NewEnergyNews More: September 2011

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  • Thursday, September 29, 2011


    Nasdaq supends A-Power listing
    James Quilter, 28 September 2011 (Windpower Monthly)

    "China-based A-Power Energy Systems has been suspended from the Nasdaq Stock Exchange…In response A-Power said its common shares would become eligible for trading on the OTC Pink Limited Information tier of OTC Markets Group.

    "Nasdaq refused an A-Power request to appeal against the suspension…Nasdaq said it had halted trading in A-Power shares following the resignation of the company’s independent auditor MSCM LLP…The auditor said A-Power had not retained an independent forensic accounting team as it required."

    "…[T]he troubled company is being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, which regulates listed companies…

    "In June, A-Power announced that Shenyang Power Group Company, of which it owns 19.5%, had subcontracted part of the controversial planned 615MW Spinning Star wind farm in Texas to China Machinery Engineering Corp…[They will] raise $260 million in debt financing in China for Spinning Star."


    Small Wind Power; Demand Drivers and Barriers, Technology Issues, Competitive Landscape, and Global Market Forecasts
    Dexter Gauntlett and Peter Asmus, 3Q 2011 (Pike Research)

    "Power generation from small wind turbines is an increasingly important part of the broader market for renewable distributed energy generation. Small wind power provides cost-effective electricity on a highly localized level, both in remote settings as well as in conjunction with power from the utility grid. Growth in the industry is being driven by increased awareness of small wind technologies as an alternative source of electric power, the desire for community ownership of power generation, and the recognition that investment in small wind turbines can be an enduring source of economic development for the locales in which they are deployed."

    click to enlarge

    "Despite their benefits, small wind turbines have not enjoyed the same level of innovation when it comes to unique financing and business models, particularly when compared with distributed solar energy. This is largely because small wind turbines are currently more efficient than solar photovoltaic systems and, therefore, more economical from a levelized cost of energy perspective. In a region with adequate wind resources, the payback for a small wind system can be 5-10 years and does not require creative financing, like solar often does. Business models that are gaining traction in the small wind sector include leasing programs and utility or third-party ownership, and as the technology develops further, Pike Research anticipates that the price of turbines will continue to fall…"

    Wednesday, September 28, 2011


    Alstom launches low wind turbine with 122-metre rotor
    Michael McGovern, 28 September 2011 (Windpower Monthly)

    Alstom has launched its 2.7MW ‘ECO122’ machine, claiming the 122-metre rotor to be ‘the largest in the 2-3MW turbine segment’."

    (from Alstom - click to enlarge

    "The machine, a variation of Alstom’s 3MW turbine and part of the same manufacturing platform, is designed for sites with low wind speeds where longer blades are needed to capture more power…"


    SolarCity Scaling Back SolarStrong Project After DOE Loan Guarantee Fails
    Jessica Lillian, September 27, 2011 (Solar Industry)

    "Facing an uncertain project-finance future, solar integrator SolarCity has been forced to reduce the size of its massive SolarStrong initiative. The project had received a conditional loan guarantee from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), but the company is now not expected to meet the Sept. 30 deadline to finalize the guarantee…SolarStrong was touted as a project that could double the number of U.S. PV installations in the U.S…"

    (about to be gone - click to enlarge)

    "The original plan called for up to 371 MW of new solar generation capacity through the installation of rooftop PV arrays on up to 160,000 homes on as many as 124 military housing developments in 33 states…The approval hold-up was attributed to increased due diligence on the part of the DOE, following the intense political fallout from module manufacturer Solyndra's bankruptcy and the investigation into its 2009 loan guarantee…"


    National Solar Power Selects Florida's Gadsden County For Planned 400 MW Solar Project
    27 September 2011 (Solar Industry)

    "National Solar Power says it will build a 400 MW solar installation in Gadsden County, Fla. The project is expected to generate hundreds of new jobs and create $1.5 billion in economic investment in the region. A minimum of 20 farms will be built on 200-acre sites at a cost of $70 million each…"

    click to enlarge

    "Once the appropriate local and state permitting process is completed, the first phase of the project is expected to be up and running within six months of ground-breaking. Hensel Phelps Construction Co. will design, build and operate the projects for National Solar Power…National Solar Power has entered into an agreement with Progress Energy Florida and says it is having discussions with other potential customers to purchase power…"

    Tuesday, September 27, 2011


    Utility merger could end up helping 1st offshore wind farm sell its power, get financing
    Jay Lindsay, September 25, 2011 AP via Minneapolis Star Tribune)

    "…The nation's first offshore wind farm…Cape Wind…needs to attract big power customers to obtain the financing to fully build out its 130-turbine project in Nantucket Sound…[because] the utility NStar has taken a tepid public stance on Cape Wind…[but a] pending merger between NStar and Northeast Utilities has become a possible pressure point to get NStar to buy Cape Wind power.

    "Since the merger was announced last year, regulators added a requirement that such deals must advance the state's clean energy goals, which include developing offshore wind. The state also made a request, still pending, to stay proceedings for a review of the merger's effect on rates — a lengthy process that could lead to a merger-killing delay."

    click to enlarge

    "The moves are obvious attempts to pressure NStar to buy power from a favored private developer, [opponents say]… Robert F. Kennedy Jr. accused Gov. Deval Patrick's administration of ‘trying to hold hostage the proposed NStar-Northeast Utilities merger unless the two electric companies agree to buy Cape Wind's power.’

