NewEnergyNews More: June 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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  • Tuesday, June 30, 2009

    SUN MONEY OPENING UP

    SunPower, Wells Fargo funding solar projects
    Nichola Groom (w/Carol Bishopric), June 29, 2009 (Reuters)

    "Solar panel maker SunPower Corp and Wells Fargo… have teamed up to fund up to $100 million in solar projects for businesses and public buildings.

    "The deal comes as financing for solar and other renewable power projects has thinned due to weak credit markets and global economy."


    Sunpower supplied panels for the Nellis Air Force Base solar power plant recently inspected by a high-ranking civilian. (click to enlarge)

    "Under the agreement, SunPower will build and maintain the solar systems, which Wells Fargo will finance and own. Commercial customers will then buy the electricity from SunPower at rates that are competitive with retail prices…"



    "The first projects financed under the program include a 1.1-megawatt system for the University of California, Merced, and a 1 MW system for the Western Riverside County Regional Wastewater Authority. Both are scheduled for completion by the end of 2009…

    "Wells Fargo has provided more than $1.75 billion in financing for renewable energy projects since 2006…"

    WITH APPROVAL, CAPE WIND IS ALMOST THERE

    State grants permit to Cape Wind
    June 30, 2009 (New England Business Bulletin)

    "The Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board has voted 7-0 to authorize a Certificate of Environmental Impact for the Cape Wind offshore wind energy project. The board effectively granted nine state and local permits required for the project to proceed.

    "In doing so, the board overrode the 2007 decision by the Cape Cod Commission to deny a Development of Regional Impact permit for the electrical cable needed to connect the federal waters of Horseshoe Shoal, where the wind farm will be, with the mainland."


    This photoshopping landscape shot shows how little Cape Wind will affect the view. Call Cape Wind the Jackie Robinson of U.S. offshore wind: The first and the most discriminated against. It fought the battles so others wouldn't have to. (click to enlarge)

    "Barring a second appeal to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which has already ruled on behalf of the Siting Board once, the project has completed its state and local permitting process."

    It's hard to understand how Massachusetts has let this resource go to waste. (click to enlarge)

    "It was an extensive process, taking seven years…Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Ian Bowles said that the project is ready to proceed.

    "Federal review processes are expected to conclude soon when Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issues a Record of Decision on Cape Wind. The Minerals Management Services of the Interior Department has already issued a favorable Final Environmental Impact Statement…"

    MICH UTILITIES WANT TO DECOUPLE

    Mich. utilities offer energy efficiency rebates
    David Eggert, June 30, 2009 (AP via Forbes)

    "Michigan utility officials said that the new fees showing up on residents' utility bills will be offset by rebates and other incentives to encourage them to make their homes more energy efficient…The program comes under a new state law that requires utilities to help customers reduce their electricity consumption more than 5 percent and natural gas usage nearly 4 percent by 2015. Regulators allowed utilities to add surcharges of about $1 a month to fund the program and its publicity campaign.

    "DTE Energy, the state's largest utility, will immediately start paying customers $50 to recycle old refrigerators, which will be picked up for free. Compact fluorescent light bulbs will cost 99 cents at major retail chains in DTE's service territory, cheaper than the usual price of about $3."


    click to enlarge

    "People can get rebates on washers, dehumidifiers, air conditioners, holiday lights, furnaces and other appliances. In-home energy audits are $25, while online audits are free…Consumers Energy, the second-biggest utility, will offer similar incentives along with Michigan's 65 other utilities and cooperatives. Qualifying low-income residents would get additional help to weatherize their houses…

    "Under 2008 law, utilities were required to restart efficiency programs that were abandoned a decade ago amid a booming economy and cheaper energy, and when global warming was not as pressing of an issue…"


    click to enlarge

    "Utilities, in the business of making money by providing energy, are pushing regulators for "de-coupling," which is breaking the link between profits and sales. Utilities would collect the same amount of revenue or more even though they sell less.

    "The Public Service Commission has directed utilities to submit de-coupling proposals. Advocates say the potential savings from using less energy are enormous. For every $1 invested in more efficient lighting and appliances, up to $3 is saved down the road by avoiding or at least delaying the need to build new multibillion-dollar power plants…"

    Monday, June 29, 2009

    AND NOW THE SENATE

    Obama Is Confident Senate Will Pass Energy Bill
    Judith Burns, June 29, 2009 (Wall Street Journal)

    "President Barack Obama on Monday praised the House for passing a controversial energy bill and said he's certain the Senate will move its own version of the legislation.

    "In remarks at the White House, Mr. Obama touted the measure that narrowly passed the House on Friday, saying it will create businesses and new, green jobs while reducing the nation's dependence on imported oil. He predicted the Senate would take up the legislation in coming months and said [he is confident the Sneate will move the legislation forward]…"


    click to enlarge

    "Mr. Obama also unveiled changes he said would improve U.S. energy efficiency, including new efficiency standards for fluorescent and incandescent light bulbs…
    [Light bulbs do not seem sexy]… but, he said, the new standards might save consumers up to $4 billion a year starting in 2012, and significantly reduce energy demand. He announced the White House will take part in the shift, replacing light bulbs now in use with new, energy-efficient bulbs.

    "The Democrat-backed energy bill, which squeaked through the House by a vote of 219-212, would impose limits on air pollution and permit trading in air-pollution credits…"


    click to enlarge

    "Supporters say the "cap and trade" approach will encourage the U.S. to shift to cleaner, alternative energy sources, reducing air pollution that some link to global climate change. Critics…say the approach amounts to a costly tax on energy usage that will act as a drag on the U.S. economy.

    "Mr. Obama added that the House action will open the door to combating greenhouse gas emissions and help the U.S. do more [than it has in decades] to achieve clean energy…"

    INTERIOR PICKS SOLAR SWEET SPOTS

    U.S. Interior Dept designates solar energy zones
    Ayesha Rascoe (w/Christian Wiessner), June 29, 2009 (Reuters)

    "Hoping to speed up the development of renewable energy resources on federal lands, the U.S. Interior Department…designated about 670,000 acres of land as potential areas for solar energy production…

    "The land is divided into 24 solar energy zones spread across six western states and could generate nearly 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity. The department will evaluate the possible environmental impacts of solar production in these areas as well as their energy resources…"


    Click thru for all states mapped by DOI.

