Another event-filled week in the world of clean tech and renewable energy. Here’s a review of some of the goings-on in the world of Clean Tech as reported around the Web:
– The Daily Kos’s DWG reports that the US International Trade Commission found there’s “a reasonable indication that the U.S. solar industry is being materially injured” by dumping of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules in the U.S. DWG punches a gaping whole through the neo-liberal economic myth of “free trade,” arguing that it’s well past time for US government leaders to acknowledge the deep, structural damage so-called “laissez faire” economic policies of US governments past and present have had on the US economy in the name of “globalization.”
– The Desert Sun’s K. Kaufman does a great job profiling early construction and development of First Solar’s 550 megawatt (you read right: 550 MW) DesertSunlight solar PV farm in the Mojave, about 50 miles east of Indio. The first media representative to gain access to the site, Kaufmann’s portrayal highlights the emphasis First Solar is placing on minimizing the environmental impact of the project and ensuring safety, as well as the welcomed and valuable job training and creation and local economic stimulus the project is providing.
– In Minnesota, Dept. of Energy Secretary Chu was joined by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and SunRun president and co-founder Lynn Jurich when he announced $12 million in funding for the 22 winning regional teams in the DOE’s Rooftop Solar Challenge. Looking to make the process of developing and financing solar power projects cheaper, more accessible and more streamlined, the DoE program is “cutting red tape – streamlining and standardizing permitting, zoning, metering, and connection processes,” as well as improving financing options “to reduce barriers and lower costs for residential and small commercial rooftop solar systems,” according to a DoE news release.
– Wind energy industry participants gathered in Amsterdam from Nov. 29-Dec. 1 for the European Wind Energy Association’s (EWEA) annual conference and exhibition. Attendees got a view of the forest and the trees of what’s been happening in the world’s leading wind energy market, according to this report from Revolve. With offshore wind development developing fast in the north and huge renewable energy projects – wind and solar – taking shape in the south, forging a path for the free movement of electricity across borders was one focal point of discussion. An anticipated spike in offshore wind power project development was another. Three gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind power capacity is now installed. Another 141 GW are in various stages of planning, a huge increase and a huge challenge for the industry, Revolve reports.
– More leaders of industry, commerce and finance in Japan are getting involved in renewable energy in the wake of the Fukushima tsunami and nuclear plant tragedy. Sparx, a Japanese asset manager, is establishing a clean energy fund that will invest in renewable power generation plants, “such as mega-solar, wind, geothermal, biomass,” and others, CEO and president Shuhei Abe, told Reuters in an interview. The Japanese parliament recently passed legislation that takes effect next July requiring utilities to buy electricity from renewable sources and pass on the cost to customers. Sparx anticipates making its first investments in 2012.
– Spains’s Iberdrola Renovables and Gas Natural Fenosa are leading a 34 million euro smart grid project that will see smart grids installed a 500,000-plus customer service area throughout Madrid’s Henares Corridor. Supported by the Spanish Ministry for Science and Technology through the INNPACTO program, the project group comprises another 22 tech and industrial partners, including research centers, universities and the Spanish grid operator Red Electrica de Espana, Power Engineering reports.
– Already a leading provider of renewable energy, waste-to-energy system development and installation is growing fast. Plasma arc gasification – wherein organic waste is burned at temperatures ranging from 4000-7000 degrees Celsius to produce syngas and a glass-like slag – is one alternative that’s increasingly on urban planners’ radar. Florida’s Dept. of Environmental Protection recently gave real estate developer Jacoby Group subsidiary Geoplasma the go-ahead to to start building a $140 million-$150 million plasma gasification plant in St. Lucie. The 24 MW waste-to-energy plant has a planned waste processing capacity of 600 metric tons per day of waste and is expected to be up and running by the middle of 2013, reports Waste Management World.
– Oklahoma Gas & Electric and Oklahoma State University have signed an agreement that will power OSU’s Stillwater campus with wind energy. Savings over the 20-year life of the agreement will enable OSU to phase-out a 62-year-old on-campus co-generation facility and replace it with a new, more efficient boiler/chiller plant, according to OG&E. The wind power agreement is a significant addition to OSU’s clean, sustainable energy portfolio, which includes an all-CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) campus/community bus fleet and an energy efficiency program that’s saved $17.5 million across the Oklahoma land grant university’s state-wide network of campuses.