believes the Ecos PowerCube system is ideal for the military. In May 2013, the Army announced plans to spend $7 billion buying electricity generated by solar, wind, geothermal and biomass projects over the next three decades.

“The Army’s target is to install 1 gigawatt of renewable capacity in the U.S. by 2025 and to reduce non-tactical fuel consumption 30 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels,” said Dean Becker, director and intellectual property strategist for Ecosphere. “The Ecos PowerCube is the world’s most powerful mobile solar powered generator that can ship in standard 10 to 40 foot ISO container dimensions. It can be shipped by truck, rail, air, and sea – just like a standard shipping container.”

Becker added, “When you ship and deploy an Ecos PowerCube, there is no assembly required. Press a button and the solar panels deploy, producing power from the sun. It is a revolutionary solar design that the U.S. Patent Office recognized as being unique and patentable. Unlike conventional solar arrays systems that are placed on the ground or on top of containers, Ecosphere’s patented solar arrays can be retracted to protect the panels in the kind of inclement weather that is prevalent in war zones or disaster relief type scenarios.”

Global Effort to Bring Clean Energy Amps Up

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim have announced a concerted effort by governments, international agencies, civil society and private sector to mobilize financing to deliver universal access to modern energy services such as lighting, clean cooking solutions, and power for productive uses in 567790-uncity-1bdeveloping countries, as well as scaled-up energy efficiency, especially in the world’s highest-energy consuming countries.

After a meeting of the Advisory Board of the Sustainable Energy for All initiative (SE4ALL), which they co-chaired, they welcomed the growing momentum. “Energy powers growth and opportunity,” said the UN Secretary-General. “We count on all actors to lead by example in scaling up and accelerating action that will provide clean, efficient and sustainable energy for all. Today’s many announcements are a testament to the resolve of partners to chart a path forward.” Continue reading

Alliant Energy Cuts Energy Efficiency Goals

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) today approved Alliant Energy’s plan to scale back energy efficiency goals at the same time the utility is pursuing a new $920 million plant in Marshalltown, Iowa. According to the Environmental Law & Policy Center Alliant is punting on a chance to lead on energy efficiency and ensuring the utility’s Iowa customers will pay higher electric bills for years.

Alliant-Energy“At a time when Iowa is defining its energy future, the IUB could have advanced Iowa’s leadership on energy efficiency, but instead it put that leadership in doubt,” said Josh Mandelbaum, staff attorney for the Environmental Law & Policy Center, part of a coalition of environmental groups who intervened in the proceedings. “Energy efficiency creates jobs and is the most cost effective way to meet demand for power, but instead we are taking the expensive path of new power plants.”

The new goals represent less than half the efficiency progress possible through cost-effective means even under the utility’s own analysis, commissioned in 2012. The decision comes at a time when many states in the Midwest and nationally are increasing the amount of energy saved, not reducing those savings.

“It is disappointing that the Board approved savings goals for Alliant Energy that leaves significant amounts of cost-effective energy efficiency on the table,” said Nathaniel Baer, energy program director at the Iowa Environmental Council. Energy efficiency is most valuable when new generation is needed, and a precursor to approving plans for a newer power plant should be to ensure that we are implementing all of the available cost-effective energy efficiency.”

Under the new goals, Alliant will attempt to save 1.1 percent in retail sales each year over the next five years. This is a sharp reduction from both the utility’s current goal of 1.3 percent or its recent performance of 1.4 percent. Continue reading

Offshore Wind Needs EUR123 Billion to Meet Goals

EWEA offshore wind financial reportAccording to new research, the offshore wind energy sector needs up to EUR123 billion in investment between now and 2020 if it is to meet its target of 40 GW of installed capacity. Equity and debt provides are willing to invest; however, they are holding back due to regulatory instability.

What’s blocking the investment is the uncertainty caused by changing regulatory frameworks, not least in the two largest markets, the UK and Germany, the independent survey of the financial community shows.

“By undermining investment stability, governments are putting green growth, jobs and a world-leading European industry at risk,” said CEO of the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), Thomas Becker, at the report launch in Frankfurt at EWEA OFFSHORE 2013. “Stable national frameworks and a binding EU renewable energy target for 2030 will be a green light to investors and ensure the industry continues to flourish.”

The report, ‘Where’s the money coming from? Financing offshore wind farms‘ comes from EWEA with research from Ernst and Young.

