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Every day is Earthday.

Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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Your intrepid reporter

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    A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015

    SOLAR ADDS VALUE TO HOME PRICE

    Appraising Solar Energy’s Value; Solar Panels and Home Values

    Lisa Prevost, February 20, 2015 (NY Times)

    “New research sponsored by the Department of Energy shows that buyers are willing to pay more for homes with rooftop solar panels — a finding that may strengthen the case for factoring the value of sustainable features into home appraisals…[ Selling Into The Sun from] Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory…examined sales data for almost 23,000 homes in eight states from 2002 to 2013. About 4,000 of the homes had solar photovoltaic systems, all of them owned (as opposed to being financed through a lease with the solar company)...Researchers found that buyers were willing to pay a premium of $15,000 for a home with the average-size solar photovoltaic system (3.6 kilowatts, or 3,600 watts), compared with a similar home without one…The Berkeley lab report notes that more research is needed into the effect of leased systems…” click here for more

    NEBRASKA NEW ENERGY CAN BE HUGE

    Report: Solar, wind energy has huge potential in state

    Russell Hubbard, February 21, 2015 (World-Herald News Service via The Grand Island Independent)

    “…[Renewable energy has the potential to supply almost 75 percent of [Nebraska’s] needs…[according to Powering Up Nebraska from Creighton University and] ‘significant cost declines’ for electricity generated by wind and solar power are spurring development in Nebraska and nationwide…[T] he renewables industry is responsible for $1 billion worth of investment in Nebraska so far and has the potential to create as many as 44,645 construction jobs…Renewable energy is set to be a larger part of the state’s output. With environmental laws phasing out coal-fired plants, Nebraska Public Power District says it already is close to reaching its 2020 goal of 10 percent of its energy with renewables, primarily wind. The Omaha Public Power District says it has a long-term goal of generating 30 percent of its electricity from wind…” click here for more

    SAMSUNG RAISES APPLE WITH NEW EV BET

    Samsung makes a big play for electric cars by nabbing a battery pack firm

    Davindra Hardawar, February 23, 2015 (engadget)

    “Samsung wants to ensure it's as integral to the electric car world as it is to the mobile arena. The Korean electronics giant is acquiring…Magna Steyr, which will fit nicely inside of Samsung SDI, its component division. SDI has already scored a major deal with BMW providing batteries for its new i3 electric car and i8 hybrid, and it will make up eight percent of Tesla's battery supply this year (it's also in talks to build even more)…[The move] should make Samsung a stronger competitor to Panasonic, which is Tesla's biggest supplier, as well as its partner for the massive "Gigafactory" battery plant…[Magna was] one of the companies Apple reportedly talked to for its rumored electric car project…[This is likely] a reaction to those Apple Car rumors, but [fits] with Samsung's general strategy for new markets: Make the components everyone needs and reap the profits…” click here for more

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    VIRGINIA FINALLY MOVES ON SOLAR

    Bill heads to Senate in effort to establish solar development authority

    Jacob Geiger, February 23, 2015 (Richmond Times Dispatch)

    “...[The Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority will go before the state Senate]…The authority would encourage the solar energy industry in Virginia by developing programs that make it easier for solar energy projects to get financing. And it would also help Dominion Virginia Power…the state’s largest electric utility…invest $700 million in large-scale solar photovoltaic projects in a number of locations. The projects would generate at least 400 megawatts of power by 2020…An amendment approved [in committee] was tailored specifically to Dominion. It charged the authority with assisting Dominion’s plans by ‘providing for the financing or assisting in the financing of the construction or purchase of such solar energy projects’ authorized by state law…[A Dominion lobbyist who was previously a Republican delegate from Fairfax County…said the amendment will help Dominion develop solar power plants as cheaply as possible...[because] much of the solar power industry relies on tax-exempt financing or government grants for which Dominion is not eligible. The changes to the proposed solar development authority will help Dominion and private developers who might build the projects…” click here for more

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    WIND TURBINE MAKERS BREAKING RECORDS

    2014 a record breaking year for wind turbine manufacturers

    Charlotte Malone, February 23, 2015 (Blue&Green)

    “For wind turbine manufacturers, 2014 was a record breaking year…[though] the sector could see a fall in demand in 2016 because of regulatory uncertainty…Global Wind Market Update – Demand & Supply 2014 [from FTI Consulting reports]…that global wind capacity reached more than 50 gigawatts in 2014, over 40% growth on 2013. The record breaking growth is mainly driven by China, Germany and Brazil. All ten of the top wind turbine original equipment manufacturers have benefitted from the growth, reporting individual records for installations…[T]he wind industry is continuing to see a transition away from feed in tariffs and towards more ‘market-reflective’ support mechanisms in 2014. Despite the progress made last year, it adds that the global wind market is likely to fall next year, partly due to uncertainty in regulations…” click here for more

    GEOTHERMAL COULD GET HOT

    Now is the time to invest in real geothermal energy; Thousands of drilling rigs are idle. Why not put laid-off roustabouts to work drilling for renewable energy?

