May 9, 2013 12:36 pm by Jennifer A. Dlouhy
The Energy Department is sifting through some 200,000 public comments as it prepares to issue verdicts on energy companies’ applications to broadly export natural gas, a top Obama administration official said Thursday.
“We are moving through the process as expeditiously as possible,” said Christopher Smith, the acting assistant secretary for fossil energy. “We want to make sure that the decision that we make is consistent with our interest in making a good policy decision and our goal is to get to that that process as quickly as reasonable and still make sure we’re open and transparent with all the stakeholders we have to deal with.”
More than a dozen companies have asked the Energy Department for licenses to export natural gas to Japan and other countries that do not have free-trade agreements with the United States. Although Houston-based Cheniere Energy won export approval last year, the Energy Department has put other applications on hold while it considers the economic effects of the decisions.
Onshore: U.S.-Mexico collaboration seen necessary on Eagle Ford drilling
The crush of comments came on a study completed last year for the Energy Department that concluded even if the government doesn’t limit natural gas exports, there will be a net economic benefit for the United States. Some manufacturers, led by Dow Chemical Co., dispute that conclusion, saying unfettered exports could boost the price of natural gas and chip away at the competitive advantage for U.S. companies that rely on the fossil fuel.
Smith stressed the Energy Department’s deliberative approach to analyzing public comments and a number of factors as it weighs export license applications.
“We’re looking at balance to trade, we’re looking at job creation, we’re looking at energy security, we’re looking at environmental issues, we’re looking at
May 9, 2013 Tina Casey
The U.S. Army has just launched the first in a series of renewable energy contracts that will eventually total $7 billion by the end of this year, using power purchase agreements along with a standard procurement tool that is expected to crush any obstacles that are put in its path. That includes the notorious budget sequester as well as any objections from the anti-renewable energy crowd in Congress, which has already used the budget as an excuse to sink the Navy’s biofuel initiatives. So, let’s see what kind of firepower the Army has on its side.
The Army Renewable Energy Initiative
The Navy biofuel program really has attracted a lot of negativity from certain legislators over the past couple of years, but as far as renewable energy goes, the Navy has a fairly modest outlook compared to the Army’s Net Zero Vision.
Army Net Zero is just what it says – a net zero plan for energy, water and waste at Army facilities – but it goes far beyond that to embrace environmental stewardship and community health as essential elements of national defense.
That holistic perspective is reinforced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Take a look at the USACE Earth Day statement from a couple of years ago:
“For those of us who are part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), it’s one more day in our journey toward ensuring that our actions are sustainable and that we are the very best stewards we can be of this country, of this planet…We are the nation’s environmental engineer. No other federal agency is addressing environmental issues of the same scope and magnitude as we are…”
Keeping that in mind, in 2011 the Army established the Energy Initiatives Task Force to streamline the process for getting utility-scale renewable energy in the pipeline for construction on its bases, the idea being that hyper-local energy sourcing is
...MidAmerican hasn’t selected its turbine manufacturers yet, he noted its turbine fleet is predominantly Siemens and GE. Siemens blades are made in Fort Madison and towers for both Siemens and GE are built in Newton...
May 8, 2013 12:34 PM
Des Moines Register
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad announced Wednesday that MidAmerican Energy Co. will invest $1.9 billion in wind energy generation in Iowa by 2015.
Branstad described it as the biggest capital investment in the state’s history.
MidAmerican Energy Announces $1.9 Billion Investment in Additional Wind Generation Capacity Plans to Build Up to 1,050 Megawatts Before Year-End 2015
(DES MOINES) – MidAmerican Energy Company is announcing its plans to add up to 1,050 megawatts of wind generation, consisting of up to 656 new wind turbines, in Iowa by year-end 2015. The wind expansion will enhance economic development and provide in excess of $360 million in additional property tax revenues over the next 30 years. Landowner payments totaling $3.2 million per year also are expected as a result of the expansion. In addition, the expansion is planned to be built at no net cost to the company’s customers and will help stabilize electric rates over the long term by providing a rate reduction totaling $10 million per year by 2017, commencing with a $3.3 million reduction in 2015.
Gov. Terry Branstad, a champion for wind energy in Iowa, commented on the proposal. “As a leader in wind generation, the state of Iowa welcomes the opportunity to expand our renewable energy portfolio. MidAmerican Energy’s proposed project will be the largest economic development investment in the history of the state, bringing needed jobs to Iowa, as well as significant economic benefits.”
Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds reiterated that message. “MidAmerican Energy has been a long-standing partner with the state of Iowa, and we look forward to working with them on this wind proposal. In addition to helping boost our state and local economies, the expansion would create approximately 460 construction
Buffett’s MidAmerican Plans $1.9 Billion of Wind Farms in Iowa
Andrew Herndon - May 8, 2013 4:54 PM MT
A unit of Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. plans to invest $1.9 billion to build additional wind farms in Iowa that would increase its wind generating capacity in the state by about half.
MidAmerican Energy Co., Iowa’s largest utility, plans to build as much as 1,050 megawatts of new wind power plants in the state, adding to about 2,285 megawatts of projects that it already owns and operates, the Des Moines, Iowa-based company said today in a statement on its website.
MidAmerican is the largest U.S. owner of wind generation capacity among rate-regulated utilities, according to the statement. Iowa ranks third in the U.S. for states with the most wind generating capacity, behind Texas and California, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
The projects may include as many as 656 new wind turbines and be completed by the end of 2015, and the proposal requires approval from the Iowa Utilities Board, according to the statement.
MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. is a subsidiary of Buffett’s Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A)
May 8, 2013 at 3:57 pm by Bloomberg
Discoverer Seven Seas, a Transocean rig.
Transocean, the world’s largest offshore rig contractor, said first-quarter profit rose as demand increased for drilling vessels in shallow and deep waters.
Net income climbed to $321 million, or 88 cents a share, from $10 million, or 3 cents, a year earlier, Vernier, Switzerland-based Transocean said Wednesday.
The company, which has major offices in Houston, was expected to earn $1 a share, the average of nine analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Expectations were for higher revenue and lower depreciation costs, James West, an analyst at Barclays’s investment- banking unit in New York, said before the earnings were released.
Billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who holds a 5.61 percent stake in Transocean, called on the company in January to issue a $4-a-share dividend and is seeking to replace three board members including Chairman Michael Talbert. Transocean, which had about $5.1 billion in cash and near-cash items at the end of 2012, has proposed a $2.24-per-share dividend after not issuing one last year as it sought to maintain an investment grade credit rating and a “strong, flexible balance sheet” while reducing the value of its businesses.
“It sold their jackup fleet, and some of the depreciation went with the jackups,” said West, who rates the shares a buy and owns none. “On the revenue side, that’s just deepwater rigs and jackups rolling over to higher dayrates.”
The number of rigs operating in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico climbed 19 percent to an average of 50 during the first quarter from 42 a year earlier, according to Baker Hughes.
Transocean owned the $365 million Deepwater Horizon rig that was destroyed in the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The company employed nine of the 11 workers who died in the April 2010 disaster.
The earnings statement was released after the close of
May 8, 2013 at 3:37 pm by Jennifer A. Dlouhy
Interior Secretary Sally Jewell delivered a blunt message to some of the nation’s top oil industry executives during an inaugural meeting with the group on Wednesday: Don’t cast blame our way.
“I did poke them a little bit about not throwing the regulators under the bus or blaming us when there is actually shared responsibility, perhaps, when something doesn’t move forward,” Jewell said after meeting with the business leaders on the sidelines of the Offshore Technology Conference. “We don’t want to be in the way of development, but we have a job to do protecting the assets of the American people.”
The closed-door gathering included top representatives from oil companies Anadarko, BP and Marathon Oil, as well as contractors FMC Technologies, Halliburton, Transocean and Schlumberger, and the trade groups American Petroleum Institute and National Ocean Industries Association.
Some oil industry leaders have loudly complained about the pace of regulatory changes coming from the nation’s capital and pleaded for a more stable, predictable landscape. And ConocoPhillips cited regulatory uncertainties last month when the company announced it would delay its plans to drill in Arctic waters north of Alaska.
Related story: Offshore operators seek clarity on regulations
But on Wednesday, Jewell said she sensed the executives understood that the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement have worked “to be responsive to the needs of industry” even as they craft new rules, some borne from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster.
“I did not sense …a reluctance to embrace regulation,” Jewell said. “What they want and what we are committed to provide is regulatory certainty, predictability (and) consistency, recognizing that different circumstances warrant different ways of behaving.”
Evan R. Gaddis - 05/08/13 05:11 PM ET
As much energy as the United States consumes, it’s nothing compared to how much energy we allow to go to waste.
