JBS News. Renewable Energy. Wind Power. Iowa wind power

Iowa Wind Power at 27%, builds taller and innovative wind towers

JBS News Renewable Energy. Wind Power. The renewable energy news just keeps getting better in Iowa with thanks largely due to Governor Terry Branstad.

More good news comes to us courtesy of mega-investor Warren Buffet, who is investing in Iowa’s wind power again, this time the investment is $1.9 billion.

The latest American Wind Energy Association wind power report shows that Iowa now gets about 27 percent of its electricity from wind.

We had a great sneak peek at GE’s new taller wind turbine tower earlier this week, and while we were talking with the folks there, the subject of taller wind turbine towers made from concrete came up.

Iowa happens to be the home to four of the largest cement plants in the US and it looks like they have solved the technical problems associated with building wind towers up to 97 metres tall (318 feet) made from concrete.

Huge investment flows for Iowa wind power, wind turbine towers to be made out of locally-sourced cement/concrete (a jobs creator), and GE’s new 139 metre (456 feet) flatpacked modular wind towers, will all combine to turn Iowa — already a star wind performer, into a wind superstar!

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JBS News Renewable Energy. Top 10 Solar Cities in America per capita. Fresno, CA is number one! Image: Fresno county courthouse

Top 10 Solar Cities in America

JBS News Renewable Energy. Number One in the United States for installed solar power per capita, is Fresno, California.

Fresno topped the list because it has a lot of open space for solar projects and a relatively small population. One initially might have assumed it was because their citizens are greener than most, but this isn’t the case. It is exactly this closeness to open space, but this time desert lands, that make Phoenix and Las Vegas top solar installation sites as well. Considering that they both have abundant sunshine and open desert space around them to accommodate solar power plants, it just might turn out that they eventually eclipse Fresno.

It isn’t surprising that the San Francisco Bay Area is in the top 5, which surely comes in part from their technology and startup presence. This area is also progressive and has a fairly large population of green enthusiasts. The city of San Francisco also benefited when Gavin Newsom was mayor, because he helped build enthusiasm and strong policies for clean energy.

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JBS News Renewable Energy. EV-charging-utilities

Utility company insiders see large scale energy changes ahead

JBS News Renewable Energy. Utility Company Business Model. The folks at Utility Dive recently conducted its first annual survey of 500+ US utility professionals, ‘The State of the Electric Utility’.

Overall findings? Utility insiders see the industry changing considerably over the coming decade, with a particular focus on greening the grid.

Some of the overall findings included:

95% anticipate that their utility’s regulatory model will change over the next 10 years, and 57% believe it will change significantly

70% of utilities already offer or plan to offer dynamic pricing to customers within the next five years

54% of utilities say they face stakeholder pressure to supply cleaner and more sustainable energy

There are a ton of interesting findings in the report, which you may download for free in the article.

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Renewable Energy. Solar Power. Sahara Forest Project

Solar Power + Sea Water = Sahara Forest

JBS News Renewable Energy. Solar Power. The folks over at Sahara Forest Project have just alerted the Twitterverse that their new pilot facility in Qatar is good to go, and since we’ve been following that project since 2008 we’ll jump at the chance to update you on its progress from high concept to working hardware.

When we dropped in on them in 2012 the idea of large scale solar powered greenhouses was beginning to gel, and right around this time last year we noticed that things were really starting to take off at the Qatar pilot plant.

The basic idea behind Sahara Forest is that solar power could be used to evaporate seawater for a freshwater source, and seawater could also pull double duty as a coolant for the greenhouses.

So far Sahara Forest has reported that its Qatar greenhouses are competitive with European yields, while using half the water of conventional greenhouses in the region.

In addition to the farming operation itself, the Qatar plant also hosts R&D facilities for desert agriculture with a focus on algae and halophyte (salt loving plants) cultivation, alongside its seawater-cooled greenhouses and solar power plants.

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Renewable Energy. Solar Power. Energy Policy. Mexico flag with three amiga's.

Biggest Solar Farm in Latin America to Replace Dirty Coal Plant

JBS News Renewable Energy. Solar Power. Energy Policy. Last week President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited Mexico for what’s traditionally called the “Three Amigos” meeting. In the daylong rendezvous, energy issues were slated to play a major role, with Obama and Harper jockeying for room when it comes to the impending decision on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline that would bring dirty crude oil down from Canada to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

However, Mexico also has some major energy changes in the pipeline, and after decades of state-run oil company PEMEX having sole purview over fossil fuel extraction, international investment and companies will now be let into the mix after recent constitutional reforms. This will increase oil flows from America’s southern neighbor into those same Gulf refineries as Keystone XL might. At the same time renewable energy has started to take off in Mexico, with construction of the biggest solar power plant in Latin America, Aura Solar I — a 30-megawatt solar farm in La Paz, Mexico — the latest signal.

If Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto’s recent summit with North American leaders is an indication of the significance of the trio’s relationship, then his expected upcoming visit to the Aura I solar farm can be seen as a benchmark on the country’s path to a more renewable future. Mexico is poised to be Latin America’s solar hotbed according to Greentech Media, with the solar market’s installed base expected to quadruple from 60 megawatts to 240 megawatts by the end of this year. Mexico’s energy ministry has set a target for 35 percent of power generation to come from non-fossil fuel sources by 2024.

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Renewable Energy. Solar Power. Soltage-Greenwood Solar Walpole MA

Game-changing Solar Finance Model for Mid-size Projects

JBS News Renewable Energy. Solar Power. Mid-size solar farms hit the ‘sweet spot’ with investor groups by packaging together multiple solar projects in states with favorable renewable polices — to create the scale and standardization required for big investors to take notice.

Combine that with equity financing and a business model of partnering with leading solar developers, solar engineering, procurement, and construction contractors through the joint venture model, to handle every aspect of such projects, from engineering to procurement and construction, through maintenance.

By vertically integrating the solar development model, mid-sized developers can reach the scale needed to attract institutional investors, ensuring project financing through construction and interconnection, allowing power-purchase agreements (PPA) to be put in place, to provide a positive return for eager investors.

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