NewEnergyNews More: August 2010

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  • Tuesday, August 31, 2010


    Prop. 23 would push wind-energy producers to the side in favor of continued oil profits
    Ed Duggan, August 30, 2010 (The Bakersfield Californian)

    "Forgive the pun, but having worked to move the wind-energy industry forward for more than 30 years, I'm blown away that two Texas oil companies are spending millions on a ballot measure to kill California's clean-energy and air-pollution-control standards.

    "…[California wind generates] enough clean energy to provide the annual power needs of more than 800,000 homes. This investment in renewable energy is made possible by the state's ambitious clean-energy policies, which provide a strong, long-lasting market signal...[T]hat's a market signal Texas oil companies do not want to hear. Their dirty energy ballot proposition -- Proposition 23 -- will allow polluters to avoid our state's clean-energy standards, kill competition and jobs from California's emerging clean-technology companies, and keep us addicted to dirty, costly oil."

    click thru for more info

    "…[T]wo out-of-state oil companies have not only exported $9 billion in profits from their operations in California, they have also violated dozens of pollution laws within the past three years. Their reasons for supporting Prop. 23 are not about saving jobs; their deception is based on the fact that they do not want to play by the rules and keep their profits in check.

    "This ballot measure would cause irreparable damage to our growing clean-energy and clean-technology sectors. Last year, while other sectors saw little or no investment, the clean-technology sector in California received $2.1 billion -- 60 percent of the total in North America. Clean-tech venture capital investments in the Golden State now total nearly $10 billion since 2006, about five times more than our nearest competitor, and more than all other states combined. That's a huge amount of money pouring into our communities, spurring innovation and creating jobs."

    click thru for more info

    "The Wall Street Journal's recent first survey of clean-technology companies found seven of the top 10 firms are in California. Three of the top five cities in the U.S. for clean-tech are located in California, including San Diego, which was recently named the nation's top city to start a clean-tech venture…These are exciting times for clean-energy companies…Our industry now employs thousands of Californians, giving them jobs in construction and operation of this clean-energy source.

    "Clean-technology companies, investors, politicians and traditional business entities around the globe are looking to California as a leader of innovation. The clean-tech industry…[creates] new opportunities for economic recovery and [provides] safe, clean energy…If we let the Texas oil companies have their way, …other countries and states [will] take on this valued leadership role. Job creation, investment in California companies and the health of Californians would be put in jeopardy…We must protect the state's clean-air and clean-energy standards by saying no to Prop. 23, the Texas Oil Companies' Dirty Energy Proposition..."


    CPUC Proposes Major Renewable Energy Feed-In-Tariff Pilot Program
    26 August 2010 (Renew Grid)

    "The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has proposed a new renewable energy feed-in-tariff program that would require the state's investor-owned utilities to purchase electricity from midsized renewable energy systems - those ranging in size from 1 MW to 20 MW.

    "The CPUC proposal would establish a 1 GW pilot program requiring Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric to hold biannual competitive auctions - known as the Renewable Auction Mechanism - into which renewable developers could bid. The utilities would be required to award contracts until the megawatt requirement for each round was reached."

    click to enlarge

    [Adam Browning, executive director, Vote Solar Initiative:] "Although there are a few mechanics of the program still in need of clarification, this proposal largely draws on proven best practices for midsized renewable procurement…"

    "The Vote Solar Initiative adds that the CPUC program would use competition to establish prices that are both sufficient for project development and protective of ratepayers. Also, by continuing to deliver ratepayer value by driving down installed solar costs, the bidding mechanism is also more likely to provide a long-term market for solar power."


    Time to update the Energy Star program?
    Tiffany Hsu, August 30, 2010 (LA Times)

    "The voluntary [Energy Star system, used to rate products and retrofitted buildings for energy efficiency,]…uses relative instead of absolute ratings, comparing subjects to others in the same field, according to Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.).

    "For example, consumers are told that a certain Energy Star-rated washing machine uses 30% less energy than a traditional appliance but aren’t informed just how much energy is used or how much money can be saved in energy bills, Maloney said…Energy Star ratings should be updated…"

    click thru for more info

    "…Empire State Building owner Anthony Malkin voiced concerns [to the congressional Joint Economic Committee, which Maloney chairs,] about the famed structure’s energy use being compared to smaller, less-high profile ones…The Empire State Building, which is undergoing a major energy-efficiency retrofit, uses the same amount of power as roughly 40,000 single-family homes, Maloney said…

    "Out of about 5 million commercial buildings in the country, fewer than 10,000 have landed the Energy Star rating. Los Angeles had the most. More than 1 million residential homes have earned the rating."

    click to enlarge

    "But the program suffers from shaky credibility, Maloney said, referencing a test from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. The investigation found that Energy Star approval was granted for 15 of 20 bogus products, including a fictional gas-powered alarm clock."

    [Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, whose agencies run the program:] “[We] have started an enhanced testing program and have already taken enforcement actions against companies that have violated the rules.”


    Energy Storage on the Grid; Long Duration Energy Storage Systems: Compressed Air, Pumped Hydro, NAS Batteries, Flow Batteries, and Lithium Ion Batteries for Utility-Scale Storage
    David Link and Clint Wheelock, 3Q 2010 (Pike Research)

    "The stationary energy storage sector will play a large role in the electricity grid of the future. Demand is being driven by…the proliferation of variable sources of renewable energy, principally wind and solar…[T]he electric grid faces variability issues that it was not designed to handle…Other key drivers of the need for energy storage on the grid (ESG) technologies include the onset of the smart grid and a shift to plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles…Pike Research estimates 2010 worldwide ESG market revenue at approximately $1 billion…

    "The principal technologies in the ESG category are pumped hydro, compressed CAES, and NAS batteries, as well as zinc bromine (ZnBr) and vanadium redox flow batteries (VRBs). Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are poised to be the leading technology…[I]n order for Li-ion to gain share in the ESG category…it will need to deliver lower-cost energy…"

    click to enlarge

    "Prior to 2010, ESG did not receive much support…[T]he tide turned in 2010 with the ARRA. The DOE granted $185 million for Energy Storage Demonstration projects that will attempt to validate a range of technologies, applications, and deployment structures…[and] $435 million for Smart Grid Regional Demonstrations, $118 million (if not all) of which will utilize energy storage…In the transportation sector, the U.S. DOE issued grants [to be matched by the private sector] totaling $2.4 billion focused on advanced transportation technologies…There are a number of incentives in place at the state level…The Storage Technology of Renewable and Green Energy Act [is a game-changer]… Forward-looking utilities]…are working with key industry players…"

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    "ESG Technologies must overcome key barriers to adoption…[They] lack history with regulators and the utility community… [They must show value] across the entire utility value chain of generation, transmission, and distribution…perform multiple applications…[and develop] a cost recovery system…It is easier for utilities to make investments in natural gas spinning reserves to address grid instability…[T]he major barriers to adoption appear to be weakening…

    "Pike Research forecasts the total ESG market will grow from over $1.5 billion in 2010 to approximately $35 billion in 10 years…The upside story in the market pertains to lithium-ion…Signs of energy storage market adoption are beginning to emerge on a worldwide basis, led by developments in the United States…followed by Asia Pacific and Western Europe…While little is known about storage plans in China and India, these large developing regions should have long-term upside opportunity…There are also pockets of activity in the Middle East and South America."

