Tag Archives: renewable energy

Empower Energies Seeks North American Renewable Energy Projects In Need of Financing

US renewable energy investment advisory services and development company specializes in connecting bankable projects with financing.

Empower Energies, LLC, a global renewable energy investment advisory services and development company headquartered outside Washington, DC, announced the availability of new funding sources for renewable energy projects, with an emphasis on North American ventures.

“We’re looking to immediately secure more bankable renewable energy projects,” said Len Jornlin, President and CEO of Empower Energies. “Over the next 45 days we’re prioritizing projects for domestic investors and several visiting international due diligence teams on site visits to the US.”

The company’s consortium of investors is seeking to finance or acquire clean energy projects, developers, or manufacturers according to the criteria listed in this downloadable pdf. This group will also consider co-investment in renewable energy funds.

“We are exclusively focused on Renewables,” Jornlin noted. “That is our forte. Our partners are primarily interested in solar, wind, and biomass projects, and in developers with “live? projects.”

Empower Energies offers extensive financing and development expertise in the renewable energy business worldwide. Since 1994, its management team has experience in the pioneering clean energy companies of their time on the ground in more than 45 countries across Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.

Empower Energies provides fit-for-market solutions which accelerate development and entry or expansion into growing markets. Working closely with a unique mix of financing partners, the company understands and manages risk – especially in emerging markets – and delivers attractive returns on investment and measurable local economic development.

Although the organization specializes in emerging clean energy markets worldwide, Empower Energies is a US-based company, and is currently focused on the rapidly-developing North American marketplace.

“Solar, in particular, has been a cyclical business,” Jornlin continued. “Investment has traditionally focused where government support intersects with a strong technology base, manufacturing capacity, local development capability, and an engaged public. Right now no markets are hotter than the United States and Canada.”

Empower Energies helps local developers do more faster with less risk, by providing financial resources, proven expertise, and global relationships. The company provides select partners in emerging clean energy markets with an array of branded, adaptable tools and services engineered to enable accelerated time-to-market, ROI, and risk management.

Since its founding in 2009, Empower Energies has originated and executed confidential investor transactions amounting to more than $378 million, including the monetization of “orphaned” or distressed solar and wind projects.

About Empower Energies, LLC
Founded to finance and develop clean energy projects globally, Empower Energies, LLC also specializes in helping overseas Renewable Energy companies compress their North American market entry timeline. With a focus on solar electric projects, the organization’s principals provide extensive experience in solar photovoltaic CPV, biomass and other renewable energy technologies as well. Empower Energies has significant experience across the solar value chain, and offers a successful track record since 1994 in established and emerging solar markets around the world. To date, Empower Energies has provided investment advisory services and clean energy investment opportunities valued at $378 million. The company is headquartered just outside Washington, DC, in Frederick, MD, USA.

Running on Sunshine: Watch a Solar Field Being Built

DURHAM, NC – GE Aviation’s Durham, North Carolina facility, cut the ribbon on its new $3 million, seven acre solar power field that will provide enough renewable energy to power 1/3 of the facility’s electrical power during daylight hours.

The new solar power field, located next to the Durham facility, will utilize products from GE Energy’s growing portfolio of solar solutions. The field is the first complete Utility Scale Solar Power Plant installed by the company and includes a Brilliance™ Inverter, monitoring and controls, and racking and cabling in addition to more than 9,000 thin film panels that provide the renewable energy. The field will produce 700 KW of power for the Durham facility or enough energy to power 200 homes. The solar power field will also help GE Aviation Durham reduce its CO2 emissions by more than 400 million tons a year, which is the equivalent of removing 77 cars from the road each year.

“The solar power field is one of more than 200 energy reduction projects that GE Aviation Durham has implemented in the last few years,” said Mike Wagner, plant manager of GE Aviation Durham. “These projects have enabled the site to reduce its electricity bill by 30 percent while increasing its production level by 50 percent.”

The solar power field is part of GE’s ecomagination initiative, which includes a commitment by GE to reduce its absolute greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 25 percent, water usage by 25 percent and energy intensity reduction by 50 percent. For more information about GE’s ecomagination, visit: www.ecomagination.com.

