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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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  • Wednesday, September 17, 2014

    THE NEWEST NUMBERS ON BIRDS AND WIND

    New Study Provides Most Comprehensive Analysis Ever of Bird Fatalities at Wind Energy Facilities; Cell Towers, Buildings, Other Threats Are Much Greater

    Sept. 15, 2014 (American Wind Wildlife Institute)

    “A comprehensive peer-reviewed study released today provides the most detailed analysis to date of the impact of bird fatalities at wind energy facilities in North America, and is the first to measure the relative impact of those fatalities on populations of small passerines, including songbirds [according to A Comprehensive Analysis of Small-passerine Fatalities from Collision with Wind Turbines at Wind Energy Facilities]…[O]f the more than 5 billion small passerines in North America, an estimated 134,000-230,000, or less than 0.01%, collide annually with wind turbines…[A]ll bird fatalities from wind turbines range from 214,000 to 368,000 annually--a small fraction compared with the estimated 6.8 million fatalities from collisions with cell and radio towers, 1.4 to 3.7 billion fatalities from cats, and of the many other, much larger threats that birds face today…On September 8, a report by the National Audubon Society for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service found that climate change threatens the survival of more than half of all species of birds in North America…AWWI is working with its partners to sponsor additional studies, including on eagles and prairie birds…” click here for more

    BIG SOLAR COMES TO THE SOUTHEAST

    Duke Energy commits $500 million to N.C. solar power expansion

    John Downey, Sept. 15, 2014 (Triangle Business Journal)

    “…[Duke Energy]is making a $500 million commitment to a major expansion of solar power in North Carolina…The company will acquire and construct three solar facilities — totaling 128 megawatts of capacity — including the largest solar photovoltaic facility east of the Mississippi River…Duke also signed power-purchase agreements for five new solar projects in the state, representing 150 megawatts of capacity…Together, the eight projects will have a capacity of 278 megawatts. The $500 million commitment includes the investment in the three facilities and the value of the five long-term power-purchase contracts…The company says the initiative will help further its commitment to renewable energy, diversify its energy portfolio and meet North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard…” click here for more

    WHERE THE EV CUTS EMISSIONS MOST

    Electric Vehicles Are Cleaner, but Still Not a Magic Bullet

    Paul Stenquist, Sept. 16, 2014 (NY Times)

    “…[In 60 percent of the United States, electric vehicles are now responsible for fewer heat-trapping global warming emissions per mile than even the most efficient hybrids [according to the Union of Concerned Scientists]…[In 2012,] in an area where electric power was generated using a high proportion of coal — as it is in much of the nation’s midsection — an electric vehicle was no cleaner than a high-m.p.g. gasoline-engine subcompact…[In the last two years,] some utilities have added clean renewable sources of electricity to their mix and, more important, electric vehicles have become more efficient…[T]he average battery- powered electric vehicle sold over the past year uses 0.325 kilowatt-hour per mile, a 5 percent improvement…That means an electric vehicle operating within the Midwest electric power grid, which blankets several states in whole or in part, is now as clean as a gasoline-engine car achieving 43 miles per gallon…An electric vehicle in New York achieves the equivalent of 112 m.p.g…[I]n California the number is 95 m.p.g…Colorado, which relies heavily on coal, is once again at the bottom of the list, with an E.V. achieving the same emissions as a 34 m.p.g. gasoline-engine car…” click here for more

    Tuesday, September 16, 2014

    THE ENERGY TRANSITION TAKES SHAPE

    Sun and Wind Alter Global Landscape, Leaving Utilities Behind

    Justin Gillis, Sept. 13, 2014 (NY Times)

    "...Germans will soon be getting 30 percent of their power from renewable energy sources. Many smaller countries are beating that, but Germany is by far the largest industrial power to reach that level…It is more than twice the percentage in the United States…[It] is driving down costs faster than almost anyone thought possible…Electric utility executives all over the world are watching nervously as technologies they once dismissed as irrelevant begin to threaten their long-established business plans. Fights are erupting across the United States over the future rules for renewable power. Many poor countries, once intent on building coal-fired power plants to bring electricity to their people, are discussing whether they might leapfrog the fossil age and build clean grids from the outset…A reckoning is at hand…The word the Germans use for their plan is…energiewende, the energy transition. Worldwide, Germany is being held up as a model…But it is becoming clear that the transformation, if plausible, will be wrenching. Some experts say the electricity business is entering a period of turmoil beyond anything in its 130-year history, a disruption potentially as great as those that have remade the airlines, the music industry and the telephone business…” click here for more

    A LABOR-ENVIRO CALL FOR NEW ENERGY, NEW WIRES

    Labor, Environmental Leaders Back Wind Energy Transmission Line

    Sept. 15, 2014 (Public News Service)

