NewEnergyNews More: July 2012

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Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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  • Tuesday, July 31, 2012

    U.S. LEVIES WIND TOWER TARIFF ON CHINA, VIETNAM

    Commerce Preliminarily Finds Dumping of Imports of Utility Scale Wind Towers from the People’s Republic of China and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

    July 27, 2012 (International Trade Administration)

    “…[T]he Department of Commerce (Commerce) announced its affirmative preliminary determinations in the antidumping duty (AD) investigations of imports of utility scale wind towers from the People’s Republic of China (China) and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Vietnam)…[D]umping occurs when a foreign company sells a product in the United States at less than fair value.

    “…Commerce preliminarily determined…[in] the China investigation… Chengxi Shipyard Co., Ltd. and Titan Wind Energy (Suzhou) Co., Ltd. received preliminary dumping margins of 30.93 percent and 20.85 percent…Three other exporters qualified for a separate rate of 26.25 percent. All other Chinese producers/exporters received a preliminary dumping margin of 72.69 percent…In the Vietnam investigation, mandatory respondent, CS Wind Corporation and CS Wind Vietnam Co. Ltd….received a preliminary dumping margin of 52.67 percent. All other Vietnamese producers/exporters received a preliminary dumping margin of 59.91 percent."

    “…Commerce will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to require a cash deposit based on these preliminary rates…[For investigations] filed on or after November 2, 2011, Commerce requires importers to post cash deposits rather than bonds to cover estimated duties. [Commerce is currently scheduled to make its final determination for China and Vietnam in December 2012…[T]he U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) will make its final injury determinations in the China and Vietnam investigations in February 2013]…

    “…The petitioner for these investigations is the Wind Tower Trade Coalition. The Wind Tower Trade Coalition is comprised of the following member companies: Broadwind Towers, Inc. (Manitowoc, WI); DMI Industries (Fargo, ND); Katana Summit LLC (Columbus, NE); and Trinity Structural Towers, Inc. (Dallas, TX)… The merchandise covered by these investigations is utility scale wind towers which are the steel towers that support the nacelle…”

    FEDS SPEED SOLAR PERMITS

    Obama solar energy plan aims to speed up permitting process

    Joe Nelson, July 28, 2012 (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin)

    “The Obama Administration has released a sweeping environmental plan for solar energy projects in California's Mojave Desert and five other western states that aims to expedite the permitting process while protecting sensitive lands and endangered wildlife…The Solar Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement…marks what the Departments of Interior and Energy are calling a ‘historic milestone’ in the nation's effort to accelerate renewable energy projects. It is the first-ever roadmap for large-scale solar energy development on lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah…

    “The plan establishes 17 solar energy zones on 285,000 acres across the six states…Each zone was selected due to their minimal impact on the environment, which translates into a streamlining of the permitting process…Targeted areas for solar development are characterized by excellent solar resources, good energy transmission potential, and relatively low conflict with biological, cultural and historic resources…[T]he blueprint also allows for utility-scale solar development on approximately 19 million acres in [peripheral] areas…”

    “…[T]he environmental impact statement…Outlines a process for industry, the public and other interested stakeholders to propose new or expanded solar energy zones…Includes strong incentives for development within the designated solar energy zones including faster and easier permitting, improved mitigation strategies and economic incentives…

    “…Sets a clear process that allows for development of well-sited projects…Protects natural and cultural resources by excluding 78 million acres…Identifies best practices features for solar energy development…[and establishes] a framework for regional mitigation plans.”

    PHEV GO, EV NO

    Plug-in hybrid sales soar; all-electric cars stay in low gear; Analysts say electric cars' limited range and higher prices, as well as the lack of a widespread public charging infrastructure, have hurt the appeal of the vehicles. But sales of plug-in hybrids — vehicles that can travel miles on battery power before a traditional gasoline engine kicks in — are soaring.

    Jerry Hirsch, July 27, 2012 (LA Times via Seattle Times)

    “…Sales of what are considered "pure" electric cars — they run off just a battery — have risen to slightly over 4,100 during the first six months of this year, up just 6 percent [234 cars] from the same period a year earlier…even though Ford, BMW, Honda and Mitsubishi all have joined pioneer Nissan in offering electric vehicles. Analysts say electric cars' limited range and higher prices, as well as the lack of a widespread public charging infrastructure, have hurt…

    “But sales of plug-in hybrids — vehicles that can travel some miles on battery power before a traditional gasoline engine kicks in — are soaring…[A] resurgent Chevrolet Volt and Toyota's introduction of a plug-in version of its popular Prius [sent] sales of such vehicles…[up] 381 percent to more than 13,000 in the first half of this year...”

    “…Ford announced…its first plug-in hybrid — the C-Max Energi small crossover, which comes out later this year…will be able to travel about 20 miles on electricity alone but could go an additional 530 miles with the help of its gasoline engine…[Ford] plans to charge $33,745…

    “General Motors has sold 8,817 Chevrolet Volts in the first half of this year, a 221 percent increase. That includes 1,760 sold in June. Volt sales have been helped by the car's recent qualification for California's rebate and carpool-lane permits. About 28 percent of its sales last month were in California…Toyota has sold 4,374 [of a 2012 forecast 15,000 Prius plug-in sales] through June, about 60 percent in California…Nissan sold only 3,148 all-electric Leafs in this year's first half, down 18.8 percent from a year earlier…”

    Monday, July 30, 2012

    A TRILLION $$$ FOR NEW ENERGY

    How To Tap A Trillion Dollars For Renewable Energy Investment

    Jigar Shah, July 23, 2012 (Forbes)

    “Since the late 1970s the U.S. has avoided creating a comprehensive energy policy. Instead, we have…[p]ermanent tax credits for the fossil fuel industry and temporary credits and subsidies for the renewable energy industry…[T]the Production Tax Credit for wind energy…is set to expire on Dec. 31 unless it is renewed for another two-year run…[Solar’s] 30% investment tax credit sunsets at the end of 2016…It has helped jumpstart a $300 billion solar market…President Obama has proposed eliminating eight permanent oil subsidies that the Cato Institute’s Jerry Taylor estimates will save $43 billion over 10 years.

    “…[P]ublic support drives the vagaries…[S]ince the nuclear disaster in Fukushima, Japan in March 2011, support for building more nuclear power plants declined to 42% from 61% in 2008… 76% of Americans support regulating carbon dioxide…[and] two-thirds believe the U.S. should pursue policies to reduce its carbon footprint…[But] without a comprehensive energy plan, plus uncertainty about energy tax credits and subsidies, what signals are we sending to investors? [Yet] in 2010-2011…more renewable energy was installed than new natural gas generators…”

    “Renewable energy is taking off because it is delivering low risk, stable returns…This year renewable energy investment exceeded $40 billion in the United States and $260 billion globally. But we can’t reach our goals of oil independence, renewable electricity, local job creation, and reduced health care expenses caused by fossil fuels unless we can mobilize investors at $1 trillion scale.”