    Monday, August 30, 2010


    New Stickers Will Go Beyond M.P.G. in Rating Cars
    Jim Motavalli, August 30, 2010 (NY Times)

    "The Obama administration proposed… two alternatives to the window stickers in new vehicles, including one that would assign letter grades [from A+ to D] for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions.

    "…[It was] immediately denounced by some industry groups, which said the government should not be making value judgments for consumers about vehicles…[If] applied now, many 2010 vehicles could get fairly low grades because the ratings favor fuel-efficient electric and hybrid models…The second possible window sticker would also contain information about fuel economy and emissions, but would not assign a letter grade. Both stickers offer estimates of annual fuel costs …[Beyond] fuel economy estimates for city and highway driving…the alternative labels would also include a code that, when read by a cellphone, would deliver further information about the vehicle."

    Alternative 1 (click to enlarge)

    "The new stickers were developed by the safety agency and the Environmental Protection Agency in response to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which called on the two agencies to rate vehicles on fuel economy, greenhouse gases and smog-forming pollutants. The new label will be affixed to cars and trucks beginning in the 2012 model year…The agencies will accept public comment for 60 days before choosing one of the two stickers…

    "The highest grade, A+, with fuel economy rated as equivalent to 117 miles per gallon and up, would be reserved in a sample rating for “zero emission” electric cars. Plug-in hybrid electric cars (which get rated at the equivalent of 59 to 116 miles per gallon) would get an A grade, and some conventional hybrids, like the Toyota Prius and Ford Fusion, would get an A-. Other hybrids, like the Nissan Altima, Ford Escape and Toyota Camry, would receive B+ grades."

    Alternative 2 (click to enlarge)

    "If the grading system existed now, under assumptions developed by the agencies, 306 small cars from model year 2010 would receive a B, only eight S.U.V.’s would receive a B+ (68 would get a C), and the highest grade for a van would be a C+…

    "Dave McCurdy, chief executive of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, an industry group, [rejected] the rating system…Some environmental and consumer groups reacted more positively…[For electric vehicles, the grade] system would probably require dividing the United States into separate regions, because some parts of the country have higher concentrations of coal-burning plants and thus a greater upstream burden…"


    Utility Scale Wind Turbines Market Shares, Strategies, and Forecasts, Worldwide, 2010 to 2016; Utility Grade Wind Turbines Provide Electricity at Competitive Prices
    August 2, 2010 (WinterGreen Research)

    "…[A] new study on Utility Scale Wind Turbine Market Strategy, Market Shares, and Market Forecasts [from WinterGreen Research concludes that world] markets are poised to achieve significant growth as wind electricity generation has reached cost parity with fossil fuels and demand for…electricity…[will increase with the] use of electric vehicles…

    "…[Wind] energy accounted for 62% (17 GW) of the new electricity generation capacity installed in the European Union (EU) in 2009. Rural economic development…[and] energy price stability [increase with wind, which also…[addresses] global climate change…[T]he BP oil spill has had what promises to be a long term impact on the [energy] market [and political leaders could be more inclined to favor policies that support] wind …[H]ydrogen storage and…stationary fuel cells …[could also favorably] impact [demand]…"

    click to enlarge

    "The US government accountability office (GAO)…[found that] federal incentives for electricity between Fiscal Year (FY) 2002 and FY 2007…largely [went] to fossil fuels. About [$13.7 billion], [$13.7 billion] was provided to fossil fuels… $2.8 billion [went] to renewables…[T]his policy ratio is likely to change [as more power producers realize swind] is the most economically viable of the renewable energy sources.

    "Wind power systems have proved that they can readily be accommodated into…[existing transmission] system operations reliably and economically…[They co-fire with] natural gas systems to create a hybrid unit that operates continuously…Similar designs are evolving… that operate in combination with solar energy systems."

    click to enlarge

    "…Electric vehicles will depend on curbside and garage based metered delivery of electricity. Electricity generated from renewable sources will [likely eventually] replace gasoline…

    "…[The] utility scale wind turbine market [was] $35.6 billion in 2009…[and is] anticipated to reach $130 billion by 2016…because the major vendors and their customers have [the needed] access to capital markets…Only natural gas will compete with the renewable sources…[for utility scale new capacity as] aging existing facilities are retired…"


    Skyline Solar’s First Elevated HGS 1000 System to Power the Kona, Hawai’i…
    August 30, 2010 (Skyline Solar)

    "…[Skyline Solar’s] arrays for commercial, industrial, government and utility markets…[will have the] first elevated installation of its High Gain Solar (HGS) 1000 system at the Kona, Hawai’i headquarters of Metcalf West, a leading residential and commercial construction firm. The 22 kilowatt project will be commissioned at the Metcalf West headquarters by Hawai’i Governor Linda Lingle and Hawai’i County Mayor Billy Kenoi…"

    [Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle:] “As we continue advancing our comprehensive clean energy initiative (HCEI) with the goal of generating 70 percent of all energy from renewable sources and efficiencies, it is critical to have the private sector partner with our state energy office in its effort to attain energy security and independence…By adopting the very latest in sustainable solar technology from Skyline Solar, Metcalf West has established itself as a shining example of Hawai’i’s energy future.”

