NewEnergyNews More: July 2011

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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  • Sunday, July 31, 2011

    COAL USE AT NEW LOW

    First-quarter 2011 coal share of power generation lowest in over 30 years
    July 27, 2011 (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

    "The share of electricity generated by coal during the first three months of this year was at its lowest first-quarter level in more than 30 years. The U.S. electric power sector generated about… 26.5 [terawatthours (TWh)] less than the amount generated during the first quarter of 2010—despite the fact that the overall total level of generation in the United States increased by less than 1%...

    "...The amount of coal-fired generation in the first quarter of 2011 corresponds to a 46% share of total generation, which is 3 percentage points lower than the same period last year and 6 percentage points lower than the first quarter of 2008."


    click to enlarge

    "The decline in the share of generation provided by coal is offset by increased generation fueled by other energy sources, particularly natural gas. In the eastern U.S., the spot price of coal has risen steadily for nearly two years, while natural gas prices have remained comparatively low…

    "...[C]oal has historically been the dominant fuel used in the electric power sector [in the Midwest]. During the first quarter of 2011, coal's share of generation in the Midwest fell from 70.5% in 2010 to 66.9%, while the region's fuel share for natural gas gained 2 percentage points…"

    NEXTERA IN BIG ON NEW ENERGY

    NextEra to Spend Up to $5.8 Billion on Wind, Solar Power by 2014
    Ehren Goosens, July 27, 2011 (Bloomberg News)

    "NextEra Energy Inc. (NEE), the largest U.S. wind-energy producer, plans to spend as much as $5.8 billion in the next three years to build wind and solar projects…The company’s NextEra Energy Resources LLC unit plans to spend from $2.3 billion to $2.7 billion through 2014 on solar projects, and $2.7 billion to $3.1 billion on wind farms, Lewis Hay, [chief executive officer, said]…

    "The projects will supply electricity for power purchase contracts it has already completed or expects to complete in the coming years…[The company has] signed more long-term power purchase agreements for new wind projects…in the first seven months of 2011… [than] in all of 2010… "


    NextEra's Blue Sky project would add 200 megawatts to California's grid -- if it gets past local wind opponents (click to enlarge)

    "NextEra signed 632 megawatts of contracts for wind farms since the first quarter, including 469 megawatts for projects in Canada that received contracts from the Ontario Power Authority and are expected to enter service in 2013 and 2014.

    ""The company has power contracts totaling more than 1.1 gigawatts of wind projects in the U.S. and Canada that entered service this year or are expected to do so by 2012…[and] expects to add by the end of next year as much as 2 gigawatts of wind power to the 8.3 gigawatts it has in operation now."

    CHALLENGES FOR INDIA’S SUN

    India's PV Future
    Vincent Kapur, (PV Group)

    "…India has become a hot topic among those looking for the next big market to emerge for photovoltaics. PV technologies are being imported to India from other nations with vastly different fundamental energy situations…[T]echnology deployment models which have seen success in Europe and North America will not succeed in this market…

    "A common misconception, particularly among the community of investors looking at the Indian market, is that PV systems are essentially plug-and-play…India possesses a very broad geographic territory which has yet to be blanketed with full access to grid power. Local and inter-regional distribution and transmission networks will require serious upgrades, expansions, and overhauls…[F]inancing for grid-tied projects will have to cover the necessary extra costs and delays are certain…A greater concern is the reliability of the grid…"


    It may not be as easy as it looks (click to enlarge)

    "One thing that India has plenty of is atmospheric particulates, especially due to heavy use of coal as well as innumerable open cooking fires…This is one cause of frequent blackouts. Another effect of pollution is a reduction of direct incident sunlight available, limiting the effectiveness of PV systems which rely on concentrator lenses…

    "India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy plans to implement its National Solar Mission (NSM) with the stated objective to ‘establish India as a global leader in solar energy’ through creation of favorable ‘policy conditions’. This has naturally raised concerns about cheap PV modules flooding into the market from neighboring China…Despite the limitations of most conventional models, PV will definitely make a positive impact on India’s energy portfolio in the near future…Armed with the right strategy, businesses can position themselves to take full advantage of the what may turn out to be an energy revolution for India…"

    CITY WAIVES NEW ENERGY PERMIT FEES

    Hermosa Beach approves solar power, wind energy fee waivers
    Douglas Morino, July 27, 2011 (Daily Breeze)

    "Moving forward on promises to aggressively pursue eco-friendly initiatives, the Hermosa Beach City Council has approved extending permit fee waivers for solar panel projects and reduce fees for small wind energy systems.

    "On average, city fees in 2009 for solar installations were about $641 per system. The City Council will re-evaluate the fee in August 2012. Fees for wind turbine systems permits can climb to $3,256. Those fees will be waived for a two-year period."


    click to enlarge

    "…So far this year, there have been permits issued for seven new systems.

    "The council… also waived preferential parking permit fees for electric and natural gas vehicles, in addition to reducing building fees by up to 50 percent for buildings that are certified as environmentally friendly."

    Saturday, July 30, 2011

    MTR COAL MINING UPS CANCER

    Breaking: New Study Links Mountaintop Removal to 60,000 Additional Cancer Cases
    Jeff Biggers, July 27, 2011 (AlterNet)

    "Among the 1.2 million American citizens living in mountaintop removal [MTR] mining counties in central Appalachia, an additional 60,000 cases of cancer are directly linked to the federally sanctioned strip-mining practice.

    "That is the damning conclusion in… the peer-reviewed [Journal of Community Health: The Publication for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention’s]
    Self-Reported Cancer Rates in Two Rural Areas of West Virginia with and Without Mountaintop Coal Mining…a groundbreaking [2011] community-based participatory research survey…which gathered person-level health data from communities directly impacted by mountaintop mining, and compared [it] to communities without mining."

    click to enlarge

    [Michael Hendryx, Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine and Director of West Virginia Rural Health Research Center, West Virginia University] “A door to door survey of 769 adults found that the cancer rate was twice as high in a community exposed to mountaintop removal mining compared to a non-mining control community…This significantly higher risk was found after control for age, sex, smoking, occupational exposure and family cancer history. The study adds to the growing evidence that mountaintop mining environments are harmful to human health.”

    "Bottom line: Far from simply being an environmental issue, mountaintop removal is killing American residents."

    TEXAS TURNS TO SUN

    CPS Energy ratchets up investment in solar; Utility notifies its bidders that project will be eight times larger.
    Tracy Idell Hamilton, July 7, 2011 (San Antonio News Express)

    "CPS Energy will be making a far larger investment in solar energy than the already substantial 50-megawatt project it sought proposals for earlier this year…[Bidders for that project have until July 16 to resubmit their proposals…for up to 400 megawatts, in large part because the price of solar continues to drop…

    "Today, the largest solar installation in the world is 97 megawatts in southern Ontario, followed by several between 84 and 53 megawatts in Italy, Germany and Spain…Four hundred megawatts can power about 80,000 homes…That's almost half the amount CPS needs to replace the two coal-burning units it plans to retire in 2018."


