NewEnergyNews More: September 2012

NewEnergyNews More

Every day is Earthday.

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



Your intrepid reporter


    A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.


Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

  • ---------------
  • Wednesday, September 26, 2012


    GE Working With ETT On Upgrades To Texas Transmission System

    21 September 2012 (North American Windpower)

    “GE…is working with Electric Transmission Texas LLC, a joint venture between subsidiaries of American Electric Power and MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., on upgrades to the Texas transmission system that will allow more wind energy to be transmitted from rural generation facilities to high-demand urban areas.

    “As a part of the $7 billion Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) initiative, the companies will undertake a series-compensation project. Under the terms of the contract, GE will install eight series-compensation banks at four different facilities owned by ETT in western and central Texas.”

    “For this project, GE will provide series-compensation banks - complete with bypass breakers, relay control houses and battery equipment - to ETT. In addition, GE will provide project management, installation services, training and long-term maintenance support…

    “Materials for this project will be shipped throughout the first and second quarters of 2013, and banks will be installed and tested in the second half of the year. Commercial operation is slated to begin between October and November of 2013.”


    PSEG Solar Source Buys 15 MW Delaware Project

    25 September 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “PSEG Solar Source has completed the acquisition of a 15 MW solar project in Milford, Del., from juwi solar Inc. (JSI)… JSI will engineer, procure and oversee construction of the facility, as well as perform operation and maintenance services…[Construction] will begin this month.

    “The project has a power purchase agreement in place for energy and solar renewable energy credits with Delaware Municipal Electric Corp. It will be owned by PSEG Solar Source, a subsidiary of PSEG, a diversified energy company based in New Jersey…Upon completion, which is scheduled for the fourth quarter of this year, the installation will be largest solar farm in Delaware…This is the fifth solar project built by JSI for PSEG Solar Source.”


    Renewable Energy for Military Applications; Solar, Wind, Biomass, Geothermal, Hydrokinetic Energy, Biofuels and Synfuels, Fuel Cells, Microgrids, Smart Meters, and Energy Efficiency: U.S. Market Analysis and Forecasts

    3Q 2012 (Pike Research/Navigant)

    “As the largest single consumer of energy in the world, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) is one of the most important drivers for the cleantech market today. The DOD has developed a comprehensive strategy to reduce energy consumption, improve battlefield effectiveness, increase energy security, and reduce costs. The Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps are each implementing detailed plans to achieve ambitious renewable energy and energy efficiency targets that, in most cases, are likely to be achieved by 2025, including 3 gigawatts (GW) of renewable power generation at military facilities, primarily via third-party financing.”

    “Spanning from research and development to base and battlefield deployment, military applications of clean technologies are growing, but there are considerable operational and political challenges that, as in cleantech markets in civilian markets, pose threats to fully realizing these opportunities. Pike Research expects that the expenditures on renewable energy by the Department of Defense will reach $1.8 billion by 2025, growing from $163 million in 2013.”

    Tuesday, September 25, 2012


    Caithness Shepherds Flat Commences Official Operations; Becomes One of the World's Largest Wind Farms

    September 22, 2012 (PR Newswire)

    “Caithness Energy announced…its Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is operational and generating up to 845 Megawatts of clean wind energy…”

    “Located in northeastern Oregon…the project – one of the world's largest wind farms – will play an important role in harnessing the power of wind energy…The project's output is contracted through 20-year power purchase agreements with Southern California Edison.”

    “…Caithness Shepherds Flat…will eliminate 1.483 million metric tons of CO2 annually, the equivalent of taking approximately 260,000 cars off the road…[And it] will enhance Oregon's economy. Producing an estimated 2 billion kWh each year, the Wind Farm will have an annual economic impact of $37 million for the State. Additionally, the project employed over 400 workers during its construction, and will permanently employ 45 workers.

    “The Wind Farm resulted from a successful collaboration between the public and private sectors…[Caithness] leveraged the talents and expertise of…GE Energy Financial Services, Google, Tyr Energy, and Sumitomo Corporation of America. The project also enjoys the support of Oregon's elected officials on the federal, state and local levels, and was one of the first clean energy projects to utilize the U.S. Department of Energy's loan guarantee program…”


    Energy-Storage Companies Partner To Tackle Renewable Energy Integration

    21 September 2012 (North American Windpower)

    “Energy-storage providers Altair Nanotechnologies Inc. and EnerDel Inc… have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to co-market and cross-sell each other's product portfolios.

    “Each company will now be able to offer a much broader line of lithium-ion-based energy-storage systems from individual cells and modules in order to complete systems that offer multiple chemistries and technologies…”

    [Alexander Lee, CEO, Altair Nanotechnologies:] "Electric-grid customers are interested in combining high power and high energy battery systems to solve the challenges of renewable integration and ancillary services…This MOU allows each company to expand its market presence while creating real value for our customers."

    “The agreement is effective immediately, and the companies will start representing each other’s products as part of their regular sales efforts in the coming weeks.”


    'Hidden Costs' Revealed: Where Does Solar Rank Among Energy Sources?

