The news wires are humming with renewable energy deals, and, with states representing more than 40 percent of U.S. electricity sales striving to meet some type of renewable portfolio goal, the transmission and distribution wires are beginning to hum with “green” power as well.
Just this spring, several major renewable power projects have either been announced or brought on-line. A sampling of the bigger news items includes:
“- The first “concentrating solar power” (CSP) trough-style energy facility to be constructed in nearly two decades went on-line in the Arizona desert. Arizona Public Service owns the Saguaro Solar Power Plant, which features roughly 14 acres of trough-shaped mirrors standing more than 15 feet tall. Those mirrors collect solar energy to power a 1-MW generator. Solargenix, the designer of the Saguaro project, is currently building a similar, but larger, 64-MW solar power project outside Las Vegas, Nev.
“- While much of the recent news out of TXU Corp. has revolved around its investment in clean coal technology, the company also recently announced the launch of a new company called “TXU Renew” with the intent of doubling its renewable energy portfolio by 2011. This would bring TXU’s total renewable portfolio to approximately 1,400 MW.
Currently, 22 states, plus the District of Columbia, have set renewable portfolio goals Click here to enlarge image
“- AES Corp. announced it would purchase 54 MW of wind power assets from Enron Wind Systems in California, bringing AES’ total wind generation assets to 654 MW. AES has invested about $265 million in the wind generation business since 2004. The company has plans to triple that investment in wind power over the next three years as part of a $1 billion investment in its alternative energy businesses.
“- At the time of publication, the Oregon Public Utility Commission was reviewing Portland General Electric’s bid to acquire development rights for the 25,000-acre Biglow Canyon Wind Farm in Oregon. The site would be capable of supporting 350 to 450 MW of wind energy capacity.
“- The American Wind Energy Association projected in early May that a record-breaking 3,000 MW of wind capacity could be installed in the United States this year. That would top the previous high mark set in 2005 when more than 2,400 MW of wind capacity was installed.
Currently, 22 states, plus the District of Columbia, have set renewable portfolio goals (see map). Those goals vary from state to state. At the high end, Maine mandates that 30 percent of the state’s retail electric sales come from renewable sources. Other states have set less ambitious goals. Massachusetts, for instance, mandates that by 2009, the state’s retail providers use new renewable sources for at least 4 percent of their power supply. Iowa has required its two IOUs to purchase a total of 105 MW of their power through renewable sources.
While the U.S. renewable energy market, and wind power in particular, is enjoying a heyday, challenges remain-perhaps chief among them, integration and interconnection issues, as are described in the two articles in this issue’s Industry Report.
Editor’s note: Continuously updated renewable energy news is available online at www.elp.com.