NewEnergyNews More: November 2011

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  • Wednesday, November 30, 2011


    Chinese Solar Companies May Move Production to Dodge U.S. Tariff
    Zachary Tracer, Noember 22, 2011 (Bloomberg News)

    "Chinese solar companies are considering shifting manufacturing to other countries to avoid paying tariffs that may result from a trade complaint.

    "LDK Solar Co. (LDK) and JA Solar Holdings Co. (JASO) said they may move some production operations if the U.S. imposes duties on solar products imported from China. Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP), the world’s biggest solar-panel maker, said the dispute would be ‘extremely damaging to the entire U.S. solar industry.’ …The statements…show that Chinese manufacturers are developing strategies to avoid potential duties, and that the complaint may not give U.S. solar companies the relief they’re seeking…"

    click to enlarge

    "Chinese companies may avoid the tariffs by buying solar cells from Taiwanese companies and assembling them into modules outside China…Suntech and Canadian Solar Inc., which makes panels in China, already have plants in North America, and JA Solar has an existing relationship outside China with a company to which it could outsource some manufacturing.

    "SolarWorld Industries America Inc…and six unnamed U.S. manufacturers filed the trade complaint last month with the U.S. International Trade Commission and Commerce Department, asserting that import duties on Chinese imports will compensate for unfair financial support China provides to its solar industry…The U.S. imported $2.4 billion of solar panels from China in 2010…A tariff would increase prices for developers, homeowners, utilities and others who purchase solar panels in the U.S…[Analysts expect] the trade complaint will pass and tariffs will be imposed…"


    Get ready for a 2012 reality check: Current US solar policy will leave PV market short of solar industry’s expectations
    November 17, 2011 (Clear Sky Advisors)

    "While the long-term market outlook for the US solar PV market is positive, 2012 will not offer suffering module manufacturers the reprieve they were hoping for…ClearSky Advisors Inc. predicts installed volume will grow 7% to 1,628 MW in 2012. However, falling equipment prices – especially for PV modules – means that overall market value for 2012 will be flat or may even drop…

    "Continued overcapacity in the solar supply chain will see the cut-throat competition in the solar PV supply-chain continue, with average selling prices for modules continuing to fall at least for the first part of 2012. Not until 2014 will market conditions improve markedly…"

    (from Clear Sky Advisors - click to enlarge)

    "In the short-term…opportunities [will be] in carefully targeted markets. The diversity of state-level solar policies means that the US market must be treated as many local markets – each with its own set of policies and conditions that determine the magnitude of the local opportunity…

    "…[M]arket growth in 2015 will be increasingly dominated by utility scale projects…[D]ecreases in equipment prices will make solar power cost competitive in certain areas toward the end of the forecast period…The West will remain the largest regional market…California and New Jersey will be the single most important states…even if both states will face intermittent market disruption…"


    China PV Installations Forecast to Surpass Both the US and Japanese Markets in 2011; Asia Pacific Markets Projected to Reach More than 4.8 GW in 2011; Utility-Scale Ground-Mount Installations in China and India Drive Markets
    November 22, 2011 (Solarbuzz)

    "In the Asia Pacific region, the photovoltaic (PV) market is forecast to grow 39% Q/Q and 130% Y/Y in Q4’11. Q4'11 installations of more than 2 GW of PV capacity are expected, which will significantly raise the region's share of the global market this year, according to… NPD Solarbuzz…

    "The region is poised to grow an additional 45% in 2012, as Asian governments introduce new installation targets. China's National Energy Administration recently revised its official cumulative solar installation target up from 10 GW to 15 GW for 2015, representing just one of the most recent examples. China is projected to account for 45% of regional demand in Q4'11 and is on course to surpass both the US and Japanese market sizes in 2011."

    click to enlarge

    "Elsewhere, regional demand is being driven by national incentive programs in India, while Japan is also growing rapidly ahead of its new FIT program. Other emerging markets in the region such as Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia are projected to deliver a combined 700 MW of additional demand in 2012.

    "Non-residential ground mount systems are projected to account for 64% of the regional market by Q4’12, up from just 16% in Q1’11. This share growth will come at the expense of the residential segment which falls from 58% in Q1’11 to just 20% by Q4’12…Internal rates of return (IRRs) on PV systems in the four major markets will build over the next four quarters, ending 2012 at levels between 10% and 13%, as system prices drop faster than incentive rates…"

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011


    Debt Committee's Inaction Not So Super For Renewable Energy Policy
    Mark Del Franco and Jessica Lillian, 22 November 2011 (Windpower Monthly)

    "The failure of the debt supercommittee to reach a resolution for cutting more than $1.2 trillion over 10 years brings further uncertainty about key renewable energy incentives. [Due to intractable partisanship, it is unclear if the group even broached renewable energy policy].…

    "Reportedly…[ agreement] broke down along party lines - Democrats aiming to initiate tax increases and Republicans balking at the idea. This also meant that the future of key incentives important for renewables, such as extensions of the Sec. 1603 cash-grant program, (which expires at the end of this year) and the production tax credit (which, for wind, expires at the end of 2012, and 2016 for solar), is still murky…"

    click to enlarge

    "…Frank Maisano, an energy analyst at Washington, D.C.-based Bracewell Giuliani…envisions a few scenarios that extend renewable energy policies…[E]xtensions could be part of a continuing resolution - an omnibus bill whose passage is needed in order to keep the government running - that has to be passed by Dec. 16…[or] part of a separately introduced bill…[G]iven the political split on Capitol Hill, the second scenario is less likely…

    "…Christi Tezak, senior energy and environmental policy analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co…[is less optimistic]…[She noted that extending the cash-grant] program adds to the deficit…[O]ther than the payroll tax extension, which the White House has indicated it would like to see extended even if it is not offset, all other program extensions appear to need to be paid for…[Tezak said she] would be very surprised if any expiring program other than the payroll tax gets extended this year…"


    Energy Harvesting Unit Shipments to Reach 235 Million Annually by 2015
    November 10, 2011 (Pike Research)

    "…According to a new report from Pike Research, unit shipments for energy harvesting enabled devices will experience strong growth over the next few years, increasing from 29.3 million units in 2010 (mostly kinetic wristwatches and wireless sensor networks) to 235.4 million units by 2015 (comprising a much greater diversity of consumer and industrial applications)…

    "Pike Research’s analysis indicates that the consumer market for energy harvesting will represent approximately 42% of all unit shipments by 2015. Key applications in this sector include mobile phones, laptop computers, remote controls, portable lighting, and the continuing market for wristwatches powered by kinetic energy…"

    click to enlarge

    "…[I]ndustrial applications will represent the majority of the energy harvesting market, with a compound annual growth rate in excess of 100% for the sector as a whole. Key emerging industrial markets during that period will include wireless sensor networks (which will represent a large majority of the industrial sector), military devices, medical devices, and automotive devices.

    "The principal technologies used for the transduction of ambient energy into usable electrical energy include photovoltaic (PV), thermoelectric, piezoelectric, and electromagnetic. Pike Research forecasts that, between now and 2015, PV energy harvesting technologies will be most prominent in the market, capturing approximately 40% of total revenue share by the end of that period. Electromagnetic and piezoelectric technologies will each garner about one-quarter of the total market, with thermoelectric energy harvesting representing approximately 12%..."