GE Aviation, an operating unit of GE (NYSE: GE), is a world-leading provider of jet and turboprop engines, components and integrated systems for commercial, military, business and general aviation aircraft. GE Aviation has a global service network to support these offerings. GE Aviation Durham assembles commercial engines for commercial aircraft. For more information, visit us at www.ge.com/aviation. Follow GE Aviation on Twitter at http://twitter.com/GEAviation and YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/GEAviation

Leading the Nation, California Signs 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard into Law

By Dian Grueneich and Theresa Cho, Morrison & Foerster

Reaffirming California’s strong commitment to the development and utilization of renewable energy sources, Governor Jerry Brown recently signed Senate Bill X1 2, which requires all California utilities to generate 33% of their electricity from renewables by 2020. The new 33% renewable portfolio standard (RPS)—the most ambitious RPS in the country—sends a strong message to renewable energy developers that California will continue to support both short-term and long-term investment in renewable energy sources in the state.

HOW DOES THE LAW WORK?

While SB X1 2 revises a number of details in the existing California RPS statutes, the bulk of its impact for developers will derive from a few key provisions. The bill

• Sets a three-stage compliance period requiring all California utilities—including independently owned utilities (IOUs), energy service providers, and community choice aggregators (CCAs)—to generate 33% of their electricity from renewables by 2020

20% by December 31, 2013
25% by December 31, 2016
33% by December 31, 2020

• Requires the RPS to be met increasingly with renewable energy that is supplied to the California grid and is located within or directly proximate to California. SB X1 2 mandates that renewables from this category make up

At least 50% for the 2011-2013 compliance period
At least 65% for the 2014-2016 compliance period
At least 75% for 2016 and beyond

• Sets rules for the use of Renewable Energy Credits (RECs)
Establishes a cap of no more than 25% unbundled RECs going towards the RPS between 2011 and 2013, 15% from 2014 to 2016, and 10% thereafter.

Does not allow for the grandfathering of Tradable REC contracts executed before 2010, unless the contract was (or is) approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

Allows banking of RECs for three years only

Allows Energy Service Providers, CCAs, and IOUs with less than 60,000 or fewer customers to use 100% RECs to meet the RPS

• Eliminates the Market Price Referent (MPR), which was a benchmark to assess the above-market costs of RPS contracts based on the long-term ownership, operating, and fixed-price fuel costs for a new 500 MW natural gas-fired combined cycle gas turbine. Using the MPR, the CPUC would provide above-market funds to cover contract costs that exceeded the MPR

Requires the CPUC to establish a cost limit for each IOU, and authorizes IOUs to stop procuring renewable energy beyond the cost limit

Requires the CPUC to adopt a standard tariff for renewable projects up to 3 MW in size with a 750 MW statewide cap on eligibility for the tariff.

NEW CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES

The signing of SB X1 2 is good news for renewable energy developers. The previous RPS, which required a 20% renewable portfolio by 2010, has proven to be a powerful driver of investment in renewable energy.

Since 2003, the RPS has led to the development of 45 new renewable energy projects and 1,702 MW of new capacity. During that time, the CPUC has approved 181 contracts for about 14,000 MW of new and existing eligible renewable energy capacity.

And the trend shows no sign of slowing down. On the contrary, the past few years have seen a dramatic increase in the participation of larger and more experienced developers submitting bids, which has resulted in 100,000 GWh of bids in 2009 alone. The signing of SB X1 2 should provide further momentum to this already fast-developing market.

On the other hand, by eliminating the MPR—a cost-control method—and replacing it with a cost cap, SB X1 2 will compel developers to fit their projects within an IOU’s overall fixed budget for implementing the RPS. This may produce a rush by developers to get their projects on the table before there is any danger of the IOU reaching the cap. In addition, the new law requires IOUs to compare the costs of each proposed project against the costs of the others, which will force more competition in the market.

The new 33% RPS will interconnect with California’s recent substantial investment in transmission infrastructure, which allows for the efficient conveyance of electricity from renewable energy developments. In the past five years, under the leadership of the CPUC, California has streamlined the process of siting transmission lines, and has successfully permitted three major new transmission projects, resulting in more than $6 billion of new energy infrastructure to carry renewable power.