    "But the state says it's just upholding the law and protecting the public interest…The state is now in discussions with NStar about the utility buying Cape Wind's power..."


    Solyndra: Solar sector’s storm in a teacup; Political backlash aside, the Solyndra bankruptcy isn’t likely to have a lasting impact on the solar energy sector, nor does it toll the death knell of support for CSP…
    Dan McCue, 22 September 2011 (CSP Today)

    "Solyndra, a Silicon Valley-based solar company promoting an innovative, rolled-tube technology, has cost US taxpayers US$535 million in federally guaranteed loans and exposed the Obama administration to unrelenting criticism from Republicans in the US House of Representatives…

    "Solyndra was supposed to have been the poster child for clean-energy job creation…Then came the collapse and a subsequent investigation…[and] the media’s frenzy over the case…[but] the blow up of a loan to a technology-specific manufacturer…[does not mean failure of] project related investment…"

    click to enlarge

    "CSP is under a lot of pressure from competing technologies…[There is] little interest right now in buying electricity in 250 MW and 500 MW chucks, when there’s the option…[of] acquiring the same amount of capacity from a portfolio of smaller PV projects…

    "…[But] the US has got quite a few CSP projects already in the works, including a 400 MW project by Brightsource, two 250 MW projects by Abengora, a 250 MW project by NextEra, and a 110 MW molten salt storage power tower by SolarReserve…The bigger problem for CSP…[is] that it hasn’t been able to reduce costs quite as rapidly as PV…"


    Energy Department Finalizes $105 Million Loan Guarantee for First-of-its-Kind Cellulosic Bio-Refinery in Iowa; It is expected to generate around $14 million in new revenue to area farmers who will provide the corn crop residue.
    26 September 2011 (World of Renewables)

    "…[The U.S. Department of Energy] finalized a $105 million loan guarantee to support the development of one of the nation's first commercial-scale cellulosic ethanol plants. Project LIBERTY, sponsored by POET, will be built in Emmetsburg, Iowa and is expected to produce up to 25 million gallons of ethanol per year. POET estimates the project will fund approximately 200 construction jobs and 40 permanent jobs. It is expected to generate around $14 million in new revenue to area farmers who will provide the corn crop residue…"

    click to enlarge

    "Project LIBERTY’s innovative process uses enzymes to convert cellulose from corncobs, corn leaves and corn husks into ethanol. The facility will produce enough biogas to power both Project LIBERTY and most of POET’s adjacent grain-based ethanol plant. POET plans to replicate its unique process so that it is integrated into all the company's 27 grain-ethanol plants for a combined annual capacity of one billion gallons per year of cellulosic ethanol. The company estimates that 85 percent of Project LIBERTY will be sourced with U.S. equipment…"

    Monday, September 26, 2011


    $41 Billion in Loans awarded by Chinese Banks to Chinese Solar Companies Since 2010
    Septemeber 25, 2011 (Mercom Capital Group)

    "Loans by state owned Chinese banks to Chinese solar companies in multiple transactions amounted to almost $41 billion since last year. In 2010 the loans amounted to $32.6 billion and year to date in 2011 the loans have amounted to $8.1 billion…"

    click to enlarge

    "Most active lenders were China Development Bank with about $30.5 billion in loans issued, followed by Bank of China with about $8.8 billion in loans issued. LDK solar has received the largest loan amount so far with $8.9 billion, followed by Jinko solar with 7.6 billion, Suntech with $7.3 billion, Yingli with $5.9 billion, JA Solar with $ 4.4 billion, Trina Solar with $4.4 billion, Hanwa Solar One with $1.9 billion, China Sunergy with $160 million and Daqo New Energy with $154 million."


    Austin Energy again looks to the coast for wind power
    Marty Toohey, September 21, 2011 (Austin American-Statesman)

    "For the third time this year, Austin Energy has looked to the Texas coast to satisfy its green ambitions…The utility will pay as much as $29 million per year for electricity produced by a wind farm…capable of generating as much as 200 megawatts. [The 84 wind turbines are expected to come online at the end of next year]…

    "The 25-year deal with…Iberdrola Renewables Inc. follows two other recently signed coastal-wind contracts, with Duke Energy and MAP Royalty Inc…The three coastal wind farms are expected to produce enough electricity over the course of a year to power 140,000 average homes…"

    click to enlarge

    "Austin Energy will be close to reaching its 10-year goal of 35 percent renewable energy by 2020…Coastal wind…does not blow all the time…[N]atural gas…[will be] ready on standby…

    "But unlike West Texas wind, which mostly blows at night when it's least needed, coastal wind tends to blow during the afternoon, when the day is hottest and electricity demand is highest…[B]oth Austin and San Antonio's CPS Energy have deemed coastal wind cost-effective…"


    U.K. Lawmakers: 'Supergrid' Could Reduce Cost Of Offshore Wind Power By 25%
    22 September 2011 (North American Windpower)

    "A network connecting the electricity system in the U.K. with that of mainland Europe could reduce the costs of interconnecting offshore wind farms by 25%...