Duke Settles Wind Farms Bird Deaths Suit

Duke Energy Renewables has announced it has reached a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding the deaths of golden eagles and other migratory birds at two of Duke Energy’s wind generation sites in Wyoming. The DOJ brought misdemeanor charges under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) for 14 golden eagle mortalities within the past three years at Duke Energy’s Top of the World Windpower Project and Campbell Hill Windpower Project near Casper, Wyoming.

Golden_EagleGolden eagles are not listed as threatened or endangered under U.S. law. However, they are protected under the MBTA.

Federal fines and restitution of $1 million will be levied against Duke Energy Renewables. These funds will be dispersed to the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund, the Wyoming Game & Fish Department, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and The Conservation Fund.

“Our goal is to provide the benefits of wind energy in the most environmentally responsible way possible,” said Greg Wolf, president of Duke Energy Renewables. “We deeply regret the impacts to golden eagles at two of our wind facilities. We have always self reported all incidents, and from the time we discovered the first fatality, we’ve been working closely with the Fish and Wildlife Service to take proactive steps to correct the problem.”

The company has engaged in several steps to reduce further bird deaths that they believe is a first in the industry. These included:

  • Installing and testing new radar technology to assist in the detection of airborne eagles on or near the site, which was developed from the same technology used in Afghanistan to monitor incoming missiles.
  • Instituting a curtailment program using field biologists, who radio for turbines to be temporarily shut down upon sighting an eagle in the vicinity.
  • Further curtailing turbines during periods of high eagle flight activity.
  • Instituting migratory bird training programs for wind technicians and developing a reporting system to track any findings related to avian populations on the sites.
  • Removing rock and debris piles that attract eagle prey.
  • Continuing to voluntarily report to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) all eagle and migratory bird mortalities and meeting with the agency regularly to discuss adaptive management measures to reduce avian mortality. Continue reading

Trinity Solar Completes NJ Military Base Solar Project

Trinity Solar has recently completed a 12.3 megawatt residential solar installation at United Communities LLC, the private manager of the military multifamily community at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, bringing renewable power to the privatized housing community on base occupied by over 2,100 military families. The system represents one of the largest TRINITY SOLAR RIBBON CUTTINGsolar-powered military communities in the country. Generating an estimated 13.7 million kilowatt hours of electricity every year, the system is projected to account for over 30 percent of the community’s annual energy usage.

“Completing this project, installing over 10,000 solar modules on over 650 roof-tops and connecting them to compile 12.3 Megawatts of solar in just over eight months has been challenging but incredibly rewarding. Working with so many diverse entities to complete a common monumental goal has been a great experience,” said Bill Condit, VP of Operations for Trinity Solar.

The installation will also be able to help the Department of Defense (DOD) – the largest energy consumer in the country – meet major sustainability goals. The electric capacity of this new system will help the DOD reach its goals of deploying three gigawatts of renewable energy on military installations and obtaining 25 percent of its total power requirements from independent renewable sources by 2025.

Jeffrey T. Brown of the installation’s equity provider True Green Capital Management said, “We are proud to provide independently produced clean energy to U.S. military families through our Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst solar system. This is a strategic investment for our firm that reinforces the important role solar energy will play in our domestic energy mix in the coming years. We are grateful for the collaboration among stakeholders that made successful execution of this system possible, including our lender CIT, United Communities, the U.S. Air Force and Trinity Solar.”

The construction of the project employed over 120 engineering, electrical and maintenance workers, and helped add to New Jersey’s solar electric capacity, which currently ranks second in the U.S. According the Environmental Protection Agency. Senior lender CIT Bank and solar crowd funding platform, Mosaic, provided project debt for the installation, while the equity was provided by installation owner True Green Capital Management LLC.

S.C. Opens Largest Wind Energy Testing Facilities

wind_testing_cert-1The U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman recently joined with officials from Clemson University to dedicate the nation’s largest and one of the world’s most advanced wind energy testing facilities in North Charleston, S.C. Led by Clemson University’s Restoration Institute, the facility will help test and validate new turbines, particularly for offshore wind – helping to speed deployment of next generation energy technology, reduce costs for manufacturers and boost global competitiveness for American companies.

“Developing America’s vast renewable energy resources is an important part of the Energy Department’s all-of-the-above strategy to pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable energy future,” said Deputy Secretary Poneman. “The Clemson testing facility represents a critical investment to ensure America leads in this fast-growing global industry – helping to make sure the best, most efficient wind energy technologies are developed and manufactured in the United States.”