While these transmission lines will deliver much of the renewable power California needs, they are not sufficient to meet the magnitude of the increase in demand caused by the move to a 33% RPS. There is still an opportunity to develop additional interconnection lines that will facilitate the next generation of renewable energy needed to fulfill the mandate of SB X1 2.

SunLight General Capital Announces Completion of Solar Installation at Bergen County Municipal Facilities

$3.5 Million Project Built at No Expense to Taxpayers

HACKENSACK, N.J. (March 17, 2011) — SunLight General Capital, the region’s premier solar energy developer and financer, today announced the completion of two solar electric power generating projects in Bergen County, N.J. Installed at county municipal facilities at a capital cost of $3.5 million, the projects were completed at no expense to Bergen County taxpayers, and will generate approximately 850,000 kilowatt hours each year.

Installed by renewable energy installation contractor Pfister Energy, the project allows Bergen County to purchase electricity at a discounted price. Over a 15-year period, the county is guaranteed savings of approximately $250,000, and as much as an additional $1 million if utility prices continue increasing at historic rates.

Under the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), SunLight General financed and owns the solar electric generating projects — a rooftop facility at the Prosecutor’s Office in Paramus, NJ and a large and innovative parking canopy structure at the County Seat of Government in Hackensack, NJ — and will provide clean, renewable energy to Bergen County, at prices substantially lower than the utility rates.

“With the installation of these projects completed, Bergen County will begin reaping the benefits of this cost effective and environmentally responsible solution to its energy needs,” stated Stacey Hughes, managing partner of SunLight General Capital. “We are one of the only solar developers with in-house access to financing through our investment fund, SunLight General Solar Fund, and we were therefore able to deliver a timely and cost-effective proposal to Bergen County. Our mission is and will continue to be to promote environmental responsibility and energy independence, while at the same time offering significant cost savings to our public and private customers.”

The Bergen County project is part of a large wave of solar installations being constructed to provide electricity to New Jersey municipalities. These projects benefit from New Jersey state laws to promote solar energy as well as federal stimulus money. New Jersey is at the forefront of the solar revolution in the United States, and more solar capacity is currently being installed each month in New Jersey than any other state, including California.

“In addition to immediate savings on the power price, Bergen County will benefit from the certainty of known fixed priced escalation of the power cost, at a rate well below that of the utility,” stated Edouard Klehe, another managing partner of SunLight General. “After a public RFP, the County selected the partnership of SunLight General and Pfister Energy as they offered the best combination of proven expertise to finance, engineer, build, and complete this project in a timely manner, coupled with a proposal that offered the most significant savings to the taxpayers of the County.”

Not only do these construction projects bring much-needed jobs to the state, but also the clean energy produced is comparable to saving 670 tons of carbon dioxide per year or 130 acres of forestland.

SoloPower Receives Offer Of Conditional Commitment for a $197 Million Loan Guarantee from U.S. DOE to Build Thin Film Photovoltaic Module Factory

SAN JOSE, Calif., February 17, 2011 – SoloPower, a San Jose, California-based manufacturer of flexible thin film solar cells and modules, announced today that it has received a conditional commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Loan Programs Office for a $197 million loan guarantee.  The funds will support construction of a facility that, when completed and at full capacity, is expected to produce approximately 400MW of thin film Photovoltaic (PV) modules annually.

“This announcement is the latest confirmation that when it comes to energy policy, Oregon is on the right side of history,” said U.S. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon.  “The project in Wilsonville will hire hundreds of highly skilled, highly paid Oregonians to manufacture the latest in renewable energy technology.  Oregon is already an epicenter for renewable energy projects.  A loan guarantee to help companies such as SoloPower get important projects off the ground is the right approach that will keep Oregon where it belongs – at the forefront of technology.  I look forward to working with the folks at SoloPower in putting Oregonians to work creating the products that represent the future of renewable energy.”