    20 September 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “Solar power's detractors frequently describe solar as "secretly" non-environmentally-friendly. They point to the PV module manufacturing process, utility-scale arrays' potential impacts to land and wildlife, and concentrating solar power (CSP) plants' on-site water usage as examples of attributes that negate the environmental benefits of deploying this renewable energy source.

    “But when all of the impacts are considered and all the costs are tallied, how does solar compare to other common energy sources? … The Hidden Costs of Electricity: Comparing the Hidden Costs of Power Generation Fuels suggests that the indirect or externalized costs of fossil fuels, nuclear power and biomass still outweigh those of solar power…[D]emands on increasingly scarce water are a major hidden cost of a business-as-usual approach to American electricity generation that needs to be more fully understood…”

    “Solar power, however, did not rank as a prime offender in this critical water-usage category. Rather, nuclear power, coal-fired power, biomass and natural gas (obtained via fracking) were called out as particularly water-intensive energy sources. Open-looped coal-fired power plants, for instance, use between 20,000 and 50,000 gallons/MWh. Although most of the water is reclaimed, it is returned at a higher temperature and lower quality…[W]ind and solar photovoltaic power require little water…[and CSP] requires water for cooling purposes, but new technologies are placing greater emphasis on dry cooling…

    “Solar's subsidies and tax incentives, as well as land impacts, are rated as moderate. Although distributed-generation rooftop PV occupies no land, some utility-scale plants have caused concern…”

    Monday, September 24, 2012


    19 Companies, Including Starbucks And Levi Strauss, Urge Congress To Extend Wind Tax Credit

    Stephen Lacey, September 18, 2012 (Climate Progress)

    “A group of 19 leading companies has sent a letter to Congress asking lawmakers to immediately extend a key tax credit for wind that is set to expire at the end of the year. The diverse coalition of firms, which includes Ben & Jerry’s, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss, Starbucks, and Yahoo!, says that raising taxes on the wind sector would be bad for businesses that buy large amounts of wind electricity.

    “These companies join a very large bi-partisan chorus of renewable energy supporters asking Congress to give the wind industry some certainty and put the sector on a level tax playing field with the oil and gas industry, which enjoys billions of dollars in permanent tax benefits…[T]his latest group of prominent companies is…[arguing that ending] support for wind isn’t just bad for the wind industry, it’s bad for downstream non-utility companies that procure energy from wind…”

    “These 19 leading companies are part of the Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy (BICEP), a project from the sustainability advocacy group Ceres. They say that failure to extend the wind credit will add new costs to businesses throughout the economy. Interestingly, far-right conservative groups aggressively opposed to raising taxes are the only ones coming out in opposition to the wind tax credit.

    “Over last five years, wind has brought $20 billion of annual private investment to the U.S., according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). There are now 75,000 jobs across the country in wind manufacturing, operations, maintenance and education…[F]ailure to extend the wind tax credit could result in up to 37,000 job losses in the coming year.”


    PV Installed Base in US Offers New Revenue Prospects for Systems Providers; Post-Installation Service Contracts Adding Thousands of New Sales Prospects in the Near Term

    September 11, 2012 (SolarBuzz)

    “Previously over-looked opportunities are now emerging for photovoltaic (PV) systems providers within the United States by addressing the growing requirement for post-installation service contracts across multiple installation sites, such as municipalities and school districts…

    “This incremental opportunity represents more than 2,000 immediate new targets for PV systems providers within the US, as a complement to the 37 GW of PV pipeline above the 50 kW level dating back to January 2010…”

    “Completed PV projects in the US now exceed those being installed or planned. More than half of the PV projects are completed, with less than a tenth in the installation phase and slightly more than a third in planning stages…A variety of opportunities now exist for PV systems providers targeting the multi-GW PV installed base…[including] post-installation service contracts across many individual and multiple sites, options to expand the size of existing PV installations, and the potential to up-grade original site installs with advances in PV technology…

    Accessing comprehensive details of the back-catalog of completed PV installations above 50 kW in the US is critical to succeed within this new revenue segment. Establishing relationships with commercial PV systems owners also provides the scope for system expansion or new project development in the future… The NPD Solarbuzz United States Deal Tracker reports [in detail such] project activity…”


    Starting to tackle climate change

    Trish Wheaten, September 20, 2012 (The Hill)

    “…Corporate America is warming to the idea that profitability and environmental sustainability are not mutually exclusive. The world will not be able to stave off the environmental calamities threatening our planet --like climate change -- without a strong commitment from America's business community...[Profit is] an incentive to make that commitment.

    “The threat climate change poses to our way of life is real…Elevated temperatures don't just damage the environment -- they have an adverse effect on the economy…The U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts that the severe drought that afflicted the Midwest this summer will reduce average corn yields to their lowest levels in 17 years. As a result, corn prices could soon rise to $8.90 per bushel, up from just $5 a bushel in June…[which] could drive up the cost of food -- and even lead to shortages. Both farmers and consumers could pay dearly…”

    “…[M]any U.S. and global companies are taking concerted action to go green…Procter & Gamble, Ford, [Best Buy] and Coca-Cola have all instituted rigorous carbon footprint targets…Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Tesla are all increasing production rates for cars powered partially or entirely by electricity. Ford launched the Focus Electric…And General Motors is working on new technology that could power an electric car for up to 200 miles on a single charge.

