NewEnergyNews More: April 2009

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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  • Thursday, April 30, 2009

    SOLAR POWER TOWER GOES ON LINE

    Abengoa launches world's biggest solar power tower
    Martin Roberts, April 27, 2009 (Reuters)

    "Spanish engineering company Abengoa has begun operating a 20 megawatt solar power plant that is the world's biggest, using a tower to turn the sun's rays into electricity and can supply 10,000 homes…

    "The PS20 plant in the southern province of Seville uses 1,255 mirrors to focus solar radiation at the top of a tower 165 metres high, in order to boil water to drive a turbine and generate electricity."


    From sipje2007 via YouTube.
    "Abengoa already has a 10 MW solar power tower in service and plans another 20 MW plant…[I] ts "Solucar" complex [will]… produce 300 MW by 2013 with the addition of five 50 MW plants using parabolic troughs to concentrate solar power.

    "Power towers and parabolic troughs are both types of concentrated solar power (CSP)."


    From MelkartGaditano via YouTube.

    "Most solar power stations use photovoltaic (PV) panels, which directly convert solar energy into electricity…[A]nalysts say CSP plants may take the lead…because they generate more power and could be more cost effective.

    "Spain became the world's second largest PV producer after Germany last year, with more than 3,000 MW installed, due to a generous [feed-in tariff] subsidy… PV growth is expected to be slow this year because the government will cap…subsidies this year."

    KANSAS COULD EXPORT WIND

    Study: Kan. could be exporter of renewable energy
    April 28, 2009 (AP via Forbes)

    "Kansas has the potential to become a major exporter of renewable energy, producing many new jobs and new tax revenue, a national study found.

    "Lt. Gov. Mark Parkinson and members of the American Council on Renewable Energy presented the report… by the Joint Coordinated System, a group of regional transmission operators including the Southern Power Pool, which Kansas is a part of."


    Kansas is one of the top 10 states. (click to enlarge)

    "The study calculated the state's maximum wind potential at 19 gigawatts by 2030 and projected 1 megawatt of power annually each from solar and bio-energy."

    Kansas was one of the most active states last year. (click to enlarge)

    "The study found tremendous potential to market Kansas energy to places such as Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana and Georgia…[T]he plan could create $23 billion in cumulative economic impact and 12,000 jobs from now through 2030.

    "But with current market conditions and a lack of transmission capability, energy from wind and other renewable resources is more expensive to generate…"

    NISSAN TO BRING EV TO SEATTLE IN 2010

    Nissan plans to start selling electric car in Seattle next year
    Aubrey Cohen, April 28, 2009 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

    "Seattle will be one of the first cities where Nissan sells a new electric car, and the city will help make the vehicles viable here, officials from the city and auto maker said…

    "The new plug-in vehicle will be able to exceed highway speed limits, go 100 miles on a charge and recharge in four to eight hours using a 220-volt line, similar to those for clothes dryers…It will seat five, be similar in size to Nissan's Versa and Sentra and be affordable to a typical family…"


    Prototype Nissan EV due in 2010. (click to enlarge)

    "In an agreement between Nissan and the city of Seattle, the automaker says it intends to sell the cars in the Seattle area and work with government and other organizations and companies on a plan to promote the cars and creation of a network of charging facilities.

    "Seattle says it intends to help develop the charging network; consider incentives for buying and using the cars, and creating charging stations; consider regulatory changes to support the cars, such as streamlined permitting for installing charging outlets; and consider leasing or buying the cars for its fleet."


    It will require these and Seattle will provide them. (click to enlarge)

    "Electric cars are part of the electrification of the city's transit system -- along with trackless trolleys, streetcars and light rail -- helping lessen dependence on foreign oil and reduce pollution, Mayor Greg Nickels said…

    "Nissan plans to roll out the car in 12 to 15 markets next year…The [chaging] stations will have a standardized outlet that will accommodate other companies' plug-in cars…[Nissan] would not say just what the car would cost or how many the company planned to offer…"

    Wednesday, April 29, 2009

    MONEY FOR SCIENCE, OH YEAH!

    Obama to double scientific research funding
    Edward Luce, April 28, 2009 (Financial Times)

    "Barack Obama… promised to double public funding of scientific research to exceed the level Washington spent during the "space race" unleashed by Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy 50 years ago.

    "The US president's pledge, made in a speech at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, included a promise to take ideology out of public research following what many scientists saw as the politicisation of science under George W. Bush - particularly in the field of climate change."


    Characteristic of the science done during the last administration. (click to enlarge)

    "Under Mr Obama's pledge, the US would increase to 3 per cent the proportion of gross domestic product it spends on scientific research and development - roughly the level as under JFK.

    "New measures would include making an R&D tax credit permanent for businesses, boosting funding for energy and healthcare research, and efforts to restore the quality of US teaching in maths and sciences…Mr Obama's speech goes part of the way towards fulfilling a long-standing campaign promise…"


    Time to turn this around. (click to enlarge)

    "Some critics of the Obama administration point out that elements of his programme, including the pledge to enact a full "cap and trade" system this year for carbon emissions, already look to be in danger because of the political fallout in Congress from the economic crisis…However, Mr Obama also won plaudits for sticking to his longer-term agenda…

    "…[The President said] there was a strong link between previous eras of high public funding for scientific research and subsequent US economic competitiveness…linked his new research funding to US job creation…[and] argued that the steep slide in the quality of teaching at US schools was in need of urgent reversal…"

    SAN DIEGO PRIZE FOR ALGAE THAT FLIES, DRIVES

    Regional Partnership Announced For Algae Project
    April 28, 2009 (CNN Internet Broadcasting via KGTV-10 San Diego)

    "The San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology announced a regional partnership with the city and the University of California, San Diego… for developing fuel from algae.

    "Mayor Jerry Sanders said San Diego, home to more than 500 biotechnology companies, could become a major center for renewable energy…"


    click to enlarge

    "UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said she hoped the partnership would make sustainable algae-based fuel production a reality in the next five to 10 years…

    "According to a San Diego Association of Governments study cited by UCSD, research into algal biofuels already has a $63 million economic impact in the region and employs 513 people."


    click to enlarge

    "Various fuels can be made from algae, including a kind of biodiesel and butanol, which is similar to gasoline. On Jan. 8, Continental Airlines successfully tested a twin-engine jet that burned a 50-50 blend of traditional jet fuel and biofuel derived from algae.