    "U.S. President Barack Obama has made moving the United States away from reliance on fossil fuels a key priority of his administration. Obama has pledged to double renewable energy production in three years and supports setting a national renewable power mandate.

    "The Interior Department created a special task force in March to identify the specific areas on public lands where the government could act rapidly to create large-scale renewable energy production."


    Click thru for all states mapped by DOI.

    "The department's Bureau of Land Management has received about 470 renewable energy project applications, including 158 active solar applications.

    "Solar Energy Industries Association President Rhone Resch welcomed the department's announcement…"

    SOME SUN STOCK TIPS FROM THE STREET

    Harnessing the Power of Sun Stocks
    Kevin Grewal, June 29, 2009 (Smart Stops via The Street)

    "As global warming advocates continue to make their mark on the energy sector and energy firms refine and develop more efficient methods of producing clean energy, will solar power be the light at the end of the tunnel?

    "As long as crude oil prices remain relatively high and the government pushes for cleaner energy alternatives, forms of renewable energy will continue to remain attractive. What makes solar energy so attractive is the massive push in investment in utility-scale solar projects, the amount of aid President Obama has allocated to solar energy and its use around the globe."




    "Investments in utility-scale solar projects are expected to help catapult the industry forward over the next three years…[A]nalysts are anticipating a twelvefold increase in the amount of solar energy in the U.S…President Obama's stimulus package, which includes renewable energy loan guarantees of nearly $18.6 billion, is expected to be delivered in July of 2009.

    "From a global perspective, it appears that the trend has already emerged…China is expected to raise billions in private funding to develop more efficient methods of utilizing solar energy."




    "…[S]ome stocks to watch…Trina Solar…March low of $5.96 to $23.93 June 25…First Solar…$103.97 in March to $159.48 on June 25…Suntech Power…March low of $5.21 to $18.35 on June 25…Yingli Green Energy…March low of $3.37 to close at $13.24 on June 25…JA Solar…March low of $1.90 to $4.78 on June 25…

    "…[T]he energy sector has its ups and downs and involves some risks. To moderate these risks, utilizing an exit strategy is vital…[T]he price levels where the uptrend of the [solar] stocks would be over [are]…Trina Solar at $20.25…First Solar at $152.13…Suntech at $16.27…Yingli at $10.99…JA Solar at $3.92…[L]evels change daily…[U]pdated data is free at
    SmartStops…"

    Sunday, June 28, 2009

    PRESIDENT ON ENERGY/CLIMATE BILL

    POTUS hails 'historic action'

    [President Obama's remarks following passage by the House of Representatives of the climate change bill:]

    "Today, the House of Representatives took historic action with the passage of the American Clean Energy and Security Act. It's a bold and necessary step that holds the promise of creating new industries and millions of new jobs; decreasing our dangerous dependence on foreign oil; and strictly limiting the release of pollutants that threaten the health of families and communities and the planet itself.

    "Now it's up to the Senate to take the next step. And I'm confident that in the coming weeks and months the Senate will demonstrate the same commitment to addressing what is a tremendous challenge and an extraordinary opportunity.

    "As always happens when we debate issues of this magnitude we see lines of demarcation. There are those who argue that the status quo is acceptable, those who would have us continue our dependence on foreign oil and our reliance on fossil fuels despite the risks to our security, our economy, and the planet."


    From AssociatedPress via YouTube

    "…[T]he American people know that the nation that leads in building a 21st century clean energy economy is the nation that will lead in creating a 21st century global economy. I want America to be that nation. And with this vote, the House has put America on the path to being that nation…[J]ust weeks ago, few in Washington believed that this day would come to pass. The best bet -- the safe bet -- was that after three decades of failure, we couldn't muster the political will to tackle the energy challenge despite the necessity and urgency of action. But although Washington may not see it yet, there is a spirit of change that's taken hold across this country.

    "As has happened at every critical juncture in our history, the American people are demanding that we abandon the failed policies and politics of the past; we no longer accept inaction; that we face up to the challenges of our time…[T]oday, the House has done exactly that.

    "I want to thank Speaker Pelosi for what was a prodigious effort…I also want to thank and recognize the chairs of the committees that worked so hard on this bill: Henry Waxman, Collin Peterson, Charlie Rangel. I want to acknowledge John Dingell, Ed Markey, Rick Boucher, and Mike Doyle -- as well as many others who worked long and hard to get to this day. They spent months carefully crafting a plan that's sensitive to vulnerable communities and industries, and that ushers in a critical transition to a clean energy economy without untenable new burdens on the American people.

    "By creating a system of clean energy incentives, this bill complements our earlier actions to raise automobile fuel-efficiency standards, to double our capacity to generate electricity from sources like wind and sun, and to make significant new investments in the research and development of home-grown, renewable sources of energy…I look forward to continuing this work with the Senate so that Congress can send me a bill that I can sign into law -- and so that we can say, at long last, that this was the moment when we decided to confront America's energy challenge and reclaim America's future. That's what this vote was about. It was a victory of the future over the past. And that's what America is all about."

    NEW ENERGY MEANS GOOD JOBS IN THE MID-SOUTH

    Labor Secretary Touts Green Jobs During Visit
    Bill Dries, June 26, 2009 (Memphis Daily News)

    "U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis toured Sharp Manufacturing Co. [in Memphis]…as she touted a green jobs movement across the country encouraged and supported by training programs.

    "The plant on South Mendenhall Road works around the clock making solar modules, which it has been doing since 2003…Solis toured the assembly line…before announcing the Obama administration will use $500 million in stimulus money to start a series of five grant programs for worker training."