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    [Terry Metcalf, founder, Metcalf West, LLC:] “Energy and land are both very expensive resources in Hawai’i making an elevated Skyline Solar HGS system the perfect solar solution for Metcalf West…Skyline Solar HGS combined everything we were looking for in a renewable energy system—proven technologies, fewer parts, outstanding performance and upgradeable components—in a design that could be elevated and provide shading for our parking facility. We see a lot of potential in Skyline Solar for future projects.”

    click to enlarge

    "The HGS 1000 system offers its customers a number of breakthrough innovations not found in traditional solar systems, including…[1] HGS architecture…[with] ten times more energy per gram of silicon versus traditional flat-panel systems in sunny locations. The system utilizes tracking, passive cooling and concentration components, reducing the amount of silicon required by 90 percent…[2] Power-producing components…[that] are field upgradeable, allowing system-owners to “future-proof” their investment…[3] HGS 1000 arrays [that] combine industry-proven silicon cells, durable reflector materials and single-axis tracking into a complete, easy-to-deploy system…[4] [C]ommodity materials [made] with globally available manufacturing processes…[to improve] financial payback and scalability…

    "The first elevated HGS system is just the latest in a number of significant 2010 milestones for Skyline Solar…[It] unveiled its first commercial project…[and] was awarded one of the first patents under the US Patent & Trademark Office’s Green Technology Pilot Program…"


    Use of Idaho's geothermal resources on the rise
    August 30, 2010 (AP via KIVI/ABC-TV)

    "A farming operation north of Idaho's capital city is taking advantage of the region's geothermal heat and water to extend its growing season, just the latest example of how energy-conscious residents are putting the largely unseen reservoir beneath their feet to work.

    "…Sweet Valley Organic, located in a valley near rural Emmett, Idaho, has a geothermal greenhouse…It also uses outdoor pipes to keep its crops from freezing."

    click thru for the complete presentation

    "…[N]ational and local lawmakers in Boise are promoting the expansion of the geothermal system that links the city to Boise State University.

    "And U.S. Geothermal Inc., an energy developer, is operating a 10-megawatt plant in…southern Idaho and hopes to have another electricity facility…up and running by 2012."

    Sunday, August 29, 2010


    Other voices: A warning that we need new sources of energy
    Mark Quirk, August 29, 2010 (Ocala Star-Banner)

    "There are almost 4,000 wells in the Gulf of Mexico - so-called Hurricane Alley. There were 595 separate spills recorded due to hurricanes Katrina and Rita…113 platforms destroyed and 457 pipelines damaged…Approximately 8 million gallons were reported by the industry as spilled…[and] BP first reported that the Deep Water Horizon event was leaking 5,000 gallons per day…[but] it was at least 50 to 100 times worse…

    "How does this affect sea life, beginning with plankton? When plankton dies, larger organisms die for lack of food, and that death works its way up through the food chain to the largest fish and mammals…Plankton are the foundation of life in the world's oceans…[S]ince 1950, plankton levels in the world's oceans have fallen by an astonishing 40 percent…"

    Not the result of offshore wind. (click to enlarge)

    "The EPA warned about the use of dispersal agents…The oil industry refuses to divulge the chemicals used in the dispersants…The oil, chemical and mining industries are joined at the hip and have been responsible for the worst environmental pollution incidents in this nation's history…The drilling moratorium should remain until…the industry answers all questions as to how future catastrophes can be avoided and how to best address them when they do occur. Anything less is reckless…

    "It is time for us to stop the insanity…The Gulf's future, the world's future, should not be placed at risk for the excessive profit of [the oil, chemical and mining industries]…We can provide for our needs with clean, renewable energy. There are many ways to capture the solar energy that bathes this planet. There are many ways to capture the energy of the wind. There are many ways to capture the energy of the movement of our oceans…"

    Time to reach for something better. (click to enlarge)

    "It only took 10 years for us to put a man on the moon after the challenge was made. They almost had to start from scratch to bring that dream to reality. By comparison, we are almost there in the pursuit of clean, renewable energy. We have the technology and tools now. We only need to put them to use.

    "The new industries will create much-needed jobs. Stop letting those who profit from fossil fuels and nuclear power tell you otherwise. A good example: The Port St. Lucie nuclear power plant buys their fuel rods from Chevron and Hess. All fuel-rod purchases are tied to the oil industry. Their tie to the mining industry also joins them at the hip with the oil industry. You are not "sheeple" unless you allow yourself to be misled."


    Consolidate efforts in energy efficiency
    Jim Marston, August 28, 2010 (Houston Chronicle)

    "It’s time our state government got serious about energy efficiency and consolidated its random energy efficiency efforts into one agency that will focus on nothing else…

    "…[I]n Texas…[w]hen the mercury creeps toward triple digits, our electric bills soar…[and] the cheapest kilowatt of electricity is the one you don’t have to use…[N]o one is suggesting that Texans go without our air-conditioning…But [s]tudy after study shows that a dollar invested in energy efficiency pays off 2 or 3 to 1. And that’s money in Texans’ pockets…"

    click to enlarge

    "…[W]e’re talking about maintaining our lifestyles and saving money. We’re talking about better insulation, double-paned windows, better circulation, timer thermostats, energy-efficient appliances, innovations like rooftop water heaters, even strategically placed shade trees…and dozens of other commonsense measures…alternatives to soaring utility bills and building more and more power plants.

    "Our state government has paid lip service to energy efficiency (EE) but…it’s been a low priority…Municipally owned utilities like Austin Energy and San Antonio’s CPS Energy are doing a good job of promoting energy efficiency. They provide home energy audits and give generous rebates and other incentives…Some customer-owned rural electric co-ops are also ahead of the curve…But private, investor-owned utility companies…profit from increased consumption…[and] lag far behind…"

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    "Under current law, the Public Utility Commission (PUC)… is supposed to review and approve the EE programs of the utilities. But other state agencies oversee EE programs, too…Consolidating these efforts into one agency with a clear mandate to promote EE would streamline state regulation and create more savings potential…

    "…Over the past year and a half, the PUC staff has worked on plans to increase the state’s EE goals…[but] the three PUC commissioners, all appointees of Gov. Rick Perry, slashed the staff proposal dramatically. They reduced the efficiency goal from 1 percent of peak demand by 2014 to just one-third of the growth in demand by 2013…barely above the goal already in place…It’s time for the Legislature to take control and create a new, independent state agency that can put consumers first…"

    PV 2010

    U.S. solar market will grow tenfold by 2010, Solarbuzz reports
    August 24, 2010 (Display Plus)

    "Despite a challenging domestic economic environment, the US solar market grew 36% in 2009, according to the United States PV Market 2010 from Solarbuzz…[down from the] 62% growth in 2008…[It was] the third largest solar photovoltaic market, behind Germany and Italy…"

    [Craig Stevens, President, Solarbuzz:] “2009 marked a year of transformation for the US solar market…Changes in the roles of utility companies, new market entrants, lower cost PV modules from Asia and new direct-to-market approaches became more prevalent. As a result, solar companies doing business in the States will need to adapt quickly to these challenges while also being responsive to frequent adjustments in the fragmented incentive and regulatory environment.”