    "In addition, the hypothetical ‘supergrid’ could create up to 775,000 jobs across Europe by 2020, the U.K. parliament's Energy and Climate Change Committee [report calculated]…"

    The ultimate goal (click to enlarge)

    "…[T]he development and construction of such a grid could cost 200 billion euros (approximately $275 billion)…

    "Companies including GE, Siemens and National Grid have expressed support for the supergrid concept…"


    Energy Department OKs new loan guarantees for green projects; As the Solyndra investigation unfolds, two executives of the bankrupt company invoke their right against self-incrimination before a congressional panel.
    Ken Bensinger and Alexa Vaugh,September 24, 2011 (LA Times)

    "The Department of Energy granted final approval to three new loan guarantees for green energy projects, even as it faced continued scrutiny over $528 million in government loan assurances to solar panel maker Solyndra, which went bankrupt.

    "The new guarantees were announced…after executives of Solyndra invoked their 5th Amendment privilege against self-incrimination before a congressional subcommittee investigating the loan guarantee process."

    click to enlarge

    "Meanwhile, two other solar companies said they would probably not get funding under the same program, despite earlier promises from the government… SolarCity…was informed…the Department of Energy would not be able to complete its review process by a Sept. 30 deadline…[and] First Solar…[will not be able to] complete its application for a $1.93-billion loan guarantee for a solar farm…

    "The loan guarantee program was authorized by Congress in 2009. Unlike a loan, a guarantee is a promise to repay a third party for financing a project should the borrower fail to meet its obligations…Nine projects are still awaiting a green light from the DOE, including two other First Solar efforts. To date, the agency has completed 21 loan guarantees, worth up to $10.1 billion…"


    New Bill Prompts Concerns About Future Of Ohio's Wind Industry
    Laura DiMugno, 22 September 2011 (North American Windpower)

    "…Senate Bill 216, proposes to repeal Ohio's alternative energy portfolio standard (AEPS). The current AEPS, enacted in May 2008 under then-Gov. Ted Strickland, contains two separate resource requirements, both of which would be revoked…

    "The renewable energy portion of the AEPS requires 12.5% of the state's electricity generation to come from renewables such as wind, solar, geothermal, biomass, biologically derived methane gas, landfill gas, solid waste, fuel cells and certain hydroelectric facilities. This component of the AEPS includes enforceable annual benchmarks, as well as carve-outs for solar energy."

    How in the world can they argue New Energy won't have a positive impact on jobs? (click to enlarge)

    "The second segment of the program, dubbed “advanced energy resources,” imposes a requirement that another 12.5% of the state’s electricity be obtained from other sources such as nuclear, “clean” coal, energy efficiency and demand response, and does not include specific benchmarks.

    "…[Those who want to repeal AEPS say it] drives up the cost of energy for Ohio families and businesses, and denies that the state's renewable energy industry will have a positive impact on jobs in the state…[But] Ohio has 67 MW of wind power currently online, 57 MW of which were added just this year…[and advocates say repealing AEPS] has the potential to be disastrous to Ohio’s nascent wind industry…[Insiders say] S.B.216 has little chance of passing…[but begins] a conversation in the statehouse about Ohio’s energy policy…"


    Military Microgrids; Aggregation Platforms to Secure Mission-Critical Loads and Achieve Net Zero Energy, Renewable Energy, and Demand Response Goals
    3Q 2011 (Pike Research)

    "The United States Department of Defense (DOD) is the single largest consumer of petroleum in the world. U.S. military operations are also the largest consumer of all forms of energy globally. Microgrids can shrink the amount of fossil fuels consumed to create electricity by networking generators as a system to maximize efficiency. Yet they are also a vehicle to help integrate renewable energy resources (such as wind and solar) at the local distribution grid level. Simultaneously, microgrids enable military bases – both stationary and tactical – to sustain operations, no matter what is happening on the larger utility grid or in the theater of war."

    click to enlarge

    "As awareness about the electrical grid’s vulnerability to terrorist attacks has increased in recent times, the U.S. military has become one of the strongest proponents of microgrids. Microgrids offer the ultimate secure power supply for fixed base military operations. Many army, navy, air force, and other related bases and offices already have vintage microgrids in place. What is new is that these facilities are looking to envelop entire bases with microgrids and integrate distributed energy generation on-site. These resources, when capable of safe islanding from the surrounding grid, offer the ultimate security since fuel never runs out with solar or wind resources. [According to a new report from Pike Research, the capacity of military microgrids will grow at a rate of 739% between 2011 and 2017 and the] opportunity to help develop these microgrids has attracted a number of powerful technology companies including Lockheed Martin, GE, Honeywell, Boeing, and Eaton..."