    NRG Energy Acquires Solar Developer Solar Power Partners, an Industry Leader in the
    Fast Emerging Area of Distributed Solar Generation

    November 21, 2011 (NRG Energy)

    "NRG Energy, Inc. (NYSE: NRG) has acquired…Solar Power Partners, a leading developer of commercial and industrial (C&I) distributed solar projects.

    "In addition to 30 megawatts (MW) of distributed solar projects in operation or under construction, NRG also will secure development rights to Solar Power Partners’ extensive pipeline of development projects in California, Hawaii, Arizona, Connecticut, New Mexico, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ontario and Puerto Rico. SPP sites include grocery stores, hospitals, universities, office buildings, municipal buildings, schools and airports…"

    click to enlarge

    "Solar Power Partners will become an integral part of NRG Solar, an NRG subsidiary. The company has completed almost 50 commercial solar facilities and brings a team with deep experience developing, financing and operating projects. Solar Power Partners also specializes in creating long-term partnerships with customers to tailor each solar system to meet specific needs…

    "NRG is…[a] Fortune 500 company…[and] one of the largest solar power developers in the country…NRG Solar LLC, a subsidiary of NRG, has more than 2,000 MW of photovoltaic and solar thermal projects under development or in construction across the southwestern United States…"

    Sunday, November 27, 2011


    Mainstream halts 1GW Sinovel supply deal
    James Quilter and John McKenna, 24 November 2011 (Windpower Monthly)

    "Mainstream Renewable Power has placed its 1GW supply deal with Sinovel [reached in July] ‘on hold’ pending [the resolution of Sinovel’s] legal dispute with AMSC…

    "Mainstream said it decided to put the deal on hold following the conviction of an AMSC employee in Austria for supplying AMSC grid codes to Sinovel. AMSC and Sinovel are going head-to-head in the Beijing High Court over the row."

    click to enlarge

    "…[The deal was to have Sinovel] supply Mainstream with a steady flow of turbines through 2012 and 2013 reaching an average of 250MW per annum from 2014 onwards…
    "…Sinovel has not started production on any Irish projects. Mainstream said it is
    currently looking at alternative suppliers. It hopes to install 50MW in Ireland in 2012."


    Windmills, solar panels lead pack in attracting investment
    Alex Morales (with Louise Downing and Ben Sills), November 25, 2011 (Bloomberg News via The Vancouver Sun)

    "Renewable energy is surpassing fossil fuels for the first time in new power-plant investments, shaking off setbacks from the financial crisis and an impasse at the United Nations global warming talks.

    "Electricity from the wind, sun, waves and biomass drew $187 billion US last year compared with $157 billion US for natural gas, oil and coal, according to calculations by Bloomberg New Energy Finance…Accelerating installations of solar and wind power led to lower equipment prices, making clean energy more competitive with coal…The findings indicate the world is shifting toward consuming more renewable energy even without a global agreement on limiting greenhouse gases. Delegates from more than 190 nations converge in Durban, South Africa, on Nov. 28 to discuss new measures for limiting emissions damaging the climate…"

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    "The renewables boom, spurred by about $66 billion US of subsidies last year, intensified competition between wind- turbine and solar-panel manufacturers, gutting margins from the biggest producers led by Vestas Wind Systems A/S and First Solar Inc. The 95-member WilderHill New Energy Index of renewable- energy stocks has tumbled 40 per cent this year, steeper than the 14 per cent drop in the MSCI World Index.

    "The zeal to replace fossil fuels…belies the failed efforts at the UN talks to broker a deal that would limit carbon dioxide emissions from coal and oil blamed for global warming. Without a deal, existing pollution caps under the 1997 Kyoto Protocol expire next year…Debate in South Africa…will include how to establish a fund that would channel an unspecified portion of $100 billion US a year in climate aid pledged by rich nations to developing countries by 2020…Monitoring and verifying emissions cuts…[and creating] a mechanism for transferring CO2- reducing technology between states…"


    Bergey Windpower’s 10 kW Residential Wind Turbine becomes the First Certified Small Wind Turbine in America
    November 22, 2011 (Business Wire)

    "Bergey Windpower, the nation’s oldest manufacturer of small wind turbines,…[announced] that its best-selling BWC Excel 10 wind turbine is the first to receive full certification to the new wp-content/uploads/2011/05/AWEA_2009-Small_Turbine_Standard1.pdf"target="_blank">AWEA Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard [and its new 5 kW turbine is currently undergoing certification testing] …

    "The Bergey Excel 10 is a 23 ft diameter horizontal-axis turbine designed to provide the annual energy requirements for homes, farms, and small businesses. More than 2,000 Excel turbines have been installed in 46 states and more than 50 countries. It has only three moving parts, requires no annual maintenance, and was the first small wind turbine to carry a 10-year warranty…"

    The Bergey Excel 10 (click to enlarge)

    "The AWEA standard was developed over a five year period by a committee of over 30 individuals drawn from industry, research organizations, universities, retailers, and users…[It] references a number of existing international (IEC) standards, has been adopted in Canada and, with some minor changes, in the United Kingdom…

    "Certification of the Excel 10 turbine was granted by the
    Small Wind Certification Council (SWCC), an independent organization funded by several states and the U.S. Department of Energy…California, New York, Oregon and Wisconsin, which provide substantial rebates for small wind turbines, now require partial or full certification to the AWEA standard and a number of other states plan to do the same…"

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011


    Bill Gates calls for massive increase in energy research; Even though it's supposed to be a time of federal fiscal austerity, Bill Gates says its time to double down on energy research.
    Martin LaMonica, November 21, 2011 (C/NET)

    "The software industry icon and philanthropist…published an editorial in Science calling for a massive boost in federal energy research and development from about $5 billion a year now to $16 billion…amid rancorous political fallout from failed solar company Solyndra…[and the failure of the super committee] to devise a long-term plan on balancing the federal budget…

    "Gates [and other members]…of the American Energy Innovation Council…[including] former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine, General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt, Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, and venture capitalist John Doerr…[have] called for a sharp increase in funding for research and development to improve the energy security of the country, boost its economy, and help preserve the environment."

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    "In its most recent report, the American Energy Innovation Council said there needs to be a significant role for government energy research to spur technical innovation. The energy industry is different from other fields in that energy requires large amounts of capital, the field is not entirely competitive because of regulations, and utilities do not invest as much in research and development of new technologies.

    "That report also suggested ways to pay for a research funding increase, including eliminating current subsidies for fossil fuel industries, diverting royalties from domestic energy production, and charging fees on electricity use or a price on carbon emissions…"


    Nearly 100,000 Vehicles to be Enabled with Vehicle to Grid Technologies by 2017
    November 15, 2011 (Pike Research)

    "The batteries used in plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) will be increasingly utilized by property owners and grid operators to provide a wide variety of energy services…Vehicle to grid (V2G) technologies, over time, will represent a more and more favorable alternative to investing in new power generation assets…

    "…By 2017, according to a new report from Pike Research, approximately 90,000 light-duty vehicles and an additional 1,500 medium/heavy duty trucks will be enabled with V2G technologies, creating a strong foundation for V2G-based demand response, vehicle to building, frequency regulation, and other ancillary service applications…"

    click to enlarge

    "…[T]he highest demand for V2G, especially in the early years, will be in energy markets that are more open to new technologies and with higher concentrations of intermittent renewable power. As adoption grows, V2G will compete with traditional generation sources as well as with emerging technologies, such as stationary battery storage, for revenue from ancillary services such as frequency regulation and demand response.

