Boise, Idaho-based U.S. Geothermal, given it meets certain conditions, secured a $102.2 million Department of Energy loan guarantee supporting the construction of its 22 megawatts Malheur County project in Southeastern Oregon.
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1: Cape Wind
The 420-megawatt Cape Wind project is big, but the expectations for it are even bigger. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who just last week announced approval for the project amidst some stiff opposition, expects the Nantucket Sound wind farm to do no less than prove the viability of offshore wind in America. Much remains to be done before the first turbine blades start to spin – bank financing and power purchase agreements must be finalized and the project must be built on time and within budget. But Cape Wind has already done a lot. The project’s developers have endured nine years of attempts to regulate offshore sites that played like a bureaucratic version of “Who’s on first?” before finally arriving at guidelines that future developers can follow. More importantly, the Obama administration has decided that the need for renewable energy trumps environmental and cultural concerns that threaten to block large projects. It’s an imperfect solution, to be sure, but it does move green energy forward.
The Obama administration is leaving no stone unturned in its quest to build the country into a greentech power. Today Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced (Happy Earth Day!) a five year, $200 million financing to support “manufacturing-focused research projects that will have near and mid-term impact on the U.S. solar industry.”
After supporting manufacturers of thin-film photovoltaics or CSP parabolic through as well as power project developers that buy them, the DOE is now looking to finance cleantech’s less glamorous, but nonetheless crucial, back office by funding developers of the manufacturing processes that actually help make these PV panels — .
A string of executive suite departures this week rocked the renewable energy industry. Perhaps the most high-profile exit was the sudden resignation of Andreas Nauen, head of Siemens’ growing wind power business, who left to take the reins as CEO of REpower Systems, the German wind turbine maker owned by India’s Suzlon. The hire is widely perceived as a coup for the beleaguered Indian company, which is working hard to rebuild its credibility after numerous reports of busted turbines.
Nauen’s departure was surprising considering the good performance of Siemens’ wind business. Just a few weeks before, Nauen said Siemens would overtake Suzlon to become one of the world’s top three makers of wind turbines by 2012. He’s now jumped ship and will work hard to help REpower’s parent company maintain its top three slot. Read More »