    “The money exists on the sidelines today and politicians should be looking to deliver a stable comprehensive energy plan to tap into these investment dollars. We cannot have an “all of the above” approach to energy without a clear plan…[A plan can lead to] deployment of the hundreds of dormant technologies that we have invented since the 1970s that can be scaled up quickly…[by] unlocking capital flows for good, solid, measured and controlled-risk investments into infrastructure…A comprehensive plan would provide comfort to investors looking to make long-term investments…[Without it], $1 trillion of investment dollars sit[s] on the sidelines, making no impact.”

    GE SUFFERS FROM GOP BLOCK ON WIND INCENTIVE

    GE blames drop in wind turbine sales on tax uncertainty

    Zack Colman, July 20, 2012 (The Hill)

    “General Electric, the nation's largest producer of wind turbines, is blaming a drop in orders on the uncertainty surrounding a wind-production tax credit.

    “GE’s wind sales fell 37 percent from the second quarter of 2011 to the same quarter in 2012…[GE] attributed most of the decrease in sales to the tax credit's uncertain future.”

    “A slew of smaller wind firms have announced layoffs in recent months, with most listing the wind tax credit as a driving factor...The Obama administration has blamed Congress for layoffs in the wind industry and urged the renewal of the tax credit, which pays wind power generators 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour

    “Presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney favors phasing out the wind credit, a stance that has drawn the ire of wind advocates in Iowa, the state with the second-most wind generating capacity.”

    HOW A COAL BURNER CAN CLEAN UP

    Greenpeace Report Shows a Cheaper, Cleaner Pathway for Duke Energy

    July 25, 2012 (EcoWatch)

    “…[Greenpeace’s] Charting the Correction Course: A Clean Energy Pathway for Duke Energy…details how Duke Energy can save their customers $108 billion over 20 years by investing in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

    “…Under Duke’s current plan, the majority of energy generated in North and South Carolina over the next 20 years will be sourced from 70-year-old coal plants and risky nuclear plants…Duke will [also] be expanding its natural gas fleet, thereby doubling the company’s exposure to volatile natural gas prices. At the same time Duke Energy will quadruple electricity rates in the Carolinas within ten years, and increase them by nearly 20-fold by 2032…to pay for the company’s proposed construction.”

    “The Greenpeace plan highlights specific changes Duke Energy can make to benefit ratepayers, the environment and investors…Duke could source 33 percent of its electricity from wind, solar and efficiency resources while saving ratepayers 57 percent on their bills over the next 20 years…[That] would also reduce long-term debt for the company by 75 percent when compared to Duke’s current plans…

    “If Duke took the suggested steps it would reduce its global warming pollution by 29 percent, acid rain pollution by 61 percent and smog-causing pollution by 47 percent. This includes 141 million tons of carbon dioxide, nearly 143,000 tons of sulfur dioxide and more than 114,000 tons of nitrogen oxides.”

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012

    OFFSHORE WIND CAN BE PEAK POWER

    Lesson from heatwave: Offshore project would pump lots of electricity during summer peaks, says Deepwater

    20 July 2012 (Wind Energy Weekly)

    “Record-high temperatures along the East Coast in recent weeks have spurred conversation about the availability of electric capacity during peak usage…Deepwater Wind this week released data showing that its planned Deepwater Wind Energy Center (DWEC), a 900-MW offshore wind farm that would be located 20 miles off the coasts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, would reach maximum output on the hottest days of summer in the Northeast, just when electric grids most need the energy.

    “During the first heat wave of the season, in late June, temperatures and the electric demand on Long Island surged. For example, on June 21, a new high for the date was set on Long Island as the temperature peaked at 95 degrees in the late afternoon. Electric demand followed that temperature rise. Likewise, demand for electricity in New England also soared during the heat wave…Data modeled by Deepwater Wind’s meteorological experts, AWS Truepower, show that DWEC would have been operating near its maximum output during the afternoons of both June 20 and June 21, when the heat wave was at its peak.”

    “…While [Deepwater Wind’s] wind farm is projected to produce at an average of approximately 45 percent capacity over the course of a full year, it would have been producing much more, in the range of 65-90 percent capacity, during most of the hottest hours of the heat wave…Another Northeast developer, Cape Wind, has pointed to similar data from its wind measurement instruments during heat waves.

    “Deepwater Wind has proposed to sell power from DWEC to the Long Island Power Authority via a new transmission system connecting Long Island and southeastern New England. The developer also intends to market power from DWEC to Massachusetts and Rhode Island…”

    SOLAR’S TAX CREDIT PAYS 10% PROFIT

    Study: Solar Investment Tax Credit Pays For Itself, Delivers 10% Return

    20 July 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “The solar investment tax credit (ITC) can deliver a 10% internal rate of return to taxpayers on the U.S. government's initial investment, according to [Paid In Full; An Analysis of the Return to the Federal Taxpayer for Internal Revenue Code Section 48 Solar Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC)] published by the U.S. Partnership for Renewable Finance (PREF), a program of the American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE).

    “The study examined the cashflows generated by tax revenues on solar leases and power purchase agreements and found that a $10,500 tax credit for a residential system can provide a $22,882 nominal benefit to the government in those scenarios over the life of the solar asset, and a $300,000 commercial solar credit can create a $677,627 nominal benefit in a similar time period…”

    “SolarCity, a member of PREF, created the models for the study based on industry data and consulted with tax and advisory firm KPMG on the application of current income tax law and evaluation methodology for federal government incentives…"

    [Lyndon Rive, CEO, SolarCity:] "Everyone understands that solar power leads to cleaner air and greater independence from fossil fuel…Far fewer people realize that solar incentives can pay for themselves. Solar power has become a political football in this election year, but the investment tax credit has been one of the most beneficial, bipartisan energy policies of this or any other generation."

    NEW HAMPSHIRE WIND BOOM

    Advocates voice optimism for NH's wind power potential

    Gerry Miles, July 15, 2012 (New Hampshire Union Leader)

    “New Hampshire has the potential to have its wind industry grow fivefold during 2012, according to the American Wind Energy Association…State wind production is currently 26 megawatts, with projects that will produce an additional 147 megawatts under construction…[and the use of] renewable energies in the state is growing…

    “The Lempster Wind Power Project’s 12 turbines produce enough energy (up to 24 megawatts) to power 10,000 homes and offset the carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to 5,700 cars annually. Each turbine tower stands 256 feet tall, supporting a 139-foot turbine blade, making the total height 395 feet when the blade is vertical to the ground. Lempster is owned by the Iberdrola Renewables company…Public Service of New Hampshire buys all of Lempster’s power, which is then resold to the New Hampshire Electric Cooperative.

    NH

    “Granite Reliable Power Windpark in Coos County was purchased by Brookfield Renewable Energy in February 2011…Brookfield hopes to boost its wind portfolio to have an installed capacity of more than 600 megawatts by the end of 2012. Granite Reliable has a stated output of 99 megawatts…The Antrim wind farm is still in the permitting process [and is expected to break ground about 2014]…One of the state’s first wind farms, Loranger Power Generation in Berlin, was commissioned in 2006. It is capable of producing about 1.35 megawatts of power…The power generated at Loranger comes from three turbines and is returned to the state’s power grid by Public Service of New Hampshire.

