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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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  • Tuesday, September 27, 2016

    Facts Check Trump – Fed Investments In Solar A Huge Success

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s Loan Programs O¬ce (LPO) provides the critical financing needed to deploy some of the world’s largest and most innovative clean energy and advanced technology vehicle manufacturing projects to date.

    November 2014 (U.S. Department of Energy)

    Despite an almost isolated case referenced by Donald Trump in the first presidential debate, the federal investments in solar and other cutting edge energies have paid off far better than any portfolio of private sector investments, according to the Department of Energy update made as the program went into hiatus in 2014.

    “LPO currently manages a portfolio comprising more than $30 billion of loans, loan guarantees, and conditional commitments covering more than 30 projects. These projects include some of the world’s most innovative and largest solar, wind, geothermal, biofuel, and nuclear facilities, as well as advanced technology vehicle manufacturing facilities in six states producing some of America’s best-selling vehicles. Overall, these loans and loan guarantees have resulted in more than $50 billion in total project investment,” the update reports.

    In September 2014, LPO-financed projects have moved solar and other technologies that might not have come to market if they had to depend solely on private sector investment. They had repaid nearly $3.5 billion of principal and earned over $810 million in interest payments. The interest payments largely come in on or ahead of schedule and will eventually earn the federal government an estimated $5 billion-plus in interest. Losses at the time of the update were less than $780 million, less than 3.6% of the total money loaned. click here for more

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    Top Midwest Utility In $2 Billion Wind Buy

    Xcel plans big expansion in wind power, adding enough capacity for 750,000 homes; The company will add eight to 10 new wind farms in the Upper Midwest.

    Mike Hughlett, September 22, 2016 (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

    “Xcel Energy plans to invest $2 billion to expand its wind-generation capacity by 60 percent, enough to power 750,000 homes…Already a national leader in wind energy, Xcel Energy plans to add eight to 10 wind farms that will serve Minnesota, the Dakotas, Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Together, they will provide about 1,500 megawatts of power…That’s almost as much as the 1,600 megawatts of power produced by Xcel’s two Minnesota nuclear facilities…Xcel will own some of the new wind farms and buy power from wind farms developed by independent operators…The new wind farms should come online between 2017 and 2020…By 2030, Xcel expects one-third of its power generation in the Upper Midwest will come from renewable sources — mostly wind — up from 24 percent now…Nuclear will make up about one-third…[and coal is expected to fall from its current 33 percent] to 15 percent…” click here for more

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    Solar Cost Increasingly Beating The Market

    Solar power cost down 25% in five months – “There’s no reason why the cost of solar will ever increase again”

    John Fitzgerald Weaver, September 26, 2016 (Electrek)

    “On August 11 a bid of US$0.46/W was put forward to build 500MW of solar power in China (a roughly calculated levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) at $0.019/kWh). This past week we saw a bid of $0.023/kWh to build 1.2GW of solar power in Abu Dhabi…almost 25% lower than the $0.0299/kWh was bid in late April for a series of projects also in Abu Dhabi. These extremely aggressive price falls are partially driven by unique situations – a Chinese solar panel production glut and historically low costs of money. But also because of technology…The price drop in solar panels from the first quarter through the third quarter of this year is probably the greatest driver…Anecdotally, deliveries of Tier 1 solar panels in 1MW volume to the northeast USA have fallen from ~$0.60-65/W to ~$0.45/W – price declines of 25-30%...Other locations have seen price falls just as significant. A Nevada USA 100MW solar project was recently approved delivering electricity at $0.04/kWh. Chile set temporary records at $0.0291/kWh. And now we see India’s ongoing, and upward ramping, solar power boom…Greentech Media made a now quaint seeming prediction that solar costs would fall “40% by 2020” in September of 2015 – little did they know it might happen before the end of 2016…” click here for more

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    Monday, September 26, 2016

    The Sonification Of Climate Change

    The haunting song of climate change, in D minor

    Brian Kahn, September 25, 2016 (Grist)

