NewEnergyNews More: April 2014

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  • Wednesday, April 30, 2014


    Solar industry is a top donor in Georgia PSC elections

    Kristi E. Swartz, April 28, 2014 (E&E Publishing)

    Disclosures from Georgia’s ethics agency show incumbent regulators Doug Everett and Lauren "Bubba" McDonald have received more than $14,000 from individual solar companies, national and Georgia solar industry groups, lobbyists, contractors, and associated attorneys as donations to their re-election campaigns…Members of Georgia's Public Service Commission (PSC), which governs utility rates and policy regulations, is one of few elected state commissions because most are appointed by the Governor…Solar industry advocates say, like campaign donors from other industries have said in the past, that they are simply trying to support elected representatives who are doing a good job…A key decision from Georgia’s PSC recently went in favor of sustaining solar’s net energy metering incentive but the larger decision on how to value solar over the long term is still to come…Georgia's solar industry reportedly represented $189 million in investments in 2013 and is made up of 150 companies that provide 2,600 jobs…Georgia Power is a subsidiary of Southern Company, a utility that regularly incurs the wrath of the anti-coal movement for millions in lobbying donations. click here for more


    FERC rejects wind, solar interests' demands that CAISO retain control of transmission lines

    Glen Boshart, April 21, 2014 (SNL)

    “Despite the fears of wind and solar interests that allowing the California ISO to cede to Southern California Edison Co. control over certain transmission assets in Southern California's Antelope Valley could harm reliability and cause operational problems, FERC recently signed off on the move...CAISO and SoCalEd have concluded…[SoCalEd's Antelope and Bailey 66-kV transmission facilities and several 66-kV to 220-kV transformers should be local distribution]…not subject to CAISO control even though they continue to perform certain wholesale functions…[T]he costs of that equipment would be directly assigned to the generators served by those lines, including members of the California Wind Energy Association and First Solar Inc...[T]he CWEA and First Solar in December 2013 asked FERC to block the move for reliability and other reasons…FERC agreed with CAISO...[finding] that the facilities will not support service outside the SoCalEd distribution system and that an outage of those facilities would not affect CAISO's transmission system…” click here for more


    SEPA Analysis Shows that 10 Utilities Accounted for 82 Percent of All Integrated Solar Capacity in 2013; 7th Annual Rankings Identifies PG&E, SDG&E and APS as Leaders in Utility Solar

    April 28, 2014 (Solar Electric Power Association)

    Rankings of U.S. utilities based on how many new megawatts of solar they built in 2013 and how many megawatts per customer they have installed were released by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA)…The ranked utilities accounted for 82 percent of all new solar capacity in 2013, up from 73 percent in 2012 and the top three builders of new solar in 2013, regulars throughout the seven year history of the listings, were Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E), and Arizona Public Service (APS)…Also returning to the top ten list for new megawatts were Southern California Edison (SCE), Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), Hawaiian Electric Company, and Duke Energy Carolinas, while Duke Energy Progress, National Grid, and Georgia Power made the rankings for the first time…This year’s rankings were based on responses from 287 U.S. utilities, up from 2013’s 256 utility reponses, according to a SEPA source…The watts-per-customer rankings, which give small utilities the opportunity to shine, were led by Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD), a public power utility in Massachusetts that serves 3,700 customers. click here for more

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014


    Google Agrees to Buy 407 Megawatts of Buffett’s Iowa Wind

    Ehren Gossens, April 22, 2014 (Bloomberg News)

    “Google Inc. agreed to buy 407 megawatts of wind power from Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., the technology company’s largest deal to date for renewable energy…The capacity will power Google’s Council Bluffs, Iowa, data center…Google, along with Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., Intel Corp. (INTC) and other companies, are buying power from renewable energy projects to curb greenhouse-gas emissions…MidAmerican will provide the capacity from multiple wind farms that are part of its Wind VIII effort to add 1,050 megawatts of wind energy in Iowa by the end of 2015…[Google] has invested more than $1 billion in 15 projects around the world in an effort to promote wider use of clean power…” click here for more


    Xcel sets stage for solar bidding war

    David Shaffer, April 23, 2014 (Minneapolis StarTribune)

