Mixed Greens: US to fast-track renewable power plants | RenewEconomy

Mixed Greens: US to fast-track renewable power plants

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Obama fast-tracks seven large solar and wind energy projects. Plus: China publishes renewables 5-year plan, and more.

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The Obama administration has announced it will speed up the approval of seven solar and wind energy projects in four of America’s western states that will produce electricity for about 1.5 million homes. Bloomberg reports that the Office of Management and Budget will oversee “a government-wide effort to make the permitting and review process for infrastructure projects more efficient and effective” for facilities in Arizona, California, Nevada and Wyoming that total almost 5,000 megawatts, according to a statement on Tuesday. The effort is an extension of President Barack Obama’s strategy to promote wider use of renewable energy on federal land.

According to government statement, the agency is expediting the 425MW Mohave Wind Energy project and the 100MW Quartzsite Solar Energy farm in Arizona; the 150MW Desert Harvest and NextEra Energy’s 750MW McCoy solar sites in California; the 200MW Moapa and First Solar’s 350MW Silver State South projects in Nevada; and the 3,000MW Chokecherry/Sierra Madre wind farm in Wyoming. Quartzsite, Desert Harvest and McCoy are expected to receive final permitting and reviews by December. US Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said in the statement that the seven targeted solar and wind projects would boost US energy independence, drive job creation and power the states’ economies.

In other news…

Salazar has had a busy week, also announcing a deal between Interior departments and US Defense to boost the use of renewable energy on military land. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Salazar on Monday signed a MoU to work together to harness solar, wind, geothermal and biomass energy resources on or near Department of Defense (DoD) installations across the US. The deal also establishes a framework for the two departments to work together to identity appropriate areas for offshore wind development. And they will co-chair a military and industry offshore wind forum in the autumn.

China National Energy Administration (NEA) published its 12th Five-Year plan for Renewable Energy, in which China plans to add 61GW of hydro, 70GW of wind, 20GW of solar and 7.5GW of biomass power. Renewable power generation should account for over 20% of total power generation and 9.5% of primary consumption by 2015.

Supermarket chain Sainsbury has become the largest rooftop PV operator in UK, boasting a total output of 16MW, from a total of 69,500 installed solar PV panels atop 169 stores. The retailer says that this effort has cut its carbon dioxide emissions by an estimated 6,800 tonnes a year. The company has targeted to slash its carbon footprint by 50 per cent by 2030.

Hot springs operators in Tsuchiyu, a Japanese town north-west of Fukushima, plan to build a geothermal power plant as part of recovery efforts after last year’s earthquake and tsunami. Bloomberg reports that the estimated ¥300 million ($US3.8 million) plant will have capacity of as much as 250kW, with electricity from the plant to be sold to Tohoku Electric Power Co.

Japanese automaker Nissan has unveiled two new taxis – one of them an EV – in a bid to win over London cabbies. BusinessGreen reports that the two cars – one a diesel-powered NV200, which is on track to receive full London Taxi certification later this year; the second an all-electric e-NV200 concept car, set to undergo trials next year – comply with London’s air quality rules and potentially cut fuel costs by up to 50 per cent.

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