    “…Music based on data has the potential to reveal new patterns to scientists…[Nik Sawe used a technique called data sonification to make music from data on] multiple types of trees in the forest and a clear progression of climate change killing off yellow cedars. Rising temperatures are decimating snowpack, but when still frequent cold snaps hit, there’s not enough insulation to protect the cedar’s shallow roots, so they die…[This odd death by freezing in a warming world] could have profound impacts on one of the most culturally and economically important trees in Alaska…That’s why Sawe picked up [Lauren] Oakes’ data and turned it into tunes.

    Though a computer played the music, Sawe helped arrange the piece so it made sense. He assigned different trees to different instruments based on their role in the forest (though in the case of sitka spruce, he assigned it to the cello because it’s a common wood used in cello construction) and a key so all the players were on the same page (in this case, a rather foreboding D minor)…Each note in the piece is a single tree from one of Oakes’ study sites while its pitch conveys the age and loudness conveys its size…[I]t may serve as a reminder that we’re all composers and our choices will define what the next movement sounds like.” click here for more

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    Wind Is Red, White, And Green In Iowa

    Why Republicans support wind energy

    Tom Kiernan, Roberta Combs, Michele Combs, September 20, 2016 (Des Moines Register)

    “…American wind turbines can now produce as much electricity as 17 typical nuclear power plants or 65 coal plants and reliably contribute] to U.S. energy independence…[A]ny Republican or Democrat running for election this fall should pay attention to wind’s rapid growth. Especially since recent polling data show that as wind power grows, so does U.S. voter support for it…[Strong voter support for wind shouldn’t be surprising when you consider that by tripling in size over the last several years, wind now supports a record-high 88,000 jobs across all 50 states…[and wind tehnician] is the fastest growing profession in the U.S…[As a drought-resistant cash crop, wind also pays] $222 million in land lease payments to family farmers…Republican-represented districts host 86 percent of the total wind farm fleet in America. That means the majority of wind’s economic benefits — including jobs, billions of dollars in private investment, and added tax revenue for improving local infrastructure — go to rural communities with a strong presence of typically Republican voters…” click here for more

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    The New Hybrid Solar-Storage Concept Module

    A New Kind of Solar Panel That's Smart, Stores Energy, and Even Talks; Will Customers Buy It?

    Katie Fehrenbacher, September 22, 2016 (Fortune)

    “…[SunCulture Solar, led by entrepreneur and inventor Christopher Estes, has] redesigned the solar panel, integrating batteries into the panel itself, overlaying it with smart sensors and software and wirelessly linking it to a computing hub and cell phone app…[SolPads] are supposed to be sold late next year in a system for a rooftop, or as a stand alone panel that can be propped up on a back deck or balcony…SunCulture Solar says it can sell a home rooftop solar system for half of the cost of currently available solar panel and battery system combos…[Estes says the panel is the solar industry’s smart phone because it can also respond to finger taps and talk]…Few solar panel makers are really thinking differently about the aesthetics of panels, or are integrating [batteries or] computing intelligence and user experience design into the panel itself…Instead most are thinking about cost…But as low cost panels get cheaper and cheaper, and as the technology becomes more mainstream, a few companies [including SolarCity/Tesla] are trying to differentiate solar panels by making them higher-end, more efficient, and more tied to batteries…” click here for more

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    Tuesday, September 20, 2016

    Survey Shows People Oppose Fossil Fuels

    [54%] favor federal regulations that would reduce U.S. coal use, survey says

    Bill Loveless, September 18, 2016 (USA Today)

    Editor’s note: Other findings from the survey in this Quick News item were used posted yesterday.

