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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, July 30, 2014

    SOLAR AND UTILITIES SHAPE EACH OTHER

    SEPA Analysis Identifies Major Trends in Growth of U.S. Solar Generation Market; First Quarter of 2014 Shows 229 Percent Year-Over-Year Jump in Utility-Scale Installations

    July 28, 2014 (Solar Electric Power Association)

    “…[There was] a 49-percent growth in the utility-scale solar market in the United States from 2013 to 2014…[and total] accumulated solar capacity now stands at 10.7 gigawatts (GW) at more than 475,000 locations across the county [according to the seventh annual Utility Solar Trends report from the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA)]…[It describes three important] market drivers…[1-Key] issues of customer compensation and rate design – that is, net metering, value of solar and customer fees – have come to the fore as utilities and, solar industry and consumer stakeholders seek fair and cost-effective paths toward increased levels of distributed solar adoption. Solutions will differ across states and utilities…[2-Utility] solar is now the industry’s largest market segment. But uncertainty has emerged…as utilities close in on meeting state-mandated renewable energy standards and developers anticipate the step-down of the federal investment tax credit coming in 2017…[3-Utilities] are in the early phases of developing new and innovative solar options…” click here for more

    ‘HIDDEN’ WIND COSTS DWARFED BY ‘HIDDEN’ FOSSIL COSTS

    ‘Hidden Cost’ Of Wind Power vs. Conventional Power Plants

    Tina Casey, July 27, 2014 (Clean Technica)

    “…[A so-called hidden cost of wind power] has been touted by the fossil fuel industry as an argument against integrating more wind power into the grid, but according to [calculations by the American Wind Energy Association] the ‘hidden cost’ for conventional power plants in Texas is 17 times more than wind…[The] calculations apply to the cost of contingency reserves needed in case of power plant failure…[A] typical Texas household with a monthly electricity bill of $128 per month would be shelling out 4.3 cents per month for the additional contingency reserves required by wind power…[Using the example of Texas grid operator ERCOT, which requires 2800 megawatts of fast-acting contingency reserves for a conventional power plant failure, the cost is] 76 cents per month for a typical Texas household…In order to make the case that wind energy is more expensive to integrate into the grid, the fossil fuel industry has been ignoring the [17 times higher] cost of integrating conventional power plants…” click here for more

    GM’S RUN FOR THE 200 MILE CHARGE

    GM isn't alone in race to 200-mile electric car; New rumors don’t change my view: GM will have two different plug-in electric car platforms in the next one to three years.

    July 28, 2014 (MSN)

    “A few days ago, the Internet was again abuzz with rumors about a future electric car from General Motors…[that] would have 200 miles of range, be available by the end of 2016 and be part of the Chevrolet Sonic nameplate…LG has recently said that it will have a battery capable of providing 200 miles of range by 2016. LG is GM's [and other automakers’] current battery supplier…At its core, GM likely has two separate plug-in cars planned for release in the next one to three years: [A] plug-in hybrid to replace the current Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR…[with an electric range of approximately 40 miles, and then a gasoline engine adding normal car range]…Most industry observers think GM is taking close to $8,000 in cost out of the Volt, for this all-new 2.0 model…[T]he second, and far more difficult, electric GM car…would be a 200 mile range pure electric car that could be sold at a profit for as little money as possible…” click here for more

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014

    OFFICIAL FORECASTS OVERLOOK NEW ENERGY

    Technology Is The New Black In The Energy Economy

    Chip Register, July 24, 2014 Forbes

    “…The traditional models [used to predict energy supply and demand] have all coalesced GDP figures with reserve estimates and power generation investments to deduce what our energy production levels and consumption mix might look like forty years in the future…Billions go on the line, backed by models that are powered by [reports like the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) Annual Energy Outlook, the report from Statoil, and BP ’s Statistical Review. But I fear] the pace of arrival of disruptive technology [has] increased to the point where the standard error on these is so wide as to render them virtually meaningless…While the [current EIA forecast] could very well turn out to be true, the report said nothing about possible technological changes…[I]n all the scenarios natural gas seems to be the only winner, with renewables hardly gaining traction despite a flurry of technological advancements in the sector…[T]he energy markets are experiencing a Centennial Moment…[like the] switch from steam coal to oil and gas. The catalyst for these moments is always the arrival of disruptive technology…Beware the standard error…” click here for more