    Xcel Energy’s request for proposals (RFP) for 100 megawatts of new solar will dramatically increase Minnesota’s installed solar capacity over from its present twelve megawatts at about 730 rooftop sites. The RFP, for commercial-industrial and utility scale installations of five megawatts and over, will move Xcel about one-third of the way toward compliance with the Minnesota's Solar Energy Standard mandating its utilities get 1.5 percent of their power from solar by 2020. The proposals must be submitted to Xcel and reviewed in time for regulatory approval of the twenty year power purchase agreements this fall so construction can be completed before the 30 percent federal investment tax credit drops to 10 percent after December 31, 2016. This new round of solar development will be an opportunity for Xcel to demonstrate if it will use Minnesota’s newly instituted Value of Solar Tariff or revert to the familiar net energy metering policy. click here for more


    Governor Cuomo Announces Fundamental Shift in Utility Regulation; Regulatory Changes to Spur Development of World-Class Energy System in New York State and Mitigate Climate Change Impacts

    April 24, 2014 (Governor’s Press Office)

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming Energy Vision (REV) initiative will ask the state Public Service Commission (PSC) to prepare utilities and the grid operator for smart technologies, a streamlined electricity market, and practices that will expand demand management, energy efficiency, renewable energy, distributed generation, and energy storage. The initiative would create new policies and programs to support adoption of practices by consumers, businesses, and industries that would ease the burden on power generators of peak demand and open the single biggest saving opportunity for ratepayers. The initiative leaves to the PSC the burden of deciding which existing grid operating and electricity market practices should be modified and how utilities can manage distributed energy resources and move ratepayers to energy consumption priorities that benefit themselves and the system. The example of the Empire State Building efficiency retrofit stands tall in New Yorkers awareness of the savings available from such programs. click here for more

    Monday, April 28, 2014


    U.S. Wind Energy Could Double, But It’s Deja-vu All Over Again in Congress

    Andrew Burger, April 21, 2014 (TriplePundit)

    “…By the end of 2013, 46,100 wind turbines on 905 utility-scale wind farms with rated generation capacity of 61,110 megawatts (MW) were online, producing more than 4 percent of U.S. electricity generation…[I]nvestment has been growing at a 19.5 percent annual rate over the past five years, with an average $15 billion per year invested in new projects. With costs dropping 43 percent between 2008 and 2012, wind energy…growth and development has been remarkable…notwithstanding successive boom-bust cycles – the result of the waxing and waning of the wind energy PTC…[W]ind energy has become the lowest cost means of producing electricity in a growing number of U.S. markets, accounting for 31 percent of new U.S. electric generation capacity over the past five years…Driven by ongoing technological advances, declining costs and the Jan. 2, 2013 extension of the wind energy PTC, last year’s results were dramatic. Equally dramatic have been the effects of allowing the federal wind energy PTC to expire…Unfortunately, for the U.S. wind energy participants and society at large, the debate as to whether or not to renew the PTC for wind energy is playing out yet again this year…” click here for more


    Exelon touts the nuclear necessity

    Barbara Vergetis Lundin, April 24, 2014 (FierceEnergy)

    Government policies and market structures don’t give nuclear power the value it deserves as a source of emissions-free base load generation and, according to Exelon, as much as 25 percent of the U.S. nuclear fleet could be shuttered. Exelon’s nuclear plants, it said, were crucial to the PJM response during the extreme January cold because of natural gas supply constraints and price spikes. Exelon has pushed to end the federal production tax credit (PTC) vital to the wind energy value proposition, claiming the PTC causes negative pricing in electricity markets. Exelon does not mention the federal incentives available to the nuclear industry or the fact that markets have largely decided that nuclear plant costs and lead times make nuclear an uneconomic choice for new generation. Wind energy advocates say the negative pricing is not due to the PTC but to local transmission outages, extremely low electricity demand, and the inability of Exelon’s nuclear plants to ramp down when transmission is out or demand drops off. Executives of both NextEra and Xcel, both of which have generation portfolios broadly comparable to Exelon, say low natural gas prices play a much bigger role than the PTC in negative pricing and current nuclear plant economics. click here for more


    Hawaiian Electric affirms commitment to solar; Boasting one of the highest levels of installed solar power in the country, Hawaiian Electric has rejected the findings of a recent poll and claims that it has "a significant public image problem."

