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MidAmerican completes acquisition of First Solar’s 550-MW Topaz farm

Iowa-based MidAmerican Renewables L.L.C., a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., has completed its acquisition of First Solar, Inc.’s 550-megawatt Topaz Solar Farm which was first announced in December last year. The Topaz solar farm, amounting to more than $2 billion, is currently under construction in San Luis Obispo County, California, and is expected to generate enough energy to power approximately 160,000 California homes.

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Kior closes $75 million four-year loan

Getting a financial strength boost, Khosla Ventures-backed next-generation biofuels company Kior, Inc. obtained a four-year $75-million loan from its investors, a lender group of an affiliate of Vinod Khosla and two Canadian corporations owned by Alberta Investment Management Corporation.

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Hearing of delisted CleanTech Innovation’s lawsuit postponed

The hearing of a lawsuit filed by Chinese wind turbine tower maker CleanTech Innovation against Nasdaq Stock Market, L.L.C. was postponed last week, although the trial is expected to open soon, China.org.cn reported, citing Xinhua. CleanTech Innovation, which has a corporate office in Tieling City in Liaoning Province, China, sued Nasdaq Stock Market and Nasdaq OMX Group Inc. for $300 million in damages on January 5 following its delisting from the Nasdaq. The turbine tower manufacturer is accusing the latter of racism and discrimination, which it denies.

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U.S. biodiesel industry produces 1 billion gallons in 2011

The United States produced roughly 1 billion gallons of biodiesel in 2011, a near-tripling of 2010 figures, the National Biodiesel Board said. The group, a national trade association which represents the U.S. biodiesel industry, said the industry’s 2011 comeback, after a year of retraction, generated receipts amounting to $3 billion in gross domestic product.

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Ohio’s Swepco to acquire 360 MW of wind power

Ohio-based American Electric Power’s subsidiary Southwestern Electric Power Co. signed a series of 20-year power purchase agreements to acquire a total of 358.65 megawatts of wind energy from wind projects in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

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Trade investigator eyed as solar imports reportedly surge

The White House is bent on launching a new investigative unit dedicated to looking into suspected unfair trade practices of other countries, singling out China. President Barack Obama, in his third State of the Union address delivered Tuesday night, said he is establishing a new Trade Enforcement Unit which will be tasked to investigate countries that unfairly subsidize exports and ship pirated goods to the U.S.

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Obama: ‘I will not walk away from clean energy’

United States President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union Address yesterday, said the “promise of clean energy” is still alive, but he will need some help from Congress to move things forward. Mr. Obama, whose speech talked about making a U.S. economy that’s “built to last,” said some progress on the “clean energy” front has been made in the country, although more needs to be done especially in terms of government support.

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Chevy Volt no fire hazard says traffic safety agency

General Motor Company’s Chevy Volt has been deemed safe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration after a months-long investigation confirmed that the plug-in hybrid’s lithium battery pack is not prone to catching fire. The N.H.T.S.A. started an investigation last November 25 after a side-impact collision test caused a Volt to catch fire three weeks after a crash test.

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Ford withdraws from nonprofit U.S. Climate Action Partnership

Ford Motor Company formally withdrew from the U.S. Climate Action Partnership, an environmental lobby organization which uses corporate support to promote a cap-and-trade framework for carbon emissions.

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CPS Energy to buy 200 MW from Texas ‘clean coal’ project

CPS Energy of San Antonio will annually pay for 200 megawatts of electricity generated by Summit Power Group Inc.’s $2.4-billion, 400-MW Texas Clean Energy Project,a carbon capture and storage project which uses coal gasification, carbon dioxide sequestrationand urea production technologies, when the facility is completed by 2015. The plant will be receiving $450 million in funding from the United States Department of Energy’s Clean Coal Power Initiative, of which $211 million came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

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