Congressman Jim Clyburn said, “This facility is about job creation, sustainable growth and energy independence, while building the infrastructure to power America’s economic growth and prosperity for years to come. I applaud Clemson University for their leadership in bringing this cutting edge research to South Carolina and North Charleston. Wind energy represented over 40% of new electricity production in the United States in 2012, but there is still tremendous amount of untapped potential for this technology. I look forward to this industry creating jobs while providing clean renewable energy.”

Located at a former Navy warehouse with easy access to rail and water transport, the Clemson facility will test machinery that converts both onshore and offshore wind to electricity and allow engineers to simulate 20 years’ worth of wear and tear on drivetrains in a few months. The facility’s proximity to the coast also makes it ideal for U.S. and international companies to testing larger offshore wind turbines.

Supported by a $47 million Energy Department investment as well as about $60 million in outside funding, the facility is equipped with two testing bays – for up to 7.5-megawatt  and 15-megawatt drivetrains, respectively. The facility will also feature a gridwind_testing_cert-2 simulator that mimics real-world conditions and can help private industry and public researchers better study interactions between wind energy technologies and the U.S. power grid.

Over the past four years, the Energy Department has made significant investments in our nation’s wind turbine testing capabilities, including the Scaled Wind Farm Technology facility in Lubbock, Texas, to help optimize whole wind farms’ performance and power production as well as the United States’ first commercial large-blade test facility in Boston Harbor.

These efforts build off the Department’s National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colo., which has helped drive new wind technology development since 1993. This past week, the Department dedicated a new five-megawatt dynamometer at the center to further strengthen its capabilities and conduct research on stronger, more durable wind drivetrains for land-based wind farms. Connected to a grid simulator as well as operating multi-megawatt turbines at the center, the new installation will also help study grid interactions and test energy storage devices simultaneously.

Schletter Opens North Carolina Headquarters

Schletter, a company focused on solar photovoltaic mounting systems, recently celebrated the company’s new North American headquarters in Shelby, North Carolina with a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. The North Carolina facility is currently operational and production of solar mounting systems and custom sheet metal fabrication began this past summer.

Located in ClevegI_96151_Ribbon Cutting Cropland County, the Shelby, North Carolina facility is the company’s third North American manufacturing facility since starting business in the United States in 2007. The company’s original facility in Tucson, Arizona will continue to supply products to customers in the western United States while the company’s second facility in Ontario, Canada will continue to serve the Canadian market. In addition to the three manufacturing facilities, the company maintains offices in Connecticut and plans to open a new office in Texas in 2014.

“The addition of the Shelby, North Carolina manufacturing facility gives Schletter the largest manufacturing capacity for solar mounting systems in North America – a benefit we have already begun passing on to our customers. Our manufacturing capacity, combined with a high level of automation, is enabling us to drive down costs for our customers and decrease shipping costs, for the east coast in particular,” said Schletter CEO and President Martin Hausner.

Hausner continued, “Schletter has almost every process in-sourced, enabling us to offer competitive pricing without sacrificing quality. Our focus is our customer and we are committed to our customers’ success – through the protection of their investments in the way of product longevity and sound structural calculations, and streamlining design and ordering with services like the new online tool PV Powerhouse.”

Expansion of the original structure is complete with 140,000 square feet of highly-automated manufacturing space and administrative offices. In Shelby, the company currently employs a staff of 100 and plans to hire 70 more before the end of the year. Schletter employs over 200 individuals In the United States, while globally the company employs more than 1,600.

Nicholas Wiebelhaus, Schletter East Coast General Manager added, “The event was a tremendous success with over 150 participants and an excellent lineup of speakers. We extend our gratitude to all those who helped us celebrate this milestone, including our speakers Shelby Mayor Stanhope Anthony, Representative Tim Moore, and NCCEBA Executive Director Kristen Thornburg.”

Renewable Energy Project in NC Begins

NC DM 2 - 3 completeA ribbon-cutting ceremony was recently held by Revolution Energy Solutions (RES), a company focused on waste-to-electricity projects, for its inaugural North Carolina anaerobic digestion project, coined NC-1. The project is currently one of the largest and most progressive farm-based biogas projects in the state.

The event included representatives from RES along with farm hosts Murphy Family Ventures, as well as Lloyd Yates, Duke Energy executive vice president of Regulated Utilities. The nexus of energy, agriculture and the environment, RES says NC-1 marks the beginning of a new era in renewable energy production, rural economic development, community-wide environmental benefits and swine industry waste enhancements for North Carolina.