    Edgar Meza, 25 April 2014 (PV Magazine)

    Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) denies intentionally slowing rooftop solar interconnections to limit the impact of customer-sourced distributed generation (DG) on its revenues but a recent poll paid for by The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) found that while 94 percent of Hawaiians want more rooftop solar 90 percent believe HECO is slowing the integration of it into the grid. HECO does not lose revenues from increased DG because its current rate structure allows for cost recovery, according to a utility spokesperson. HECO is 10th in the U.S. for megawatts of installed solar capacity, ahead of bigger utilities, and helped grow Hawaii solar 39% in 2013. Less than half of those polled had a favorable opinion of HECO, according to TASC. The HECO spokesperson noted the utility doubled rooftop solar on its grid annually from 2008 to 2012 and has an 11% solar penetration on Oahu while utilities in California, Arizona and other sunny states are at 2% to 3%. HECO’s high DG penetration has resulted in technical issues on the circuit and system level other states are only just now talking about, a HECO source recently said, and it is working on solar interconnections on circuits that can handle them safely and reliably. click here for more

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014


    Stronger First Quarter For Global Investment in Clean Energy; Small-scale solar in Japan and the US, and renewable power financings in emerging markets, help investment to rise 10% compared to Q1 2013

    April 16, 2014 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)

    “Investment in clean energy worldwide rallied nearly 10% in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period a year earlier, reaching $47.7bn…[owing] much to a 42% jump in investment in small-scale solar, as households and businesses in countries such as Japan and the US took advantage of the big falls that have taken place in the cost of photovoltaic systems…The first quarter is often the weakest of the year for investment in clean energy…So, although global investment in Q1 2014, at $47.7bn, was down on Q4′s $58.1bn, the more useful comparison is with the first quarter of 2013′s $43.6bn… Also rising strongly year-on-year was public markets investment…The WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index, or NEX, which tracks around 100 clean energy stocks worldwide, appreciated 11% in the first quarter, to roughly double its low of July 2012…” click here for more


    Study: Fuels From Corn Waste Not Better Than Gas

    Dina Cappiello, April 21, 2014 (AP)

    “Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term…challenging the Obama administration's conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change…[A study in the] peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline…While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won't meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel…The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels…About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue…The biofuel industry and administration officials immediately criticized the research as flawed. They said it was too simplistic in its analysis of carbon loss from soil…” click here for more


    Federal lawsuit over western Md. wind farm ends

    April 18, 2014 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

    “A legal dispute over a western Maryland wind farm has ended…A U.S. District Court judge in Baltimore dismissed…The citizen group Save Western Maryland filed the lawsuit in 2010 against developers of the 28-turbine Criterion wind farm in Garrett County. The project owned by Chicago-based Exelon Corp has been operating since 2010… In December, the [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] approved operational changes Exelon had proposed to minimize harm to the bats…” click here for more

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014


    Every day is Earth Day. Make a difference. Be the change. From csunas via YouTube


    17 Inspiring Quotes for Earth Day…(continued from yesterday)

    Vi-An Nguyen, April 19, 2014 (Parade)

    “Celebrate Earth Day…with moving quotes about the natural world from conservationists and naturalists…They’re all worth remembering on this day set aside to honor Mother Nature…Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance. — Theodore Roosevelt…Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together … all things connect… — Chief Seattle…You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. — Jane Goodall…” continued from yesterday – click here for more


    US Energy Dept plans $4 bln in loan aid for renewable energy

    Ayesha Rascoe, April 18, 201`4 (Reuters)

    "The U.S. Energy Department…unveiled a plan for up to $4 billion in loan aid for renewable energy companies to help rejuvenate a program that faced harsh political attacks over past failures of federally subsidized projects…The Obama administration's draft plan would provide loan guarantees for innovative projects that limit or avoid greenhouse gas emissions…It will specifically focus on advanced electric grid technology and storage, biofuels for conventional vehicles, energy from waste products and energy efficiency…[Financing should be awarded] by the end of the year or early 2015…” click here for more

    Monday, April 21, 2014


    17 Inspiring Quotes for Earth Day: 'The Environment Is Where We All Meet'

    Vi-An Nguyen, April 19, 2014 (Parade)

    "Celebrate Earth Day this Tuesday, April 22, with moving quotes about the natural world from conservationists and naturalists…They’re all worth remembering on this day set aside to honor Mother Nature… The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. — Lady Bird Johnson…A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children. — John James Audubon…In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. — John Muir…Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” — Albert Einstein…” continued tomorrow – click here for more


    Solar Monetization Option Challenges Third-Party Ownership Assumptions

    Mark Del Franco, April 17, 2014 (Solar Industry)