    The panels on the Fed-Ex facility at the Oakland Int’l Airport were made in Memphis. (click to enlarge)

    "There already are training programs undertaken by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 474, which represents the workers at Sharp, that involve installing solar panels. The programs possible under the grant program could include training workers to make the panels as well as work in developing green businesses…Community colleges as well as individual work places also could be involved in the training efforts.

    "One of the grant programs will award money to states to better collect and analyze work force information and direct citizens to jobs in green industries…The other four grant programs will direct workers to careers in targeted industries, including green energy companies and will help create larger energy sectors in state economies…The state energy sector partnerships and training grants are the largest share of the $500 million, with $190 million of those grants to be applied for by Oct. 20."


    The panels on the Porsche operations facility in Ontario, Calif., were made in Memphis. (click to enlarge)

    "The Sharp Memphis plant opened in 1978 and initially made color televisions, adding the production of microwave ovens two years later. The production of televisions was moved to Mexico nine years ago. Production of the solar modules began shortly after that as the Osaka, Japan-based corporation became one of the world’s leading manufacturers of solar cells.

    "The 1 millionth solar module came off the production line at the Memphis plant last year. During her day in Memphis, Solis toured the National Civil Rights Museum…"

    A CHALLENGE TO THE ENERGY/CLIMATE BILL

    House Climate Bill Called "immoral" by Major Civil Rights Leader
    24 June 2009 (Big Sky Business Journal)

    "The Waxman-Markey climate bill is "an immoral assault on poor Americans" because it is designed to purposely raise the cost of energy in order to force the working poor to reduce their standard of living, according to one of the nation's leading civil rights champions.

    "Roy Innis, Chairman of the Congress of Racial Equality -- one of America's oldest civil rights organizations -- made the allegation in a letter to all members of Congress…CORE has been heavily engaged in the national energy policy debate since the publication of Innis' 2007 book, "Energy Keepers, Energy Killers." The book was a Washington Post non-fiction best seller."


    Innis is a climate change denier and doesn't understand the potential of New Energy but he raises an important question...(click to enlarge)

    [Roy Innis, Chairman, Congress of Racial Equality:] "In my 40-plus years as the Chairman of CORE, I have seen few federal bills that would do more harm to America’s working class and low-income citizens and families than the Waxman-Markey climate tax bill…"

    [Roy Innis, Chairman, Congress of Racial Equality:] "The Waxman-Markey bill is designed specifically to make the use of fossil fuels more costly…That will have a disproportionate and negative impact on those who now benefit most from the affordable and reliable power that fossil fuels provide: poor and working-class families."

    ...THIS is a very important question. (click to answer)

    [Roy Innis, Chairman, Congress of Racial Equality:] "In fact, an underlying goal of this legislation is the morally repugnant concept that constricting sources of domestic energy and raising energy costs is a good thing because it will force conservation by consumers…That elitist view assumes that poor, working class families have the ability to bear that 'social cost.'"

    [Roy Innis, Chairman, Congress of Racial Equality:] "The plain truth is this: the poor and working families we represent cannot bear that luxury…Americans don’t want 'energy welfare' payments from the government to help ease the sting of these government-driven cost increases…They want continued affordable and reliable energy, which this bill will constrict…This is an explicitly anti-consumer package that will have huge impacts – both direct and indirect – on the struggling families we represent."

    "CORE said it plans to launch a national public education campaign against the Waxman-Markey legislation. CORE has more than 100,000 members nationwide."

    Friday, June 26, 2009

    WIND TO REPLACE NUCLEAR IN UK

    Wind Power Will Overtake Nuclear in U.K., BWEA Says
    Mike Anderson, June 24, 2009 (Bloomberg News)

    "The British Wind Energy Association [BWEA] predicted the industry will produce more U.K. power than nuclear reactors in the next decade and said competition and investment are needed to bring down costs…[BWEA] with 499 members in the wind- and tidal-energy industries, released two reports…calling on the U.K. to set policies to connect producers of renewable energy to the country’s power grid.

    "Britain will have installed offshore wind capacity of as much as 9 gigawatts by 2015, the report said. Wind generation has the potential to provide electricity to every U.K. home by 2020, it said."


    The UK will choose the latter. (click to enlarge)

    "The wind industry is suffering from increasing capital costs and needs three to four manufacturers competing to bring down construction costs, the association said. Costs of building wind capacity are forecast to rise for the next few years and then decline from current levels until 2015, the group said…

    "Companies developing wind capacity in the U.K. include Iberdrola SA’s Scottish Power Ltd. and Vattenfall AB, Sweden’s largest utility."

    AUSTRALIAN STATE GOES WITH F-I-T

    Solar power to the people
    Andy Parks, 25 June 2009 (The Northern Rivers Echo)

    "The [New South Wales] NSW Government has announced details of a solar feed in tariff scheme that will begin on January 1 next year. Under the scheme people who produce solar electricity and feed it back into the grid will be paid around four times the average price of electricity.

    "The scheme will be available to systems up to 10 kilowatts in size, which Climate Change Minister Carmel Tebbutt said would cover households, small businesses, some community organisations and some schools…"


    click to enlarge

    [Carmel Tebbutt, Climate Change Minister, New South Wales:] “While the scheme will initially apply to roof-top solar panels, we will consider the inclusion of micro wind turbines and community solar farms…”

    [Gordon Fraser-Quick, Co-ordinator, Solar Roll out program:] “Financial benefit must not be the principal driver in our investment decisions about the sources and forms of energy and appliances we choose to use, (but) the feed in tariff system will encourage even more climate friendly renewable energy infrastructure and the added economic return on investment will be a spur…”

    Reason #2 for New Energy incentives in Australia: They can do much better. (click thru for the full report on Australia)

    "[Fraser-Quick ] said on the downside it was unfortunate that the scheme is limited to sites where the total energy use is below 160 megawatt hours per annum…

    "The Opposition’s spokesperson for Climate Change, Catherine Cusack, said the scheme was “too little, too late” and would not deliver the kick start the renewable energy industry needed in NSW…[and] said the coalition would introduce a gross tariff that pays for all the electricity produced (not just left-over power that goes back into the grid), would not cap the scheme at 10KW so large businesses could also participate and would open the scheme to all renewable energy including small scale wind, hydro and gas, not just solar."