    "Algae grows faster than some other food crops used for producing biofuels -- it also takes in carbon-dioxide and gives off oxygen -- and contains a high percentage of combustible oils."

    FED MONEY TO WIND INDUSTRY

    Chu announces new wind energy funding
    April 29, 2009 (UPI)

    "Secretary of Energy Steven Chu says his department will provide $93 million to support development of wind energy in the United States.

    "Chu announced the plans… during a visit to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. The money will come from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as will more than $100 million for infrastructure improvements at the NREL facility…"


    click to enlarge

    "Included in the funding projects are enhancements of current and next generation wind turbine drive-train systems; improvements of the quality and use of lighter advanced materials for turbine blades, towers and other components, and creation of a National Wind Technology Center.

    "Chu said wind energy is among the fastest growing energy technologies in the United States, with the U.S. now leading the world in wind energy generation and new wind energy capacity."

    Tuesday, April 28, 2009

    WIND BOOMS IN FIRST QUARTER 2009

    Wind industry adds nearly 3,000 MW, group says
    Sandy Shore, April 28, 2009 (AP)

    "Wind farms added more than 2,800 megawatts of capacity in the first quarter…offering a sliver of good news for an industry pummeled by frozen credit markets and the recession.

    "From January to March, about three dozen developers started wind farms in 15 states adding about twice the capacity that came on line last year during the same period, according to
    a report by the American Wind Energy Association…"

    click for report

    "Most projects were already under construction in 2008 as the economy weakened…A number of companies were forced to shelve projects and lay off workers, particularly from October to December when credit became scarce…[I]nvestments began to tail off because of the way tax credits for projects are structured. Tax credits do not pack the same punch when the economy falters.

    "The Treasury Department is expected to release new rules as part of the U.S. stimulus package that would allow for something closer to a rebates for wind investments as an alternative to tax credits…The stimulus package has already had an effect on the industry."


    click to enlarge

    "By the end of March, about three dozen new projects had been announced with a potential of 3,540 megawatts…[T]hose projects were motivated by the stimulus package…

    "The industry is still wrestling in the current economic climate…Vestas A/S, the world's biggest wind turbine manufacturer [will]… lay off 1,900 workers primarily in Denmark and Britain, because of sluggish demand in Europe…"

    BUY PRIME SUN, NOTHING DOWN

    Kiss the upfront costs of solar goodbye
    Josh Dorfman, April 27, 2009 (Miami Herald)

    "…In 2008, SolarCity introduced SolarLease, a program that enables homeowners to lease solar panel systems for a low monthly rate and zero money down. SolarCity even provides free repair service and free monitoring for optimal output as part of the performance guarantee, which lasts as long as the lease. Leases run for 15 years, after which time you can apply your accumulated monthly payments toward purchasing your system or opt to return it back to the company. Along the way, you'll very likely lower your overall monthly energy costs…This works for your bottom line and the planet's too.

    "…SolarCity has plans in the works to expand its innovative service (also available in Oregon and Arizona) into 10 additional states this year…"


    From solarcity100 via YouTube

    "…Akeena Solar has developed a sleek, easy-to-install solar panel system called Andalay and has partnered with a solar financing company called Sun Run to help consumers go solar without incurring much of the up-front costs. Sun Run enables residents to enter into a long-term contract called a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), which helps a homeowner purchase the energy being produced by the solar panels on the roof without actually purchasing or leasing the panels.

    "…Operating throughout the Northeast, Northwest and Canada, GroSolar is steadily becoming one of the largest solar installers in North America. Where rebates and incentives are available in your state, GroSolar files all of the paperwork on your behalf. And since rebate checks can take a while to arrive, GroSolar charges you the "after rebate" price when installing your system and then collects the incentive checks directly, helping to lower your out-of-pocket costs."


    From drumat5280 via YouTube.

    "…Ready Solar offers a deceptively simple modular system - aptly named Solar in a Box - that can be installed quickly and at a reduced cost. Because Solar in a Box is a modular system, you can choose as little or as much solar power as you'd like and then add more capacity over time."

    [From Josh Dorfman's recently published book, "The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget."]

    MASS. CO GETS SCOT & L.A. $$$ FOR UTAH WIND

    Newton wind-energy firm raises $376m
    Chris Reidy, April 23, 2009 (Boston Globe)

    "First Wind, a Newton [Mass.] wind-energy company, has obtained $376 million in financing for a project in Milford, Utah.

    "Royal Bank of Scotland PLC, the parent company of Citizens Bank, was lead arranger for the loan…"


    click to enlarge

    "With 97 wind turbines, the Milford Wind Project will generate up to 203.5 megawatts of clean energy and will be one of the largest renewable energy facilities in Utah and the largest wind-energy project in the state…

    "Its chief executive, Paul Gaynor, said…[the financing is a testament to stakeholders such as] the Southern California Public Power Authority."

    Monday, April 27, 2009

    HOUSE CLIMATE BILL TO HAVE FREE ALLOWANCES

    U.S. House climate bill to include free carbon permits
    Ayesha Rascoe (w/Christian Wiessner), 23 April 2009 (Reuters)

    "A U.S. House of Representatives bill aimed at fighting global warming will allow some polluters access to free permits to emit greenhouse gas emissions in its cap-and-trade system, Democratic Representative Edward Markey said…

    "Markey and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman unveiled climate-change legislation last month that would limit greenhouse gas emissions and require companies to acquire permits to emit carbon dioxide."


    They called it a "discussion draft" because they intend to negotiate. (click to enlarge)

    "U.S. President Barack Obama has supported auctioning all carbon permits, essentially making big polluters such as coal-powered power plants pay heavily for their emissions. The White House has indicated flexibility on this point, however.

    "Markey said backers of the bill are talking with all members of the Energy and Commerce Committee on how to structure the carbon allowances…[I]nfluential committee member Democrat Representative Rick Boucher of Virginia is planning to unveil a proposal that would give 40 percent of carbon allowances to utilities and 20 percent to industrial companies and refineries…"


    They've long known the debate would hinge on the percent of credits auctioned. (click to enlarge)

    "The issue of how carbon permits are distributed will be key to the success or failure of the bill…Republicans have been strongly opposed to the measure…Democrats from heavy industrial states have voiced concerns about placing too much burden on companies by forcing them to buy permits…Representative Jay Inslee said lawmakers are working to find consensus…Obama's climate change plan would use the revenue from the sale of carbon permits for investments in clean energy technology and to offset higher energy costs for consumers through tax breaks."