    “Many firms have also started requiring their suppliers to develop and deliver products that meet aggressive environmental standards. Levi's, for instance, has committed to becoming carbon neutral and using renewable energy exclusively throughout its supply chain…75 percent of [WalMart’s] California stores now use solar power to run their operations…Because of their sheer size, corporate behemoths can have a sizeable positive impact…Wal-Mart, for instance, has more than 10,000 stores worldwide…”

    Wednesday, September 19, 2012


    Wind power study touts value of offshore power generation

    September 14, 2012 (Power Engineering)

    “…[The Turning Point for Atlantic Offshore Wind Energy from the National Wildlife Federation] notes that the United States generates no power from offshore wind at present, but that…actions by the federal government, along with bipartisan leadership from coastal state officials, have put critical building blocks in place…to finally tapping this massive domestic energy source…

    “…[The report recommends elevating, 1] the Department of Energy's scenario for achieving 54 gigawatts of cost-effective offshore wind energy by 2030…[2, codifying] goals for renewable energy generation…[3, extending] tax incentives including the federal Investment Tax Credit for offshore wind, the Production Tax Credit and Advanced Energy Project Credit…[4, taking] direct action to secure [offtakers]…[5, increasing] funding to…support research and deployment…[6, enacting] strict pollution reduction policies…and [7,] coordinating offshore wind energy development decisions with federal, state, tribal and regional coastal and marine spatial planning efforts…”

    “The effort to generate power from wind in the Gulf of Maine continues to focus [at the University of Maine] on floating turbines…After initial research [to get the cost of the energy to be competitive], development and installation costs, floating wind turbines will eventually produce wind energy at a lower cost than the fixed units used in offshore European sites and land-based wind energy farms…

    “…[T]he federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management [also] continues to accept comments on an application by Statoil North America to move ahead with plans to construct a floating wind farm off the coast of Maine. The federal agency set an Oct. 9 deadline for potential competitors for the Statoil project to express interest in any of the 22 square miles that Statoil proposes to lease for offshore wind energy production in federal waters off Maine…”


    Average U.S. Wind Farm Creates 1,079 Jobs, Report Finds

    Ehren Goossens, September 11, 2012 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

    “…A 250-megawatt project generates 522 construction jobs, 432 positions in manufacturing, 80 for planning and development, 18 sales slots and 27 for operations, [according to a report from the Natural Resources Defense Council]…

    “If Congress fails to extend the production tax credit, a federal incentive that’s scheduled to expire Dec. 31, that job creation will be threatened…The wind industry currently employs about 75,000 U.S. workers…”

    “…New wind-farm development has slowed in the U.S. ahead of the expiration date…Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS), the world’s biggest maker of wind turbines, expects shipments to decline next year and said Aug. 22 it’s cutting 1,400 jobs worldwide. That’s in addition to the 2,335 positions it eliminated in January. The company is considering firing 1,600 U.S. workers, a decision it says hinges largely on whether the PTC is extended.

    “President Barack Obama supports extending the incentive, which gives producers a tax credit of 2.2 cents a kilowatt-hour. Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate, opposes it.”


    'No More Solyndras' Act Approved By House; Would Terminate DOE Program

    14 September 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “The U.S. House of Representatives has approved H.R. 6213, known as the "No More Solyndras Act," by a vote of 245-161…The [anti-renewables] legislation - introduced by Reps. Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., in July - would phase out the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) loan guarantee program by prohibiting the issuance of any new loan guarantees and subjecting pending guarantees to new standards.

    “The legislation was developed as Upton and Stearns led extensive congressional investigations into bankrupt thin-film module manufacturer Solyndra, which received a loan guarantee under the DOE program…”

    “Although Section 1705 - 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.

    “Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., whose proposed amendment to make the underlying bill's prohibition against awarding new loan guarantees contingent on the extension of the wind energy production tax credit failed, criticized the final legislation…[The] now advances to the Senate [where it is expected to die from inattention]…”

    Tuesday, September 18, 2012


    Global Study Finds 85% Of Consumers Want More Renewable Energy

    14 September 2012 (North American Windpower)

    “…[Global Consumer Wind Study performed by TNS Gallup and commissioned by Vestas] reveals that 85% of consumers want more renewable energy, and 49% are willing to pay more for products made using renewable energy…

    “…74% of respondents said they would have a more positive perception of a brand if wind energy were its primary energy source, and 62% of respondents said they would be more willing to buy products from brands that use wind energy…”

    “The study also found that 45% of the consumers surveyed perceive climate change as one of the top three challenges facing the world today, with 17% saying it is the single greatest challenge.