    “About 12 percent of the state’s power is derived from renewable energy resources…[T]he majority of the state’s electricity is produced by fossil fuel (47 percent) and nuclear power (41 percent)…The first wind turbines in the United States were installed on land at the Crotched Mountain Rehabilitation Center in Greenfield, dedicated on April 24, 1981…Each tower, built by US Windpower, stood 60 feet tall and used a three-blade fiberglass propeller 20 feet wide to generate power. The project failed, and the company declared bankruptcy in 1996.”

    Tuesday, July 24, 2012

    GE TURBINES MAKE WIND CHEAPER THAN COAL IN INDIA

    GE Turbines Help Greenko Drive Wind Power Cost Below Coal

    Natalie Obiko Pearson, July 18, 2012 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

    “The cost of wind power has dropped below the price of coal-fired energy in parts of India for the first time as improved turbine technology and rising fossil-fuel prices boost its competitiveness, Greenko Group Plc (GKO) said…

    “The cost of wind has closed in on coal thanks to more advanced turbines, which can produce more electricity from lower wind speeds. The shift means new wind farms in India will be able to survive without state subsidies, potentially attracting investors to a country where 57 percent of installed capacity is coal-based and 31 percent renewable, including hydropower.”

    “Greenko began operating its first wind project in Ratnagiri in Maharashtra state this year using 1.6-megawatt GE turbines designed for low winds. That farm is…[getting an unprecedented in India] 30 percent plant load factor…[Greenlo] has signed agreements for more than 1,000 megawatts of wind capacity and a three-year contract to buy at least 450 megawatts of GE turbines. State power distributors in places such as Karnataka, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh…[are buying] because we’re cheaper…”

    “The economics of Indian wind developments may lure investors away from markets such as the U.S., where the end of a tax break for wind-power utilities could cause a 75 percent slump in new installations next year…The current cost to build wind farms in India is [still] about $1.25 million a megawatt…[with] turbines that are 20 percent more efficient than in the past…”

    CHINA SUN COUNTERATTACKS AT U.S. POLYSILICON

    Trade War Continues: China Investigating Whether U.S. Dumped Solar-Grade Polysilicon

    20 July 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “China has reportedly launched an investigation into whether exporters from the U.S. and South Korea illegally dumped solar-grade polysilicon…The probe was launched after four companies - GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd., LDK Solar Co., Daqo New Energy Corp. and China Silicon Corp. - filed complaints with the [Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOC)]…These latest developments intensify the ongoing trade disputes between China and the U.S. following a ruling by the U.S. Department of Commerce that it would impose countervailing duties on Chinese solar cells and modules imported into the U.S…”

    “…The Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE), which has opposed the anti-dumping and anti-subsidy complaints filed by the SolarWorld-led Coalition for American Solar Manufacturing (CASM), urged a peaceful resolution to the dispute…CASM did not comment on the MOC’s decision…Solar Energy Industries Association President and CEO Rhone Resch reiterated his call for a collaborative dialogue…”

    WIND IS WORTH BILLIONS TO ILLINOIS

    Report: Wind farms add billions of dollars to local economies

    Mary Ann Ford, July 17, 2012 (Pantagraph)

    “Illinois’ 23 largest wind farms — several of which are in Central Illinois — will add $5.8 billion to local economies over the life of the projects, according to [ Wind Energy Development in Illinois from] Illinois State University…

    “The construction of wind farms…[in Illinois] generated 19,047 construction jobs and 814 local, long-term jobs…During the construction phase of the various wind farms, workers made more than $1.1 billion. The wind farms generate $28.5 million in annual property taxes, and landowners make about $13 million a year by allowing turbines to be placed on their properties…”

    “…[W]ind farm production is at a standstill now because a production tax credit that helped offset project costs expires at the end of the year…[The president and director of the Sierra Club’s Illinois chapter said extending that tax credit is [critical]…

    “…Larry Flowers, deputy director of the American Wind Energy Association, said coal and gas producers receive subsidies so wind energy should as well to level the playing field. Flowers said wind energy projects are important for job creation in the United States…”

    Monday, July 23, 2012

    TOPS AND FLOPS OF ENERGY EFFICIENT NATIONS

    ACEEE: United Kingdom Tops in Energy Efficiency, U.S. Lags in 9th Place; First International Energy Efficiency Scorecard of 12 Major Economies Also Finds Germany, Italy, and Japan Ranking Highly; U.S. Behind Most Countries, Including China, France, and Australia.

    July 12, 2012 (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy)

    “The United Kingdom comes in first in a new energy efficiency ranking of the world's major economies, followed closely by Germany, Italy, and Japan according to the first-ever International Energy Efficiency Scorecard…[from] the nonprofit American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)….[T]he U.S….[was ranked] in 9th place out of 12 economies…[that] represent over 78 percent of global gross domestic product; 63 percent of global energy consumption; and 62 percent of the global carbon-dioxide equivalent emissions.

    “…[T]he nations were ranked by ACEEE as follows: (1) the United Kingdom; (2) Germany; (3) Italy; (4) Japan; (5) France; (6) the European Union, Australia, and China (3-way tie); (9) the U.S.; (10) Brazil; (11) Canada; and (12) Russia…ACEEE divided the 27 metrics across four groupings…cross-cutting aspects of energy use at the national level, as well as…[in] buildings, industry, and transportation…”

    “The ACEEE ranking system looks at both…[policy and performance and] raises a critical question: How can the United States compete in a global economy if it continues to waste money and energy that other industrialized nations save and can reinvest? The new report outlines a number of recommendations for the United States such as:

    “A national energy savings target…Efficiency in manufacturing…Financial incentives…to spur private investment in energy efficiency…Investment in research and development…Efficient power plants…Output-based emissions standards…Efficient power distribution…Building codes [standards]…Appliance standards…[P] olicies that allow combined heat and power (CHP) to obtain reasonable electricity buyback…Vehicle miles traveled [pricing]…Public transit…Fuel economy for passenger vehicles…[and] heavy-duty vehicles…”

    U.S. BATTERY MAKER SUPPLIES CHINA GRID

    A123 Systems to Supply Energy Storage System to Ray Power for Frequency Regulation in China; System Designed to Showcase Lithium Ion Battery Energy Storage as a Fast, Accurate and Clean Resource for Facilitating the Increased Integration of Renewable Energy Generation onto China's Power Grid

    July 20, 2012 (A123 Systems)

    “A123 Systems (Nasdaq:AONE), a developer and manufacturer of advanced Nanophosphate® lithium iron phosphate batteries and systems…will supply a 2MW grid energy storage system to Ray Power Systems Co. Ltd., a Chinese company focused on developing the [potentially big Chinese] frequency regulation market…[The company believes this initial effort will lead to many others]…”

    [Eldon Mou, CEO of Ray Power:] "The project in China will be designed to validate the technical capabilities and benefits of energy storage as a fast-ramping, accurate and clean resource for providing frequency regulation service…Limited overall system ramping capability has created renewable integration issues as well as potential risk of grid instability because of the high penetration of renewable generation, particularly in northern China. A123 Systems has demonstrated the viability and reliability of its product…[W]e expect this project to showcase energy storage as a valuable resource for meeting China's growing frequency regulation demand."

