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Renewables Roundup: Solar Highway, Mars Drops Turbine, Methane Creation

The Baldock Solar Station, a 1.75-megawatt solar array with nearly 7,000 SolarWorld panels, has been built at a rest area along Interstate 5 near Wilsonville, Oregon. Portland General Electric and the Oregon Department of Transportation partnered on the $10 million project, which is expected to produce 1.97 million kWh of energy each year. The solar highway project, the second between ODOT and PGE, will help the utility meet the state’s Renewable Energy Standard of providing 25 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2025.

Scientists from Stanford and Pennsylvania State universities have created a process that uses microbes to convert electricity into methane, the key ingredient in natural gas. The scientists’ goal is for large microbial factories to turn clean electricity produced by solar, wind or nuclear power into methane fuel and other chemical compounds. The microbial methane would be captured and stored and then used to fuel airplanes, ships and vehicles, ScienceDaily reported. The research project is funded by a three-year grant from the Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford.

Mars Petcare has dropped plans to build a wind turbine at its Birstall factory in West Yorkshire, UK, reported Batley & Birstall News. Residents and the local council had opposed the turbine, which was approved in 2010 via appeal after initially being rejected.

Broadway Renewable Strategies, Cargo Venture/Millenium Partners, the Boston Redevelopment Authority and inverter company Satcon collaborated on a 568.7-kW solar PV project as part of Boston mayor Thomas Menino’s Innovation District Solar Challenge. The project, one of the largest solar rooftop arrays in the city of Boston, was installed under a power purchase agreement between Broadway Renewable and Cargo Ventures. The project was financed with a $471,780 Commonwealth Solar Stimulus Award from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.

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