    “…[Just two months before the November elections, energy and climate change are ‘important issues’ for about half of likely voters as they cast their ballots, according to authors of a new survey by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. 54%] of Americans (67% of Democrats and 46% of Republicans) favor federal regulations that would reduce U.S. coal use, though that support slips to 45% when the question is paired with the assertion that such regulations have resulted in the loss of coal jobs…Moreover, the results raise questions about the extent of local support for a legal challenge of Obama administration climate policy by 24 states…[Other] findings aren’t good for the gas industry and its supporters…Of the six in 10 respondents who had an opinion on fracking, twice as many oppose the practice as support it…” click here for more

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    Solar Bargain Hits World Record

    A Jaw-Dropping World Record Solar Price Was Just Bid in Abu Dhabi; It’s for a planned sprawling solar farm for a utility in the Middle East.

    Katie Fehrenbacher, September 19, 2016 (Fortune)

    “A shockingly low price [of 2.42 cents per kilowatt hour] for energy from solar panels was recently bid during an auction for a [350 MW] solar farm near the [sun-rich] city of Abu Dhabi…[by a] consortium of the Chinese solar panel maker and project builder JinkoSolar JKS -1.56% and the Japanese developer Marubeni…That’s by far the lowest solar panel farm bid out there. A few ultra low-cost large solar panel farms have recently achieved around 4 cents per kilowatt hour, and earlier this year the previous record bid for a solar panel farm in Chile was 2.91 cents per kilowatt hour…In comparison, in the U.S. average costs for energy from all types of new sources, like gas and coal, can cost between 5 and 6 cents per kilowatt hour. So getting to under 2.50 cents puts solar panel farms in an entirely new category and makes it competitive with fossil fuels…[And] that bid is for an auction that hasn’t yet concluded…” click here for more

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    China In Record Wind Build Rate

    China embarked on wind power frenzy, says IEA; China has been building two wind turbines every hour…

    Roger Harrabin, 20 September 2016 (BBC News)

    “This is the world's biggest programme of turbine installation [ever], double that of its nearest rival, the US…The nation’s entire annual increase in energy demand has been fulfilled from the wind…But the [International Energy Agency (IEA)] warns China has built so much coal-fired generating capacity that it is turning off wind turbines for 15% of the time…[because] coal-fired power stations are given priority access to the grid…The average European wind farm is forced to stop generating between 1-2% of the year…State media has reported China’s plans to impose a moratorium on all new coal-fired plants until 2018…The IEA says China installed more than 30,000 MW of new wind energy in 2015 – partly thanks to a rush driven by the Chinese government making its existing subsidies less attractive…Construction has slackened in 2016, but only to a level of more than one turbine per hour…” click here for more

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    Monday, September 19, 2016

    People Will Pay To Fight Climate Change

    More are willing to pay to fight climate change, survey says

    Bill Loveless, September 18, 2016 (USA Today)

    “…[A new survey] found that 65% of Americans think climate change is a problem that the government needs to address, including 84% of Democrats and 43% of Republicans…57% of those polled said they would pay at least $1 more on their monthly electric bill for climate action, including 29% who would pay $20 a month, an amount comparable to federal government estimates of damages from climate change per household…[20%] indicated they would pay $50…[R]esistance to footing a higher electric bill is considerable, too, with 42% of the respondents saying they were unwilling to pay even $1 for such policies…[Only 1% of participants] didn’t respond…Party affiliation is the main determinant of how much cost people would bear, not education, income or geographic location, with Democrats consistently willing to pay more than Republicans, [according to authors of the survey by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The] findings indicate more public support for paying for climate policies such as a carbon tax, a cap-and-trade plan or other regulation than may have been evident before…” click here for more

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    Wind To Keep Getting Cheaper

    Wind energy costs set to continue to decline, according to Berkeley Lab

    Joshua Hill, 19 September 2016 (Clean Technica)