    BANGLADESH MICROLOANS BUY OFF-GRID NEW ENERGY

    Better lives in Bangladesh – through green power; The environmental arm of a Nobel Prize-winning community development bank brings solar power, biogas, better stoves, and economic opportunity to rural residents.
    Lisa Schroeder, June 24, 2009 (Christian Science Monitor)

    "Here in the Bangladesh countryside, amid the emerald-green rice paddies and farmers threshing crops with their bare feet, are beige cows, giant haystacks… and solar energy panels – 200,000 of them scattered throughout the country…part of an innovative program conducted by Grameen Shakti, the environmental arm of Grameen Bank, which won a Nobel Peace Prize for its pioneering use of microloans in Bangladesh…Its projects also include biogas production, improved cookstove technology, and solar power training centers for women.

    "Grameen Shakti (meaning “village energy” in Bangla) was started in 1996 as a way to bring electricity and better living standards to the country’s rural poor…When Grameen Shakti began, about 120 million people in the country didn’t have access to a source of electricity…Most were poor rural residents living in primitive conditions. By providing electricity to them, the organization hoped it would also help increase education rates and economic opportunities…Now, 13 years after the program’s inception, its efforts reach almost 2 million people in every part of Bangladesh."


    A Grameen Shakti rooftop solar installation. (click thru for more on Grameen Shakti)

    "Grameen Shakti first focused on solar panels…[N]ot only are solar panels portable, they are also better for the environment and more reliable than the nation’s present energy grid, which is not only unavailable to most areas outside cities but also prone to frequent blackouts.

    "Traditionally, most rural dwellers rely on kerosene or candles as energy sources. But they’re costly, give negligible light, and emit fumes…Grameen Shakti used microcredit loans for disseminating the panels. Buyers make down payments of 15 to 25 percent and then pay off the loans in two or three years…The cost of the panels is offset by the buyers’ lower energy costs…[S]hop owners who purchase a solar panel system no longer have to buy candles in order to stay open at night…Now that they have reliable electricity, the children can study in the evening and don’t have to breathe kerosene fumes…

    "…[W]hen women improve their lives, the whole family benefits…[I]n this Muslim society, and especially in the conservative rural areas, women are home alone during the day and aren’t allowed to let in male technicians unless a male family member is present…[F]emale technicians would automatically eliminate this issue…So women’s engineering technology centers were created…"


    A Grameen Shakti biogas cookstove. (click thru for more on Grameen Shakti)

    "Down a dirt road…behind a large chicken coop…[is] Mrs. Mohammad Abdur Razzak’s underground biogas plant. It’s another project initiated by Grameen Shakti…Razzak hoses her poultry coop’s waste into the connected chamber, where it ferments and creates biogas, which is released into a pipe that’s connected to her cooking stove…Since Razzak’s animals produce more gas than she uses, she makes an extra $71 per month by renting 10 cookstoves and the excess gas to her neighbors…The leftover slurry…is sold to local farmers for use as organic fertilizer.

    "A 2006 World Bank study found that rural women and children under the age of 5 had the most exposure to indoor pollution from wood-burning cookstoves. To help alleviate this, Grameen Shakti designed a more fuel-efficient stove that produces less smoke and costs less to use…It burns half the wood of a traditional stove, the smoke is funneled away from the cooking area via a pipe, and the ashes can be used as fertilizer…"

    Wednesday, June 24, 2009

    WIND KEY TO OKLAHOMA ECONOMY

    Experts say wind energy key to Oklahoma economy
    Murray Evans, June 23, 2009 (AP via Forbes)

    "Oklahoma has vast potential for the development of the renewable resource and it could be a boon to the state's economy, speakers at…Oklahoma Wind Commerce 2009…said…days after [Acciona Energy North America’s Red Hills Wind Farm] the state's ninth wind farm was dedicated near the western Oklahoma towns of Elk City and Hammon…[S]peakers included the state's commerce, energy and environmental secretaries and Lt. Gov. Jari Askins, who noted Oklahoma's longtime status as an energy leader."

    [Lt. Gov. Jari Askins:] "We believe that Oklahoma is perfectly located for us to develop this industry in our state…Energy and agriculture have been mainstays of our economy for decades. Wind energy is an opportunity to continue developing the energy industry and continue it moving forward into the 21st century."

    Oklahoma is among the U.S. leaders in obtaining electricity from wind power and is positioning itself for success in the coming carbon-constrained economy. (click to enlarge)

    "The state also has an abundance of natural gas, which can be used in tandem with wind, state Energy Secretary Robert Wegener said…

    "Oklahoma is 12th among the states in wind energy generation, but state officials said it could climb into the top two in the next couple of decades if it continued to develop its resources. By 2030, it could provide 10 percent of the nation's electricity, state Commerce Secretary Natalie Shirley said."


    Oklahoma is a veteran in the energy world and knows better than to let these energy assets go undeveloped. (click to enlarge)

    "But for the state to reach its potential, the electric grid must be updated so power can be moved from place to place, Wegener said…The manufacturing portion of the wind industry also has the potential to create jobs and lure employers to Oklahoma, Shirley said.

    "State Environmental Secretary J.D. Strong said he is enthusiastic about wind's potential as a so-called "green" energy source, but there are environmental concerns. Wind farms are already reducing habitat for the lesser prairie chicken, a stocky ground-dwelling bird found in parts of New Mexico, Colorado, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas…If federal officials place the lesser prairie chicken on the endangered species list, that could make it difficult for those interested in building more wind farms in the region, Strong said…"

    MORE SUN THAN EXPECTED

    Solar industry to see faster than expected growth
    Chris Kahn, June 24, 2009 (AP)

    "The solar energy industry will grow faster than expected during the next few years as American utilities invest heavily in large-scale solar farms, analysts with Barclays Capital said…

    "Barclays analyst Vishal Shah noted that demand for utility-scale solar projects could eventually make up half of the U.S. market. Major utilities could install about 5 gigawatts of solar photovoltaic projects during the next three years…"


    Utility-scale solar technologies. (click to enlarge)

    "The utility-scale projects currently in operation in the U.S. provide 444 megawatts of energy to the grid according to the Solar Energy Industries Association. That's enough to power 2.8 million homes…That amount is expected to jump more than 12-fold in the next few years, however, with dozens of new solar plants under development in California, Arizona, Florida and Hawaii.

