Google, Citigroup invest more in US wind farm

September 30, 2011

Google Inc. and Citigroup Inc. are investing an additional $204 million to finance another phase of a California wind farm. The companies said that each will invest $102 million in Alta V, a 168-MW project. This is in addition to the combined $110 million in financing that the companies said they would put into the Alta Wind Energy Centre wind farm in California’s Tehachapi Mountains. In total, Alta will have a capacity of 1,550 MW, or enough to power 450,000 homes. This is nearly twice as much as the largest operating wind energy installation in the US.

Google has been investing hundreds of millions in wind energy as it seeks reliable new ways to power its massive data centres. The latest financing of the Alta farm brings the search engine’s total clean energy investments close to $780 million.

Google has also invested in solar energy. The company recently invested $280 million in partnership with SolarCity and has now entered the residential solar industry with its largest investment into the renewable energy industry.

China Replaces USA with Highest Installed Wind Capacity in 2010

April 14, 2011

According to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), China surpassed the US to become the country with the highest installed wind-power capacity by adding 16 GW of new capacity in 2010. With a 62 per cent year-on-year growth rate, China has taken its total installed capacity to 41.8 GW. Comparatively, USA installed about 5 GW of new wind-power capacity last year, taking its total installed capacity to 40.2 GW. It is believed that the US investors’ confidence in the renewable energy sector suffered because the country failed to enact a binding climate change limiting legislation. China is now looking to increase its cumulative grid-connected installed wind-power capacity to 55 GW in 2011 and increase it to 100 GW by 2015, and 200 GW by 2020.

US to fund 150 MW Wind Project in Pakistan

February 8, 2011

The governments of the US and Pakistan have signed an agreement with AES Corporation to develop a 150-MW wind project in Pakistan’s Gharo Corridor. The US special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, and Pakistani water and power minister Javed Iqbal were among those signing an agreement to develop the $375 million project.

The US Embassy in Islamabad said the project would reduce Pakistan’s dependence on fuel imports and save Pakistanis $45 million a year. The Pakistani government and AES will invest in the project, leveraging a loan from the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), a US agency that sells foreign investment services. Pakistan will own a minority stake through a grant from the US Agency for International Development (USAID). These shares will be privatised over time, with the proceeds financing future energy projects.

US commits to Offshore Wind

February 8, 2011

The US’ Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, has launched a new wind energy initiative, Smart from the Start, to speed offshore wind energy development off the Atlantic Coast. The move is expected to facilitate siting, leasing and construction of new projects. Salazar said the focus now needs to be on implementing “a smart permitting process that is efficient, thorough, and unburdened by needless red tape.”

Under the ‘Smart from the Start’ initiative, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement (BOEMRE) will work with state partners to identify wind energy areas (WEAs) off the coasts of a number of Atlantic states, including Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Virginia, Rhode Island and Massachusetts within the next 60 days.

India-US clean energy research centre established

October 6, 2010

India and the US formally signed an agreement for cooperation on a joint Clean Energy Research Development Centre. The agreement follows from the discussions held between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Barack Obama during the former’s visit to Washington in November 2009.

The areas of co-operation would include energy efficiency of buildings, smart grids, unconventional natural gas, second-generation biofuels, clean coal technologies and solar energy.

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