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Arizona Solar Deal Falls Apart While Feds Give a Boost to Other Projects

solarpanels3As federal agencies get set to approve several renewable-energy projects, primarily in the western part of the country, a solar deal between Starwood Energy Group Global LLC and Arizona Public Service Co. (APS) falls apart.

Starwood Energy Group Global LLC has ended its deal to provide power to Arizona Public Service Co. from a large solar plant it had planned to build in western Maricopa County, reports the Phoenix Business Journal.

Starwood officials told the Phoenix Business Journal they plan to pursue the plant, which may be a smaller version of the initial project, separately.

The 290-megawatt Starwood Solar I plant to be built in partnership with aerospace giant Lockheed Martin was announced in May, but ran into supply chain, financing and engineering issues that made it difficult to meet deadlines in its deal with APS, according to the Phoenix Business Journal.

Utilities like APS that are regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission must have 25 percent of their power generated by renewable sources by 2025, according to the journal. APS officials estimated that with Starwood Solar I it would have met twice the state’s requirements in 2014.

Despite problems with the Starwood-APS solar project, federal agencies are pushing ahead with solar and other renewable energy projects across the country.

As an example, the U.S. Department of Energy approved Tennessee’s State Energy Plan, known as the Volunteer State Solar Initiative, reports CleanEnergy Footprints. The initiative focuses on two projects: a 5-megawatt (MW) solar farm to be located in west Tennessee and the development of a Solar Institute that will be located on the UT campus in Knoxville, according to the blog.

The West Tennessee Solar Farm will be the first megawatt-scale solar installation in the state and one of the largest in the Southeast, according to CleanEnergy Footprints. The project will provide renewable energy to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) while offering research opportunities to learn about the interconnection issues associated with incorporating large-scale solar generation into the grid, reports the blog.

The Solar Institute will focus on accelerating growth in solar industries, providing two grant opportunities that total $23.5 million, according to CleanEnergy Footprints.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of the Interior is expected to approve seven renewable-energy transmission projects on western federal lands by the end of next year, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The Interior Department is accelerating the construction of transmission projects in an effort to streamline the permitting process, though they still face state, local and other federal regulatory hurdles, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The projects range from 150 kilovolt to 500 kilovolt lines in Idaho, California and Nevada, including the Barren Ridge, Devers Palo Verde, Hooper Springs, Hemingway Butte, Palisafes-Goshen, and Southwest Intertie projects, reports the newspaper.

The U.S. Department of Energy recently announced that it is funding a large-scale transmission project between Great Falls, Montana, and Lethbridge, Alberta, with the goal of bringing new jobs and expanding renewable energy production to the western region of the country.

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