Final Working Group meeting clears the path for production of a template solar ordinance
(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) will sell its power plant development unit to Carlyle Group (CG.O) in the latest of a string of deals by the private equity firm since the break-up of its energy investment venture with Riverstone Holdings LLC.
The deal to buy Charlotte, North Carolina-based Cogentrix Energy LLC will give Carlyle access to three coal-fired and two solar power plants, and a development pipeline with over 550 megawatts (MW) of operational capacity.
Secretary Vilsack Announces USDA Has Reached Its Goal to Fund $250 Million in Smart Grid Improvement
RALEIGH, N.C., September 7, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA has reached its $250 million goal to finance smart grid technologies, a key component of President Obama's effort to help modernize our nation's electric system. Vilsack also announced nine rural electric cooperatives and utilities in 10 states including North Carolina will receive loan guarantees to make improvements to generation and transmission facilities and implement smart grid technologies.
Green power is electricity produced from renewable generation sources such as biogas, solar and wind turbines. These renewable energy sources are cleaner than traditional sources of electricity that produce carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas linked to global climate change. Green power purchases support the development of new, renewable energy capacity.
Lowe's was recognized for its voluntary purchase of green power for use at stores and warehouses in North and South Carolina, New Mexico, Tennessee and Texas. Lowe's purchases the green power in the form of electricity generated from biogas, solar, and wind resources from six different providers. Lowe's remains the largest purchaser of green power in the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) service area as well as North Carolina.
Self-Help Credit Union is offering $15 million in low-interest loans for energy-efficiency projects in Charlotte and other cities. Over 50 economic developers, energy professionals and others attended the Feb. 16 launch of the program in Charlotte.
The event was as part of the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association's Clean Energy Connections education series. NCSEA's Communications & Government Affairs Specialist, Amneris Solano, spoke with Melissa Malkin-Weber, Green Initiatives Manager at Self-Help Credit Union, about the program.
More businesses are seeing the benefits of adopting energy efficient practices. Has that lead to the need for this kind of loan program?
The Self-Help Energy Loan Fund is exciting because it opens the door to energy efficiency to those borrowers who might have not been considering it at all. For instance, where a small-business is borrowing for working capital, we can help them improve their efficiency by upgrading their old T12 lights or inefficient HVAC.
Why should building owners take advantage of this program?
There are still a lot of disincentives that prevent even very savvy property managers from making energy investments in their buildings. For instance, they may have scoped out great projects with very strong return on investment over time, but it’s hard to make that investment when there’s economic uncertainty. Small businesses face the additional disincentive that they may not have staff with enough bandwidth and resources to identify the best energy investments. We hope that the reduced-cost financing will encourage building owners to take a second look at their energy investment opportunities.
How does this loan program allow businesses to meet their energy savings goals?
One of our key goals is to reduce the cost barrier to implementation. Because of Bank of America’s funding and leadership, we will be able to offer a 1.5 percent interest rate discount through the Self-Help Energy Loan Fund.
Charlotte’s first Eco-Industrial Park, ReVenture Park™, is no longer a Superfund site. The announcement caps a three-year process overseen by the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). "The successful reuse of the Martin-Marietta/Sodyeco site is an example of EPA's commitment to support beneficial reuse of sites, using cleanup programs to ensure protection of future users,” said Franklin E. Hill, Superfund Division Director, Region 4. “The partnership between government and the private sector, and a vision to bring about positive change for the community has resulted in the accomplishment of a great milestone for the site. The path to redevelopment has been established and it will lead to a productive community asset. EPA will continue to work with enterprising individuals and organizations to bring new opportunities to communities impacted by contaminated sites.”
Regulators in both EPA and the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) were very supportive while ensuring that every step in the deletion process was completed correctly. The deletion will clear the way for sustainable, new development at the ReVenture Park site while providing for continued contamination clean up and the protection of the land and its wildlife. The site’s remediation activities have always been and will continue to be monitored by the NCDENR. Since the mid 80’s, Clariant Corporation has spent upwards of $40 million cleaning up the site contamination that they inherited through the purchase of Sodyeco Inc.
While much of the hard work has been done, the plan for ReVenture Park calls for enhanced remediation through more aggressive and accelerated clean up methods. “From day one we recognized the potential of this property, and knew the contamination could be addressed”. Tom McKittrick, President of Forsite Development, a commercial real estate firm focused exclusively on acquiring corporate surplus industrial real estate for the purpose of redeveloping these properties in an economically and environmentally responsible way.
Charlotte, NC — Abundant Power Solutions announced further momentum in their commercial energy efficiency financing programs with the closing of a $1.4 million loan for The Westervelt Company in Tuscaloosa, Alabama to save energy and increase sustainability while providing work for contractors installing the energy-efficiency improvements.
The loan is the latest financing approved through AlabamaSAVES, a program designed and administered by Abundant Power through the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) to help businesses install energy-saving upgrades, reduce operating expenses and boost employment. Abundant Power worked with ADECA to establish AlabamaSAVES with funds made available to the state by the U.S. Department of Energy’s State Energy Program, and then structured credit enhancements to attract outside capital and increase the reach the program. Wells Fargo provided funding for the loan through the Birmingham, Alabama office.
In partnership with the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, the Funders' Network is pleased to announce the formation of the Local Sustainability Matching Fund. The Fund has been created with leadership support from four Network members: the Kendeda Fund, the New York Community Trust, the Summit Foundation, and the Surdna Foundation.
The purpose of the Local Sustainability Matching Fund is twofold: to catalyze partnerships between local government sustainability directors and local, place-based foundations, including community foundations, and to advance important community-based sustainability initiatives. The Fund will provide partnership investments between $25,000 and $75,000, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local foundation. The Network anticipates that the Fund will support up to ten partnership projects in the first year in two rounds in the spring and fall of 2012.
Energy has the potential to become a driving force in North Carolina's economic recovery, according to business leaders who spoke at a forum Jan. 3. The demand and need for affordable energy was a focus of the 10th annual Economic Forecast Forum in the Research Triangle Park.
The forum, a program of the NC Bankers Association and the NC Chamber of Commerce, featured an address by Governor Bev Perdue who said she was hopeful about North Carolina's economic growth in 2012. Joining Perdue were business leaders and economists who had a cautiously optimistic economic outlook for the new year centered in part around the energy sector's increasing role in state's economy.
"We made significant improvements in 2011," said Lou Ebert with the NC Chamber of Commerce. "The energy sector offers great promise, whether it's clean tech, wind, solar, nuclear, shell gas or offshore exploration."
NC Sustainable Energy Association staff members Paul Quinlan and Rich Crowley appeared on "OPEN/net," a statewide TV call-in program that facilitates conservations between viewers and policy makers and experts. Joining them on the panel were Maria Kingery, co-Founder and President of Southern Energy Management (also Chair of NCSEA's Board of Directors) and Brad Luyster, the Vice President and Director of ABB's new "Smart Grid Center of Excellence," which opened earlier this month.
The show, which aired live, Tuesday, November 29 at 8 p.m., focused on North Carolina's growing clean energy economy. Click here to view an archived copy of the show.
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