    “While third-party ownership (TPO) represents much of the growth in residential photovoltaic installations, several factors may be starting to inject a few new wrinkles into the home solar market…[In the current third-party model, solar providers] own, maintain and insure solar panels on a homeowner's roof. Homeowners switch to solar without the high upfront cost, avoid the responsibilities of ownership and save money on electricity bills…[M]ore than $3 billion in project financing has been raised since SolarCity and Morgan Stanley closed the first residential tax equity portfolio financing in the U.S. in 2008…[But in] an emerging scenario, the homeowner - not the solar company - owns the PV system and typically signs a maintenance and service contract with an electrical contractor…The homeowner is able to fully monetize the tax credits on a dollar-for-dollar basis…[and some financial players] are deploying debt products in an effort to shift industry focus away from TPO…” click here for more


    Microgrids in Asia Pacific; Commercial/Industrial, Community/Utility, Campus/Institutional, and Remote Microgrids: Country-Level Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “…[T]he Asia Pacific region has experienced particularly robust demand for microgrids due to economic development, electrification, and industrialization…In emerging countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, electricity has not been and still is not a commodity service for everyone…[R]emote microgrids will show strong growth in these countries through 2023…[D]eveloped nations, including Australia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, will pursue technology development and pilot projects in the next few years and then will deploy diverse applications, especially in the commercial/industrial, campus/institutional, and community/utility microgrid segments. Navigant Research forecasts that annual grid-tied and remote microgrid capacity in the nine select Asia Pacific countries will grow from 37.0 MW in 2013 to 597.3 MW in 2023…” click here for more

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014


    IPCC: Mitigating Climate Change More Challenging Than Ever

    Eli Kintisch, 13 April 2014 (Science)

    "Global greenhouse emissions are skyrocketing. Emissions cuts required to avoid dangerous impacts of climate change are steep. And despite decades of talk, world governments have made paltry efforts to address the problem...That’s the grim picture painted by…[the latest climate change report from] the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)…The report also describes the daunting work required to sidestep climate dangers…Economists have compared the task of lowering the world economy’s carbon footprint—now the equivalent of about 50 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year—to turning a cruise ship. But the report says the ship is firing full steam ahead…[and tackling global emissions on such a massive scale will be pricey, the report finds…” click here for more


    Report Challenges EIA's Renewable Energy Projections; Says Renewables Could Hit 16% of U.S. Electrical Generation in Five Years, Not 27 Years as EIA Forecasts

    Ken Bossong, April 16, 2014 (SUN DAY Campaign)

    “…[T]he SUN DAY Campaign challenges assertions by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) that renewable energy sources will provide only 16% of the nation's net electrical generation by the year 2040. Using EIA's own previously published data, the analysis shows that it's more likely the 16% level could be reached within five years…EIA's own published data…that the percentage of the nation's net electrical generation represented by renewable energy has expanded from less than 9% in 2004 to nearly 13% in 2013…Given the relatively consistent growth trends of the past decade or longer for most renewable energy sources and their rapidly declining costs, it seems improbable that it will require another 27 years to grow from 13% to 16%...[EIA's forecast] is simply wrong…[I]f the trends reflected in EIA data from the past decade continue, renewable energy sources could increase to as much as 13.5% of net U.S. electrical generation in 2014, to 14.4% in 2015, to 15.3% in 2016, and reach or exceed 16.0% no later than 2018…[or, at worst,] by 2020…” click here for more


    Power Prices in Texas Fall as Wind Generation Above Forecast

    Harry R. Weber, April 14, 2014 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

    “Spot wholesale electricity in Texas slid as generation from wind was above expectations…Wind power on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. network averaged 8,778 megawatts for the hour ended at 10 a.m. local time, above the day-ahead forecast of 8,425 megawatts…Spot power at the Texas North hub, which includes Dallas, fell $6.52, or 18 percent, to average $30.59 a megawatt-hour for the hour ended at 10 a.m. versus the same time April 11…Houston hub prices declined $6.29, or 17 percent, to $30.64…New York City power rose $2.43, or 6.2 percent, to average $41.71…while Boston power gained $2.03, or 5.4 percent, to $40.12…” click here for more

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014


    Wind Power Projects to Rise to Record in 2014, Lobby Says

    Alex Morales, April 9, 2014 (Bloomberg News)