    Might as well get something besides drought from all that sun (click to enlarge)

    "For the other half, CPS plans to buy 200 megawatts of “clean coal” from a first-of-its-kind plant to be built near Odessa, and will save 250 megawatts through home energy management systems offered to customers for free.

    "The increase in the solar proposal comes as something of a surprise…Prices for solar photovoltaic components continue to drop, leading to falling prices for the power itself…CPS reportedly will pay 15 cents per kilowatt hour for the power it's contracted to buy from the three 10-megawatt solar projects to be built and owned by SunEdison…Sources say the most recent proposals are as much as 30 percent less than that…"

    WIND CUTS EMISSIONS

    Wind energy reduces fossil fuel use and emissions
    Michael Goggin, July 28, 2011 (Baltimore Sun)

    "As wind energy makes increasing headway in reducing America's dependence on fossil fuels and the harmful emissions associated with their use, the fossil fuel industry has launched an increasingly desperate misinformation campaign to muddy the waters…

    "[An op-ed by] Mr. Charles Campbell, a retired senior vice president of the Gulf Oil Corporation ("Wind farms wrong answer to Md.'s greenhouse gas emissions…is marred by numerous false statements and a serious misunderstanding of how the power grid operates. One only need to look to Iowa or Texas, which last year produced 15 percent and 8 percent of their electricity from wind respectively, to see that adding wind to the grid actually improves power system reliability."


    click to enlarge

    "…[T]here is no need to "back up" wind output as he claims…The output of wind plants is aggregated with all of the other changes in electricity supply and demand on a massive interstate power grid…[ and the grid remains] stable and manageable…[B]oth onshore and offshore wind are relatively easy for grid operators to integrate, as changes in wind energy output occur slowly and are predictable…[L]arge fossil and nuclear power plants…are the ones that experience large, immediate, and unexpected outages, requiring grid operators to keep 1,000-plus megawatts of fast acting, expensive and inefficient standby generation ready 24/7 in case one of those plants goes down.

    "U.S. Department of Energy data conclusively show that states that have ramped up their wind energy output over the last several years, like Colorado and Texas, have seen major reductions in air pollution emissions. In addition, every independent grid operator that has examined the issue has found that adding wind energy to the grid results in significant reductions in fossil fuel use and emissions."

    Wednesday, July 27, 2011

    ENERGY INDEPENDENCE DRIVES UTILITIES

    Energy security impels utilities to invest in power generation
    July 26, 2011 (Electric Light & Power)

    "Utilities have still not shaken off the investment torpor brought on by the downturn, but that is set to change with the country's alarming dependence on other countries for its escalating energy needs.

    "The government is offering several subsidies and incentives such as soft loans, tax benefits and feed-in tariffs to attract investors in its energy industry and ensure energy security…[The electricity] market earned revenues of $1.16 billion in 2010 and estimates this to increase to $2.16 billion in 2015…"


    click to enlarge

    "The expected growth in power demand has not only catalyzed the market for renewable power generation, but also compelled utilities to invest in new and conventional electrical equipment and technology to improve the efficiency and reliability of the plant's operation…"

    [Vignesh Sundaram, Senior Research Analyst, Frost & Sullivan:] "The government is aiming to harness its natural gas, wind and solar energy, thereby reducing dependence on other countries…The increasing investments in new natural gas power plants and renewable fuel sources such as wind and solar power generation will boost the need for electrical equipment."

    WYOMING MEGA-WIND MOVES AHEAD

    BLM Publishes Draft EIS For PCW's Wyoming Wind Project
    25 July 2011 (North American Windpower)

    "The U.S. Department of the Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released its draft environmental impact statement (EIS) for the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy Project, a 2 GW to 3 GW wind farm proposed by the Power Company of Wyoming LLC (PCW)…[This] begins a 90-day comment period.

    "The approximately 1,100-page draft EIS document results from more than three years of analysis, public input and collaboration among federal, state and local cooperating agencies…"


    (from the BLM EIS - click to enlarge

    "…The report informs the public of various factors associated with the wind power plant, including its ecological, aesthetic, cultural, economic and social effects. BLM is preparing this EIS pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA], as about half of the PCW wind project is sited on federal land…

    "The project is expected to include up to 1,000 turbines that will be located on a 320,000-acre working cattle ranch in Carbon County, Wyo. The ranch's outstanding wind resources, coupled with efficient turbine siting, will allow PCW to produce approximately 2.5 GW of renewable energy yet permanently use less than 2,000 acres of land, according to PCW…"

    THIN FILM SUN UPS EFFICIENCY

    First Solar Cadmium-Telluride Cell Hits 17.3 Percent Efficiency
    26 July 2011 (Solar Industry)

    "…[T]he U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has confirmed that [First Solar’s] cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic solar cell has reached a new world record in efficiency: 17.3%...The average efficiency of First Solar modules produced in the first quarter of 2011 was 11.7%, up from 11.1% a year earlier…"

    click to enlarge

    "…[First Solar] has recorded full-module efficiencies over 13.5%, with a 13.4% module confirmed by NREL…First Solar notes that its module efficiency roadmap sets a goal for production-module efficiencies of 13.5% to 14.5% by the end of 2014. The 17.3% efficiency figure was reached with a test cell constructed using commercial-scale manufacturing equipment and materials."

    NOT YET SMART ABOUT SMART GRID

    Survey Shows Smart Grid Education Still Lacking
    21 July 2011 (Renew Grid)

    "A new survey released by Danfoss and conducted by the Ivanovich Group shows consumer education on the smart grid is still lacking and reveals perceived barriers to and benefits of the smart grid.

    "…[A majority of] senior executives in facilities and plant services for industrial, K-12 schools, university campuses, commercial offices and government facilities; senior executives in engineering firms; and senior executives for HVAC product manufacturers… believe that elements of the smart grid will be in place within three to five years, [but] 43% feel it is unlikely the smart grid will be substantially complete in that same time frame. More than half (52%) of the participants, however, indicated that they are currently engaged in some form of smart grid activities."


    click to enlarge

    "The research also confirms that any smart grid investment made by building owners competes with other potential investments…[B]uilding owners listed costs as the number one barrier to investment in the smart grid…[T]hat investment may include retro-commissioning or retrofits to ensure buildings can take advantage of the benefits the smart grid offers.