    "…Democratic leaders want [the bill] approved by the panel by Memorial Day, with a full chamber vote later this year…U.S. utilities…urged lawmakers… to provide power companies with free permits to emit greenhouse gases, at least initially….[T]he Edison Electric Institute…supports a gradual transition to a full auction system, with utilities being allocated 40 percent of all allowances annually until technology that can trap and store carbon emissions from coal power plants is commercially viable…"

    TEXAS WILL SPEND FOR SUN

    Texas Senate passes $500M solar incentive bill
    Jim Vertuno, April 22, 2009 (AP via Forbes)

    "Texas would develop a $500 million solar energy rebate program to help make it easier for homeowners and businesses to tap into the power of the sun under a bill passed in the Senate.

    "Environmentalists hailed the 26-4 vote…[B]y getting more Texans use solar power, consumers can reduce dependence on foreign oil, said the bill's sponsor, Sen. Troy Fraser, a Horseshoe Bay Republican."


    Time to develop this asset. (click to enlarge)

    "The fund would be paid for with fees built into monthly electric bills. Homeowners would pay 20 cents, commercial users $2 and industrial users $20 a month.

    "It's a small price to pay for a program that could let Texans recoup thousands of dollars through rebates, federal tax incentives and lower energy bills, said Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas."


    click to enlarge

    "The bill also requires developers to offer solar as a standard option in developments with 50 or more homes, creates a loan program for schools and prohibits neighborhood associations from banning homeowners from installing solar projects.

    "Although solar is becoming more mainstream as an energy source, the cost of installation can be too much for homeowners or businesses without rebates and tax incentives…Fraser's bill is designed to collect up to $100 million annually over five years. It would pay rebates of up to 30 percent of the cost of installing solar technology. The federal government also allows tax credits of up to 30 percent."

    HOME ENERGY EFFICIENCIES

    Help in finding energy savings around house
    Bill Lahay, April 26, 2009 (Philadelphia Inquirer)

    "These days, the consensus on climate change suggests that, contrary to the old saying, we're all doing something about the weather…For homeowners, the indictment is even harsher. The potential environmental damage from most vehicles pales in comparison with the energy and resources consumed by the typical American house.

    "To keep us and our belongings dry, well-lighted, and within the fairly narrow temperature range required for comfort, our houses consume fossil fuels and emit pollutants virtually around the clock, and are otherwise hard on the environment…"


    click to enlarge

    "…Two renewable-energy experts, Dave Bonta and Stephen Snyder, have summed up a host of practical strategies in their book, New Green Home Solutions: Renewable Household Energy and Sustainable Living (Gibbs Smith Publishers, $24.99).

    "The authors specialize in solar-energy systems, but their approach here is deliberately broader, expanded to include approaches ranging from simple conservation measures to wind-turbine generators and entire new home designs…"


    The ultimate authority. (click to enlarge)

    "…Common inefficiencies allow corrective measures that can reduce energy consumption of the typical home by as much as 60 percent, largely without circumscribing the comforts and convenience of modern life…Drafty doors and windows, insufficient insulation, old appliances, and our own bad habits are all targets…Together, these factors increase the biggest energy loads in our homes - lighting, heating and cooling space, and heating water. Some common-sense suggestions include installing window-wrap kits and weather-stripping, using compact fluorescent light bulbs, and arranging for your local utility company to perform an energy audit to pinpoint the biggest energy losses…

    "…[O]ther details are not so self-evident. Roof-mounted solar sky tubes…low-emissivity glass…south-facing windows…Extended roof overhangs and strategic landscaping and tree placement…Not every solution is right for every home or homeowner, but the a la carte approach lets you look at individual options to find a good mix."

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    MILITARY SALUTES NEW ENERGY, PT. 1

    Pentagon Prioritizes Pursuit Of Alternative Fuel Sources
    Steve Vogel, April 13, 2009 (Washington Post)

    "For the Defense Department, the largest consumer of energy in the United States, addiction to fuel has greater costs than the roughly $18 billion the agency spent on it last year.

    "By some estimates, about half of the U.S. military casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan are related to attacks with improvised explosive devices on convoys, many of which are carrying fuel. As of March 20, 3,426 service members had been killed by hostile fire in Iraq, 1,823 of them victims of IEDs…"


    A personnel energy system. (click to enlarge)

    "Spurred by this grim reality, the Pentagon, which traditionally has not made saving energy much of a priority, has launched initiatives to find alternative fuel sources. The goals include saving money, preserving dwindling natural resources and lessening U.S. dependence on foreign sources…

    "Other than fueling jet engines, the largest drain on U.S. military fuel supplies comes from running generators at forward operating bases. The Pentagon says that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have required more fuel on a daily basis than any other war in history. Since the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq began in 2001 and 2003, respectively, the amount of oil consumption at forward bases has increased from 50 million gallons to 500 million gallons a year."


    The Tactical Garbage to Energy Refinery (TGER). (click to enlarge)

    "To help reduce consumption, the Pentagon is using $300 million of the $7.4 billion it received from the economic stimulus package to accelerate existing programs for developing alternative fuels and saving energy…"

    "Garbage, for example, is a commodity never in short supply when the Army goes to the field. A battalion-size forward operating base generates a ton of trash a day. The Pentagon is developing mobile units -- small enough to fit on a five-ton flatbed trailer -- that use an anaerobic microbial process to convert garbage into oil."


    TGER at Camp Victory in Iraq. (click to enlarge)

    "Two prototypes -- known as the Tactical Garbage to Energy Refinery -- were deployed to Iraq in the summer and were initially successful, converting field waste -- paper, plastic, cardboard and food slop -- into biofuel to power a 60-kilowatt generator…

    "But the units were not particularly hardy and soon broke down. The stimulus money includes $7.5 million to develop a more rugged model…

    MILITARY SALUTES NEW ENERGY, PT. 2

    Pentagon Prioritizes Pursuit Of Alternative Fuel Sources
    Steve Vogel, April 13, 2009 (Washington Post)

    "…The Pentagon is also investing $15 million of the stimulus money into developing lightweight, flexible photovoltaic mats that could be rolled up like a rug and used at forward bases to draw solar power for operating equipment…

    "About $6 million is aimed at improving a program run by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to convert algae into jet propulsion fuel 8, or JP-8, that could power Navy and Air Force aircraft.

