Tag Archives: renewable energy

First Solar to buy OptiSolars project pipeline in $400M all-stock deal

First Solar announced this afternoon plans to buy the project portfolio of rival OptiSolar in an all-stock deal worth $400 million. The projects include a power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric for the  550 MW  Topaz solar project in Central California; 1,300 MW of solar projects in the pipeline and  federal land claims  on 136,000 acres in the Southwest desert that could support 19,000 MW in new generation.

The deal will increase First Solar’s position with electric utilities. In this credit-challenged environment utilities seem to be  the only ones able to carry projects, as underscored by last week’s announcement by PG&E, which said it would directly invest in a 1,300 MW solar project. For more on this, see here.

This is the second solar M&A transaction of the day. Earlier, MuniMae, citing the tough credit conditions, announced the sale of most of its renewable energy business to Spain’s Fotowatio. For more on this, see here or scroll down.

Despite a solid deal with PG&E, OptiSolar was unable to secure loans to finance the construction of a manufacturing plant, forcing it last November to lay off half of its work force.

Green Wombat reports that the company has applied for a $300 million federal loan guarantee to fund existing operations and  restart construction on the plant.  Although exiting the generation business, OptiSolar plans to continue to manufacture solar cells.

Go to First Solar press release

Go to article from the Green Wombat

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MuniMae sells renewable energy assets

Municipal Mortgage & Equity has agreed to sell a portion of its renewable energy business for $19.7 million to Fotowatio Renewable Venture, a unit of the Madrid-based developer and operator of  solar generation projects.

As part of the deal MuniMae has agreed to sell the assets of its  MMA Renewable Ventures subsidiary which includes 35 MW worth of solar projects that are currently in operation, including a 14-MW plant at the Nellis Air Force base in Nevada.

The MMA purchase is  Fotowatio’s third in the U.S. in the past seven months and will provide it more than 400 MW of projects under development.

The ongoing credit freeze, prompted the sale, said MuniMae CEO Michael Falcone.

“Because of the difficulty raising capital in the current market environment our renewable energy production has been decreasing. The capital needs of the business, coupled with our need to address corporate liquidity concerns make this a prudent time to sell the business.” he explained in a written statement.

Founded in 2004, Fotowatio, which last year  raised $350 million from GE Energy Financial Services and Spain’s Grupo Corporativo Landon,  plans over the next three years to invest up to $3.2 billion in Europe and the U.S.

Go to MunieMae press release

Go to GreenTechMedia.com article

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First Solar to buy OptiSolar’s project pipeline in $400M all-stock deal

First Solar announced this afternoon plans to buy the project portfolio of rival OptiSolar in an all-stock deal worth $400 million. The projects include a power purchase agreement with Pacific Gas and Electric for the  550 MW  Topaz solar project in Central California; 1,300 MW of solar projects in the pipeline and  federal land claims  on 136,000 acres in the Southwest desert that could support 19,000 MW in new generation.

The deal will increase First Solar’s position with electric utilities. In this credit-challenged environment utilities seem to be  the only ones able to carry projects, as underscored by last week’s announcement by PG&E, which said it would directly invest in a 1,300 MW solar project. For more on this, see here.

This is the second solar M&A transaction of the day. Earlier, MuniMae, citing the tough credit conditions, announced the sale of most of its renewable energy business to Spain’s Fotowatio. For more on this, see here or scroll down.

Despite a solid deal with PG&E, OptiSolar was unable to secure loans to finance the construction of a manufacturing plant, forcing it last November to lay off half of its work force.

Green Wombat reports that the company has applied for a $300 million federal loan guarantee to fund existing operations and  restart construction on the plant.  Although exiting the generation business, OptiSolar plans to continue to manufacture solar cells.

Go to First Solar press release

Go to article from the Green Wombat

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Senate confident it can meet Obama’s call for energy reform

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid outlined a three pronged strategy to pass President Obama’s call for sweeping energy legislation.

Reid said, the Senate would likely move first on legislation that would include a renewable portfolio standard, energy conservation measures and other regulatory meassures. For more on that, see here. Reid said, he was confident this legislation could make it for Senate consideration before the mid-April recess.

Second, would be a legislation overhauling the electric grid so it can effectively transports greater loads of clean energy. On that, earlier this week, at the National Clean Energy Project, Reid backed a federal permitting process that would trump local authorities.

The third and final legislation would be a a cap-and-trade regulation, which Obama in his speech on Tuesday, seemed to favor over a carbon tax.

Reid did not provide specifics on timing but maintained that the goal was to get the three legislations passed this year.

Go to Greenwire via The New York Times

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PG&E to invest $1.4 bln in solar generation

Pacific Gas and Electric announced on Tuesday that it would invest $1.4 billion to develop up to 500 MW in solar-powered electric generation projects over the next five years. The San Francisco utility said it would own half of this expected output.

Normally utilities purchase green generation from third parties via long-term power purchase agreements. This would be PG&E’s first direct investments in solar generation in more than a decade.

Other utilities that own their own solar generation power plants include, Southern California Edison, Duke Energy and Public Service Electric and Gas.

Earlier this week, New Jersey’s NRG Energy signed a deal with eSolar to develop three solar power projects in Southern California and the Western U.S. that could generate 500 megawatts of clean electricity.

PG&E said this investment will help it meet state mandates requiring utilities to produce 20 percent of their power from renewables by 2010, and then 33 percent by 2020. Capitol Hill has held hearings in view of implementing federal renewable energy standards.

