NewEnergyNews More: May 2014

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  • Wednesday, May 28, 2014


    Cumulative US PV Market to Approach 20 GW by the End of 2014

    Michael Barker, May 19, 2014 (SolarBuzz)

    “Cumulative solar photovoltaic (PV) installations in the United States hit the 10 GW level in mid-2013 and are on course to double by early 2015, approaching the 20 GW figure by the end of 2014…Continuing cost declines – and a push by project developers to move projects towards completion before a reduction in the federal investment tax credit (ITC) – are helping to drive growth…[N]ew capital continues to flow into the sector, and novel business models are opening up markets where solar is competitive with retail electricity rates…[The] compound annual growth rate (CAGR) [is] above 50% since 2006…While large-scale ground-mounted systems continue to account for the largest share of the US market, all segments are seeing growth…With solar PV systems being recognized as a source of (relatively) low-risk long-term revenues, this asset class is proving increasingly attractive for installers and utility companies, as well as institutional investors and private owners/municipalities…” click here for more


    Piggybacking Wind And Solar: Can Two Renewable Energy Sources Peacefully Co-Exist?

    Mark Del Franco, May 22, 2014 (North American Windpower)

    “…[T]o maximize existing generating assets, several wind developers are now beginning to look at adding solar generation on existing wind sites…to monetize the investment tax credit, which, for solar, expires Dec. 31, 2016. The production tax credit for wind expired at the end of last year…Federal tax credits aside, there are many benefits of co-locating wind and solar generation…[including] a more levelized joint output…to firm the power supply to the grid…[and] avoid supply-demand gaps…Because wind and solar projects must obtain approvals from the same agencies and jurisdictions, wind developers are already well versed in the basic requirements of renewable energy projects…[Factors to consider include] Location…Spacing…[and] Interconnection…” click here for more


    Why Wave Power Has Lagged Far Behind as Energy Source

    Dave Levitan, 28 April 2014 (Yale Environment 360)

    “…[N]umerous studies have concluded that wave power — and to a lesser extent, tidal power — could contribute massive amounts to the overall energy picture. But while the industry has made halting progress, experts agree that it remains decades behind other forms of renewables, with large amounts of money and research required for it to even begin to catch up…No commercial-scale wave power operations now exist…In February, U.S. corporate giant Lockheed Martin announced a joint venture to create the world’s biggest wave energy project, a 62.5 megawatt installation slated for the coast of Australia that would produce enough power for 10,000 homes. Scotland, surrounded by the rough waters of the Atlantic and the North Sea, has become a hotbed of wave-energy research and development, with the government last year approving a 40-megawatt wave energy installation in the Shetland Islands…But a central challenge has proven to be the complexity of harnessing wave power, which has led to a host of designs…From a technical point of view, operating in the ocean is far more difficult than on land…A recurring theme among wave power experts is that wave energy is where wind energy was three decades ago…In spite of the challenges inherent to the medium, the industry is progressing, albeit slowly…” click here for more

    Tuesday, May 27, 2014


    Barclays Downgrades Electric Utility Bonds, Sees Viable Solar Competition

    Michael Aneiro, May 23, 2014 (Barron’s)

    Barclays Bank’s bond rating service has downgraded the entire U.S. electric utility sector bond market rating against the U.S. Corporate Bond Index due to the challenge from ratepayers’ increasing opportunities to cut grid electricity consumption with solar and battery storage…Barclays recommended investors move out of utilities’ bonds wherever solar-plus-storage is becoming cost competitive, including in Hawaii now, California by 2017, New York and Arizona by 2018, and “many other states soon after…” because solar-plus-storage could “reconfigure the organization and regulation of the electric power business” in the next ten years…Electric utility bonds are nearly 7.5% of Barclays’ U.S. Corporate Index by market value but the U.S. utility industry is facing real competition in the cost-effective delivery of electricity for first time in its hundred-plus year history and the industry and regulators are ignoring the risks of “a comprehensive re-imagining of the role utilities play,” Barclays wrote. click here for more


