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Offshore Wind Power Cost-Cut Plan Gets Boost From Big Utilities

Nine of the world's biggest offshore wind farm developers joined with the Scottish government to fund a 7.9 million-pound ($10.3 million) study aimed at curbing the costs of the expensive renewable energy technology.

Companies including Dong Energy A/S, EON SE, Iberdola SA and RWE AG, will together invest at least 6.4 million pounds over the next four years to fund the research and development of new technologies. The Scottish government will pitch in another 1.5 million pounds, according to a joint statement Monday.

The intention is to cut the cost of the technology below 100 pounds a megawatt-hour by 2020, putting it within striking distance of nuclear reactors. EnBW Energie Baden-Wuerttemberg AG, SSE Plc, Statkraft AS, Statoil, ASA and Vattenfall AB are also funding the program, according to the statement.

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UK Tidal Wave Project Will Propel Renewables to New Levels

Harnessing tidal power for clean energy has recently taken a huge step forward in the UK, the world's leading region for development of this important new renewable resource. The MeyGen Tidal Array Project is fast moving toward the final construction of its demonstration phase, which will be the first time that underwater turbines sited together in a full-scale array have been tested.

Situated in the Pentland Firth in Scotland, this ground-breaking test project is supported by £10 million funding from the UK's Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC). It is expected to significantly advance the technology and knowledge of the marine energy sector, as well as provide clean power for up to 175,000 homes in Scotland when expanded and completed.

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Gov. Brownback: Wind Power Could Supply 50% of Kansas Electricity

Kansas has long been one of America's wind power leaders; its installed capacity has doubled four times in the last 10 years, and it's about to double again. In 2015, wind supplied nearly 24% of the state's electricity, and according to Gov. Sam Brownback, that number will exceed 30% in 2016.

And reaching 50% may not be far off.

Speaking at the American Council on Renewable Energy's (ACORE) recent Renewable Energy Finance Forum, Gov. Brownback said he believes generating half of Kansas's electricity using wind is "doable" and he expects it to happen. He noted that Kansas is "going to be aggressively recruiting and working with [wind] companies," and working on transmission build-out to better enable the wind industry to grow even faster.

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MGM Resorts Beats Toys 'R' Us With Biggest Rooftop Solar System

MGM Resorts International surpassed Toys "R" Us Inc. with the largest U.S. rooftop solar installation, an 8.3-megawatt system complete this week.

With an expansion that included more than 26,000 panels covering 28 acres atop the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, MGM broke the record that the toy seller had held since 2011 with a 6.2 megawatt system at a distribution center in Flanders, New Jersey, according to GTM Research.

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Solar Power Is Finding Its Day in the Sun

Solar power is on pace for the first time this year to contribute more new electricity to the grid than will any other form of energy—a feat driven more by economics than green mandates.

The cost of electricity from large-scale solar installations now is comparable to and sometimes cheaper than natural gas-fired power, even without incentives aimed at promoting environmentally friendly power, according to industry players and outside cost studies.

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DOE Issues Updates to Its Loan Guarantee Programs

The Loan Program Office ("LPO") of the U.S. Department of Energy ("DOE") recently introduced a number of important updates to the Loan Guarantee Solicitation for Applications for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficient Projects (the "Renewable Energy Program") as well as to the Loan Guarantee Solicitation for Applications for Advanced Fossil Energy Projects (the "Advanced Fossil Program") (together, the "Solicitations"). The Solicitations were issued pursuant to Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. These updates include the recent extension of the submission deadlines for Part 1 and Part 2 of the applications, the payment schedule of applicable fees under the Facility Plan, and clarification concerning the prohibition against using additional federal support concurrently with the loan guarantee.

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Waging America's Wars Using Renewable Energy

A major player in U.S. renewable energy happens to be a five-sided building in Virginia usually associated with deployment of power rather than consumption of it.

The U.S. Department of Defense is the second-largest buyer of renewable electricity through deals meant to lock in long-term supply and provide incentives to developers of wind and solar projects, according to a database of more than 600 corporate power-purchase agreements (PPA) tracked by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Only Google is a bigger buyer. The revelation provides one of the starkest examples yet of the same clean energy imperatives driving companies, cities, universities, and other federal agencies.

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The Economic Benefits of a 50 Percent Target for Clean Energy Generation by 2025

At the North America Leader's Summit President Obama will be joining the Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau and the President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto in laying out a historic continental goal of 50 percent clean power generation by 2025. Meeting the goal will involve clean energy development and deployment (including renewable, nuclear, and carbon capture and storage technologies), clean energy innovation (through the Mission Innovation initiative), and improved energy efficiency. To support the goal of 50 percent clean power generation, the three countries plan a range of iniatives, including cutting power waste by aligning ten appliance efficiency standards or test procedures by 2019, 5,000 megawatts of cross-border transmission projects to facilitate deployment of clean power, a joint study of the opportunities and impacts of adding more renewables to the electric grid on a continental basis, and the greening of government operations to 100 percent clean energy by 2025.

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Clean Energy Driving Economic Growth in States

Job gains. Declining electricity rates. Magnet for economic development.

From east to west, a growing number of states are embracing the promise of a low-carbon economy, both by setting ambitious renewable energy goals and expanding programs that encourage energy efficiency. In the states of California, Colorado, Hawaii and Minnesota, the largest utilities are sourcing 20 to 35 percent of their electricity from carbon-free wind, solar and other renewable sources. Consumers are also saving billions of dollars on their energy bills because these programs are helping to trim electricity demand by as much as 1.5 percent every year.

This is obviously good news for reducing the carbon pollution that is causing climate change.

But there's another big plus stemming from state-driven efforts: tailwinds for their economies through good-paying jobs, stable energy costs and attracting new businesses.

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