    "Other initiatives include $27 million to develop a hybrid engine the Army could use in tactical vehicles and $2 million to develop highly efficient portable fuel cells that could reduce the battery load carried by infantry soldiers. "


    Algae could be a sun-grown truck and jet fuel. (click to enlarge)

    "The Pentagon is also testing the use of solar and geothermal energy to provide power at installations. The Army, for example, is partnering with a private firm to build an enormous, 500-megawatt solar farm at Fort Irwin, Calif. The farm would supply the 30 to 35 megawatts needed to operate the installation, with the remaining available for sale to the California electrical grid.

    "Fort Irwin's desert location is particularly well suited for solar energy, but the concept of using buffer land for energy production could be applied at many installations, said Keith Eastin, assistant secretary of the Army for installations and environment…"


    A foam-insulated tent in Iraq. (click to enlarge)

    "For all the emphasis on new technologies at the Pentagon, one of the most successful initiatives involves decades-old technology: insulating thousands of tents in Iraq and Afghanistan with a two-inch layer of foam. The foam is sprayed like shaving cream from 55-gallon drums and hardens in about 20 minutes.

    "A $95 million program to spray-foam tents in Iraq has dramatically reduced the amount of fuel needed for heating and cooling, saving $2 million in energy costs per day, Anderson said. It is also reducing the Army's logistical footprint, which includes roughly 900 trucks per day moving in and out of Iraq…

    "A $29 million contract has been signed to insulate tents in Afghanistan, where vulnerable land supply routes pose serious challenges as the United States attempts to build up its forces…"

    WOULD-BE CA GOV VISITS ALGAE BIOFUEL MAKER

    S.F. mayor makes campaign stop at biofuel company
    Ronald W. Powell, April 23, 2009 (San Diego Union Tribune)

    "San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom took an Earth Day tour of [Sapphire Energy, a company launched in 2007 that is working to convert algae to an environmentally friendly biofuel for use in autos and airliners]… on his first full day of campaigning after formally announcing… for the 2010 California governor's race.

    "Newsom…[a] 41-year-old Democrat [and] the youngest San Francisco mayor in a century, touted his green credentials following the tour that ended in a room where algae, as green as pea soup, sat in agitating beakers and bubbled in long cylindrical plastic bags."


    An algae farm. (click to enlarge)

    "He said his city has reduced greenhouse gases, partially blamed for global warming, by 6 percent below 1990 levels. The city has aggressive environmental building standards, a slew of solar projects, and is the first U.S. city to ban plastic shopping bags in large supermarkets and chain pharmacies…[H]e said companies like Sapphire Energy have the possibility of creating “green-collar jobs” that improve the environment and the struggling economy…

    "But Newsom said he will not be a one-issue candidate as he seeks to replace Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. His competition on the Democratic side includes former two-time governor and current state Attorney General Jerry Brown and possibly Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, both of whom were leading Newsom in a Field Poll released last month."


    A picture of Newsom and Governor Arnold that says more than words. (click to enlarge)

    "He also must look over his shoulder to see if well-respected U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, a former San Francisco mayor, chooses to enter the race. Polls show she would be the favorite…

    "Newsom said his city is the only one in the country to approve universal health care and… he will work to improve access to health care statewide…[H]e will support budget-fixing Propositions 1A and 1B on the May 19 ballot…[S]ome voters will not accept his support for same-sex marriage but hopes they analyze his positions…"

    Friday, April 24, 2009

    EU ASKS CHINA TO CUT SPEW

    EU asks China to set 15-30% emission cut goal
    Rujun Shen and Tom Miles (w/Ben Tan), 23 April 2009 (Reuters)

    "The European Union suggested that developing countries including China emit 15 to 30 percent less greenhouse gases than usual by 2020, but this would be a goal rather than an obligation, an EU official said…

    "Magnus Gislev, first secretary on environment with the Delegation of the European Commission to China, said that aim should be achieved by adopting policies and strategies that enable countries to achieve economic development and at the same time reduce carbon emissions."


    China and India are a big part of the problem, no doubt about it. (click to enlarge)

    "Under the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol, which is to expire in 2012, developed countries can invest in clean energy projects in developing nations.

    "India and China are the top two sources of U.N.-certified emissions reductions, representing billions in investment and trade in carbon credits."


    A BIG portion of the world's Certified Emissions Reductions (CERs) are now in China and India. (click to enlarge)

    "Delegates from nearly 200 countries plan to meet in Copenhagen in December to hold discussions on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol…

    "[Gislev] suggested the establishment of a sectoral crediting mechanism, which would initially focus on power generation, among other sectors…"

    SOLAR PV POWER PLANT FOR GERMANY

    First Solar Secures Financing for 53 Megawatt Solar Power Plant in Germany; Former Military Land Being Remediated, Converted to Renewable Energy Resource
    April 21, 2009 (Business Wire)

    "First Solar, Inc. and Juwi Holding AG… have secured financing for a 53 megawatt (MW) DC photovoltaic (PV) power plant near the German city of Cottbus.

    "More than 80 percent of the required project capital is financed through non-recourse debt from a consortium of banks. First Solar and Juwi intend to sell the majority of the project after its completion. Construction of the project began in January 2009, and the first 15MW have been completed. The remaining 38MW are scheduled to be completed by the end of 2009."


    Bird's eye view of the Waldpolenz Solar Park from First Solar and Juwi. (click to enlarge)

    "The project is being constructed on 162 hectares of land that is part of the Soviet Army’s former 26,000 hectare Lieberose training area north of Cottbus in eastern Germany. The project’s low cost enables the required return to fund an attractive land lease for the State of Brandenburg. The lease, in turn, finances the environmental cleanup of this former military zone, which is littered with tons of land mines, grenades and other munitions. Matthias Platzeck, minister president of the German state government of Brandenburg, where Lieberose is located, said the project is a model for the conversion of former military land to productive use…"

    Ground level view of the Waldpolenz Solar Park from First Solar and Juwi. (click to enlarge)

    "Upon completion, the PV power plant will consist of approximately 700,000 modules and is projected to be the largest in Germany—producing enough power to provide for the annual electricity needs of more than 14,000 homes—and the second largest worldwide…

    "First Solar, Inc. manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology and provides comprehensive PV solutions… at competitive prices…First Solar PV power plants operate with no water, air emissions or waste stream….The Juwi Group…[focuses on] solar power and bioenergy… wind and water power, and geothermal energy. To date, Juwi has installed more than 300 wind turbines…[with an] output of over 450 MW…[and] set up around 800 PV systems with a total capacity of more than 220,000 KW…"

    SHANGHAI CAR SHOW SAYS DRIVERS MUST CHANGE

    Biggest challenge facing electric car is changing driver behaviour
    April 22, 2009 (UK Independent)

    "…While most experts agree electric motoring will be a key element of future transport, some suggest a far tougher task will be for governments to change the travel patterns and habits of people which are badly needed to reduce carbon emissions and cut the cost of travel…[A] report from the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) that is based on 500 international studies, says the biggest longterm impact on the environment would be achieved through altering our personal travel patterns so that fewer trips relied on the car.