    Clean Line seeks customers for Oklahoma-Arkansas-Tennessee power line

    Scott DiSavino and Chris Reese, May 22, 2014 (Reuters)

    “Clean Line Energy Partners…[has] started the official process of looking for customers for the capacity of its proposed $2 billion Clean Line power transmission project from Oklahoma to Arkansas and Tennessee…[The] Plains and Eastern Clean Line LLC subsidiary commenced an open solicitation process for capacity…The project is a 700-mile (1,127-km) overhead 600-kilovolt high voltage direct current transmission line capable of delivering about 3,500 megawatts of power…Clean Line is developing the project to move electricity from the wind power rich Oklahoma Panhandle region to Tennessee and Arkansas where demand for renewable power resources is growing…[The project is expected to be fully permitted in the middle of 2015…[for] by early 2016…[and] service by the end of 2018.” click here for more


    Southern and Turner to Buy Macho Springs From First Solar

    Christopher Martin, May 23, 2014 (Bloomberg News)

    Turner Renewable Energy and Southern Company added an eighth solar power plant to their jointly owned solar portfolio with the purchase of the 50 megawatt Macho Springs in New Mexico from First Solar…This Macho Springs deal brings the nameplate capacity of the Turner-Southern portfolio to 290 megawatts…The project’s offtaker is El Paso Electric through a twenty year power purchase agreement at $0.579 per kilowatt-hour, significantly below the $0.842 for power from a typical combined-cycle natural gas plant…Macho Springs developer First Solar is the world’s biggest solar power plant builder and the second biggest module manufacturer in the world…Macho Springs is expected to go online by the end of May. click here for more

    Monday, May 26, 2014

    The President’s Memorial Day Message

    From UpTakeVideo via YouTube

    The Military Faces The Threat Of Climate Change

    “We should listen and assess…” From VisionCNA via YouTube

    A New Energy Base Camp Plan To Saves Lives

    "The U.S. Army’s Smart and Green Energy plan is a “holistic combination of efficient generators, batteries, renewable energy, and energy efficient structures [that] creates a healthy power system that reduces base camp energy consumption by 30 to 60 percent…” From U.S. Army G-4 via YouTube

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014


    Permit submitted for proposed wind farm in Wyoming

    May 14, 2014 (AP via Washington Times)

    “The developers of what could become the largest wind energy project in the U.S. have submitted their application for a state permit to build the wind farm…The Power Company of Wyoming submitted its industrial siting permit application…for its proposed Chokecherry/Sierra Madre wind farm south of Rawlins…The Power Company is a wholly owned affiliate of Denver [oil and gas] billionaire Phil Anschutz’s The Anschutz Corp…It proposes to install 1,000 turbines that would generate enough electricity to power 1 million homes…The state Industrial Siting Council will hold a hearing [within 90 days and issue a decision within 45 days later]…” click here for more


    Despite Promise, Clarified REITs Fail To Yield Additional Solar Financing Benefits

    Michael Puttre, 12 May 2014 (Solar Industry)

    “President Barack Obama made waves throughout the solar sector last week with a speech emphasizing the importance of solar power…[and said] the U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) would clarify how real estate investment trusts (REITs) relate to renewable energy installations…The role of REITs as a source of funding for renewable energy development is constrained by the requirement that the bulk of its assets must be ‘real property’…[The President predicted] regulation will identify those aspects of renewable energy property that clearly fit within the existing definition of real property…the president promised more than the IRS delivered…The clarification confirms that the types of property REITs can hold are probably not going to be subjected to a radical revision…[But investors say this will] not prevent developers from getting financing at comparable rates [and are especially bullish on Yield Cos]…” click here for more


    Here's How Geothermal Energy Will Soon Heat Up Wall Street

    John Licata, May 2, 2014 (The Street)

