California approves feed-in tariffs for renewable energy

The California Public Utilities commission has approved feed-in tariffs for renewable energy that allow residents or businesses with clean power-generating sources like solar or biogas to sell electricity to large utility companies.

However, the pricing structure does not pay a premium for renewable kilowatts in the way that feed-in tariffs in Germany do. The solar industry in particular stands to gain little from the tariff pricing, which ranges from $0.08 to $0.31 per kWh, depending on a range of factors, including the time of day the energy is produced.

The tariff system allows utilities to add up to 480 MW to the state’s renewable portfolio of energy supply, but owners of solar systems will generally do better by taking the rebate supplied by the California Solar Initiative and participating in net metering, through which they receive retail credit for excess energy produced by their systems.

Individuals or companies who sell energy under the feed-in tariffs cannot participate in other incentive programmes. The tariff also creates a precedent from which other states can learn.

Enbridge heads list of big names in carbon sequestration project

Enbridge of Canada has announced today that it will lead a group of 19 energy industry participants in the Alberta Saline Aquifer Project (ASAP).

ASAP is a broad-based, industry-supported initiative that will roll out in three phases. Phase 1 will involve identifying suitable locations for the long-term storage of carbon dioxide in deep saline aquifers. It is expected to be completed by the end of 2008.

Phase 2 will involve a pilot project during which sequestration sites will be designed to receive injected carbon dioxide. Later phases will involve expanding the project to a large-scale, long-term commercial sequestration operation.

ASAP participants represent a wide range of expertise and include BP, TransCanada, ConocoPhillips, EnCanada and Schlumberger.

USA carbon trading market to reach $1 trillion by 2020

According to New Carbon Finance, the US could have a $1 trillion carbon emission market by 2020 if policymakers continue towards a comprehensive “cap-and-trade” programme that is confined to domestic trading only,

Researchers predict that in 12 years a carbon-constrained US economy that includes a cap-and-trade system allowing only domestic trades will produce a $1 trillion carbon trading market – more than twice the size of Europe’s Emissions Trading Scheme – and a carbon price of $40 per tonne as soon as 2015, which will result in a rise in consumer energy prices.

Ecuador-Argentina body to build hydro plant

Ecuador’s state-owned power company Termopichincha and Argentina’s Enarsa SA have established the Coca Codo Sinclair SA company, which will build the Coca-Codo-Sinclair hydroelectric plant.

The 1500 MW plant will be located between the Amazonian provinces of Sucumbios and Napo in northeast Ecuador, and is expected to cost $1.6bn. It is scheduled to begin operation in 2011. Enarsa will fund about 30 per cent of the project’s cost, while the remainder will come from the Feiseh oil fund, as well as local and foreign credit, according to Finance Minister Fausto Ortiz.

Ecuador will invest around $2.4bn up to 2011 to develop three additional hydroelectric projects..

Luminant details coal emission plans

US generator Luminant‘s Martin Lake plant in Texas, USA is to install in-duct selective catalytic reduction systems at each of its units, while its Monticello plant will install selective non-catalytic reduction systems at each of its units for nitrogen oxides (NOX) reduction.

One unit at Monticello will also have its low-NOX burner technology upgraded to further reduce emissions.

Both plants will use activated carbon injection to cut mercury and increase use of lower-sulphur coal to reduce sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions. Coal cleaning will also be emplyed to further reduce emissions.

CTEEP to invest $590m in 2008-09

Brazilian transmission company CTEEP plans to invest 1.03bn reais ($590m) in 2008-09, company CFO and investor relations executive Eduardo Feldmann told BNamericas.

“Investments in 2008 will reach 503m reais, which is above the 439m reais we invested in 2007. Those will be so-called regulatory investments, which is how the market categorizes expenditures to upgrade existing transmission lines required by the government,” he said.

CTEEP similarly aims to invest 550m reais in 2009. The figures do not include M&A or transmission auctions, the executive said.

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Canada: Team Candu has told New Brunswick that they are prepared to pursue a site application and a licence as soon as the province gives them the go-ahead to build a second nuclear reactor at Point Lepreau.

Canada: TransAlta is to produce power from a $230m, 66 MW wind farm just outside Fort Macleod, Alberta, by end-2009. This follows a proposal by Greengate Power of Calgary for a 300 MW facility north of Lethbridge at Blackspring Ridge.

Chile: the GNL Mejillones joint venture formed by Suez Energy International and Chile’s state copper company Codelco will break ground on an LNG regasification plant in the northern port of Mejillones on 24 March.

Ecuador: To celebrate the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the Galapagos, Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa has launched a programme to end the use of fossil fuels on the islands by 2015. The initiative is led by three wind turbines erected on San Cristobal Island.

USA: GE Energy and the University of Wyoming have agreed to develop an advanced gasification research and technology centre in Wyoming. Researchers will develop advanced technology for Power Basin River and other Wyoming coals.

USA: Nuclear plants nationwide generated a record 807 TWh of power in 2007, up more than two per cent on the previous year, according to the Nuclear Energy Institute.

USA: Ormat Technologies and Nevada Geothermal Power have been given approval to build a 35 MW geothermal development in Blue Mountain, Nevada. The $20m project is set to completed by 31 December 2009.

USA: The Nuclear Regulatory Commission has suspended portions of its review of NRG Energy’s application for a licence to build two nuclear reactors in South Texas, saying that it would not be concluded until NRG Energy had settled certain unspecified negotiations with its vendors.

USA: Unistar Nuclear Energy has signed a contract with Areva and Bechtel for the Calvert Cliffs unit 3 nuclear power plant in Maryland. Areva will provide a 1600 MW EPR.