    "The electrification of cars and altered behaviour would be most effective when combined with less popular measures such as parking restrictions and higher road and fuel prices."


    BYD previewed a new EV concept at the Shanghai show. Will it make it in the marketplace? It all depends on the car-buying public. (click to enlarge)

    "Experts warn that without managing travel patterns, it will be difficult to meet the technological challenges involved in the electrification process, including how the power is generated at the scale and pace required…

    "…Shanghai Auto Show executives have pointed out that electric car technology is still in its infancy and that improvements will be significant over the coming years."


    GM previewed the 2011 Volt at Shanghai. 2011? It all depends on the car-buying public. (click to enlarge)

    "Chinese companies, such as BYD, have been praised for developing advanced batteries that could power a revolution in motoring. BYD, a former battery maker, was the first company in the world to start selling a heavily-electrified hybrid car last December…

    "The Chinese government has also committed to funding new technologies, such as BYD's ironphosphate- based lithium ion batteries, with €1bn of research subsidies…"

    Thursday, April 23, 2009

    OFFSHORE WIND GETS A ‘GO’

    White House Sets Rules for Offshore Wind Farms
    Christine Buurma, April 22, 2009 (Wall Street Journal)

    "The Obama administration’s …Department of the Interior [DOI] announced a program to grant leases, easements and rights of way for the development of offshore wind farms. The [final rules program for offshore development]… also puts in place methods for sharing revenue from offshore renewable energy projects with coastal states…

    "Mr. Obama and congressional Democrats have touted wind power and other renewable energy sources as an alternative to power plants that run on fossil fuels that emit the heat-trapping gases blamed for climate change. The U.S. currently has no offshore wind farms, and the few plans that have gotten some traction, such as a project for a farm off Cape Cod, Mass., have at times been met with fierce opposition from local residents…"


    Lots of potential. (click to enlarge)

    "The guidelines [are] from [DOI's] Minerals Management Service…MMS's final rule on offshore wind development came as the New York Power Authority said… it will partner with several public and private organizations to develop wind power projects off the coast of the Great Lakes."

    A UK offshore installation. (click to enlarge)

    "[Last month, DOI]… and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FERC] resolved a longstanding regulatory dispute…Under the agreement, the MMS is responsible for rules governing the wind projects and FERC has approval over siting…[Secretary of the Interior] Salazar said in February that the Atlantic coast has "huge potential" for offshore wind energy production, possibly hinting at an area his department would consider in early lease auctions. Mr. Salazar also said the Southwest and Great Plains regions were of interest.

    "A 2006 report by the Interior Department said wind energy in the U.S. outer continental shelf has the potential to generate 900,000 megawatts of power, roughly equal to total installed U.S. electrical capacity."

    SUN LIGHTS UP WAL-MART

    Wal-Mart to double amount of solar energy use
    Paul Davidson, April 22, 2009 (USA Today)

    "…For Earth Day [Wal-Mart announced]…it will as much as double the size of its solar-power initiative in the next 18 months by putting rooftop solar arrays on 10 to 20 stores and distribution centers in California. The retail giant early this month finished installing solar setups at 18 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores and two warehouses in California and Hawaii…Wal-Mart's solar projects will generate enough clean energy to power the equivalent of 2,600 homes…tantamount to taking about 4,000 cars off the road. The company is considering other sites for solar arrays.

    "As with the first batch of stores, Wal-Mart won't buy the solar setups outright. Under a 10-year power purchase agreement, or PPA, it will pay for the electricity it uses. BP Solar will make, install, own and maintain the systems."


    click to enlarge

    "Wal-Mart aims to buy the green power at prices equal to or less than traditional energy. The chain already has reaped a "moderate savings" with the initial projects…Each store gets 20% to 30% of its power from solar…

    "The project is part of an aggressive environmental campaign Wal-Mart unveiled in 2005…[A] bevy of retailers that announced solar projects the last two years, including Target, Macy's and Whole Foods. Most signed PPAs, which have exploded in recent years because they let large businesses buy solar energy without huge upfront costs or, more significantly, the hassles of maintaining systems. The set-ups comprise the bulk of the large commercial solar market…"


    click to enlarge

    "Wal-Mart likely would have to spend more than $2 million per store if it purchased the solar setups, says Jigar Shah, a consultant and founder of SunEdison, the top solar services company…

    "Some say the PPA market has slowed recently along with the economy…[and] natural gas [prices] have plunged, stabilizing utility electric rates. But…Wal-Mart, for instance, recognizes electricity rates are bound to rise in coming years…while solar prices are stable…"

    FIRST EV CHARGER FOR BILLINGS, MONTANA

    Billings electric car owners in luck
    April 22, 2009 (Montana’s News Station)

    "A downtown Billings business showed off a green machine today in honor of Earth Day. Electric cars could be the future of the automobile industry, but the downfall is keeping the battery charged while running errands. Because of this dilemma, The Good Earth Market, unveiled its electric car parking spot where drivers can plug in their car while shopping.

    "Good Earth is the only official business in Billings to offer the service."


    From KULR-8 TV. (http://www.kulr8.com/news/local/43494197.html)

    "Billings resident, Richard Jones, is the proud honor of a 2007 Zenn and says the new charge station allows him more freedom when running around town…

    "Currently there are three earth-friendly electric vehicles in Billings. No car dealerships in Billings carry electric cars -- Jones purchased his vehicle two years ago in Bozeman."