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    "…California continues to play a critical lead…[with] 53% of US PV on-grid installations…Despite a slowdown in demand from the corporate sector across the U.S., government, residential and utility growth more than offset this effect. Price cuts in residential installations provided the foundation for steady growth…A wide range of start-up markets in other states…[and] new PV incentives were launched…"

    click to enlarge

    "While there are utility barriers to be resolved, including regulatory restrictions on the use of Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), the central policy thrust over the past 12 months remains positive. Sixteen states and Washington D.C. have enacted a Renewable Portfolio Standard with solar or DG set-asides to promote PV…[These] drove around 30% of total on-grid PV installations in 2009…[S]tates are doing their job of stimulating local markets…[D]ispersed funding [spreads risk] compared to countries driven by a single national policy…[and] Federal incentives are playing a much larger role…

    "…SunPower was the leading company…Chevron Energy and SPG Solar performed strongly…Among residential installers in California, REC Solar, SolarCity and Real Goods Solar led the field…Within the next five years, Solarbuzz forecasts the market will grow to between 4.5-5.5 GW… ten times the size of the 2009 market…30% per annum….The US order book for photovoltaic systems currently stands at 12 GW…"


    Could wind push energy bill to fruition?
    Andris E. Cukurs, August 27, 2010 (Reuters)

    "The climate bill may have stalled and, with it, a renewable electricity standard that would promote wind and other renewable-energy sources. But at the same time, wind energy continues to make strong strides.

    "…Google [purchased] 20 years of wind-generated electricity in Iowa, ostensibly to operate its huge data centers…SC Johnson & Son [will use] turbines at its Wisconsin headquarters…its largest European manufacturing plant…[and] half its Ziploc plant…[C]orporations [are] leading the way…Major electric utilities ramp up wind energy gradually alongside long-term incentives…yet wind energy still generated just 1.25 percent of our electricity in 2008…a far cry from the 20 percent goal the U.S. Energy Department set for wind’s share of the U.S. electric supply by 2030…[and] far below the Energy Information Agency’s [2012] projection…[of] 5 percent…[T]he U.S. added only 1239 megawatts of wind power installations in the first half of 2010…the lowest level since 2007. Manufacturing investment in [also below] 2008-2009…"

    click to enlarge

    "Wind promotes national security…has the tremendous potential to create jobs…[and] deliver clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy to promote economic vitality and environmental quality…Wind-power projects created 35,000 new jobs in 2008…[It] produces no emissions and no dangerous radioactive waste…[and] doesn’t consume any non-renewable resources…[It] is free and…can be captured efficiently…[T]hree-quarters of Americans feel that increasing renewable energy and decreasing U.S. dependence on foreign oil are the nation’s top energy priorities…89 percent of respondents – 84 percent of Republicans, 93 percent of Democrats and 88 percent of Independents – believe increasing the amount of energy the nation gets from wind is a good idea.

    "Wind energy…supplies more than 20 percent of the energy consumed in Denmark and more than 11 percent in Spain and Portugal…Wind energy…[is price] competitive with fossil sources of generation…[T]ransmission issues [are not insurmountable]…[O]ne-third of the electricity that wind farms generate will become a reliable source of around-the-clock power…through electricity grid interconnections…[W]ind turbines generate electricity 65 percent to 80 percent of the time, so…[it] is variable. But no power plant generates at its maximum 100 percent potential…[With the modern grid,] no need exists to back up every megawatt of wind energy with a megawatt of fossil fuel or dispatchable power…[W]hile wind energy is naturally variable, it’s not unreliable…[It] should serve as one portion of a diversified energy portfolio."

    click to enlarge

    "…[Other facts:]…[I]t’s difficult to distinguish the sound of a turbine from the rustling of corn stalks…Wind turbines kill…28,500 [birds] a year – while buildings kills 550 million; power lines, 130 million; cats, 100 million; autos, 80 million; and pesticides, 67 million…Wind towers do need concrete and steel for their foundations, but...[not] the gargantuan amount of concrete and steel required for a nuclear plant or a hydroelectric power plant.

    "…[I]t’s hard to question that the advantages of wind far outweigh the negatives…The U.S. needs a national renewable-electricity standard that would set a percentage, say 15 percent by 2020, of electricity generated for utilities…A growing number of major countries in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, as well as several states in the U.S. such as California and Texas, already have set ambitious standards. For the U.S., a national RES is essential to foster stable, long-term investment in wind energy…Will it take another crisis before we wake up to the clear value of wind energy? Let’s not find out…"

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010


    Ohio Power Siting Board approves construction of Blue Creek Wind Farm
    August 23, 2010 (Ohio Siting Board)

    "The Ohio Power Siting Board (OPSB)…approved an agreement authorizing Heartland Wind, LLC to construct the Blue Creek Wind Farm…Heartland is authorized to provide up to 350 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity and the facility, as approved, will consist of 159 wind turbines spread across 1,700 acres…

    "On December 21, 2009, Heartland filed an application…[After] an investigation of Heartland’s proposal, OPSB Staff submitted a summary of its findings and recommendation to the Board on June 23, 2010…Supporters [subsequently] emphasized the potential economic benefits…Opponents voiced concerns about potential negative consequences related to noise and aesthetics as well as impacts to the environment, public health and safety and television and cellular reception."

    click to enlarge

    "On July 14, 2010, Heartland, OPSB Staff and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation filed an agreement resolving outstanding issues…[and recommending] approval… subject to 61 conditions intended to mitigate the ecological, environmental and social impacts of the project…[Heartland must:]…[1] Relocate or resize eight turbines…[with more] setback distance from roads and structures…[2] Implement measures to reduce shadow flicker [where needed]…[3] Mitigate…[noise where needed]…within one mile of the project area…[3] Mitigate…television reception problems…

    "…[4] Install and maintain erosion and sedimentation control measures…[5] Establish a process to receive [complaints]…[6] …[Deal with] ice conditions on wind turbines and install an ice warning system…[7] …[Deal with] airspace, radar or communications [issues]…[8]…[Repair] roads and bridges [agricultural land, including field tile] following construction…[9] Decommission…"

    Where Ohio jobs are. (click to enlarge)

    "Heartland expects to begin construction of the wind farm in the fall of 2010. The project will also include four new electric substations, underground electric collection lines and miles of access roads, as well as meteorological and wind measurement equipment to support the facility.

    "Under Ohio’s alternative energy portfolio standard, by 2025, 25 percent of electricity sold in Ohio must be generated from alternative energy sources. At least half of this energy must come from renewable energy sources, including wind, and one half of the renewable energy facilities must be located in Ohio…OPSB has [now] certificated five wind farms across the state totaling 472 turbines and up to 882.2 MW…"


    Study Finds Ample Opportunities In Solar For New Entrants
    23 August 2010 (Solar Industry)

    "As the burgeoning solar and wind power markets continue to expand, industry value chains are looking to…sustain anticipated growth. For many component producers, the market growth rate will translate into a need to increase existing capacities, build new plants and spread out to new geographies.

