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January 31st, 2013

A BrightSource for Solar Energy in the Desert

by Andrew Price, President & COO

On a recent trip to visit CES client, Molycorp Minerals, located at Mountain Pass California, I had the opportunity to visit the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating Station (Ivanpah) located in Ivanpah Dry Lake, California. The project, owned by NRG Energy, Google and Brightsource Energy, is not your traditional solar project. Ivanpah will use 170,000 mirrors, each capable of independently tracking the sun across the sky, to focus sunlight on one of three 460 foot tall towers. The high-tech system of collecting and concentrating sunlight ultimately produces electricity in a very mundane way; by boiling water to produce steam and sending that steam through a conventional steam turbine and generator. This is the very same process used to generate the vast majority of the world’s electricity, just without the coal, nuclear fission, or biomass. 

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January 25th, 2013

Quebec Joining California‚??s Carbon Market?

by Andrew Price, President & COO

Could the Province of Quebec give a boost to the State of California’s wilting carbon market? The California Air Resources Board (CARB) indicated this month that they will recommend that California join its Cap-And-Trade (CAP) program with a similar program in Quebec. The two jurisdictions, on opposite sides of North America, could be officially linked sometime this summer.

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January 17th, 2013

Seaway Pipeline Reversal Complete

by Andrew Price, President & COO

Enterprise Products Partners and Enbridge recently completed an expansion of the 500 mile, 30 inch, Seaway pipeline that runs from Cushing, Oklahoma to Freeport, Texas. Cushing is the delivery point for the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) crude oil futures contract.  The Seaway pipeline carried imported crude north from the Gulf Cost to Cushing until May 2012. The pipeline was reversed in 2012 and began carrying crude south from Cushing to the Gulf Coast, home to about half the refining capacity in the US.  Seaway’s capacity has increased from 150,000 barrels per day to 400,000 barrels per day and will help reduce the discount of West Texas Intermediate (WTI) Crude to London traded Brent Crude, the most common oil benchmark used worldwide

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January 3rd, 2013

Wind Power Avoids Fiscal Cliff ‚?? Production Tax Credit Extended

by Andrew Price, President & COO

Although it received very little attention outside of the wind industry, an extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for wind power was included in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the last minute legislation that was signed into law by President Obama on January 2nd, to avoid the fiscal cliff. The PTC is worth 2.2 cents for every kWh produced by a wind turbine for the first 10 years of operation. Although the cost to produce electricity with wind has fallen as turbines have gotten larger and the number of manufactures expanded, the PTC is still necessary for most wind projects to be economically feasible.

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