    1,800 MW OFFSHORE WIND FROM SIEMENS TO UK

    Siemens to supply 300 offshore wind turbines to DONG Energy; Projects in the United Kingdom to receive 300 of Siemens 6MW direct drive wind turbines

    2012 July 19 (Siemens)

    “Siemens and DONG Energy continue[d] their successful cooperation in offshore wind…[with an] agreement for the supply of a total of 300 wind turbines with a capacity of 1,800 megawatts (MW)…[The] new SWT-6.0-154 direct drive wind turbine…will be installed in wind power plants off the British coast between 2014 and 2017…

    “DONG Energy already announced that it will install two of the new 6 MW wind turbines later this year for testing at Gunfleet Sands offshore wind farm. The 6 MW wind turbines are designed for large-scale projects, including the Round 3 projects in the UK. The target for 2020 in the UK is 18 gigawatts of offshore wind energy, which equates to around 18 percent of the UK's electricity demand.”

    “The energy production of Siemens' 6 MW wind turbine is sufficient to supply about 6,000 European households with electricity. The rotor has a diameter of 154 meters [has blades of 75 meters] and has a swept area of more than 18,600 square meters, which is equivalent to the area of approximately two-and-a-half soccer fields (FIFA norm)…[T SWT-6.0-154 was] designed specifically for offshore use…and [has] 50 percent less components including fewer rotating parts [assuring greater reliability and lower costly maintenance]…

    “Siemens and DONG Energy…built the world's first offshore wind power plant…[in 1991] in Denmark…[There are now 13 [offshore] projects with 930 wind turbines…[T]he two companies are working on the Lincs, London Array and West of Duddon Sands offshore wind power plants in the United Kingdom, the Anholt project in Denmark, as well as the Borkum Riffgrund 1 wind farm in Germany. These projects alone have a capacity of approximately 2 gigawatts…”

    Wednesday, July 18, 2012

    WHO GOT SOLAR VC $$$ IN Q2

    Where The $376 Million In Solar Venture-Capital Funding Went In Q2

    17 July 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “Venture-capital (VC) funding in the solar sector continued to rise steadily in the second quarter, according to Mercom Capital Group's new report on funding and mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the solar market…VC funding totaled $376 million in 32 deals in the second quarter, compared to $329 million in 34 deals in the first quarter…Downstream companies received the most funding, with $133 million in nine deals, followed by thin-film companies, with $121 million in four deals…

    “… VC investment in BOS companies has totaled just $35 million this year…The top five VC funding deals made up approximately 71% of the total funding this quarter, led by a $70 million raise by copper indium gallium diselenide thin-film maker Nanosolar. Other top VC deals included $60 million by solar lease company SunRun and a $55 million raise by solar energy services provider SunEdison.”

    “Other top deals were $33 million raised by thin-film equipment and coating company Beneq and $25 million each raised by microinverter company SolarBridge and mono-crystalline silicon cell company Solexel…There were 60 different VC investors that participated in the 32 deals…The U.S. continued to be the dominant country for VC investments, accounting for approximately 87% of all VC funding in the second quarter…

    “M&A activity in the solar sector totaled $325 million in 14 transactions in the second quarter. Only six of these transactions disclosed details…The top M&A transaction was the acquisition of Zhejiang Topoint Photovoltaic, a Chinese monocrystalline and polycrystalline maker, for $276 million by Guangxi Beisheng Pharmaceutical...The second quarter also saw 13 new cleantech and solar-focused investment funds announced, committing a total of $3.2 billion…”

    GREAT LAKES OFFSHORE WIND PICKS A TURBINE

    LEEDCo Targeting Siemens' 3 MW Turbine

    16 July 2012 (North American Windpower)

    “Lake Erie Energy Development Corp. (LEEDCo)…is now targeting Siemens' 3 MW direct-drive wind turbine for its Icebreaker offshore wind farm, a proposed five- to nine-turbine project seven miles off the coast of Cleveland in Lake Erie…

    “…LEEDCo had selected GE Energy's 4.1 MW offshore wind turbines…[but] GE would not devote the resources necessary to make modifications in the turbine's rotor diameter, as LEEDCo had requested… LEEDCo expects the switch in turbine units will provide cost reductions…The technical details of the [Siemens] turbine are also significant…”

    “…[S]witching to a lower turbine nameplate would appear to produce less electricity…[the Siemens turbine’s] capacity factor and overall energy output [may] actually be greater, given the turbine is designed for Lake Erie’s Class II wind regime. Class I turbines are optimal for North Sea and Atlantic wind conditions…

    “…[T]he Siemens turbine will be entirely manufactured in the U.S. - a plus for job creation and lower transportation costs.”

    NEW AND CLEARER NEW ENERGY COST DATA SOURCE

    New Database Makes Costs of Energy Technologies More Transparent

    July 16, 2012 (EERE News via U.S. Department of Energy)

    “As part of the Energy Department's Open Energy Information platform (Open EI) and its continued commitment to open and transparent energy data, the Department released… a new public database featuring cost and performance estimates for electric generation, advanced vehicle, and renewable fuel technologies…

    “…TheTransparent Cost Database (TCDB) provides technology cost estimates for companies, utilities, policy makers, consumers, and academics, and can be used to benchmark company costs, model energy scenarios, and inform research and development decisions…[with] estimates for what energy technologies, such as a utility-scale wind farm, rooftop solar installation, biofuel production plant, or an electric vehicle, might cost today or in the future.”

    “By providing an initial estimate of current and projected costs and performance characteristics for vehicles, biofuels, and renewable electricity generation, the new database will help companies and investors make informed decisions supporting the commercialization and deployment…The TCDB provides access to published historical and projected cost targets and performance estimates developed by DOE, in a place that is easy to find and update. The cost data are sourced from published studies and DOE program-planning or budget documents that, while public, were previously difficult to find and collect.