    “… [G]eothermal fields produce just one-sixth of the carbon dioxide that a clean natural-gas-fueled power plant produces and is seen by the Environmental Protection Agency as the most efficient, clean and cost effective for temperature control…[and it takes] a smaller footprint to develop geothermal versus solar or wind farms…[Geothermal is] a 24/7 base-load power source…[without the need to] depend on storage…[T]apping a constant source of power that will generate little if any greenhouse gases is becoming hard to overlook…Thanks to enhanced geothermal systems (EGS), engineered reservoirs that maximize technology, geothermal power may very soon make headways beyond the hotter western U.S. states, especially since the U.S. Geological Survey estimates this vast, untapped geothermal resource is between 100 and 500 gigawatts, enough to power millions of American homes…[Stocks likely to benefit include] industry giant Ormat Technologies (ORA), which has geothermal projects in Nevada, Hawaii, California and Kenya and recently received big supply contracts in Indonesia…More speculative plays include U.S. Geothermal (HTM),Alterra Power (MGMXF) and Ram Power (RAMPF)…” click here for more

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014


    U.S. Senate Blocks Bill With PTC Extension - What Now?

    Joseph Bebon, May 16, 2014 (North American Windpower)

    “The U.S. Senate has blocked a bipartisan tax extenders package that includes a two-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) and the investment tax credit (ITC) election for wind…[The Senate voted 53-40] not to move the bill containing the tax extenders package forward. Sixty votes were necessary, and only one Republican voted yea…because of a battle with Democrats regarding whether [Republicans can] propose amendments…The PTC expired on Dec. 31, 2013, and the legislation would retroactively…[allow project developers who] start construction this year or by the end of 2015…to take advantage of the $0.023/kWh incentive…[or] choose a 30% ITC in lieu of the PTC…[T]he package also includes about 50 other expired U.S. tax breaks...Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., [and Senate Finance Committee ranking member Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, plan] to work with Republicans on an agreement and revive the bill on the Senate floor next week…[Insiders say] the bill will eventually pass both the Senate and the House, but not until after the midterm elections in November…” click here for more


    After Five-Year Absence, Sharp Solar Returns as Number One PV Module Supplier in Q1’14, According to NPD Solarbuzz; Sharp’s resurgence due to its shift in outsourcing strategy and growth in the Japanese solar PV market

    May 14, 2014 (SolarBuzz)

    “Sharp Solar returned to the top of the solar photovoltaic (PV) module shipment rankings during Q1’14, after a five year absence, according to [Solarbuzz]…Sharp was the solar PV industry market leader for 45 years between 1963 and 2008, before manufacturing capacity was scaled up in China. Between 2009 and 2014, First Solar and Chinese-based solar PV suppliers dominated the top rankings within the industry…[This] was the first time a non-Chinese module supplier has taken the leading position in the solar PV industry since the fourth quarter of 2009…During its previous reign as the industry’s leading PV module supplier, Sharp pursued a vertically integrated strategy, manufacturing its own solar cells and modules. However, during the past few years, Sharp has shifted its emphasis to selling modules manufactured by outsourced partners located mainly in China and Taiwan…” click here for more

    Monday, May 19, 2014


    Here's How Geothermal Energy Will Soon Heat Up Wall Street

    John Licata, May 2, 2014 (The Street)

    “The geothermal power community gets no respect since solar and wind tend to steal the public eye…[but it is] time to power your portfolio with geothermal energy…[A] typical geothermal heat pump system benefits from the constant temperature between 50 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit of the upper 10 feet of the Earth's surface to heat a home in the winter, make hot water and produce electricity. At the same time, the system can extract heat from the building and then transfer it back to the relatively cooler ground in the summer…The downside to geothermal power is really the fear of the unknown…” click here for more