As the second largest pork producing state in the country, North Carolina generates 40 million gallons of swine manure daily. North Carolina has created a Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS) that establishes the amount of energy demand in the state that must come from renewable sources. The REPS also includes a specific set-aside for swine waste-to-energy projects, which serves as a catalyst for deploying this type of technology and capital in North Carolina, and Duke University estimates that the REPS requirement could be met with as few as 127 state farms.

DM 4 - 3 CHP November 2013“Projects such as NC-1 are a gateway to rural economic development and renewable energy production. Not only are we generating significant electricity and employment opportunities, we are greatly enhancing the farm’s existing waste management system to improve processing and create previously unachievable environmental benefits,” said Alan Tank, co-founder and CEO of Revolution Energy Solutions. “North Carolina already has the requisite quality and quantity of feedstock to sustain these types of projects. We’re confident that additional states will embrace this example and NC-1 will be the first of many such waste-to-energy projects in the United States.”

RES says it brings both the patented, proprietary technology and proven project success to transform these swine waste streams into a meaningful source of energy. By processing waste streams generated by livestock on farms, as well as other organic feedstock materials such as food waste, fats, greases and oils and municipal waste streams, RES projects can create renewable energy, improve the environment and drive local economic development. These projects generate measurable air and water quality benefits, including greenhouse gas emission reductions, pathogen destruction, hydrogen sulfide emission reductions, and enhanced nutrient management and waste stream utilization.

Kawa Completes Purchase of Conergy

Kawa Capital Management has completed the purchase of Conergy. Together with the closing of the transaction, Kawa appointed the new Conergy holding company Management Board. Alexander Gorski remains Chief Operating Officer (COO) and will take Kawa Logo copyover the position of the CEO Europe. Marc Lohoff will continue to be responsible for the Asian and Australian growth markets region as CEO Asia & Pacific. Anthony Fotopoulos, the former President of Conergy Americas was appointed CEO Americas and moves up to the Management Board which will strengthen the leadership team from own ranks. Lando Kravetz joins from the Kawa team and will take over the post of the Global Head of Business Development & Strategy within the Management Board.

“With the closing of the transaction, a new era starts for Conergy and its partners,” said Kawa Partner Andrew de Pass. “Conergy is very well positioned for the challenges of the future solar market with Kawa as the new owner: the company is financially powerful and has a new, strong balance sheet. Conergy will be among the most ‘bankable’ downstream solar players.”

DePass notes that through Conergy’s sales network, the company has a very strong footprint in all important global markets and is a more reliable and stronger partner for their customers than ever. The more so, he said, since Conergy and Kawa will be working on new funding and financing solutions as well as grid parity business models from which their customers will benefit globally. We are convinced we have a successful setup.

Dr. Philip Comberg joins new Board of Directors and will change from the Conergy Management Board and his position as CEO of Conergy AG to the Board of Directors of Conergy logoKawa Solar Holdings as of January 1, 2014. The Board of Directors includes Andrew de Pass (Partner Kawa Capital) and Daniel Ades (Managing Partner Kawa Capital). Alongside with Dr. Philip Comberg, David Nazarian (CEO Nimes Capital) and Albrecht Curt Reuter (Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of Camargo Correa S.A.) join the board.

“We are very pleased that we managed to establish a very strong Management Board and Board of Directors. We ensure continuity and optimally merge profound knowledge in the photovoltaic industry with strong capabilities in funding and asset management. Kawa and Conergy perfectly match their complementary expertise in both areas,” added de Pass. “I particularly would like to thank Dr. Philip Comberg for his excellent achievements as CEO of Conergy. He navigated Conergy through very difficult times. Moreover, he was the driver of the transaction that we successfully closed now, whereby Conergy is one of the few German solar companies to emerge from insolvency in such a strong position. I am very happy to closely work with Philip in the future on the Board of Directors. Kawa is very thankful for Dr. Comberg’s contribution.”

Conergy will continue to focus on reliable, complete solutions for its international customers. These contain all necessary system components but also all related solar services. The North American region we will focus on both equipment supply and service delivery for their partners across our dealer network as well as project development, design and engineering of turnkey large-scale solar power plants.