    "Pike Research’s analysis indicates that investment in V2G by automakers, utilities, and energy aggregators will be strongly influenced by the global and regional penetration of PEVs. Dozens of PEVs must be aggregated in a given area to produce sufficient power capacity to interest grid operators…The number of vehicles that could participate in V2G will grow from just over 100,000 light duty vehicles in 2011 to more than 5 million in 2017. But substantial investment in infrastructure and vehicle-based technology will be necessary to enable V2G services on a large scale…"


    Wind Turbine Trip Measures Up to Low Noise Expectations; Even standing less than 1,000 feet away, visitors say they couldn't hear the blades turning.
    Heather Asiyanbi, November 14, 201 1 (Mount Pleasant Patch)

    Several staff members and officials from Mount Pleasant traveled to Fond du Lac County…[to measure] the noise levels of wind turbines similar to those proposed by SC Johnson for their Waxdale plant. The Brownsville, WI, location features 86 wind turbines over 12 square miles, at least one of which sits less than 500 feet from a landowner who leases his land for the turbines.

    "…[M]easurements were taken at 800 and 1,200 feet away from a geared turbine. The SCJ turbines would be gearless and probably quieter…At 800 feet, measurements came in at 46 - 47 decibels, and at 1,200 feet it was less than 40 decibels…[In comparison] a passing car on the paved road came in at 62 decibels…Since Waxdale is located in a mixed use neighborhood of residential, commercial and industrial development, it's not unreasonable to think most of the surrounding area would muffle the noise from the turning blades."

    click to enlarge

    "SCJ is proposing two or three wind turbines of between 300 and 400 feet tall to generate some of the electricity needed to power the Waxdale plant. Predicted to produce about 15 percent of the total energy needed, the turbines are part of SCJ's plan to generate 100 percent of Waxdale's energy needs on-site with 60 percent coming from renewable energy sources…

    "…[Local residents have] expressed concerns about the turbines on several levels: noise, sun flicker, aesthetics, property values and deaths of flying wildlife…SCJ's wind turbines are…[under consideration by] the Village Planning Commission…"

    Monday, November 21, 2011


    Wind blows money into pockets of Sherman County residents
    Richard Cockle, November 12, 2011 (Oregon Live)

    "Every household in windswept Sherman County will soon get a Christmas gift in the mail: a $590 check…This is the third consecutive year that checks will go out for the people's share of annual wind-energy revenues…[T]he $416,540 cash outlay may be unprecedented in the United States…The checks are loosely modeled after dividend payments to Alaskans for oil gurgling through the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline. The county also gives its four tiny towns -- Wasco, Moro, Rufus and Grass Valley -- annual checks of $100,000 each.

    "Roughly 550 wind turbines rearing 300-plus feet into the breezy high desert sky have brought dramatic changes here. Twelve wind farms are now on line, producing 1,000 megawatts of alternative energy -- enough to power 100,000 homes -- and providing the county government with $9 million annual revenues…Under the county's agreement with the wind companies, the payments will continue until 2025…"

    click to enlarge

    "…[C]ounty leaders figured regular folks deserved a cut of the windfall for having to look at the gigantic structures -- not just the 35 or so landowners who reap payments from the companies for allowing wind turbines on their wheat farms. The property owners receive an average of $6,000 a year per wind turbine -- and some have up to 30 on their wheat farms…

    "…Wind revenues have made some significant capital projects possible, including a new $2 million library...[and] $1 million more went for a building to be completed next month in Moro to house the Oregon State University Cooperative Extension Service, 4-H, planning and wheat district offices. The county installed high-speed Internet access two weeks ago available to the public for a fee. The sheriff's office has expanded from four to five deputies…"


    Global Photovoltaic (PV) Market & Insights into Chinese and Japanese Photovoltaic (PV) Markets (2010 - 2015)
    15 November 2011 (World of Photovoltaics)

    "The PV market is observed to be one of the fastest growing sectors buoyed by different government incentives and intense R&D activities…PV technology is emerging as the major technology for generation of power in the world; which is evident from the continuous growth witnessed in the last decade…[spurred by innovative] subsidy programs in Germany and Japan…

    "…[Of PV cell materials], amorphous silicon is observed to generate maximum revenue. This is mainly due to its low temperature coefficient and low power loss. Trackers help to increase the solar array’s efficiency by up to 40%...The key applications of PV systems include consumer electronics and telecommunications, building integrated PV applications, grid connected power supply, military and space applications…[BIPV leads the applications…due to the gradual adoption of this technology in industrial, commercial, and residential buildings…"

    (from the MarketsAndMarkets report - click to enlarge)

    "The Chinese PV market is largely driven by the growing demand for energy and the huge volume of export market. It is expected that the government of China will continue with its small scale and targeted incentive programs…Federal policies drove the expansion of PV market in Japanese region. The country’s new national solar goals include 28,000 MW of new solar capacity by 2020 and 53,000 MW by 2030…

    "The global photovoltaic market is expected to reach $130.0 billion in 2015 from $55.7 billion in 2010 at a CAGR of 18.5% from 2010 to 2015…"


    China to invest big in offshore wind power
    November 10, 2011 (China People’s Daily)

    "China plans to increase the combined installed capacity of its offshore wind power sector to 5 gigawatts by 2015 and 30 gigawatts by 2020, with investments totaling 100 billion yuan, according to the recent national wind power meeting hosted by the National Energy Administration.

    "…[O]ffshore wind power represents today’s most advanced wind power generation technology…[but] China's fledging offshore wind power sector lacks experience and has virtually only one offshore wind power project in operation: the Shanghai Donghai Bridge…"

    click to enlarge

    "China possesses the basic capacities of offshore wind power design, construction and equipment manufacturing. With the advent of the 6-megawatt wind power generating set…China has become the second country in the world after Germany that can independently manufacture a 6-megawatt wind power generation set…[and] China has already constructed a batch of pilot offshore wind power projects, and the 54 wind power generating sets under eight enterprises of China, including the Sinovel Wind Group, Goldwind Science and Technology and Shanghai Electric, have already had offshore wind power operation demonstrations…

    "…[E]xperience has been accumulated for the future large-scale development of China's offshore wind power…[and, as a result,] the National Energy Administration and State Oceanic Administration of China jointly issued the Rules for the Implementation of the Provisional Regulations on Offshore Wind Power Development, Construction and Management…"

    Sunday, November 20, 2011


    Solar PV Leads Small Town into Solar Big Leagues; Gainesville Expects 7 MW Solar PV by Year End Florida Town Rivals California in Per Capita Solar
    Paul Gipe, November 19, 2011 (Wind-Works)

    "After only three years of development, a small town in Florida has moved into the ranks of the solar big leagues worldwide…The municipal utility serving Gainesville, Florida expects that by year end 2011 the town will have installed 7.3 MW of solar photovoltaic (solar PV) systems.