    Obama Said to Consider Power-Plant Rule That Tests Law

    Mark Drajem, Jim Snyder and Jonathan Allen May 15, 2014

    “The Obama administration is considering cutting greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants by reaching beyond the plants themselves -- an unusual approach that could run afoul of anti-pollution laws…[T]he administration is seeking steep reductions -- as much as 25 percent -- that could be met if power plant owners expand renewable energy, improve the efficiency of their grids or encourage customers to use less power…There’s disagreement even within the administration about what’s allowable under the Clean Air Act…Some administration attorneys are warning that the government could lose a legal challenge if it seeks to regulate beyond a plant’s smokestack…The full mandate may be phased in over 15 years, as a way to soften the blow on utilities. The rules will probably draw fierce resistance from coal companies and their allies in Congress who warn of higher electricity prices and lost jobs…” click here for more


    Georgia Power plan would install solar arrays on 3 Army bases

    Kristi E. Swartz, May 16, 2014 (E&E Publishing)

    "Georgia Power and [he Army Energy Initiatives Task Force will] install large solar arrays at three military bases…[The Georgia 3x30 solar arrays] will lead to the Army getting 18 percent of its electricity in Georgia from [on-site] renewable fuels…The 90 total megawatts of solar electricity also will move the Army 9 percent closer to meeting federal goals for renewable energy…Adding three 30 MW arrays would continue to boost Georgia's rapidly growing solar output…The move also alleviates mounting political and public pressure on Georgia Power to remove roadblocks that some say have made it difficult for the military to meet its federal renewable energy goals…[S]tate utility regulators have been working with Georgia Power for months on a program specifically to install solar at military bases. The utility will use a 90 MW self-build project that the Georgia Public Service Commission approved in 2007 to implement its plans…[It is an extension of the push from solar advocates on the PSC to get more solar into Georgia Power’s] long-term energy plan…” click here for more


    Alexander questions wind energy transmission line

    Dave Flessner, May 15, 2015 (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

    “…Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., and…Rep. Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., asked TVA…to carefully evaluate the reliability and security of importing wind energy over a 700-mile transmission line proposed to be built from Oklahoma to Tennessee…[They] are wary about the developer of the proposed transmission line, Clean Line Energy Partners LLC, being granted utility status…TVA could use the wind power…to help replace many of the aging coal-fired units the utility is shutting down to meet stricter air quality standards…[or sell] the wind-generated electricity along its own transmission lines for use by other Southern utilities…[and companies such as Google and Wal-Mart] interested in buying renewable energy…[The] Clean Line project would spur the building of more than $6 billion of wind turbines in Oklahoma and Texas and should deliver electricity to TVA in the range of 4 to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour…[It] would be among the biggest DC lines built in America…” click here for more

    Wednesday, May 14, 2014


    Emissions regulations create 'huge' opportunity for wind, AWEA says

    Michael Copley, May 7, 2014 (SNL)

    “…[P]roposed carbon emissions regulations on existing power plants, which the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release in June, would be a major boon for the [wind industry and other renewables as they search] for ways to increase demand…The proposal follows proposed carbon emissions regulations the EPA put out for new power plants, as well as recent new rules on mercury and other pollutants. The tighter regulations, as well as the corresponding planned retirements of coal-fired power plants, could pave the way for a surge in [renewables] development, particularly if regulators give states the flexibility to decide how best to comply…However, other industry experts cautioned that natural gas, rather than [renewables], likely will be turned to as the resource of choice to replace lost coal capacity…[EPA regional administrator Shaun McGrath said] states should be given the flexibility to use a wide range of measures to achieve reductions…” click here for more


    Clean Power Finance Partners with North American Solar to Expand Residential Solar Deployment in the U.S.;Leading Retail Electric Provider Adds Solar Financing to Traditional Energy Offerings

    May 12, 2014 (Clean Power Finance)