    “…Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s (BNEF) Corporate Renewable Energy Index Report 2012 (CREX) found that…[in] 2011, net corporate investment in renewable power capacity outpaced that of fossil-fuel generation ($237 billion for renewables versus $223 billion for additional fossil-fuel generation)…”


    Solar Polysilicon Glut Persists As Suppliers Consider Production Cuts

    14 September 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “With pricing for photovoltaic polysilicon declining at an accelerated rate in August, there are no signs that the glut plaguing the industry has abated, behooving tier-one suppliers to consider reducing production in order to stabilize market conditions…PV polysilicon prices last month fell at a faster rate in August than they did in July, continuing a losing streak that started in the fourth quarter of 2011…

    “Looking ahead to polysilicon demand in September and October [it is possible there will be a rebound but]…an impending trade war with China in this market creates an air of uncertainty that may frighten away some buyers. If these pressures continue, September and October could potentially see weak demand, putting additional pressure on polysilicon suppliers worldwide.”

    “Price is also a matter of uncertainty because of the anti-dumping situation in China. If a punitive tariff is imposed on Korean and EU/U.S. polysilicon makers in the next three months by the Chinese Department of Commerce, these companies will be forced to accelerate price declines because China is the dominant buyer of polysilicon.

    “…If Tier 1 suppliers maintain high utilization levels, the polysilicon oversupply situation will continue for the next 12 months…[A]t least 10% to 15% less polysilicon was traded during [August] compared to July. The lower demand is having a significant impact on the market for spot polysilicon because buyers still need to fulfill their long-term agreements with major suppliers, even though some buyers tried hard to keep the volume to a minimum…[On the hopeful side], demand from China is ready to take off soon - even though it has yet to materialize.”


    Stop-Start Vehicles; Micro Hybrid Technologies, Batteries, and Ultracapacitors: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    3Q 2012 (Pike Research/Navigant)

    “During the past decade, driven largely by an effort to meet legislated carbon emissions reduction goals for vehicle fleets, automakers have introduced technologies that enable internal combustion engines (ICEs) to turn off automatically when vehicles are stopped…

    “…[S]top-start vehicles are also known as micro hybrids, idle stop vehicles, and a variety of names branded by automakers, and in many cases the technology is bundled with other fuel efficient technologies. These vehicles can offer significant reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, although the actual savings depend heavily on the drive cycle.”

    “Stop-start vehicles require more robust batteries and starter systems than are found in internal combustion engine vehicles and are priced at a small premium over ICEs but considerably less than hybrid vehicles. With the most aggressive environmental goals in the world, Europe has seen by far the greatest selection of vehicles with stop-start technology and, not surprisingly, the greatest volume of vehicles sold…

    “North America has experienced a relatively slow penetration of the technology due to less stringent emissions reduction goals and an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) testing cycle that underestimates the benefits of the technology. Worldwide, Pike Research expects more than 41 million of these vehicles to be sold annually by 2020 – nearly a tenfold increase over 2012 sales…”

    Monday, September 17, 2012


    An Argument Over Wind

    Matthew l. Wald, September 14, 2012 (NY Times)

    “…Last week, the American Wind Energy Association expelled [major energy secotr player] Exelon [which owns some two percent of U.S. wind capacity] as a member because the company opposed a renewal of the [production tax credit]…The association says that if the tax credit expires, some 37,000 jobs will be eliminated next year and that deliveries of new turbines will spiral to zero…

    “…Exelon says the tax credit is distorting energy markets because the credit itself is larger than the average value of electricity produced in the Midwest. Surges of wind energy late at night during periods of low electricity demand are driving the market price of electricity below zero, according to independent statistics. [Wind industry advocates say negative pricing is rare and highly localized and simply points up shortcomings in transmission capacity]…[With] the Obama administration favoring an extension…and Mitt Romney opposing it…the credit’s fate may be resolved by the November election…[Wind adovacates argue that the production tax credit does not directly affect market prices. But opponents say that when new generation is added in a way that creates sudden surpluses, the market impact is clear…Either way, low prices are a boon for consumers, the wind industry said.]”

    “…Texas [recently] had a shortage of generating capacity as a result of a market distortion…[because if] wind developers can make money even when prices are negative…it discourages others from building other kinds of power plants…The problem for Texas is that wind generation does not coincide with peak demand…State power planners estimate that for every 100 megawatts of wind machines installed in the state, only about 8 megawatts will be available on peak days.

    “The tax credit, which applies to projects that are completed by Dec. 31, is 2.2 cents per kilowatt-hour. [The wind industry noted that companies that burn coal and natural gas get a subsidy too, in that they are allowed to dump pollutants into the air without paying for the damage]…Depending on the tax status of the wind farm developer, the credit can be worth as much as $34 per megawatt-hour…[Exelon] said that in the last two years, the average price of a megawatt-hour at the Northern Illinois Hub , one of the main spots on the grid in eastern North America where electricity is priced, has ranged from $28 to $31…”


    Electric Vehicle Geographic Forecasts; Plug-in Electric Vehicle Sales Forecasts for North America by Metropolitan Area, State/Province, Region, and Selected Utility Service Territories

    3Q 2012 (Pike Research/Navigant)

