Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., has begun construction of a state-of-the-art, advanced lithium-ion battery plant in Cacia, Portugal to support the rollout of electric vehicles from the Renault-Nissan Alliance in Europe. The battery plant is being built on a 30,450-sq.-m. plot of land belonging to the Renault CACIA gearbox assembly plant, following an investment of €156 million (US$213 million). The facility will start operations in December 2012 and will have a total capacity of 50,000 units a year. About 200 jobs are expected to be created by the new plant.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced on Feb. 17 the offer of a conditional commitment to SoloPower, Inc. for a $197-million loan guarantee to support the retrofit of an existing building and installation of additional equipment to operate a thin-film solar cell and module manufacturing facility in Wilsonville, Ore., located in Clackamas County just south of Portland.
Texas and the EPA already are at loggerheads over air quality permitting authority. A new report from the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonpartisan, nonprofit established in March of 2002 by former EPA enforcement attorneys, won't help. It shows that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from power plants in the U.S. rose 5.56 percent in 2010 over the year before, the biggest annual increase since the EPA began tracking emissions in 1995. The report is based on data from the EPA's Clean Air Markets Web site, which tallies emission reports from electric generators. The 10 states with the most CO2 pollution identified in the report are, in order, Texas, Florida, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Alabama, and Missouri. The report says nearly 4.5 gigawatts of new coal-fired electric generation came online in 2010, about half of that in Texas. But power companies have also announced plans to retire almost 12 gigawatts of coal-fired capacity within the next few years, including the announcement last month that Xcel would close nearly 900 megawatts of coal-fired capacity at four different power stations in Colorado.
Arizona Public Service says Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station it operates and partially owns contributes $1.8 billion annually to the Arizona economy, according to an economic impact study released in January. Based on 2009 data, the study prepared by Phoenix-based consulting firm Applied Economics quantifies the direct activity of the plant itself as well as economic multipliers created by local supplier purchases and by employee spending. The economic impact figure does not include the economic benefit of Palo Verde's carbon-free electricity or the plant's revenue benefits as the state's largest taxpayer.
More than 11,000 solar panels are being deployed onto GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare's Regional Distribution Center rooftop in York, Pa., generating enough electricity to meet the annual energy needs of the nearly 500,000-sq.-ft. building.
Looking to emulate GSK? Then you might be interested in the new KH Solar Limited Partnership, a joint venture between Canadian firms Helios Energy and Kruger Energy, a subsidiary of Kruger Inc., that will develop large-scale rooftop solar energy systems on commercial and industrial buildings in North America. "The partnership will focus on developing and transferring ownership of systems to Kruger Energy, who will operate the systems pursuant to long-term leases with building owners," said the companies. "The systems will be installed on commercial and industrial rooftops using a ballasted mounting technology that does not penetrate the building roof membrane. The partnership may also develop rooftop solar energy systems for building owners interested in system ownership." The JV offers a rooftop evaluator to building occupiers considering solar.
CB Richard Ellis and McGraw-Hill have released a report entitled "Do Green Buildings Make Dollars and Sense? Study 2.0," available via a 27-minute podcast and an associated presentation. The data comes at the same time as President Obama's announcement of the "Better Buildings Initiative," a program championed by NAIOP, among others.
A group of 20 companies and associations, among them Acciona, EON Climate & Renewables, GE Energy, Siemens, Vattenfall and Vestas, have called for a single EU market for electricity by 2015. The declaration came earlier this month, near the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Single European Act on Feb. 17, 1986. "European legislation has guaranteed some choice of electricity provider, but only 5 percent of Europe's electricity is traded across borders," said a release from the European Wind Energy Association, one of the declaration's supporters. "An interconnected system of roads, railways, shipping and air routes throughout Europe is a precondition for maintaining Europe's four freedoms, created by the Single European Act 25 years ago: the free movement of goods, services, capital and labour. Europe needs a fifth freedom - the free movement of electricity across borders - and effective competition and an interconnected electricity grid are key to establishing it."
A late January research report from on the biofuels market in India is now available from the U.S. Commercial Service arm of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. So is another report on the Canadian market for renewable energy equipment.
Japan's Kyocera Corp. announced in January that it is increasing its solar module production capacity with the start of construction of its second plant in Kadan, Czech Republic, and the completion of an expanded assembly plant in Tianjin, China.
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"Energy Matters" is compiled, written and edited by Adam Bruns.