    “Wind-power installations will climb to a record this year, driven by resurgent U.S. demand and growth in developing nations from Brazil to China, the Global Wind Energy Council predicted…Worldwide installations will probably surge 34 percent to 47.3 gigawatts in 2014…That follows a drop by more than a fifth to 35.3 gigawatts last year that was fueled by crashing U.S. demand after a tax credit to the industry expired…[Developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa] will spur new wind power demand for the next five years…The U.S. will also see a rebound, because of the structuring of the industry’s [production tax credit (PTC)]…” click here for more


    Solar And Gas Provided Nearly 75% Of All New U.S Capacity In 2013

    8 April 2014 (Solar Industry)

    “Capacity figures compiled by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) show that natural gas and solar are providing the vast majority of the nation's new electricity generating resources. Natural gas-fired power plants accounted for just over 50% of new utility-scale generating capacity added in 2013. Solar provided nearly 22%, a jump up from less than 6% in 2012. Coal provided 11% and wind nearly 8%...In total, a little over 13.5 GW of new capacity was added in 2013, less than half the capacity added in 2012…Solar photovoltaic added 2,193 MW of capacity in 2013…Distributed solar PV capacity additions also grew in 2013, with estimated non-utility additions of 1,900 MW…” click here for more


    Maine Public Utilities Commission: Smart Meters Are Safe

    March 31, 2014 (Renew Grid)

    “Smart meters are not a health risk, finds a report by the Maine Public Utilities Commission (MPUC)…[in answer to a 2012] court-ordered review…After the commission approved Central Maine Power Co.'s plan to install smart meters for the utility's 620,000 customers in 2009, objections began to mount. Soon thereafter, activists…[argued] the commission failed in its legal obligation to ensure the safety of utility customers…[and contended] the radio frequency emissions and wireless networks related to smart meters endanger human health. The MPUC's report refutes such assertions and will serve as a guideline for the commission as it decides how to handle the alleged health issues, a determination that is expected to come later this year…[T]he MPUC] accepted thousands of pages of expert testimony for its report…[and] concluded that there is no credible, peer-reviewed research to support a direct link between smart meters and health problems…The MPUC also found that the radio frequencies emitted by smart meters meet federal safety standards…[N]o regulatory entity or health agency in the U.S. or Canada has ruled smart meters to be unsafe…” click here for more

    Monday, April 14, 2014


    Solar, Wind Reaping Cheaper Capital, SunEdison Founder Says

    Ehren Goosens, April 8, 2014 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

    “Developers of solar and wind power projects can now access capital at a lower cost, paving the way for continued growth, Jigar Shah, founder and former chief executive officer of SunEdison said…Capital costs are now often less than 6 percent to 7 percent thanks to financing sources and greater investor comfort with financing renewable energy projects, Shah said…New financing methods such as yield companies -- separate businesses that own power plants being pursued by Abengoa SA (ABG) and NRG Energy Inc. (NRG:US) -- and increased participation in the industry by pension funds make sense because the cost of making those projects is fixed…‘The question is: can developers develop enough projects to satiate the money?... Can this industry really deliver the deals now that the money isn’t an issue? Can you feed the beast? We are long money and short deals.’” click here for more


    Solar PV Consolidation: Fact or Fiction?

    Finlay Colville, March 21, 2014 (SolarBuzz)

    “…Looking at cell production only (including c-Si cell and thin-film) - and specifically in-house cell production – a fairly good picture can be obtained about whether or not there is consolidation…The analysis uses annual in-house cell production for 2010 to 2013 (actual) and then adds NPD Solarbuzz forecasts (done bottom-up by each producer) for 2014…If there was consolidation going on, then the percentage of the market each year supplied by the top-10 and top-20 would show a strong uptick. This would then be carried forward across the other ranges, out to the top-100…[T]his is clearly not happening. In fact, the share from the top-10 is actually going down, not up, from 43% in 2010 to 38% in 2014…” click here for more


    Market Snapshot: Already leading US in wind power, ERCOT breaks more records in 2014

    Emily Reynolds, April 7, 2014 (SNL)

    “Wind power remains one of the fastest growing sources of new electric generation in the country, breaking records all across the U.S. over the past couple of years thanks to transmission upgrades and new wind development..[W] ind energy capacity in the U.S. grew more than 140% over the past five years…[E]lectricity generated from wind turbines climbed about 200%...[W]ind power has more than tripled since 2008 and is now the fifth largest [U.S.] electricity source…In 2013, Texas became the leader in the wind industry…[W]ind generation in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc., or ERCOT, grew more than 140% since early 2009, closely following the rapid growth in all of the U.S…Upgrades to transmission lines in Texas in early 2014 have allowed several records to be set for wind generation…with the latest record of 10,296 MW set March 26…” click here for more

