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NewEnergyNews More

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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  • Tuesday, January 27, 2015

    GOV CHRISTIE’S WHITE HOUSE BID AND NJ OCEAN WIND

    Christie's 2016 ambitions are stalling N.J. wind energy project, Sweeney says

    Matt Friedman, January 26, 2015 (NJ.com)

    “…Gov. Chris Christie's presidential ambitions are holding up a wind energy project his administration once championed…[according to State Senate President Stephen Sweeney…who is considered a likely 2017 Democratic candidate for governor…[T]he Senate Environment and Energy Committee voted 4-1 to approve a bill (S2711) that would force the Board of Public Utilities to approve a proposal for a wind farm off the coast of Atlantic City that it has rejected twice…Sweeney also complained that the BPU has also been slow to issue regulations on wind energy, even though Christie signed a 2010 law intended to jump start the industry in New Jersey…At issue is the proposed 25-megawatt Fishermen's Energy wind project, which would consist of turbines about three miles off the coast of the resort…In rejecting the project most recently in November, the BPU — whose members are nominated by Christie and approved by the state Senate — said it ‘has not demonstrated financial integrity.’…Environmentalists and Democrats said the BPU was making excuses to hold the program up…The BPU evaluated the plan with a price of $263 per megawatt hour. But Fishermen's Energy said that was a much higher figure than it proposed, which was $199.17. It has appealed the decision…” click here for more

    MILITARY GOES SOLAR IN FLA

    Gulf Power, military bringing large-scale solar power

    January 22, 2015 (Pensacola News Journal)

    “…[T]he utility [Gulf Power] submitted [plans] to the Florida Public Service Commission (FPSC) for approval [of three solar projects in Northwest Florida]. The projects could be in service as early as December 2016…This is Gulf Power's second alternative energy project since launching the 3.2-megawatt Perdido Landfill Gas-to-Energy facility in 2010. Together, these new solar facilities, which will be developed by HelioSage Energy, could produce enough energy to power approximately 18,000 homes for one year…Once approved by the FPSC, the solar energy farms will be constructed at Eglin AFB in Fort Walton Beach (30 megawatts), Holley Field in Navarre (40 megawatts) and Saufley Field in Pensacola (50 megawatts). Gulf Power will serve customers across Northwest Florida with power from these renewable energy-generating facilities…[T]he solar farms will not replace Gulf Power's generation plants, but will have the capability to provide energy that will diversify the power supply and provide a cost-effective alternative during peak energy usage…” click here for more

    THE MONEY IN EV FAST-CHARGING

    Can Electric-Car Fast Charging Be Profitable? Answer: Unclear

    Stephen Edelstein, January 26, 2015 (Green Car Reports)

    “DC fast charging helps alleviate one of the major roadblocks to electric-car adoption--limited range--by giving drivers more ability to travel longer distances…That's why carmakers and other entities back the installation of more and more DC fast-charging sites…The benefits of a quicker charge are obvious for electric-car owners, but...providing power free to entice drivers…[can make operating one financially challenging]…A for-pay market in fast charging hasn't yet emerged…[but] businesses that operate charging stations on their property have to deal with [$20,000 to $60,000 installation costs as well as operating costs so] electric-car drivers could charge for free…[It is not clear that fast charge volumes are high enough to make it a profitable business if the operater charges drivers and it is not] clear what will happen to those hoping to make a profit off fast charging.” click here for more

    Monday, January 26, 2015

    BUILDING THE SOLAR TO BUILD SOLAR

    Solar energy: building a new industry in WNY from the ground up

    David Robinson, January 23, 2015 (The Buffalo News)

    “…With SolarCity pledging to create 2,900 new jobs from its new factory now under construction…and with Japanese-manufacturer Solar Frontier studying the feasibility of opening a plant here, state officials are optimistic the [Buffalo] region is moving toward becoming a center for solar energy manufacturing…To do it, the state is pledging to invest $750 million from Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion economic development initiative to build and equip SolarCity’s factory. It also would provide millions of dollars in support for Solar Frontier, if the company decides to build a plant here…[T]he SolarCity plant, scheduled to open sometime during 2016, would be one of the world’s biggest factories, with the annual capacity to make enough solar modules to generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity. SolarCity executives have said they need the Buffalo plant’s capacity to meet what they see as the continued rapid growth in the demand for new solar energy systems…SolarCity has agreed to give the state an exclusive four-month window to negotiate a potential expansion of its Buffalo manufacturing capacity, to as much as 5,000 megawatts…” click here for more

    WHAT WIND NEEDS

    The Key To Making The Most Of Rising Wind Energy Production Is…

    Alfredo Parres, January 23, 2015 (Clean Technica)