SoloPower CEO Tim Harris added, “We appreciate and commend the DOE’s emphasis on supporting innovative, clean-tech companies as a way to further the goal of energy independence while stimulating employment and helping secure our nation’s manufacturing base in this important emerging industry.”  Mr. Harris stated:  “This backing allows us to rapidly ramp up our production and to promote the spread of clean, distributed solar power to the rooftops and on the ground, while providing hundreds of quality manufacturing jobs using some of the most advanced technology in the world.”

SoloPower announced earlier this year that it had come to an agreement to construct its first large-scale high volume manufacturing plant in Wilsonville, Oregon.  Retrofit of the existing building is scheduled to begin in the second quarter of 2011.  The factory is expected to provide direct employment to approximately 500 people once it is running at full capacity.  About 270 construction jobs will be created to build the plant, and additional jobs are also likely to be generated in the local supply chain.

SoloPower’s family of lightweight flexible modules are certified to both UL and IEC standards with up to 260 Wp/panel, and are being sold in small volumes to leading customers in five countries.

For more information on SoloPower, please visit www.solopower.com

U.S. Stadiums Go Solar: Major Pro Sports Leagues Support Renewable Energy

The nation’s major professional sports leagues are collectively sending an important cultural message in the battle against climate change by  encouraging and endorsing the use of solar power and clean energy in arenas and stadiums throughout the United States.

Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, and Major League Soccer delivered a letter encouraging their teams and facilities to begin using solar power as they continue the effort to green North America’s professional sports. The leagues also distributed a comprehensive solar development guide produced on their behalf by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) outlining the work necessary for each stadium to add on-site solar power generation to its energy mix. Having all professional leagues engaged collectively in this manner is an extraordinary event, pointing to the growing cultural transcendence of the fight against climate change.

“Our sport was born outdoors, in winter weather, and many of our players began skating on frozen lakes and ponds,” said Gary Bettman, Commissioner of the National Hockey League.”We are acutely aware that our League, as well as all sports leagues, need to be responsible stewards of our planet. Utilizing solar energy is an important and efficient environmental action that sends a broader signal to the culture. It not only conveys a critical message to all sports fans, it improves the efficiency of our facilities and protects the environment.”

The embrace of solar power sends a strong message to millions of fans and event-goers throughout the country—and it could have a big impact on the teams’ bottom lines too. In most American cities, solar panels can pay for themselves, potentially offsetting significant energy costs in the long-term. Los Angeles’ STAPLES Center, for example, currently addresses 5% of the facility’s total energy needs with a solar array.

“The distribution of solar power development guides by all professional sports leagues reflects a real cultural shift in our thinking about energy that is taking place throughout the business community and the nation at large,” said NRDC Senior Scientist Allen Hershkowitz, PhD. “Throughout US history professional sports leagues have stepped up on behalf of our troops. They have stepped up for civil rights. And now they are stepping up for the environment. It’s not about politics; it’s about what is right for America. This is really a remarkable moment and effort coming from our professional sports leagues. The private sector does not have to wait for government action in order for them to address the urgent issue of climate change.”

The solar development guide co-authored by NRDC and BEF leverages the examples set by the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and US Airways Center data in Phoenix, two leading arenas already taking advantage of solar panels. If all arenas and stadiums had solar installation equal to the STAPLES Center, they would:

~ Reduce carbon emissions by approximately 86.6 million lbs/yr, comparable to taking 8,340 cars off the road;

~ Create enough electricity to power roughly 4,812 American homes for a year;

~ Save the equivalent of 33,970 barrels of crude oil per year.

The benefits of solar are not limited to hot and dry geographies such as Southern California and the Southwestern U.S.  The Boston Red Sox have installed 28 solar panels at Fenway Park which currently generate 37% of the electricity used to heat water in the park.  The stadium, built in 1912, is a great example of how solar power can augment any facility regardless of age or climate. Panels are also being used in Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Cleveland.

“You expect solar on the Staples Center, but maybe not in Seattle,” said Darryl Benge, Assistant General Manager of Qwest Field and Event Center (home to the Seattle Seahawks). “But despite our town’s reputation for rainy weather, we are excited to generate some of our own electricity and show that renewable energy can work everywhere. We used the information provided by NRDC and BEF to evaluate our sites and build an RFP for the system we will be putting on our event center roof.”

