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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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EIA: Extending Clean-Energy Policies Would Cut Coal, Boost Renewables

Strengthening the Clean Power Plan and extending efficiency standards and clean-energy tax credits would substantially boost renewables and cut down on coal over the next several decades, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

In 2040, the U.S. would consumer 9.26 quadrillion British Thermal Units of coal if the federal government extends a series of policies encouraging clean energy, compared to 15.46 quadrillion BTUs if the Clean Power Plan never goes into effect and the government doesn't extend clean-energy policies, EIA projected. The estimate represents a 40 percent decrease in coal consumption, due to extended clean-energy tax credits and tougher CPP standards.

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North American Leaders to Pledge More Reliance on Renewables

The leaders of the United States, Canada and Mexico will pledge this week to rely on renewable energy to generate 50 percent of North America's electrical power by 2025, White House officials said Monday.

That's a big jump from last year's 37 percent level. But it's doable through greater efficiency and reliance on solar, wind and other clean energy sources, Brian Deese, senior adviser to President Barack Obama, said.

"The transformation of the American energy sector that's underway is going to continue," Deese said. "That has been driven by market forces that are bringing down the cost of clean energy at rates that even the smartest analysts weren't predicting only a couple of years ago."

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Solar Power to Grow Sixfold as Sun Becoming Cheapest Resource

The amount of electricity generated using solar panels stands to expand as much as sixfold by 2030 as the cost of production falls below competing natural gas and coal-fired plants, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Solar plants using photovoltaic technology could account for 8 percent to 13 percent of global electricity produced in 2030, compared to 1.2 percent at the end of last year, the Abu Dhabi-based industry group said in a report Wednesday. The average cost of electricity from a photovolatic system is forecast to plunge as much as 59 percent by 2025, making solar the cheapest form of power generation "in an increasing number of cases," it said.

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Electric Utilities Prepare for a Grid Dominated by Renewable Energy

A growing number of electric industry leaders agree that it's only a matter of time before renewable energy resources dominate their grid systems.

In California, it's already a reality, said Steve Berberich, president and CEO of California Independent System Operator Corporation. On a typical day, CAISO will pull about 30,000 megawatts of energy production, with around 6,500 megawatts from solar, 5,000 megawatts from wind and another 5,000 from geothermal and other services on the system. In addition, California's grid system has roughly 4,000 megawatts of behind-the-meter solar, which is growing at a rate of 70 megawatts per month.

In any given day, California gets more than 30 percent of its electricity from renewable energy. On many days that amount climbs to 40 percent, and on some days renewable s reach 50 percent, said Berberich.

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Cost of Clean Energy Seen Nosediving Into the Next Decade

The cost of renewables technology is set to keep falling into the next decade, boosting the economic case for clean energy, according to an industry group.

The average cost of electricity from a photovoltaic system is forecast to plunge as much as 59 percent by 2025, according to a report Wednesday by the International Renewable Energy Agency. The technology last year produced energy that was already 58 percent cheaper than it was in 2010, the Abu Dhabi-based industry group said. 

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