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Analyst: MidAmerican looks for renewable-energy project acquisitions | PG&E announces new renewable-energy option for customers | Sinovel, Goldwind report sharp earnings drop for Q1
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April 25, 2012
Wind Energy SmartBrief
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Industry Update
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Industry Update
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Inaction on PTC is already hurting businesses, supporters say
Despite bipartisan support, an extension of the renewable-energy Production Tax Credit is far from certain because of bickering in Congress, supporters said. "It's a horrible way to do business," said Rep. Steve LaTourette, R-Ohio, referring to the damage being done to the U.S. wind industry by Congress' inaction. "The window of when the turbine order needs to be placed in order for it to get delivered on time for a 2013 completion is closing. If you get a PTC extension in December, the damage is done," said Elizabeth Salerno, director of industry data and analysis at the American Wind Energy Association.
Politico (4/24) 
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Analyst: MidAmerican looks for renewable-energy project acquisitions
MidAmerican Energy Holdings is planning to acquire additional renewable-energy projects and natural gas pipelines by this summer, an analyst said. If the right opportunity arises, MidAmerican is ready to make deals for renewable-energy projects that are facing difficulty due to expiring federal tax incentives, the company said. "I think a good [guess] would be two to three months" before MidAmerican announces new deals, said Scott Greenstein, an analyst for CreditSights.
SNL Financial (free content) (4/23) 
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PG&E announces new renewable-energy option for customers
Pacific Gas & Electric has announced a program that gives its customers the option to fund renewable-energy projects by paying a few extra dollars on their utility bills. The funds generated by the "Green Option" program would be used by PG&E to purchase renewable-energy credits, the utility said. The California Public Utilities Commission must approve the plan.
San Francisco Chronicle (tiered subscription model) (4/25) 
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Sinovel, Goldwind report sharp earnings drop for Q1
Sinovel Wind Group and Xinjiang Goldwind Science & Technology reported lower profits for the first quarter as China's wind power market slowed due to overcapacity and intense competition. Sinovel posted a net income of $9 million, down 87% from a year before. Goldwind reported a profit of about $980,000, down 97% from the comparable period last year.
Bloomberg Businessweek (4/24) 
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Project Focus
Wind-powered building project moves forward in Blue Springs, Mo.
The Blue Springs (Mo.) Planning Commission has signed off on the site plan for a business center that would be powered by three micro wind turbines. The turbines are expected to supply electricity to the 5,700-square-foot building, and may receive credit from Kansas City Power & Light if they generate surplus power, said Karl Sigler, owner of Walnut Street Partners.
The Examiner (Independence, Mo.) (4/24) 
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Calif. wind project to employ on-site biologist for spotting eagles
Pattern Energy will have an on-site certified biologist scanning for golden eagles at its planned Ocotillo wind project in California, as part of its wildlife-mitigation program. Should an eagle come close to the wind farm, the biologist would record it and would start power curtailment at the facility. "The industry is still in a transition period with eagle mitigation. What we're doing is taking extra precautions to mitigate any impacts," said Pattern Energy Director of Development John Calaway.
North American Windpower online (4/24) 
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County officials extend appeal hearing on Calif. wind project:
Supervisors of Imperial County, Calif., decided to extend the appeal hearing for Pattern Energy's Ocotillo Express wind project to give supporters and critics more time to express their views, said Supervisor Gary Wyatt. The county's planning commission has approved the project, but that decision was appealed by five groups, including Pattern Energy. Critics say that the project would have an adverse impact on the area's cultural resources and wildlife, while supporters say it would bring jobs and millions of dollars in revenue to the local economy.
Imperial Valley Press (El Centro, Calif.) (4/24) 
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Group to replace broken turbine at American Indian reservation
Native American group Honor the Earth is planning to replace a wind turbine that broke down before it could generate power for a radio station in South Dakota's Pine Ridge reservation in 2008. Honor the Earth plans to buy a new turbine using a grant from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and money from a settlement deal from the original turbine's supplier, said Executive Director Winona LaDuke. Honor the Earth expects to have the new turbine running by Sept. 1.
Rapid City Journal (S.D.) (4/23) 
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German firm pulls plug on wind power venture in Montana
The economic downturn and the "boom-and-bust cycles" in the U.S. wind market discouraged Germany-based Fuhrlander from moving forward with plans to build a wind turbine factory in Butte, Mont., said Evan Barrett, chief business development officer for Gov. Brian Schweitzer's office of economic development. The company "needed to ink a contract to economically justify the investment. They never got that," said Barrett.
The Montana Standard (Butte) (4/22) 
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Study: Wind power costs less than solar in 6 developing countries
Researchers from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology found that the projected cost of wind power was lower than solar-generated energy in Brazil, Egypt, India, Kenya, Nicaragua and Thailand, according to a report published in Nature Climate Change. Wind power costs were 2.2 to 4.5 times lower compared with solar power in the six countries, and the gap in prices are expected to remain until at least 2020, the study found.
SciDev.net (4/23) 
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Salazar pushes Congress to back clean-energy standard
House Republicans who support fossil fuels and oppose clean energy are living in a fantasy world, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said during a speech in Washington, D.C. "It's a place where ... record profits justify billions in subsidies, and where rising U.S. production and falling dependence on foreign oil somehow add up to bad news," Salazar said. Salazar urged them to set aside partisan politics and back legislation that would provide tax incentives for renewable energy and create a clean-energy standard.
Oil & Gas Journal (4/24) 
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Colo. bill will boost state's renewable-energy sector
A bipartisan bill in the Colorado Legislature will enhance the state's renewable-energy and energy-conservation programs, writes Gov. John Hickenlooper. The bill, sponsored by state Sen. Pat Steadman and Rep. Jon Becker aims to promote "all types of energy that protect the environment, lower consumer costs and increase energy security," Hickenlooper adds. "The Steadman-Becker bill will help Colorado's economy create jobs and buttress Colorado as a national leader in developing an energy strategy that is both environmentally sensitive and economically sound."
The Denver Post (4/24) 
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Send a Comment to Congress: Extend the PTC Immediately
This is your chance to urge the House Ways and Means Committee to extend the wind-energy Production Tax Credit. The House's primary tax-writing committee is holding a hearing on Thursday to discuss tax provisions, including the PTC. Read more.
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Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.
Thomas Edison,
American inventor
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These stories were selected and summarized by independent editors at SmartBrief Inc., not by AWEA's staff, and do not represent AWEA positions. They reflect the variety of daily coverage of American wind power.
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