    Lloyd Alter, February 22, 2015 (Mother Nature Network)

    “…[Geothermal energy systems use the Earth's underground heat] to make steam, which drives turbines, just like coal or nuclear plants do. This heat is close enough to tap at geologic faults, so the hot spots are along the Pacific rim and Iceland, the geothermal capital of the world…[T]hanks to the drop in the price of oil, now might be a good time to drill…[D]rillers are parking rigs as oil prices collapse and have laid off thousands of workers…[I]n Alberta, Canada, the] head of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA), Alison Thompson, is teaching drillers how to adapt oil technology to geothermal drilling…Tech transfer from the oil industry is actually happening in the geothermal world; Norway's Statoil is drilling for geothermal in Iceland, and Chevron is a big player in geothermal…[Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS)] can provide base-load electric power and heat at a level that can have a major impact on the United States, while incurring minimal environmental impacts. With a reasonable investment in R&D, EGS could provide 100 GWe or more of cost ¬competitive generating capacity in the next 50 years…” click here for more

    Monday, February 23, 2015

    MORE ON APPLE’S iCAR

    Report: Apple aims to launch electric car by 2020

    February 22, 2015 (Fox News)

    “…Sources familiar with [Apple’s unannounced electric car project said the company is moving forward with an aggressive plan to develop a battery-powered car to compete with Tesla, General Motors, Nissan, and other established automakers in the electric car segment. Production on a car could reportedly kick off in five years…[T]he tech company has been luring engineers from other outfits in the automotive sector, including Tesla, and has been in contact with a manufacturer capable of producing vehicles on a contract basis…[E]lectric car battery-maker A123 Systems, has reportedly gone as far as filing a lawsuit to try to stop Apple from poaching its staff… A123 Systems is owned by Wanxiang Group, the parent company of Fisker Automotive, which [is revamping] its Karma plug-in hybrid sedan…Apple is already heavily invested in the automotive sector with its Siri Eyes Free and Apple Car Play software platforms, which allow its mobile devices to work with a variety of in-car infotainment systems…[It competes with Google’s] Android Auto system…Analysts have estimated that Fisker and Tesla each spent about $1.5 billion to develop the Karma and Model S, respectively, and Apple is currently sitting on a cash reserve of $178 billion. That's more than enough to buy Tesla outright six times over, or GM, Ford and Chrysler combined at their current market capitalization, let alone develop its own car from scratch…” click here for more

    BIG HAWAII WIND FROM NEXTERA

    NextEra Energy plans to build Hawaii's largest wind farm on Maui

    Duane Shimogawa, February 20, 2015 (Pacific Business News)

    “…[NextEra Energy Resources, a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, plans to build, own, and operate] the largest wind energy farm in Hawaii on the southern coast of Maui…The more than 120-megawatt [Kahikinui Wind project would be built on about 500 acres of Department of Hawaiian Home Lands at the Kahikinui homestead on the southern slopes of Haleakala leased for 35 years. NextEra] said that it would benefit Hawaii to develop up to 200 megawatts of additional wind or solar capacity on Maui…NextEra also is one of the companies looking to build an undersea cable that would connect the electric grids on Oahu and Maui…First Wind owns the biggest wind farm in Hawaii, the 69-megawatt Kawailoa Wind project on Oahu's North Shore [and three other wind farms]…Sempra U.S. Gas & Power owns one wind farm in Hawaii…California's Champlin Hawaii Holdings LLC has plans to build a $90 million, 24-megawatt wind farm near the Kahuku Wind project on Oahu's North Shore…” click here for more

    BIG CALIFORNIA SOLAR FROM KAISER

    Kaiser to buy solar power from Riverside County project

    Sammy Roth, February 19, 2015 (The Desert Sun)

    "…[Health care giant Kaiser Permanente will] buy 110 megawatts of power from NextEra Energy Resources' Blythe solar project…NextEra can now start construction on the stalled Blythe project, which is expected to employ nearly 500 people at the height of construction and should come online by the end of 2016, just in time to secure a 30 percent tax credit…Kaiser committed in 2012 to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent below 2008 levels by 2020, and it now expects to meet that goal three years ahead of schedule…Federal officials approved the 485-megawatt, 4,000-acre Blythe project in August, but NextEra didn't start construction right away because it hadn't found a buyer for the electricity the project would generate. Now that Kaiser has signed [a 20 year, $25 million contract], NextEra will start building…At least half a dozen [other] large-scale projects proposed for [the eastern California Mojave Desert] have stalled or slowed…hamstrung by an inability to secure power-purchase agreements with utilities. As California's major utilities have gotten closer to meeting the state's 33 percent renewable energy mandate, they've had less incentive to sign contracts…That could change if California lawmakers adopt a 50 percent renewable energy mandate…" click here for more

    Wednesday, February 18, 2015

    KOCH BROS-SIERRA CLUB GROUP BACKS TESLA

    Koch brothers and Sierra Club unite behind Tesla

    David Muller, February 18, 2015 (MLive)