    "…[M]arkets for certain components of the solar and wind markets will present budding opportunities for new entrants, [according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan,] as growth rates are expected to exceed present manufacturing capacity…"

    click to enlarge

    "Many European and U.S.-based manufacturers are setting up shop in Asia in order to take advantage of cheaper labor and component prices. In addition, with the number of [Asian] consumers increasing…manufacturers recognize the advantages of placing production locations closer…Both wind turbine and solar module manufacturing facilities have started appearing in low-cost countries such as China, Malaysia, Taiwan and the Philippines."

    click to enlarge

    "Some components and raw materials require deep technological expertise and extensive production experience in order to produce a competitive product, creating high barriers for new entrants. At the same time, there are other markets in which both experience and expertise can be rapidly gained. Thus, it is potentially easier for new manufacturers to enter or expand into these parts of value chain…

    "…[A] key restraint…[may be] the lack of assurance of government financial support. With national budgets overstretched and an increasingly high level of budget deficit in some countries, funding expended to renewable energy markets in Europe and across the globe may not be reliable. Component manufacturers must consider expansions carefully if the government support is reduced dramatically to avoid being faced with overcapacities..."


    Report: Nevada has weatherized nearly 4,000 homes under the Recovery Act
    August 24, 2010 (Reno Gazette Journal)

    "…Nevada has been selected to received nearly $7 million under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to continue the state's Weatherization Assistance Program.

    "…[Secretary of Energy Steven Chu] said Nevada has been one of the country’s weatherization leaders under the Recovery Act and is continuing to weatherize thousands of homes for Nevada’s low-income families. Through July, Nevada has weatherized a total of nearly 4,000 homes under the Recovery Act."

    click to enlarge

    "…[F]our high-performing local weatherization agencies in Las Vegas, Reno, Ely, and Carson City have been selected to receive nearly $7 million to install in-home energy monitors, photovoltaic systems, solar water heaters, heat pumps, residential wind turbines, and perform deep efficiency retrofits. The award selections were part of nearly $120 million in awards announced nationally to complement and expand existing weatherization programs, drive innovation in the program, and deliver even greater energy bill savings for local families…

    "Nevada’s efforts are contributing to
    the success of the program nationwide. After ramping up last year, the Weatherization Assistance Program is now weatherizing homes at its optimal rate – approximately 25,000 homes per month. In June, states reported that nearly 31,800 homes were weatherized with Recovery Act funding – the most ever in a month. This summer alone, more than 80,000 homes will be weatherized across the country…"

    click to enlarge

    "The weatherization program is…putting carpenters, electricians, and factory workers back to work installing insulation, upgrading appliances, and improving heating and cooling systems. According to state reports, the Recovery Act Weatherization Assistance Program supported more than 13,000 jobs in the second quarter of 2010, including more than 80 jobs in Nevada.

    "The U.S. Department of Energy’s Weatherization Assistance Program helps low-income families save energy and money by improving the energy efficiency of their homes. According to a recent study by Oak Ridge National Laboratory, weatherization services save families an average of more than $400 in energy costs during the first year after home retrofits are installed."


    PGE, Ford hope to drive past electric car challenges; New state charging station plan in the works with PSU and Microsoft
    Jim Redden, August 24, 2010 (Portland Tribune)

    "Electric cars are a hot topic these days, but many challenges must be overcome before large numbers of people will buy them, according to a panel of experts working on the issue…

    "…[L]ocations must be found for home charging stations for potential buyers who do not have garages or live in older home with outdated wiring, said…representatives of Ford Motor Co., Microsoft, [utility Portland General Electric (PGE)] and [host Portland State University (PSU]…"

    A fast-charging station for the all-electric Nissan Leaf, due in showrooms in November (click to enlarge)

    "Charlie Allcock, PGE’s director of economic development, noted that his company is working with the federal and state governments to install 1,000 charging stations between Portland and Eugene by July 2011...[The] stations [should] ease the anxieties of drivers whose can only go between 40 and 100 miles on a battery charge…"

    The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) resolves anxiety about battery power by switching to a gas engine after 40 miles. (click to enlarge)

    "The stations are being installed as part of seven-state test program funded in part with federal stimulus dollars. In Oregon, other funds are coming from state government and a number of private partners. It is intended in part to support the sales of Nissan Leaf electric cars later this year.

    "Ford brought along an electric version of its Focus compact car that goes on sale next year…PSU President Wim Wiewel said the university would work with Ford and PGE in the future to better understand how people use electric cars, including when and how they are charged."

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010


    Constellation Energy Supplying Renewable Energy Certificates to National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
    August 24, 2010 (Business Wire via Trading Markets)

    "Constellation Energy…will supply 2,000 renewable wind energy certificates (RECs) to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum to match the estimated 2,000 megawatt hours of electricity used by the Hall of Fame over the course of the baseball season, including the recent July induction ceremony…This agreement between Constellation Energy and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum was facilitated by Usource, LLC, an energy services company."

    Jeff Idelson, President, National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum:] "The core of our mission is to assure the long-term sustainability of our artifacts, so future generations of baseball fans can learn about the history of our National Pastime and its role in American society…Thanks to Constellation Energy, we have been able to assure the sustainability of electricity for the summer, including induction weekend, as part of an ongoing trend toward renewable energy solutions for the Museum."

    click to enlarge

    "The renewable energy certificates…are Green-e Energy certified from wind energy facilities in the United States. The purchase of RECs supports demand for building new, clean wind power. The RECs donated by Constellation Energy to the National Baseball Hall of Fame [in Cooperstown, N.Y.] for the baseball season will result in approximately 2,237,500 pounds of avoided carbon dioxide emissions due to the displacement of grid electricity generation by renewable energy."

    click to enlarge

    [Michael Kagan, chief retail sales officer, Constellation Energy:] "Institutions like the Baseball Hall of Fame are examining how they can make events and facilities more sustainable, and one way to do this is to use renewable energy certificates to green their energy supply…Constellation Energy is proud to help the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum green their operations and support clean, renewable energy."