Amazingly, almost two-thirds of energy produced is going to waste, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. In 2011, EIA estimated that the equivalent of 39 quadrillion British Thermal Units (“quads”) of electricity was generated from a variety of sources: natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydro, and renewables. Of the 39 quads, only about one-third was actually used for residential, commercial and industrial uses; the other two-thirds of electricity was wasted -- lost due to inefficiencies and waste in transmission lines, the electrical distribution grid, and end-use of electricity in homes and businesses. Until now, most of our national energy conversation has focused on energy generation issues, but it is clearer than ever that energy efficiency must be a cornerstone in the foundation of our national energy policy. Greater energy efficiency will boost economic productivity and competitiveness and enhance U.S. energy security while reducing emissions.
We have the technologies to vastly improve energy efficiency today. Buildings consume 70 percent of the electricity in the U.S. annually. Recent advances in building equipment, lighting, sensors, controls, and integrated systems now make it possible to achieve a significant reduction in a building’s energy use, transforming older inefficient buildings into high performance building (HPBs).
The industrial sector consumes about 23 percent of the nation’s electrical energy. When high-efficiency drives and NEMA Premium motors are combined with sensors, intelligent process controls and monitoring systems, it is estimated that 15-30 percent energy savings are achievable. These savings go directly to a
May 8, 2013 Silvio Marcacci
Offshore wind power may yet not match the overall strength of onshore wind, but the industry is on course grow rapidly to become an €130 billion global market by 2020.
Global offshore wind market image via Roland Berger
A new report from industry consultants Roland Berger, “Offshore Wind Toward 2020,” concludes a combination of industry trends will soon make offshore wind cost competitive with other generation sources in many markets.
Europe is expected to continue dominating the global offshore wind industry, but the Asia Pacific and North American regions will soon represent significant market shares as technological innovation reduce many bottlenecks that have stymied project development to date.
Europe Continues To Dominate Global Markets
New turbines are expected to sprout from seas across the globe, but Europe will lead the charge, buoyed by ambitious national policy goals in multiple countries. The European Union has set 2020 targets of 35% electricity from renewables, with a 12% carve out for wind and 40 gigawatts (GW) installed offshore capacity.
So far, those targets have helped build 5GW offshore wind capacity, with new installations exceeding more than one offshore turbine per business day in 2012, equivalent to 10% of Europe’s annual wind energy installations. In many cases, actual generation from wind farms has exceeded expectations.
But current offshore output will be swamped by future additions – by 2020 reaching 4.5GW of new annual offshore wind capacity additions, worth more than €14 billion per year. Those estimates would more than triple annual capacity additions and double total investments for 2013, currently at 1.8GW and €7 billion respectively.
Growing Asia-Pacific, North American Markets
Just like a rising tide, the offshore wind market’s growth will raise boats outside of European waters...
Published: May 7
Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Finance Committee, announced last month that he wants to spend the rest of his final term in office reforming the tax code, and there are signs that Republicans want an overhaul this year, too. Good. The tax code is an unruly, inefficient monstrosity that only tax attorneys could like. Congress has used it as a vehicle for interest-group giveaways and other forms of wasteful, underhanded policymaking that unwisely distort the economy. We hope that, without the pressure of campaigning for reelection, Mr. Baucus will push his colleagues to make some tough choices.
But what does good tax reform look like? The Finance Committee staff has labored over the past few months to produce a series of thoughtful reports on the options. The assiduously neutral write-ups give space to some very bad ideas, but also some of the best — even if they are politically heretical.
No honest tax reform paper, for example, would be complete without discussion of a carbon tax, an elegant policy Congress could immediately take off the shelf. It would make polluters pay for their own pollution, which is the best way to encourage greener thinking. It would cut emissions without overspending national wealth on grandiose central planning or command-and-control regulation. And it would raise revenue, which lawmakers could use for debt reduction, lowering other taxes, improving the social safety net or some combination. The carbon tax is one of the best ideas in Washington almost no one in Congress will talk about.
Those still worried about the economic effects need only consider how it could fit into a bigger tax-reform package such as the one Mr. Baucus wants to produce. Surely, Republicans should want to replace economy-sapping taxes on labor or business in return for a much more ef
Sen. Baucus pushed to back carbon tax
Ben Geman - 05/08/13 11:20 AM ET
The Washington Post’s editorial board is urging retiring Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) to back carbon taxes in the wider tax code overhaul that the powerful Finance Committee chairman wants to achieve.
The Post’s new editorial calls a carbon tax “an elegant policy Congress could immediately take off the shelf.”