    Wednesday, April 9, 2014


    Deeper Data Dives Yield More Certainty On Solar Jobs

    Mark Del Franco, April 3, 2014 (Solar Industry)

    “…[Through its 2013 National Solar Jobs Census, The Solar Foundation (TSF)] is providing legislators and policymakers with access to richer, more detailed data than…[government data that] lacks the depth needed to make informed decisions…By themselves, the raw numbers do not divulge anything else about the worker, and as such, are unlikely to provide little basis to make a decision…For gathering information about solar jobs, the organization asks human resource professionals the percentage of time a worker spends performing a solar-related task…[Such methodology] recently yielded this significant statistic: Nearly 90% of all solar workers spend 100% of their time on solar-related activities…” click here for more


    Wind energy secures significant CO2 emission reductions for the U.S.

    April 4, 2014 (American Wind Energy Association)

    “Rapid development of the U.S. wind energy industry has led to significant reductions in power sector carbon emissions. In 2013, the U.S. wind fleet reduced power sector emissions by 96 million metric tons, or 4.4 percent, the equivalent of taking 16.9 million cars off the road…Electricity produced by a wind project results in an equivalent decrease in electricity production at the most expensive currently operating power plant, which is almost always the least efficient fossil-fired power plant…[W]ind energy also greatly reduces a variety of health-harming air pollutants, including smog-forming sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides, dangerous particulate matter, mercury, and other toxins…” click here for more


    Alternative Revenue Streams for Automakers; Plug-In Electric Vehicle Adoption and Sustainable Transportation: Vehicle-to-Grid, Vehicle-to-Building, Home Energy Management, Solar Energy, EV Charging, Carsharing, and Smart Parking Services

    1Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “Automotive manufacturers are making the first inroads into new markets not directly related to vehicle sales. They are selling home energy management (HEM) systems and residential PV units; offering carsharing services and smart parking applications; and developing the tools that will allow plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) drivers to participate in grid services programs…While Navigant Research believes that automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) will participate in these markets to a growing degree, it is not as likely that they will be significant revenue generating opportunities in the near term. Navigant Research forecasts that global OEM revenue from new services related to PEVs and sustainable transportation will grow from $426.6 million in 2014 to $5.3 billion in 2023…” click here for more

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014


    Report: Clean energy investments drop globally

    Ryan Honeywell, April 3, 2014 (FuelFix)

    “Global investment in clean energy technology fell 11 percent to $254 billion last year, according to [ 2013 Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? from the Pew Charitable Trusts…which focused on the world’s top industrialized countries, known as the G-20…China continues to remain the most attractive destination for spending on clean energy, which includes renewables as well as smart meters and carbon capture. The Asian nation led the world with $54.2 billion in spending in 2013...The U.S. was second on the list, with $36.7 billion in clean energy investments last year — a 9 percent decline…Just three G-20 nations — Japan, Canada and United Kingdom — increased clean energy investments last year. Authors attributed that, in part, to a decline in financial incentives for clean energy technologies…The report also found that globally, solar power is quickly gaining ground on wind as the world’s leading source of clean energy. Last year marked the first time that more solar energy technology was installed across the globe than wind technology…” click here for more


    GE Strengthens India’s Localization Efforts in Wind Energy… GE’s First ‘for India’ Wind Turbine to Help Meet India’s Unmet Energy Needs

    April 4, 2014 (GE Power and Water)

    “…[GE’s new 1.7-103 wind turbine is] its first wind turbine developed and engineered specifically for India’s low-wind speed conditions…[T]he turbine’s large 103-meter rotor will help deliver high-efficiency output…attractive project economics…[and] a 30 percent increase in annual energy production compared to its predecessor, the 1.6-82.5 wind turbine…[This launch in strengthening GE’s] commitment to India…Renewables now constitute more than 5 percent of India’s energy mix by production and 12 percent by installed capacity…[The cost of wind power] is now close to grid parity, and advancement in technology is making its generation more predictable…” click here for more


    Understanding the Basics of Solar PV and Storage Technologies

    Michael Barker, March 17, 2014 (SolarBuzz)