    "Respondents also cited better access to information as one of the leading reasons to support the smart grid. Shorter duration of power outages was also important to building owners…"

    RUNNING A SOLAR POWER PLANT

    CSP site logistics: the secret to smooth installation; CSP projects cover vast tracts of land, often on exposed, remote sites, and involve the installation of large, breakable components. So, what are the key variables affecting the cost of site logistics – and how best can they be contained?
    Andrew Williams, 25 July 2011 (CSP Today)

    "… Many of the sites that Bechtel managea are very large - so it is vital that workers [who assemble the thousands of heliostats, parabolic troughs, boilers, turbines and/or storage systems] are able to reach work areas as quickly possible. It is also critical that material and equipment is available constantly so that they can be as productive as possible…[A]n extra hour of field work for each of 200,000 heliostats [could] cost more than $10 million assuming all-in cost for labour and support is $50/hour - which is low…

    lots of parts to coordinate (click to enlarge)

    "…[T]he early definition and agreement of project designs with all relevant agencies can help to avoid unnecessary costs. It is also useful to base plant design on an established reference plant or block design…Other ways to minimise costs include the integration of experienced construction teams at the design phase, the application of Six Sigma/Lean Construction techniques in the analysis and design of field processes, the establishment of step-by-step construction procedures, the performance of simulations/time motion studies and the development of risk registers and mitigation measures."


    "…[T]he maximisation of modularisation, integration of ‘multi-discipline’ elements, careful selection and testing of construction equipment, understanding of permit conditions and critical ‘red team reviews of execution plans before going to the field are also vital…[I]ssues taking a dollar to solve in planning, cost $10 to solve in detailed design, and $100 to solve in the field…

    lots of parts to coordinate (click to enlarge)

    "Local community engagement can be a huge benefit in ensuring successful execution of projects…[T]he best way to quickly engage the local community and mitigate any communication or cultural barriers is to put local hires on the project team early in the project, bring them up to speed on project goals as quickly as possible, and use them as primary liaisons with the local community and to help set strategies for mitigation of any issues that may arise…"

    Tuesday, July 26, 2011

    MISCALCULATED SUBSIDIES

    EIA studies on energy incentives distort value of spending on wind energy
    July 26, 2011 (American Wind Energy Association)

    "The 2011 report on energy incentives from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), requested by Representatives Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Roscoe G. Bartlett (R-MD)…[is expected to use the flawed methodology of] analyzing only a single year of energy incentives…[This] is a poor way to judge the support afforded by the U.S. government to many kinds of energy sources for decades."

    Click thru for the complete report

    "Consider a coal-fired power plant installed in 1965 and still generating electricity today. That power plant was subsidized when it was installed, and the mining and transportation of its fuel have been subsidized in the 45-plus years ever since then. If you look at the plant’s incentives in 2010, they are only a tiny slice of the total federal expenditure—the cost of the plant was amortized long ago."

    Click thru for the complete report

    "Now consider a wind farm installed in 2008. The production tax credit it received in 2010 was part of the basis for financing its construction. Once that credit is used up (in 2017), it will receive no further incentives (because it uses no fuel). Comparing its incentives with those provided to a 45-year-old coal plant is comparing apples to oranges…Analyzing only a single year of energy incentives inevitably gives a misleading representation of the support afforded by the U.S. government to all kinds of energy sources…The steady and significant government support provided over the past 50 or more years has allowed generation from sources like nuclear, coal and even hydro to flourish and become major electricity sources…"

    SUN PRICES UP, SALES SLOW

    PV Prices Continue to Go up, but Momentum Slows
    July 21, 2011 (Energy Trend)

    "…[T]he polysilicon spot price continues to increase, and current trading price has stayed between $52/kg and $54/kg…[T]he trading price in the Chinese market is slightly higher than other markets ranging from $55/kg to $58/kg…

    "…PV manufacturers [are expected to] take a wait-and-see attitude toward the market in 3Q11…[while watching] the order demand of 3Q11 to evaluate the market…[Most] PV spot prices went up [narrowly]…It might signal [that] end market demand is less than expected…[so that] the price trend of 3Q11 could reverse."


    cliok to enlarge

    "…[T]he average price of polysilicon has risen by 1.53% to $54.55/kg…[S]olar cell market demand is spurred by increasing clients’ need…[ D]emand for high conversion efficiency product remains [high but]…manufacturers are having difficulties raising the price of lower conversion efficiency products due to…lower demand…

    "…[Overall,] the average price of solar cell has slightly increased by 2.3% to $0.802/Watt…Affected by market price in India, the thin film market price has decreased slightly by 0.3% to $1.000/Watt…"

    ADVANCES ON THE WAVES

    Aquamarine Power unveils next-generation Oyster wave energy device
    July 15, 2011 (PennWell via HydroWorld)

    "Scotland-based marine energy developer Aquamarine Power has unveiled the Oyster 800, which is the firm's [800-kW] next-generation wave energy converter…Aquamarine Power installed and grid-connected its first full-scale 315-kW Oyster at [the European Wind Energy center (EMEC)] in 2009. This first device operated through two winters and delivered over 6,000 operating hours."

    click to enlarge

    "The Oyster 800 operates in the same way as Oyster 1, but Aquamarine Power has used data and lessons learned from the first Oyster to significantly improve its power output, simplify installation and allow easier routine maintenance…The device shape has been modified and made wider to enable it to capture more wave energy. It is now mounted on two seabed piles, rather than four to simplify installation…The Oyster 800 will be the first of three devices to be installed at EMEC, with further Oysters to be deployed in 2012 and 2013. All three Oysters will be linked to an onshore hydroelectric plant to form a 2.4-MW array."

    THE FIGHT TO FIGHT EMISSIONS

    Amid opposition from conservatives, businesses defend greenhouse-gas accord
    Andrew Restuccia, July 25, 2011 (The Hill)

    "More than 200 businesses urged a handful of governors…to remain committed to a regional cap-and-trade program even as it comes under attack from conservative groups…The businesses — which include a slate of renewable energy companies — say the program, known as the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), has delivered major benefits for state economies."

    [Letter from 225 businesses to the governors of the RGGI states:] “We believe strong clean energy and clean air policies create jobs and stimulate economic growth. RGGI shows that market-based programs can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while boosting our economy…By reducing spending on out-of-region fossil fuels, RGGI improves energy security and economic competitiveness and frees up energy dollars for spending in other parts of our economies.”

    click thru for the report on RGGI’s benefits

    "…[C]onservative groups like Americans for Prosperity [are ramping] up their opposition to the program, which aims to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants in 10 Northeastern states…New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said in May that he will pull out of the program…

    "…[The businesses] say RGGI has delivered a return of between $4 and $6 for every dollar spent and created jobs in the clean energy sector…The businesses pressed the governors to make improvements to RGGI as part of an upcoming 2012 review of the program designed to evaluate its success…"

    Monday, July 25, 2011

    SET A HIGHER (EFFICIENCY) STANDARD

    As White House Decision on New Fuel Efficiency Standards Nears, Go60MPG Launches Radio ad Push in D.C.; With Radio Ads, Go60MPG Highlights How Strong Fuel Efficiency Standards Would Create Jobs, Save Consumers at the Gas Pump, Reduce Dependence on Foreign Oil
    July 25, 2011 (PR Newswire)