    “…The Koch brothers' Americans for Prosperity conservative political advocacy group and environmental protection group the Sierra Club have signed a letter decrying the ‘anti-consumer effects of laws [in Michigan, Texas, Arizona, New Jersey, Maryland, and other states barring Tesla Motors’ direct-to-consumer] vehicle sales…Acknowledging their broad range of public interests, the signatories of the letter…note they frequently find themselves on different sides of policy debates…[but jointly oppose efforts] to forbid car manufacturers from opening their own stores or service centers in order to deal directly with consumers…[It] goes on to say that the group's concerns are not limited to just Tesla, but apply also to other companies…[because direct to customer sales] could reduce costs and increase consumer satisfaction…” click here for more

    GOOGLE BUY TO REPOWER ALTAMONT WIND

    Google buys Altamont wind energy to power Googleplex

    Matt O’Brien, February 11, 2015 (San Jose Mercury News)

    “…Google has spent $1.5 billion around the world on clean energy projects cutting the pollution from millions of users…but now it's found a powerful electricity source close to home…[O]ne of the nation's oldest, largest and most iconic wind farms…is about to get a Google-funded makeover…[I]ts 20-year power purchase agreement with Florida-based NextEra Energy will dramatically transform the rolling, treeless [Altamont Pass] landscape…About 770 old turbines from the 1980s will be replaced this year by 48 new machines producing twice as much energy, enough to power Google's corporate campus in Mountain View with 100 percent renewable power…Google is paying for 50 percent, or nearly 43 megawatts, of the power…The other buyer is undisclosed, but Florida-based NextEra said it is neither a utility nor a tech company…Neither Google nor NextEra is disclosing the price…” click here for more

    KAISER HEALTH CARE TO RUN ON SUN

    NRG to provide up to 70 MW of solar power to Kaiser Permanente

    February 18, 2015 (Penn Energy)

    “…[The NRG Renew subsidiary of NRG Energy], the country’s largest independent power producer, has entered into an agreement with Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit healthcare providers, to help Kaiser Permanente achieve its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions [30%] three years ahead of its promised 2020 date by providing up to] 70 megawatts (MW) of on-site solar…Kaiser Permanente will [offset 6% to 8% of its load and have the most] on-site installed solar capacity among U.S. healthcare companies [and be third among all U.S. companies]…NRG Renew will implement a single-brand, multi-site distributed solar program at as many as 170 sites, which will include medical offices, hospitals, clinics, data centers and other Kaiser Permanente facilities…” click here for more

    Tuesday, February 17, 2015

    THE MONEY IN SOLAR

    Solar Funding and M&A; 2014 Fourth Quarter and Annual Report

    February 2015 (Mercom Capital Group)

    “…Total corporate funding including VC, public market and debt financings totaled $26.5 billion in 2014, a 175 percent increase year-over-year…Global venture capital funding in the solar sector saw a sharp increase over the previous year with more than $1.3 billion raised in 85 deals. In comparison, in 2013, $612 million was raised in 98 deals…It was a record year for public market financings, which accounted for about $5.2 billion in 52 deals in 2014, nearly doubling from 2013, which had $2.8 billion in 39 deals…There were seven announced IPOs in 2014. The largest was Abengoa Yield’s raise of $828.7 million on the NASDAQ. Yieldco’s raised about $1.5 billion of the $2.1 billion raised via IPOs…Announced debt financing increased threefold in 2014 with $20 billion in 58 deals compared to 2013 with $6.2 billion in 38 deals. China continued to dominate debt financing activity with $15.8 billion in 21 deals…Solar M&A activity in 2014 was the most active of the last four years in terms of transactions, with 116 transactions compared to 81 transactions in 2013…”

    click here for more

    WIND’S LAKE MICHIGAN PROBLEM

    Whatever happened to offshore wind energy? Five years since Lake Michigan wind turbines proposed

    Stephen Kloosterman, Februaqry 11, 2015 (MLive)

    “…Five years ago, Scandia Wind created quite a stir by proposing a large wind-energy project…[for Lake Michigan off the West Michigan coast but] the discussion of putting wind turbines in Lake Michigan has been relatively silent since…State officials conducted a two-year study of the issue but their recommendations don't include areas in or near West Michigan…[A] top executive at Consumers Energy said there's not much of a market for the offshore wind energy…However, the idea of offshore wind refuses to die…In 2009, wind energy was…part of Gov. Jennifer Granholm's administration plan to help the state's economy rebound from the recession…Scandia Wind LLC got the public's attention late that year proposing 100 to 200 utility-sized wind turbines in Lake Michigan…Scandia had hoped to get the Mason County and Oceana County boards of commissioners to support the proposed development, but that sort of formal support never materialized…Another blow to offshore wind energy on the Great Lakes came last year when the U.S. Department of Energy bypassed a grant application for a Lake Erie pilot project in favor of projects on the East and West coasts...And the market seems headed in the direction of on-shore wind energy…” click here for more