    “…Global wind power capacity is set to grow by a further 50 to 100 percent by 2020, so it’s well worth considering how to make the most of these wind resources and the challenges that must be faced…Denmark produced 39.1 percent of its electricity from wind, with its most productive month exceeding 60 percent. One some blustery days, the country sourced more than 90 percent of its electricity from wind…[T]he United Kingdom and Germany also set record highs for wind energy…In Texas, regulators say turbines in the state set a new wind power record, 10,296 megawatts, on March 26, 2014. This accounted for nearly 30 percent of the 35,768 megawatts of electricity coursing through the grid…By the end of 2013, China had an installed capacity of more than 90 gigawatts…From a technical point of view, the intermittent nature of wind presents challenges…Grid operators demand stability. Poor power quality can lead to instability and outages…[T]here is no single solution…[One is the] ability to import and export electricity…[Another is that wind farms must] ensure their output meets grid code requirements by mitigating the impact of transient voltages and power dips…[Finally, adequate transmission reduces curtailments and wind-related negative electricity pricing]…” click here for more

    NEW DIRECTIONS FOR BIOFUELS

    Biofuel industry at crossroads awaiting EPA ruling

    James Osborne, January 20, 2015 (The Dallas Morning News)

    “Seven years ago President George W. Bush signed a law mandating refineries blend fuels derived from corn, animal fat and plant waste into the nation’s fuel supply. But the industry it spawned says it’s on the verge of plant closures and layoffs if the federal government doesn’t clear up uncertainty about future fuel standards…The renewable fuel standard, which sets year by year mandates for ethanol, biodiesel and other biofuels, has come under debate in Washington over concern there is already too much ethanol within the nation’s gasoline supply…At the same time, U.S. oil production has increased 80 percent since 2010…[Ethanol is no longer needed to reduce] U.S. oil imports…That has left the biofuel industry in regulatory gridlock. The EPA has not updated the renewable fuel standard since November 2013. That year biodiesel production hit 1.8 billion gallons. But with no new standard, that number fell to 1.75 billion gallons in 2014…” click here for more

    Saturday, January 24, 2015

  • Weekend Video: The President Describes The Republican Climate Dodge
  • Weekend Video: Jon Stewart On How Not To Fight Climate Change
  • Weekend Video: The Dirty Water And Dirty Money In Coal Ash
  • Wednesday, January 21, 2015

    NEW ENERGY, OIL TO RECONCILE?

    The End of the Partisan Divide Over Climate Change

    Tom Zeller, Jr., January 18, 2015 (Forbes)

    “… From the stock markets and Wall Street to the boardrooms of Big Oil — and even the living rooms of Republican voters — the era of reflexive skepticism and denial of basic climate science appears to be coming to a close…That won’t likely mean an end to partisan bickering…[But amid the American Petroleum Institute annual State of American Energy Report’s] bullish assessment of the nation’s ongoing boom in shale oil and gas, the leading fossil fuel trade group clearly and unequivocally acknowledged the threat of global warming, and highlighted — at some length — the steady rise of solar power as an encouraging sign…The report goes on to note that the solar power sector has shaved installation costs and enjoyed over 40 percent growth over the last year…[It also] savages the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which seeks to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, arguing that it will kill the coal industry and cause significant harm to the nation’s economy…[Yet the] nation’s largest and most powerful oil lobby [stated] in no uncertain terms that climate change is real, that it’s a threat to American prosperity, and that clean energy technologies promise a solution…” click here for more

    SOLAR APPLAUDS OBAMA SOTU SUPPORT

    President Praises Solar Progress in State of the Union Speech

    January 20, 2015 (Solar Energy Industries Association)

    Citing its continued growth, President Obama once again has singled out solar energy in his annual State of the Union (SOTU) speech. Afterward, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) President/CEO Rhone Resch applauded President Obama for making the development of solar energy a top priority when he first took office six years ago and for never abandoning his beliefs in its importance. Resch added that there is an estimated 20 gigawatts (GW) of installed solar capacity nationwide and another 20 GW in the pipeline over the next two years, benefitting both the economy and the endangered environment. There are also, he said, 173,000 Americans currently working in the U.S. solar industry. Growth, Resch pointed out, has been driven by effective and forward-looking public policies, such as the solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC), net energy metering (NEM) and renewable portfolio standards (RPS). click here for more

    WIND PRAISES OBAMA SOTU, CALLS FOR PTC EXTENSION

    President Obama’s State of the Union: U.S. leads world in wind energy production

    January 20, 2015 (American Wind Energy Association)

