Here’s the latest action we’re following today on the GreenBeat:
Sierra Club sues California regulators over solar plant — The suit alleges that the California Energy Commission improperly approved the Calico solar project, recently sold by Tessera Solar to developer K Road, Reuters reports. The suit alleges the project would have a negative impact on rare plant and animal species. Greentech Media argues the potential danger to wildlife outweighs the benefits of getting more renewable energy online.
LDK Solar acquires 70 percent stake in Solar Power, Inc. (SPI) — The Chinese manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers announced it has taken a $33 million stake in solar project developer SPI. The deal should create demand for LDK’s modules by offering up Solar Power’s portfolio of projects (pictured, left). It shows the burgeoning LDK wants to follow in the footsteps of heavyweights like First Solar and Sharp by buying up or creating solar projects that will fuel demand for its products.
Ineos Bio nabs $75 million loan guarantee from USDA — The U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded the loan guarantee to Ineos Bio and its joint venture partner New Planet Energy. The money will go to the construction of a biofuels plant in Florida, which will have a capacity of eight million gallons and churn out ethanol produced from vegetative waste.
Coda raises $76 million towards pre-IPO round — The electric car startup announced it has raised $76 million of a planned $125 million in what should be the company’s final round of financing before it tries for an IPO. Its first car ever, the Coda sedan, it slated to launch in the second half of next year.
Global car executives skeptical on affordable electric vehicles — Most automotive executives don’t think there will be a “reasonably priced” electric vehicle available to the masses in the next five years, according to a survey conducted by KPMG. They also don’t think the cars would be affordable without government subsidies, but see the electric vehicle segment as the fastest growing one in the market, the BBC reports.
Ambient taps into $5 million company reserves — The smart grid communications infrastructure company announced it has converted a $5 million “holdback account” to company cash to strengthen its balance sheet. The company said it made the move to prepare for “new strategic and market opportunities in 2011.” The account was created in 2009 as something of a rainy day fund. Ambient says it grew throughout 2010 and has a strong backlog of orders.
AQT announces plans for second thin-film manufacturing plant — The new facility is slated to go into production by the start of 2012 and to eventually grow to 1 gigawatt of capacity by the end of 2014. It will expand the company’s current capacity this year by 30 to 40 megawatts to help fill the AQT’s backlog of 160 megawatts. AQT makes thin-film CIGS cells, so named for their ingredients of cadmium, indium, gallium and selenide.
Chevrolet Volt gets Powermat wireless device charger — The Volt (pictured) will be among the first of GM’s cars to get the mats installed, which will allow electronics like iPods and smartphones to be charged wirelessly. (Which is cool, but not as cool as being able to charge an entire electric car wirelessly.) GM announced it would invest $5 million in Powermat through its venture capital arm.
First Solar moves ahead to build 2 gigawatts of plants in China — The industry leader has signed a memorandum of understanding with China Guangdong Nuclear Solar Energy Development Co. to develop the first phase, a 30-megawatt undertaking. The project will be built in China’s Inner Mongolia. It hopes to start construction in 2011, Earth2Tech reports.
Wheego’s LiFe gets EPA approval — The startup electric carmaker will next need to pass safety ratings by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Once it does so, it can begin delivering vehicles to buyers, the Wall Street Journal reports.