    "Shah said SunPower Corporation, First Solar Inc., Suntech Power Holdings Co. and Yingli Green Energy will be the primary players in utility-scale projects in coming years."


    Utility-scale solar technologies. (click to enlarge)

    "Because of the banking meltdown, the expansion depends heavily on the promise of billions of federal stimulus dollars that Congress earmarked for solar in the past year.

    "Power companies have had trouble raising money for major projects, and they still don't yet know how they can access federal grants and loan guarantees…SEIA spokeswoman Monique Hanis said the Treasury Department and the Department of Energy are expected provide more information this summer…"

    ELECTRIC CAR SHARING IN BALTIMORE

    All-electric car-sharing debuts in Baltimore
    Aaron Morrison, June 24, 2009 (AP)

    "The nation's first all-electric car-sharing program debuted…[at Baltimore’s] Inner Harbor, with manufacturer Electrovaya hoping urban residents seeking to go green and curious tourists will take the concept for a spin.

    "Electrovaya Inc. is offering its Maya 300 for rent at the Maryland Science Center. The car can go up to 120 miles on one charge of its lithium-ion battery system, and it gets its juice from a regular 110-volt outlet…Ten cars will be available… through the new car-sharing Web site
    Altcar. A two-hour trip costs $29, with discounts for science center members."

    The Electrovaya Maya 300 now available from Altcar. (click to enlarge)

    "The manufacturer calls the fleet of emission-free cars a "game changer" in urban transportation alternatives… because the vehicle has the look and feel of a four-door, gas-powered sedan and should appeal to consumers who want to reduce oil dependence…The car makes little noise, provides dashboard gauges for battery life and temperature, and offers other conveniences of gas-powered cars.

    "Maryland Energy Administration research found that Baltimoreans typically drive about 30 miles to work, well within the Maya's range…[T]he car could be plugged in at the driver's destination for a charge…Driving 50 miles will cost about $1 in energy…The cost could be lower through some utilities that give discounts for charging during off-peak hours…"


    click thru to the Altcar website. (click to enlarge)

    "Electrovaya's battery technology is made possible by ExxonMobil Corp.'s battery separator film. The film, with lithium-ion batteries, allows for the units to operate at higher temperatures with a reduced risk of meltdown…The battery system is designed to shut down the flow of electricity if the engine is overheating.

    "Businesses and local governments can also buy the Maya 300 for their fleets. The company will make the cars available to the public in 2011, starting at $25,000 for a 60-mile range vehicle and $35,000 for the 120-mile range vehicle."

    Tuesday, June 23, 2009

    TRACKING ENERGY/CLIMATE BILLS

    Energy and climate bills inch closer toward final approval
    David Kramer, June 22, 2009 (Physics Today)

    "Energy and climate change remained front and center…as the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources finished weeks of work and approved a mammoth energy bill that seeks to accelerate the introduction of new clean energy technologies.

    "The measure would require utilities to produce an increasing proportion of their electricity from renewable sources, beginning at 3% in 2011, and growing to 15% in 2021. Utilities producing fewer than 4 megawatt-hours per year are exempted from the [Renewable Electricity Standard (RES)]…"


    click to enlarge

    "The Senate bill would revamp the existing Department of Energy loan guarantee program, establishing a “Clean Energy Investment Fund” to be used to support more technology deployments. The legislation also creates a new entity housed in DOE—the Clean Energy Deployment Administration—that would provide financial expertise to help create an attractive investment climate for the development and deployment of clean energy technologies.

    "Other provisions would encourage…energy efficiency improvements by industry and by consumers, and speed the development of a new “smart grid” to accommodate widely distributed electricity generation from renewable sources…"


    click to enlarge

    "With the Democrats' energy and climate bills gaining traction, House Republicans introduced their alternative to the 946-page climate and energy bill that was approved along party lines in a key committee at the end of May…

    "...The GOP bill [introduced by Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN)]would promote expansion of nuclear power as an alternative to mandatory limits on carbon dioxide emissions that are proposed in the climate change measure approved by the Committee on Energy and Commerce…[T]he bill would establish a goal for 100 new US reactors to be built over 20 years… provide incentives for domestic and offshore oil production and allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has indicated she wants the House to vote on the Democrats' bill before the 4 July recess."

    NAT’L GUARD WANTS WIND ENERGY

    Guard proposes Cape wind farm; Project could be the state's largest
    Vivian Nereim. June 12, 2009 (Boston Globe)

    "The Massachusetts National Guard… has proposed building a wind farm on the Massachusetts Military Reservation that would become the state's largest source of wind energy…As the first of many steps toward building up to 17 wind turbines on the 22,000-acre facility on Cape Cod, the Guard filed a site plan for review with the Federal Aviation Administration and Air Force Space Command.

    "The project could produce up to 34 megawatts, aiding Governor Deval Patrick's efforts to develop 2,000 megawatts of wind power in Massachusetts by 2020. There are 11 wind turbines across the state, with a total capacity of 6.8 megawatts…[T]he ambitious plan for the reservation could potentially provide power for the entire facility."


    Is this the new National Guard salute? (click to enlarge)

    "The proposal has received support from numerous elected officials, including Patrick, State Senate President Therese Murray, and US Representative William D. Delahunt, a Quincy Democrat…The plan has also had the support of community activists who protested the Cape Wind Project, a controversial proposal to build 130 wind turbines off Cape Cod in Nantucket Sound…

    "Before the National Guard's plan goes forward, the Federal Aviation Administration will review it to determine if it poses a hazard to aviation. Wind turbines can interfere with radar signals, a complication Cape Wind has come up against…"


    Massachusetts has got to get over its problem with offshore wind! (click to enlarge)

    "The initial ruling for any project that requires an airspace study…But if a project is found to be a hazard, the FAA provides a list of ways to mitigate the problem. Suggestions could include reducing the height of the turbines, shifting their location, or equipping Otis Air National Guard Base with a new radar system.