It’s not the first time the paper has backed the idea. But ThePost’s latest push could buoy a loose collection of policy wonks and climate activists seeking any traction in their steep uphill climb in favor of carbon taxes.
E2-Wire looked at the against-the-odds push in detail here.
The Post, for its part, both makes the case for a tax and notes the long odds, calling it “one of the best ideas in Washington almost no one in Congress will talk about.”
From The Post:
It would make polluters pay for their own pollution, which is the best way to encourage greener thinking. It would cut emissions without overspending national wealth on grandiose central planning or command-and-control regulation. And it would raise revenue, which lawmakers could use for debt reduction, lowering other taxes, improving the social safety net or some combination.
The paper urges lawmakers to read the recent, wide-ranging energy tax policy paper that the Finance Committee staff recently released.
The Finance Committee discussion paper describes carbon tax proposals among a slew of other policy ideas, but doesn’t endorse anything.
Julian Hattem - 05/08/13 01:17 PM ET
Lawmakers from both parties are pouncing on the federal government's attempt to regulate hydraulic fracturing, the natural gas extraction method also known as fracking, even before the draft rules have been released.
At a hearing before the House Natural Resources Committee on Wednesday, Republicans accused the Interior Department of executive overreach and heard from a number of state officials and gas industry executives who asked for relief from federal rules. Democrats countered by warning of industry pressure and ineffective safety standards.
With Interior expected to release draft rules governing fracking on public lands in the coming weeks, a core disagreement dividing legislators comes down to who should regulate fracking: the federal government or the states.
"States are able to carefully craft regulations to meet the unique geologic and hydrologic needs of their states," said Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Wash.), the chairman of the House committee, who claimed that federal rules would be redundant, costly and would needlessly delay gas production.
"The regulatory needs of North Dakota versus Ohio and New Mexico are vastly different," he added. "Imposing a one-size-fits-all regulatory structure, as the Obama administration is attempting to do, will not work."
"States have successfully regulated more then 1.2 million hydraulic fracturing operations spanning 60 years," argued Montana state Sen. Alan Olson (R). "New federal mandates are not necessary given their exemplary safety record."
Democrats, though, called on the federal government to step in and insure uniform safety standards across the country.
"State regulations vary widely in their requirements and in the stringency of those requirements — and the efficacy varies as well," countered Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.).
"That's why it's important that the
Sophie Vorrath on 8 May 2013
At a time when Australian wind energy companies are turning their focus to overseas markets in the search for growth opportunities, a billion-dollar global private equity fund has announced an investment of $75 million in wind power in Australia.
Denham Capital Management, a $7.3 billion US-based fund focused on mining and energy, announced on Tuesday that it had invested $75 million in a 1GW portfolio of Australian wind power projects currently under development. Part of the deal, which remains subject to procedural closing conditions, will see Denham join existing project sponsors Enersis Australia, National Power and Kato Capital to create a separate entity called OneWind Australia.
Denham’s arrival on the scene is hoped to accelerate the development of these projects, with an initial focus on the late-stage development and financing of several of them, including Glen Innes, a 100MW wind farm in NSW; Lincoln Gap, a 250MW project in South Australia; and Cattle Hill, a 240MW development in Tasmania.
Denham has already moved to take advantage of Australia’s “metals and minerals opportunities” – as the firm’s managing partner and co-president and head of its global Power and Renewables team, Scott Mackin, has put it – and opened an office in Perth last November.
So the addition of wind assets from Australia – where, as Mackin has also pointed out, generation from windmills has become cheaper than that from coal – seems fairly obvious.
But where a global equity firm like Denham sees promise, local firms appear to find uncertainty and roadblocks. Fairfax newspapers report today that wind energy technology firm Windlab Systems – a privately held company spun off from the CSIRO in 2003 – has been prompted to look overseas for growth markets, due to ongoing uncertainty over Australia’s renewable energy policies.
Gore: 'There's no such thing as ethical oil'
Zack Colman - 05/08/13 09:14 AM ET
There’s only dirty oil and dirtier oil,” Gore told Canada’s The Globe and Mail.
Former Vice President Al Gore on Tuesday said "there's no such thing as ethical oil," slamming the notion that importing oil from U.S. ally Canada was better than doing so from unfriendly nations.
“There’s no such thing as ethical oil. There’s only dirty oil and dirtier oil,” Gore told Canada’s The Globe and Mail during a Tuesday event in Toronto.
Gore was responding to Globe and Mail Editor-in-Chief John Stackhouse on whether it made a difference that oil sands from the proposed Keystone XL pipeline would come from a democratic nation.
