This week saw further moves toward offshore wind. As expected, the U.S. Interior Department will auction off offshore wind-energy rights in federal waters off Massachusetts and Rhode Island. This week the Department set the date for the auction: the end of July. The department estimates that offshore wind power could supply roughly 1 million homes with electricity. The Wind Energy Area up for auction will be sold in two blocks, spans 164,750 acres, and is located 9.2 miles south of Rhode Island coast. The department noted that combined electricity generation from both blocks could net 3,400 MW.
This week also saw the launch of a turbine that is offshore but not anchored on the ocean floor. Researchers at the University of Maine launched the first offshore floating wind machine last Friday. Technically, this is the first offshore wind installation in the U.S.
We also saw several exciting collaborations between advanced energy companies this week. Quasar energy group is partnering with PPG industries to construct a new anaerobic digester in Franklin, OH. The Anaerobic Digester is an 810-kilowatt facility and takes regional food processing waste and biosolids. This is the eighth organic-waste-to-energy project in the state by quasar, which is a member of our state partner, Ohio Advanced Energy Economy. USDA is providing partial funding through the Rural Energy for America Program. The facility will be built using 99 percent U.S. components with 80 percent sourced from Ohio.
Also in the news, two AEE member companies are doing business together. Verizon announced that it will purchase 10 fuel cells from Bloom Energy to power data centers in California. The 200 kW cells will deliver a total of 16 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year. The fuel cells will be housed at two call-switching centers in Los Angeles and San Francisco along with a data center in San Jose. These installations bring Verizon’s advanced energy power production to 70 million kilowatt hours of electricity – enough to power 6,000 homes per year.
Finally, this week we saw new examples of financing models that cross technologies. In this week’s State Update we cover Colorado’s new legislation allowing use of energy performance contracts, which are typically reserved for building energy efficiency investments, to purchase fuel-efficient and electric vehicles. Now we see a Texas start-up taking a cue from third-party solar, which has reduced upfront costs and attracted financing at scale for rooftop solar, to mobilize capital for efficiency projects. Noesis Energy has amassed an online marketplace where efficiency professionals use company’s analytics tool to provide tailored quotes to building owners seeking energy improvements. Now, Noesis is connecting participants with financiers as well, with four firms – BluePath Finance, Metrus Energy, TIP Capital and Vireo Energy – offering financing for projects.
“We’ve studied the solar industry very carefully,” said Noesis Energy CEO Scott Harmon. “I think there are a lot of similarities between solar and efficiency.”