    “Homeowners [in deregulated markets] who buy energy from North American Power can now opt for…solar electricity, thanks to a new partnership between North American Solar, an affiliate of North American Power, and Clean Power Finance [CPF]…North American Solar will sell residential solar financing to homeowners through the CPF Market…North American Power is one of the top fifteen retail electricity providers in the nation and serves more than 320,000 electricity and natural gas customers nationwide. The North American Solar partnership with CPF differentiates the retail provider in a competitive market and supports the company’s mission to bring affordable and clean electricity to its customers…” click here for more


    Deepwater Wind receives first permits for Block Island wind farm

    Alex Kuffner, May 8, 2014 (Providence Journal)

    “Deepwater Wind’s proposal to build a five-turbine wind farm in waters off Block Island has received its first permits…[The] Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management…approved water quality certificates to allow dredging and other marine construction activities for the wind farm and transmission cable that will connect Block Island to Narragansett…[and] a freshwater wetlands permit for on-shore construction. Deepwater CEO Jeffrey Grybowski called the approval of the permits a major step forward for the project, which is aiming to be the first offshore wind farm in the United States…The permits are among many that Deepwater must secure before it can build the wind farm…[including decisions] from the state Coastal Resources Management Council, the lead state permitting agency…[and] the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.” click here for more

    Tuesday, May 13, 2014


    New LBNL Report: An Analysis of the Costs, Benefits, and Implications of Different Approaches to Capturing the Value of Renewable Energy Tax Incentives

    May 12, 2014 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

    “In the United States, incentives for the deployment of utility-scale wind and solar power projects are delivered primarily through the tax code, in the form of accelerated tax depreciation and tax credits that are based on either investment or production…[P]roject sponsors, said to have ‘tax appetite,’ are able to efficiently (i.e., in the [five] years in which they are generated) apply any excess deductions and credits against other sources of taxable income…This is the best possible outcome for the sponsor. Other project sponsors that lack tax appetite may carry forward excess tax benefits…but this strategy sacrifices some of the incentives’ value, due to the time value of money. A third option is to bring in – at a cost – a third-party ‘tax equity’ investor who is able to efficiently use the project’s tax benefits, and who invests in the project in exchange for being allocated most or all of its tax benefits; this is known as ‘monetizing’ the tax benefits…This report analyzes and compares the relative costs, benefits, and implications of capturing the value of renewable energy tax benefits in these three different ways…” click here for more


    USDA Awards $540M For Electric System Upgrades, Including $35M For Smart Grid

    May 7, 2014 (Renew Grid)

    “The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has announced $540 million in funding for projects in 18 states to help improve electric service to business and residential consumers in rural areas…through the department's rural utilities program and include more than $35 million for smart grid projects to upgrade rural electric system communications technology…Southwest Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corp. will receive…$5.4 million in smart grid technologies. Missouri-based Three Rivers Electric Cooperative…[will get] $4.6 million for smart grid projects…Georgia-based Canoochee Electric Membership Corp. has been awarded…$2.4 million] for smart grid initiatives…South Carolina-based Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative Inc. picked up…$5.9 million for smart grid technologies…[Here is the list of recipients]…” click here for more


    Experimental Efforts to Harvest the Ocean’s Power Face Cost Setbacks

    Joshua Hunt and Diane Cardwell, April 27, 2014 (NY Times)

    “…Ocean Power Technologies quietly abandoned a pilot project off Oregon’s coast] this month without ever deploying its machine…Despite receiving at least $8.7 million in federal and state grants, Ocean Power told regulators that it could not raise enough money to cover higher-than-expected costs and would instead pursue a similar project in Australia, backed by a $62 million commitment from that country’s government…The shuttering of the ambitious project — which, as the nation’s first grid-connected commercial-scale wave park, was to have 10 buoys supplying power to about 1,000 homes — is the latest setback for the nascent wave energy sector in the United States, which remains in the experimental stage…Tidal power, which captures energy from currents moving in onedirection at a time, as opposed to the wave-based technology of the Ocean Power buoys, is farther along…[because] tidal power is easier to engineer and has been able to adapt expertise from the conventional hydroelectric industry… [E]lectricity generation from the ocean’s waves is more complex, and only a few projects are in the planning stages, despite the vast potential…” click here for more