    Wednesday, September 21, 2011


    National Solar Jobs Census 2011 Finds Solar Companies Hiring Faster Than Rest of Economy; Preliminary data finds new job creation in solar despite overall down economy
    September 19, 2011 (Solar Foundation)

    "The Solar Foundation today announced that 100,237 Americans are now working in the U.S. solar industry, according to preliminary data from the “National Solar Jobs Census 2011: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce.” Solar businesses added 6,735 new workers in all 50 states since August 2010, which represents a 6.8 percent growth rate. The National Solar Jobs Census 2011 measured solar employment during the period between August 2010 and August 2011."

    click to enlarge

    "The U.S. solar industry’s job growth outpaced the overall economy and fossil fuel electric generation when compared to overall economic data from Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI). During the same 12-month period, jobs in the overall economy grew by a mere 0.7 percent, while fossil fuel electric generation lost 2 percent of its workforce…"


    Congressional Committee Could Target Renewable Energy Funding
    Jessica Lillian, 20 September 2011, (North American Windpower)

    "A total of $1.2 trillion in spending cuts looms as the U.S. Congress' Joint Select Committee (JSC) begins work on trimming the U.S. budget. For the renewable energy sector, the most important message right now is that during the JSC negotiation process, no department, program or incentive is considered safe from the axe…

    "The 12-member committee, led by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, is working under an extraordinarily tight deadline - by Washington standards. The Congressional Budget Office must review and score a completed proposal from the JSC [federal spending through fiscal year 2021] by Nov. 23, and Congress will vote by Dec. 23…[or] sequestration will force across-the-board spending cuts…"

    click to enlarge

    "Whether through a JSC decision or sequestration, several key renewable energy funding programs and incentives - as well as the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) renewable energy research initiatives - could fall victim to cuts…These provisions - many of which expire at the end of this year - include the U.S. Department of the Treasury's popular Section 1603 cash-grant program…

    "The investment tax credit and production tax credit may have a better chance of long-term survival, but their extension still faces an uphill battle… historical discrepancies, coupled with the current political climate, suggest reduced - or, at best, flat - funding levels for the DOE in the future…[L]obbying efforts from various industries have kicked into high gear, and for the renewable energy sector, now is the time to jump into the fray…"


    New Renewable Energy Company Will Focus On Large Community-Owned Wind, Solar Projects In Maryland
    14 September 2011 (North American Windpower)

    "The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) has announced the formation of a renewable energy development company, called Eastern Shore Energy LLC (EES)…[that] will focus on creating renewable energy projects at multiple sites on the lower eastern shore of Maryland. The company's goal is to develop systems capable of generating 100 MW to 150 MW from wind, solar and biomass projects.

    "The regional initiative is the result of a partnership between the Maryland Hawk Corp. (a nonprofit affiliate of the university) and National Renewable Solutions LLC of Minneapolis, an affiliate of National Wind LLC."

    click to enlarge

    "Eastern Shore Energy LLC is currently studying the feasibility of three wind projects within Somerset and Worcester counties and expects to identify additional sites over the next several months…

    "The company’s next steps will be to install anemometers on towers in the two target counties to collect wind data, and to seek participation of public and private landowners in the company’s prospective development projects. ESE expects this initiative will be a long-term commitment of five to seven years but hopes to have its first project ready for construction in the next 24 to 36 months."


    Japan develops hybrid offshore platform; Japanese researchers are developing a platform to harvest ocean energy, but wind turbines and solar arrays are to be installed above water.
    Craig Morris, 27 July 2011 (Renewables International)

    "Japanese researchers…[have tested] a hybrid offshore [solar and wind] generator…[T]he turbine has already been tested in the Chinese desert…[and are now] installing the 3.6 kilowatt turbines on an 18-meter floating, semi-submersible platform in Hakata Bay to test their suitability in local wind and wave conditions…[and] see how the turbines and the platform hold up in saltwater.

    "The platform itself is 18 meters in diameter and will be put into the water in the fall of 2011. The platform is to be able to generate power from waves and the tides. Shaped as a hexagon, the platforms can be locked into each other to provide a uniform single structure that can be expanded."

    click to enlarge

    "In a second stage, a larger platform 60 meters across will be installed two kilometers off the coast. The wind turbines installed on top are then to have a capacity of 100 kilowatts...In stage 3, the platforms will reach a diameter of 150 meters and use full-fledged two-megawatt wind turbines. Part of the remaining space between the turbines atop the platform can then be used to harvest solar energy, making the hexagon a harvester of wind, ocean, and solar energy.

    "The nuclear accident in the Fukushima is focusing attention in Japan on the potential of renewable energy…[and] phase out nuclear power…"

    Tuesday, September 20, 2011


    …Bode reaching out to industry
    Jim Roth, September 16, 2011 (The Journal Record)

    "…[Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association] grew up in the heart of Oklahoma’s oil business and is the daughter of a Phillips Petroleum executive. She was the first woman to head the Independent Petroleum Association of America, promoting the interests of oil drillers, riggers and natural gas producers for seven years. She knows a lot about energy.

    "…Bode is reaching out to the natural gas industry in hopes of firming up what she believes is a natural alliance…Bode said opportunities abound for wind and gas to partner…[B]oth are central parts of most utility generation planning…[and] should rely on each other to continue their success."

    click to enlarge

    "…[T]he country needs both wind and gas and that a partnership is a natural solution to our energy needs. By adding wind and natural gas to a generation portfolio, utilities are committing to the long-term security of the country and security for consumers, she said…

    "She believes that having a diversified portfolio solution as America is shutting down more coal generation is something people want…The synergy between flexible natural gas-fired generation and renewable generation can benefit utilities’ generation portfolios and allow generators to avoid high compliance costs of continued reliance on coal…"


    APS Seeks Renewable Energy Projects from Solar; Request for Proposal Issued
    September 15, 2011 (Arizona Public Service)

    "Arizona Public Service Co. [announced] a Request for Proposal (RFP) from solar developers and installers to construct a 17-megawatt solar photovoltaic facility – financed by APS through the company’s AZ Sun Program…Interested parties are encouraged to participate in a bidder’s webinar on October 12… at

    "Projects must employ commercially proven technology. When completed in 2013, the new solar facility, part of the AZ Sun Program, will be owned and operated by APS and is expected to provide electricity to more than 4,000 Arizona homes."

    click to enlarge

    "With AZ Sun, APS is investing in the development of 100 MW of solar photovoltaic power plants across Arizona. APS is partnering with third-party developers and equipment providers to design and construct the facilities, increasing the opportunity for more developers to participate since project financing is provided by APS.

