The Alternative Agenda: Edison Cancels Tessera PPA; Chinese Co. to Develop Ill Wind Farm; 2011 Green Agenda

That’s Not Good: Edison Cancels Tessera Solar PPA

Talk about a ruined Christmas, some real coal in the stocking for Tessera Solar, which last week learned that one of the state’s largest utilities had terminated an agreement to buy solar power from Tessera’s 663-megawatt Calico project in Southern California.

Southern California Edison notified state regulators about the terminated PPA but did not give a clear reason for walking away from the project, citing a nondisclosure agreement, writes Bloomberg, which first reported the news.

That’s a major blow for Tessera, a unit of Irish renewable energy company NTR, which says that it will be beating the pavement to secure a new PPA for its orphaned plant.

Last fall, Tessera had secured approval from the Interior Department to build the Calico thermal solar power plant on federal land.

Earlier this year Tessera also secured state and federal approval 709-megawatt Imperial Valley project. The plant’s initial 300 megawatts output has been secured by San Diego Gas & Electric under a 20-year PPA.

Why did Edison terminate the Calico purchase contract? We can only speculate. One obvious route is cost! Electricity from large utility-scale solar power projects is expensive — (Read this tweet from a lead PV technology developer reacting to the costs of the $2 billion Abengoa Solar CSP project in Arizona.) At a time of belt tightening in the Golden State, Calico might have been one expense Edison couldn’t justify passing on to its customers. Calico has also been nagged by ongoing environmental concerns, which Edison might have concluded were not worth the headache.

Chinese Wind Company Secures U.S. PPA and We’re Still Waiting for the “Washington Outrage…”

The last time a Chinese green company announced plans to develop a U.S. wind project, Capitol Hill rumbled, hearings were threatened as Senators warned of the death of the U.S. renewable sector as it would be unable to compete with cheaper Chinese competition.

That was then… During the holiday doldrums, Goldwind USA, a subsidiary of Urumqi, China-based Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology Co., announced it had secured a 20-year PPA with Commonwealth Edison for the output of its 106-megawatt Shady Oaks wind farm in Illinois. So far, Capitol Hill hasn’t budged.

Goldwin, which bought the project from Dublin-based Mainstream Renewable Power, plans to launch construction in 2011 and expects to complete the plant, which will generate power from 71 Chinese-made turbines in 2012.

From greenhouse gases to green agenda: 5 energy issues to watch

The Hill’s excellent E2 Wire energy and environment blog outlines five issues likely to dominate the energy discussion next year. They are:

Attempts to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s climate regulations:

Just hours before most people in Washington, D.C., left town for the holidays, EPA made two major announcements Thursday in its efforts to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. The agency laid out a timetable for phasing in emissions standards for power plants and refineries, and it announced that it would issue greenhouse gas permits in Texas, where the governor had refused to align itself with federal rules. On top of that, beginning in January EPA will, on a case-by-case basis, begin phasing in rules that require large new industrial plants and sites that perform major upgrades to curb emissions.

The move is certain to fuel the fire of opposition against the Obama EPA’s efforts. Republicans, emboldened by their majority in the House next year and their swollen numbers in the Senate, have promised to fight the EPA. While Sen. John Rockefeller’s (D-W.Va.) effort to delay EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions by two years failed, he’s promised to try again next year. Other Republicans have promised to get in on the action too.

All eyes are on the new Republican House and energy/environment committee chairman: Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.) will chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Rep. Doc Hastings (Wash.) will chair the House Natural Resources Committee and Rep. Ralph Hall (Texas) will chair the House Science and Technology Committee. All three lawmakers are planning to turn a critical eye toward the Obama administration’s climate change policies.

Read the complete story, here….

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