    President Obama highlighted U.S. wind energy as an American success story, noting that the U.S. produces more wind energy than any other country in the world, a dominance due to U.S. wind turbines’ being nearly twice as productive as those in China and Germany…Iowa is helping the nation achieve this global leadership position by leading the U.S. in the percentage of electricity the state generates from wind power…and wind is one of the few things newly elected Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and President Obama agree on…Late last year, the key federal incentive for wind investment, the Production Tax Credit (PTC), was extended for only two weeks before expiring again on December 31. Wind’s costs have dropped more than 50 percent over the past five years, thanks to the productivity and innovation driven by performance-based incentives like the renewable energy PTC. Uncertainty about it is harmful for business, and puts 50,000 U.S. wind industry jobs, with 500 manufacturing facilities in 43 states and an annual average investment of over $17 billion, at risk, especially because wind will be key in states’ compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) first-ever proposed rule to reduce carbon pollution at existing power plants. click here for more

    Tuesday, January 20, 2015

    BOOMING SOLAR LOOKS BEYOND 2016

    U.S. Solar Industry Sees Growth, But Also Some Uncertainty

    Jeff Brady, January 19, 2015 (National Public Radio)

    “The solar energy business is growing fast, thanks in part to a steep drop in panel prices…[P]rices dropped by more than half since 2010. But the industry's future looks a little hazy. Generous government subsidies expire soon and the price for natural gas — a competitor that's also used to generate electricity — keeps dropping…For now, though, the solar business is booming and the industry is hiring. More than 31,000 solar jobs were added in 2014…Experienced installers can earn a good wage of about $22 per hour…[Though it generates less than 1 percent of U.S. electricity, leaving enormous opportunity for growth, the solar industry already provides] nearly 174,000 solar jobs in the U.S., which is 22 percent more than last year and 86 percent more [2010, according to The Solar Foundation, which predicts solar will]… add another 36,000 jobs this year, but after that is a big question mark…Unless Congress extends [solar’s vital 30 percent federal investment tax credit], it will end in December 2016.” click here for more

    AMAZON BUYS BIG WIND

    How AWS is powering up its wind farm plans for cloud datacenters

    Toby Wolpe, January 20, 2015 (ZDNet)

    “Amazon Web Services says a new [150MW] Indiana wind farm [being built by the Pattern Energy Group] could be helping power its datacenters by as early as January 2016…The power-purchase agreement with Pattern Energy will help increase the renewable energy [wind, hydro and solar] used to run AWS' US [datacenter] infrastructure…In November 2014, AWS set out plans to use only renewable energy for its global infrastructure. To date, the company has three carbon-neutral regions: the US GovCloud; US West in Oregon; and EU in Frankfurt am Main…AWS [also] has sites in Australia, Brazil, China, Ireland, Japan, and Singapore…[with a worldwide customer base] of more than a million organizations, which buy its cloud-based compute, storage, database, analytics, application, and deployment services…” click here for more

    HOW HOME GEOTHERMAL WORKS

    Geothermal energy – does it make sense? Sounds like a good topic for Science Café

    David Brooks, January 19, 2015 (The Telegraph)

    “…[G]eothermal energy in New Hampshire, more accurately described as ground-source heat pumps…has been around for decades but has gained more prominence as part of the alternative-energy mix…At its simplest, geothermal pumps water underground, where temperature remains around 50 degrees, then brings it back above ground at that temperature and uses it to cool or heat buildings…Heat, of course, naturally moves from warm to cold. A heat pump uses a relatively small amount of energy to reverse the process, pulling heat out of a low-temperature area and moving it into a higher temperature area – from a ‘heat source,’ like the ground, into a ‘heat sink,’ like your home…The system involves a fluid with a very low boiling point, on the verge of being a gas at room temperature. The head pump shifts this substance back and forth between the liquid and gas states with compression, which makes it release or absorb large amounts of energy, due to the physics of phase change. That energy is how cold water can heat a house…” click here for more

    Monday, January 19, 2015

    WISC FIGHT FOR NET METERING

    In Wisconsin, solar ‘new math’ could equal big impacts

    Kari Lydersen, January 16, 2015 Midwest Energy News

    After granting crucial rate design changes to We Energies, Wisconsin Public Service Corporation (WPS) and Madison Gas & Electric, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission (PSC) is expected to hear a final challenge which could determine the pace of residential solar growth in the state for the foreseeable future. The expected challenge will ask the PSC to reconsider its decisions to allow We Energies and utilities to “true up” net metered customers’ bill credits monthly instead of annually. Wth a monthly true-up, the bulk of excess credits accumulated in the spring and fall, when electricity use is lower, are lost. Annual true-ups preserve the credits. A separate challenge is in the works to the PSC’s decision to allow Alliant Energy/Wisconsin Power and Light to remunerate net metered customers at the avoided cost rate of $0.03 per KWh to $0.04 per kWh instead of the retail rate $0.11 per KWhto $0.14 per kWh. click here for more