    "With a decision imminent from the Obama Administration on new fuel efficiency and emissions standards for 2017-2025 vehicles, Go60MPG is launching a radio advertising campaign…The message: A 60 mile-per-gallon standard makes sense for America … and your pocketbook…

    "Strong pollution and fuel efficiency standards will save gas-price weary Americans an extra $370 billion by 2030 compared to the weakest proposal. These standards will also cut America's oil dependence by at least 44 billion gallons of fuel and eliminate at least 465 million metric tons of heat-trapping carbon pollution in 2030. A fuel economy and emissions standard requiring a 6 percent improvement each year between 2017 and 2025 would make America safe by reducing U.S. oil use by more than we now import from the Persian Gulf region…"


    Click thru to the Go60MPG site

    "…[A]utomakers are balking needlessly at a proposed standard of 56.5 MPG by 2025, continuing a theme of balking at every major advancement in auto technology from seatbelts to airbags to catalytic converters. Each of these technologies has proven to be both affordable and good for the American people…

    "…[A]utomakers – with the notable exception of General Motors, Toyota and Hyundai - have launched their own set of radio ads through the Alliance for Automobile Manufacturers (AAM). These ads continue an ongoing misinformation campaign based on faulty data and incorrect assumptions…The reality is these stronger standards are technologically feasible and automakers are already well on their way to meeting them…"

    CALIF’S BROWN WANTS NEW ENERGY

    From Governor Moonbeam to Governor Sunbeam -- Brown pushes for alternative energy
    Dana Hull, July 24, 2011 (San Jose Mercury News)

    "During his first two terms nearly four decades ago, Jerry Brown became famously known as Governor Moonbeam. Now he seems destined to become Governor Sunbeam.

    "With the epic battle over the state budget finally behind him, Brown's first major policy initiative aims to fulfill the ambitious goal laid out in his campaign: to develop a clean-energy economy in California."


    click to enlarge

    "Brown wants the state to produce 20,000 new megawatts of renewable electricity -- enough to power 20 cities the size of San Francisco and roughly one-third of the state's current peak use -- by 2020. That would nearly triple the amount of electricity that California currently gets from renewable sources.

    "The plan includes the fast-tracking of large, utility-scale renewable power plants. But 12,000 megawatts are to come from "localized electricity," small systems located close to where energy is consumed that don't require new transmission lines. A variety of technologies, from biogas to wind [to energy efficiency], will play a role. But solar panels -- on the roofs of commercial buildings and along the banks of state highways -- will be a dominant element…[S]ome business interests are worried about the potential costs…"

    NEW ENERGY WINS AGAIN

    Ontarians show strong support for green energy in run up to provincial election: poll
    July 21, 2011 (Ontario Sustainable Energy Association)

    "...[O]ver 7 of 10 Ontarians support green energy initiatives…[S]upport was highest among younger respondents. 84% of those polled between ages 18-34 were in favour of the Province’s green energy undertakings.

    "…With Ontario on track to eliminate coal-powered generation by 2014, there is much debate as to the source of energy best suited to replace it…The Ontario PC leader has campaigned against the Green Energy Act and its Feed-in Tariff rates. Interestingly, the survey indicated 57% of decided PC supporters were in favour of green energy initiatives. One quarter of these PC supporters ‘strongly agreed.’"


    click to enlarge

    "82% of both Liberal and NDP identified voters support green energy. Close to half of Liberal supporters (49%) ‘strongly agreed’ with current energy initiatives in Ontario. Similarly, 52% of NDP voters ‘strongly agreed’ with green energy.

    "The polling, which was conducted between July 7th and July 13th, 2011, shows the PCs with the highest number of decided votes at 42.8%, followed by the Liberals at 31.5%, the NDP at 17.7% and the Green Party with 8%. A significant 17.7% of voters remain undecided…"

    OUTLOOK FOR ORGANIC SUN

    Flexible OPV modules sharpen the market’s growth curve through 2020
    July 22, 2011 (Lux Research)

    "With only a handful of small demonstration products shipped to date, the current market for organic photovoltaic (OPV) modules is essentially zero. That will almost certainly change over the next decade. But OPV’s organic (carbon-containing) polymers and molecules deliver poor conversion efficiencies and short lifetimes compared to conventional solar technologies, which will hinder OPV adoption."

    click to enlarge

    "The best bet for developers is to target niche applications where unique capabilities like transparency and flexibility give OPV an edge. The current crop – based either on bulk heterojunction (BHJ) or dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) technology – enable transparent solar modules, but require the same brittle flat glass substrates of conventional solar technologies rely. As flexible substrates emerge later this decade they will provide OPV developers with unique options for targeting niche markets…"

    Sunday, July 24, 2011

    SOLAR PRICE WARS

    Gross Profit Feels the Pinch in PV Price War
    20 July 2011 (IMS Research)

    "A period of highly competitive pricing from PV module suppliers has led to gross margins declining by over 25% in the last six months, according to the latest analysis from IMS Research. Suppliers have been forced to engage in a tough price war, but have not been able to reduce their costs as quickly as their prices; their margins have been the victim.

    "…[S]uppliers have reduced prices by around 15% in the last six weeks in order to compete in an industry that is currently plagued by oversupply. Average crystalline PV module prices had been close to $1.80/W in the first quarter of 2011; however, a sudden change in market dynamics has resulted in sharp price declines, and the same modules are now being consistently priced below $1.40/W."


    click to enlarge

    "Rapid reductions in the price of cells and wafers have helped to offset PV module price declines and ease the impact on suppliers’ margins…[P]olysilicon spot prices have fallen by over 30% since the end of 2010…[but] polysilicon prices stubbornly remaining above $50/kg have limited the ability of downstream suppliers’ to reduce their costs…

    "A rebound in demand is predicted in the second half of 2011, which will help suppliers’ profits to recover. IMS Research predicts that total PV module supplier gross profit will grow once again in Q3 and Q4’11…"

    OCEAN WIND’S ENEMIES “FACTS”

    Koch Brothers Declare War on Offshore Wind
    Keith Harrington, July 21, 2011 (Huffington Post)

    "The war over America's coastal-energy future has officially begun, and the result could determine whether we see wind turbines or catastrophic oil spills along our coastlines…The opening salvo came in early July, when everyone's favorite climate-hating, fossil-fuel-loving industrialist villains, the Koch brothers, released a so-called "cost-benefit analysis" of New Jersey offshore wind development plans through their front group Americans for Prosperity.