    "The AZ Sun Program was approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2010.
    The four-year program is expected to have at least six solar facilities online by 2014 and create more than 1,000 Arizona construction jobs…"


    BPA begins 500kV transmission line
    John McKenna, 20 September 2011 (Windpower Monthly)

    "North-west transmission operator the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)… will begin building a new 500kV transmission line that will run 28 miles between Oregon and Washington state.

    "The new high-voltage power line, called the Big Eddy-Knight line, will help BPA move energy from east of the Cascade Mountains to homes and businesses in population centres west of the Cascades. It will provide transmission services to up to 4GW of wind-generating capacity."

    click to enlarge

    "Construction is tentatively scheduled to start the week of 19 September 2011.

    "BPA is currently embroiled in legal action with wind-farm owners in the Pacific Northwest region over nightly curtailments of their projects' electricity output. As of 13 July, a total of 97,557MWh of wind had been curtailed — 6.1% of the scheduled output…[BPA also plans to upgrade] its transmission links with California."


    Wave energy system to be built by Lockheed Martin
    September 13, 2011 (PennWell via HydroWorld)

    "Ocean Power Technologies Inc. is collaborating with Lockheed Martin to build a planned 1.5 MW capacity wave energy generation project in Oregon…Lockheed Martin will provide design, manufacturing, system integration and supply chain management expertise with OPT’s PowerBuoy technology…"

    click to enlarge

    "The Department of Energy (DOE) awarded OPT a $2.4 million contract to promote development of marine energy…Construction of the Oregon PB150 PowerBuoy’s steel structure has been completed and testing is ongoing."


    Siemens announces nuclear pullout
    James Quilter, 19 September 2011 (Windpower Monthly)

    "Siemens has announced it will cease to design and manufacture components for the nuclear-energy sector…Siemens chief executive Peter Loescher said events at the Fukushima reactor in Japan and the opinion in its German home market were behind the decision.

    "The decision comes as Siemens focuses €150 million of its resources on the expansion of its wind-power business…[T]he company is planning to open two research and development centres, and an offshore ‘centre of excellence’ in Denmark. The company, whose 3.6MW turbine is the most popular in the offshore sector, is currently developing a 6MW offshore turbine…"

    click to enlarge

    "As a mark of its ambition, Siemens…[said] it is prepared to accept a near-halving in the firm's wind profits to remain competitive in the sector and develop new technologies…Despite reasonably stable revenues, Siemens' renewables pre-tax profits in the third quarter of 2011 were almost half the €122 million for the same period last year, down to €68 million.

    "This drop means Siemens' renewables profit margin for the three months to June was 6.97%, down from 12.8% in Q3 2010, based on revenues of €975 million and €953 million respectively…"


    Solar Module Price Cuts Stimulate Massive Growth in US Photovoltaic Project Pipeline
    September 12, 2011 (Solarbuzz)

    "Large cuts in factory gate module prices over the summer have resulted in a significant increase in photovoltaic (PV) project development activity in the US. After standing at 17 gigawatts (GW) two months ago, the US non-residential pipeline has now increased to 24 GW.

    "The September 2011 edition of the
    United States Deal Tracker database… identifies 1,865 non-residential projects totaling 25.9 GW either installed, being installed or in their development phase since January 1, 2010. Development phase projects include pre-RFP, going through the RFP process, or planned without RFP…"

    click to enlarge

    "The collapse in US factory-gate module prices over the past four months is only now starting to impact utility project prices, much more than system sizes below one megawatt. One-fifth of the installed system prices above one megawatt are now $3.75 per watt STC DC (Standard Test Conditions, Direct Current) or below…

    "For those projects in the pipeline that have selected their module suppliers, the top three suppliers in MW terms are First Solar, SunPower Corporation, and Suntech Power. Yingli Green, Sharp and SolarWorld are increasing their presence in non-residential projects. The leading inverter suppliers to the pipeline remain Advanced Energy and SatCon Technology…"


    Electric Power Monthly
    September 15, 2011 (Energy Information Administration)

    "Net generation in the United States was down 2.2 percent from June 2010 to June 2011. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported that the average June temperature across the United States was 1.4 degrees F above the long-term average for June. However, June 2011 was cooler than June 2010. The Federal Reserve reported that industrial production was 3.4 percent higher than it had been in June 2010, the eighteenth consecutive month that industrial production was higher than it had been in the corresponding months of the previous year."

    click to enlarge

    "The rise in wind generation was the largest absolute 'fuel-specific' increase as it was up 2,839 thousand megawatthours, or 35.5 percent…Generation from conventional hydroelectric sources showed the second-largest absolute increase for the same time period…Generation from coal, nuclear, and natural-gas fired sources — typically, by far the three most dominant fuels — were all down in June 2011 from June 2010 levels. Coal-fired declines in Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia were the largest. Nuclear generation declines in Pennsylvania, Kansas, and Washington were the most substantial…"


