Riverside County has cut the fee it wants to charge for utility-scale solar power developments in the county by two-thirds, following a contentious campaign by the solar industry to get it rolled back. In a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the county's Board of Supervisors reduced the fee from the $450 per acre per year, which was first proposed in 2011, to $150. The vote settles a legal battle between the county and solar developers.
A federal analysis of renewable energy tax credits indicates that wind power generation is significantly more dependent on federal tax breaks than all other forms of renewable energy. According to a study by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC), which Congress renewed in January, is likely to boost wind power capacity about 35 percent by 2016 while solar, geothermal, and other renewable energy sources would increase at about the same rate with or without the credit.
Here's yet another contender in the push to find ways to store electrical power efficiently and effectively: the East Coast firm EOS Energy Storage just announced it's raised $15 million to develop affordable, scalable power storage for the grid using zinc-air battery technology. The company announced a plan to test its grid batteries on Con Edison's grid in New York City earlier this month.
Here's some good news for Northern Californians who like to breathe: the first battery-powered electric buses in the north part of the state are rolling out in Stockton, thanks to the California Energy Commission. Two fast-charging buses will join the San Joaquin Regional Transit District's fleet in the city of Stockton, relieving a bit of the Central Valley airshed's air pollution problem.
The Bureau of Land Management has just released the final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for an Arizona wind project near the mouth of the Grand Canyon. It may pose a threat to the canyon's population of reintroduced California condors.
BP Wind Energy's proposed Mohave County Wind Farm project would occupy almost 60 square miles of open desert about 20 miles from Hoover Dam. Its 283 wind turbines would generate up to 500 megawatts of electrical power.