    "…[T]he brothers grim are honing in on what they see as a weak spot in the clean-energy movement's eastern front. Hoping to score a knockout blow, the duo have packed their offshore wind "analysis" with distortions…Topping the report's list of misrepresented facts are the jobs benefits. In fact, forget about misrepresentation; the report actually failed to represent those benefits altogether."


    click to enlarge

    "Considering the impressive job-creation numbers cited in a range of other studies on offshore wind, it's hard to imagine how any analysis that wasn't commissioned as an intentional piece of fiction could have made such a glaring omission. Indeed, a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory indicates that the 1,000 megawatts of offshore wind power New Jersey is planning to build could result in nearly 5,000 construction and maintenance jobs…[The Kochs'] report completely discounts wind power's benefit as a relief valve against foreign-oil dependence or New Jersey's need to import electricity…

    "Of course, this parade of misinformation should come as little surprise considering the track record of the key Koch crony in the Garden State: AFP New Jersey chapter director and Tea Party high priest Steve Lonegan. A longtime extreme-right gadfly of the New Jersey political scene, Lonegan earned his Koch-worthy credentials publishing false accusations about political opponents…"

    ENERGY HAS THE JOBS

    New Report Identifies Strategies to Train Workers for the Clean Energy Economy; Experts say ensuring the proper systems and institutions are in place will advance public policy goals and prepare for job growth in the energy sector.
    June 30, 2011 (National Council on Energy Policy)

    "…[Task Force on America’s Future Energy Jobs] by a task force of leading energy workforce experts outlines a series of practical recommendations to prepare individuals for high skilled jobs in the electric sector. In the face of the very real challenge of developing a workforce that can transform our power sector to support a clean energy economy, the bipartisan task force—composed of experts from labor, the electric power industry and the training and educational sectors—recognized opportunities to train workers for new high-skill, high paying jobs in the energy sector, at a time when growing numbers of Americans are unemployed or underemployed."

    click to enlarge

    "The report details a number of practical steps that can be implemented..[for] Training the workforce of tomorrow…Improving data collection and performance metrics…Identifying training standards and best practices for energy sector jobs…Funding individuals seeking energy sector-related training and education…[and] Improving and revitalizing the education of future energy sector professionals. The Department of Labor has undertaken a number of initiatives to this end. Congress should continue to focus on the priorities outlined in the America COMPETES Act…"

    OREGON REGULATORS BACK WIND

    Oregon regulator slams BPA wind curtailments; Curtailments of wind farms' output in the US north-west have been heavily criticised by the state energy regulator for Oregon in legal papers filed this week.
    John McKenna, 20 July 2011 (Windpower Monthly)

    "The Public Utility Commission of Oregon (OPUC) claims that the Bonneville Power Administration’s ‘anticompetitive and discriminatory’ policy of limiting wind-power output at times of oversupply of hydropower risked wrecking the wider region’s investment plans for renewable energy."

    [OPUC submission to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC):] "Markets cannot properly function if a party can abandon its contractual obligations and unilaterally use its transmission system to impose its own policies to benefit a preferred group of customers…"

    click to enlarge

    "The submission urged Ferc to make BPA immediately revise its curtailment policy and was made in response to a 113-page complaint filed with FERC by a group of wind-farm owners…against BPA's actions, which, at the time of the filing, had already stopped around 74GWh of output.

    "…BPA also filed papers with Ferc…[highlighting its] statutory obligation to protect fish, which prevents it spilling too much water over dams at times of high water levels and necessitates the production of extra hydropower. It also points out BPA’s inability to sell wind-generated electricity during times of low demand and claims that Ferc has no authority…Ferc has not yet responded…BPA is no longer requesting wind-power shutdowns this year and last month claimed that since the curtailments started on 18 May just 6.7% of electricity generated by wind farms had been affected."

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    MISINFORMATION ATTACK ON WIND

    The Facts About Wind Energy and Emissions
    July 20, 2011 (American Wind Energy Association)

    "Recent data and analyses have made it clear that the emissions and fuel use savings from adding wind energy to the grid are even larger than had been commonly thought. In addition to each kilowatt-hour (kWh) of wind energy directly offsetting a kWh that would have been produced by a fossil-fired power plant, new analyses show that wind farms further reduce emissions by forcing the most polluting and inflexible power plants offline and causing them to be replaced by more efficient and flexible types of generation.

    "At the same time, and in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, opponents of wind energy have launched an increasingly desperate misinformation campaign to convince the American public that wind energy does not significantly reduce emissions…"


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    "At the forefront of this misinformation campaign are two reports written by the natural gas consulting firm Bentek, the first of which was paid for by the fossil fuel lobby group Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States (IPAMS). The President and CEO of Bentek, the company that wrote the reports, is also the Chairman and Director of IPAMS' Natural Gas Committee and a member of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.

    "Both Bentek reports are directly refuted by large bodies of U.S. Department of Energy and grid operator data showing that fossil fuel use and pollution decrease drastically as wind energy is added to the grid. In particular, the first report’s claim that wind energy has not reduced emissions in Colorado and Texas is directly contradicted by government data…"

    PSST – GOT ANY TELLURIUM?

    Will materials shortages hinder thin-film PV development? Markets for thin film solar photovoltaic (PV) devices are growing rapidly, with a range of devices under development using different materials.
    18 July 2011 (World of Photovoltaics)

    Analysis by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has found that the availability of materials needed for [thin film solar photovoltaic (PV)] devices is sufficient for short-term requirements. However, if markets for thin film grow in line with some energy scenarios in the next 20 years demand for materials used in some devices could greatly exceed current global production. Information on the future supply of indium and tellurium, key to some thin film designs, is currently inadequate and it is not possible to determine whether supply can expand to meet demand."

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    "…Materials Availability: Potential constraints to the future low-carbon economy…assesses the demand and supply of indium and tellurium – secondary metals typically extracted with zinc and copper and used in some types of thin film PV modules. It is part of a wider UKERC research project into the scarcity of materials for advanced low-carbon technologies."

    click to enlarge

    "The global market for solar PV is growing very rapidly, and some energy scenarios suggest that it could contribute as much as 10-15% of global electricity by 2050. Thin film PV devices are expected to occupy a significant share (35-40%) of this market…a market for thin films of perhaps 20 GW per year. Cadmium telluride (CdTe) and copper, indium, di-selenide (CIGS) devices are both contenders for a large share of the thin film market…"

    NEW ENERGY IN THE HEARTLANDS

    Report: Greener energy policies will create more Midwest jobs
    Thomas Content, July 19, 2011 (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

    "…The Union of Concerned Scientists report concludes that the Midwest would add 87,500 jobs by 2030 if all of the Midwest states implemented a series of policies advocated by the Midwestern Governors Association…"

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    "...A Bright Future for the Heartland…modeled the impact of policies that would set a 30% renewable electricity standard for Midwest states by 2030. Accompanying that would be aggressive energy efficiency policies that aim to reduce energy use by 2% a year beginning in 2015…"

    SOLAR AGGREGATOR GOES NAT’L

    One Block Off The Grid Introduces National Solar Program
    18 July 2011 (Solar Industry)

    "Solar group purchasing company One Block Off the Grid (1BOG) has launched 2,081 group deals on solar energy in 34 states, as well as a new interactive map designed to promote job creation at the state level...The project, called One Nation Off the Grid, signifies a new level of national reach for a single residential solar organization, according to 1BOG. It is the result of 175 new partnerships between One Block Off the Grid and solar installers across the country."

    click thru to the interactive map

    "The U.S. Solar Market Map is an interactive, data-driven map that shows real-time levels of homeowner solar activity all the way down to the county level, as well as an estimated number of jobs that would be created in each state if solar policies were stronger. The map reveals whether group pricing on solar is available in a given county and includes an assessment of each state's clean energy policies…[1BOG] will contribute all profits from the national program to Kiva City, the new U.S.-based arm of Kiva.org's microlending platform."