The PG&E announcment comes amidst the credit freeze, which has made it impossible for small, independent wind or solar developers to finance projects, despite an ongoing demand.

PG&E CEO Peter Darbee said he hoped the utility, with its $35 billion balance sheet, could serve as a “green knight” for these smaller renewable projects, Reuters reports.

PG&E sets big solar program, will own generation (Reuters)

PG&E to invest $1.4 bln in solar generation

Pacific Gas and Electric announced on Tuesday that it would invest $1.4 billion to develop up to 500 MW in solar-powered electric generation projects over the next five years. The San Francisco utility said it would own half of this expected output.

Normally utilities purchase green generation from third parties via long-term power purchase agreements. This would be PG&E’s first direct investments in solar generation in more than a decade.

Other utilities that own their own solar generation power plants include, Southern California Edison, Duke Energy and Public Service Electric and Gas.

Earlier this week, New Jersey’s NRG Energy signed a deal with eSolar to develop three solar power projects in Southern California and the Western U.S. that could generate 500 megawatts of clean electricity.

PG&E said this investment will help it meet state mandates requiring utilities to produce 20 percent of their power from renewables by 2010, and then 33 percent by 2020. Capitol Hill has held hearings in view of implementing federal renewable energy standards.

The PG&E announcment comes amidst the credit freeze, which has made it impossible for small, independent wind or solar developers to finance projects, despite an ongoing demand.

PG&E CEO Peter Darbee said he hoped the utility, with its $35 billion balance sheet, could serve as a “green knight” for these smaller renewable projects, Reuters reports.

PG&E sets big solar program, will own generation (Reuters)

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Coal-fired utility signs utility-scale, 500 MW solar deal

Image representing eSolar as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

NRG Energy, one of the country’s largest coal users,  signed a deal on Monday with eSolar to develop solar power plants in California and the Southwest.

As part of the agreement Princeton, N.J.-based, NRG  will invest $10 million in eSolar for the right to use the startup’s technology to develop and operate three solar power projects that combined are set to generate 500 megawatts of clean electricity.

Citing a Fortune Magazine article, Green Wombat writes that NRG ranks as one of the nation’s dirtiest utilities, emitting 70 million tons of CO2  annually from its coal-fired power plants.

In the past year eSolar, founded by Idealab’s Bill Gross, has scored a $130m financing from Google and inked a 20-year power purchase agreement with Southern California Edison (SoCalEd) for 245 MW of green electricity annually.

Earlier this month another Google-backed developer, BrightSource Energy, signed a  20-year purchase agreement with SoCalEd for 1,300 MW of clean electricity to be generated by seven, yet to be constructed, power plants.

“By coupling NRG’s construction capabilities and regional operating expertise with eSolar’s innovative CSP technology, we can advance NRG’s renewable energy portfolio while helping to accelerate development of these important projects on a commercial scale,” said NRG executive Michael Liebelson in a statement.

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A national renewable portfolio standard

Next on President Obama’s ambitious energy agenda is the establishment of a national renewable portfolio standard.

Renewable standards would require that specific percentages of electricity generation comes from clean energy generation. Such requirements already exists  in about half of the states, including California which requires big utilities to generate 20 percent of their electricity from clean energy by 2010.

As California goes so does the country…. President Obama has laid out an ambitious plan calling for 10 percent of the nation’s electricity to come from clean energy sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025.

To do that Senator Jeff Bingaman, chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is working on a draft to set these goals into law. In the past week he’s held hearings and plans to include these  standards  in a comprehensive energy bill  that will also include provisions for smart grid and petroleum management.

Senate Energy Committee spokesman, Bill Wicker, tells Green Inc  that he expects the energy  bill to be introduced in the next six weeks.

Next up: A renewable portfolio standard? (Green Inc. via The New York Times)

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In and around the green

  • Iberdrola Renovables to invest lion’s share of of $2.57bln in wind in ‘09 (New Energy Finance via Clean Edge)
  • European Union 2008 CO2 emissions down on fuel-switching: report (Platts)
  • Alternative energy still facing headwinds (Washington Post)
  • FPL further delays construction of Space Coast solar center (Pv-tech.org)
  • Northern Explorations to enter wind energy sector (OilVoice.com)
  • When oil rig met wind turbine (Greentechmedia)
  • MD. seeks partners to jumpstart large-scale renewable energy projects (Southern Maryland Online)
  • Clinton to talk clean energy with Chinese (Cleantechbrief.com)

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Britain Sets the Standard in Green Energy Plans

Have we entered a new era of competitive conservationism by industrial democracies?

Britain’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Milibandrolled out a plan today that requires the country to get 40 percent of its energy from low carbon sources — what he calls the “trinity” of renewables, nuclear and clean fossil fuelds — by 2020.

The plan also calls for the country to further cut carbon emissions 18 percent by 2020, a commitment officials have made previously. The full plan is available here.

Miliband is the latest politician to wrap his low carbon plan in thelanguage of economic stimulus. He told the BBC:

“We think the environmental industries in Britain can generate about an extra 400,000 jobs by 2015.”

The move comes in advance of the Copenhagen climate summit and has support from both of the major opposition parties. Flush with at least momentary success, the secretary found the time to engage in a bit of green one-upmanship with the U.S., claiming:

The Transition Plan is the most systematic response to climate change of any major developed economy, and sets the standard for others in the run up to crucial global climate talks in Copenhagen in December.

Any response, Henry Waxman?