|Sustainable Energy News - No. 22 - Newsletter for International Network for Sustainable Energy - INFORSE Achieved UN Consultative Status - Climate Change - theme (INFORSE, 1998, 32 pages)|
Largest Windpower Facility
At Buffalo Ridge in Minnesota, USA, 107 MW of windpower is about to come online in the largest single windpower facility in the world so far. The project is developed by the large Minnesotan utility North States Power Company. The Lake Benton I Power Plant, consists of 143 turbines, 750 kW each, produced by the Enron Wind Corporation (EWC).
Sources: Renewable Energy World, July 1998 and Enron: http://www.enron.com/.
Californian Electricity Markets Give Room for Sustainable Energy
When the electricity sector of California was restructured into a kind of open market, special provisions were made to support renewables and energy conservation. Whether the restructuring will be a benefit for sustainable energy is hard to judge. It removed a system that required the power companies to invest in renewables and it reduced the utility funds for energy conservation considerably.
In the new system, 2.5% of the revenue from electricity sales is allocated to a renewable energy (RE) and energy conservation fund. The first $162 mill. of the RE portion was just allocated to under an auction scheme. New plants bid for a per-kWh production credit that will be paid for the first five years of production. Over 500 MW of renewables, including wind, geothermal, and landfill gas won allocations at an average production credit of 1.2 cents/kWh.
For energy conservation, efforts are under way to have the funds administered independently of the utilities. This is moving forward, though on a slower- than-expected schedule.
Green market opportunities are also being developed. Power companies market "green" electricity at a modest premium. Generally, they are offering customers the chance to buy electricity that is from 50% to 100% renewable, exclusive of large hydro, at a premium that ranges from 10% to 20% of the customers' bills (roughly 1 to 2 cents/kWh). Since the market opened in April '98, about 1% of the household customers (100,000 households) have chosen to buy these green products. Environmental groups and others have created a "seal" (renew- able brand) "green-e", with a minimum requirement of 50% renewable energy. Most of the products offered in California have complied with this requirement in order to earn the seal. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) advises customers to go beyond these minimum requirements and buy electricity from new renewable-energy plants to spur the development of more renewables. Two companies are marketing electricity with 5-25% renewables.
See also: www.energy.ca.gov,