    Tuesday, July 19, 2011

    DOI GIVES GO TO BIG NEW ENERGY

    Salazar Approves Major Renewable Energy Projects, Identifies Next Step in Solar Energy Development; Projects to generate 1,300 Jobs, 550 MW of clean power; Supplement to Solar PEIS will offer greater clarity for solar development in the West
    July 14, 2011 (U.S. Department of the Interior)

    "…Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar… announced the approval of four new projects on public lands, the launch of environmental reviews on three others, and the next step in a comprehensive environmental analysis to identify ‘solar energy zones’ on public lands in six western states…

    "The renewable energy projects… - two utility-scale solar developments in California, a wind energy project in Oregon, and a transmission line in Southern California - together will create more than 1,300 construction jobs, provide a combined 550 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 185,000 to 380,000 homes, and generate several million dollars annually in local government tax revenues…"


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    "…The projects are part of Interior’s “Smart from the Start” approach to processing existing applications for renewable energy development on public lands in a coordinated, focused manner with full environmental analysis and public review…

    "…[The projects are] Abengoa Mojave Solar Project…Imperial Solar Energy Center…West Butte Wind Energy Project…Devers-Palo Verde No. 2 Transmission Line Project…"

    SILICON, SUN PRICE UP

    Due to Increasing Demand in Mainland China, Polysilicon Price Continues to Rise
    July 13, 2011 (Energy Trend)

    "According to EnergyTrend’s latest survey, polysilicon spot price trend remains going upward. Currently, the main trading price is between $53/kg and $55/kg…

    "Manufacturers indicated that the polysilicon spot price has shown a strong increase, primarily due to the rising Chinese market demand…"


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    "…[An] electricity shortage occurred in Eastern China, and the industrial sector may be influenced in the future. Therefore, polysilion production output might be limited, which will also stimulate the Chinese market demand…[D]ue to high demand for mono-Si wafer, the average spot price has stayed at above $2.6/piece…

    "Furthermore, the main trading price of multi-Si wafer is between $2.0/piece and $2.1/piece…Unless a large number of contingent orders take place, the possibility of price recovery is quite low. Therefore, the price changes may just fluctuate slightly in the short run…"

    LEAF EV PRICE HIKE

    Nissan raises price of electric Leaf, expands ordering to southeastern states
    July 19, 2011 (AP via Washington Post)

    "Nissan Motor Co. will more than double the number of states where it offers its Leaf electric car by this fall. But buyers will have to pay more to get it.

    "The base price of the 2012 model-year Leaf will be $35,200, up nearly $2,500 from the 2011 model year. Drivers can also lease the Leaf for $369 per month, up $20…The 2012 Leaf goes on sale this fall. Buyers will still be eligible for a $7,500 tax credit, which will lower the starting price to $27,700…"


    click thru for all the latest EV news

    "…[T]he price is going up because Nissan is adding some standard features, including a battery warmer, heated steering wheel and front and rear heated seats. Until now, Nissan has only sold the car in six warm states, including California and Hawaii, but it plans to start selling the Leaf in New York and other colder states this fall…

    "The company also will include a fast-charging port if customers opt for the SL trim level, which starts at $37,250. The port as a 480-volt outlet that charges the car in 30 minutes, compared to eight hours using a 220-volt outlet. The fast-charging port is a $700 option on the 2011 Leaf…Nissan has sold 4,200 Leafs since the car went on sale last year…"

    HOUSE OKS DOE BUDGET

    House approves 2012 Department of Energy funding bill
    Pete Kasperowicz, July 15, 2011 (The Hill)

    "The House… narrowly approved a 2012 appropriations bill [H.R. 2354] funding the Department of Energy and related agencies…by a 219-196 vote. All but 21 Republicans voted for the bill, along with just 10 Democrats…The bill provides $30.6 billion for DOE and other related agencies, about $1 billion less than FY 2011 funding levels.

    "As has been the case with other spending bills, the energy and water bill survived several attempts by efforts by Democrats to increase funding for various energy projects, but also survived Republican attempts to cut spending further…"


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    "Over the several days of considering the bill, members did approve amendments that block funding for energy efficiency research in China, increase solar energy R&D funding by $10 million and prohibit salaries for recess-appointed officials at the department until they are confirmed by the Senate.

    "Members also approved language defunding a 2007 law that sets light bulb standards, which Republicans have attacked as a government overreach…Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.) noted that the bill requires the sale of $500 million worth of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, and that funds from this sale go into the general treasury…[and] called this a "scandal," but House Republicans did not allow any amendments to be considered striking this language…"

    Monday, July 18, 2011

    U.S. PV PIPELINE UP

    US Photovoltaic Project Pipeline Soars to 17 Gigawatts, Solarbuzz Reports
    July 6, 2011 (Solarbuzz)

    "Following reductions in feed-in-tariffs across Europe, the rapid rise in the photovoltaic project pipeline in the US market now represents one of the most compelling PV market growth opportunities anywhere in the world.

    "According to the July 2011 edition of the United States Deal Tracker database released by Solarbuzz…the US non-residential photovoltaic (PV) pipeline now exceeds 17 gigawatts (GW). This total comprises 601 projects ranging from 50 kilowatts (kW) to 500 megawatts (MW) in size, with planned installation dates from 2H’11 to 2015…1,565 non-residential projects totaling 20.3 GW [have been] installed, [are] being installed or [are] in their development phase since January 1, 2010…"


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    "California currently accounts for 62% of the total US project pipeline, stimulated by the state’s aggressive 33% Renewable Portfolio Standard target. State Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) policies have been a major driver…The top six state pipelines in megawatt terms are California, Arizona, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico and Texas while, in total, 40 states contribute to the pipeline.

    "…The top 12 project developers currently account for 49% of the total pipeline…The collapse in US factory-gate module prices over the past four months is only now starting to impact large project prices. Installed system prices for planned projects above 1 MW have an average price of $4.50/W DC. 32% of these projects exhibit prices below $4.00/W DC…[T]he top three suppliers in MW terms are First Solar, SunPower Corporation and Suntech Power. The leading inverter suppliers to the pipeline are Advanced Energy and SatCon Technology…"

    GERMANS MOVING TO OCEAN WIND

    Nuclear’s loss is German wind power’s gain
    Jason Deign, July 4, 2011 (Wind Energy Update)

    "…An earthquake [hit] Japan and 81 days later the energy industry in Germany, 9,000 kilometres away, [changed] forever…Chancellor Merkel’s decision to shutter the German nuclear sector by 2022 is good news for the renewable energy industry and particularly wind power, which is expected to make up the bulk of the shortfall when the reactors close.