The NRDC and BEF document is intended as a resource for teams and facility operators across the country to help teams embrace the leagues’ direction. It offers a step-by-step outline on how to begin moving forward with on-site solar panels, including an overview of the advantages and challenges that come with various technologies, ideas on locating panels and their dimensions, cost estimates and suggestions on financing the initial installation costs, as well location-specific estimates on output (time for the energy generated to payback initial costs) and CO2 savings for each pro team market.

The league letters and development guide are available online at
http://www.nrdc.org/greenbusiness/guides/sports/solarguide.asp

“This guide is essentially a playbook for stadium owners interested in building on-site solar energy production,” said Margie Gardner, CEO of the Bonneville Environmental Foundation.

Constellation Energy Completes Solar and Wind Installation for University of Toledo

BALTIMORE, Mar. 29, 2010 – Constellation Energy (NYSE: CEG) today announced that its subsidiary, Constellation Energy’s Projects & Services Group, has completed installation of a 1.2 megawatt solar and wind power system at the University of Toledo’s Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation in Toledo, Ohio. The campus will utilize solar and wind power to generate electricity and the university’s commitment to sustainability also provides students with firsthand educational experiences with renewable technologies.

“Renewables have a twofold importance for colleges and universities that are looking to improve their sustainability and expose students to careers in alternative energy,” said Mark Huston, managing director of retail energy, Constellation Energy.  “We are proud to have developed this project with the University of Toledo and look forward to years of clean energy production as well as years of inspiration for a generation of students that will embark on green careers.”

“The creation and production of clean, renewable energy sources is vital to the way we power our world. That’s why The University of Toledo created the Scott Park Campus of Energy and Innovation,” UT President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs said. “Our relationship with Constellation Energy for the solar and wind electric generation systems on that campus will help students and researchers advance the technology that will power our future.”

The project utilizes thin-film-on-glass photovoltaic solar technology that was originally developed based on research at the University of Toledo.  Constellation Energy’s Projects & Services Group also installed a 132-foot wind turbine at the site.  Together, the solar and wind systems are expected annually to generate power equivalent to the amount of electricity used by 140 homes in a year.  Generating that same amount of electricity using non-renewable sources would result in the release of more than 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and the equivalent of the emissions from 200 passenger vehicles annually.

Constellation Energy finances, designs, constructs and owns these solar installations and supplies power generated on-site to the customer over a period of 15 to 20 years. This creates an attractive and affordable model that requires no upfront capital from customers, such as The University of Toledo, and reduces customers’ use of power from the electrical grid and associated carbon emissions. Constellation Energy’s Projects & Services Group has developed a number of renewable energy projects for universities throughout the U.S., including a 17.1 megawatt system under development on the grounds of Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., that will be one of the largest solar installations in the U.S. when completed.

Constellation Energy currently has approximately 25 megawatts of on-site solar projects completed or under development throughout the U.S., and announced last month that it has set aside $90 million to fund the development of similar solar installations in 2010.  Qualifying projects of 500 kilowatts generally require at least 100,000 square feet of roof space or two acres of open ground. Colleges and universities and other commercial customers interested in developing solar projects can contact Constellation Energy at Sustainable-Solutions@constellation.com or 1-877-427-2005.

Constellation Energy’s Projects & Services Group utilized the design and build services of Advanced Distribution Generation (ADG) LLC of Northwest Ohio for the project.  Plug Smart Solutions consulted and managed the project for the University of Toledo.  Solar panels were supplied by First Solar, and photovoltaic inverters were supplied by PV Powered.   The wind turbine was manufactured by Wind Energy Solutions (WES) of Holland.

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About Constellation Energy
Constellation Energy (www.constellation.com) is a leading supplier of energy products and services to wholesale and retail electric and natural gas customers. It owns a diversified fleet of generating units located in the United States and Canada, totaling approximately 7,100 megawatts of generating capacity, and is among the leaders pursuing the development of new nuclear plants in the United States. The company delivers electricity and natural gas through the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), its regulated utility in Central Maryland. A FORTUNE 500 company headquartered in Baltimore, Constellation Energy had revenues of $15.6 billion in 2009.?