    10 ways to deal with cybersecurity in a smart grid world
    Ucilia Wang, September 16, 2011 (GigaOm)

    "…The U.S. Department of Energy released [Roadmap to Achieve Energy Delivery Systems Cybersecurity]…that aims to help public and private sectors figure out ways to protect the electric grid against cybersecurity breaches."

    click to enlarge

    "Concerns about cybersecurity have actually grown with the deployment of smart grid technologies, which typically means using digital communication devices with common technical standards…[That] could lead to a hodgepodge of legacy and modern equipment in the transmission and distribution networks that don’t work well together. That also makes it difficult to implement rules and security technologies…[The report] includes a broader array of technologies and scenarios…[and] aims to encourage utilities to invest in cybersecurity measures…"

    Monday, September 19, 2011


    Austin Energy Signs Two Wind Power Mega-Deals, Negotiating Another
    15 September 2011 (North American Windpower)

    "The Austin City Council has approved two new wind contracts totaling 291 MW and has authorized Austin Energy to negotiate a third wind contract for an additional 200 MW. If the latter contract is approved, it will allow Austin Energy to meet 30% of its power needs by the end of 2012…[near] its 35% by 2020 goal.

    "The new wind farms will be located near the Texas coast and will produce their highest output during peak-demand times…[T]he projects will be located in an area with sufficient transmission infrastructure…"

    click to enlarge

    "The first contract is a 25-year purchase power agreement (PPA) totaling $675 million with Duke Energy Generation Services for 200 MW from the Los Vientos project…The second 25-year PPA, worth $375 million, is with MAP Royalty Inc. for 91 MW from the White Tail project…The council also authorized Austin Energy to negotiate a 25-year PPA with Iberdrola Renewables Inc. for 200 MW from the [$725 million] Penascal III project in Kenedy County…

    "The Duke and Iberdrola projects are within 15 miles of the coast, while the MAP project is 75 miles from the coast. The contract prices [for energy produced only] are on a per-megawatt-hour basis, are fixed and will not change over the term of the agreements…"


    Officials hope to approve more loan guarantees
    Kevin Freking, September 15, 2011 (AP via Yahoo News)

    "The Obama administration is moving to finalize as many as 15 loan guarantees for renewable energy companies before the stimulus program ends on Sept. 30, and Republicans are questioning whether that could lead to more failures like Solyndra Inc., a company that filed for bankruptcy and may leave taxpayers on the hook for a half-billion-dollar loan.

    "The loan guarantees essentially make it easier for the companies to get financing as the government guarantees repayment in the event of default. In Solyndra's case, the loan came from the government itself, but private banks often provide the financing."


    "A spokesman for the Energy Department said the department won't take any shortcuts during the approval process…

    "A congressional subcommittee is examining the loan guarantee program…[T]he White House Office of Management and Budget…[may have been rushed to approve] a loan guarantee for Solyndra, a California manufacturer of solar panels. The company is also the subject of an FBI investigation…"


    Combining Solar Power and Your Electric Vehicle – Too Practical to Pass Up…
    Zachary Shahan, September 17, 2011 (Clean Technica)

    "…A small, 1.2-kilowatt solar system priced at around $4,000 will cover charging costs for an electric vehicle for up to 40 years…For $4,000 you can buy your ‘gas’ for the next 40 years.

    "For the next forty years you will be producing the power for your EV for $8.33 a month. Those are fixed dollars, not dollars that will rise with inflation, the $8.33 per month is locked in."

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    "The $185 per month that ICEV owners will be paying for gas? In forty years, based on past inflation, will cost you $1,027…Price for gas now = $185…Price for electricity now = $8.33…Price for gas forty years from now $1,027…Price for electricity forty years from now $8.33…

    "Forty years from now $8.33 will have the buying power of $1.44 in today’s dollars. For less than the price of a latte, you charge your EV for a month…On an annual basis, $12,324 for gas, $100 for electricity…What’s not to love about that?"


    Major Renewable Energy Transmission Project Secures Development Funding
    15 September 2011 (North American Windpower)

    "The Western Area Power Administration (WAPA) and TransWest Express LLC…[will] fund the TransWest Express Transmission (TWE) Project's development phase.

    "The TWE project's development phase will determine the feasibility of constructing and operating a 725-mile, 600 kV direct-current transmission line that would facilitate renewable energy delivery from Wyoming to the southwestern U.S. The project would interconnect with the existing transmission grid near Rawlins, Wyo., and the Marketplace Hub, near Las Vegas…"

    click thru for complete details

    ?TWE and WAPA will each pay up to $25 million to complete the development phase. If WAPA continues its participation in the project into the construction phase - a decision that will be made when the environmental analysis is complete - additional borrowing authority would be used…

    "…The draft environmental impact statement is expected to be available for public comment in mid-2012, with a final environmental impact statement planned by 2013, and a record of decision expected by late 2013. Commercial operation would begin in late 2015 or early 2016."

