NewEnergyNews More: July 2014

NewEnergyNews More

Every day is Earthday.

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



Your intrepid reporter


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


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

  • ---------------
  • Wednesday, July 30, 2014


    SEPA Analysis Identifies Major Trends in Growth of U.S. Solar Generation Market; First Quarter of 2014 Shows 229 Percent Year-Over-Year Jump in Utility-Scale Installations

    July 28, 2014 (Solar Electric Power Association)

    “…[There was] a 49-percent growth in the utility-scale solar market in the United States from 2013 to 2014…[and total] accumulated solar capacity now stands at 10.7 gigawatts (GW) at more than 475,000 locations across the county [according to the seventh annual Utility Solar Trends report from the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA)]…[It describes three important] market drivers…[1-Key] issues of customer compensation and rate design – that is, net metering, value of solar and customer fees – have come to the fore as utilities and, solar industry and consumer stakeholders seek fair and cost-effective paths toward increased levels of distributed solar adoption. Solutions will differ across states and utilities…[2-Utility] solar is now the industry’s largest market segment. But uncertainty has emerged…as utilities close in on meeting state-mandated renewable energy standards and developers anticipate the step-down of the federal investment tax credit coming in 2017…[3-Utilities] are in the early phases of developing new and innovative solar options…” click here for more


    ‘Hidden Cost’ Of Wind Power vs. Conventional Power Plants

    Tina Casey, July 27, 2014 (Clean Technica)

    “…[A so-called hidden cost of wind power] has been touted by the fossil fuel industry as an argument against integrating more wind power into the grid, but according to [calculations by the American Wind Energy Association] the ‘hidden cost’ for conventional power plants in Texas is 17 times more than wind…[The] calculations apply to the cost of contingency reserves needed in case of power plant failure…[A] typical Texas household with a monthly electricity bill of $128 per month would be shelling out 4.3 cents per month for the additional contingency reserves required by wind power…[Using the example of Texas grid operator ERCOT, which requires 2800 megawatts of fast-acting contingency reserves for a conventional power plant failure, the cost is] 76 cents per month for a typical Texas household…In order to make the case that wind energy is more expensive to integrate into the grid, the fossil fuel industry has been ignoring the [17 times higher] cost of integrating conventional power plants…” click here for more


    GM isn't alone in race to 200-mile electric car; New rumors don’t change my view: GM will have two different plug-in electric car platforms in the next one to three years.

    July 28, 2014 (MSN)

    “A few days ago, the Internet was again abuzz with rumors about a future electric car from General Motors…[that] would have 200 miles of range, be available by the end of 2016 and be part of the Chevrolet Sonic nameplate…LG has recently said that it will have a battery capable of providing 200 miles of range by 2016. LG is GM's [and other automakers’] current battery supplier…At its core, GM likely has two separate plug-in cars planned for release in the next one to three years: [A] plug-in hybrid to replace the current Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac ELR…[with an electric range of approximately 40 miles, and then a gasoline engine adding normal car range]…Most industry observers think GM is taking close to $8,000 in cost out of the Volt, for this all-new 2.0 model…[T]he second, and far more difficult, electric GM car…would be a 200 mile range pure electric car that could be sold at a profit for as little money as possible…” click here for more

    Tuesday, July 29, 2014


    Technology Is The New Black In The Energy Economy

    Chip Register, July 24, 2014 Forbes

    “…The traditional models [used to predict energy supply and demand] have all coalesced GDP figures with reserve estimates and power generation investments to deduce what our energy production levels and consumption mix might look like forty years in the future…Billions go on the line, backed by models that are powered by [reports like the Energy Information Administration’s (EIA’s) Annual Energy Outlook, the report from Statoil, and BP ’s Statistical Review. But I fear] the pace of arrival of disruptive technology [has] increased to the point where the standard error on these is so wide as to render them virtually meaningless…While the [current EIA forecast] could very well turn out to be true, the report said nothing about possible technological changes…[I]n all the scenarios natural gas seems to be the only winner, with renewables hardly gaining traction despite a flurry of technological advancements in the sector…[T]he energy markets are experiencing a Centennial Moment…[like the] switch from steam coal to oil and gas. The catalyst for these moments is always the arrival of disruptive technology…Beware the standard error…” click here for more


    To Unlock Wind, Build Transmission Lines Linking the Plains to the Cities

    Robert Fares, July 22, 2014 (Scientific American)