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    SOLAR POWER PLANT ADDS 1000+ JOBS

    FPL hiring 1,100 workers to build solar energy plant west of Indiantown
    Eve Samples, April 21, 2009 (Palm Beach Post)

    "Wanted: about 1,000 workers to build the second-largest solar plant in the world.

    "Qualifications: basic assembly skills; plumbers, carpenters and other tradesmen also may be needed.

    "To apply: head to Indiantown this weekend.

    "The contractor overseeing Florida Power & Light Co.'s solar-thermal power plant in western Martin County is looking for help - lots of help - at a time when double-digit unemployment has hamstrung the local economy."


    click to enlarge

    "The 1,000 jobs would be welcome enough, but the ripple effects could inject new life into small businesses…

    "Job fairs are scheduled for [10 a.m. to 4 p.m.] Friday and Saturday [at Timer Powers Park] in Indiantown, and the community is bracing for a big turnout…"

    "In Martin County, the jobless rate was 10.1 percent in March. In Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties, the rates were 9.9 and 12.8 percent, respectively…

    "For skilled trade workers, the jobs will start at $20 an hour…Lower-skill positions will start at $9 an hour."


    click to enlarge

    "When the FPL plant is complete in 2010, it will generate up to 75 megawatts…

    "Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, as it is dubbed, is one of three solar-powered plants FPL announced last year…[It will also partner] to build a 75-megawatt solar plant at Babcock Ranch north of Fort Myers…

    "At the Martin plant, more than 180,000 mirrors will be used to collect sunlight in troughs, in turn making steam to power FPL's existing gas-fired plant at the site. When complete, it will be the largest solar plant of any kind outside of California and the second-largest in the world…"

    EPA’S TAKE ON CLIMATE LEGISLATION

    E.P.A. Releases Analysis of Climate Bill
    Jad Mouawad, April 21, 2009 (NY Times)

    "Just days after declaring that carbon emissions were a threat to human health, the Environmental Protection Agency has given high marks to a wide-ranging energy and climate bill that was recently put forward by the House Energy Committee.

    "The Waxman-Markey bill, also known as the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, will “drive the clean energy transformations of the U.S. economy,” and substantially reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, according to the E.P.A.’s review."


    From NationalWildlife via YouTube.

    "In a summary, the E.P.A. said it focused its analysis on the bill’s proposed cap-and-trade mechanism. It assumes that carbon prices would range from $13 to $17 per ton in 2015, and would rise by about 5 percent a year. By 2020, carbon costs would reach $17 to $22 per ton. That is approximately what participants in a European Union cap-and-trade program are currently paying.

    "The E.P.A.’s analysis suggests that under the plan, the share of low-carbon and zero-carbon energy sources — including renewables like wind and solar, as well as nuclear and carbon capture plants — would rise to 26 percent of the nation’s energy mix by 2030, and could reach 46 percent by 2050. Without the policy, that share would remain at a steady 14 percent the E.P.A. estimated."


    The UN's "international offsets" program is called the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). (click to enlarge)

    "Republican opponents to a cap-and-trade policy say it amounts to a hidden energy tax…But Representative Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat and a co-sponsor of the bill, said the E.P.A.’s analysis, along with other provisions in the bill for updating energy efficiency weatherization, suggested that “the savings will pile up for consumers.”

    "The E.P.A.’s analysis predicted the [bill’s impact on consumers would be modest and]… said that in order to minimize costs, the program needed to include a mechanism that allows companies to offset their carbon emissions by investing…in international offsets — such as reforestation programs in Africa — [that] would significantly reduce the cost of achieving the bill’s goals. Excluding such offsets would nearly double the price of the carbon allowances… the House energy committee is holding a series of hearings on the proposed bill, and plans to have the legislation ready by Memorial day."

    S. AFRICA BANK $$$ TO AUSSIE NEW ENERGY

    Investec May Invest in Australian Solar, Geothermal Projects
    Angela Macdonal-Smith, April 21, 2009 (Bloomberg News)

    "Investec, the South African investment and private bank, said it may invest in Australian solar thermal and geothermal energy projects as it seeks to participate in emerging renewable energy ventures.

    "The bank signed an initial agreement last week to provide as much as A$250 million ($176 million) of funds for a wave energy project in southern Australia. It is interested in similar accords in solar and geothermal once project plans are more advanced…"


    click to enlarge

    "Australia’s government has a target to increase use of renewable energy to 20 percent of electricity supplies by 2020 to tackle global warming. Investec is advancing the A$600 million Collgar wind energy project in Western Australia, after selling development rights for other wind farms to Contact Energy Ltd. and AGL Energy Ltd…

    "Solar thermal plants use reflective troughs to concentrate the sun’s energy to heat oil or another liquid, generating steam for conversion into power."


    From CarnegieCorporation via YouTube.

    "The funding in Carnegie Corp.’s wave energy project may involve taking an equity stake in the venture company…It is subject to a successful application for federal government funding for the project in southern Australia and to other milestones…

    "Carnegie’s CETO technology uses a device that sits on the seabed and carries high-pressure seawater ashore through a pipeline, where it is used to produce either electricity or fresh water. The company is close to securing contracts for the sale of the project’s electricity output and related renewable energy and carbon credits… Investec wants to participate in projects rather than in technology companies, and ventures considered so far in solar thermal and geothermal energy haven’t been far enough advanced…"

    Tuesday, April 21, 2009

    WIND ENERGY JOBS DRAW THRONGS

    Scores sign up for potential wind energy jobs
    Dave Dreeszen, April 20, 2009 (Sioux City Journal)

    "Last week's public appeal for workers for a potential wind turbine plant in Sioux City produced a large early response…By mid-morning Monday, more than 1,450 people had completed an employment survey through the Iowa Workforce Developement's Web site…

    "…[T]he numbers could strengthen the city's case for landing a large-scale wind energy project, which would create 400 high-paying jobs. As the Journal first reported last Thursday, the Northwest Iowa city has been told it's one of two finalists, but is running a "close second'' to another Midwest community."


    Iowa is now 2nd in the nation in wind - and can't get enough. (click to enlarge)

    "To help overcome the company's doubts about the size and skills of the tri-state labor pool, state and city officials asked the public last Friday to fill out the employment surveys. Workers have until Friday to complete the forms online…or at the local Workforce Development office…

    "The plant also would create dozens of management level positions. Assembly; machinists; quality/safety control and assurance; computer control operators; mechanical engineering; electronic technicians; warehousing; logistics; human resources; information technology; administration. The hourly jobs would pay between $16 to $25 and offer health, disability and life insurance, plus a retirement plan and vacation."