    "The university town was one of the first in the US to implement a feed-in tariff for solar PV after a previous program using grants, tax credits, and net metering had failed to install any significant number of systems…Gainesville Regional Utilities [GRU] serves a population of 200,000 people…so [its] feed-in tariff program has resulted in the installation of 0.036 kW per person. This is equivalent to that in California which has had various programs for solar PV in place since the early 2000s."

    (from Paul Gipe, - click to enlarge)

    "However, Gainesville will have to increase its installation rate 20 times to catch up with the German state of Bavaria, which is the region with the world's highest concentration of solar PV of 0.60 kW per person. Puglia Italy is not far behind Bavaria with 0.49 kW per person.

    "…In 2011, [GRU] estimates solar PV will have generated nearly 10 million kWh…The Gainesville feed-in tariff program has been modified annually since its introduction to reflect the falling costs of solar PV and to more equitably distribute installations across all ratepayer classes…More than one-third of the installed capacity has been installed on rooftops in projects less than 100 kW…"


    Hybrid models have lower injury odds than their conventional counterparts
    November 17, 2011 (Highway Loss Data Institute)

    "Hybrids have a safety edge over their conventional twins when it comes to shielding their occupants from injuries in crashes, new research by the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI), an affiliate of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, shows. On average, the odds of being injured in a crash are 25 percent lower for people in hybrids than people traveling in nonhybrid models…

    "…Weight is [the biggest factor]…Hybrids on average are 10 percent heavier [because of the added heft of battery packs and other components]…[O]ther factors, such as how, when, and by whom hybrids are driven, also may contribute. Researchers included controls to reduce the impact these differences may have had on the results."

    (from the Highway Loss Data Institute report - click to enlarge)

    "The new finding is more good news for green-minded drivers who don't want to trade safety for fuel economy. Not so long ago, car buyers had to choose between the two because fuel-efficient cars tended to be smaller and lighter. Now, consumers have more options than ever when it comes to picking an environmentally friendly — and crashworthy — vehicle…

    "In the study, HLDI estimated the odds that a crash would result in injuries if people were riding in a hybrid versus the conventional version of the same vehicle. The analysis included more than 25 hybrid-conventional vehicle pairs, all 2003-11 models, with at least 1 collision claim and at least 1 related injury claim filed under personal injury protection or medical payment coverage in 2002-10…Hybrids' injury odds were [25-to-27] percent lower than their standard counterparts…"


    Lessons Learned From The Treasury's Wind Project Cash-Grant Audits
    David Burton, 15 November 2011 (North American Windpower)

    "The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently released its audit reports of selected recipients of cash grants awarded under Section 1603 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009…[including] reports for three wind farms with cumulative costs of $946.3 million eligible for the 30% Treasury grant and a total nameplate capacity of 546.5 MW…[T]he amounts challenged by the OIG thus far were relatively small.

    "For the three wind farms, the OIG recommended seeking reimbursement from the project owners of less than $40,000. The Treasury is seeking tax accounting guidance, presumably from the Internal Revenue Service, with respect to approximately $2 million more of potential reimbursement. The low level of these amounts reflects well on the renewable energy industry…[and] offer some valuable insight into what project expenses are eligible under the cash-grant program."

    click to enlarge

    "…[T]he reports were generally supportive of grant eligibility for spare parts - provided that, at the time the grant application is filed, title and risk of loss to the spare parts have passed to the applicant. However, no clear standard for spare parts was articulated…[I]t would appear that, in order to qualify for the grant, spare parts need to be reasonably necessary to operate the project…

    "…[T]ools - such as those needed to service the wind turbine - appear to be grant-eligible under certain circumstances…[I]n order to qualify, tools must be necessary to operate the project…Applicants should expect continued scrutiny of grant applications…"

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011


    Xcel sets world record for wind power generation
    Mark Jaffe, November 15, 2011 (Denver Post)

    "Early on the morning of Oct. 6, Xcel Energy set a world record for electricity from wind power…Between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. on that day, 55.6 percent of the electricity consumed by Xcel's 1 million customers, or at least those that were awake, came from the wind farms dotting the state…The previous high - 53 percent - was recorded in 2009 in Spain…

    "There is an on-going debate among utility executives and engineers about how much wind can be put in the electrical grid and its dependability…Improved wind forecasting, energy trading and grid operating improvements are allowing more wind power to be used, Xcel executives said…"

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    "Xcel is appearing before the Colorado Public Utilities Commission Nov. 21 seeking to add another 200 megawatts of wind from NextEra Energy...The proposed wind farm… would have the lowest wind costs Xcel has ever paid…The charge…will start at $27.50 a megawatt-hour [and increase over 25 years by about 2 percent]. Xcel's average purchase cost for wind since 2007 has been $42.16, according to the company…

    "The proposed deal has been challenged before PUC by the Climax Molybdenum Co., one of Xcel's largest customers…Climax contends…the extra wind is not needed to meet the Colorado renewable energy standard, which requires 30 percent of Xcel's power to come from renewable sources…nor is it needed to meet demand."


    Civil Society Institute Study: U.S. Could Achieve Over $80 Billion in Lower Energy Costs by Focusing on Safer, Renewable Energy
    November 16, 2011 (Civil Society Institute)

    "It is a myth that switching to safe, renewable energy would mean an unreliable U.S. power supply that also is too expensive to afford. That is the major conclusion of a new Synapse Energy Economics report…that details a future with more energy efficiency and renewable energy and less reliance on coal and nuclear power…"

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    Toward a Sustainable Future for the U.S. Power Sector: Beyond Business as Usual 2011…outlines a realistic transition to a cleaner energy future that would result in a net savings of $83 billion over the next 40 years. The Synapse report also details other major benefits, including: the avoidance of tens of thousands of premature deaths due to pollution; the creation of hundreds of thousands of new jobs; sharp cuts in carbon pollution; and significant cuts in water consumption for power production…"


    Duke Energy Acquires Three N.C. Solar Farms
    15 November 2011 (Solar Industry)

    "Duke Energy Renewables has acquired three 1 MW commercial solar projects in the southwestern corner of North Carolina. The company says it now owns seven commercial solar farms in the state.

    "Duke Energy Renewables, part of Duke Energy's commercial businesses, purchased the portfolio of PV projects from ESA Renewables LLC, which designed and built the generation sites…"

    click to enlarge

    "The power from each of the newly acquired solar farms is sold through Blue Ridge Mountain EMC to the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), as part of the TVA's Generation Partners program. The length of the power purchase agreements is 10 years. The TVA will also receive the renewable energy certificates created by the projects.

    "ESA Renewables will handle operations, monitoring and maintenance at each of the solar farms."


    Americans using more fossil fuels
    Anne M. Stark, November 11, 2011 (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory)

    "American energy use went back up in 2010 compared to 2009, when consumption was at a 12-year low. The United States used more fossil fuels in 2010 than in 2009, while renewable electricity remained approximately constant, with an increase in wind power offset by a modest decline in hydroelectricity. There also was a significant increase in biomass consumption…

    "Wind power jumped from .70 quadrillion BTU, or quads, in 2009 to .92 quads in 2010. (A BTU or British Thermal Unit is a unit of measurement for energy and is equivalent to about 1.055 kilojoules). Most of that energy is tied directly to electricity generation and thus helps decrease the use of coal for electricity production. Biomass energy consumption rose from 3.88 quads to 4.29 quads. That increase was driven by ethanol use as a transportation fuel and a feedstock for industrial production. (The apparent decline in geothermal energy use is due to an accounting change by the Energy Information Administration)…"

    click to enlarge

    "Overall, U.S. energy use in 2010 equaled 98 quads compared to the 94.6 quads used in 2009. Most of the energy was tied to coal, natural gas and petroleum…Energy use in the residential, commercial, industrial and transportation arenas all rose as well.