    Monday, May 12, 2014


    Energy Department Announces Innovative Offshore Wind Energy Projects; Wind Turbines to Connect to U.S. Electrical Grid by 2017

    May 8, 2014 (U.S. Department of Energy)

    “…[The Energy Department selected] three pioneering offshore wind demonstrations to receive up to $47 million each over the next four years to deploy innovative, grid-connected systems in federal and state waters by 2017…Fishermen’s Energy will install five 5-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines approximately three miles off the coast of Atlantic City, New Jersey. This project will utilize an innovative, U.S.-developed twisted jacket foundation that is simpler and less expensive…Principle Power will install five 6-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines approximately 18 miles off the coast of Coos Bay, Oregon. The U.S.-developed WindFloat semi-submersible floating platform will be installed in water more than 1,000 feet deep…Dominion Virginia Power will install two 6-megawatt direct-drive wind turbines 26 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach…Dominion’s project will demonstrate installation, operation and maintenance methods [and test a hurricane-resilient design] for wind turbines located far from shore...” click here for more


    Xcel Energy and solar power backers broker deal for 2014 Solar*Rewards

    Cathy Proctor, May 6, 2014 (Denver Business Journal)

    “Xcel Energy Inc. and the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association (COSEIA) [along with the national Solar Energy Industries Association] have cut a deal to allow incentives and rebates to flow for new renewable energy systems installed this year while the two sides wait for a ruling from state regulators on the fate of the utility’s 2014 Renewable Energy Standard Plan…The new proposal, which must be approved by the commission, would be in effect until the PUC approves a 2014 plan for Xcel…[It allows:] Up to 4 megawatts per month, and a total of 20 megawatts, worth of small solar power systems that generate up to 25 kilowatts of power [with incentives at 3 cents per kilowatt-hour for customer-owned installations and 1 cent per kilowatt-hour for third-party owned installations]…Up to a total of 7 megawatts worth of medium, or commercial-scale systems, that generate between 25 kilowatts and 500 kilowatts of power [with incentives at 6 cents per kilowatt-hour for the first 6 megawatts and 5 cents per kilowatt-hour for the final 1 megawatt]…The parties also agree that if any part of the Solar*Rewards program…is nearly exhausted, they will meet to discuss potential resolution…” click here for more


    GE Successfully Proves Technology to Extend Wind Turbine Blades

    May 6, 2014 (GE Water & Power)

    “GE’s renewable energy business announced a technology demonstration of a 7-meter blade extension, taking GE wind turbines from a 77-meter rotor to a 91-meter rotor. The extension increases the swept area of the rotor by 40 percent and increases the energy production by more than 20 percent…[T]wo prototypes that have been in operation for 10 months…[at Noble Environmental Power’s] Clinton Wind Park in Clinton, New York…The technology upgrades GE 1.5-77 turbines to GE 1.5-91 turbines…[to] achieve significant increase in power output on their existing fleet…[GE] filed more than 16 patent applications and developed custom tooling for the extension installation…The extended blades have undergone testing beyond IEC requirements, including static strength tests that are standard for all GE-engineered blades and fatigue tests totaling more than 6 million cycles…” click here for more

    Wednesday, May 7, 2014


    Shaheen-Portman: The low drama bill with huge benefits

    Lowell Ungar, May 5, 2014 (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy)

    "The Senate has returned to the Shaheen-Portman energy efficiency bill…[I]t's easy to forget that there is an energy efficiency bill…[b]ecause nobody is fighting over it! …[It] is not only sponsored by a Democrat, Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and a Republican, Senator Rob Portman of Ohio, but is also cosponsored by another six Democrats and six Republicans…But the lack of controversy around the energy efficiency measures does not mean the bill does not matter. ACEEE estimates that, if enacted, Shaheen-Portman will support more than 190,000 added net jobs in 2030, achieve 12 quadrillion Btus of energy savings through 2030, save consumers almost $100 billion over that time period, and cut carbon dioxide emissions in 2030 as much as taking about 22 million cars off the road. Energy efficiency receives such wide support because it helps consumers, the economy, the environment, and energy security all at the same time...” click here for more


