Renew Now!

This week’s news from the renewable energy world

Houghton secures coal-to-biomass contract. Houghton International has secured a three-year motor maintenance and repair contract at Lynemouth power station in England. The plant in Northumberland is currently being converted from coal to biomass. On completion, it is expected to generate 420 MW of renewable energy. Houghton will be responsible for the ongoing repair and maintenance of all motors, generators and all electrical rotating equipment during the initial conversion and the operations of the site.

Letters to Perry from AWEA; SEIA; senators call for transparency. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry has been lambasted quite a lot—by the media, by campaigning counterparts, by Democrats in general—so consider this latest news fairly routine. On Monday, the renewable energy sector’s three primary organizations wrote a joint letter to Mr. Perry offering reassurance that their industries were not responsible for the decline of coal, oil and gas, or nuclear generation, and also cautiously appealing to the man for fair play. That being said, the stakes are higher as his position now carries significant power, and the round criticism comes with a cautious effort for solidarity asking for all energy sources to be weighted equally. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Advanced Energy Economy (AEE) all contributed to the joint letter that asked for “a public process” to gather input to inform the 60-day study the Energy Secretary ordered on electricity markets and reliability April 14.

Apple backing two large-scale renewable projects in Oregon. In its annual Environmental Responsibility Report released April 22, Apple divulged the plans for two power purchase agreements to support its Prineville, Oregon data center. The iPhone manufacturers recently signed a 200-megawatt PPA for the Montague Wind Power Project, set to come online by the end of 2018, and a separate PPA for the 56-megawatt Solar Star Oregon II PV array located just a few miles from the data center. “This is our first Apple-created wind project,” said the report of the first project, also including that it’s Apple’s largest renewable installation to date, expected to produce over 560 million kilowatt-hours of energy a year. The solar project is aiming for a late 2017 start date and is expected to produce 140 million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy a year.

Houston: No problem. As documented, the state of Texas is (somewhat surprisingly) far-and-away the largest renewable energy producer in the country. Its largest city is a major beneficiary of that production. Houston says it generates nearly 90% of its municipal electricity from renewable sources, according to Engineering.com’s Tom Lombardo. Other props to the city of Houston: it’s growing at an exponential rate that could see it pass Chicago as the nation’s third largest city in the next 10 years.

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