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John Laney is an associate in the Seattle office.

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From my colleague Adam Walters:

On August 20 the Australian government announced the passage of a bill quadrupling its Renewable Energy Target (RET) to ensure that 20% (approximately 45,000 GWh) of Australia’s electricity is generated from renewable energy sources by 2020.

 

How does Australia’s RET Scheme Work?

 

The RET scheme is an expansion of Australia’s Mandatory RET scheme introduced in 2001, the first of its kind in the world. It works through the creation and sale of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) by renewable power generators to “liable parties” (mainly large-scale electricity utilities and consumers), who must provide a designated quantity of REC’s to Australia’s renewable energy regulator to demonstrate compliance and avoid having to pay charges for any shortfall. One of the changes brought about the new legislation is to increase from $40/MWh to $65/MWh.

Renewable energy sources eligible for accreditation under the RET scheme include: solar, wind, hydro, tidal, wave, biomass and geothermal, as well as solar water heaters and other smaller generation units. Hydro has historically dominated Australia’s renewable energy landscape, but recent project announcements and funding opportunities for wind and solar projects signal greater diversification of the industry, particularly for proven technologies.        Continue Reading Australia passes 20% renewable energy target by 2020

Today, the Washington Technology Center announced the launch of its Microfabrication Laboratory Access Program.  The new program provides access to sophisticated micro-electromechanical systems ("MEMS") fabrication equipment to small companies in Washington State.  The goal of the program is to stimulate innovative technologies.

The new Microfabrication Laboratory is one of three state funded programs in Washington.  The facility is 15,000 square feet and small businesses with less than 100 employees can apply for up to three months of free lab access (valued at up to $12,300).  Eligible projects include, but are not limited to proof of concept, prototyping, testing, process development, and small-scale production.  A more complete description of the program is available here.Continue Reading Washington Technology Center Provides No-Cost Access to MEMS Fabrication Equipment

Today, the Department of Energy (“DOE”) announced more than $66 million in Recovery Act funding to four states for their weatherization assistance programs. The funding will help weatherize over 26,000 homes, lower energy costs, reduce pollution, and create green jobs across the country. Here is how the funds will be used in Alaska, Colorado, Connecticut and Hawaii:

Continue Reading Show me the Money: $66 Million for State Weatherization Assistance Programs

The Department of Energy has announced that $343 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has been provided to the Bonneville Power Administration’s ("BPA") McNary-John Day transmission project (the "McNary-John Day Line") in Washington and Oregon. 

The McNary-John Day Line runs 79 miles from the McNary Substation in Oregon, through Washington, and ending at the

Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to amend 10 CFR Part 609, the rule regulating the loan guarantee program authorized by section 1703 of Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  The two principal goals of section 1703 of Title XVII are to encourage commercial use of new or significantly improved energy-related technologies and to achieve substantial environmental benefits.  (See these recent alerts regarding the DOE loan guarantee program and the related application process)

After reexamining Title XVII, the DOE has concluded that the statute does not require a first lien on all project assets.  DOE has discovered that its current requirement that it be in lien position is in conflict with the financing structure of many energy projects.  For example, many utility scale power plants are jointly owned by public power agencies, cooperative power systems and investor-owned utilities.  In these cases, it may not be commercially feasible to obtain a lien on all project assets or the credit of a sponsor may be sufficient to support a more modest pledge of assets.

Furthermore, DOE has found that other parties are interested in participating as co-lenders, co-guarantors, or insurers of Title XVII loans.  However, these other parties expect to share, on a pari passu basis, in any collateral securing such loans.

Consequently, DOE proposes two amendments to the current rules:

  1. Delete the requirement of a first priority lien on all project assets and leave to the Secretary (of DOE) the determination of an appropriate collateral package, as well as intercreditor arrangements; and
  2. Allow the Secretary (of DOE) to determine if pari passu lending is in the best interests of the United States

Continue Reading Show me the Money: DOE Proposes Amendments to its Loan Guarantee Program

Today, the Department of Energy (DOE) announced the release of a funding opportunity announcement (FOA) related to ethanol blends.  The FOA provides up to $5.5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to increase the use of higher ethanol blends through expanding refueling infrastructure and funding outreach to promote public awareness.

$3.5 million is available

Today, in recognition that solar energy is a critical factor in the President’s clean energy agenda, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that $11.8 million ($5 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act) will be deployed to five projects related to the development of solar energy grid integration systems (SEGIS).  This follows our earlier client alerts regarding funding opportunities for solar technologies.

SEGIS activity began in 2008 with a partnership between DOE, Sandia National Laboratories, industry, utilities, and universities interested in complete system development.  Funded projects are related to the integration of solar technologies into the U.S. electrical grid while maintaining or improving power quality and reliability.Continue Reading Show me the Money: $11.8 Million Awarded for Solar Energy Grid Integration

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor has issued $500 million for green job training.  This money is being released through a series of competitive grants.

If you are an organization within Washington State, the Governor’s Office requests that you submit a brief information form to the Governor’s Evergreen Jobs Leadership Team.  The Team is compiling

About a month ago we issued an alert regarding a $45 million funding opportunity announcement ("FOA") for the development of a wind turbine drivetrain testing facility (alert available here).

Today, the Department of Energy ("DOE") announced that they are hosting a webinar regarding this FOA.  The webinar will be held July 30, 2009 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern.