NewEnergyNews More: June 2014

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  • Monday, June 30, 2014


    Illinois Investing in Solar Power

    June 28, 2014 (AP via CBS St. Louis)

    “…[The Illinois Power Agency] will buy up to $30 million worth of solar power and pump it into the energy mix for electricity customers under legislation [just] signed into law…[The new law] establishes a competitive process to purchase the energy from new or existing solar installations, which could include rooftop solar panels that homeowners can use to sell any leftover power back to the electricity grid…The Illinois Power Agency was set up in 2007 to develop plans for buying renewable energy for utilities to feed into the grid. The money for the solar power purchases comes from the agency’s Renewable Energy Resources Fund, which is made up of clean energy fees paid by power suppliers…” click here for more


    Michigan's wind energy industry soaring

    Frank Witsil, June 28, 2014 (Detroit Free Press)

    “The shift to renewable energy sources in Michigan — particularly wind — has picked up in the past few years…One reason: [Wind energy is] about half as expensive to produce than utility companies initially expected, down to as little as $50 a megawatt hour last year from more than $100 a megawatt hour in 2009, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission...Michigan is home to about 120 companies that supply wind components and employ 4,000…A [2008] state law that requires 10% of electricity produced come from renewable sources by the end of next year has increased demand and helped propel the construction of wind farms…[Since 2008], utilities have invested more than $2.2 billion in renewable technology…There are now more than 20 wind farms in Michigan that are operational and in development…Michigan’s growing wind business has meant falling prices for residential consumers…This year, largely because of the lower cost of wind, DTE has reduced its [renewables] surcharge from $3 per meter a month to 43 cents, and Consumers Energy is eliminating its surcharge altogether…” click here for more


    Virtual Power Plants Demand Response, Supply-Side, and Mixed Asset VPPs: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “…Successful strategies to manage [the increasing two-way complexity of distributed energy resources (DER)] are being deployed today all over the world. One such strategy is a virtual power plant (VPP)…[which combines] a rich diversity of independent resources into a network via sophisticated planning, scheduling, and bidding of DER-based services…Several recent trends are creating an environment conducive to VPPs…However, challenges to commercial rollouts of VPPs remain, including the lack of reliance upon dynamic, real-time pricing and consumer pushback against the smart grid…Navigant Research forecasts that total annual VPP vendor revenue will grow from $1.1 billion in 2014 to $5.3 billion in 2023 under a base scenario…” click here for more

    Wednesday, June 25, 2014


    Fewer wind curtailments and negative power prices seen in Texas after major grid expansion

    June 24, 2014 (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

    Texas wind power reached a new instantaneous peak output of 10,296 megawatts on March 26, 29% of total electricity, after setting new records twice in the previous week and, according to grid operator Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), more new records are expected as Texas’s 12,000-plus megawatt wind capacity continues to grow…Texas wind’s record-setting performance is partially due to the completion of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) transmission expansion specifically designed to deliver West Texas and Panhandle winds to ERCOT load centers in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin, and San Antonio and to reduce wind curtailments…Curtailment dropped steadily as the 3,500 mile CREZ transmission system build out advanced and wind-related negative electricity pricing decreased as the new transmission reduced oversupply problems by taking wind energy-generated electricity to a wider range of demand areas…

    Negative pricing occurs when there is more electricity supply than demand and wind generators become willing to accept below zero prices for their output because they have no fuel costs and can get a $0.023 per kilowatt-hour production tax credit for the electricity the grid takes…A perhaps more important factor in Texas wind’s new records is that wind’s vital Production Tax Credit was restructured last year to allow eligibility to projects that commenced construction during 2013 instead of only to those that went online during the year, resulting in more than 7,000 megawatts of in-construction capacity that began coming online this year... click here for more


    George Washington University, American University make deal to buy solar power farms

    June 24, 2014 (AP via ABC News)

    Duke Energy Renewables has contracted to supply solar from its Capital Partners Solar Project solar power plant to be built in North Carolina to George Washington University, American University and the George Washington University Hospital…Duke will break ground on the 52 megawatt project at the first of three sites this summer, build in three stages, bring the first 20 megawatts online this year and add the final 32 megawatts to be fully operational in 2015…The 20 year contract between Duke and the universities is the biggest solar power purchase agreement (PPA) with a non-utility off-taker in the U.S. and the PV project is the biggest east of the Mississippi River, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association…Duke won the PPAs in a competitive bidding process that included 28 wind and solar developers…University officials expect the move to solar to save “millions of dollars” as the cost of conventional generation rises… click here for more


    The Fuel Cell and Hydrogen Industries: 10 Trends to Watch

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “…Over the past 18 months, there has been a real divergence in the fortunes of various fuel cell sectors. The stationary sector has seen 2 years of strong growth while some sectors, such as portable, have continued to struggle…[or] been in a holding pattern…[T]he fuel cell vehicle (FCV) market is poised for the launch of commercial vehicles, spurring a flurry of investment in hydrogen infrastructure…[The key trends are]:

    1-Fuel cells back on the radar of the skeptical U.S. media

    2-Stationary sector continues to lead the fuel cell industry

    3-Investors cautiously coming off the fence on fuel cells

    4-FCVs continue to be compared to plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs)

    5-Hydrogen infrastructure stakeholders must prove they can build stations

    6-[Combined Heat and Power (CHP)] is on path to surpass prime power stationary fuel cells

    7-Fuel cells face stiff competition from engine- or turbine-based CHP 8-Booming North American microgrid market offers opportunity for fuel cells

    9-Power-to-gas concept will be proven in Europe 10-Portable fuel cells still struggling to hit the right value proposition…” click here for more

    Tuesday, June 24, 2014


    Renewable energy demand rises to record 2.7% of global consumption

    Claudia Assis, June 16, 2014 (MarketWatch)

    “Renewable power has cut for itself a bigger share of the world’s energy demand pie, but coal, which remained the fastest growing fossil fuel, and oil, also saw demand grow in 2013, [according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2014]…Coal consumption increased by 3% in 2013, below its yearly average of 3.9% but enough to put coal’s share of world energy consumption at 30%, its highest since 1970…Demand from renewable energy sources, including wind and solar, rose to a record 2.7% of global energy consumption, up from 0.8% a decade ago…Solar power generation rose 33%...[to] 0.5%...Wind power generation grew more slowly, or 18.5%...The U.S. oil boom continued — last year, the U.S. had the world’s largest increase in oil production for the second straight year, up by 1.1 million barrels a day…Global oil consumption rose 1.4% in 2013, just above its historical average…” click here for more


    New Energy Maps Show 4 Cool Things About Renewables

    Bobby Magill, June 18, 2014 (Climate Central)

    “When the U.S. Energy Information Administration launched its new U.S. Energy Mapping System last fall and upgraded it for use on mobile devices in early June, it powered a system allowing anyone to visualize some of the reams of data the EIA compiles on all things energy-related in the country…[F]our cool things the new Energy Mapping System can show you about where renewable energy is being produced and where it has the potential to be generated in the future…[are] 1. Wind Turbines Are Being Built In Places You May Not Expect…2. The Cloudier Northeast Has Its Share Of Solar Power…3. Biomass Power Production Is All Over, But Mainly In The East And Midwest…4. The U.S. Has Great Geothermal Potential; Most Of It Is Untapped…” click here for more


    Next-Generation Advanced Batteries; Ultracapacitors and Lithium Sulfur, Solid Electrolyte, Magnesium Ion, Next-Generation Flow, and Metal-Air Batteries: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    "The advanced battery industry is growing at an extremely aggressive pace, with lithium ion (Li-ion) leading the charge. However, Li-ion is not the perfect battery; it has supply constraints, manufacturing cost reduction obstacles, and safety issues...Although energy density has been the most sought-after goal for new chemistries – and most show improvements in energy density – it is not the only favorable quality for a next-generation battery. Cost and safety have become important concerns for most battery buyers. By offering cheaper price points, next-generation batteries can enable even more applications for batteries. In addition, some applications (e.g., electric vehicle and grid storage batteries) require higher safety standards and value inherently safe chemistries. Navigant Research forecasts that global next-generation advanced battery revenue will grow from $182.3 million in 2014 to $9.4 billion in 2023…” click here for more

    Monday, June 23, 2014


    Bipartisan former US EPA chiefs: Stop stalling on climate change policy

    Kerry Sheridan, June 18, 2014 (AFP via Tico Times)

    “Four former heads of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency who served under Republican presidents urged lawmakers…to stop bickering over whether climate change is real and start finding solutions…Global warming is an increasingly polarizing issue in U.S. politics…[Sen. Ron Barrasso (R-WY)] and fellow senators on the bipartisan [Committee on Environment and Public Works] spent the entire first hour of [a recent hearing debating] the legitimacy of climate science…The four former EPA administrators who testified at the hearing included those who served over the past four decades under presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush…[Their] op-ed in the New York Times last year that said there was no longer any credible debate over whether humans were causing climate change…At the hearing, they reiterated this stance, and said stricter pollution limits mean job creation is likely in the fields of renewables, nuclear, clean goal and natural gas…They also urged lawmakers to put aside their differences…” click here for more


    The Global Renewable Energy Report Card

    Robert Rapier, June 16, 2014 (Investing Daily)

    “…Despite declining policy support and uncertainty in many European countries and the US, renewables continued to grow globally [according to REN21’s Renewables 2014 Global Status Report]. In the power sector global capacity exceeded 1,560 gigawats (GW), up more than 8 percent over 2012…Solar photovoltaics (PV) continued to expand at a rapid rate, with growth in global capacity averaging almost 55 percent annually over the past five years. Even as global investment in solar PV declined by nearly 22 percent from 2012, new PV capacity installations increased by about 32 percent as a result of sharply falling levelized costs. For the first time ever, the world added more solar PV than wind power capacity in 2013…Global new investment in non-hydropower renewable power and fuels was an estimated $214 billion in 2013, 53 percent of which went into solar power. The total was down 14 percent from 2012 and 23 percent lower than the current peak investment year of 2011…China made the largest investment globally at $54 billion, followed by the US ($34 billion), Japan ($29 billion), the United Kingdom ($12 billion) and Germany ($10 billion)…” click here for more


    Outdoor and Parking Lighting Systems; High-Pressure Sodium, Metal Halide, LED, Induction, and Fluorescent Lighting and Lighting Controls: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “…[W]hile light-emitting diode (LED) lighting and controls are making inroads into commercial and domestic lighting, inexpensive high-pressure sodium (HPS) lamps lead in outdoor lighting and will take longer to displace. LED outdoor area luminaires must compete with the other lamp types that are still relatively energy efficient, making it more challenging to achieve lifetime cost savings…Although the desire to reduce electricity costs is a significant driver for the adoption of LEDs and controls, it is not the most important one. Cutting maintenance costs is increasingly being seen as the key factor...[ LED lamps] in place of older metal halide lamps leads to less frequent relamping and thus lower maintenance costs…[and improved] safety and security…Yet, growing demand for controls will likely not offset declining average selling prices (ASPs) and revenue from lamp replacements will shrink as facilities become more efficient. Navigant Research forecasts that global luminaire, lamp, and controls revenue will decline slightly from $2.81 billion in 2014 to $2.75 billion in 2023…” click here for more

    Wednesday, June 18, 2014


    Ohio renewable energy and efficiency rules frozen for two years as Gov. John Kasich signs legislation

    John Funk, June 13, 2014 (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

    Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Friday signed Senate Bill 310, a Republican-sponsored and utility backed measure freezing the state’s mandates for renewables and efficiency until 2017. The bill was opposed by consumer, business, and environmental coalitions, as well as Honda and Whirlpool, on the grounds that the efficiency saves more than it costs and the renewables mandate produced over $1 billion in investments. Industrial power users like Timken and Alcoa sided with utilities in support of the legislation on the grounds that utility programs to push electricity usage cuts are redundant to free market drivers and too expensive. The bill also creates a legislative study committee that could recommend the legislature permanently amend or freeze the rules. The American Lung Association, the National Wildlife Federation, the Moms Clean Air Force in Ohio, and the Natural Resources Defense Council stridently objected to the bill. click here for more


    Texas utility chooses solar, claims it will be ‘coal free’ by 2016

    Andy Colthorpe, 16 June 2014 (PV-Tech)

    El Paso Electric (EPE) has announced it is ready to meet the new EPA emissions regulations and, through the use of new natural gas and utility scale solar generation like its 50 megawatt Macho Springs and 10 megawatt Newman Solar PV plants, expects to be 100% coal free by 2016…It expects to get 6% of its total generation from solar by the end of 2014…CEO Tom Shockley said the 300 days of sun in the west Texas and southern New Mexico region EPE serves is ideal for drawing on solar energy to generate electricity for its 395,000 customers… click here for more


    Indoor Air Quality Monitoring and Management; Sensors, Energy Recovery Ventilation, Displacement Ventilation, Demand-Controlled Ventilation, Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems, and Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation for Improving Indoor Air Quality

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “…[Good indoor air quality (IAQ)] monitoring and management processes involve the application of technologies… including CO2 sensors, demand-controlled ventilation (DCV), energy recovery ventilation (ERV), dedicated outdoor air systems (DOASs), ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), displacement ventilation (DV), and underfloor air distribution (UFAD). These technologies are being adopted because they typically improve building operations while reducing energy use and improving IAQ. Due to new standards and regulations, as well as a rebound of the global economy, some of these technologies are being accepted for use in more buildings. However, this adoption is still limited by the rate of the global economic recovery…[For growth, architects, engineers, and building owners] must be willing to change the way buildings have been built in the past. Navigant Research forecasts that global revenue for IAQ monitoring and management technologies will increase from $3.1 billion in 2013 to $5.6 billion in 2020…” click here for more

    Tuesday, June 17, 2014


    Massachusetts Solar Industry, Utilities and Regulators Reach a Deal on Solar Policy

    Herman K. Trabish, June 16, 2014 (Greentech Media)

    Compromise solar policy legislation in Massachusetts could serve as a template for reforms in other battleground states…Two important solar policies will change significantly and that could save ratepayers in the state more than $500 million if lawmakers approve the proposal…Net energy metering (NEM), which provides a retail-rate bill credit to solar owners for electricity their systems send to the grid, will remain in place unaltered, but the cap will be eliminated and ratepayers will have a “minimum bill” instead of the present “monthly charge.”…[and] solar renewable energy credits (SRECs), which create revenue for solar owners when purchased by utilities to meet state-mandated renewables obligations, will be replaced by a tiered, performance-based incentive system after a six-month period of transition during which both will be available…After the new policies are approved by the legislature, the minimum bill and the tiered performance-based incentive schedule will be established by the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in a standard regulatory proceeding… click here for more


    AWEA's Gramlich discusses impact of existing source rule on wind energy growth

    Transcript, June 10, 2014 (On Point/E&E TV)

    Monica Trauzzi: Rob, wind energy is seen as one of the many sources of energy that could get a boost if the president's existing source proposal becomes final. How much growth is your industry preparing for?

    Rob Gramlich: Well, we think that's exactly right, Monica. We're looking at 20 percent of U.S. electricity from wind by 2030. That's about what the Bush administration report said about seven years ago, and DOE is updating that. We think this is one of a number of policies that will help get us there.

    [MT]: Which states have you identified where wind energy could have the greatest impact in terms of the state meeting the standards set out in the existing source plan?

    [RG]: It's a combination of factors. There are a lot of states with great export potential who can produce a lot of wind -- Iowa, North Dakota, Colorado. There are a lot of states that have great wind resource potential. They could use that potential for local compliance, but also they can sell it to other states. So there are a lot of importing states who may have significant goals to achieve under the new rules where they can import wind to comply…

    [MT]: In announcing the proposal, Administrator McCarthy highlighted nuclear energy as an energy source that could help states meet the standard. And of course recently the nuclear industry has taken a hit against wind power for undercutting its ability to compete in the marketplace. How do you see that back and forth and that dynamic between your industry and the nuclear guys escalating with this standard as part of the conversation?

    [RG]: There's a conflict between Exelon and the production tax credit. We know their views on that. They don't see it the same way we do. I wouldn't say the nuclear industry broadly opposes wind or the PTC. In fact, I see a lot more voices both in the renewable sector and in the nuclear sector saying we really need ways to value carbon-free electricity. So I actually see more of a convergence over time… click here for more


    New Industry Paper Examines Reports on Geothermal Power Costs and Benefits

    June 16, 2014 (Geothermal Energy Association)

    “Geothermal energy is an affordable power source, according to an analysis of several government and private sector reports published in 2014…[The Economic Costs and Benefits of Geothermal Power concluded that geothermal] compares favorably with other technologies currently available according to… the U.S. Energy Information Agency, Bloomberg New Energy Finance, and the California Public Utilities Commission…According to the Department of the Interior, geothermal [also] generated $15 million in fiscal year 2014 [in royalty payments]…[And] GEA estimates that for every 100 MW of geothermal power, the industry provides 170 permanent, full-time jobs…[as well as] 310 annual construction and 330 annual manufacturing/equipment jobs…” click here for more

    Monday, June 16, 2014


    Sierra Club targets 21 reps. for inaction on wind tax break

    Timothy Cama, June 12, 2014 (The Hill)

    “The Sierra Club is launching an advertising campaign to criticize 21 House Republicans who have not taken a position on renewing the wind energy production tax credit…[Each] is from a district or state with a major wind energy presence. They have not taken a position on whether to renew the incentive, which provides a tax break for wind energy produced…[T]he Sierra Club accuses each member of ‘doing nothing’ while his state’s ‘wind jobs blow away.’ …The tax break expired last year. The Senate Finance Committee voted to renew it, but the measure has not moved beyond that…” click here for more


    Minnesota leads in reducing emissions

    Editorial, June 5, 2014 (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

    “…[In Washington, when the proposed EPA rule] was announced, partisans rushed to their usual opposite corners…Minnesotans aren’t as easily divided. The proposal to reduce the nation’s carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent from their 2005 levels was received in stride by this state’s utility companies and elected officials alike…[I]n 2007, they had agreed to reduce carbon emissions from Minnesota power generators by 25 percent from 2005 levels by 2025…By 2011, carbon dioxide emissions from Minnesota power plants had dropped 18 percent from their 2005 levels, even as the amount of electricity generated grew slightly…[And in 2012, 73 percent of Minnesotans believed] government ought to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants…[B]enefits Minnesota is already deriving [include]…More jobs and lower electricity costs…More Minnesota dollars are staying at home…[E]ased suffering from asthma and cardiovascular disease…[and] the reliability of electricity service does not suffer…” click here for more


    Transportation Forecast: Light Duty Vehicles;Light Duty Stop-Start, Hybrid Electric, Plug-In Hybrid Electric, Battery Electric, Natural Gas, Fuel Cell, and Conventional Vehicles: Global Market Forecasts, 2014-2035

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “…Over 1.2 billion vehicles are on the world’s roads today, and more than 95% belong to the [light duty vehicle (LDV)] segment. Of these vehicles, over 98% utilize a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE)…[A]doption of light duty (LD) alternative fuel vehicles (AFVs) and fuel efficient technologies varies from region to region. Nonetheless, the increased adoption of drivetrain electrification and alternative fuels will have considerable impacts on the markets for LDVs, fuel infrastructure development, and energy demand. Navigant Research forecasts that global annual LDV sales will grow from nearly 84.1 million vehicles in 2014 to 126.9 million in 2035…” click here for more

    Wednesday, June 11, 2014


    Why Buffett, Apple, Google love solar power

    Jackie DeAngelis, June 8, 2014 (USA Today)

    “The $100 billion solar power industry is gaining a lot of attention both globally and domestically, attracting high-profile investment from Wall Street giants such as Apple, Google and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway…The United States is the world's third-largest solar market, right behind China and Japan, and it's growing rapidly not just because of private investment, but also because of the Obama Administration's efforts to make progress against global climate change…One notable, completed project is called Ivanpah, a partnership [in solar thermal technology] between NRG and BrightSource…The $2.2 billion project was able to get up and running thanks in part to $1.6 billion in government loans, plus Google's 20% investment…Another set of photovoltaic facilities making headlines are the Solar Star Projects developed by SunPower and acquired by MidAmerican Solar for roughly $2 billion. Berkshire Hathaway's energy unit owns MidAmerican Solar's parent, MidAmerican Renewables, which is working on a basket of different solar projects…” click here for more


    Report finds Texas can head toward EPA emissions cuts with gas, wind

    Christine Cordner, June 3, 2014 (SNL)

    “Texas can take steps toward meeting the U.S. EPA's carbon dioxide restrictions on existing power plants by pushing ahead with natural gas-fired and renewable generation development, coupled with a greater focus on demand response and energy efficiency, according to [ Exploring Natural Gas and Renewables in ERCOT, Part III: The Role of Demand Response, Energy Efficiency, and Combined Heat & Power from] the Brattle Group…[S]ubstantial gas and renewable energy capacity will likely be developed within the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc. market over the next two decades…[and] 3 GW of new energy efficiency programs and 2 GW to 4 GW of new demand response programs could be economically achievable, representing a 40% to 50% reduction in projected peak demand growth…

    “…[Brattle’s ‘moderate’ carbon scenario foresees the capture and sequestration of 50% of CO2] by 2025…[resulting in a] 2.5-GW addition of wind capacity and 1 GW of gas-fired capacity built to replace the 3.5 GW of lost net coal-fired capacity…[The analysis did not consider] the EPA's proposed CO2 reduction rule for existing power plants…[or changes in the Texas mandatory reserve margin or] the design of ERCOT's energy-only market…” click here for more


    Electric Motorcycles and Scooters; Electric Power Two-Wheelers: Market Drivers and Barriers, Technology Issues, Key Industry Players, and Global Demand Forecasts

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “…[T]he power two-wheeler (PTW) vehicle industry, which includes electric motorcycles (e-motorcycles) and electric scooters (e-scooters), has been growing slowly...[and] sales volumes are likely to be low…[The market] is led by China…[but] policies and demand] indicate reduced sales in that country…[In other countries, consumers] are seeking refuge from higher gasoline prices…Overall, though, the market for e-PTWs continues to face numerous challenges, including high costs, limited vehicle availability, poor product performance, and a financial shakedown. Navigant Research forecasts that global annual sales of e-motorcycles will grow from 1.2 million vehicles in 2014 to 1.4 million in 2023, while sales of e-scooters will grow from 4.1 million to 4.6 million…” click here for more

    Tuesday, June 10, 2014


    Industry groups, utilities react to proposed EPA power plant emissions rule

    Editors, June 2, 2014 (Utility Products)

    Reactions came from every corner of the energy industry to the proposed Obama administration emissions regulations that would cut U.S. CO2 to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030 but leave each state free to choose between means such as increased use of natural gas, renewables, or energy efficiency or a free-market-based cap-and-trade system for emissions credits…

    Business Council for Sustainable Energy President Lisa Jacobson: "…94 percent of all new electric power capacity built in the US since 1997 has come from natural gas or renewable energy…[T]he US can meet the new regulations affordably and reliably, while creating new jobs."

    American Wind Energy Association CEO Tom Kiernan: "Reducing carbon pollution through the deployment of wind energy can be done in a manner that keeps electricity affordable and reliable, creates jobs, and supports local economic development…"

    American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity CEO/President Mike Duncan: “If these rules are allowed to go into effect, the administration for all intents and purposes is creating America’s next energy crisis…These guidelines represent a complete disregard for our country’s most vital fuel sources…[T]he rule threatens the energy reliability and economic promise we enjoy today…”

    Alliance to Save Energy President Kateri Callahan: "Energy efficiency is our country's cheapest, cleanest, most abundant and most readily available energy resource…By allowing and encouraging energy efficiency as a compliance mechanism, this rule has the potential to greatly advance the nation's energy productivity…"

    Solar Energy Industries Association President/CEO Rhone Resch: "For state regulators looking to meet the new EPA standards, solar can be a game-changer…" click here for more


    Company announces plan for 2nd solar plant at Nellis AFB

    Eli Segall, June 4, 2014 (VegasInc)

    NV Energy selected SunPower to build a 19 megawatt addition to the solar installation at Nellis Air Force Base…Pending approval by the Nevada Public Utility Commission, NV Energy, a subsidiary of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Energy group, will pay up to $54.5 million for the new solar capacity addition to the 14 megawatt solar installation built at Nellis by SunPower in 2007. This new solar will be a small part of the new generation NV Energy will require as it moves ahead with the mandated closure of three units of the 800 megawatt coal-fired Reid Gardner Generating Station by the end of this year and the fourth by the end of 2017. NV Energy plans to meet Nevada’s 25% renewables by 2025 mandate by adding nearly 500 megawatts of natural gas, 200 megawatts of utility-scale solar, and issuing three 100 megawatt RFPs for solar, geothermal, and wind. NV Energy will also build a new high voltage line connecting the state’s northern and southern service areas that will sustain the utility’s resource diversity, capacity, and flexibility as it moves away from coal. Its participation in an emerging western region Energy Imbalance Market, along with PacifiCorps, another utility member of the Berkshire Hathaway Energy unit, will add further reliability as the utility moves away from fossil generation. click here for more


    Energy Management for Small and Medium Buildings; Building Energy Management System Software, Services, and Hardware: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “The small and medium commercial building (SMCB) market is as diverse as it is large, consisting of buildings of all ages, sectors, and management regimes. Building energy management systems (BEMSs) represent a technology offering that can enable buildings to improve performance, save energy, and comply with regional codes and laws…BEMSs are poised to be a tool that enables cost and carbon savings in small and medium buildings. These systems have traditionally focused on two key functions – energy visualization and energy analytics. Today, the market is expanding into adjacent functions, such as demand response (DR) and property management…and engaging a broader set of players in the global buildings market. Navigant Research forecasts that the global SMCB BEMS market will grow from $231.3 million in 2013 to $1.3 billion in 2022…” click here for more

    Monday, June 9, 2014


    SCE&G customers facing seventh rate increase for nuclear project

    Roddie Burris, May 30, 2014 (The State)

    “South Carolina Electric & Gas Co. customers would pay an extra $50 a year on average [$236 more per year in 2014 than in 2008, a 37 percent increase] for their electric bills starting in October [for five years] if the utility’s request for a rate hike is approved…[The increases are] to pay for two new nuclear plants under construction…[The request is with the S.C. Public Service Commission to raise rates 2.99 percent overall to cover $70 million in construction costs for the past year…[for the $9.8 billion] two new reactors at the Summer site…The first new 1,117-megawatt reactor is scheduled to begin power generation at the end of 2017 or beginning of 2018, with the twin Westinghouse reactor powering up 12 months later…This would be the seventh rate increase since 2009 under South Carolina’s controversial Base Load Review Act…[which] allows the utility to increase rates for current customers to pay for construction of the nuclear plants before they go into operation…” click here for more


    NRG Yield to buy largest N America wind farm for $870 million

    Sneha Banerjee, June 4, 2014 (Reuters)

    “NRG Yield Inc. has bought the 947 megawatt Alta Wind Energy Center in California for $870 million from Terra-Gen Power, an affiliate of private-equity firms Global Infrastructure Partners and Arclight Capital Partners…NRG Yield will also assume $1.6 billion in project financings but expects annual earnings from the investment to be $220 million, including returns from some land leases in the wind project’s Tehachapi, California, region…The acquisition is being described as a move to cut the NRG Energy generation portfolio’s overall emissions profile in the wake of the just-announced EPA GHG regulations…NRG Yield is a newly formed arm of NRG Energy, created to turn the guaranteed cash flow from generation projects with utility-backed power purchase agreements into a steady return for investors who buy shares…Alta Wind’s PPAs with SCE have 21 years of returns remaining for phases I-V and 22 years, beginning in 2016, for phases X and XIThis brings the NRG Energy wind portfolio to 2,839 megawatts, the fifth biggest in North America…” click here for more