    “…[T]he winds of change are blowing in Missouri, as more people speak out in favor of a plan to build a high-voltage wind energy transmission line through the state [including the Sierra Club, which] says the line, which would transfer 3,500 megawatts of power from wind farms in Kansas, would help the state move away from its reliance on coal [and meet the mandate] that the state's utilities generate at least 15 percent renewable energy by 2021…The Public Service Commission is accepting comments on the plan, and is expected to make a final decision toward the end of December. Gerald Nickelson, president of the IUE-CWA Local 86114… says in recent years, more and more contracts have come from wind farms, and he believes the transmission line would be a major economic boon for the state...The project, known as the Grain Belt Express, is one of five long-haul transmission lines planned across the country by Houston-based Clean Line Energy Partners. Construction is expected to begin in 2016.” click here for more

    ADVANCES IN WATER POWER

    Wave Energy Research Progressing

    Joanna Schroeder, Sept. 11, 2014 (Domestic Fuel)

    “The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has announced the funding of up to $4 million for continued wave energy technological research and monitoring efforts. Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center (NNMREC) faculty will also share in another $3.25 million grant to improve ‘water power’ technologies that convert the energy of waves, tides, rivers and ocean currents into electricity…The new funding will allow NNMREC to develop an improved system for real-time wave forecasting; create robotic devices to support operations and maintenance; design arrays that improve the performance of marine energy conversion devices; improve subsea power transmission systems; and standardize approaches for wildlife monitoring. Federal officials said the overall goal is to reduce the technical, economic and environmental barriers to deployment of new marine energy conversion devices...Significant progress has been made in how to process, permit and monitor wave energy technology as it emerges from the laboratory to ocean test sites, and ultimately to commercial use. Wave energy’s sustainable generating potential equates to about 10 percent of global energy needs.” click here for more

    Monday, September 15, 2014

    SOLAR SUCCEEDING ON PRICE

    Solar Continues Trumping Fossil Fuel Pricing, With More Innovations To Come

    Chip Register, Sept. 11, 2014 (Forbes)

    “…America’s energy landscape looks significantly different. Natural gas has come well off its pre-recession highs and is now trading steadily around $4 per mmBtu, with little to no volatility. Oil and coal prices dropped as well…[But] advances made in photovoltaic (PV) cells, combined with an explosion in solar panel manufacturing in China, helped send solar prices down far faster than fossil fuels. The average solar panel now costs around 75% less than it did just five years ago and…the more solar that is put in, the faster prices drop. Citibank estimates that the price of an average solar panel falls by 30% whenever installed solar capacity doubles in a given area…[B]y 2020, they believe solar will be…successfully competing with fossil fuels on an unsubsidized basis…America’s reliance on expensive oil, relatively dirty coal and troubled nuclear power will inalterably change now that solar has become so competitive…[Until power can be stored efficiently], solar is best used to cover peak demand during the day. The backbone of the grid will shift from coal to cheap natural gas to provide the baseload generation…until grid-level battery storage becomes available somewhere toward the end of this decade. Then watch out [for solar]…” click here for more

    EVEN MORE WIND THAT HONDA EXPECTED

    Honda Pounds Another Nail Into Fossil Fuel Coffin

    Tina Casey, Sept. 13, 2014 (Clean Technica)

    “…[In their first six months of operation, two] wind turbines at Honda Transmission Mfg. of America, Inc…were supposed to produce about 10,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year…[and cover] about 10 percent of the plant’s needs…[They] met expectations in two of the first six months…outperformed in four months…[and] peaked in April, when they provided more than 16 percent of power for the plant…Overall, in the six-month period wind turbine efficiency at the facility exceeded expectations by 6.3 percent…Juhl Energy…[installed, owns, and operates the $8 million wind turbines] under a power purchase agreement…[Honda is] paying for the electricity…[Other auto manufacturers are doing] on site energy harvesting (typically, rooftop solar), energy efficiency, and energy storage…” click here for more

    THE HUGE UNRECOGNIZED BENEFITS OF EFFICIENCY

    IEA lauds energy efficiency 'social, economic boosts'

    Sept. 12, 2014 (The Australian/Business w/The Wall Street Journal)

    “The benefits of energy efficiency go well beyond the simple scaling back of energy demand…[ Capturing the Multiple Benefits of Energy Efficiency from the International Energy Agency] reframes the discussion…[and] shows how energy efficiency has the potential to support economic growth, enhance social development, advance environmental sustainability, ensure energy-system security and help build wealth...IEA analysis has previously shown that energy efficiency has the potential to boost economic growth while reducing energy demand…[But] under existing policies, two-thirds of the economically viable energy efficiency potential available between now and 2035 will remain unrealized…because energy efficiency is routinely and significantly undervalued…[Only] when the value of productivity and operational benefits to industrial companies were integrated into their traditional internal rate of return calculations, the payback period for energy efficiency measures dropped from 4.2 to 1.9 years…[B]y making homes warmer, drier and healthier, [unrecognized] energy efficiency measures can dramatically improve health and well-being. When monetised, for example through the cost of medical care or innovative metrics such as the value of lost work time or child care costs caused by illness, these benefits can boost returns to as much as four dollars for every one dollar invested…” click here for more