    "The majority of energy use in 2010 was used for electricity generation (39.49 quads), followed by transportation, industrial, residential and commercial consumption…As in previous years, coal was the major player in producing electricity, with nuclear and natural gas coming in second and third, respectively. But natural gas consumption by the electric sector grew 0.5 quads this year, driven by consistently low natural gas prices. Over the past six years, gas use in the electric sector has increased 25 percent…"


    New Report Details 10-year Spending Campaign by Fracking Interests to Avoid Regulation
    November 13, 2011 (EcoWatch)

    "Natural gas interests have spent more than $747 million during a 10-year campaign—stunningly successful so far—to avoid government regulation of hydraulic ‘fracking,’ a fast-growing and environmentally risky process used in…at least a dozen…states to tap underground gas reserves…

    "…[A]ccording to…
    Deep Drilling, Deep Pockets…by Common Cause…[a] faction of the natural gas industry has directed more than $20 million to the campaigns of current members of Congress…and put $726 million into lobbying aimed at shielding itself from oversight…"

    click to enlarge

    "In Congress, the industry’s political giving heavily favors lawmakers who supported the 2005 Energy Policy Act, which exempted fracking from regulation under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Current members who voted for the bill received an average of $73,433, while those who voted against the bill received an average of $10,894.

    "The report comes as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is scheduled to publish new, preliminary findings in 2012 about the potential dangers of fracking. That gives the industry a powerful incentive to increase political spending now in an attempt to shape public opinion and the debate over fracking in Congress, as well as affect the outcome of the 2012 congressional elections…"


    Virtual Power Plants; Smart Grid Platforms for Aggregating Distributed Renewables, Demand Response, and Energy Storage Technologies
    Peter Asmus and Clint Wheelock, 4Q 2011 (Pike Research)

    "Growing investments in distributed energy resources – renewable distributed energy generation, demand response (DR), energy storage, and plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) – will require new business and technology platforms to manage the increased level of diversity and complexity. The increasing variability of both generation (from solar and wind) and loads (due to DR and PEVs) will also require more sophisticated and decentralized decision making…[Therefore,] interest in virtual power plants (VPPs) is gaining significant momentum…"

    click to enlarge

    "…[T]oday’s most commercially viable VPP is…the ability to tap resources in real time, and with enough granularity, to control the load profiles of customers, aggregate these resources, and put them up on a trader’s desk. Unlike microgrids, utilities will have to play a major role in the evolution of the VPP market, by nature of their reliance upon the transmission and distribution grid infrastructure, including smart meters. While there are several distinct segments within the VPP market, there is currently an explosion of interest in DR-based VPPs, which are expected to continue leading the way in terms of capacity additions…"

    Monday, November 14, 2011


    Survey: Congress, White House Focus on Fossil Fuels, Nuclear Power is Out of Touch with Views of Mainstream America; A Political Parade With No One Marching Behind the Banner? Even Among Republicans and Tea Party Supporters, Little Evidence of "Old Fuel Constituency" Seen; Focus on Wind and Solar Strongly Preferred by Public Over More Nuclear, Coal and Oil.
    November 3, 2011 (Civil Society Institute)

    "If Congress thinks it has found a winning issue in trashing wind and solar power ... and if the Obama Administration believes that voters will reward it for boosting coal, gas and nuclear power ... then both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue are making serious miscalculations about the sentiments of mainstream Americans - including Republicans and Tea Party supporters -- one year before the 2012 elections…

    "If Washington had to choose between fossil fuel/nuclear subsidies and wind/solar subsidies, "clean energy" aid would get support from three times more Americans than fossil fuel/nuclear energy subsidies…Fossil fuel subsidies are opposed by Americans on a bipartisan basis…"

    click to enlarge

    "Nuclear reactor loan guarantees are opposed by Americans on a bipartisan basis.
    Most Americans want the U.S. to shift federal loan guarantee support from nuclear power to wind and solar energy…

    "A strong majority of Americans want the U.S. to make the investments needed to be a clean energy leader on a global basis…"

    Saturday, November 12, 2011


    Vestas, DONG Energy To Test 7 MW Offshore Wind Turbine
    27 October 2011 (North American Windpower)

    "Vestas and DONG Energy have agreed to collaborate on the testing of Vestas' new V164-7.0 MW offshore wind turbine at DONG Energy's demonstration site in the waters off Frederikshavn, Denmark…Vestas will supply a V164-7.0 MW turbine, which is a dedicated offshore wind turbine designed specifically for the harsh conditions at sea…"

    click to enlarge

    "…DONG Energy's total investment in the establishment of the test site will amount to approximately 32 million euros…The V164-7.0 MW wind turbine is scheduled for installation in 2013 at the demonstration site, where DONG Energy has permission to install a total of six demonstration turbines. As part of the demonstration, DONG Energy and Vestas will cooperate on the technical due diligence of the V164-7.0 MW turbine."


    Energy Efficient Lighting in Asia Pacific; LED Solid State Lighting and Other High Efficiency Lighting Technologies for Commercial, Industrial, and Outdoor Stationary Applications
    4Q 2011 (Pike Research)

    "Lighting is a major driver of electricity consumption within commercial buildings, industrial and government facilities, traffic signals, and signs. However, light-emitting diode (LED) products have come to be regarded as energy-efficient, advanced, and long-lasting alternatives for commercial and industrial lighting applications in the Asia Pacific region. Energy-efficient products are still an expensive means of lighting for Asia Pacific customers; yet, the higher costs are justified by the higher efficacy and performance compared to traditional lighting options."

    click to enlarge

    "Along with price competition among LED lighting suppliers, the market perception has dramatically changed, and LED is now viewed as an affordable and efficient technology with long-term benefits. And in most Asia Pacific markets, governments are committing large amounts of funding to basic infrastructure, creating an abundance of business opportunities."


    The State of the Utility Bill
    Ben Foster and Elena Alschuler, November 9, 2011 (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy)

    "The utility bill is the most common way for utilities to provide information about energy use to their customers, but it is often overlooked both as a way to give customers better control over their energy use and to support utilities’ goals for more actively engaging customers, especially as a part of a smart grid strategy. Even as smart meters and smart phone apps proliferate, the paper bill has the potential to become a cost-effective feedback device with a broad reach."

    "This report provides a preliminary take on the potential for enhancing the utility bill to provide better indirect feedback to utility customers..."

    click to enlarge

    "...Our goals are to present new research on the elements appearing on a sample of 100 current bills, to characterize how these bill elements align with previous research on bill information design, to outline some of the history of bill development, and to understand where the bill might be headed in the future.

    "We find that the average customer bill does not provide the level of feedback and connection to program resources that it reasonably might, and we offer recommendations for overcoming barriers to improving the bill."


