Tag Archives: renewable power

Wells Fargo Forms Clean Tech Investment Group

Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) became the latest in the banking community to form a clean technology investment group.

The San Francisco-based company said in a statement Wednesday that its new clean technology group will be located in Palo Alto, Calif. and will “offer customized commercial banking products and services to businesses that manufacture, market or develop clean technology products and services, such as solar and wind power, energy and water efficiency, electric and low-emission vehicles, and smart grid applications.”

Wells Fargo has already been lending money to clean-technology companies, but wanted to make this sector a priority, as Wells Fargo expects it to grow.

The bank said it has contributed $5 billion in financing for “environmentally- friendly business opportunities,” including $1.6 billion for solar and wind projects and $3 billion to support buildings constructed according to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building standards.

Wells Fargo also wants to reduce its own impact on the environment. It said last month that it had implemented a company-wide goal for a 20% emissions reduction by 2018.

Puon Penn, former senior vice president of Wells Fargo Commercial Banking, will head the new group, the bank said.

The bank couldn’t be reached for comment.

Wells Fargo overall has $1.2 trillion in assets.

Shares of Wells Fargo closed up Wednesday 49 cents, or 1.73% at 28.86 on the New York Stock Exchange.

By Sari Kreiger, Dow Jones Clean Technology Insight; Sari.Kreiger@ dowjones.com


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Filed under Businesses Going Green

California Favors Efficiency Over Alt Energy

California’s chief climate change official on Wednesday sees a big need for small-scale clean energy like rooftop windmills and neighborhood solar power plants, but the state will gain more from efficiency than renewable power.

California legislators are debating whether to commit the state to getting 33 percent of its electricity from renewable power like solar and wind, which is already an informal part of the most populous U.S. state’s landmark plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.

“We believe that most of the reductions (in emissions) coming from the electricity sector as a whole are going to come from energy efficiency and conservation rather than the introduction of renewables,” Air Resources Board Chair Mary Nichols told the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco.

But big projects like wind farms and solar arrays covering broad swaths of desert could be complemented by more small scale projects than regulators and big utilities contemplate.

“You could do small centralized projects, small fuel cells in a lot of locations. You could even do some thermal projects, even small wind. There are opportunities for rooftop wind projects in certain areas,” she said.

California, the world’s eighth largest economy, is already a major market for roof-mounted solar panels from companies like SunPower Corp and is a test market for modular solar thermal plants from start-up eSolar.

“As utilities have discovered, there is no such thing as an easy site for a power plant,” Nichols said, adding that the state needed both big and small projects.


California’s climate change plan is the most ambitious in the nation in terms of raw cuts in carbon dioxide emissions, and it may retain its status as the undisputed leader, in some ways to its chagrin. Nichols said the state wanted to be ahead, not alone, and she voiced skepticism over when a federal climate bill could pass.

“I would not say the chances are very large that we will get that all done before December,” Nichols said. That is the date for global talks in Copenhagen to hammer out a follow-up to the contentious Kyoto climate change treaty.

“I don’t think we will go to Copenhagen empty handed,” she added, though. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency could make major regulatory strides that would signal the country is serious about cutting carbon dioxide pollution, she said.

By Peter Henderson, RUETERS

September 9, 2009

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Filed under Alternative Energy

World’s First Hybrid Solar Power Plant Opens in Israel

Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plants are an amazing, wonderful, renewable energy technology, as long as the sun is shining. However solar power alone cannot provide on-demand power, especially in the case of off-grid applications. Aora Solar, out of Yavne, Israel, is almost complete with the world’s first ever solar hybrid plant, which will combine concentrated solar power with a hybrid-microturbine to generate power 24 hours a day. This technology could help provide off-grid communities the necessary power without having to run miles of costly transmission lines.

Installation of the new hybrid system is less than 10 days away from being completed at the Kibbutz Sammar in Israel. Once up and running on June 24th, the plant will generate 100 kW of on-demand power plus 170 kW of thermal power. The plant consists of 30 heliostats (mirrors) that track the sun and direct its rays up to the 30-meter tall tower, where all the sunlight from the heliostats is concentrated. This concentrated sunlight heats compressed air, which drives an electric turbine. The tower itself is a welcome change from other power towers we have seen in the past – it actually looks good with its tulip flower shape.

The hybrid part of the plant allows for on-demand power due to its inline microturbine. When the sun has set for the day or if it is cloudy, biodiesel, natural gas, or bio fuels can be used to run the microturbine, which then drives the electric turbine. The hybrid system has the capacity to power 70 homes 24/7.

A hybrid system like this has the potential to provide distributed generation or off-grid power to communities, companies or factories. As production of bio fuels becomes more efficient and sustainable, we’re hoping to see more and more hybrid solar concentrating systems.

By Bridgette Meinhold, http://www.inhabit.com., June 15, 2009.

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Filed under World Greening Trends