    “The database currently contains thousands of estimates from more than 100 reports. The estimates and targets in the TCDB are a result of DOE's detailed and ongoing road-mapping process for various technologies…to guide research and development investments and to define success metrics…The new database will soon allow experts outside of DOE to contribute reliable new data to continually expand and validate the cost information available…and downloadable from DOE's Open Energy Information platform…”

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012

    REGULATOR’S REPORT ON SAN ONOFRE DUE

    Crisis at San Onofre; What to Look For in the NRC’s Final Report

    Bill Walker, July 17, 2012 (Friends of the Earth)

    “…[T]he U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission is expected to issue the final report from its Augmented Inspection Team (AIT) investigation of the steam generator crisis at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which has kept the plant shut down since January…[Friends of the Earth experts] – including Dave Freeman, former head of the Tennessee Valley Authority, and nuclear engineer Arnie Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates, author of the previous FOE reports [have commented]…

    “…[The “50.59” NRC rule] requires that if nuclear plant components are replaced, “like-for-like” equipment and technology must be used or else the operator must obtain a license amendment for the replacements…[Most likely] the AIT report will call for review or reform of the 50.59 process…Southern California Edison did not comply with requirements of the 50.59 process. The replacement steam generators included major design changes that compromised the safety of the plant…[U]ntil there is [a license amendment] there should be no restart…”

    “…Edison maintains that because more tubes are damaged in Reactor Unit 3 than in Unit 2, the problems are most serious in Unit 3 and Unit 2 should be considered for restart…The AIT report could affirm that…[because of] manufacturing differences between the generators…The design of the replacement steam generators in both Units 2 and 3 is fundamentally flawed…The main reason for the damage is Edison’s decision to remove a critical safety feature, the central stay cylinder…a decision driven by the desire for increased profits…Both remain unsafe, and restarting either would be an irresponsible and unacceptable gamble.

    “…If Edison is found to have violated safety guidelines, financial penalties could be imposed by the NRC…Edison has attempted to defer blame to the manufacturer of the steam generators, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd…The AIT report could affirm that Mitsubishi used a faulty computer simulation program that failed to correctly analyze the consequences of making significant design changes…[but that was done] by a team from Edison and one from Mitsubishi. Edison, not Mitsubishi, stood to profit…The utility’s attempts to blame Mitsubishi is a strategy that looks ahead to a court case in which Edison will try to recover some of the $671 million wasted on this doomed project… “

    WIND FOR NEW ENGLAND

    While Cape Wind is debated, land-based development of wind power takes off

    Erin Ailworth, July 9, 2012 (Boston Globe)

    “Despite controversy that has slowed the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound, land-based wind farms are expanding rapidly in the region…One company alone, First Wind Holdings LLC of Boston, has installed enough turbines in the Northeast over the past few years to generate nearly as much power as the long-awaited offshore wind farm…

    “Driving this growth are technological advances reducing the cost of wind turbines and increasing their efficiency, making wind power more competitive with traditional power sources — particularly in the Northeast, where electricity costs can run as much as 60 percent above the national average…Turbine prices have dropped about 30 percent over the past few years, and new turbines are able to generate electricity at lower wind speeds. Meanwhile, average electricity prices in the Northeast can top 15 cents per kilowatt hour, compared with a US average of 9.52 cents. New wind technology can generate power at an average cost of about 10 cents per kilowatt hour, excluding subsidies, according to the US Energy Department…”

    “…First Wind’s [onshore] projects will [soon] have the capacity to generate nearly 420 megawatts of electricity, compared with Cape Wind’s [planned offshore] 468 megawatts…Despite the growth of land-based projects, the discussion about developing the region’s wind resources has often focused on offshore projects such as Cape Wind…[but] it could be years before any turbines are built offshore, meaning that more land-based projects will be needed to achieve renewable energy goals set by several states seeking alternatives to fossil fuels…

    “Although offshore wind is stronger and therefore an abundant and steady source of power, it has proved much harder to site projects in the ocean for a variety of environmental and technical reasons, including how to connect offshore turbines to the onshore power grid…That’s not to to say land-based wind projects have not faced opposition…but it generally has not been as vehement and vociferous as in the Cape Wind controversy…[ partly because they] tend to be in remote areas visible to few people…[and partly because they] bring jobs to rural areas that desperately need them…”

    PLUG IN CARS AND THE SMART GRID

    Smart Grid And Electric Vehicles: A Match Made In Heaven?

    11 July 2012 (Renew Grid)

    “The widespread adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) will lead to greater consumption of electricity. As a result, existing electricity systems will have to be reconfigured to meet these needs, and this is where the smart grid can play an important role, according to Smart Grids and Electric Vehicles: Made for each other? by the International Transport Forum.

    “Smart grid technology can make it possible for EVs to proliferate without overloading the electric supply industry. At the same time, these vehicles may be useful for matching intermittent solar and wind power supplies to demand, soaking up excess off-peak power supply and feeding power back into the grid when needed. In addition, EVs may be able to produce a backup supply of power in case of power cuts…”

    “As the use of EVs grows, demand on electricity load will need to be carefully managed in order to avoid problems in peak load periods - for example, when motorists plug in their cars to recharge at the end of the workday. Smart grid technologies enable charging load [from private vehicles and fleet vehicles] to be shifted automatically to off-peak periods regardless of when the EV owner plugs in the vehicle…

    “In the longer term…the smart grid [may] enable EVs to be used as distributed storage devices by feeding the electricity stored in their batteries back into the system or directly into the home or office…[because they] are parked an average of 95% of the time, providing ample opportunity for their batteries to be used for vehicle-to-grid (V2G) supply…Smart grids also permit the storage potential of EV batteries to be used to smooth variable renewable electricity output. Batteries can store wind power output at night, when demand is [low]…[and] solar output in the middle of the day, when it is surplus…”

    Monday, July 16, 2012

    HOUSE REPUBLICANS ATTACK NEW ENERGY

    Assault On Solar? House Republicans Fire Off 'No More Solyndras Act'

    Laura DiMiugno, 12 July 2012 (Solar Industry)

    [Editor’s note: The loan guarantee was evaluated by a conservative Republican and found to be untarnished. Its less than three percent failure rate is far lower than even the best venture capitalists and it has funded some of the most promising cutting edge New Energy technologies.]

    “…Republicans in the House of Representatives have offered up a new measure that would essentially eradicate the now-infamous [DOE loan-guarantee] program…[T]he "No More Solyndras Act" - would phase out the loan-guarantee program established under the Energy Policy Act of 2005...[I]t is also an attack against clean energy and, more specifically, solar. When thin-film module manufacturer Abound Solar - another DOE loan-guarantee recipient - announced last week it was suspending operations, it seemed almost inevitable that the Solyndra talks would resurface.”

    “The bill - introduced by Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., two central figures leading the epic Solyndra investigations - would forbid the DOE from issuing a loan guarantee for any application received after Dec. 31, 2011. Pending applications that were submitted before that date would remain active, but companies would have to meet a host of [new] criteria…

    “Although Section 1705 of the program - the provision under which Solyndra was backed - has expired, the DOE is still considering applications for loan guarantees under Section 1703, which authorizes the DOE to support clean energy technologies that are unable to obtain conventional private financing. In fact, there is still some $34 billion remaining under Section 1703 for loan guarantees, according to the bill…”

    BIG MONEY IN SERVICING WIND

    US O&M spending to reach $6 billion by 2025

    11 July 2012 (Windpower Monthly)

    “Annual spending on operations and maintenance (O&M) in the US wind industry will double from just under $3 billion this year to nearly $6 billion in 2025, accounting for 29% of total capital expenditures in the sector.