    Demand Response; Commercial & Industrial DR, Residential DR, and DR Management Systems: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “…[In the 1970s] DR was implemented as a component of the energy conservation focus of demand-side management (DSM) programs to encourage consumers to use less electricity during peak hours or to shift their energy use to off-peak times…As DR has become a larger part of the resource base, regulators and other market participants are calling for tighter requirements to ensure reliable operations and efficient markets. There are general economic market factors, like low natural gas prices and coal and nuclear retirements, that affect the growth path of DR as well. Navigant Research forecasts that global DR capacity will grow from 30.8 GW in 2014 to 196.7 GW in 2023…” click here for more

    Wednesday, June 4, 2014


    First Solar Launches Modular PV Plant Design

    30 May 2014 (Solar Industry)

    “…[First Solar Inc.’s] modular AC Power Block solar power plant system…[is designed] for power plant owners and developers…[and is scalable and configurable] to address a wide range of project conditions. The pre-engineered system is available in modular units ranging from 800 kW to 3.8 MW…[and] backed by a 25-year capacity warranty…First Solar also rolled out its new Series 4 thin-film PV module compatible with 1,500 V plant architectures…[with] a new anti-reflective coated glass…intended to enhance energy production. The module is backed by First Solar’s 25-year linear performance warranty.” click here for more


    Gain Exceeds the Cost With Wind Energy; The tax relief provided to wind energy more than pays for itself.

    Michael Goggin, May 26, 2014 (Wall Street Journal)

    “…Negative prices are extremely rare and are usually highly localized in remote areas where they have little to no impact on other power plants, are caused by inflexible nuclear power plants much of the time, and are being eliminated as long-needed grid upgrades are completed…Wind energy's real impact is saving consumers money by displacing more expensive forms of energy, which is precisely why utilities bought wind in the first place. This impact is entirely market-driven, occurs with or without the tax credit, and applies to all low-fuel-cost sources of energy, including nuclear…[T]ax relief provided to wind energy more than pays for itself by enabling economic development that generates additional tax revenue and represents a small fraction of the cumulative incentives given to other energy sources.” click here for more


    New Utility-Scale Energy Storage System Makes Market Debut

    May 29, 2014 (Renew Grid)

    "UniEnergy Technologies…has unveiled its Uni.System grid-scale energy storage platform…a modular, factory-integrated solution that provides 500 kW AC of power for four hours, with power up to 600 kW AC and energy up to 2.2 MWh AC. It is a plug-and-play product comprising five 20-foot standard containers and requiring only a concrete pad and interconnection…The system uses a vanadium electrolyte that was developed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory through the U.S. Department of Energy's Grid Storage Program. The company says the vanadium flow batteries offer high energy density, a broad operating temperature range, unlimited cycle life, and full use from a 0% to 100% state of charge.” click here for more

    Tuesday, June 3, 2014


    The Centerpiece of Obama’s Climate Action Plan Curbs Carbon Pollution from Existing Power Plants, Will Save Billions of Dollars and Countless Lives June 2, 2014 (Sierra Club)

    “…[T]he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed the first-ever national protections against dangerous carbon pollution from existing power plants. Carbon pollution is the leading cause of climate disruption and fuels superstorms, floods, wildfires, and extreme heat. It also worsens the effects of other air pollution that sickens our children and costs billions of dollars each year in emergency room visits, lost productivity and premature death…This new standard, which is the centerpiece of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, will help clean up the industry that creates the lion’s share of carbon pollution in our country. The new protections will also help reduce other life-threatening air pollution including mercury, soot, and smog…”

    [Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune:] “[T]he president made good on his promise to American families that his administration would tackle the climate crisis, and clean up and modernize the way we power our country…Climate disruption is the greatest challenge facing our generation. Until now, power plants have been allowed to dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into our air, driving dangerous climate disruption, and fueling severe drought, wildfires, heat waves and superstorms. Extreme weather, and the costs to Americans’ health and wallets, will only worsen unless we act…The Sierra Club and our 2.4 million members and supporters stand with President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy…” click here for more


    Environmental Protection Agency announcement: The Climate Group responds

    June 2, 2014 (The Climate Group

    “…[T]he Obama Administration set new regulations limiting carbon emissions from US power plants, which is central to Obama’s Climate Action Plan. Power plants currently account for about 40% of America's total carbon emissions…”