    Wednesday, September 14, 2011


    Wilson Solarpower: Low-cost central receiver tower project fast-tracked, DOE funding doubled
    Rikki Stancich, 9 September 2011 (CSP Today)

    "…Wilson Solarpower received… US Department of Energy…[fast-tracking for] its project into Phase 2…[with a doubling of] the project's funding…[The] Brayton power tower project with 13 hours of storage… uses air as its thermal transfer medium, removing the water resource constraints associated other CSP technologies. By replacing steel components with ceramics in its microturbine and low-pressure receiver, the technology can handle much higher temperatures (up to 1000 degrees Celsius) and operate at greater efficiency than its steel-based counterparts.

    "The system provides on-demand energy by using back-up fuels, such as natural gas or biofuels, combined with a novel thermal storage concept, where 2-hour thermal storage modules can be added to store up to 16 hours of power. The modular technology and can be deployed in almost any terrain, with minimal impact on the physical environment."

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    "…After 2 GW of cumulative deployment of a 1750 kWe tower module (that can produce baseload energy), the technology breaks through the price barrier with a LCOE of US$0.077 cents/kWh.

    "…[T]his 7.7 cent figure is based not on today's gas prices ($4.71/MBtu) but on a 43% higher figure that the DOE chose to use for the project ($6.75/MBtu). Using today's prices, the projected LCOE is only US$0.069 cents…[and] the LCOE will continue to decline as manufacturing volumes and deployment increase…[T]hose prices assume US manufacturing…"


    Stat of the Day: $8.25B for Smart Grid Enterprise; Hardware isn’t the only investment utilities are making.
    Katherine Tweed, September 9, 2011 (Greentech Media)

    "…[S]mart meters have garnered most of the headlines, and investment, when it comes to the smart grid. But beyond metering and distribution hardware, there is a need for upgrades in information and operations technology to connect and crunch all of the data coming off of the 21st century hardware."

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    "In a new in-depth report from GTM Research, The Smart Utility Enterprise 2011-2015 Senior GTM Analyst Chet Geschickter forecasts that utilities in the U.S. will spend $8.25 billion between 2011 to 2015 in three major areas: customer engagement, business services and grid operations…"


    Sunflower signs power pact for wind farm
    Dan Voorhis, September 9, 2011 (Wichita Eagle)

    "Sunflower Electric Power Corp…will buy the energy from the planned Shooting Star Wind Project wind farm between Greensburg and Dodge City…[Developer] Infinity Wind Power LLC, recently bought the development rights for the wind farm from Clipper Windpower. The power purchase agreement was needed before the project could proceed…The 104-megawatt wind farm near Mullinville is expected to start operating by late 2012."

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    "...With the energy from the Shooting Star wind farm, Sunflower will have renewable generation capacity equal to 29 percent of retail peak demand. This exceeds the state's renewable energy standard, which requires utilities to have at least 15 percent by 2016...The wind farm will provide more than $10 million in royalties to landowners over the 20-year life of the contract. It will also generate about 250,000 hours of construction labor...Infinity has also established a community benefits fund…"


    New Siemens charging column recharges two electric vehicles at the same time
    September 13, 2011 (Siemens)

    "Siemens Energy's new Charge CP500A charging point not only refuels electric vehicles within an hour, it also recharges two vehicles at the same time. The charging column is perfectly suited for use in public and company parking garages and as a charging point for electric vehicles at locations throughout cities…"

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    "The charging point can also be used for charging the electric vehicle fleet of car rental companies. Like the Siemens Charge CP700A charging point before it, the new station can recharge electric vehicles in three-phase operation at a current of 32 amperes (A). This is equivalent to an output of 22 kilowatts (kW). Siemens will be launching the new charging column on the European market in the fall of 2011…"


    Germany keen to buy solar-generated electricity from Greece
    September 11, 2011 (AFP)

    "Greek Prime Minuster Georges Papandreou confirmed Sunday that Germany was keen to import solar-generated electricity from debt-ridden Greece…[He will] travel to Germany late this month to discuss the project with Chancellor Angela Merkel during a meeting of German industrialists…

    "Papandreou spoke of a ‘huge interest’ by the Germans for Greece's renewable energy resources in view of of their plan to phase out nuclear energy and doubts about the political stability of Arab Mediterranean countries…[just as many said] Europe could no longer rule out an ‘orderly default’ for Greece as it struggles with a crippling debt crisis…"

    Helios, Greek sun deity and Colossus of Rhodes (click to enlarge)

    "After a recent visit by a German official as part of a joint bid to boost investment to spur a Greek recovery, the German environment ministry said it was looking into a project to set up 20,000 hectares of photovoltaic systems to turn solar energy into electricity for export to Germany.

    "…[T]he mammoth project dubbed ‘Helios’ (the Greek God of the sun) would have an initial budget of 20 billion euros and would create between 30,000 and 60,000 jobs in Greece…"


    ENN Group to invest $8 bln in U.S. clean energy –report
    September 2, 2011 (Reuters)

    "ENN Group, parent of ENN Energy Holdings Limited , plans to invest a total of $8 billion in clean energy projects in the United States over the next 10 years, the China Securities Journal reported..."

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    [Wang Yusuo, Chairman, ENN Group:] "Sino-U.S. cooperation in energy projects is gaining pace, and there will be more investment from Chinese companies in the United States if the United States is more open in its investment policy..."