    Sierra Club plans to sue We Energies over Oak Creek bluff collapse
    November 9, 2011 (MSNBC)

    The Sierra Club issued a Notice of Intent to sue We Energies for the October 31 flood of coal ash into Lake Michigan when an old landfill located on the bluff collapsed at a construction site at the company's Oak Creek coal plant…"

    Bluff Collapse, Huge Toxic Coal Ash Spill From WISN via YouTube

    "…The Notice of Intent to sue alleges that the pollutants in the coal ash at the bottom of Lake Michigan ‘pose an imminent and substantial endangerment to human health and the environment.’…The Notice of Intent to sue is the first step in legal action against We Energies to force the company to clean up the toxic coal ash."

    Friday, November 11, 2011


    A Tale of Two Markets: How National and State Incentives Are Spurring Solar in India; GTM Research and Bridge to India examine India’s National Solar Mission and the state of Gujarat’s Solar Policy.
    November 3, 2011 (Greentech Media)

    "[The India Solar Market: Strategy, Players, and Opportunities, from GTM Research and Bridge to India, forecasts the solar market, now only 45 megawatts, less than any other national market with significant near-term promise, will] grow significantly over the next 10 years, driven by rising power demand and fossil fuel prices; the ambitious Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission; various state-level initiatives; renewable energy quotas, including solar energy quotas for utilities; and falling solar technology costs…

    "Encouraging the spread of solar power generation, both PV and concentrating solar power (CSP), and aiming for retail grid parity (currently at around INR5 per kilowatt-hour or $0.12 per kilowatt-hour) by 2022 and parity with coal generation by 2030 are both key elements in India’s comprehensive, long-term energy supply strategy…[A]s of July 2011, solar power generation in India cost around INR12 ($0.30) per kilowatt-hour for utility-scale systems, or more than three times as much as power from coal…"

    from GTM Research - click to enlarge

    "The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (NSM) is the main instrument promoting solar demand in India. It targets installations of 20 gigawatts of grid-connected and 2 gigawatts of off-grid solar power by 2022…In the policy's first of three phases, from 2010 to 2013, the government aims [drive growth with feed-in tariffs and] to set up 1,000 megawatts of grid- connected power plants…[and] 200 megawatts of off-grid and 100 megawatts of small-grid solar power are to be installed at the tail end of the transmission grid…

    "The Gujarat Solar Policy…offers a levelized tariff…The tremendous interest from developers in the NSM led to competitive bidding for projects and a subsequent decrease in tariffs. The fall in the NSM tariff below the levelized tariff in Gujarat suddenly made the Gujarat policy very attractive…[and] a significantly higher feed-in tariff in the first 12 years in Gujarat matches investors’ timelines…The first projects under the Gujarat program have already begun to come online…[with] at least another 150 megawatts will be completed before the end of 2011…"

    Thursday, November 10, 2011


    New Building Norms Can Drive BIPV Mainstream, with 6.6 GW Market in 2021; Building-integrated photovoltaics will likely move beyond its current aesthetic niche much sooner, by 2016 with a market size of $6 billion…
    4 November 2011 (World of Photovoltaics)

    "Building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) can become mainstream with an estimated 6.6 GW installed in 2021 as the European Commission’s Net-Zero Energy Buildings (NZEBs) standards lead to likely widespread adoption across the continent, according to a report from Lux Research.

    "In the most likely scenario, BIPV will move beyond its aesthetic niche sooner – by 2016 it will climb to over 1 GW with an estimated $6 billion market in that year. But it has the even greater potential to then rise more than six-fold to 6.6 GW in 2021, as European nations scramble to meet norms that mandate new buildings to be NZEBs by 2020…"

    click to enlarge

    "…BIPV installations in Europe will be 105 MW in 2011 thanks to BIPV-specific feed-in tariff (FIT) rates in France and Switzerland. The U.S. follows closely at 103 MW due to the large number of LEED-certified buildings in the commercial sector, while Asia lags both with only 12 MW. In 2013, Europe will overtake the U.S. in installed capacity and skyrocket by 2016 to an 85% market share, driven by NZEB norms.

    "…[T]he levelized cost of electricity (LCOE)…will help determine winning applications. Roofing in California, for instance, can provide an LCOE from $0.13/kWh to $0.15/kWh, while siding in Germany is over $1/kWh…Multicrystalline silicon technology offers the best LCOE for roofing, with copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) thin film not far behind. For façades, cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin film is the obvious winner, while for commercial building siding, CIGS beats out its only major competitor, amorphous silicon (a-Si) in all geographies…"


    Utilities are Making Progress on Smart Grid Cyber Security, but 2012 will Continue to be a Year of Major Challenges
    November 8, 2011 (Pike Research)

    "…[Pike Research’s white paper, Utility Cyber Security] finds that utilities’ cyber security challenges are nowhere close to being resolved, and the industry will continue to face a number of serious hurdles in the coming years…"

    [Bob Lockhart, senior analyst, Pike Research:] “Utility cyber security is in a state of near chaos…After years of vendors selling point solutions, utilities investing in compliance minimums rather than full security, and attackers having nearly free rein, the attackers clearly have the upper hand. Many attacks simply cannot be defended. That said, Pike Research has observed a dawning awareness by utilities during the past 18 months of the importance of securing smart grids with architecturally sound solutions. There is hope.”

    click to enlarge

    "…[T]he utility cyber security market will be characterized by a frantic race to gain the upper hand against the attackers, while at the same time strong competitors attempt to outdo each other…Pike Research [identifies the five most promising smart grid cyber security technologies and key trends]…

    "…[C]yber security investments will be shaped by regional deployments…Industrial control systems, not smart meters, will be the primary cyber security focus…Security ‘by obscurity’ will no longer be acceptable…[T]he lack of security standards will hinder action…[O]lder devices will continue to pose challenges…System implementation will be more important than component security…"


    GE Gets Green Light to Illuminate London’s Tower Bridge With LED Tech
    November 8, 2011 (GE)

    "…GE and its UK partner EDF Energy have received a formal approval to install GE’s new energy efficient LED technology and a cabling system to illuminate the 800-foot [London Bridge]. The new lighting will replace a 25 year old legacy system and help cut the amount of energy required to light the landmark by 40%...

    "The new system is designed to enhance the architectural features of the 117-year old bridge. GE’s multi-color LEDs with variable intensity will illuminate the bridge’s Victorian gothic turrets, granite and stone towers as well as an aerial walkway and suspension chains. Kinga Kalocsai of GE Lighting says that the new lighting will ‘emphasize the lines of force’ of the bridge…"

    Far from falling down, London Bridge will light up the New Energy Age (click to enlarge)

    "The flexibility of the lighting design will allow London officials to transform the bridge into a centerpiece for other celebrations and special event’s such as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and New Year’s Eve festivities…

    "The bridge lighting will be installed by the French firm Citelum, which has designed lighting for landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia."

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011


    Renewable-Specific Transmission Projects Gain Steam
    Dave Levitan, November 1, 2011 (IEEE Spectrum)

    "It isn't intermittency or storage that really presents the biggest stumbling block for wind power scale-up, it's transmission. Huge wind farms in the middle of the plains sound great, but if there isn't a network of high-voltage lines to bring the power toward load centers -- cities -- then those farms don't get built. There is a growing move to build up these transmission networks, though, by companies and projects with specific goals of getting renewable energy on the grid as quickly as possible.