U.S. backers of the Canada-to-Texas pipeline have pointed out that the crude it carries would displace imports from less friendly nations, such as Venezuela.
The pipeline, which is at the center of an intense lobbying and political fight, is under federal review.
Gore said he understood the economic factors behind the upcoming White House ruling, but said he didn’t know what President Obama would decide.
Industry groups, Canadian officials, some unions and Republicans and centrist Democrats want to build the pipeline. They say it promises jobs and oil from an ally.
But green and left-wing groups — and their Democratic friends in Congress — oppose Keystone. They say it would deepen U.S. dependence on fossil fuels and pump more greenhouse gases into the air.
On that note, Gore said thought the U.S. needed to change its ways to reduce the demand for Canada’s oil sands, according to The Globe and Mail.
Still, Gore put some of the blame on Canada.
“I had hoped that Canada would point the way toward a better path, but as yet it has not,” he said.
Julian Hattem - 05/07/13 06:23 PM ET
The oil and gas industry is accusing the Obama administration of side-stepping its procedural rules and rushing a regulation on auto emissions.
In the letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent on Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute (API) accused the watchdog of violating portions of the Clean Air Act that require new rules to be published in the Federal Register, the government's official ledger for regulations and notices, before accepting comments from the public and holding public hearings.
The proposal on auto emissions, which would require that refiners cut gasoline's sulfur content by more than 60 percent by 2017, was announced by the agency in March, but has not yet been published in the Federal Register. However, a supplemental notice was published in April announcing public hearings and the agency's acceptance of comments through June 13.
"What EPA did was issue a pre-publication version and then start the comment deadline before the rule made it to the Federal Register," explained Patrick Kelly, the API's downstream senior policy adviser.
"What they're doing is rushing the process in order to shorten the time for industry to be able to provide meaningful comment."
In April, the EPA held two hearings on the proposal, in Philadelphia, Pa., and Chicago, Ill. The API testified at both to express its concerns about the procedural issues and its opposition to the rule.
"There's a lot of justification that EPA has purportedly included that we've had scant time to review," added Kelly, who asserted that the EPA should accept comments for 90 days after formally publishing the rule, given the proposal's 938 pages.
"A 37-day comment period, assuming the proposal was published today, would not be enough, and would subvert our statutory procedural rights," API Downstream Group Director Robert
Boehner says he 'probably' can't support online sales tax bill
Bernie Becker - 05/07/13 06:08 PM ET
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Tuesday that he likely couldn’t support the online sales tax bill that the Senate passed this week, underscoring the challenge that supporters face in getting the measure through the lower chamber.
Boehner told Bloomberg Television that the Marketplace Fairness Act, which got 69 votes in the Senate on Monday, would heap a “big burden on some very small businesses.”
"I just think that moving this bill where you have 50 different sales tax codes, it is a mess out there,” Boehner said. “You are going to make it much more difficult for online businesses to be able to comply with it.”
The Speaker, in his most dismissive comments yet on the bill, also said “probably not” when specifically asked if he could support it, and noted once more that the bill would have to go through the House Judiciary Committee, where Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has outlined an extensive list of concerns about the bill.
Proponents of the online sales tax bill – including big box stores like Wal-Mart, the online giant Amazon and state governments – have said that they had momentum following the lopsided Senate vote, and that a bill could even get to President Obama’s desk this year.
The Marketplace Fairness Act, those groups say, would merely close a loophole exploited by online businesses, and could give states billions in needed extra revenue each year.
The bill would allow states to collect sales tax revenue whenever a resident made an online purchase from a U.S. retailer. Currently, states can only collect from businesses that have a physical location in that state.
But opponents of the group – including prominent small government organizations like Heritage Action and Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform – have long said
Jeff Spross on May 6, 2013 at 3:57 pm
Mother Nature Network just flagged a fun diversion in the solar technology world: the Window Socket.
It’s a portable solar charger, roughly the size of a hockey puck, which uses a suction cup to attach to any available window. It also has a standard electrical plug — though right now it’s only the European standard — so once it’s done charging you can plug an appliance into it right there on the window, or carry it around as a portable electrical outlet.
Obviously, the device would be most useful on a trip, in a plane, a bus, a car, or outdoors — circumstances in which an outlet might be hard to come by.