    “Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) are forecast to reach 400,073 annual sales in the United States and 107,146 in Canada by 2020, but the real story of these sales is in the cities and utility service territories where the vehicles will be located…

    “…[This Pike Research/Navigant] report breaks down these sales by state and across cities with more than 500,000 residents in the United States, plus forecasts for Canadian provinces and the seven largest cities in Canada…”

    “…[It] forecasts that California, New York, Florida, and Texas will lead the way in PEV sales. By 2020, Hawaii is expected to have the highest penetration rate of PEVs as a percentage of all light duty vehicle sales. Among metropolitan areas, New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco are anticipated to have the largest sales of PEVs through the decade…

    “…In Canada, the provinces of Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia, which account for 75% of the Canadian population, will represent 97% of Canadian PEV sales by 2020. Toronto and Montreal will lead Canadian PEV sales…”


    Claiming the Future: A Seven-Point Action Plan for Repowering America

    Ron Pernick, September 4, 2012 (Clean Edge)

    “Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention…ought to serve as an urgent wake-up call to anyone that cares about America’s energy, environmental, and economic future…[C]lean tech is…the stuff of major multinationals such as GE, Toyota, and Siemens who are investing and making billions of dollars…[and of startups] working to innovate electric vehicles, solar power finance, and plastics recycling; and of young Americans…working to advance clean technologies, address climate change, and build thriving…ventures.”

    “…[R]enewables energy production isn’t a marginal industry; it’s expanding rapidly in importance and penetration…Perhaps this growth is exactly why some entrenched interests – and the politicians they fund – are working so hard to demonize clean tech, spread misinformation, and demoralize its supporters. But…renewables are overwhelmingly supported by citizens of all stripes and affiliations in poll after poll.

    “…Our research shows that the world’s industrialized nations could pursue…Large-scale deployment of both centralized and distributed renewables, including solar, wind, and geothermal…The targeted use of current and next-generation natural gas power plants…Aggressive investments in a smart, two-way grid…The cost-effective and low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency…”

    “…[T]he majority of U.S. citizens believe that our nation’s future should be firmly planted in advanced energy technologies, not the polluting fossil fuels that powered the last century. For the sake of our nation, let’s hope that whoever is sitting in the White House in January 2013 will support the efforts of Americans across the country in moving forward, not backwards, and in emboldening America’s technology-driven, problem-solving culture. Nothing less than our nation’s economic competitiveness and the health of future generations relies on it…”

    Wednesday, September 5, 2012


    Contemplating A Vestas Marriage: Money, Strategy And Legal Loopholes

    Mark Del Franco, 30 August 2012 (North American Windpower)

    “Embattled wind turbine maker Vestas has been the subject of numerous takeover rumors over the past few years and has been suspected as a takeover target of companies ranging from Chinese manufacturers - such as Ming Yang, Sinovel and Goldwind - to wind turbine suppliers, such as GE and Alstom…Vestas turned away such speculation without comment…[but] gave credibility to the newest name to emerge as a potential partner: Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI)…[which includes] Mitsubishi Power Systems Americas (MPSA), which manufactures 1 MW and 2.4 MW wind turbines…

    “…[2012 looks like it will be] a record year for turbine installations in the U.S…[but] orders for 2013 have virtually stopped as the wind industry awaits a decision on the extension of the production tax credit (PTC)…In January, the company announced it would eliminate 2,335 positions [at its U.S. factories] by the end of the year. And, in releasing its most recent financial results, Vestas indicated it would lay off 1,400 more employees…”

    “Brian Redmond, managing director at Paragon Energy Holdings, is not surprised by Vestas’ strategic-partnership talks. An expected slowdown in U.S. turbine orders is leading to capacity consolidation throughout the wind industry, he says…Meanwhile, Dan Shreve, director and partner at MAKE Consulting, speculates that both companies could benefit from synergies in the offshore wind space…

    “…[B]y virtue of its…2010 acquisition of U.K.-based Artemis Intelligent Power, MHI could assist Vestas in the offshore wind space, Shreve points out…[T]he question lies in…whether the joint venture would take steps to commercialize [the Artemis] hydraulic drivetrain or move forward with Vestas' more traditional turbine architecture…Like Vestas, MHI's wind division has struggled lately... in part, from a protracted patent-infringement dispute with GE…[A] joint-venture partnership could provide a mechanism for MPSA to get around its legal issues…”


    Yingli Green poised to become the no.1 PV module supplier for 2012

    Ray Lian, 31 August 2012 (PV Tech)

    “…[I]t is now becoming possible to form a picture of what the 2012 PV shipment rankings will look like…[T]he landscape of global PV module manufacturing has changed significantly in the past few quarters, with gross margins in the single-digit percentage range at best. So, in such a difficult environment for all upstream PV manufacturers, who will prevail at year-end[?]…

    “Based on existing company guidance and…estimates of projected module shipments by company through to the end of 2012…[a] most-likely top-10 list for 2012…seems more like a reshuffle of 2011, with JA Solar replacing Kyocera at the 10th position being the only notable change…[I]it shows that JA Solar has now successfully repositioned from a (dominantly pure-play) cell supplier to a leading PV module supplier, and avoided the inevitable ‘squeeze’ of being a legacy pure-play midstream player…”

    “…[Yingli may take] the No.1 position for the first time ever – a position that was previously occupied by Suntech and First Solar…Yingli is also set to challenge the world record of PV module shipment within any calendar year, and become only the second company to post an annual shipment level that exceeds the 2GW-threshold. (Suntech was the first in 2011 with 2,096MW of shipment, and Suntech is likely to be ranked No.2 in 2012).