    "Under proposed changes to the German Renewable Energies Act (EEG 2012), which are due to come into effect next year, the nation is aiming for 35% of all power to come from renewable energy in 2020, rising to 50% by 2030."


    click to enlarge

    "To achieve this, the country, which last year had a total installed wind capacity of 27.2 GW and currently has 198.3 MW offshore, has set an offshore target of 10 GW by 2020 and 25 GW, equivalent to around 20 nuclear reactors, by 2030…EEG 2012 also contemplates increasing the feed-in tariff for offshore to EUR€0.15 per kWh over 12 years or €0.19 per kWh for eight years, and deferring cuts from 2015 to 2018, although these will be hiked from 5% to 7% per year when they come into effect.

    "The question now for the wind energy industry is how well it can take advantage of this opportunity. What is clear is that it will not all be plain sailing…"

    THIS SUMMER’S GIRL-IN-PV-BIKINI

    Introducing the Bikini that Can Charge Your iPhone
    Yelina Shuster, July 18, 2011 (The HighLow)

    "Swimwear has come a long way…[and] current fashion designers are about to encounter a totally different kind of competition: Andrew Schneider, a multimedia designer, is bringing the art of swimwear into a new era…His bathing suit combines design with electronic engineering: thanks to 40 thin and flexible photovoltaic strips connected by conductive thread, his bikini can generate enough energy to charge your iPod or iPhone in the same amount of time your laptop could…"

    Like July 4th, this story comes every summer. (click to enlarge)

    The bikini, which also contains a USB port for easy plugging in, can still be used for swimming (though not while charging, and it must be completely dry before using as a charger)…Curious consumers can order a custom-made solar bikini on Solar Coterie for $500 – $1500…[A] pair of swim trunks [for men], called the iDrink, is in the works and should be able to chill a small cooler (filled with beer, naturally)…"

    AUSSIES STEP UP ON CLIMATE

    Australia's carbon tax plan 'a big turning point'…plans for a carbon tax of $24.65 a ton, aimed at discouraging the use of fossil fuels and increasing investment in renewable energy, could blaze a trail for other nations in lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
    Jennifer Bennett, July 15, 2011 (LA Times)

    "After 10 months of negotiations and sometimes nasty public debate, Australia's government has finally announced the details of a carbon tax of $24.65 a ton, aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions by discouraging the use of fossil fuels and increasing investment in renewable energy…"

    Thanks to courageous political leadership from the bottom up, this is about to start changing. (click to enlarge)

    "In 2015 it will be replaced by an emissions trading program. The plan, announced… by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, will now go before Parliament, but its passage is assured as it is the result of a deal reached with the Australian Greens and two independents with whom the Labor Party formed a government last year. The Greens party also holds the balance of power in the Senate…"

    Sunday, July 17, 2011

    NEW HEIGHTS FOR NEW ENERGY

    Continued Global Growth of Renewable Energy in 2010
    12 July 2011 (Renewable Energy Policy Network)

    "The REN21 Renewables 2011 Global Status Report…shows that the renewable energy sector continues to perform well despite continuing economic recession, incentive cuts, and low natural-gas prices.

    "In 2010, renewable energy supplied an estimated 16% of global final energy consumption and delivered close to 20% of global electricity. Renewable capacity now comprises about a quarter of total global power-generating capacity…"


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    "Global solar PV production and markets more than doubled in comparison with 2009, thanks to government incentive programmes and the continued fall in PV module prices.
    Germany installed more PV in 2010 than the entire world added in 2009. PV markets in Japan and the U.S. almost doubled relative to 2009…Globally, wind power added the most new capacity (followed by hydropower and solar PV), but for the first time ever, Europe added more PV than wind capacity.

    "Renewable energy policies continue to be the main driver behind renewable energy growth. By early 2011, at least 119 countries had some type of policy target or renewable support policy at the national level, more than doubling from 55 countries in early 2005…Last year, investment reached a record $211 billion in renewables -- about one-third more than the $160 billion invested in 2009, and more than five times the amount invested in 2004…"

    STEALTH WIND ROTOR BEATS RADAR

    Successful research of stealth turbine for radar-sensitive locations
    29 June 2011 (Vestas)

    Vestas, the world leader in providing high-tech wind power systems…has taken a major step forward in solving a critical wind energy challenge: It has successfully tested a full-scale ‘stealth’ rotor on a turbine, paving the way for wind power plants to be located near many military, airport and other radar systems without interfering in their operations…

    "The stealth turbine test…conducted at a UK customer site with technology partner QinetiQ, is part of an ongoing research collaboration that began in 2006. Preliminary test results…showed that a Vestas V90 turbine with stealth rotor achieved a targeted reduction in radar cross-section of approximately 99 percent, or 20 decibels, compared with standard turbines…"


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    "With an estimated 20 gigawatts of wind power capacity currently blocked worldwide by concerns about radar interference, Vestas’ stealth turbine research has validated a potentially important addition to the operational, technical and political mitigation tools available today…

    "The stealth turbine solution uses a portfolio of radar absorbing materials that are integrated into the current manufacturing processes for turbine components and can be designed to operate at aviation and maritime frequencies. These modifications do not affect the performance or appearance of the turbines, which meet current visual standards…The full-scale test… follows more than five years of research…"

    VC SOLAR MONEY WAITS, WATCHES

    Mercom Capital Group Reports Second Quarter 2011 Funding and M&A Activity for Solar; VC Funding in Solar Dips in Q2 with $354 Million Compared to $658 Million in Q1 2011, Record Quarter for Solar M&A
    July 11, 2011 (Mercom Capital)

    "…Venture capital (VC) funding in the solar sector dipped [in Q2], coming in at $354 million, compared to $658 million in Q1 2011. Even with lower funding, the number of deals remained steady with 26 deals funded in Q2 2011 compared to 25 deals in Q1…

    "The top five funding deals included a $94.4 million raise by Suniva, a manufacturer of high-efficiency monocrystalline silicon solar cells and modules in Series D funding; Enecsys, a grid-connected solar micro inverter manufacturer raised $41 million in Series B; Agile Energy, a developer of utility-scale renewable power projects, raised $24 million in Series B; Semprius, a concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) module manufacturer raised $20.6 million in Series C and SolarReserve, a developer of utility-scale solar thermal power projects, raised $20 million in a Series C round."


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    "Photovoltaic (PV) technology companies attracted the most funding in Q2 with $107 million going into just three deals. Balance of System (BOS) companies were the most active in terms of number of deals with $89 million going into six deals.