    “…Like oil and gas resources, renewable energy regions are often located far away from major population centers…[and if] the requisite transmission infrastructure is not in place, a wind farm’s electricity output might have to be voluntarily turned down to avoid overloading what transmission lines do exist…[W]ithout the adequate transmission infrastructure in place, there is no way to bring wind energy from the plains to the cities, and wind will not produce at its full potential…[A] new transmission line can cost over $1 million per mile, and that’s for the equipment alone, before any of the NIMBY (not in my backyard) related costs that tend to plague major transmission projects. Moreover, unlike oil and gas pipelines, it’s impossible to control whose electricity is flowing on whose power line…For this reason, the cost of transmission lines is typically socialized, even where electricity market competition has been introduced. This is good for raising the capital required to build the transmission infrastructure we all need, but it can also introduce partisanship and bureaucracy, slowing the whole process down…[The Texas CREZ (Competitive Renewable Energy Zones) transmission project [proves that while] new transmission lines may be costly, in many regions of the U.S. they are a required precursor to unlocking wind energy’s true potential…” click here for more


    Carbon tax hasn’t harmed B.C. growers, study finds;Trade data shows no impact from tax on fossil fuels, authors say

    Randy Shore, July 22, 2014 (Vancouver Sun)

    “B.C’s carbon tax has had no overall negative impact on the province’s agriculture sector since being introduced in 2008, according to [The Effect of British Columbia’s Carbon Tax on Agricultural Trade] by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions…[There was] no drop in exports, and no increase in imports of agricultural products attributable to the [tax of $30 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions applied to virtually all fossil fuels, with an 80%] exemption granted to some ‘carbon intensive’ producers, in particular greenhouse growers…[Meanwhile] B.C.’s fossil fuel consumption has dropped by nearly 19 per cent, while the rest of the country has increased consumption by three per cent...[Consumers pay] 4.62 cents/litre for propane, 6.67 cents/litre for gasoline] and $62.31/tonne of coal…” click here for more

    Monday, July 28, 2014


    Report: Climate Change Skeptics Could Reach Catastrophic Levels By 2020

    July 23, 2014 (The Onion)

    “In a worrying development that could have dire implications for the health of the planet, a report…suggests that the number of climate change skeptics could reach catastrophic levels by the year 2020…[T]he rising quantity and concentration of individuals who willfully deny or downplay the ruinous impact of the ongoing climate crisis will no longer be manageable by the end of the decade, leading to disastrous consequences for global ecosystems that may well prove irreversible…

    “[EPA administrator Gina McCarthy confirmed] a worldwide spike in the number of deniers who are actively seeking to discredit the scientific consensus that human activity is responsible for climate change…

    “Since the latter half of the 20th century, the EPA noted that more and more regions, biomes, and even human commercial and industrial activities have suffered the harmful effects of individuals who refuse to accept that the ongoing rise in global surface temperatures is due to greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, the report revealed an alarming upsurge in the number of authors of discredited scientific studies questioning the reality of climate change, adversarial cable news show guests who scoff at the notion that humans can affect Earth’s weather patterns, and politicians whose opinions are controlled by fossil fuel company lobbying groups, all of whose increased presence in the world jeopardizes the planet’s vulnerable biosphere…

    “Additionally, the report noted a shocking jump in the number of uninformed citizens among the public at large, whose widespread dissemination of misleading data, half-truths, and outright lies regarding climate trends has already facilitated the destruction of numerous natural resources and hundreds of species, while putting still others at imminent risk…However, with the rise of such individuals having only accelerated over time, the report’s authors conceded that it may no longer be possible to eliminate this devastating man-made phenomenon…” click here for more


    First-Of-Its-Kind Report Ranks U.S. Electric Utility Companies’ Renewable Energy, Energy Efficiency Performance; Xcel Energy, Edison International, Sempra Energy, Northeast Utilities, PG&E Rank High; Dominion Resources, Southern Company, SCANA Rank Low

    July 24, 2014 (Ceres)

    "…[A] new report from Ceres and Clean Edge [that] ranks the nation’s largest electric utilities and their local subsidiaries on their renewable energy sales and energy efficiency savings…found that many utilities are deploying lower carbon fuel sources and that state policies are a key driver in that performance, but there is variability in performance even among utilities operating in the same states…[Benchmarking Utility Clean Energy] ranks the 32 largest electric utility holding companies, which collectively account for about 68 percent of 2012 U.S. retail electricity sales, on three clean energy indicators…NV Energy, Xcel, PG&E, Sempra, and Edison International were found to rank the highest for renewable energy sales, with renewable resources accounting for nearly 17 to 21 percent of their retail electricity sales in 2012. Southern Company, SCANA, Dominion, AES, and Entergy ranked at the bottom, with renewable energy sales accounting for less than two percent of each company’s total power sales…Energy efficiency top performers among holding companies included PG&E, Edison International, and Northeast Utilities, whose cumulative annual energy efficiency savings were equivalent to 16 to 17 percent of their annual retail electric sales in 2012. PSEG, SCANA, Pepco Holdings, Dominion Resources, and Entergy ranked at the bottom, with cumulative annual energy efficiency savings accounting for less than one percent…” click here for more