    “…[E]xperts anticipate wind energy cost reductions of at least 24% to 30% by 2030, and 35% to 41% by 2050 due to larger and more efficient wind turbines, lower capital and operating costs, and other advancements, [according to a new survey from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Typical] onshore projects are expected to remain considerably less expensive than its offshore brethren, while fixed-bottom offshore will be less expensive than floating offshore…[T]here are greater absolute reductions, as well as more uncertainty, in the levelized cost of energy for offshore wind as compared with onshore wind…[The experts also] predicted that there could even be a 10% chance that reductions will be more than 40% by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050…[The five key drivers for wind cost reductions are expected to be] up-front capital cost (CapEx), ongoing operating costs (OpEx), cost of financing (WACC), performance (capacity factor), and project design life…” click here for more

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    Tesla Batteries To Ease Aliso Cyn-Caused Power Shortfalls

    Tesla Wins Massive Contract to Help Power the California Grid; It's the latest response to a fossil-fuel disaster.

    Tom Randall, September 15, 2016 (Bloomberg News)

    “Tesla just won a bid to supply grid-scale power in Southern California to help prevent electricity shortages following the biggest natural gas leak in U.S. history. The Powerpacks, worth tens of millions of dollars, will be operational in record time—by the end of this year…[They] will supply 20 megawatts (80 megawatt-hours) of energy storage to Southern California Edison as part of a wider effort to prevent blackouts by replacing fossil-fuel electricity generation with lithium-ion batteries. Tesla's contribution is enough to power about 2,500 homes for a full day…But the real significance of the deal is the speed with which lithium-ion battery packs are being deployed…The deal fits into Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk's long-term vision of transforming Tesla from an electric car company to a clean-energy company. That's the same motivation behind his pending deal to acquire SolarCity…In total megawatt hours, the Tesla batteries will make up the biggest lithium-ion battery project in the world, though it will soon be surpassed by others…In August, California regulators approved two contracts for AES Corp. to build 37 megawatts of grid-scale energy storage systems to address anticipated power shortfalls stemming from the Aliso Canyon leak…’ click here for more

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    Tuesday, September 6, 2016

    Major U.S. Investor Says Watch Out For Climate Change

    lackRock Says Investors Need to Assess Climate Change When Investing; Because of likely physical effects, technological changes, and regulatory and social responses.

    September 6, 2016 (Reuters via Fortune)

    “BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, said all investors should factor climate change into their decision-making and doing so would not mean having to accept lower returns…[The China-United States ratification of a 2015 plan to curb climate-warming emissions raises] chances it will enter into law this year…BlackRock BLK 0.45% said it is strengthening its data and analytical processes to reflect changes to the environment — and political responses to them…In a 16-page report released after the G20 meeting in China, BlackRock, which manages more than $4.9 trillion in assets, said risks and opportunities would come through the physical effects of climate change, technological change, as well as the regulatory and social response…In the report, BlackRock suggested higher carbon prices could limit the cost of reducing emissions and push companies to create solutions to the problem…In the meantime, BlackRock said it was enhancing its data mining efforts to reduce the risk to its investments…” click here for more

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    Florida Voters Say Yes To Tax Money For Solar 73-27

    Florida Voters Pass Amendment 4; Tax Breaks For Solar Energy

    August 30, 2016 (AP via CBS Miamia)

    "Voters in Florida have approved a constitutional amendment that’ll provide property tax breaks for people who install solar panels on their homes [by a huge 73 percent to 27 percent margin]…The increased value to a home from the installation of solar panels or other renewable energy devices can’t be considered when assessing homes to determine property taxes…The amendment also removes Florida’s ‘tangible personal property tax,’ which taxes solar equipment installed on properties. Without it, leasing solar systems will be a more profitable business in Florida [which lags other states] nationally in solar power production…Environmentalists and business interests supported the measure…[Amendment 1, which will be on the Nov. 8 general election ballot, would] grant homeowners the right to install solar panels...[but would] allow local and state governments to continue regulating the use of solar power, including making sure that customers without solar are not required to ‘subsidize’ [solar owners]…Amendment 1 is not supported by the same coalition of groups that support Amendment 4, but is backed by utilities…” click here for more

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