    "…The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum…collections contain more than 37,000 three-dimensional artifacts representing all facets of the game, from its inception in the mid-19th century to present…[including] bats, baseballs, uniforms, player equipment, ballpark artifacts, awards, artwork, textiles, tickets, collectibles and assorted memorabilia…[Its] archives contain in excess of 135,000 Baseball cards and three million Library items, including photographs, books, magazines, newspaper clippings, films, video and audio tapes…"


    Americans Want to Give Electric Vehicles a Test Drive, New CEA Study Reports; Drivers Motivated by Environmental and Cost Benefits, Concerned About Power
    August 23, 2010 (Consumer Electronics Association via Business Wire)

    "Forty percent of consumers report they are likely to test drive an electric vehicle, according to [Electric Vehicles: The Future of Driving] from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)…[It] suggests electric vehicles entice consumers with improved environmental quality and potential cost savings, but leave them with questions about battery life and convenience of battery charging.

    "Consumers are open to considering an electric vehicle in the future…42 percent…are likely to follow news reports about electric vehicles. However, overall awareness of the various types of alternative vehicles remains low. While nearly one-third (32 percent) report they are familiar, or very familiar, with hybrid vehicles, only about one-quarter are familiar with electric-powered vehicles (25 percent)."

    Reseach a year ago found less than 1 in 5 show little interest in PHEVs and interest has grown since then. (click to enlarge)

    "For the first time, electric vehicles will be featured at the 2011 International CES [in L:as Vegas], showcasing a full range of high- and low- speed vehicles, energy storage devices and charging equipment. This new CES TechZone will feature major automotive companies…

    "Those consumers who are open to buying an electric vehicle cite the positive environmental impact and potential cost savings as primary reasons to do so. More than three-quarters of those surveyed (78 percent) said the vehicle’s ability to run without gasoline is the greatest advantage, followed by less pollution (67 percent), and the lack of need for oil changes and tune-ups (60 percent)…"

    click thru to Plug-in America to learn about the march of history. (click to enlarge)

    "According to the study, consumers perceive several disadvantages about electric vehicles. Concerns about mileage potential before needing to recharge (50 percent) and battery life (34 percent) top the list. Cost of the vehicle, reliability and availability of charging stations are also key concerns…

    "The study finds running out of battery power on the road (71 percent), lack of charging stations and/or not being able to recharge (66 percent) and limited mileage (59 percent) are the most common perceived disadvantages with electric vehicles. Home charging stations may also impact purchase decisions. Half of consumers (51 percent) would be less likely to consider purchasing an electric vehicle if they would have to install special [battery] charging equipment…"


    Georgia Institute of Technology Study Finds Kalahari Greentech's Solar Collector to be Up to 74% Efficient; Four Times the Efficiency of Commercial Photovoltaic Cells
    August 23, 2010 (Global Newswire via MarketWatch)

    "…[T]he Georgia Institute of Technology's Engineering Experiment Station…found Kalahari Greentech's Solar Collector to be up to 74% efficient; that's four times the efficiency of commercial photovoltaic cells.

    "The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the nation's top research universities, distinguished by its commitment to improving the human condition through advanced science and technology…20,000 undergraduate and graduate students receive a focused, technologically based education…"

    The article seems to underestimate other achieved efficiencies.(click to enlarge)

    "The [Kalahari Greentech] collector was tested in accordance with procedures outlined by the National Bureau of Standards…[The Georgia Institute of Technology report] provides the results of the tests along with some general observations made while conducting the test…[and states the collector] compare[s] favorably with high quality competitive collectors…

    "The reason that the Kalahari Solar Collector is more efficient is because it uses all available wavelengths of light in its conversion process, whereas photovoltaic cells can only convert specific ranges of light into electricity. An average photovoltaic panel converts 15% of the light it absorbs into electricity…The rest is converted into wasted heating or reflected back into the atmosphere. During the 4-hour test, the lowest recorded efficiency of the Kalahari Solar Collector was 50%, still 300% more power than the average photovoltaic solution. This increase in efficiency allows Kalahari to produce power in a smaller unit and at a lower cost…These test results imply that the Solar Tri-Brid will be 1/4 the size of current photovoltaic solar power systems."

    The article seems to overstate the Georgia Tech report's conclusions. (click to enlarge)

    "Based on the encouraging results of this independent test, Kalahari has begun the development of the Solar Tri-Brid system. The Tri-Brid is a standalone power generator, which will reliably produce electricity from sun power gathered by the Solar Collector.

    "Designed to be an ideal solution for rural homes and farms, where power infrastructure is limited or impractical to install, The "Tri-Brid" is designed around the goal of providing continuous, usable power without necessary grid power during non-peak times…"


    Green Building Certification Programs; Global Certification Programs for New and Existing Buildings in the Commercial and Residential Sectors: Market Analysis and Forecasts
    Eric Bloom and Clint Wheelock, 2Q 2010 (Pike Research)

    "In today’s commercial and residential real estate industries, green building certification programs are increasingly being applied to new and existing buildings as a means of verifying that a building meets…energy efficiency, sustainable materials selection, site location, and indoor environmental quality [standards]...[T]here are dozens of green building certification programs in operation around the world [like U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards] for a wide range of building types and sizes…

    "Since the establishment of the U.K.-based Building Research Establishment (BRE) in 1990 and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1993, many organizations have been formed…The Toronto-based World Green Building Council (World GBC) currently recognizes 20 established green building councils around the world, with more than 40 other national-scale groups seeking similar status…[But] green building is still in its nascent stages in many markets…though builders and designers in the majority of developing countries are adapting quickly…to growing demand."

    click to enlarge

    "There are three major drivers…[1] green building has become synonymous with environmental responsibility…and green building is increasingly becoming an important component of corporate social responsibility (CSR) plans…[2] many see green building certification programs as an opportunity to reduce operational expenses through energy efficiency…[3] and perhaps the most important to consider in the long term – is a growing number of regulatory requirements that require green building certifications for certain types of buildings…[G]overnments at the city, state/province, and national scales are establishing laws requiring…a certain rating under a green building certification program.

    "…[M]ost green-certified space has been in the commercial building sector…Demand is growing, particularly in cities looking to attract multinational corporations. On the demand side, many corporations and government agencies are beginning to establish policies that they will only own and occupy spaces that have received green building certification…Approximately 60% of total net green building space is in existing buildings…[Most] certified under the two major international programs, LEED and the U.K.-based Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM), are new buildings…"

    click to enlarge

    "[W]ithin the residential market, most of the focus has been on certifying new properties… Certification programs in Europe cover a wide range of residential buildings…In the next decade, a great deal of major construction of large-scale residential buildings in Asia Pacific, such as China and India, will receive green building certification…[T]his segment is likely to represent a small portion of the overall market in the next 10 years.

    "Pike Research forecasts that cumulative green building certified space will grow from about 6 billion sf in 2010 to about 53 billion sf worldwide in 2020. Taking market conditions and regulatory changes into account, commercial buildings will likely represent about 80% of space certified under green building programs in 2020. While LEED and BREEAM will continue to dominate the North American and European green building markets, respectively, newly developed programs in China and India are likely to represent about 30% of all certified green new construction by 2020."