    WHOLE FOODS BUYS MORE NEW ENERGY

    Whole Foods Market(R) Announces Alternative Energy Investment, Energy Savings with New Store Designs, Existing Store Retrofits; Natural and Organic Grocer to Add Solar To More Than 20 Additional Locations. Contracts for Third Year of Wind Energy Credits to Offset 100 Percent of Its Non-renewable Electricity Use
    April 21, 2009 (PR Newswire)

    "Whole Foods Market [announced] a comprehensive energy commitment that more than triples the number of stores with solar panels, extending its commitment to offset 100 percent of its use of non-renewable electricity with wind energy, and investing in energy reduction opportunities while retrofitting existing stores with energy efficient lighting, equipment and mechanical components…

    "Whole Foods Market recently contracted to add solar to more than 20 locations…[and will be on] the rooftops of more than 30 of the Company's stores nationwide. With an installation at its Berkeley, Calif., store in 2002, the Company became the first retailer to introduce solar power as its primary lighting source. Including potential future rollout phases, Whole Foods Market hopes to have close to 70 total locations with rooftop solar panels, close to one fourth of the Company's total number of stores…"


    Solar roof at the Berkeley Whole Foods. (click to enlarge)

    "Continuing its industry-leading commitment to wind power, Whole Foods Market is once again offsetting electricity use in its North American locations in 2009, bringing its four-year total purchase to 2 million megawatt-hours of renewable energy credits from wind farms…In December 2005, the Company became the first Fortune 500 Company to offset 100 percent of its electricity use with wind energy credits…

    "The Company is also expanding its comprehensive energy approach to reduce reliance on fossil fuels by using on-site alternative and renewable energy sources for new stores while reducing energy consumption in existing stores and facilities.

    "Whole Foods Market hosts and pays for the energy delivered by an on-site hydrogen fuel cell at the Glastonbury, Conn., store. The fuel cell, a first for a supermarket, generates 50 percent of the electricity and heat and nearly 100 percent of the hot water needed to operate the store. Plans are in place to add fuel cells to other locations…"


    3656 N. Halsted, Chicago. LEED Gold-certified. (click to enlarge)

    "Whole Foods Market has set internal energy-reduction goals for new stores as well…and is participating in programs to develop buildings that will use 30 to 50 percent less energy than required by code, as well as working with manufacturers and partners to develop increasingly higher energy efficiency equipment and systems for supermarkets…

    "Environmental certifications for new Whole Foods Market stores have been abundant…The Company opened the first-ever LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified grocery store in Sarasota, Fla., in 2005. Since then...Austin, Texas; Pacific Coast Highway/El Segundo, Calif.; Lakewood/Dallas, Texas; and...the Chicago South Loop store have earned LEED certification...The Company is also setting internal goals for greenhouse gas [tracking and] reduction in future years by using smart design and energy reduction technologies."

    EFFICIENCY LEGISLATION GETS BIG ENDORSEMENT

    Proposed House Legislation Would Reduce Nationwide Energy Use 10%, Doubles Savings From 2007 Act
    April 21, 2009 (American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy)

    "Pending federal energy efficiency provisions could reduce U.S. energy use by 10.6 quadrillion Btu's, about 10% of projected U.S. energy use in 2020…These energy efficiency savings are more than the entire current energy use of the state of California, and are larger than the annual energy use of 49 of the 50 states. These savings are more than triple those of 2005 energy legislation and about double those of 2007 energy legislation…

    "The analysis examines the energy efficiency provisions in the “discussion draft” of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACESA), authored by Representatives Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ed Markey (D-MA). This bill includes a variety of energy efficiency and renewable energy provisions as well as a cap-and-trade program to reduce emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases…"


    click to enlarge

    "More than half of the savings in the bill comes from the inclusion of a Federal Energy Efficiency Resource Standard (EERS), which would require utilities to reduce electricity demand by 15 percent and natural gas demand by 10 percent by 2020. This provision alone will create 222,000 net jobs and prevent 262 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, and is a key policy for achieving the savings possible from energy efficiency.

    "The bill also includes major savings from a number of other programs…[1] Retrofit for Energy and Environmental Performance (REEP) program, to promote comprehensive energy efficiency retrofits for residential and commercial buildings, which would save consumers an estimated $5.9 billion dollars in 2020…[2] A provision requiring states to establish goals for transportation sector greenhouse gas emissions reductions to ensure an absolute decrease in emissions after a designated year…"


    click to enlarge

    "According to [THE American council for ACEEE an energy-efficient ecnomy (ACEEE)], there are a number of ways the bill could be improved to maximize efficiency savings. First, the current draft of the bill does not address allocation of income from sales of emissions allowances…Second, the bill should include a provision to improve industrial energy efficiency similar to S. 661…To complement the industrial centers provision in S. 661, the bill should also establish a network of Building Training and Assessment Centers. In addition…[and] further maximize savings and help with energy costs in low-income housing by including a provision to help fund retrofits to multifamily housing.

    "…ACEEE’s studies of energy efficiency’s potential indicate that current technologies can cost-effectively save 25-30% of total energy use, and that new technologies could increase the available cost-effective savings."

    Monday, April 20, 2009

    NEW ENERGY LAW COMING THIS YEAR

    Congress to pass energy bill this year: White House
    Ayesha Rascoe (w/Paul Simao), April 19, 2009 (Reuters)

    "U.S. lawmakers will pass major energy legislation, possibly including measures to address climate change, by the end of this year…White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel told ABC's "This Week with George Stephanopoulos."

    "…[A]sked whether the bill would include a controversial cap-and-trade system aimed at curbing emissions of carbon dioxide, Emanuel said "'our goal is to get that done. We will see.'"


    From NationalWildlife via YouTube.

    "Democrats in the House Energy and Commerce Committee will begin hearings this week…Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Henry Waxman has said he wants the bill…to pass the committee in late May and the House of Representatives later in 2009.

    "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, also a Democrat, said he hoped the Senate by the middle of 2009 would pass cap-and-trade legislation, which allows firms emitting more carbon dioxide than the limit to buy credits from those that emit less.