    “…[C]onsulting firm IHS Emerging Energy Research says it expects O&M spending to grow at a 5.5% compound annual rate as total installed onshore capacity grows from 47GW at the end of 2011 to a projected 127GW over the next 14 years.”

    ”The growth in spending is making the market for O&S services more competitive, the report says. Large wind owners are bringing more of the work in-house to leverage economies of scale…[and] turbine manufacturers are aggressively expanding the O&M side of their businesses to help make up for an expected drop in orders…[while] a host of independent service providers are entering the business.

    “The competition is driving companies to offer new types of products aimed at improving project output…"

    THE ADVENT OF ULTRA HVDC

    ABB Develops And Tests Ultrahigh-Voltage Direct-Current Transformer

    6 July 2012 (Renew Grid)

    “ABB says it has successfully developed and tested a 1,100 kV ultrahigh-voltage direct-current converter transformer.

    The Xiangjiaba-Shanghai link, which was commissioned by ABB, has a capacity of 6.4 GW and covers a distance of just over 2,000 km, making it the longest of its kind in operation, according to the company. The new 1,100 kV converter transformer technology will make it possible to transmit more than 10 GW of power across distances as long as 3,000 km.”

    “Converter transformers play a critical role in high-voltage direct-current transmission, serving as an important interface between the DC link and the AC network, according to ABB. Development of the 1,100 kV transformer addressed several technology challenges, such as the sheer size and scale, and electrical insulation, including bushings and thermal performance parameters.”

    [Bernhard Jucker, head, ABB power products division:] "This new 1,100 kV transformer technology will make it possible to transmit even more electricity efficiently and reliably, at higher voltage levels, across greater distances with minimum losses…"

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012

    HOW WIND WILL USE NEW BIRD RULES

    How Wind Developers Can Successfully Navigate FWS Siting Guidelines

    David Stout, 5 July 2012 (North American Windpower)

    “The U.S. wind industry has made an unprecedented and extraordinary commitment to develop projects that are compatible with the highest environmental standards…[as laiod out by] the Secretary of the Interior's Windpower Siting Guidelines Committee…[T]he U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) [guidelines] provide the template for consistent, reasonable and scientifically justified analysis that facilitates environmentally compatible wind power projects.

    “Scientific data, which allow the wind community to better understand wind power/wildlife interactions, are steadily being acquired…[O]perational modifications to reduce bat mortality, bat deterrents, use of radar to detect incoming birds and bats, and post-construction surveys for mortalities have been very informative…[Results] are quickly filling in knowledge gaps and are reducing the uncertainty of environmental-impact predictions…”

    “…Site studies should be narrowly focused on legitimate scientific uncertainty for environmental conditions and project configuration…[I]conic species such as the golden eagle need enhanced baseline population studies to establish the status and trends of the population range-wide...[G]uidelines are fundamentally a template for risk assessment…[T]he ultimate decision regarding an acceptable level of risk is up to the developers…

    “…The primary incentive the FWS can offer is enforcement discretion...[Developers should be able to expect that the FWS will work with the company to alleviate the adverse impact, rather than commence an enforcement action under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act…Service enforcement actions concerning bird mortalities due to transmission lines and oil and gas facilities are not unusual and have resulted in substantial fines; to date, there have been no FWS enforcement actions against a wind facility… ”

    A BETTER SOLAR ROOF

    Companies To Develop 34-Meter Solar Module On A Roofing Membrane

    6 July 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “ISOVOLTAIC, Isosport, Renolit, Konarka AIT and Hymmen are developing a 34-meter-long flexible solar module on a roofing membrane. The companies say these modules have potential to produce more cost-effective power due to reduced production and installation costs.

    “Flexible solar modules that combine the roofing membrane and solar module in one structural element can be handled like conventional roofing membranes. A roll-to-roll process can be used to manufacture the modules, which employ flexible solar cells.”

    “Upon completion of the joint effort, individual project members will install pilot plants enabling visual and technical monitoring of the flexible solar modules…This partnership project is being funded by the Climate and Energy Fund and the Austrian Research Promotion Agency…

    “…ISOVOLTAIC and Isosport have developed the special films required for encapsulation of the flexible solar cells. The two flexible solar cells used were developed by Konarka and another thin-film solar manufacturer…Renolit developed the roofing membrane and other components for the product's construction. The Energy Department of the Austrian Institute of Technology is acting as consultant and is involved in measuring and characterizing the materials and modules. Hymmen Industrial Systems is providing [composite material] information…”

    THE HVDC ADVANTAGE

    Is HVDC Transmission Project Potential Just Lots Of Hype?

    4 July 2012 (Renew Grid)

    “If all of the planned transmission projects using high-voltage alternating-current (HVAC) and high-voltage direct-current (HVDC) technologies were to be built between now and 2020, cumulative global investment would be a little over $217 billion, according to Pike Research…[but] the research firm says that officially announced budgets and schedules for HVDC systems overstate the likely outcomes by nearly a factor of two…

    “…[More likely] the cumulative spending for HVDC systems between now and 2020 will be between $110 billion and $120 billion…Worldwide growth of electricity [demand and] infrastructure is expected…[T]he transmission systems necessary to support this growth will be a mix of HVAC and HVDC [and there is definitely a need for HVDC systems around the world but several challenges are expected to slow the massive project build-outs that have been predicted]…HVAC was typically used for interconnected short length lines and HVDC was used for long-distance point-to-point bulk power transmission. New developments in HVDC conversion technologies are beginning to blur that distinction…”

    “… [Some] argue that very large HVAC systems built within grid networks can satisfy new demand. Others argue that the future belongs to HVDC overlays that interconnect very large grid systems and, ultimately, enormous regions on a global scale…[V]irtually all new construction is occurring in Europe, India, China and North America…In North America, where 29 systems worth about 75 GW are planned, 75% of future investment in HVDC comes from merchant transmission companies due to the balkanized regulatory framework of the region. In Europe, where 23 systems worth approximately 20 GW are planned, large amounts of renewable energy generation are anticipated, along with the interconnection of many national grids.