    "There have been no other specific proposals to build wind turbines on state land yet…[but the state is discussing plans]…"

    SUNCATCHER FOR TEXAS

    CPS signs solar power agreement
    June 22, 2009 (San Antonio Business Journal)

    "CPS Energy has signed a 20-year agreement to purchase power from a solar energy project that will be developed in West Texas.

    "The 27-megawatt solar project known as Western Ranch is being developed by Houston-based Tessera Solar using the SunCatcher power system manufactured by its sister company, Stirling Energy Systems."


    A Stirling Energy Systems SunCatcher. (click to enlarge)

    "This will be the first Texas project for Tessera Solar, which currently has 1,500 megawatts of projects in California situated in Imperial Valley and the Mojave Desert…

    "CPS announced last summer its commitment to pursue up to 100 megawatts of resource capacity from solar energy."


    Texas is energy country. It knows better than to let assets like this go to waste. (click to enlarge)

    "The Western Ranch Solar project is expected to break ground in summer 2010 with the first units expected to come online by the end of 2010. The project will be comprised of 1,080 SunCatcher dishes and will create an estimated 100 construction jobs and up to 20 permanent jobs.

    "CPS Energy of San Antonio is the nation’s largest municipally owned energy company providing both natural gas and electric service."

    Monday, June 22, 2009

    NY FUND LIKES WIND INVESTMENT LONG-TERM

    $15M to Wyoming Cty wind farm
    Emma Orn, 22 June 2009 (WIBV-TV)

    "The New York State Common Retirement Fund (the Fund) invested $15 million in Invenergy’s High Sheldon Wind Farm, located in Wyoming County, through Credit Suisse Customized Fund Investment Group, [NY] State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli announced…

    "Invenergy’s High Sheldon Wind Farm’s 75 wind turbines began generating power in March and are feeding the energy to New York state’s electrical grid. The wind farm has the capacity to generate 112.5 MW of energy. As part of its In-state Private Equity Program, the Fund invested $15 million in the High Sheldon Wind Farm through its investment partner Credit Suisse…"


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    "The renewable energy generated by High Sheldon Wind Farm is delivered to the electrical grid through an underground collection system that moves energy from the wind turbines to an on-site substation. The wind farm interconnects to the transmission system of New York State Electric & Gas Company…and delivers its renewable energy for sale in the New York Independent System Operator market through this interconnection."

    The best winds in NY state are offshore. (click to enlarge)

    "Through the In-state Private Equity Program, the Fund invests with private equity managers who seek to invest in companies in New York state that require capital for growth. The program, created in 1999, targets investment of state funds in the New York state economy. The program is designed to provide investment returns consistent with the risk of private equity while also expanding the availability of capital for New York businesses. The program aims to help generate jobs and private sector investment in the state.

    "Since 2000, $403.6 million has been invested in 127 companies through the In-state Private Equity Program. The Fund has achieved a 30 percent rate of return on the investments it has exited. DiNapoli added $478 million to the program since he took office in 2007, bringing the total amount committed to the program to $931 million. The Fund has approximately $528 million available to invest in New York-based companies…"

    SOLAR PARITY COMING SOON

    Solar Could Fall 8% Per Year, Be Competitive in Italy by 2010; A report by the European solar industry association says deploying smart grid technologies and energy storage devices would boost solar energy generation from less than 1 percent of the power supply today to 12 percent by 2020
    Ucilla Wang, June 19, 2009 (Greentech Media)

    "Solar electricity could compete, cost wise, with other sources of electricity in parts of Southern Europe, by as early as next year, according to an industry report…[C]onducted by the European Photovoltaics Industry Association, [the report] aims to lay out reasons for European Union lawmakers to support more solar friendly policies to achieve their [20%] greenhouse gas reduction and [20%] energy conservation goals [by 2020]….

    "If the right steps are taken by policymakers and the industry, then the European Union could get 12 percent of its electricity from solar by 2010, compared with less than 1 percent today. To achieve the 12 percent would require a wide deployment of energy storage and smart grid technologies, the report said…"


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    "The cost to produce solar electricity should fall about 8 percent each year, the report said. But at 20 euro cents to 40 euro cents per kilowatt hour, it remains more expensive than fossil fuel-generated power.

    "The photovoltaic industry wants to reduce the cost to below 10 euro cents per kilowatt hour for larger systems and below 15 euro cents per kilowatt hour for residential systems. Italy, for example, could see solar electricity cost about the same as other types of power next year thanks to its [solar subsidies,] abundant sunshine and high electricity prices. But…its bureaucracy has made it difficult to get permits to build…"


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    "Many European countries, including Germany, Spain, France and Greece, also have deployed their own solar subsidy programs. Those programs tend to require utilities to buy all the solar power available for sale and buy it at government-set prices that are higher than what they would pay for conventional power.

    "Under those feed-in tariff policies, home and business owners could potentially make a good profit from owning solar energy systems and selling the electricity to their utilities. The policies also have attracted project developers who build larger-scale projects and sell them to investors…"

    BRINGING EU EMISSIONS TRADING SUCCESS TO NY

    UK Experts Champion Europe's Carbon Trading Model in New York, June 23-25 at SIFMA Conference
    June 19, 2009 (Trayport Limited via PR Newswire)

    "Trayport's Elliott Piggott, managing director, and Mark Holt, head of technology, will be in New York June 23-25 to urge US adoption of European advances in carbon trading. They will be delegates to the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) Technology Management Conference at the New York Hilton.