    Monday, August 23, 2010


    Consumers Energy quietly enters the wind farm business
    Dave Alexander, August 22, 2010 (Muskegon Chronicle via Mlive)

    "…Unlike the loud and contentious public argument over a proposal for wind turbines in Lake Michigan, hardly an objection has been raised to [public utility] Consumers Energy's development of its $250 million Lake Winds Energy Park in southern Mason County.

    "…[Consumers Energy recently] signed a contract with Vestas American Wind Technology Inc. to supply [56 1.8-megawatt Vestas wind turbines that will produce enough electricity to power 25,000 homes. The turbines will be manufactured in the United States]…[It] hopes to have construction under way in 2011 and electricity being generated by the end of 2012…Lake Winds Energy Park would be the second wind farm in western Michigan. A Traverse City energy company is developing the Stoney Corners Wind Park…"

    The wind offshore may be more expensive but there sure is a lot of it. (click to enlarge)

    "Consumers Energy is moving headlong into large-scale electrical generation from wind turbines to satisfy Michigan's 2008 energy reform law that calls for utilities to create 10 percent of [their] electrical production through renewable sources…[T]he Lake Winds Energy Park has progressed with little public notice. The company quietly began working on it…in early 2007…

    "Consumers Energy spokesman Dan Bishop said his company still needs final site plan approval from Mason County, which handles zoning issues for the affected townships...[and] final approvals from the Federal Aviation Administration…[The utility will] move forward with its plans this fall by awarding a contract for engineering, procurement and construction services. There are eight bidding companies…"

    An industry with enormous job potential for a state with an enormous need for jobs(click to enlarge)

    "In contrast, the Scandia Wind Offshore proposal for wind farms in Lake Michigan off Pentwater and Grand Haven has caused a nine-month controversy as opponents have put up an organized and well-funded fight…Usually, even land-based wind farms have local residents concerned about such issues as killing of birds and bats, "light flicker" from the turning blades on sunny days, ice thrown from the blades in the winter; and noise issues…[but property owners] who have leased land to Consumers Energy for the wind farm have received "lucrative" payments to have turbines, transformer facilities and electrical lines on their properties…

    "Consumers Energy has focused on land-based turbines rather than offshore because it makes more economic sense…[especially because] offshore wind farm developments are years away and would not be generating electricity by 2015, when the renewable energy standards become state law…The Lake Winds Energy Park is part of Consumers Energy's 20-year plan to meet the power needs of its 1.8 million electric customers in Michigan…The $6 billion plan over the next five years also includes improving customers' energy efficiency and development of a "smart grid"…[and] development of the [250-megawatt] Cross Winds Energy Park…"


    Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment; Charging Stations, Grid Interconnection Issues, EV Charging Business Models, and Vehicle-to-Grid Technology: Market Analysis and Forecasts
    John Gartner and Clint Wheelock, 2Q 2010 (Pike Research)

    "It is likely that 2010 will be remembered as a turning point in history…For the first time, electric vehicles (EVs) and EV charging equipment are being manufactured for a mass market of consumers…Concerns about transportation's contribution to climate change has brought…electrifying transportation to the attention of local and national government officials worldwide…EVs can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by up to 34% if the power comes from coal-fired power plants and by 60% if the plant runs on natural gas…

    "…In the United States, EVs will cost approximately 75 cents per gasoline gallon equivalent when driving on electric power…[or less] depending on advancements in battery technology…The price of gasoline is expected to rise by approximately 65% between 2009 and 2015, while the price of electricity is likely to remain stable…[D]emand for EVs…[and charging stations] could increase dramatically…In other parts of the world…the economics for EVs and charging infrastructure are even better."

    click to enlarge

    "…The market for EVs (including plug-in hybrids) will grow to nearly 285,000 units by 2015. Globally, more than 3.1 million EVs will be sold between 2010 and 2015. These vehicles will spur the sale of 4.7 million units of charging equipment including residential equipment and standalone charging stations during the period from 2010 to 2015. Pike Research forecasts that annual revenue from EV charging equipment will reach $1.8 billion in 2015.

    "…[T]he Asia Pacific region will be the world’s largest market for EVs and charging equipment…China, which in 2009 became the world’s largest automotive market, will represent more than one-third of the global market for charging equipment…[I]n North America, residential EV equipment sales will represent more than two-thirds of sales. In Europe and Asia…standalone charging equipment will represent the majority of sales…[U.S.] charging equipment sales during the first few years will be dominated by government purchased or subsidized sales…EV owners will predominantly charge at home where electricity costs approximately $1-$2 for a full charge. Government support around the globe is critical…"

    click to enlarge

    "The initial manufacturers of EV charging equipment have been mostly startup companies or companies involved in industrial EV charging…such as Coulomb Technologies, Better Place, and Optimization Technologies…The market for EV charging equipment is likely to become very crowded by the end of 2011 as large technology companies, such as General Electric, Panasonic, Samsung, Siemens, and Sanyo, are all developing EV charging products…EV charging will be a miniscule portion of electricity demand, even by 2015 (representing less than 0.05% of the grid load)…The electrification of transportation has the potential to accelerate the implementation of smart grid technologies and to modify consumer attitudes…

    "The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) paves the way for more than 12,000 EV charging stations to be installed in five states…(Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee, and Washington)…In Europe and Asia, energy services companies including RWE in Germany, Dong Energy in Denmark, Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO), and the Tokyo Electric Power Company are taking a much more active role in EV charging…The EV charging industry will evolve…Vehicle–to-Grid (V2G) services are now being studied…EVs that can be charged in a wide variety of public and residential charging locations are likely to be…about 2.5% of all vehicle sales by 2015…"


    Self-Cleaning Panel Tech Could Up Solar Power Yeilds by 40 Percent
    Jason Mick, August 23, 2010 (Daily Tech)

    "…[M]any of the world's sunniest regions (near the equator) are also home to large deserts...[that] would seem to be an ideal place to deploy solar installations…[because they have] intense sunlight…[are] relatively foliage-free…[and fewer environmental impacts]…[but desert] dust clings to panels, dramatically reducing their output.

    "…[A] team of researchers led by MIT professor Malay K. Mazumder, Ph.D…[want to] use automated cleaning technology developed for missions to Mars…[A] transparent, electrically sensitive material [would be] deposited on glass or a transparent plastic sheet covering the panels. Sensors [would] monitor the levels of deposited dust on the panel. When the dust levels get too high, a charge is applied to the coating and the dust is physically moved across the panel via the charge and dumped off the edges."

