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Published on January 27th, 2012 | by Andrew

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Private Sector Players Stepping Up Pace of Clean Energy Investments

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January 27th, 2012 by
 

Photo courtesy Enfinity America

Encouraging news regarding private sector financing for renewable energy continues to flow in. That’s especially good in the midst of a Congress hopelessly divided on key energy and environmental policy goals and legislation, among other critical issues, and the uncertainty surrounding renewal of key clean energy incentives.

On Jan. 25, Wells Fargo and Enfinity America launched a joint $100 million solar photovoltaic (PV) investment program. As per the agreement, Wells Fargo will supply the capital Atlanta-based Enfinity America requires to do what it specializes in: develop solar PV projects around the US.

In another expression of confidence in the viability of US clean energy markets and industry, MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a subsidiary of Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway, on Jan. 24 announced it’s establishing a new business that will oversee its growing portfolio of wind, geothermal, solar, and hydro projects.

MidAmerican’s Growing Clean Energy Presence

Based in Des Moines, Iowa, the MidAmerican Renewables will provide centralized oversight and top-level management of MidAmerican Wind LLC, MidAmerican Geothermal LLC, MidAmerican Solar LLC, and MidAmerican Hydro LLC, as well as project development and commercial management.

“MidAmerican Renewables is open for business. We look forward to expanding our wind, geothermal, solar and hydro portfolio, so we can offer energy in the renewables market. We believe the need for renewable energy will continue to grow, and we are excited to be a leader in this area,” MidAmerican Energy Holdings president and CEO Greg Abel stated.

MidAmerican’s been stepping up the pace of its clean energy investments of late. On Jan. 20, it acquired the 81 MW Bishop Hill II wind energy project from Invenergy Wind LLC. On Jan. 18, it completed the acquisition of a 49% equity interest in NRG Energy’s 290 MW Agua Caliente solar project in Yuma, Arizona.

Wells Fargo Backs Enfinity Clean Energy Project Development Activities

Wells Fargo has invested $2.7 billion across more than 300 renewable energy projects in 27 states since 2006. Enfinity America is a subsidiary of the Netherlands’ Enfinity NV, a multinational solar PV project development company that’s installed 200 MW of solar energy capacity spanning projects in Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

One particularly interesting project that came on-line in 2011 was the first-of-its-kind “Solar Tunnel” project, where 16,000 solar panels were installed atop the roof of a high-speed rail tunnel in Antwerp, Belgium to provide electrical power for the trains, as well as the station.

“The solar industry landscape is fast-changing; solar developers can no longer rely on incentives like Treasury’s cash grant program to make their projects viable,” Enfinity America Corporation’s CEO, Rafael Dobrzynski, stated in a press release.

“Enfinity has always been able to call upon its highly effective network of financing relationships – and this latest partnership with Wells Fargo will enable us to apply secure, robust financing to the many commercial, industrial and municipal solar energy opportunities in the United States.”

Providing “technology agnostic” turnkey solar solutions for commercial, municipal and utility customers, the North American subsidiary is developing projects ranging from a 33-MW PV solar farm in Ontario, a range of distributed generation projects in California, and the acquisition of a 9.8-MW PV installation at a “blue-chip manufacturing facility” in Ohio.

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About the Author

I've been reporting and writing on a wide range of topics at the nexus of economics, technology, ecology/environment and society for some five years now. Whether in Asia-Pacific, Europe, the Americas, Africa or the Middle East, issues related to these broad topical areas pose tremendous opportunities, as well as challenges, and define the quality of our lives, as well as our relationship to the natural environment.



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