    NEW ENERGY NEEDS NEW TRANSMISSION

    To Unlock Wind, Build Transmission Lines Linking the Plains to the Cities

    Robert Fares, July 22, 2014 (Scientific American)

    “…Like oil and gas resources, renewable energy regions are often located far away from major population centers…[and if] the requisite transmission infrastructure is not in place, a wind farm’s electricity output might have to be voluntarily turned down to avoid overloading what transmission lines do exist…[W]ithout the adequate transmission infrastructure in place, there is no way to bring wind energy from the plains to the cities, and wind will not produce at its full potential…[A] new transmission line can cost over $1 million per mile, and that’s for the equipment alone, before any of the NIMBY (not in my backyard) related costs that tend to plague major transmission projects. Moreover, unlike oil and gas pipelines, it’s impossible to control whose electricity is flowing on whose power line…For this reason, the cost of transmission lines is typically socialized, even where electricity market competition has been introduced. This is good for raising the capital required to build the transmission infrastructure we all need, but it can also introduce partisanship and bureaucracy, slowing the whole process down…[The Texas CREZ (Competitive Renewable Energy Zones) transmission project [proves that while] new transmission lines may be costly, in many regions of the U.S. they are a required precursor to unlocking wind energy’s true potential…” click here for more

    BRITISH COLUMBIA EMISSIONS TAX SUCCEEDING

    Carbon tax hasn’t harmed B.C. growers, study finds;Trade data shows no impact from tax on fossil fuels, authors say

    Randy Shore, July 22, 2014 (Vancouver Sun)

    “B.C’s carbon tax has had no overall negative impact on the province’s agriculture sector since being introduced in 2008, according to [The Effect of British Columbia’s Carbon Tax on Agricultural Trade] by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions…[There was] no drop in exports, and no increase in imports of agricultural products attributable to the [tax of $30 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions applied to virtually all fossil fuels, with an 80%] exemption granted to some ‘carbon intensive’ producers, in particular greenhouse growers…[Meanwhile] B.C.’s fossil fuel consumption has dropped by nearly 19 per cent, while the rest of the country has increased consumption by three per cent...[Consumers pay] 4.62 cents/litre for propane, 6.67 cents/litre for gasoline] and $62.31/tonne of coal…” click here for more

    Monday, July 28, 2014

    CLIMATE SKEPTICS REACHING ‘CATASTROPHIC’ NUMBERS

    Report: Climate Change Skeptics Could Reach Catastrophic Levels By 2020

    July 23, 2014 (The Onion)

    “In a worrying development that could have dire implications for the health of the planet, a report…suggests that the number of climate change skeptics could reach catastrophic levels by the year 2020…[T]he rising quantity and concentration of individuals who willfully deny or downplay the ruinous impact of the ongoing climate crisis will no longer be manageable by the end of the decade, leading to disastrous consequences for global ecosystems that may well prove irreversible…

    “[EPA administrator Gina McCarthy confirmed] a worldwide spike in the number of deniers who are actively seeking to discredit the scientific consensus that human activity is responsible for climate change…

    “Since the latter half of the 20th century, the EPA noted that more and more regions, biomes, and even human commercial and industrial activities have suffered the harmful effects of individuals who refuse to accept that the ongoing rise in global surface temperatures is due to greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, the report revealed an alarming upsurge in the number of authors of discredited scientific studies questioning the reality of climate change, adversarial cable news show guests who scoff at the notion that humans can affect Earth’s weather patterns, and politicians whose opinions are controlled by fossil fuel company lobbying groups, all of whose increased presence in the world jeopardizes the planet’s vulnerable biosphere…

    “Additionally, the report noted a shocking jump in the number of uninformed citizens among the public at large, whose widespread dissemination of misleading data, half-truths, and outright lies regarding climate trends has already facilitated the destruction of numerous natural resources and hundreds of species, while putting still others at imminent risk…However, with the rise of such individuals having only accelerated over time, the report’s authors conceded that it may no longer be possible to eliminate this devastating man-made phenomenon…” click here for more

