$600 million solar power plant coming to Utah

CENTRAL UTAH — A multimillion dollar power plant will soon be built in Central Utah.

The solar farm will be nestled near the small town of Delta, but it won’t be generating clean energy for Utah. Instead, it will be sending its energy to California, but it’ll prove to be a big boom for rural Utah’s economy.

At the same time, the Provo-based company contracted to do the project is placing the solar panels next to one of the worst polluters in the Western United States. Josh Case is the CEO of Energy Capitol Group, and he said that’s a good location.

“We think we have the ideal location,” he said. “We’re adjacent to the Intermountain Power Plant and the transmission infrastructure and we’re developing a 300 megawatt solar plant. We’re leasing 1,754 acres from SITLA.”

The vacant landscape will become a sea of 800,000 solar panels spanning nearly 2,000 acres.

Because the lands belongs to SITLA, school children will benefit. The energy, however, won’t stay in Utah.

“I get asked that a lot, ‘Why would Utah be sending power to California?’ It’s been happening for 30 years with the Intermountain Power Plant,” Case said.

IPP has been criticized for its carbon footprint, but it serves as a major employer for Emery and Carbon Counties.

“It’s 1,800 megawatts and consumes 40 percent of the state’s coal,” said Jeffrey Barrett, who is the manager of infrastructure and incentives for the State Office of Energy Development. “When you put a solar project out in the middle of the desert that is worth $600 million…” Barrett said it’s a win-win for Utah and California.

Case said it’s only a matter of time before we begin to use solar energy for Utah homes.

“The utilities in Utah get cheaper power from coal, and the avoided cost structure isn’t there that a project would make sense here …yet,” he said.

The IPP will be converting to natural gas in about 10 years, and Utah will begin to use solar energy as one of its main sources of generating electricity by the year 2035, according to the State Office of Energy Development.

Courtesy: http://fox13now.com/

NEON: Planet Earth’s EKG

The planet’s ecosystems are changing faster than humans have been able to track, but now a new network of sensors are coming online that will form an “EKG” for Mother Earth.

Courtesy: todaysgreenminute.com

How Palm Springs Can Improve Daily Life With More Solar Power

The Albert Frey-designed Palm Springs City Hall might not hold up solar panels, but there are lots of great places in town that could use them. | Photo: Kansas Sebastian/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Here’s an increasingly common story that nonetheless has special personal significance for us here at ReWire: the Palm Springs City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to hire a consultant to craft a city-wide solar plan, with the goal of generating at least 5 megawatts of power to offset energy use in the city’s municipal buildings.

With a 5-0 vote, the council approved paying San Francisco-based engineering firm Newcomb Anderson McCormick $49,000 to conduct a photovoltaic feasibility study that would include the possibility of siting solar arrays on city-owned properties.

As the Desert Sun’s Xochitl Peña reports, the Mid-Century Modern stylings of many of the city’s municipal buildings limit the amount of rooftop solar that can be installed, making the city look to other options for siting.

“A lot of our buildings are older and don’t lend themselves as readily to solar on the roofs,” City Manager David Ready told Peña.

The city’s wastewater treatment plant is being eyed as a possible location for at least some of the solar panels. A number of public buildings in the city, including the Visitors’ Center and a fire station, are already being fitted with solar panels through a mitigation deal with the operators of the new gas-fired Sentinel power plant in Desert Hot Springs.

Things have been looking more positive for solar in the Coachella valley lately. In August, the Coachella Valley Association of Governments and Riverside County announced they’d formed a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) district, which will allow commercial and residential property owners to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy investments with no initial cash layout, paying off the loans on their property tax bills. The district covers both the Coachella and Palo Verde valleys (which second valley includes Blythe and Ripley), and financing will be handled by PACE loan specialists Ygrene.

One city after another in California is turning its attention to solar. As solar energy becomes increasingly competitive with power from the grid, cities — which often have considerable utility bills and lots of flat space suitable for solar — are increasingly finding the concept of generating their own power very appealing.

But ReWire will confess to a special excitement over the news from Coachella Valley, in that ReWire was based in Palm Springs through two hot summers. The amount of solar radiation the Coachella Valley receives literally constitutes a quality of life issue for many of the Valley’s poorest residents, and can be a serious inconvenience for the rest of us. Walking across a parking lot in summer in the valley’s cities can be an experience rivaling a hike on the floor of Death Valley. Some residents even leave their cars running in the parking lots while they shop so as to keep the air conditioning going, a seeming extravagance that can nonetheless keep you from getting first degree burns when you return to your vinyl steering wheel and upholstery.