    "Trayport, a key player in global carbon markets, is meeting with media, industry and government to provide the knowledge needed to efficiently reduce air pollution…Trayport, a GFI Group Company, develops and deploys software used by the world's largest trading companies to efficiently trade commodities and other high-profile assets internationally…"


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    "Trayport market authorities will recommend ways US policy makers can leverage the European carbon emissions trading experience in light of the Waxman-Markey Climate and Energy Bill and Obama Administration clean air initiatives. They will offer observations on lessons the EU has learned about climate control and carbon cap and trade technology, as well as market efficiency.

    "Emission trading in Europe is ahead of North America. Its European Union Emission Trading System (EU ETS) is the largest multi-national emissions trading platform in the world and a pillar of climate policy in the (EU)."


    click to enlarge

    "Elliott Piggott, Managing Director, will cover technology transfer from Europe to the US, focusing on benefits and knowledge gained in Europe…Mark Holt, Head of Technology, will explain how carbon credits are used to hedge power in Europe and ways the US can leverage the European experience…

    "While the US lagged behind the world in formulating carbon emissions policy during the Bush Administration, President Barack Obama has delivered a mandate to establish the US as a world beacon. Moreover, the Waxman-Markey climate and energy bill, or the American Clean Energy and Security Act, ACES, H.R. 2454, that regulates carbon credits and trading is expected to come to a vote in Congress before August."

    Sunday, June 21, 2009

    WYOMING WIND BOOM

    The new Wyoming wind rush
    Steve McManamen, June 20, 2009 (Gillette News-Record)

    "Campbell County has been the epicenter of energy development in Wyoming since the county’s first coal mine opened…Then came the oil, followed by natural gas. But many thought Campbell County would not buy into the wind energy industry…

    "Not so for…Third Planet Windpower…[It] is in the process of developing a 133-turbine wind farm on 14,000 acres in the southwest corner of Campbell County. The wind farm will produce 200 megawatts of electricity…The Reno Junction Wind farm won’t have a problem with [the sage grouse habitat issue or] transmission lines either. It will sit adjacent to the existing Black Hills Power Pumpkin Buttes substation…The farm is expected to cost about $420 million…"


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    "Third Planet also is working on a project in southwestern Wyoming. It is one of many wind developers clamoring to build wind farms and transmission lines in the state…[Governor] Freudenthal likened the development of wind energy in Wyoming to a “gold rush” in a letter to the state legislative task force on wind energy…

    "Freudenthal wrote that as the nation moves to some sort of carbon reduction strategy, the state must face the fact that wind and solar energy generation has come to Wyoming, no matter what individual perspectives on the topic are. The governor also wrote that green energy initiatives are moving at a “gold rush” pace…"


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    "…[A “gold rush” mentality] creates a lot of opportunities for Wyoming’s energy industry future, as well as problems with land rights and wildlife. Freudenthal created the task force on wind energy during this year’s legislative session and offered the group the full support of his office as it begins to address the many topics that relate to wind energy production and transmission in Wyoming.

    "…[Wind farm owners in southeast Wyoming] have formed wind associations…State offices and the University of Wyoming are grappling with land owner rights…[L]andowners are having trouble making sure they get reasonable deals from wind developers…[A] University of Wyoming guide covers…How to measure a property’s wind potential…How to judge win development’s compatibility with other land uses like ranching and hunting…The effect wind development might have on a land owner’s privacy, access and disruption…Advantages and disadvantages of leases."

    PV ADVANCES, DROPPING COSTS

    Advances in photovoltaics could make solar cost competitive
    Michelle Andrews, June 18, 2009 (Los Angeles Examiner)

    "Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) is poised to change the face of construction, energy and urban planning in the coming decade.

    "The Department of Energy has estimated that BIPV technology could potentially generate 50% of the electrical needs of the U.S. and other developed countries, and the DOE’s Solar America Initiative has set the goal of making solar cost-competitive with grid electricity by 2015."


    A stunning use of BIPV. (click to enlarge)

    "In this continuing effort…[DOE] just announced the selection of 24 new solar projects to advance photovoltaic technology research, development, and design, ultimately lowering the cost of photovoltaic generation. The competitively-selected projects will be eligible for up to $22 million from the President’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will be matched by more than $50 million in cost shared funding from private partners.

    "Many of the projects selected focus on improving the effectiveness of the materials used to capture the sun’s rays."

    CHINAMERICAN EV

    America's Newest Electric Car Could Be From China; Will the unassuming, near-silent Coda make some noise when it hits U.S. streets next year?
    Andy Stone, June 20, 2009 (Forbes)

    "Coda Automotive aims to be the David in an automotive world full of Goliaths. This week the Santa Monica, Calif., developer of electric vehicles showed off the latest iteration of its highway-speed electric vehicle, a nondescript four-door sedan that Coda Chief Executive Kevin Czinger says has overcome the technological hurdles and high costs that have dogged established auto giants' attempts to electrify for more than a century.

    "Details on the performance of the car's Chinese lithium-ion batteries are scarce, though battery performance will be the first of many challenges Czinger will have to resolve if he wants to begin selling the Coda sedan by June 2010, as planned."


    It must be a good car or there would be an alluring woman in a tight-fitting dress in this picture. (click to enlarge)

    "The car is the vision of Miles Rubin, a former CEO of Ralph Lauren Polo jeans who in 2005 founded Miles Electric Vehicles to produce low-speed electrically powered fleet vehicles for university campuses and municipalities. He later began development of a commuter-friendly car with an 80 mile-per-hour top speed and 100 mile range…The low-speed business has been a modest success; last year Rubin spun-off the faster car as Coda Automotive, with Czinger, a former Goldman Sachs and Bertelsmann AG executive, running operations…"

    Looking under the Coda's hood. (click to enlarge)

    "But development of a highway-speed electric car brings technical challenges of a much greater magnitude. Coda's energy-dense lithium ion battery technology, developed by China's Lishen…must withstand 100,000 miles-worth of recharge cycles and eliminate the risk of spontaneous combustion…Such hurdles have forced auto majors to rely on less-efficient NiMH batteries in [other] hybrids…

    "Czinger says his battery's unique iron-phosphate chemistry, as well as battery-management technology from an unnamed German supplier, have solved the problems. Czinger also has had to beef up the safety of the Chinese Haifei sedan that forms the foundation of the Coda. Using that ready chassis has shortened development…Czinger has added 95 upgrades, including structural reinforcements and the installation of advanced air bags…to meet American crash standards…[I]ts $45,000 price tag [could] come down to $32,500 in California following federal and state clean-car incentives."

