The Department of Energy (DOE) and the Department of Agriculture are using Recovery funding options for an array of green energy projects throughout the country. DOE has designated $90 billion in Recovery funds and loan guarantees for projects that focus on energy efficiency and, in particular, renewable or clean power sources. The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated $273 million for infrastructure improvements that include installing new or additional renewable energy sources on USDA property.
Wind blade testing at Massachusetts Clean Energy Center.
The world’s largest wind farm is under construction in eastern Oregon, as a result of a $1.3 billion loan guarantee from DOE. The Caithness Shepherds Flat project involves building an 845-megawatt wind generation facility that officials expect will avoid more than 1.2 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year (the equivalent of the carbon dioxide emissions from approximately 200,000 passenger vehicles). The farm will use wind turbines specifically designed for high efficiency and increased reliability. While prevalent in Europe and Asia, these turbines will be deployed for the first time in North America. Caithness Energy, LLC and GE Energy Financial Services are jointly developing the project, which is the largest to date to receive a loan guarantee under DOE’s Financial Institution Partnership Program.
Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MCEC) is using $24.8 million in Recovery funds from DOE to design, build, and eventually operate a facility that will test large wind-turbine blades. MCEC says that testing blades according to internationally set design standards is “a critical factor” for maintaining high levels of reliability. To meet those standards, testing involves intensive scrutiny of the blades’ aerodynamics and structural integrity. DOE also awarded a $22 million Recovery Act tax credit to help Merrill Technologies Group manufacture wind turbine nacelles, housings for key turbine components. The Michigan-based company rolled its first nacelle off the production line in late October and said it will be hiring 125 more workers as production ramps up in 2011.
Solar panels for Wayne National Forest (Ohio) offices.
USDA’s Forest Service awarded $400,000 in Recovery funds to Wayne National Forest in Ohio to expand the existing solar energy system on its headquarters building in Nelsonville. Adding 252 new solar panels on the roof earlier this year has already saved more than $8,300 on the building’s electric bill as of September 30, the Forest Service says. Officials also state that the system has prevented nearly 130,000 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, reducing the need for approximately 64 tons of coal that would have been burned to generate an equivalent amount of electricity.
Compressed Natural Gas
Fueling compressed natural gas trash trucks in Idaho.
Idaho’s Treasure Valley Clean Cities Coalition (TVCCC) received a $5.5 million Recovery grant from DOE to promote greater use of compressed natural gas (CNG), the cleanest burning fossil fuel. The TVCCC plans to build two public facilities that will be filling stations for CNG-powered vehicles. One facility will be in Boise, the other in Nampa. TVCCC awarded the majority of the grant, $5 million, to Allied Waste Services in southwestern Idaho to buy 33 CNG-fueled vehicles – mainly trash and recycling trucks – and upgrade two maintenance shops to accommodate CNG vehicles. Allied Waste will add in $6.8 million of its own funds for the purchases. TVCCC also plans a two-year “Shift to CNG” public awareness campaign. The new buildings are expected to be completed and the new vehicles deployed by April 2011.
Back to Featured Stories