    "Clean Line Energy recently announced approval to conduct business as a utility in Oklahoma; this will allow the company to start work on…[connecting] 7,000 megawatts of clean energy generation from western Oklahoma, southwest Kansas, and the Texas Panhandle to Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), Arkansas, and other southeastern markets…"

    click to enlarge

    "Further north, ITC Holdings has long been in development for the Green Power Express, a transmission network designed to move 12,000 MW of renewable power around; it has since been incorporated into a larger network of transmission plans…In 2010 Southern California Edison completed three segments of the Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project to bring renewable power toward the Los Angeles area…

    "…[A] report from Edison Electric Institute in 2009 outlined more than $21 billion in investments by utilities and regional transmission operators to build out renewable energy transmission networks…These projects -- and their cousins, like the Google-backed offshore ‘backbone,’ the Atlantic Wind Connection, that is in development -- are going to be key if renewable energy buildout is to…speed up…"


    Siemens increases stake in ocean power specialist Marine Current Turbines
    November 4, 2011 (Siemens)

    "Siemens is increasing its stake in Britain’s Marine Current Turbines Ltd. to 45 percent…[as part of the expansion of its] newly founded Solar & Hydro Division within Siemens’ Energy Sector…Effective October 1, 2011…[the] Renewable Energy Division was split into two new divisions Wind Power and Solar & Hydro…

    "Marine Current Turbines (MCT) evolved from a pioneer to a technology leader in horizontal-axis marine current turbines and has 25 employees. In February 2010, Siemens acquired a minor stake…MCT has already successfully implemented its first commercial-scale demonstrator project SeaGen in Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland. Since November 2008, two axial turbines with a combined capacity of 1.2 MW have been feeding power into the grid…his project has thus produced the largest amount of electricity in the whole marine current power sector."

    SeaGen, the MCT tidal energy device now generating electricity from tides in Northern Ireland's Strangford Lough (click to enlarge)

    "Marine current turbines generate electricity by utilizing tidal current flows. The SeaGen turbine is fixed on a structure and is driven by the flow of the tides, with a key advantage that the generated power is precisely predictable in the tidal cycle. This technology is effectively similar to a wind turbine, with the rotor blades driven not by wind power but by tidal currents. Water has an energy density more than 800 times that of wind. Twin rotors rotate with the movement of the tidal flow and the blades pitch through 180 degrees to optimally track tidal current direction and speed…

    "…[Ocean power is emerging with strong growth rates driven by global CO2 reduction commitments. Until 2020, experts anticipate double-digit growth rates for the ocean power business. Based on further estimates the global potential for power generation using tidal power plants is 800 terawatt-hours (TWh) per annum…That is equivalent to 25 percent above the total power demand in Germany and between three and four percent of power consumption worldwide]…"


    Generating Ethanol from Lignocellulose Possible, But Large Cost Reductions Still Needed

    "The production of ethanol from lignocellulose-rich materials such as wood residues, waste paper, used cardboard and straw cannot yet be achieved at the same efficiency and cost as from corn starch. A cost comparison has concluded that using lignocellulose materials is unlikely to be competitive with starch until 2020 at the earliest. The study…[identified] many opportunities for reducing costs and improving income within the lignocellulose-to-ethanol process, and provides insight into the priority areas that must be addressed in coming years.

    "...The last 15 years has seen a massive growth of so-called first-generation processes that use enzymes and bacteria to turn the starch and sugars in corn and sugarcane into ethanol. But corn and sugarcane are also important components of the human food web, so using them for ethanol production has the potential to affect the price and availability of these basic commodities."

    click to enlarge

    "On the other hand, lignocellulose materials are often hard to dispose of, but they are rich in sugars that can be fermented into ethanol following appropriate processing…[C]ellulose [is] the most abundant polymer on Earth…[and] cannot be digested by humans, so using it for fuel production does not compete directly with food…The race is on to commercialize this second generation ethanol.

    "…[T]he cost of building large scale ethanol-producing facilities will likely be higher for second generation ethanol compared to first generation technologies…[because] sources of lignocellulose may require significant and costly pre-treatment…Another reason costs are higher is that…[c]orn starch can be reduced to glucose with low-cost amylase enzymes, while pre-treated lignocellulose requires a [costly] cocktail of cellulase enzymes…"

    Monday, November 7, 2011


    U.S. Department of Energy to fund major Offshore Wind Grid Interconnection study; ABB, AWS Truepower, Duke Energy, NREL, University of Pittsburgh create provisional partnership to perform studies to identify sites for high offshore wind energy potential and grid interconnection along all U.S. coastal regions.
    November 7, 2011 (ABB)

    "The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)…[will provide] funding for a team of leading energy organizations to perform a broad study that will assess the most promising sites for high offshore wind production along all of the U.S. coastal regions. The ABB-led team will investigate important technical and economic questions about the integration of offshore wind energy through a range of transmission technologies.

    "This DOE study – the 'National Offshore Wind Energy Grid Interconnection Study' – will be led by experts from five influential energy, manufacturing, consulting, utility and research organizations: ABB, AWS Truepower, Duke Energy, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and the University of Pittsburgh."

    The study will detail the process of connecting these 2 maps. (click to enlarge)

    "This team will determine the expected staging of offshore wind development in each of the coastal regions, develop expected wind generation production profiles, assess the applicability of integration study methods to offshore wind production, assess a variety of offshore wind collection and delivery technologies, and consider regulatory issues that may influence the selection of technologies or the implementation of systems.

    "Additionally, the study will provide the technical and economic viability data necessary to produce a roadmap to the DOE’s ‘20 Percent Wind Energy by 2030’ wind goals for the U.S. This Offshore Wind initiative will help guide the national effort to achieve a 54 gigawatts (GW) of deployed offshore wind generating capacity by 2030…"


    President Obama Weighs In On Chinese Solar Trade Petition
    3 November 2011 (Solar Industry)

    "In a recent interview, President Barack Obama remarked on the trade case recently filed against China by SolarWorld and its partners in the Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM)…[and] appeared to support the anti-dumping complaint and countervailing-duty petition…"

    President Obama: "I have been more aggressive than previous administrations in enforcing our trade laws…We have filed actions against them when we see these kinds of dumping activities, and we're going to look very carefully at this stuff and potentially bring actions if we find that the basic rules of the road have been violated."

    Sunday, November 6, 2011


    Wind Energy, Storage Combined In Coal Country
    Lauren Craig, November 6, 2011 (Earth Techling)

    "West Virginia is Coal Country, but wind energy is making inroads…with cutting-edge energy-storage capabilities…AES has announced the completion and full-scale commercial operation of its Laurel Mountain wind power plant.

    "…The 98-megawatt (MW) plant consists of 61 GE 1.6-MW wind turbine generators situated along a 13-mile stretch of Laurel Mountain…[W]hat makes this project unique is its 32 MW of battery-based energy storage – the largest advanced energy storage project of its kind."