    “Economic growth and the need to complete national electrification in China and India, where 33 systems worth about 266 GW are planned for both countries, result in the largest single market for HVDC systems. Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, a handful of very large projects - 12 systems worth 37 GW - dominate in regions with great need but very limited resources…”

    Tuesday, July 10, 2012

    40% MORE NEW ENERGY BY 2017

    IEA sees renewable energy growth accelerating over next 5 years

    5 July 2012 (International Energy Agency)

    “Renewable power generation is expected to continue its rapid growth over the next five years, according to [Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report 2012] from the International Energy Agency (IEA)…[It] acknowledges the coming-of-age of the renewable energy sector…The report says that despite economic uncertainties in many countries, global power generation from hydropower, solar, wind and other renewable sources is projected to increase by more than 40% to almost 6 400 terawatt hours (TWh) – or roughly one-and-a-half times current electricity production in the United States…

    “…The study examines in detail 15 key markets for renewable energy, which currently represent about 80% of renewable generation…[and] says that renewable electricity generation should expand by 1 840 TWh between 2011 and 2017, almost 60% above the 1 160 TWh growth registered between 2005 and 2011. Renewable generation will increasingly shift from the OECD to new markets, with non-OECD countries accounting for two-thirds of this growth. Of the 710 GW of new global renewable electricity capacity expected, China accounts for almost 40%. Significant deployment is also expected in the United States, India, Germany and Brazil, among others…”

    “…[G]rowth is underpinned by the maturing of a portfolio of renewable energy technologies, in large part due to supportive policy and market frameworks in OECD countries…These new deployment opportunities are creating a virtuous cycle of improved global competition and cost reductions…The report presents detailed forecasts for renewable energy generation and capacity for eight technologies – hydropower, bioenergy for power, onshore wind, offshore wind, solar photovoltaics (PV), concentrating solar power (CSP), geothermal and ocean power…

    “Hydropower continues to account for the majority of renewable generation and it registers the largest absolute growth (+730 TWh) of any single renewable technology over 2011-17, largely driven by non-OECD countries…Non-hydropower renewable technologies continue to scale up quickly. Between 2011 and 2017, generation from these technologies increases by over 1 100 TWh, with growth equally split between OECD and non-OECD countries…Onshore wind, bioenergy and solar PV see the largest increases…Offshore wind and CSP grow quickly from low bases. Geothermal continues to develop in areas with good resources. Ocean technologies take important steps towards commercialization…”

    MAKING OCEAN ENERGY BETTER

    Marine energy doubled by predicting wave power

    27 June 2012 (University of Exeter)

    “The energy generated from our oceans could be doubled using new methods for predicting wave power…[and] pave the way for significant advancements in marine renewable energy, making it a more viable source of power…[The study by mathematicians and engineers from the University of Exeter and Tel Aviv University…devised a means of accurately predicting the power of the next wave in order to make the technology far more efficient, extracting twice as much energy as is currently possible…

    “…[T]echnologies to extract and convert energy from the sea are relatively immature, compared with solar or wind, and are not yet commercially competitive without subsidy. Very substantial progress has been made by the leading device developers, but key challenges remain: preventing devices being damaged by the hostile marine environment; and improving the efficiency of energy capture from the waves. This research addresses both problems by enabling control over the devices that extract wave energy…”

    “The research focused on point absorbers, commonly-used floating devices with parts that move in response to waves, generating energy which they feed back to the grid. Point absorbers are already known to be much more efficient in the amount of energy they produce if their response closely matches the force of the waves and previous research has looked at trying to increase this efficiency…[T]his is the first study that has focused on increasing the device’s efficiency by predicting and controlling internal forces of the device caused by forthcoming waves.

    “The team devised a system, which enables the device to extract the maximum amount of energy by predicting the incoming wave. This information enables a programme to actively control the response required for a wave of a particular size. Because the device responds appropriately to the force of the next wave, it is far less likely to be damaged…”

    UTILITIES’ SNEAK ATTACK ON CA SOLAR

    ‘Sneaky’ PV net-Metering Proposal Slipped Into California Legislation

    Jessica Lillian, 5 July 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “After months of intensive lobbying to ensure maximum solar net-metering availability, California's solar sector came close to seeing its efforts undone - courtesy of a quietly introduced bill sponsored by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E).

    “In May, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) voted unanimously in favor of a net-metering calculation method that, by some estimates, would boost California's PV installation potential by 2.4 GW to 5.2 GW…However, A.B.2514 - which was initially developed as a bill designed to simply study net-metering's impacts - morphed late last month into legislation that would allow the utilities to revert to their preferred, more-restrictive method of calculating their 5% net-metering cap….”

    “Implementing A.B.2514 as proposed - thus undoing CPUC's decision - would cut California's solar net-metering potential in half, according to [advocacy group] Vote Solar…[T]he careful timing of the net-metering amendment - just before the July 4th holiday - was designed to allow it to slip through…

    “Despite the timing, which Vote Solar criticized as ‘sneaky,’ a range of solar companies, school districts and agricultural firms responded and spoke out against A.B.2514…[and] the Solar Energy Industries Association and Sierra Club California registered their formal opposition to the bill unless it was amended.

    “The solar sector's efforts were successful, as the legislation reverted - for now, at least - to its original scope, calling only for studies of net-metering programs…The legislation's next stop is the appropriations committee…A.B.2514 could still threaten PV deployment in California. The net-metering studies that the legislation orders the CPUC to conduct may not be entirely fair to the solar market…[A.B.2514 requires the analysis] to include the amount of electricity produced and used by PV system owners, even if that electricity is not fed into the grid…”

    Monday, July 9, 2012

    CAPE WIND BEGINS PRE-BUILDING

    Cape Wind Begins Major Offshore Operations with Commencement of Final Design & Engineering; Massachusetts-based Specialists are Part of Geology Survey Team

    July 5, 2012 (Cape Wind)

    “Cape Wind [America’s first offshore wind farm] has commenced a major geotechnical and geophysical survey operation as part of its construction design and engineering process and initial mobilization of the project on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound.

    “This multi-million dollar offshore program…will continue through September / October, involving up to 50 scientists, engineers, archeologists and geologists using specialized vessels…Fugro…the lead Cape Wind contractor…has performed similar work for a majority of the offshore wind farms built in Europe…”

    “…Fugro will be assisted by Massachusetts contractors including New Bedford based Fathom Research who will work together with the University of Rhode Island performing sediment analysis…Waltham-based ESS Group…[will provide] environmental engineering services and…[oversee] marine mammal monitoring…

    “This work will build [in four phases] upon extensive geophysical and geotechnical work completed in obtaining the Federal permit for America’s first offshore wind farm over a nine year permitting effort…[1] acoustic imaging…[will] map the seafloor and the submerged layers below…[2] vibracore samples…[will] look for paleosols and… cultural artifacts…[3] Cone Penetration Tests (CPTs)…[will] measure soil characteristics…[and, 4] geotechnical exploration…”

    TOP PV MAKERS TO COME BACK NEXT YEAR

    Top-Tier Photovoltaic Polysilicon and Wafer Producers to be Profitable in 2013; Despite continuous price pressure, falling costs expected to enable positive margins for best of class suppliers

    July 2, 2012 (SolarBuzz)

    “PV (photovoltaic) polysilicon prices are forecast to drop 48% and wafer prices 56% year-over-year in 2012. With such severe price declines, only 12 Chinese PV polysilicon manufacturers are still producing, and more than half of these companies are running at significantly reduced utilization rates. Industry-wide, wafering plant utilization is forecast to average only 53% in 2012.