    THE COST OF THE EPA EMISSIONS CUTS

    First-Of-Its-Kind Report Ranks U.S. Electric Utility Companies’ Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Performance; Xcel Energy, Edison International, Sempra Energy, Northeast Utilities, PG&E Rank High; Dominion Resources, Southern Company, SCANA Rank Low

    July 24, 2014 (Ceres)

    "…[A] new report from Ceres and Clean Edge [that] ranks the nation’s largest electric utilities and their local subsidiaries on their renewable energy sales and energy efficiency savings…found that many utilities are deploying lower carbon fuel sources and that state policies are a key driver in that performance, but there is variability in performance even among utilities operating in the same states…[Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy] ranks the 32 largest electric utility holding companies, which collectively account for about 68 percent of 2012 U.S. retail electricity sales, on three clean energy indicators…NV Energy, Xcel, PG&E, Sempra, and Edison International were found to rank the highest for renewable energy sales, with renewable resources accounting for nearly 17 to 21 percent of their retail electricity sales in 2012. Southern Company, SCANA, Dominion, AES, and Entergy ranked at the bottom, with renewable energy sales accounting for less than two percent of each company’s total power sales…Energy efficiency top performers among holding companies included PG&E, Edison International, and Northeast Utilities, whose cumulative annual energy efficiency savings were equivalent to 16 to 17 percent of their annual retail electric sales in 2012. PSEG, SCANA, Pepco Holdings, Dominion Resources, and Entergy ranked at the bottom, with cumulative annual energy efficiency savings accounting for less than one percent…” click here for more

    GEOTHERMAL DRILL SKILL ADVANCES

    Geothermal Industry Grows, With Help From Oil and Gas Drilling

    Kate Galbraith, July 23, 2014, NY Times

    “Geothermal energy…languishes in the shadows of better-known sources like wind and the sun…Yet the geothermal industry is growing…[to about 4 percent to 5 percent globally in 2013] and proponents hope that new technologies — including tie-ins with drilling for oil and natural gas — will bring further gains…The United States remains the world’s leader in the use of geothermal energy for electric power, followed by the Philippines, Indonesia and Mexico…At its most basic, geothermal power involves harnessing water heated to steam temperatures in the depths of the earth and using it to spin turbines that produce electricity. The Ring of Fire around the Pacific Ocean, where volcanoes and earthquakes are common, is an optimal source…

    “As an electricity source, geothermal energy has certain advantages over its main renewable competitors…[especially that it] works 24 hours a day…But geothermal carries substantial upfront costs [for exploration and development. It is hard to predict exactly where hot water will pool in the earth’s crust…Drilling wells is expensive, taking 50 percent to 60 percent of a project’s total costs…[M]ore experience, emerging technology that can derive energy from lower temperatures and a new wave of interest in oil and gas drilling stand to aid geothermal…” click here for more

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014

    NEW ENERGY WAS 55% OF 1H 2014 U.S. NEW BUILD

    Renewables Continue To Dominate New U.S. Generating Capacity

    21 July 2014 (Solar Industry)

    “…[S]olar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydropower provided 55.7% of newly installed U.S. electrical generating capacity during the first half of the year - 1,965 MW of the 3,529 MW total [according to] U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission figures…[Solar power] accounted for 32.1% of this new capacity with 1,131 MW. Wind provided 19.8% with 699 MW…The single greatest source of added generating capacity was natural gas with 44.1%, representing 1,555 MW. No new coal or nuclear capacity came online in the first half of the year…[R]enewable energy sources now account for 16.28% of all U.S. operating capacity…[with hydropower at 8.57%, wind at 5.26%, biomass at 1.37%, solar at 0.75%, and geothermal at 0.33%]…” click here for more

    EV SALES LEAP

    June EV Sales For US Near New High As Ford, Tesla And Nissan Stay Strong

    Jay Cole, July 1, 2014 (Inside EVs)

