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.”

Report: EV Charging Won’t Overload Grid

According to a recent PSR Analytics report that measured Summer 2013 vehicle charging in the nation’s highest residential concentration of electric cars, electric vehicle (EV) owners are charging their cars much less during hot summer afternoons than most behavioral models predict. The analysis, conduced by Pecan Street Research Institute, found that not only is charging behavior is much more diverse than has been predicted, but represents a much more manageable energy load and may be highly elastic to time-of-use pricing and similar tools.

If such findings are confirmed by other research, it could significantly increase utility industry estimates on the number of EVs the electric grid could handle without triggering disruptions or requiring major system upgrades.

PSR-EV-Report-Distribution-Graph-1024x332Pecan Street’s EV research trial in Austin, Texas has what appears to be the highest U.S. concentration of electric vehicles, including over 50 in a single half-square mile neighborhood. The institute’s data-intensive research trials (currently in three states) has produced the world’s largest research database of residential energy use according to the company.

“EVs represent the largest new electric load to appear in homes in a generation,” said the report’s lead author, Pecan Street CEO Brewster McCracken. “We still have a lot of consumer research ahead of us, but these findings suggest that this new load is not only manageable, but movable.”

Summer afternoon charging has emerged as a point of focus for utilities, particularly for those serving large cities where clusters of EVs have started to appear in some neighborhoods. The concern among utilities is that homeowners with EVs will all charge upon arriving home in the afternoon, and that such charging would occur during the peak demand hours on summer afternoons. During those periods, electric grids in many parts of the world are stressed due primarily to air conditioning loads coming on as people arrive home. Continue reading

Solar Thermal Capacity Set to Double

According to a recent Today in Energy published by the U.S Energy Information Administration (EIA) with the expectations that several large, new solar thermal power plants will come online by the end of 2013, solar thermal generating capacity in the U.S. will more than double. The projects feature different solar thermal technologies and storage options. For example, Abengoa’s Solana plant, which came on line in October 2013, is a 250-megawatt (MW) parabolic trough plant in Gila Bend, Arizona with integrated thermal storage. BrightSource’s Ivanpah, expected Ivanpah Photo US DOEto enter service by the end of 2013, is a 391-MW power tower plant in California’s Mojave Desert and does not include storage.

Solana and Ivanpah are much larger than solar thermal plants that have previously entered service in the U.S. Previously, a few smaller-scale and demonstration solar thermal projects have entered service with the only other dedicated solar thermal plants larger than 10 MW in the U.S. being the series of Solar Energy Generating System (SEGS) plants built in California in the 1980s and early 1990s and the Nevada Solar One parabolic trough project completed in 2007.

EIA projections for total solar thermal capacity additions in 2013 and 2014 include six projects for a total of 1,257 MW, with more expected in 2015 and 2016. However, while these solar thermal capacity additions are significant for the technology, they represent only 4% of total expected capacity additions for 2013 and 2014. Solar thermal capacity additions also continue to be outpaced by solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity additions, even though solar PV has only meaningfully entered the utility-scale market in the past few years.

All five of the major solar thermal projects, including Solana and Ivanpah, that are scheduled to come on line in 2013 and 2014 were awarded loans through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Guarantee Program. Solana received a federal loan guarantee for $1.45 billion of the approximately $2 billion cost of the project, according to the parent company, Abengoa. BrightSource Energy reports a $1.6 billion federal loan guarantee on the approximately $2.2 billion Ivanpah project.

Bison Wind Energy Center Wins Award

bison-wind-farmMinnesota Power’s Bison Wind Energy Center in North Dakota was voted the best wind project of the year at the 2013 POWER-GEN International Conference. According to Minnesota Power spokespeople, this award is considered the industry’s top honor for a new wind generation project.

“It’s gratifying to be honored by your peers for conceiving and completing a world-class renewable energy project,” said Al Hodnik, chairman, president and CEO of ALLETE Inc., the parent company of Minnesota Power. “Wind generation is a critical component in achieving our EnergyForward resource strategy of an energy mix that is one-third renewable, one-third coal and one-third natural gas as we help transform the nation’s energy landscape.”

Minnesota Power was honored for phases 2 and 3 of the Bison Project, whose capacity of 292 MW includes 85 state-of-the-art direct-drive Siemens 3MW turbines. The energy is delivered to customers using a repurposed direct current transmission line, originally built in the 1970s to send coal-based power from Center, North Dakota to Duluth, Minn.

On August 1, Minnesota Power announced it was moving ahead with phase 4 of the Bison project pending regulatory approval, a 205MW addition that will make it the largest wind farm in North Dakota at nearly 500 MW of capacity.

Eight Gas Stations in St. Louis Go Solar

Eight gas station and convenience stores owned by Home Service Oil Company, along with its headquarters in the St. Louis, Missouri area are going solar. Real Goods Solar has been selected to design, install, monitor and maintain the solar power systems. When combined, the solar systems will provide an estimated 378 kW of power and generate nearly 478,000 kilowatt hours each year.

Home Service Oil Convenience StoreThe project involves the deployment of solar power systems on the rooftop of the gas station and convenience stores. Construction is scheduled to begin in December 2013 and be completed in January 2014. This project marks the company’s entry into the fuel retail industry.

“Our selection of Real Goods Solar, a premier solar company in the country, to deploy solar energy at our locations will reduce our carbon footprint while generating significant electricity savings,” said Zach Mangelsdorf, director of real estate and development at Home Service Oil Company. “We see this as a smart investment and a great way to use renewable energy in our operations. We also expect these rooftop solar systems to inspire greater customer loyalty by the many environmentally conscious customers we serve.”

With the solar systems, the gas station and convenience store chain expects to reduce the facilities costs of electricity by at least $43,000 in the first year. This is expected to add up to more than $1 million over the next 25 years, while eliminating more than 18 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions or the equivalent of taking more than 1,757 cars off the road or not consuming 945,225 gallons of gasoline (per EPA-based data).

Justin Pentelute, Real Goods Solar’s president of residential and small commercial systems, added “This win demonstrates our capabilities to pursue new market segments which have significant regional and national growth potential. Not only are we successfully executing our growth strategies in residential, but we are also gaining traction in small commercial systems that represents a fast-growing part of the market. We are proud to work with Home Service Oil Company and applaud their decision to go solar to reduce their operating costs and their carbon footprint.”