    “But as prices approach current cash costs of even tier 1 makers, price declines are expected to slow to less than 7% per year. Average 2013 polysilicon prices are projected to be $23/Kg and wafer prices to be $0.25/W...[according to] NPD Solarbuzz…[A]t these low prices, top tier makers have a path to positive margins…”

    “Lower-priced polysilicon translates to lower-cost PV wafers. And wafer makers are continuing to drive down processing costs with holistic approaches to reducing slurry consumption, increasing recycling, reducing kerf loss, reducing electricity consumption, increasing conversion efficiency, and more productivity enhancements…

    “In the new normal, low-priced PV polysilicon and wafer industry environments, cost reduction is critical for both survival and success…”

    THE ENERGY STORAGE MARKET RIGHT NOW

    Energy Storage Projects Continue to Increase Worldwide, Rising 8% in the First Half of 2012

    July 5, 2012 (Pike Research)

    “The market for energy storage is dynamic, but still immature. To date it has been dogged by three criticisms: the market is overstated (projects have been announced but are not online); energy storage is too expensive; and advanced storage technologies are dependent on government support…

    “…[A]ccording to a new tracker report from Pike Research, the number of projects deployed on a global basis continues to rise as technologies move at a variety of speeds toward commercialization. The total number of energy storage projects deployed and announced (including inactive projects) rose 8%, from 600 to 649 during the first half of 2012, the tracker report finds…”

    “…The number of deployed projects increased over those 6 months from 482 to 514…The region with the largest base of energy storage is Asia Pacific, which has just over 60 gigawatts of cumulative installed capacity. Reflecting the large domestic base of R&D and manufacturing for battery technologies, the technical diversity of energy storage projects in Asia Pacific is quite wide…

    “…While advanced batteries are staged to play a large role in the development of power systems across Asia Pacific, bulk energy storage technologies such as pumped hydro will play an increasingly important role in emerging markets like China…”

    Tuesday, July 3, 2012

    BIG $$$ PARTNERS FOR BIG ILLINOIS WIND

    Santander and Prudential Capital Group Jointly Structure Financing for Illinois Wind Farm Project

    27 June 2012 (BusinessWire via MarketWatch)

    “Santander, through its U.S. subsidiary Sovereign Bank, N.A., together with Prudential Capital Group, an investment business of Prudential Financial, Inc…have jointly structured and closed a $444 million financing to support Invenergy in the construction of California Ridge, a wind power generating project in Vermilion and Champaign counties, Ill.

    “This financing is the second of its kind using an innovative hybrid structure developed in partnership with Prudential Capital Group and the Santander Group. It was first implemented earlier this year in the financing for Arlington Valley Solar Energy II, a 127-megawatt solar plant in Maricopa County, Arizona.”

    “The California Ridge financing consists of bank facilities in the amount of $270 million, syndicated among five banks, and a longer term $174 million senior note tranche provided by Prudential Capital Group and another institutional investor. Santander acted as Left Lead Coordinating Bank and Prudential Capital Group acted as Structuring and Documentation Advisor…

    “Invenergy will use the capital to construct and operate California Ridge, a 200-megawatt wind power generation facility located northwest of Danville, Illinois. The company will sell all generated power to the Tennessee Valley Authority as part of a long-term power purchase agreement. Once completed, the project is expected to generate enough energy to power 65,000 homes…”

    ARKANSAS WANTS NEW ENERGY

    Arkansas Group Calls For CES In Long-Term Energy Plan Recommendations

    29 June 2012 (North American Windpower)

    “The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association (AAEA) has unveiled its policy recommendations for the state's long-term energy plan - which include calling for a state clean energy standard (CES)…[T]o grow its economy…the state needs to expand its energy workforce and manufacturing base through the increased development, manufacture, and utilization of advanced energy technologies…

    “…[T]arget allocations for in-state electrical generation by solar, wind and biomass and expanded capacity goals for hydropower facilities would encourage deployment of clean energy technology that diversifies the state's energy supply, improves energy security and creates jobs...”

    “…[T]he group says incentives should be considered for…Manufacture of solar photovoltaic components…[and the manufacture] of transmission cable for carrying renewable electricity similar to those for wind component manufacturing in Arkansas…Manufacture of components utilized to store electricity produced by wind and solar…Installation of renewable energy components on commercial, industrial and residential properties…Storage facilities for electricity produced by wind and solar…

    “…[The group recommended] all renewable electricity that is [that is supported should be] built of equipment substantially manufactured, fabricated or assembled in Arkansas….[T]he group [also] advocates the growing use of alternative fuels, energy efficiency and research and development.”

    MASSACHUSETTS BACKS SOLAR HOT WATER

    Massachusetts To Make Funding Available For Solar Thermal Systems

    29 June 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) has launched Commonwealth Solar Hot Water, a long-term program designed to encourage the installation of both commercial and residential solar hot water systems.

    “The MassCEC will accept applications for the $10 million, multiyear program this July through 2016.”

    “The program is modeled after two pilot solar hot water programs that have awarded rebates for 300 residential and commercial solar systems since February 2011…[T]he new program will [similarly] offer rebates for qualifying solar hot water projects at residential, multifamily and commercial buildings.

    “Program funding will be distributed over 4.5 years, through the end of 2016. The first year of the program will be funded with $1.5 million from MassCEC’s Renewable Energy Trust Fund…”

    Monday, July 2, 2012

    LONG ISLAND UTILITY GETS F-I-T

    Long Island Power Authority Approves Solar Feed-In-Tariff Program

    29 June 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “The Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) has approved the CLEAN Solar Initiative (CSI), which the utility says is expected to result in the deployment of 50 MW of local solar energy generation within two years…Under the CSI program, LIPA will purchase all of the energy generated by 50 MW of local solar projects at a fixed rate of $0.22/kWh for 20 years…”

    “Projects must be at least 50 kW, and LIPA expects that the largest projects will be in the 3 MW range…Because all projects must be interconnected to LIPA’s distribution grid, no new transmission lines will be required…The utility will begin accepting applications on July 16…”

    ANOTHER STEP AHEAD FOR CAPE WIND

    Lawsuit Dropped, Fishermen and Cape Wind Vow to Cooperate

    Sara Brown, June 29, 2012 (Martha’s Vineyard Gazette)

    “In a reversal this week, Vineyard fishermen dropped their lawsuit over the Cape Wind project, with Cape Wind in turn agreeing to support access and a new permit program for fishermen who make a living in the waters around Horseshoe Shoal…

    “…[T]he fishermen’s association [will] instead work with Cape Wind…[I]nitial concerns that an exclusionary zone would be created around the turbines had been assuaged, with Cape Wind agreeing not to limit fishing access for the fishermen who harvest conch, scup and sea bass in the area…”

    “About 100 commercial fishermen, represented by the fishermen’s association…[have agreed] to support the Cape Wind project, as well as vibrant and sustainable local commercial fishing communities on Martha’s Vineyard…

    “The settlement guarantees that there is no exclusionary zone…[and sets up] the newly-formed Martha’s Vineyard Fishermen’s Preservation Trust, which will buy fishing permits and lease them at affordable rates to Island fishermen…[It] will be operated through the Permanent Endowment for Martha’s Vineyard. The amount of any monetary contributions from Cape Wind toward the permit bank was not disclosed…”