    [The Climate Group CEO Mark Kenber:] “…[This] announcement from America shows leadership and commitment to securing a global climate agreement…As Gina McCarthy said in the announcement, we can turn risks of climate change into business opportunity. The performance of clean energy and technology stocks demonstrates again and again that there is a strong economic case for climate action. The average return on investment from clean energy technology is over 30% within a 3-year period…The Climate Group has been working with American leaders in government, business and society to depolarize the climate issue, bring them together around the evidence for action, and demonstrate the undeniable business case for an American Clean Revolution that boosts growth and creates jobs…[This] could be the butterfly moment that sparks a chain of events that ripples across the globe and builds momentum for the international climate negotiations, the US–China bilateral relationship on climate talks which could deliver a global agreement…” click here for more


    EPA’s Historic Announcement For New Protections Against Carbon Pollution

    June 2, 2014 (EarthJustice)

    “…EPA announced a draft plan to address climate change through standards to protect public health by limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants. These protections are the centerpiece of the President’s Climate Action Plan, announced nearly one year ago, and could be the most effective action to curb climate pollution in our history…”

    [Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen:] “…We are confident that once finalized these new protections will help our nation meet the pollution reduction goals the President has set. We will do everything we can to promote the strongest public health protections possible. Climate change is happening here and now. We cannot wait to provide protection for our families and communities, especially low income communities that are hit hardest by climate disasters…There is no graver challenge…And there is no better place to start than the aging power plants currently pumping out 40 percent of the nation's carbon pollution. The substantial reduction in greenhouse gases achieved by these safeguards will help avert or mitigate the ongoing disaster of climate change and the widespread effects it will have on public health…We applaud the courage the President and Administrator McCarthy have shown…and we will stand behind them…” click here for more

    Monday, June 2, 2014


    EPA to propose cutting carbon dioxide emissions from coal plants 30% by 2030

    Juliet Eilperin and Steve Mufson, June 2, 2014 (Washington Post)

    “…[The Environmental Protection Agency regulation] would cut carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants by up to 30 percent by 2030 compared with 2005 levels…Under the draft rule, the EPA would analyze four options that states and utilities would have to meet the new standard, with different approaches to energy efficiency, shifting from coal to natural gas, investing in renewable energy and making power plant upgrades…Other compliance methods could include offering discounts to encourage consumers to shift electricity use to off-peak hours…

    “…The rule represents one of the most significant steps the federal government has ever taken to curb the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions…[and] is sure to spark a major political and legal battle…[E]nvironmental and public health activists have been pressing Obama to use his executive authority to impose carbon limits on the power sector, which accounts for 38 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions. Opponents, including coal producers, some utilities and many Republicans, argue that the EPA is using a novel legal approach to demand stringent greenhouse gas cuts that are not achievable given current technology…” click here for more


    A Survey of State-Level Cost and Benefit Estimates of Renewable Portfolio Standards

    May 30, 2014 (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory)

    “Renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policies are in place in more than half of all U.S. states and have played a critical role in driving renewable energy deployment over the past decade. In many states, however, fierce debates have recently arisen regarding the cost of RPS policies…Among the 24 states for which the requisite data were available, estimated RPS compliance costs over the 2010-2012 period were equivalent to, on average, roughly 1% of retail electricity rates, though substantial variation exists…[A]verage RPS compliance costs during 2010-2012 ranged from -$4/MWh (i.e., a net savings) to $44/MWh across states…Utilities in eight states assess surcharges on customer bills to recoup RPS compliance costs, which in 2012, ranged from about $0.50/month to $4.00/month for average residential customers…Cost containment mechanisms incorporated into current RPS policies will limit future compliance costs, in the worst case, to no more than 5% of average retail rates in many states and to 10% or less in most others…” click here for more


    Polysilicon Prices Up for Now, but New Low Cost Plants May Reverse the Trend

    Charles Annis, May 16, 2014 (SolarBuzz)

    “Driven mainly by expectations of strong end-market demand growth this year, polysilicon spot prices increased significantly in Q1’14, up 15% Q/Q and 28% Y/Y. In Q2’14, spot prices are expected to remain relatively flat – or to decline moderately – as more polysilicon makers ramp-up production, in an effort to take advantage of the current price environment…[P]olysilicon makers are feeling more confident that they can build new, highly efficient plants that may be able to produce low cost polysilicon and enable satisfactory returns…Despite all the turmoil in the PV industry over the past couple of years (including the dramatic drop in polysilicon prices), NPD Solarbuzz is now forecasting that more than 260,000MT of new polysilicon capacity is likely to be added through 2018…The polysilicon industry is again in danger of perpetuating a state of chronic excessive capacity for several more years and once more pushing prices lower…” click here for more