    Bank of America Merrill Lynch to Finance Largest Residential Solar Project in U.S. History; Second Solar Deal Since June Solidifies Bank's Leadership in Distributed Solar Generation
    September 7, 2011 (Business Wire via Bank of America)

    "Reaffirming its status as the go-to bank for financing distributed solar generation projects, Bank of America Merrill Lynch…[announced backing for] Project SolarStrong, the largest residential solar power project to date and the first of its kind…

    "SolarStrong is expected to create more than $1 billion in solar projects and 371 megawatts of new solar generation capacity through the installation of rooftop photovoltaic (PV) systems on up to 160,000 U.S. military residences on as many as 124 U.S. military bases in 33 states."

    "BofA Merrill has joined with SolarCity and US Renewables Group on the project, which will create thousands of jobs and provide low-cost, renewable electricity, while avoiding the emission of over 250,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. Many of the jobs are expected to be filled by U.S. veterans and military family members, who will be recruited, trained and employed to install, operate and maintain the PV systems.

    "The project will be financed by the private sector through a combination of debt and equity, and the U.S. Department of Energy's Loan Programs Office has offered a conditional commitment for partial guarantee of a $344 million loan. SolarCity will install, own and operate the rooftop solar installations; USRG Renewable Finance, a subsidiary of US Renewables Group, is acting as lead lender; and BofA Merrill will provide debt financing for the project, as well as advisory and administrative services…"


    GE wins 300MW E.ON Illinois deal
    James Quilter, 7 September 2011 (Windpower Monthly)

    "E.ON [the world's biggest investor-owned utility] has signed a deal for 300MW with GE for two wind farms in Illinois...The contract is for 188 1.6MW turbines to go to the Settlers Trail and Pioneer Trail wind the northern Illinois counties...GE will handle maintenance as part of an agreement signed between the manufacturer and E.ON in 2009."

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    "Each wind farm will have 94 turbines, which will each have 80 metre towers and 82.5 metre diameter blades...E.ON has signed two recent supply deals...[including one with Vestas]...for an unnamed project in the US for 202MW...[and a Siemens deal] for 200MW to be built in Texas later this year."

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011


    1 dead after fire at French nuclear waste site; No radiation was discharged, company says
    Tara Patel, September 13, 2011 (Bloomberg News via Boston Globe)

    "An explosion and fire [August 12] at a French nuclear-waste processing site killed one person and injured four, heightening concern about safety risks from atomic energy after the disaster in Japan six months ago."

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    "There was no chemical or radioactive discharge from the Centraco plant in the town of Codolet in southern France…[according to] Electricite de France…Europe’s biggest power producer, which also operates France’s 58 nuclear reactors, treats low-level radioactive waste at the plant about 80 miles northwest of Marseille, the country’s second-biggest city. France depends on nuclear reactors for about three-quarters of its power needs, the most of any country…"


    Google says its energy use is ‘an obsession’
    Steven E.F. Brown, September 8, 2011 (San Francisco Business Times)

    "Search and advertising giant Google Inc. published data on its annual energy use and pollution this week…[calling energy use ‘an obsession’]…In 2010, Google says it got 25 percent of its electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar. It guesses that will rise to 30 percent this year and aims to hit 35 percent in 2012. Google tries to buy electricity directly from wind farms near its datacenters."

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    "Google encourages its many workers to suggest ways to cut pollution, whether by installing solar panels on company buildings or setting up bike-to-work programs. The company then helps expand those programs to other facilities…And the company tries to put its money where its mouth is by investing in big wind projects and rooftop solar power initiatives…"


    US government to fund offshore wind development projects
    Steven Mather, 9 September 2011 (Windpower Monthly)

    "The US government is to invest $43 million in improving technology and infrastructure in the offshore wind-power sector…[by financing] 41 projects focused on research, wind-turbine design and manufacture and infrastructure development."

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    "Department of Energy said the investment would aim to improve technological and infrastructure development, increase competitiveness in the turbine market and improve information for potential investors…"


    Department of Energy Finalizes $90.6 Million Loan Guarantee to Cogentrix of Alamosa, LLC to Support Colorado Solar Project
    September 9, 2011 (U.S. Department of Energy)

    "…[T]he Department of Energy finalized a $90.6 million loan guarantee to Cogentrix of Alamosa, LLC (Cogentrix)…[to] support the Alamosa Solar Generating Project, a 30 megawatt (MW) High Concentration Photovoltaic (HCPV) power generation facility…in Colorado. The project, located in south-central Colorado near the city of Alamosa, represents one of the first utility-scale, high concentration photovoltaic energy generation facilities in the nation and, when completed, the largest of its kind in the world. Cogentrix estimates the project will support up to 100 construction jobs…"

    (from Cogentrix - click to enlarge

    "The proposed facility will use innovative HCPV systems consisting of concentrating optics and multi-junction solar cell panels that are controlled by a dual-axis tracking system…[that] rotates and tilts the cells throughout the day so the surface of the solar panel maintains an optimal angle with respect to the sun…The facility is expected to produce enough clean renewable energy per year to power more than 6,500 homes…The Alamosa Solar Generating Project is supported by…a long-term agreement to sell the power it will generate. Under the project’s PPA, the Public Service Company of Colorado will buy the power generated by the solar facility for the next 20 years. The project is also expected to source more than 80 percent of its components from the United States..."