    Friday, June 19, 2009

    AUSTRALIA CAN MAKE WAVES

    WWF calls for Australia to ride the waves to power
    June 19, 2009 (Energy Current)

    "Australia should look to the oceans to provide clean, baseload renewable energy as well as thousands of jobs, according to…[Power to Change: Australia's Wave Energy Future] by World Wildlife Fund-Australia…and Carnegie Corp., which operates a CETO wave energy demonstration plant in Western Australia."

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    "The report estimates that the wave energy industry will create 3,210 jobs by 2020, including jobs in local manufacturing and maintenance. By 2050 this figure is expected to grow to 14,380 jobs…[and] the jobs created would not be limited to white collar work…

    "…Carnegie Corp., expects significant growth in the wave energy industry as Australia puts a price on carbon…Regions such as Geraldton and Albany in Western Australia, Port MacDonnell in South Australia, Portland, Warnambool and Phillip Island in Victoria, western Tasmania and the southern and central coasts of New South Wales are optimal sites for wave energy plants, according to WWF, which is calling on the Australian government to support emerging base loads renewable energy sources like wave by changing the Renewable Energy Target (RET) Scheme…"


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    "WWF stressed that building any infrastructure in the marine environment should include an assessment of all ecological risks before construction begins…"

    IRANIAN STUDY ON BETTER WIND

    How To Get Wind Turbines To Work Harder
    June 17, 2009 (ScienceDaily)

    "…Abolfazl Ahmadi and Mehdi Ali Ehyaei of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, at Iran University of Science and Technology-Arak Branch, in Arak, have investigated the "exergy" of wind power. Exergy is a term from thermodynamics that measures that the energy a system that is available to do work…

    "Ahmadi and Ehyaei point out that wind turbines have to compete with many other energy sources, primarily fossil fuels but also other renewable energy sources such as solar and biomass technology. As such, a wind turbine has to be cost effective in order to be environmentally effective."


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    "Turbine design must meet load requirements and produce energy at a minimal per dollar cost…[P]erformance characteristics such as power output versus wind speed or versus rotor angular velocity must be optimized. Exergy analysis looks at the "quality" of the energy produced by a system. To be viable, there is little point in producing intermittent power at wildly varying levels, as this feeds only low-quality energy into the power supply system.

    "Usually, wind speeds of above 9 meters per second are considered irrelevant in exergy calculations of wind turbines and previous research has not taken all factors that are required for a holistic analysis into account…"


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    "…[The Iranian team has] developed a [more detailed] exergy analysis for wind turbines…Their approach gives them a model of how the turbine's potential for work can be lost…[and] a way to optimize a wind turbine's three main parameters, cut-in, rated, and furling wind speeds, so that usable energy is maximized at any given wind speed from the gentlest breeze to a roaring gale; within the safe working parameters of the turbine.

    "They have carried out an exergy analysis of turbines sited in two cities in Iran, Tehran and Manjil, where wind speeds are very different. Tehran has low average wind, whereas Manjil is a windy city. Their formula offers optimized values for wind turbine rotation speed, which can be altered depending on wind speed. The results are a theoretical boost of 20% efficiency at both sites and a decrease in "wasted" energy of 80%."

    WHERE GERMANY’S FEED-IN TARIFF ISN’T

    Why California Doesn’t Have a German-Style Solar Feed-In Tariff
    Jennifer Kho, June 18, 2009 (Earth2Tech via Reuters)

    "…German utilities pay a high [feed-in tariff] price for any solar electricity fed into the grid, with the cost distributed among the country’s ratepayers. The much-esteemed policy made Germany a huge solar market, with 1.5 gigawatts of new capacity installed last year…[T]he United States would need 6 gigawatts of annual solar installations, 20 times more than it has today, to reach the same level of market penetration.

    "…[S]ome California solar insiders [recently] voiced skepticism about whether a German-style feed-in tariff would be the end-all policy for the state…California already has a feed-in tariff, but it’s ineffective because the price is low, based on prices for natural gas. The state also has a net-metering program in which solar customers use the electricity they generate for their own use, then feed excess electricity into the grid, running their meters backward. In addition, California has a solar incentive program, which offers declining rebates for solar projects, and a renewable portfolio standard, which requires utilities to get 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010."


    Germany's success began with the feed-in tariff. (click to enlarge)

    "… Why hasn’t California copied Germany for its much-lauded feed-in tariff? Here are some of the reasons California solar insiders have put forth:

    "1). A feed-in tariff doesn’t factor in where and when the electricity is generated: Because a feed-in tariff pays the same price for any kilowatt-hour of solar electricity, it doesn’t encourage generation when and where the electricity is most needed…[by incorporating market signals] such as time-of-use and location…

    "2) Germany’s feed-in tariff led to higher panel prices: Because the tariff offered such a high price for solar electricity, it created a shortage of panels that led to much higher prices…Germany [grew] the global manufacturing base but…it built the manufacturing base around the $4-a-watt panel…"


    California has a traditional program like Gainesville, Fla, had before it moved to the feed-in tariff. (click to enlarge)

    "3) California’s many utilities, each with their own unique conditions, make it more difficult to create a feed-in tariff: …[California] has more than 30 vastly different utilities. Some are legally prohibited from increasing some of their rates…[O]thers have very low prices for conventional electricity…[P]rices — and peak demand — in Germany don’t vary as widely.

    "4) The feed-in tariff only addresses wholesale electricity sold to utilities, and doesn’t encourage energy efficiency: California’s mix of policies encourages a wider range of solar projects than Germany’s feed-in tariff, which is focused mainly on wholesale electricity…[California’s policy mix needs to include] a retail-electricity program to help consumers reduce on-site demand, a utility-scale program, and a wholesale-electricity program like a feed-in tariff…"