    California Adds 250 MW of Renewable Energy the First Quarter of 2014

    May 5, 2014 (California Energy Commission)

    “…An estimated 250 megawatts (MW) of new wholesale and self-generation renewable energy came online in the first quarter of 2014, bringing California’s total Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) operating capacity to 17,650 MW…Projects adding capacity include the Genesis Solar Energy Center in Riverside County and the DTE Energy biomass facility at the Port of Stockton…Last year, California added 3,300 MW of new renewable resources, a 20 percent capacity increase since 2012…The state is expected to have another 2,800 MW of renewable energy projects (those that have permits and utility Power Purchase Agreements) online by the end of this year…The RPS requires utilities to increase the amount of renewable electricity in their power mix to 33 percent by 2020.” click here for more


    ERCOT says summer electric needs should be met

    May 1, 2014 (AP via Washington Times)

    “Six new generating units [including four wind projects and two natural gas plants] going online by August should help meet power needs this summer with sufficient supplies also expected for the fall, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas announced…ERCOT, the operator of the electric distribution grid for most of Texas, said consumers could still be asked to conserve…Peak demand this summer is expected to reach about 68,000 megawatts, ERCOT estimated...One megawatt provides enough power to serve about 200 homes during peak demand conditions, typically between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. on a hot summer day…Nearly 10 percent of the energy produced and used within ERCOT during 2013 came from wind operations…” click here for more

    Tuesday, May 6, 2014


    Leased solar panels are facing property taxes

    Ryan Randazzo, April 26, 2014 (Arizona Republic)

    “Thousands of Arizonans who lease solar panels could start paying property taxes on those solar panels next year because of a new interpretation of state law…Major rooftop-solar companies such as Sunrun Inc. and SolarCity Corp. fought but failed to change the interpretation through a proposal at the Legislature…Solar leasing companies, which control the majority of new rooftop installations in Arizona, vow to fight the taxes in court if necessary to prevent their [residential] customers from paying an estimated $152 a year in taxes…Schools and non-profit groups also often lease solar panels because they can't use the federal tax credits that make solar attractive. The tax liability of larger arrays can run thousands of dollars annually…People who own household solar panels are exempted from property taxes…[Leasors and leasees] assumed the same exemption applied…[But] the Arizona Department of Revenue last year interpreted that law to mean…[leased panels] are more like merchant power plants…[The solar industry] now plans to challenge the Department of Revenue…[Solar advocates say Gov. (Jan) Brewer must interpret the law’s ambiguity in defense of Arizona taxpayers but] Brewer's office declined to comment…APS favors the tax [and an aligned group says there is no ambiguity]…” click here for more


    Federal Judge Dismisses Lawsuit that Challenged Cape Wind; Suit on NSTAR Power Purchase Agreement Becomes 26th Failed Legal Attempt of Project Opponents

    May 3, 2014 (Cape Wind)

    "Cape Wind once again has defeated the latest efforts of opponents to block America's first offshore wind farm. Federal Judge Richard Stearns…[dismissed a lawsuit] which challenged Cape Wind's Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with NSTAR…[and] rejected all claims against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, NSTAR and Cape Wind…Judge Stearns noted in his decision that the lawsuit would violate the 11th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States that gives states immunity from being sued for past actions in Federal Court. Judge Stearns also…[called the premise of the lawsuit] misleading and ultimately untrue…[and said] ‘ There comes a point at which the right to litigate can become a vexatious abuse of the democratic process…’ Bill Koch, Chairman and largest funder of the opposition group, and a coal and petroleum coke billionaire, has stated publicly that his organization's strategy is ‘delay, delay, delay’ and…[this is his] 26th failed legal action…” click here for more