    The technology was proved on the Mars rovers. (click to enlarge)

    "The procedure uses a minimal amount of energy, making it a viable cleaning solution. It removes 90 percent of dust, greatly improving power output…[It does not require water and] the technology has already been stress tested by NASA space probes and rovers under the harsh Martian climate…United States, Spain, Germany, the Middle East, Australia, and India all are home to large scale solar installations. Many of these installations are in regions where water is scarce, making water-based cleaning problematic…"

    [Professor Mazumder;] "A dust layer of one-seventh of an ounce per square yard decreases solar power conversion by 40 percent. In Arizona, dust is deposited each month at about 4 times that amount. Deposition rates are even higher in the Middle East, Australia, and India."

    click to enlarge

    "The technology already has a huge potential market…[in today’s $24B USD [soalr panel] market…[It] may prove the catalyst to help convince nations to go ahead with [solar] installations, as it should help to substantially reduce the per kilowatt-hour cost of solar power…"

    [Professor Mazumder;] "Less than 0.04 percent of global energy production is derived from solar panels, but if only four percent of the world's deserts were dedicated to solar power harvesting, our energy needs could be completely met worldwide. This self-cleaning technology can play an important role."


    Geothermal’s Golden Year; After 50 Years, Geothermal Energy Still Growing
    August 23, 2010 (Geothermal Energy Association)

    "…Half a century ago, just north of San Francisco, construction began on The Geysers, the nation’s first commercial [utility-scale] geothermal site…

    "Now an extensive complex of geothermal energy production, the Geysers has come a long way from its beginnings as a single 11-megawatt power plant. It set both the state of California and the nation on a path toward strong and steady geothermal growth during the ensuing five decades, and now produces enough electricity to power a city the size of San Francisco…"

    click to enlarge

    "…Since the Geysers began operation, the United States has become the world leader in geothermal energy production and geothermal energy is the largest renewable source of energy in the state of California, providing 5% of the state's electric power…

    "And California is no longer alone in geothermal production. Approximately 3,086 Megawatts of installed capacity is produced by 77 plants in nine states. Just last year, seven new plants were brought online. Currently 188 projects in 15 different states are in consideration or in development. Those developing projects could triple geothermal capacity over the next decade…[Geothermal has] the potential to create thousands of jobs and satisfy the energy needs of 10 million people in the coming years…"

    The Geysers (click to enlarge)

    [Mike Rogers, senior vice president, Geysers operator Calpine Corporation:] “As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Geysers, we are working to ensure that it remains a viable and valuable power source for generations to come…In addition to piping treated wastewater from nearby communities to replenish the geothermal resource, we have completed eight new exploratory wells and are evaluating the feasibility of adding at least 40 megawatts of capacity to help meet California’s trendsetting goals for renewable energy production.”

    [Karl Gawell, Executive Director, GEA:] “After what is headed to be the hottest summer on record and in the wake of the Gulf oil spill disaster, the world has been shown that we must re-examine our reliance on traditional sources of power and commit to increasing renewable energy’s role in powering our communities…There is the potential to power millions of homes, businesses and schools from the heat of the earth. The success of geothermal power over the past 50 years gives us an incredible foundation to build a green future over the next 50 years.”

    Sunday, August 22, 2010


    Europe’s Brisk Energy Transition
    Elisabeth Rosenthal, August 20, 2010 (NY Times)

    "Europe’s evolution toward a heavier reliance on renewable energy is nicely documented in [Statistical aspects of the energy economy in 2009] by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency…[It] provides a wealth of interesting detail without a lot of editorializing.

    "From 2008 to 2009 alone, the use of renewable energy in the European Union increased 8.3 percent…Some countries have made particularly great strides in this arena. Portugal now gets nearly 45 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, up from 17 percent five years ago."

    click to enlarge

    "The Eurostat report found that the production of energy from hard coal and natural gas showed an ‘important decrease’ (9.2 and 10.1 percent, respectively). To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the European Union is also aggressively pushing its members to cut back on their use of coal.

    "Renewable energy now accounts for 18.4 percent of energy production in the European Union, just behind natural gas, which provides 19.3 percent."

    click to enlarge

    "Energy intensity – a measure of how much energy is used to make a unit of economic output – dropped for the sixth straight year. That means member nations are learning to use energy more efficiently…[through] decoupling of increasing economic activity from increasing energy consumption…Emerging economic giants like China have been loath to define binding greenhouse gas reduction targets but have instead set as their goal reducing their energy intensity.

    "The report found that energy consumption across the European Union dropped 5.5 percent, to levels not seen since the 1990s – although at least some of the reduction is a result of the global recession."


    Wind turbine plant may spur offshore wind energy development
    Richard Thompson, August 22, 2010 (Times-Picayune via NOLA)

    "Days after a British wind turbine company announced plans to begin manufacturing turbine blades and components in part of the Michoud Assembly Facility in eastern New Orleans, local environmentalists expressed optimism that a strong industry presence in the region could spur interest in offshore wind energy development…

    "State officials have long considered creating a portfolio standard that would require regulated electricity utilities to acquire a portion of their energy from generators that use renewable sources, but placing wind power at the front of the mix has never gained much traction in southeastern Louisiana."

    click to enlarge

    "Some environmentalists think the region's terrain does not lend itself to land-based wind power, though offshore turbines that use blades like the ones that will be manufactured at Michoud are widely thought to have greater potential. And news of the planned turbine blade manufacturing site has given new hope to renewable energy advocates who have been working to put Louisiana in the company of other states trying to move away from [fossil fuel electricity]…

    "Blade Dynamics Ltd., a 3-year-old company based on the Isle of Wight off the southern coast of England that manufactures advanced blades designed to increase the efficiency and performance of very high power wind turbines, committed last week to creating at least 600 jobs in New Orleans by 2015…"

    It can be uplifting work. (click to enlarge)

    "Some utility providers, including Entergy Corp., do not think offshore wind power is promising because turbines would require laying underwater transmission lines and the windmills could be destroyed by hurricanes…David Dismukes, an associate executive director of the Center for Energy Studies at Louisiana State University, said renewed attention on wind energy from the arrival of Blade Dynamics could serve as a catalyst, prompting some to give turbines a second look…[though] clusters of turbines are [not] likely to start sprouting up all across the state…

    "Louisiana Economic Development Secretary Stephen Moret is hopeful [other renewable energy manufacturers] will follow, which could drive down costs for the development of other renewable energy technologies, such as biomass, geothermal, hydro or solar…[Blade Dynamics] was offered performance-based financial assistance of $5.4 million to offset lease costs at Michoud and $6 million to offset equipment purchases…"