If any place in the world should focus on solar photovoltaics, it’s those desert cities. You don’t even have to stick the panels out of sight in an industrial lot somewhere. Build a series of attractive 15-foot trellises in public places, put solar panels above them and benches or parking spaces below, and the quality of life in the Valley will increase immeasurably. Residents and visitors would enjoy being able to go outside in July without worry, and merchants will benefit from people’s increased willingness to go out and browse.

The city of Palm Springs has a chance to show just how we can fold power generation into our daily surroundings that will make everyone happier and more comfortable. Here’s hoping they take that chance.

Courtesy: http://www.kcet.org/

New Low-Cost Residential Solar Power Available

(credit: Wikimedia)

DETROIT (WWJ) — The Southeast Michigan Regional Energy Office is offering a new residential solar energy financing program and a rebranded home energy efficiency audit program.

The office, formed in 2009 to serve 25 local governments in the Detroit area, has fired up a new program called MI Solar Works.

In partnership with a Novi solar installer called Srinergy, the program offers solar power at an installed cost of less than $3 a watt. Combined with 10-year, zero-down financing at 7 percent interest, the program offers homeowners a 5-kilowatt rooftop solar installation for $14,800, which works out to a payment of $175 a month.

“We’ve finally made residential solar affordable,” said Joel Howrami Heeres, sustainable communities coordinator for the WARM Training Center in Detroit, part of the regional energy office.

Howrami Heeres said the 5-kilowatt system should generate about $75 a month worth of electricity, which will come off the top of buyers’ DTE Energy electric bill. That makes the actual payment about $100 a month for 10 years — and the estimated life span of the system is 25 to 30 years.

The program takes advantage of Michigan’s “net metering” law, in which utilities are required to allow homeowners to connect renewable energy systems to the grid. The systems thus reduce the homeowner’s utility bill — and in some cases, can even result in a credit, if the homeowner’s system produces more electricity than what’s used in the home.

The financing for the program comes from Michigan Saves, a nonprofit financing source for energy conservation that has assembled a consortium of local credit unions that lend the money at 7 percent interest. The system requires 360 square feet of available roof space and exposure to the south.

The energy office also provides MI Home Energy, a discounted home energy audit. Howrami Heeres said government financing reduces the cost of a complete home energy audit to $100, well below the $300 to $350 market rate.

MI Home Energy is the successor to the federal stimulus-funded Better Buildings for Michigan program, which retrofitted more than 4,000 homes in the Detroit area to the latest energy conservation standards and doubled existing utility incentives.

Courtesy: http://detroit.cbslocal.com/

$600 million solar power plant coming to Utah

 

CENTRAL UTAH — A multimillion dollar power plant will soon be built in Central Utah.

The solar farm will be nestled near the small town of Delta, but it won’t be generating clean energy for Utah. Instead, it will be sending its energy to California, but it’ll prove to be a big boom for rural Utah’s economy.

At the same time, the Provo-based company contracted to do the project is placing the solar panels next to one of the worst polluters in the Western United States. Josh Case is the CEO of Energy Capitol Group, and he said that’s a good location.

“We think we have the ideal location,” he said. “We’re adjacent to the Intermountain Power Plant and the transmission infrastructure and we’re developing a 300 megawatt solar plant. We’re leasing 1,754 acres from SITLA.”

The vacant landscape will become a sea of 800,000 solar panels spanning nearly 2,000 acres.

Because the lands belongs to SITLA, school children will benefit. The energy, however, won’t stay in Utah.

“I get asked that a lot, ‘Why would Utah be sending power to California?’ It’s been happening for 30 years with the Intermountain Power Plant,” Case said.

IPP has been criticized for its carbon footprint, but it serves as a major employer for Emery and Carbon Counties.

“It’s 1,800 megawatts and consumes 40 percent of the state’s coal,” said Jeffrey Barrett, who is the manager of infrastructure and incentives for the State Office of Energy Development. “When you put a solar project out in the middle of the desert that is worth $600 million…” Barrett said it’s a win-win for Utah and California.

Case said it’s only a matter of time before we begin to use solar energy for Utah homes.

“The utilities in Utah get cheaper power from coal, and the avoided cost structure isn’t there that a project would make sense here …yet,” he said.

The IPP will be converting to natural gas in about 10 years, and Utah will begin to use solar energy as one of its main sources of generating electricity by the year 2035, according to the State Office of Energy Development.

Courtesy: http://fox13now.com/