    "After electric vehicle sales flew off the chart in May with over 12,000 cars sold – an all-time record, it was assumed June would be a pullback month…[but June fell] only a hair (160 units) with an estimated 11,893 plug-ins sold in the US…Compared to June of 2013, that was a staggering improvement of43%...For the year to date, an estimated 54,463 Americans have chosen to buy a new EV, which is up 33% from last year…At the current pace, 130,000 new vehicle purchases would be of the plug-in variety for 2014…[W]hile Tesla and Ford were the ‘big name’ movers for June, Nissan continues to be the backbone of the electric vehicle industry in the US as the LEAF set its 16th consecutive record month for year-over-years sales in June with 2,347 cars sold…The only drag on the industry in June continues to be the Chevrolet Volt, as sales were off 34% (1,777 vs 2,698) during the month. Overall for the year, the Chevy is off 13%, the only major production EV to show a loss…” click here for more

    OCEAN ENERGY’S FINANCES UNDER SCRUTINY

    Ocean energy ROI questionable

    Barbara Vergetis Lundin, July 15, 2014 (Fierce Energy)

    “In 2013, the wave and tidal energy market was valued at $25 million, and Transparency Market Research (TMR) anticipates that will reach $10.1 billion in 2020 -- a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 64.1 percent from 2014 to 2020…When harnessed effectively, ocean could prove to be one of the largest reserves of clean and sustainable energy…Tidal stream power plants are a relatively new technology with ample scope for development, while tidal range power is a mature form of energy generation technology…[Wave energy] is a relatively new concept…with the installed capacity aggregated at just 5.77 MW in 2013…[L]arge-scale commercial array deployments of wave and tidal power plants [and development of the offshore wind energy sector] will be followed by massive cost reductions…TMR expects major developments in wave and tidal stream plants to take place in Europe but estimates South Korea to grow fastest in terms of tidal barrage operations…[T]he wave and tidal energy market is projected to reach 3712 MW by 2020 -- expanding at a CAGR of 34.5 percent from 2014 to 2020…Wave energy development in Asia-Pacific would be concentrated in Australia…[which is expected] to add nearly 25 MW of capacity by the end of 2020…” click here for more

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014

    U.S. DOE FORESEES NEW ENERGY

    EIA projects modest needs for new electric generation capacity

    July 16, 2014 (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

    “The Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case projects 351 gigawatts (GW) of new electric generating additions between 2013 and 2040…U.S. electric generating capacity additions averaged 35 GW annually from 2000 through 2005. Almost all of the capacity added during those years was natural gas-fired…From 2006 through 2012, annual average capacity additions dropped to 19 GW, with 42% of the additions representing renewable technologies [primarily wind] and 45% representing natural gas-fired technologies…The high levels of recent capacity additions, combined with relatively low electricity demand, have resulted in surplus capacity relative to required reserve margins for many regions of the country…In the AEO2014 Reference case, natural gas-fired plants account for 73% of capacity additions (255 GW) from 2013 to 2040, compared with 24% for renewables, 3% for nuclear, and 1% for coal Of the 83 GW of renewable capacity additions, 39 GW are solar photovoltaic (PV) systems (60% of which are rooftop installations) and 28 GW are wind (60% of which occur by 2015 to take advantage of production tax credits)…” click here for more

    THE BEST CITIES FOR NEW ENERGY

    Solar And EV Adoption, Climate Policies, And Green Finance Drive U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index Growth

    July 2014 (Clean Edge News)

    “…[The Clean Edge 2014 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index found that eleven] states now generate more than 10 percent of their electricity from non-hydro renewable energy sources, with two – Iowa and South Dakota – exceeding 25 percent. Solar installations climbed more than 40 percent year-over-year in the U.S., while registrations of all-electric vehicles doubled between the 2013 and 2014 indexes, to approximately 200,000 nationwide…California leads the nation in clean tech for the fifth consecutive year, with Massachusetts and Oregon repeating their #2 and #3 rankings from the 2013 State Index. Vermont and Connecticut moved into the Top 10 this year, while Hawaii and Minnesota dropped out. In the Metro Index, San Francisco and San Jose repeated as #1 and #2, while San Diego jumped four places to #3…Eight of the top 10 metro areas are located in the top four states; the exceptions are Washington D.C. (a city without a state), and Austin…” click here for more