Google Invests $80 Million in Six Solar-Power Plants

Google has made a $80 million equity investment in six solar-power plants – five located in California and one in Arizona. All six of the solar projects are expected to begin operations in January 2014 and provide enough electricity to power 17,000 homes. Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP represented Google who partnered with leading private equity investor KKR & Co. L.P. on the project.

The solar plants are being built by San Francisco-based Recurrent Energy, owned by Sharp Corporation of Japan, and have a total capacity of 106 megawatts.

The Milbank team was co-led by Los Angeles-based Project Finance partner Karen Wong and Mark Regante of the firm’s Tax group in New York, assisted by Of Counsel Michael Dayen and Leah KGoogle_california_solar_projectsarlov, and associates Hao Huang and Kristine Wang.

Ms. Wong said, “We’re very pleased to handle another major investment by Google demonstrating its commitment to green energy. The company has made more than a dozen investments in the renewable energy sector such as wind and solar.”

Google has been a leading pioneer among larger tech companies such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple, which are now buying or investing in green energy plants as a way to reduce their carbon footprints. “We are excited to partner again with KKR and Recurrent Energy in our investment in the portfolio of solar projects and successfully execute it with the assistance and coordination from the Milbank team,” said Yana Kravtsova, Legal Head of Renewables at Google.

Milbank has represented Google in a number of renewables investments within the past several years. “Google continues to lead the way for the technology industry and corporate America in advancing a sustainability model for its business, and we are thrilled to have advised on yet another substantial investment by the company in the renewable space,” said Milbank’s Mr. Regante.  “Added to its previous commitments to solar and wind power, the latest investments in California and Arizona enhance its reputation as a leader in green business.”

World Energy Scenarios Report: More Must Be Done

WEI2013-1-216x291COP-19 is taking place in Warsaw, Poland and today the World Energy Council (WEC) released a new report, “World Energy Scenarios: Composing energy futures in 2050.” The world is set to face several significant challenges in balancing global energy needs in addressing the triple challenge of the energy trilemma. The WEC study assesses two policy scenarios: the more consumer-driven Jazz scenario, and the more voter-driven Symphony scenario, which places greater focus on climate change mitigation and adaption. The report highlights that energy demand is set to double by 2050, driven by non-OECD growth (OECD is the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). To meet this growing demand, total primary energy supply is set to increase by between 61 percent and 27 percent.

WEC analysis in the World Energy Scenarios shows that despite significant growth in the relative contribution of renewables from 15 percent today to between 20 percent and 30 percent in 2050, in absolute terms the volume of fossil fuels used to meet global energy demand will be 16,000 MTOE (million tons of oil equivalent( in the Jazz (the more consumer-driven scenario) and 10,000 MTOE in Symphony (the more voter-driven scenario), compared to 10,400 MTOE in 2010. This represents a 55 percent increase in Jazz but only a 5 percent decrease in the absolute amount of fossil fuels used in Symphony by 2050.

“The inconvenient truth is: we are looking in the wrong place to address the issues facing the energy sector,” said Christoph Frei, Secretary of the World Energy Council. The focus of current thinking about the energy system is biased and inadequate. If we are to deliver sustainable energy systems, the focus must shift from the supply mix to demand efficiency. We need more demand-side investments, innovation, incentives, and stronger technical standards to reduce energy intensity.”

The report finds that some renewables will experience exponential growth, to reach 20 percent in Jazz and 30 percent in Symphony by 2050. In particular, the use of solar for electricity generation is set to increase by up to a staggering 225 times over 2010 levels. Currently solar power only accounts for just over 34 TWh/y in the electricity generation World Energy Council logomix, but it could provide somewhere between 2,980 TWh and 7,740 TWh in 2050. This equates to between US $2,950 billion and US $9,660 billion of investment in solar, representing the largest potential investment area of any renewable energy resource. However, fossil fuels will ultimately remain the dominant energy source supplying between 77% and 59% of the global primary energy mix.

“While there will be opportunities in the future for a range of technology solutions, the ultimate issue is that demand continues to grow at an unsustainable rate,” said Karl Rose, Senior Director, Policies and Scenarios at the World Energy Council. “One of the most significant findings in the report is the strong regional variation of priorities and solutions in the energy system. Too often we look at the world as one entity and seek global solutions but the reality is very different and this needs to be recognised.”

Frei added, “The financing challenge is vast but the current lack of climate framework clarity is leading to short-term investment decisions to satisfy current demand trends. We need drastic action from policymakers and industry to make concerted efforts to align and reduce the policy risk of energy investments.”