    Wednesday, September 10, 2014

    A WAY TO INVEST IN WIND ENERGY

    NextEra, Dominion are wind-energy plays

    Motley Fool, Sept. 7, 2014 Columbus Dispatch

    “…Wind power has been growing, partly because the cost of wind turbines and the price of wind-powered electricity are falling. The U.S. wind-energy industry employs about 50,000, and the Department of Energy would like to see wind generate 20 percent of the nation’s electricity demand by 2030…General Electric is far from a pure play in wind, but it’s the largest wind-turbine supplier in the United States and is expanding internationally, too…The U.S. leader in wind energy, though, is NextEra Energy, with more than 10 gigawatts of wind capacity in 19 states. Dominion Resources is buying many big offshore wind leases from the U.S. government…[Analysts recommend investing in Dominion Resources and General Electric]…” click here for more

    SOLAR POWER TOWERS GET SAFER

    How Ivanpah is reducing glint and glare from heliostats; Palen Solar Holdings (PSH), the partnership between BrightSource Energy and Abengoa Solar, is attempting to get the 500MW Palen power tower project permitted in California’s notoriously rigorous permitting process.

    Susan Kraemer and Angela Castillo, Sept. 4, 2014 (CSP Today)

    “…[Owners of the 390MW Ivanpah project, the first utility-scale power tower CSP project to come online in America, have] solved the problem of glare from the mirrors reflecting sunlight with a new algorithm for mirrors in standby…[During] the permitting process for its follow up, the 500MW Palen Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) power tower, [it] has been a challenge…In the first six months of operation, 321 birds or bats were killed at the 3,500 square acre Ivanpah site. Of this number, 133 had their flying impaired by singed feathers from flying too close to the tower receivers. The majority were small birds, predominantly various species of hummingbirds and sparrows…Using humane bird deterrents to keep birds away, Ivanpah is now reducing those numbers…In CSP power tower technology, sunlight is reflected off mirrors focused on a receiver atop a tower to heat a fluid which can then be used to generate electricity directly via turbines, or first stored for later use. Because mirrors reflect sunlight, glare could become an issue…[The] solution? Aim the standby heliostats in a variety of directions, rather than at a focal point above the tower as before…The result? A noticeable difference in glare…to the required “less than significant” levels.” click here for more

    TEST COMING FOR GIANT TURBINE BLADE

    UMaine tests turbine blade

    September 2, 2014 (renews)

    “An unnamed wind turbine manufacturer has delivered a 56-meter blade to the University of Maine's Advanced Structures and Composites Center for testing…The facility offers structural tests to evaluate blades, towers and foundation components up to 70 meters in length. The UMaine Composites Center is one of two labs in the US that can test blades of these sizes in static and fatigue and are certified to conduct these tests…A UMaine-led consortium is developing the 12MW New England Aqua Ventus offshore wind demonstration project…[Earlier this year, the US Energy Department awarded the project a $3 million] grant to complete front-end engineering and design, including detailed systems, cost estimating, materials selection and identifying subcontractors and vendors.” click here for more

    Tuesday, September 9, 2014

    CLIMATE CHANGE TO GET MORE THAN HALF OF ALL BIRDS

    Half of North American bird species threatened by climate change

    Lois Shahagun, Sept. 8, 2014 (LA Times)

    “Half of all bird species in North America — including the bald eagle — are at risk of severe population decline by 2080 if the swift pace of global warming continues, the National Audubon Society concluded…[ In the first comprehensive species study of its kind, Audubon] examined more than 500 bird species and determined that more than 300 in Canada and the United States face large climate shifts that could reduce their habitat by half or more by 2080. The changing environment will force birds to adapt to new habitats with different temperature and precipitation rates if they are to survive…By 2080, the bald eagle, the national symbol of the United States, could see its habitat decrease by 75%, the report says…All of the habitat of the common loon, the state bird of Minnesota, could disappear in the lower 48 states…” click here for more

    U.S. OFFSHORE WIND STARTS BUILDING

    U.S. offshore wind power nears takeoff with 14 projects

    Wendy Koch, Sept. 6, 2014 (USA Today)

    “Long stymied by high costs and local opposition, offshore wind is finally nearing takeoff in the United States as 14 projects enter ‘advanced stages’ of development, [ a Navigant Consulting/Energy Department study reports]…Two of the projects — Cape Wind in Nantucket Sound off the coast of Massachusetts and Deepwater's Block Island off Rhode Island — have moved into the initial stages of construction while the others have obtained a lease, conducted extensive studies or obtained a power purchase agreement. Nine are located on the East Coast…These projects represent about 4.9 gigawatts of possible capacity…[O]ffshore wind holds much greater potential [than onshore wind which has now reached a 61 gigawatt capacity and meets nearly 4.5% of U.S. electricity demand] for the United States…[T]he biggest obstacle for offshore wind projects are their high installation costs…Still, his three-year study found that a massive scale-up of 54 gigawatts of offshore wind power [by 2030] could yield…$7.68 billion a year in lower U.S.energy costs, because power generation would be closer to where it's consumed…” click here for more