Besides the lack of an American outlet version, the Window Socket also has a few weaknesses. It takes five to eight hours to charge completely, which is a serious chunk of time, especially in travel situations — though it lasts ten hours after that. Furthermore, as Mother Nature Network notes, the design currently doesn’t deliver enough power for anything other than small electrical devices:
As pointed out by more than a few commenters — the device’s initial appearance over at Yanko Design impressively garnered more than 300 comments — the big drawback here aside from the slow charge time is that the Window Socket’s battery is currently at 1000mAh which isn’t enough juice to really power anything save for a smartphone or other low-voltage mobile gadget.
Though again, if travel situations are what’s primarily under discussion here, than enough juice for your smartphone may be all you need. And presumably, further improvements in technology will bring down the charge time and boost the power delivery.
Other developments in the world of portable solar power include roll-up panels for the military, and a new ultra-thin solar panel design that may be able to fit directly on smartphones and other such devices.
127-Megawatt Utility-Scale Solar Installation Opens In Arizona
May 7, 2013
A massive, 127-megawatt solar power installation was officially opened in Arizona last week. Block 1 (of 5) of the Arlington Valley Solar Energy II (AV Solar II) utility-scale installation is located in Maricopa County in southwest Arizona on about 1,160 acres of land. The rest of the power plant / solar farm will be completed by the fourth quarter of 2013 — one of the beauties of solar power plants is the speed at which they can go up.
Kyocera, one of the world’s biggest solar module manufacturers, has supplied 25 MW of solar panels for the project.
“Today’s opening of the AV Solar II mega-installation marks a major milestone in Kyocera’s four decades of manufacturing high-quality, long-lasting solar modules,” said Steve Hill, president of Kyocera Solar Inc. “We’re proud to provide U.S.-made products to this utility-scale installation, which adds to the mega-installations around the world showcasing Kyocera’s unrivaled solar solutions including a 204MW project in Thailand and a 70MW installation in Kagoshima, Japan.”
Kyocera is a Kyoto-based company. However, it has US headquarters in Arizona.
May 7, 2013 Important Media Cross-Post
I don’t think a day goes by when there isn’t another record broken in the solar industry. Here’s one of the latest, courtesy sister site Green Building Elements and Business Wire:
NRG Energy, Inc., through its wholly owned subsidiary NRG Solar, announced that it will commemorate the opening of the Alpine Solar Generating Facility in Lancaster, Calif., at a ribbon-cutting event [late last week].
The 66 megawatt (AC) Alpine solar photovoltaic facility, which started commercial operations earlier this year, is currently the largest fully operational solar plant in California. The cost-competitive, renewable power generated by the facility is being sold to PG&E under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
“The opening of Alpine marks a dramatic shift in the way energy is generated in California,” said Randy Hickok, senior vice president of NRG Solar. “As the largest operating photovoltaic facility in the state, Alpine is not only providing PG&E with a renewable source of energy, but contributing to cleaner air and a smaller carbon footprint for the state, ultimately helping meet California’s renewable portfolio standards.”
Located in northern Los Angeles County, Alpine will generate enough energy to meet the annual needs of approximately 53,000 homes at peak daytime capacity. Because the facility produces electricity without fossil fuels, it helps avoid the annual emission of 36,000 tons of carbon into the atmosphere, or the equivalent of taking 6,600 cars off the road.
Alpine is one of eight large-scale photovoltaic solar facilities owned by NRG that currently produces clean solar power for thousands of homes and businesses in three states. The other seven completed or partially completed plants are Agua Caliente (under construction) and Avra Valley in Arizona; Roadrunner in New Mexico; and Avenal, Blythe, Borrego and
Report: Sen. Flake open to switching vote on background checks
By Daniel Strauss - 05/07/13 12:21 PM ET
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) on Tuesday suggested he could reverse his opposition to legislation expanding background checks for gun purchases.
Flake told CNN on Tuesday that he voted against a Senate amendment on background checks negotiated by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) because it would have made background checks on gun sales over the Internet too costly.
He said he was willing to change his position if his concerns about Internet sales were met.
After the CNN report, Flake posted a message on Twitter that underlined his continued opposition to Manchin-Toomey:
Flake's comments come as Democrats seek to hold another vote on the gun legislation. In April, the so-called Manchin-Toomey bill failed to win the 60 votes it needed to pass the Senate. Flake was one of the 46 senators that voted against the bill.
Since voting against the measure, Flake has faced criticism from groups advocating stricter gun laws. A recent poll also found Flake's approval rating at 32 percent. Flake suggested his vote on the background check legislation was largely to blame for the low approval numbers.