    “The amount of intermittent [wind and solar] power generation sources, as a percentage of total global power production…[Solar PV had a global compound annual growth of approximately 50% over the past decade…[and is projected to] account for over 10% of total power generation within the next 15-20 years…[Energy storage is becoming increasingly important]…[There is] mechanical, thermal, and chemical [storage]…Mechanical storage [like] flywheels, pumped hydro, or compressed air energy storage]…convert electricity to another form and is then used to turn a turbine and reconvert that potential power into electricity…Thermal storage systems [like] molten salt storage and ice/water cooling systems [either heat or cool a storage mechanism]...Chemical storage systems are generally battery-based systems…[T]here are still questions surrounding the implementation…[but if] storage system prices can maintain a rapid downward cost trajectory…interest will only continue to increase…” click here for more

    Monday, April 7, 2014


    House Passes Bill Requiring Agencies To Put Climate Change On The Back Burner

    Emily Atkin, April 2, 2014 (ClimateProgress)

    “Two days after a U.N. report warned of increased famine, war, and poverty from unmitigated carbon emissions, the Republican-led House of Representatives…passed a bill that would require the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to focus less on studying climate change, and more on predicting storms…The bill, introduced last June by Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), wouldn’t require NOAA to stop its climate research entirely, but it would require the agency to ‘prioritize weather-related activities, including the provision of improved weather data, forecasts, and warnings for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy.’ NOAA is…focused on the changing conditions of both the oceans and the atmosphere…[and] oversees the National Weather Service, the National Ocean Service, and the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research…[Bridenstine has repeatedly said climate change] does not exist, despite consensus from 97 percent of the scientific community…” click here for more


    Renewable energy Production Tax Credit passes critical test as Senate Finance Committee sends tax extenders bill to floor

    April 3, 2014 (American Wind Energy Association)

    "The renewable energy Production Tax Credit (PTC) [two year extension] and Investment Tax Credit (ITC) were included…with bipartisan support, as the U.S. Senate Finance Committee reported out a tax extenders package whose swift passage is critically important to the continued growth of the U.S. wind energy industry…They prevailed on a critical 18-6 vote during the committee markup…[after] Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) [moved] to strip them out. Five Republicans joined the committee’s Democrats in voting down that amendment…[Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)] called Toomey’s arguments against their extension ‘intellectually dishonest,’ considering billions of dollars a year in permanent incentives for other forms of energy with which renewable energy competes…The tax credits now advance toward extension with over 50 other expired provisions of the tax code, in the absence of a comprehensive tax reform deal in Congress…” click here for more


    Clean Energy Collective and RGS Energy to Deploy First Community-Owned Solar Facilities in Massachusetts

    April 3, 2014 (Globe NewsWire via MarketWatch)

    “The community solar developer, Clean Energy Collective (CEC), has selected RGS Energy…as the general contractor for the construction of the first community-owned solar facilities located in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts…[RGS Energy] will provide engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for two large solar arrays of nearly 1 megawatt (MW)…Construction has already begun on the two sites, with interconnection planned for the end of June…[Community solar is a] fast growing distributed generation model pioneered by CEC…[It] allows any customer in a participating utility territory, including renters, those with shaded roofs or people with modest incomes…to own panels in a shared solar PV facility, scalable to a single panel, without having to install a rooftop system…The solar PV arrays are designed and located for maximum power production and lifespan, delivering the lowest possible price for renewable energy. In return for the power produced, customers receive credits on monthly electric bills…” click here for more

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014


    Offshore Vertical Axis Wind Turbines Are Sinking Not Swimming

    Mike Barnard, March 25, 2014 (Clean Technica)

    “One of the persistent myths of wind energy is that vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) are better than the iconic three-bladed horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWTs)…[O]ffshore applications have some different conditions which might favour VAWTs over HAWTs, but…the [prototype of the] SKWID by Modec, a Japanese marine engineering company [sank]…[T]he Nenuphar device [by a French company]…stalled in December 2012…[and] Nenuphar CEO Charles Smadja said that based on performance alone, horizontal axis turbines would always be superior to their vertical axis equivalent…[Sandia] performed extensive R&D on vertical-axis wind turbines in the 1970s and 80s, none of which resulted in economically viable products…They are dusting off 30- to 40-year-old research…[and] spending about $4 million…This is a reasonable and small side bet in a rich industry…[T]he Deepwind project in Europe…proposed a simplified, long-shaft floating VAWT [in 2010]…As of early 2013, they were still presenting purely hypothetical designs…[T]he Norwegian Gwind research project…[has] a small-scale prototype that was launched in September of 2013. Results aren’t in…Vertiwind, a sub-project of the INFLOW program…is at least a year behind…” click here for more