    "Forty-seven different VC investors participated in 19 disclosed deals. VC firms that recorded multiple rounds included Emerald Technology Ventures, Foundation Capital, GE, Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers, Rockport Capital and Good Energies…It was another record quarter for M&A activity with Q2 coming in at $1.9 billion for 11 transactions, compared to $1.4 billion in Q1 2011. The most notable transaction was the 60 percent acquisition of SunPower, a manufacturer of high efficiency PV panels by French oil and gas giant, Total, for $1.4 billion…"

    Wednesday, July 13, 2011

    GEOTHERMAL HOPEFUL

    Short on Cash and Know-How, U.S. Geothermal Industry Stumbles
    Jenny Mandel, July 12, 2011 (NY Times)

    "…[L]ast week, stock analysts downgraded Nevada Geothermal Power [NGP]…The company's fall mirrors a larger trend in the domestic geothermal industry…dramatic drops in stock prices that reflect challenges in executing important projects…The five major, publicly traded North American geothermal companies…are valued at a fraction of what they were a year ago, with operational problems at several of them.

    "Ormat Technologies Inc. (NYSE:ORA) is…down by almost 25 percent over the past year. Ram Power Corp. (TSE:RPG) is down almost 80 percent…Alterra Power Corp. (TSE:AXY)… is trading below a dollar per share, and U.S. Geothermal Inc. (AMEX:HTM)…[has fallen] by more than a third from its peak…"


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    "…[M]any other geothermal boosters…[insist] there are plenty of undeveloped sites in the United States to continue to expand the industry…[O]thers say there is a shortage of really promising sites…with the best ones already taken…

    "The Geothermal Energy Association says the combination of new industry players, new technologies and new demand for renewables amounts to powerful momentum for geothermal energy…The trade group counts 123 projects currently under development in the United States, a 12 percent increase over last year and a portfolio that could eventually bring more than 5,000 megawatts of new power online…"

    THE NEW ENERGY TIPPING POINT

    Fidelity Analyst Bullish on Alternative Energy Firms
    Dave Lindorff, July 6, 2011 (On Wall Street)

    "The wind is at the back of alternative energy and it has a sunny future that investors should prepare to capitalize on…Anna Davydova, portfolio manager of Fidelity Select Environment and Alternative Energy…says she is bullish long-term about the alternative energy sector, which she says is reaching an ‘economic tipping point’ where solar, wind and biofuels become truly competitive…"

    click to enlarge

    "She bases her optimism on three factors…[1] a string of recent disasters, such as the BP well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico, and the earthquake and tsunami-induced meltdowns of the nuclear plants at Fukushima…[2] the huge and growing demand for energy in emerging markets, with their massive populations…[and,3] rapidly developing technologies…"

    SOLARMAKERS SEE SUNPATH

    DOE Introduces SUNPATH: U.S. Manufacturing's New Hope For Growth?
    Jessica Lillian, 12 July 2011 (Solar industry)

    "The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has revealed plans for a new and possibly game-changing program for encouraging the domestic development of solar companies…SUNPATH - which stands for Scaling Up Nascent PV At Home - …is intended to address a crucial finance gap for the U.S. solar market - one that is intrinsically tied to the entire economy…"

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    "…U.S. spending on foreign sources of energy has been a key factor in prolonging our current economic woes…SUNPATH aims to grow the domestic solar manufacturing market and help it serve as an economic engine…Early-stage corporate finance for solar in the U.S. is vibrant; the nation holds 77% of the global market share for venture capital and private equity…However, during the period between initial investments and manufacturing, companies tend to shift their activities abroad."

    click to enlarge

    "In 1995, the U.S. held a 43% market share for producing PV cells and modules. That percentage shrank to just 7% last year, while the global solar market grew exponentially…SUNPATH aims to develop…[an] investment-friendly environment in the U.S. and encourage solar companies to keep their R&D and manufacturing here…"

    OCEAN WIND WIRES SEEK APPROVAL

    Atlantic Wind Connection Makes Early Pitch in Galloway Township; The company's aim is to connect offshore wind energy directly to the grid, saving customers money and creating jobs.
    Anthony Bellano, July 5, 2011 (Galloway Patch)

    "Although it will be quite some time before the process is complete, Atlantic Wind Connection is in the early stages of completing a project that would set up an offshore wind system that would provide wind energy for residents at a cheaper cost while creating jobs in the state…

    "The plan [is backed by Google and other corporate entities and] calls for the development of a 350-mile project over a 10-year period. The project proposes over 12,000 megawatts of wind capacity…[T]he result could be 30-40,000 new jobs in the state…[T]he system would cost $30 billion to set up, but the benefits would come to a total of $43 billion, meaning $13 billion of benefits once the project is paid off…"


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    Atlantic Wind Connection will make it possible to connect power generated from offshore wind farms directly to the power grid…The line would run 12-15 miles offshore…

    "…[S]everal square miles could provide several thousand megawatts of wind energy…3,000 megawatts would power five million homes…Atlantic Wind has identified the best wind zones off the coast of New Jersey…Twelve miles have been set aside for development…"

    THE SOLAR GROUPON

    A “Solar Groupon” for Small and Mid-sized Businesses
    Erica Gies, july 13, 2011 (Forbes)

    "…Existing solar financing solutions for homeowners and corporations have been too small and too big, respectively. But now there’s something that fits them just right…Solar@Work, a new program…[from] San Francisco’s Department of the Environment…will offer solar systems to Bay Area business via a group purchase or aggregation model…"

    click to enlarge

    "This overcomes historic barriers for small and mid-sized businesses that aren’t issues for big businesses…[A] 200 kilowatt installation is similar to the work…[for] a 2 megawatt system…[T]wenty 100 kilowatt systems using standardized documents, and…one solar installer and one financial partner, in effect…[is] a 2 megawatt installation project, which is interesting to the financial partner, to the installer, and to the independent small businesses who are getting the benefits as if they were doing one large system…"

    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    WHAT IS IN THE WIND

    Global Wind Energy Outlook; Onshore and Offshore Wind Energy Market Opportunities and Challenges, Technology Issues, Key Industry Players, and Global Capacity, Installation Cost, and Production Revenue Forecasts
    3Q 2011 (Pike Research)

    "Despite the challenging market conditions for the global wind energy industry, this is a dynamic time for innovation in the market as companies are pushing turbines to sizes never before thought practical or economical. Some of the world’s top engineering challenges of the 21st century are taking place in factories longer than football fields…"

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    "…[T]here is also much at stake as the companies push limits and take major risks in an increasingly competitive sector…China’s leadership in wind energy deployment is both an opportunity and a challenge for European and American companies looking to compete in that market and internationally. Europe remains a technology leader and [with offshore deployments] is carving out the next frontier…"

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    "…The United States is lagging in many respects, but most industry players are optimistic for what the future holds as costs continue to drop dramatically. In some markets, wind energy has already reached grid parity, a trend that will continue to become more common around the world…"