Utility Solar Water Heating Initiative (USH20)
: Solar water heating continues to be refined as a distributed renewable resource. However, by default, it is not included in RPS or renewable credits, even when sponsored or financed by utilities. Utilities claim that they produce energy service equivalent to $2/watt including installation. Potential markets are very large. 2:52:53 PM
: Good overview of the UNEP/USAID/NREL "Solar and Wind Energy Resource Assessment" project to map renewable energy resources in many developing countries. www.swera.net
has much information, including interactive maps, such as this demo for Sri Lanka
. Project manager listed as Tom Hamlin
. 2:47:26 PM
Zoning in Klickitat yields big power projects: A county in Washington State zones an area to encourage wind development. It includes a "programmatic environmental impact statement" (EIS) that cuts costs and uncertainty for developers. The zone covers two-thirds of the 1800-square-mile county. "Developing a clean energy overlay zone was a way to show developers that the county wants wind projects, and to map out areas that residents think are appropriate sites for wind farms. .. Permitting processes add uncertainty and considerable costs, typically about 3 percent to 10 percent of a project. .. Affected communities would often make three criticisms: that the public wasn't consulted, that an environmental impact statement paid for by a developer made people suspicious, and that such statements didn't look at cumulative impact. Klickitat County's new zone addresses those three issues, [Dana Peck, county director of economic development] said. .. Klickitat County spent about $500,000 doing wind mapping, bird studies and community outreach.
Left out of the zone were other areas where residents were opposed, or where the turbines might impact bird populations. New designs and new siting processes have reduced concerns about wind turbines killing birds, though, and the Audubon Society generally supports wind energy as long as turbines are located away from major flyways. Klickitat County will require developers and operators to monitor wind farms' impact on birds and wildlife.
Seven weeks after the county put in place the nation's first energy overlay zone with an ordinance that expedites wind farm permits, two big wind energy developers have laid plans for projects that will generate more than 300 megawatts worth of power. .. Their expansive new wind farm, combined with four other proposed projects, could eventually provide enough generating capacity to power 80 percent of the households in Seattle.. The impact of these deals, and others expected to follow, could be huge for Klickitat -- a lightly populated area dominated by resource industries such as agriculture, timber and mining. .. Wind turbines are expected to boost the county's property tax base considerably. .. "As far as our county's economic development strategy, anything we can do to keep ranchland ranchland is a good thing," Peck said. "This is our best single play to do that." [This story was also covered in the print edition of Re-Focus.] 2:37:40 PM