    “Trina Solar, First Solar and Canadian Solar are likely to occupy the next 3 ranking positions in 2012…[J]ust 50MW of difference may change the relative positions. A similar situation is likely for SunPower, Jinko Solar, and Hanwha SolarOne, competing for 7th place…Sharp Solar is likely to be the only Japanese company…Seven of the top-10 companies for 2012 are China-based manufacturers. And the other 3 are characterized by having dominant manufacturing presence across Southeast Asia and Japan…[M]odule shipment from the top-10 companies will be equivalent to almost 50% of global module demand in 2012, increasing from 46% in consequence of the global PV shakeout…”


    Smart Grid Requires Utilities To Merge IT And OT Worlds

    28 August 2012 (Renew Grid)

    “Uncertainty as to how new information technology (IT) systems should be incorporated into network operations continues to slow the advancement of smart grid technologies and is driving the need for greater collaboration between the IT and operational technology (OT) sides of the business, according to a new report from Pike Research.

    “The need to support smart meters has already driven significant change in the utility IT landscape with the introduction of advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) and meter data management systems (MDMS) and the replacement and upgrading of existing billing and customer information systems (CIS)…[but] the evolution of the smart grid from the initial deployment of smart meters to a dynamic, intelligent network supporting bi-directional communications between utilities and customers is only just beginning.”

    “Other focal points for IT transformation include distribution management systems (DMS) and the merging of enterprise IT and OT to improve operational efficiencies and move toward the goal of a closed-loop network management operation…[Advancements] are being driven by new application requirements such as electric vehicle charging systems, demand-side management applications and distributed generation management, including virtual power plants and microgrids…

    “The worlds of IT and OT teams have historically been distinct within utilities. IT has been primarily focused on business process and customer management systems. Operational systems for managing and monitoring power networks have been the domain of operational teams…[but] the smart grid requires a more holistic view of how a utility operates at both a business and field level…[and] greater cooperation between IT and OT teams…The importance of ensuring the security of the electricity grid…cannot be underestimated…”

    Tuesday, September 4, 2012


    Thermal Energy Storage; Thermal Storage for HVAC in Commercial Buildings, District Cooling and Heating, Utility and Grid Support Applications, and High-Temperature Storage at CSP Facilities

    3Q 2012 (Pike Research/Navigant

    “Thermal energy storage (TES) is an often unrecognized but important component of the developing market for energy storage systems…[TES is presently most] often used to provide cooling capacity for commercial buildings…

    “…TES systems are also increasingly seen as an effective means of shifting electricity use from daytime peak periods into less expensive periods of the day or at night, saving money and increasing overall system efficiency…Newer forms of TES, including molten salt storage, may be used with concentrated solar power generation facilities to store energy collected in daylight hours for later use.”

    “Pike Research’s analysis finds that the annual U.S. market for incremental TES capacity totals $268 million, with 246 megawatts (MW) of new capacity installed in 2011 in five market segments: packaged air conditioning, chiller TES systems, district energy, residential heat TES, and commercial heat TES…

    “The report forecasts that the TES market will expand at a compound annual growth rate of 13.5% through 2020, resulting in an $850 million annual domestic market and cumulative TES capacity of 4,500 MW. Globally, TES is expected to grow substantially through 2020, with worldwide revenues of $3.6 billion and added capacity of 3,824 MW in that year…”


    Offshore windfarm plan for over 300 turbines in Moray Firth unveiled

    Alistair Munro, 31 August 2012 (The Scotsman)

    “…[A plan for] the world’s largest offshore wind farm off the Scottish coast, with 339 turbines…which has attracted vocal opposition from campaigners including American tycoon Donald Trump…[would cost] £4.5 billion project…[and] could create hundreds of jobs and provide electricity for a million homes. It would also be a major boost to the Scottish Government’s target of generating 100 per cent of the country’s electricity demand from renewables by the end of the decade…

    “…[A joint venture between Spanish/Portuguese firm EDP Renewables (EDPR) and Spanish oil and gas company Repsol Nuevas Energias, operating as] Moray Offshore Renewables Ltd …said the proposals represented the culmination of three years of development work, data gathering, extensive environmental studies and broad consultation…Work, if approved, would start in 2015, with completion by 2020…The wind farm would cover about 114sq miles and could produce up to 1,500MW…The power would be collected by up to eight offshore electrical platforms, before being sent ashore by a cable under the seabed…[and to an onshore substation via] an underground cable…”