    The Laurel Mountain project (from – click to enlarge)

    "The battery bank will allow the wind farm to smooth fluctuations in power generation, and help maintain the reliability of the power grid. The plant will supply more than 260,000 megawatt-hours of renewable energy and operating reserve capacity each year to the PJM Interconnection, the largest power market in the world.

    "…Va.- based AES operates more than 1,900 MW of wind capacity in the United States, China and Europe. The company has 72 MW of grid-scale storage resources in operation and construction, and more than 500 MW of advanced energy storage projects in development. The Laurel Mountain storage facility is more than double the size of any of its previous projects, including an 8-MW battery system in the New York Independent System Operator market and a 12-MW frequency regulation and spinning reserve solution at AES Gener’s Los Andes substation in Chile…"


    New Poll: 9 out of 10 Americans Support Solar, Across Political Spectrum; Survey by Kelton Research finds continued widespread public support for development of solar energy, federal incentives for solar, across political spectrum.
    November 1, 2011 (Solar Industries Energy Association)

    "Americans overwhelmingly support the use and development of solar energy as well as federal investments for solar, according to a new national poll…in the 2011 SCHOTT Solar Barometer(TM)…by independent polling firm Kelton Research…For the fourth consecutive year…about nine out of 10 Americans (89 percent) think it is important for the United States to develop and use solar energy…with 80 percent of Republicans, 90 percent of Independents and 94 percent of Democrats agreeing…

    "The survey also found that…[m]ore than eight out of 10 Americans (82 percent) support federal tax credits and grants for the solar industry similar to those that traditional sources of energy like oil, natural gas and coal have received for decades. Seventy-one percent of Republicans agree, as well as 82 percent of Independents and 87 percent of Democrats."

    click to enlarge

    "…[W]hen asked to select an energy source they would financially support if they were in charge of U.S. energy policy, 39 percent of Americans chose solar over other sources such as natural gas (21 percent), wind (12 percent), nuclear (9 percent) and coal (3 percent). Among Independents, solar is more than twice as popular as any other energy source (43 percent for solar compared to 20 percent for natural gas)…

    "Despite weeks of news coverage about the bankruptcy of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra…the vast majority of Americans support solar manufacturing in the United States. Eight out of 10 (82 percent) think it is important for the federal government to support U.S. solar manufacturing…"


    Reichert, Blumenauer Introduce Bipartisan Extension of Renewable Energy Tax Incentive; Bill extends production tax credit through 2016
    November 3, 2011 (American Wind Energy Association)

    "U.S. Representatives Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), members of the tax-writing House Committee on Ways and Means, today introduced the American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act (H.R. 3307). This bipartisan bill extends the tax incentive for the production of wind power, geothermal power, hydropower, and other forms of renewable energy through 2016…

    "H.R. 3307 provides a clean, 4-year extension of the existing production tax credit…It was created in the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and has frequently been extended in year-end packages of expiring tax provisions, as well as in the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The current incentive is set to expire next year for wind and in 2013 for other renewable energy forms…"

    click to enlarge

    "Advocates note that historically, at least six to eight months before the tax credit expires, financial lenders hesitate in providing capital for projects because of the uncertainty created by the pending expiration of the credit, stalling projects…

    "The rush to complete projects as the PTC nears expiration also reduces projects and adds costs, resulting in higher electricity prices…"

    Tuesday, November 1, 2011


    Demand Response; Curtailment Services, Systems Integration and Consulting Services, and Outsourcing Services for Commercial, Industrial, and Residential Markets: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts
    4Q 2011 (Pike Research)

    "Demand response (DR) continues to evolve as the smart grid’s ‘killer application’, leveraging technology infrastructure to deliver measurable value to utilities, grid operators, and customers…

    "The demand response market encompasses hardware, software, and services, but it is the services sector that is defining [its] future direction…in the United States which is the leading market for DR…[and] in Europe and Asia Pacific, where the DR market is developing quickly…"

    click to enlarge

    "The DR services market is segmented into three main areas: curtailment services, systems integration/consulting services, and outsourcing services…[It is still] an evolving market…with an estimated worldwide spending of $1.3 billion in 2011…[It] is projected to experience a robust compound annual growth (CAGR) rate of 37% to become a multi-billion market by 2016…

    "Of the three key segments, curtailment services are the largest with an expected global market of $748 million in 2011. The systems integration/consulting services and outsourcing markets…[are expected to have] CAGRs of 32% and 31% respectively, on a worldwide basis. All world regions offer good demand response services prospects, but North America is currently the leading region and is projected to represent the biggest and best market opportunity over the next 5 years…"


    White House Orders Review of Energy Department’s Loan Program
    Mike Dorning and Jim Snyder, October 28, 2011 (Bloomberg News)

    "The Obama administration ordered a review of the Energy Department’s loan program as House Republicans consider subpoenaing more White House records about a guarantee for failed solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC…The analysis, to be conducted by former Treasury official Herbert Allison, will look at the department’s loan portfolio and focus on future monitoring and management…

    "The Energy Department’s $535 million loan guarantee for Solyndra in 2009 has become the focus of a political controversy and a congressional investigation after the Fremont, California- based company filed for bankruptcy protection on Sept. 6…The administration has repeatedly defended its efforts to support development of alternative energy sources since Solyndra’s collapse. Obama has cited the need to compete with China’s investment in clean-energy technology."

    click to enlarge

    "Energy Secretary Steven Chu said… the department’s loan programs ‘are putting thousands of Americans to work’ and will help the U.S. compete for clean- energy jobs. Chu said he welcomed the review and directed staff to cooperate…The energy panel has been investigating the Solyndra loan since February…Solyndra made cylindrical thin-film solar panels and it used the loan guarantee to build a manufacturing facility…The administration has already given Congress more than 70,000 pages of documents from federal agencies involved in the Solyndra loan guarantee…

    "Allison, 68, was named by Obama in 2009 as assistant secretary of Treasury to oversee the Troubled Asset Relief Program. During the Bush administration, he was named president of Fannie Mae after it entered into government conservatorship in September 2008. He previously served as chairman and chief executive officer of TIAA-CREF, the largest retirement-plan manager for U.S. teachers… was chairman of Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign in the 2000 Republican primaries and…served as president and chief operating officer of Merrill Lynch…"


    Kurth: "Compensation from 1 January 2012 to 15 percent lower"
    October 27, 2011 (Bundesnetzagentur)

    "…[T]he new reimbursement rates for photovoltaic systems (PV systems)… with effect from 1 January 2012 to go into operation, the plant operator, for each injected into the net kilowatt hour of electricity, an amount of between 17.94 cents and 24.43 cents, depending on location and size of the plant…Over the past twelve months…[building reached a] total capacity of 5,200 MW. This value means that the remuneration of PV systems that go from January 1, 2012 will be 15 percent lower than the current remuneration..."

    click to enlarge

    "The pay and scale sets for the following year… according to the requirements of the Renewable Energies Act (EEG)…For the payment of electricity from PV systems is the so-called system of breathing cover. Here, the scale rate changes…on an annual basis of scale of nine percent, depending on the actual annex…During the period 1 October 2010 to 30 September 2011 was reported to the Federal Network Agency's additional construction of a total PV installations above the legal threshold of 4,500 MW…A maximum reduction of 24 percent would have occurred if the value would have been about 7,500 MW…"