    SolarCity Teams With Carrier to Offer Affordable, Solar-Powered Air Conditioning; Companies Collaborate to Make the More Sustainable, Efficient Heating and Cooling Options Also the More Affordable Ones

    May 5, 2014 (Carrier-SolarCity)

    “…SolarCity and Carrier are teaming up to make high-efficiency, solar-powered heating and cooling solutions far more accessible and affordable for homeowners…[They] will provide Carrier customers the option to lower their energy costs by powering their heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems with solar electricity that costs less than utility power rates. The cost savings that customers realize by using solar power and more efficient HVAC help to offset the costs of switching to a cleaner, more comfortable indoor air solution…Homeowners can receive a $1,000 rebate on Carrier equipment from participating Carrier dealers by going solar with SolarCity. The rebate can be applied to furnaces, air conditioners, heat pumps, packaged units, ductless systems or entire system upgrades, upon operation of the homeowner's SolarCity system…” click here for more

    Monday, May 5, 2014


    Link Between Electricity Prices & Renewable Energy Completely Warped In Forbes Article

    Zachary Shahan, May 1, 2014 (Clean Technica)

    “Christine Harbin Hanson, the Federal Affairs Manager for Americans for Prosperity, recently [wrote incorrectly] that Renewable Portfolio Standards cost citizens a great deal and [wind and solar are significantly more expensive than traditional energy but the Department of Energy’s electricity cost graph shows] onshore wind power has a minimum LCOE of 5¢/kWh and a median of 6¢/kWh. That’s the lowest median LCOE in the United States of any electricity source other than natural gas, which is at 5¢/kWh…[R]ooftop solar panels compete with retail electricity not wholesale electricity…[and] is often cheaper than the norm…[A] Minnesota judge ruled that a solar power project should be chosen over several natural gas projects because it offered ratepayers a better deal…In Austin, a new solar power plant is coming in at under 5¢/kWh…” click here for more


    Global Electric Vehicle Adoption Trends

    April 30, 2014 (Smart Grid Insights)

    “…[E]lectric vehicles (EVs) represent one of the most promising technologies for reducing oil use and cutting emissions…[but] this market is still in the nascent stage and faces many challenges, particularly with technology integration, optimization and scalability…Zpryme’s Global Electric Vehicle Adoption Trends report [found the] worldwide electric vehicle market is forecasted to grow from just over 700,000 vehicles in 2014 to more than 12 million vehicles in 2021. That means an average annual grow rate of 66%...The main challenges to a double-digit percentage penetration of EVs in the automobile market include government policies, EV purchase cost and total cost of ownership, range anxiety, and range limitations…[Policies should] include enabling EV companies to sell directly to consumers, and further catalyzing and facilitating private-public coordination and communication to address the EV challenges…[Manufacturers should develop] the EV financing market which includes the battery and resale markets, and [identify] sustainable EV charging infrastructure business models…” click here for more


    Study examines present-day policies and fiscal realities of zero energy, Living Buildings in Washington, DC

    April 30, 2014 (RealEstateRama)

    “…[A recent study detailed how the District of Columbia], already home to more green buildings per capita than other large cities, can best craft policy and create incentives to build zero energy, zero water and Living Buildings…[ Net Zero and Living Building Financial Study: A Cost Comparison Report for the Buildings in the District of Columbia] conceptually transformed three LEED v3 Platinum designed buildings…[It] focused on three commonly developed building types in the District: office new construction, multifamily new construction and office renovation…[Among other important findings, it concluded that for] a 1 percent to 3 percent added initial cost of construction, new developments in the district could save up to 60 percent of their energy consumption…[and the] return on investment for deep energy efficiency is 6 percent to 12 percent and rises to 33 percent to 36 percent when modeled for net zero energy using solar power…” click here for more