    “But concerns have been raised about the environmental impact of such a large project, particularly the effect on local marine life and tourism…Stuart Young, a consultant for Communities Against Turbines Scotland and chairman of Caithness Windfarm Information Forum, said…[the turbines] will be a blot on the landscape which will be left for future generations…A spokesman for Mr Trump, who is opposed to a similar offshore wind farm overlooking his Aberdeenshire golf course, said…[the project, like all wind turbine proposals, is totally dependent on subsidies that will cost the taxpayer dearly…”

    [Scottish Government spokesman:] “Scotland has astounding green energy potential and vast natural resources, and we have a responsibility to make sure our nation seizes this opportunity to create tens of thousands of new jobs…secure billions of pounds of investment in our economy…[and meet the Scottish Government ambitious but achievable] target of generating the equivalent of 100 per cent of our electricity demand from renewable sources by 2020.”


    Latest SunShot Awards: DOE Doles Out Millions More For Solar Research

    30 August 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “As part of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) SunShot Initiative, which aims to drive solar energy to be cost-competitive with other energy sources by 2020, Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced several new investments focusing on PV and concentrating solar power (CSP) research.

    “The CSP investments total $10 million over five years for two university-led projects [involving UCLA, Yale and UC Berkeley]…[designed to] increase efficiencies of CSP systems and lower their costs…[by developing liquid metal] heat-transfer fluids that can operate at temperatures up to 2,350 degrees F, while simultaneously maintaining high levels of performance…”

    “…[Five other] new research projects…will enable research teams from industry, universities and national laboratories to work together at the DOE's Scientific User Facilities, a national network of facilities that provide open access to instruments and tools…[With $900,000,] PLANT PV, based in Berkeley, Calif., will partner with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory's Molecular Foundry to develop three-dimensional mapping tools for higher-performing thin-film solar material…[and] the University of Colorado will use tools at Oak Ridge National Laboratory to research high-temperature, inexpensive materials for CSP technologies.

    “The three other projects, totaling a $2.6 million investment, have been selected to establish full research programs…Researchers from Sandia National Laboratories will partner with the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies in New Mexico to improve the efficiency of thin-film photovoltaic materials…Arizona State University will use X-ray technologies at Argonne National Laboratory to address solar cell material performance…[and] Stanford University will partner with SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory to research inexpensive ways to print solar cells.”

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Labor Day Reading - GE Still Dominates US Wind Manufacturing but New Faces Are Emerging; Bigger machines and more manufacturers are competing for market share.

    Labor Day Reading - GE Still Dominates US Wind Manufacturing but New Faces Are Emerging; Bigger machines and more manufacturers are competing for market share.

    Herman K. Trabish, May 1, 2012 (Greentech Media)

    GE remains the dominant supplier of wind turbines to the U.S. domestic market, but competitors are coming at it from every direction of the globe.

    GE turbines are generating 40 percent -- or 18,873 megawatts -- of the 48,770 megawatts of installed U.S. wind energy capacity. That is 12,519 turbines averaging about 1.5 megawatts each.

    Vestas Wind Systems A/S of Denmark made 19 percent, or approximately 9,154 megawatts, of the turbines generating U.S. installed capacity. That’s 6,996 turbines averaging under 1.3 megawatts each.

    Siemens A.G. of Germany is third with 11 percent -- 5,330 megawatts -- of U.S. capacity, with 2,511 turbines at an average 2.1-megawatt size.

    Of the 6,816 megawatts of wind capacity installed in the U.S. in 2011, GE led with 29.4 percent (2,006 megawatts from 1,252 turbines). Vestas was close behind, with almost 29 percent (1,969 megawatts from 952 turbines). Siemens was again third, with just over 18 percent (1,233 megawatts, 534 turbines).

    The real news is the wind industry’s growing list of manufacturers supplying the domestic turbine market. It grew more in 2011 than in any year since 2008. Among other newcomers were Goldwind and Sinovel, two of China’s biggest wind makers. And while manufacturers who were outside the top ten list added only 0.05 percent of U.S. installed wind capacity in 2007, their share of it in 2011 was over 5.5 percent.

    Furthermore, while there were only seven manufacturers with over 1,000 megawatts of U.S. installed capacity (GE, Vestas, Siemens, Mitsubishi, Gamesa, Suzlon and Clipper), there were nine manufacturers last year that added over 150 megawatts to it (Nordex and RePower).

    The average size of all turbines installed in the U.S. also took its biggest jump since 2008, moving from 1.77 megawatts to 1.97 megawatts. This strongly suggests that GE’s workhorse 1.5-megawatt machine and others in its class, while still dominant in terms of sheer numbers built, no longer represent the industry standard. Turbines of 1.8 megawatts and 2.3 megawatts also represented a large percentage of those installed in 2011, and both 2.3-megawatt and 3.0-megawatt turbines were also built in significant numbers last year.

    The U.S. wind turbine manufacturing industry and its supply chain had 472 facilities at the end of 2011. But the industry has already seen layoff announcements and cancellations of plans for new facilities from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Vestas and others, due toCongress' decision not to extend the industry’s 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour production tax credit (PTC).