    "No major bill addressing the issue has been introduced in the chamber…Democrats control Congress…But the attempt to enact new climate change laws at a time when the U.S. economy is in a deep recession has raised concerns among Republicans and some Democrats, who worry that doing so would raise costs for consumers and industry."


    click to enlarge

    "Emanuel said it was understandable that there would be some objections to a program of this magnitude, but…"…what I believe is we're going to alter how we deal with our energy policy…"

    "Congress faces pressure to act on climate change following the Environmental Protection Agency's finding last week that carbon dioxide posed a danger to human health, possibly paving the way for federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions…"

    NREL MAPS THE WIND

    U.S. DOE's Renewable Energy Lab Maps Wind Resources With GIS
    April 20, 2009 (ESRI via PublicWorls.com)

    "During the 1970s, the United States experienced a significant energy crisis…Soon after President Jimmy Carter…established the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) was opened in Golden, Colorado. In September 1991, SERI was designated a DOE national laboratory, and its name was changed to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). NREL is the primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency research and development in the United States.

    "NREL works to advance many renewable resources, including solar, hydrogen and fuel cells, biomass, and geothermal, but wind is currently the most developed renewable energy market…"


    An NREL map. (click to enlarge)

    "In May 2008, DOE released a groundbreaking report, 20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy's Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply. The report provides a road map to reaching this important goal, including identifying steps and challenges.

    "As part of the research behind having 20 percent wind energy by 2030, NREL team members were tasked with updating wind resource maps….Using ArcGIS Desktop software (through a U.S. government license agreement), the NREL team can determine the most favorable locations for wind farms based on the cost of transmission, locations of load centers and wind resources, and the layout of the electrical grid. GIS-based modeling enables analysis of terrain, which significantly impacts the quality of wind at a particular site.

    "The NREL team also examines economic development potential based on strong manufacturing centers and filters the data to exclude sites such as national parks and wilderness areas…For utility developers, NREL creates forecasting models…"

    TENNESSEE SUN

    Knoxville's solar grant aimed at education, demonstration
    Larissa Brass, April 20, 2009 (Knoxville Business Journal)

    "…Knoxville was tapped in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Energy as one of 25 Solar America Cities and is receiving $200,000 from DOE, a $100,000 grant from TVA and two years technical assistance.

    "In additional to education and public awareness initiatives - including installation of a 4.8 kilowatt solar array at the new downtown transit center and an exhibit at Ijams Nature Center - the effort is targeting businesses interested in incorporating solar energy into their operation or getting into the industry themselves."


    Tennessee has solar assets and, in times like these, assets matter. (click to enlarge)

    "A recent workshop for local businesses drew 75 participants…[and] focused on the basics of solar, including federal and state incentives available to those interested in investing in photovoltaic panels…Future workshops will help train city and and county government inspectors how to properly examine solar installations. Another, sponsored by TVA, will look at research and development in the solar industry…

    "A project still in the works is a residential solar demonstration site…The city is now talking with Knox Heritage about incorporating solar into the planned renovation of a Victorian home near the World's Fair Park.

    "The solar city program is also working to help revamp historic guidelines so that solar could be a part of renovations…Other programs will focus on workforce and technical training, and helping the city improve its own carbon footprint through an energy efficiency audit, which is also looking at ways solar could be incorporated into government buildings…"

    Sunday, April 19, 2009

    CUTTING EDGE SOLAR F-I-T

    Gainesville at the forefront of the future of energy
    Kevin Spear, April 19, 2009 (Orlando Sentinel)

    "The future of energy as dreamed about by ardent environmentalists would bring a mini-electric plant to every garage or every rooftop…[It may already] be happening in Gainesville…[Gainesville Regional Utilities is offering nearly three times more than it charges] to residential and business customers who make electricity with solar panels and feed it into the utility's power grid.

    "The approach is one of many ways to encourage solar energy in the Sunshine State…Gainesville's plan, the first of its kind in the nation, is drawing attention like few other energy initiatives…Within days of starting the program in March, GRU had to turn away applicants….[T]wice as many solar panels are installed on [Gainesville] homes and businesses as are now used in the rest of Florida…"


    click to enlarge

    "The initiative is attracting not just the green-minded, stirred by former Vice President Gore's campaign to raise awareness about the perils of greenhouse-gas emissions. Also coming on board are those repelled by Gore the Democrat, even though his Oscar-winning activism has helped focus the nation on emissions from power plants that burn coal…

    "Resigned to federal limits, utilities such as GRU are scrambling to implement greener, cleaner ways to produce electricity…GRU rejected the pricey option of buying power from a pair of nuclear reactors that another utility, Progress Energy Florida, hopes to start up in Levy County…

    "The Gainesville City Commission opted instead for an approach popular in Germany but largely unknown in the United States…[The "feed-in tariff" pays participants] for feeding electricity into a utility's grid…Customers producing electricity will be paid 32 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity…GRU charges 12½ cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity used by residential customers…[O]ffering a premium rate for solar energy means the utility will have to hike what it charges…GRU's nearly 90,000 residential customers will see an average of 78 cents extra tacked onto monthly bills."


    click to enlarge

    "But the utility isn't measuring the worth of its new program strictly by the price of power…[City leaders and GRU officials] want to bolster a solar industry that provides local jobs…[and] stop spending so much on coal and natural gas imported from other states…[and] position…for upcoming limits on greenhouse-gas emissions…

    "The utility's 32-cent rate will decline steadily over the years, with the expectation that solar costs will continue to drop…[T]he program is still widely regarded as an important experiment to keep track of…"

    WIND BIZ STILL BUZZING

    Wind power reports brisk business despite recession
    Katherine Harmon, April 17, 2009 (Scientific American)

    "The breezes of good fortune have been blowing through the wind power business according to the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) annual report…

    "Despite a slowing economy and a precipitous drop in oil prices last year, the industry reports a 70 percent jump in jobs (to 85,000 employees)…as well as a doubling of demand for small wind turbines (those that can power up to 100 kilowatts – the size used for homes and small buildings)."


    Wind is becoming a bigger part of many states' power generation. (click to enlarge)

    "A total of 8,545 megawatts of wind power came on line last year, but the estimates for this year are… (due in part to tougher credit) …5,000 new megawatts.

    "The industry organization still expects to report fairly robust numbers for the first quarter of 2009, says Kathy Belyeu, AWEA's manager of industry information. But, she cautions that the numbers might be misleading because many of the projects were simply held over from 2008… "