June 30, 2011

Embracing Wind and Sun Power


Google Inc and Citigroup are investing another $204 million in the Alta Wind Energy Center in Southern California's Tehachapi Mountains, bringing their total combined investment in the project to $314 million.


The additional funds will be split evenly between the two companies, according to Terra-Gen Power, which is building what is expected to be the nation's largest wind energy project.
The new investments specifically finance the Alta V Project, which is projected to generate 168 megawatts of electricity. Google and Citi had previously jointly invested $55 million in the nearby Alta IV phase of the project.


Terra-Gen Power, the project developer, is an affiliate of ArcLight Capital Partners and Global Infrastructure Partners. The AWEC site is currently generating 720 megawatts of power, according to Terra-Gen Power.


By year end, another 300 megawatts of power are projected to be online, Terra-Gen says, bringing the facility up to 1020 megawatts.


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The U.S. Energy Department said it would provide a partial loan guarantee for a solar power project that could meet energy needs of more than 88,000 homes. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu said his department was providing a partial guarantee for $1.4 billion to support Project Amp.


Project Amp envisions the installation of solar panels on industrial buildings across the United States. It calls for the installation of around 733 megawatts worth of solar panels, which is roughly the total amount installed in the country last year.


Chu's loan is part of the so-called SunShot program, which would spur U.S. innovations to reduce the costs of solar energy.  "This unprecedented solar project will not only produce clean, renewable energy to power the grid in states across the country but it will help us meet the SunShot goal of achieving cost competitive solar power with other forms of energy by the end of the decade," he said in a statement.

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