    First Solar: Upside Momentum To Continue

    Stock Gamer, March 30, 2014 (Seeking Alpha)

    “The share price of First Solar (FSLR) has risen substantially by 154% over the past 12 months, compared to just an 18% return for S&P 500. In my view, there remains ample room for further price appreciation…In the company's recent Analyst meeting, management provided their long-term vision on FSLR's CdTe technology. The technology's cell efficiency is expected to rise from 20% in 2014 to 25% in 2016. Given that the efficiency ratios for both multi-crystalline and mono crystal cells are currently at about 20% and 25%, respectively, which are close to their theoretical limits largely due to limited investments, it is believed that CdTe's cell efficiency would eventually surpass the efficiency of the two competing technologies. Management also expects system-wide efficiency to reach 19.5% by 2017, which is higher than previous target of 17.2%...[FSLR's strong fundamental trend…should ensure healthy organic growth…Balance sheet strength provides significant capacity for future M&A which would drive incremental growth...Trading below peer average on EV/EBITDA basis, FSLR's valuation is inexpensive]…” click here for more


    Smart City Communication Networks; Fiber, Cellular, Wi-Fi, RF Mesh, and PLC Networks for Smart Energy, Smart Transportation, Smart Water, Smart Buildings, and Smart Government: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    1Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “Smart city communications that connect people, objects, and sensors involve multiple access and aggregation networks that can vary from public to private and wired to wireless…Many of the innovations associated with smart cities – in energy, transportation, and the efficient delivery of public services, for example – are based on the availability of ubiquitous communication services…Yet, the communication layer in a smart city has largely been taken for granted…Today, cities are moving beyond simply connecting citizens and businesses to objects and sensors into a world of Internet of Things (IoT)…[and more] interoperability, security, data privacy, and scalability of communication networks. Navigant Research forecasts that global shipments of smart city communication nodes will grow from 17 million in 2013 to 55 million in 2020…” click here for more

    Tuesday, April 1, 2014


    A possible marriage of CSP and CPV

    Heba Hashem/Susan Kraemer, March 28, 2014 (CSP Today)

    “There are very few companies commercially pursuing the form of solar that combines CSP and CPV, but a new program out of ARPA E is putting $30 million into investigating the idea, funding 12 projects to try to wring more output from the harvest of both light and heat from the sun… The new awards, under the Full-Spectrum Optimized Conversion and Utilization of Sunlight (FOCUS) program, might spin-off a new form of CSP that can work in diffuse light. Or perhaps to a solar drone able to approach the sun and not lose power in the heat…” click here for more


    Legislators are pushing for a PTC extension

    March 31, 2014 (American Wind Energy Association)

    “The renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) is an effective tool to keep electricity rates low and encourage development of proven renewable energy projects...The PTC expired at the end of 2013, and it is crucial that it be extended. Failure to extend the PTC will lead to significant job losses and roll back progress that we have made as a nation to diversify the U.S. electricity portfolio…Over 150 federal legislators have written letters in recent months, urging the Congressional leadership and the tax committees to act quickly to extend the PTC…” click here for more


    Tesla To Offer An 'Affordable' Car By 2017, But Will It Take Off?

    Jay McGregor, March 31, 2014 (Forbes)

    “…Tesla will [reportedly] present a prototype of its affordable car in 2015…Currently, Tesla’s cheapest car is the Model S, which retails at around $70,000 in the US…But the manufacturer thinks it can bring the price down for a new model as it looks to ramp up production…By affordable Tesla means in the region of $40,000…which is slightly over the average car price in the US, but still within the ball-park. Tesla has been open about wanting to expand its range and appeal to more customers and this reported cheaper car is a first step…If the model is sound, then scale is the answer. The question is how much Tesla needs to be the brand on the bonnet. Does it scale by building its own vehicles or by licensing its drive train technology as it already has to Daimler and Toyota?...If it can use a lower-priced vehicle to show a broader range of consumers the cost and driving advantages of well-designed all-electric vehicles, it will be doing the market, and the planet, a favour…” click here for more