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Renewables Briefing: Oberlin, Dairy Biogas, Tidal Power, St. Petersburg

The Maine Public Utilities Commission directed three utilities to buy 4 MW of tidal electricity from Ocean Renewable Power Company, in the first long-term power purchase agreements for tidal energy in the United States.

Construction on Oberlin College’s 2.27 MW solar array will begin in early May and should be completed by the end of August. Spear Point Energy will purchase electricity from Oberlin; the school says the PV array, generating about 3 million kWh of electricity per year, will be the largest on any college campus in Ohio.

St. Petersburg, Fla. expects to save more than $20,000 per year on its electricity bills after Solar Source installed 21 active hot water systems at various municipal buildings. Stimulus funds, provided through an Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant, paid for the solar thermal systems.

Synergy Dairy, a 2,000-head dairy farm in Covington, NY, now houses the state’s largest on-farm, co-digestion biogas power project (see photo, above), according to CH4 Biogas, which built the 1.4 MW plant using a 120,000-gallon co-digester and GE engine. The facility is expected to reduce the farm’s baseload CO2 emissions by about 8,5000 tons a year and will digest waste from local food processors as well as from the dairy’s cow manure.

Agua Caliente, the US’s largest PV power plant in operation, starting delivering electricity from its first 100 MW this week. NRG Energy owns the Yuma County, Ariz.-based plant, and First Solar is the project’s developer. Once completed in 2014, the companies say the 290-MW PV plant will be will be among the world’s largest.

WGL Holdings has installed a Bloom Energy Server at its Washington Gas subsidiary’s Springfield Center. The fuel cell will provide approximately 35 percent of Washington Gas’ baseload power needs for the entire facility, eliminating almost all SOx, NOx and other harmful smog-forming particulate emissions, according to Bloom Energy.

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