    Labor Day Reading - Solar Tariff Debate: Rule of Law or Open Competition? Blame the Chinese — but at least they are supporting their solar industry.

    Labor Day Reading - Solar Tariff Debate: Rule of Law or Open Competition? Blame the Chinese — but at least they are supporting their solar industry.

    Herman K. Trabish, May 2, 2012 (Greentech Media)

    The Department of Commerce (DOC) recently ruled that China’s financial support to its solar manufacturers constitutes a violation of World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. DOC imposed protective tariffs of 2 percent to 5 percent. A second decision, potentially imposing further and higher tariffs, is expected May 17.

    Tariffs enforce WTO rules and protect U.S. solar manufacturers, but could also drive up solar costs or touch off a U.S.-China trade war. Center for American Progress China energy and policy analyst Melanie Hart and Grape Solar founder Ocean Yuan debated the wisdom of tariffs at the GTM solar summit.

    “Three things are of growing concern,” Hart said. Fossil-fuel-backed U.S. political leaders are not supporting renewables, she said, while China “has a forward-looking five-year strategy” and is “dedicating a lot of money to growing solar, particularly manufacturing.”

    Second, she said, “China’s policy process is not transparent.” When accusations are leveled, “we start to assume that perhaps what we don’t see is also problematic. There is growing suspicion.”

    Third, she said, “China is reaching a point where everything it does matters to us [and] we can’t afford to feel we’re on the losing end of such a critical trade relationship.” But, Hart said, “we have a non-political arena for laying out evidence of whether a foreign government is engaging in illegal subsidization and allowing some non-political, calm head in the Department of Commerce to make that decision.”

    (Chart data from The Brattle Group)

    “I can only speak about my own experience,” Yuan said. Grape Solar “received a series of notices from the Port of Seattle and the Port of Portland two weeks ago, and they demanded a cash payment the next day. We immediately sent a check to our customs broker. Otherwise, they can confiscate property, including panels.”

    “Installers, importers, distributors, and developers,” Yuan said, will be affected by tariffs, and “nobody will benefit.” Many U.S. manufacturers and the entire consumer-oriented part of the solar sector benefit from low costs, he said, adding, “We should be competing with the traditional fossil fuel generators, not fighting amongst ourselves.”

    Hart agreed, noting that fossil fuel interests invested $16 million in Q1 2012 to oppose Obama's clean energy policies. But, she added, “If we allow local government policies such as these subsidies to determine who comes out on top in such a critical global energy as solar, it could reduce our ability to compete against fossil fuels in the long term.”

    “Our relationship is too important,” Hart continued. “We should be addressing these problems in a legal-judicial fashion, to make sure we not only have cheap solar panels today but a long stable renewable energy partnership that can keep us going for the next five to ten years and beyond.”

    For the past 30 years, Yuan replied, China has been encouraging government support for all manufacturing, not just solar, because, Yuan explained, when China opened up to the West and Deng Xiaoping visited the U.S., he asked what China’s new role should be. "‘You make things,’ he was told, ‘and we will buy them.’"

    “That,” Yuan said, “led to today’s China. Now all of a sudden, the U.S. says, ‘I have fed the beast and it has grown into a monster.’ The U.S. wants to punish China for doing what it was told to do,” Yuan added. “And the market between these two countries is only $6 billion.Solar panel imports are less than $2 billion.”

    Greentech Media Research Managing Director Shayle Kann posed to each debater “one of the more compelling arguments on either side.” To Yuan, he asked, from “the pro-tariff side,” whether the U.S., on the assumption that China is violating WTO rules, should pursue enforcement even if it has a negative short-term impact on U.S. solar panel makers. Shouldn’t the DOC “enforce the rules?”

    “Assuming China is breaking the rules is a wrong assumption,” Yuan said. In his view, "The DOC is essentially saying, ‘I make the rules. You are breaking my rules.’ How fair is that?”

    Also, he added, “if you are trying to make anything in the U.S. and there is no uniqueness of your product, and if you try to compete with low-cost countries,” he said, “it’s simple math. With no technological advantage, how can you compete? You cannot. Face it. Do something else.”

    On “the anti-tariff side,” Kann asked Hart, won’t the tariff mechanism simply hurt the industry by driving up costs? “The likelihood is most top-tier manufacturers will skirt the tariffs,” Kann said, by setting up in Taiwan or Mexico. “U.S. prices won’t be hugely different.”

    “The goal here isn’t to protect U.S. manufacturers from competition,” Hart said. “The goal is to raise the price of cheating,” and “to make local government officials think twice before rolling out policies that might be or might appear to be WTO-illegal.”

    A questioner pointed out that 74 percent of U.S. solar jobs come from the industry segment most impacted by tariff-induced higher panel prices. “Why would we put a China-U.S. trade war on the back of an industry trying to compete with fossil fuels?”

    “The best thing we can do to ensure innovation and the ability to compete with fossil fuels,” Hart replied, “is to make sure we have a level playing field across all manufacturers and we are developing not just cheap solar panels but better and more efficient panels.”