    Geothermal Industry Grows, With Help From Oil and Gas Drilling

    Kate Galbraith, July 23, 2014, NY Times

    “Geothermal energy…languishes in the shadows of better-known sources like wind and the sun…Yet the geothermal industry is growing…[to about 4 percent to 5 percent globally in 2013] and proponents hope that new technologies — including tie-ins with drilling for oil and natural gas — will bring further gains…The United States remains the world’s leader in the use of geothermal energy for electric power, followed by the Philippines, Indonesia and Mexico…At its most basic, geothermal power involves harnessing water heated to steam temperatures in the depths of the earth and using it to spin turbines that produce electricity. The Ring of Fire around the Pacific Ocean, where volcanoes and earthquakes are common, is an optimal source…

    “As an electricity source, geothermal energy has certain advantages over its main renewable competitors…[especially that it] works 24 hours a day…But geothermal carries substantial upfront costs [for exploration and development. It is hard to predict exactly where hot water will pool in the earth’s crust…Drilling wells is expensive, taking 50 percent to 60 percent of a project’s total costs…[M]ore experience, emerging technology that can derive energy from lower temperatures and a new wave of interest in oil and gas drilling stand to aid geothermal…” click here for more

    Wednesday, July 23, 2014


    Renewables Continue To Dominate New U.S. Generating Capacity

    21 July 2014 (Solar Industry)

    “…[S]olar, wind, biomass, geothermal and hydropower provided 55.7% of newly installed U.S. electrical generating capacity during the first half of the year - 1,965 MW of the 3,529 MW total [according to] U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission figures…[Solar power] accounted for 32.1% of this new capacity with 1,131 MW. Wind provided 19.8% with 699 MW…The single greatest source of added generating capacity was natural gas with 44.1%, representing 1,555 MW. No new coal or nuclear capacity came online in the first half of the year…[R]enewable energy sources now account for 16.28% of all U.S. operating capacity…[with hydropower at 8.57%, wind at 5.26%, biomass at 1.37%, solar at 0.75%, and geothermal at 0.33%]…” click here for more


    June EV Sales For US Near New High As Ford, Tesla And Nissan Stay Strong

    Jay Cole, July 1, 2014 (Inside EVs)

    "After electric vehicle sales flew off the chart in May with over 12,000 cars sold – an all-time record, it was assumed June would be a pullback month…[but June fell] only a hair (160 units) with an estimated 11,893 plug-ins sold in the US…Compared to June of 2013, that was a staggering improvement of43%...For the year to date, an estimated 54,463 Americans have chosen to buy a new EV, which is up 33% from last year…At the current pace, 130,000 new vehicle purchases would be of the plug-in variety for 2014…[W]hile Tesla and Ford were the ‘big name’ movers for June, Nissan continues to be the backbone of the electric vehicle industry in the US as the LEAF set its 16th consecutive record month for year-over-years sales in June with 2,347 cars sold…The only drag on the industry in June continues to be the Chevrolet Volt, as sales were off 34% (1,777 vs 2,698) during the month. Overall for the year, the Chevy is off 13%, the only major production EV to show a loss…” click here for more


    Ocean energy ROI questionable

    Barbara Vergetis Lundin, July 15, 2014 (Fierce Energy)

    “In 2013, the wave and tidal energy market was valued at $25 million, and Transparency Market Research (TMR) anticipates that will reach $10.1 billion in 2020 -- a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 64.1 percent from 2014 to 2020…When harnessed effectively, ocean could prove to be one of the largest reserves of clean and sustainable energy…Tidal stream power plants are a relatively new technology with ample scope for development, while tidal range power is a mature form of energy generation technology…[Wave energy] is a relatively new concept…with the installed capacity aggregated at just 5.77 MW in 2013…[L]arge-scale commercial array deployments of wave and tidal power plants [and development of the offshore wind energy sector] will be followed by massive cost reductions…TMR expects major developments in wave and tidal stream plants to take place in Europe but estimates South Korea to grow fastest in terms of tidal barrage operations…[T]he wave and tidal energy market is projected to reach 3712 MW by 2020 -- expanding at a CAGR of 34.5 percent from 2014 to 2020…Wave energy development in Asia-Pacific would be concentrated in Australia…[which is expected] to add nearly 25 MW of capacity by the end of 2020…” click here for more

    Tuesday, July 22, 2014


    EIA projects modest needs for new electric generation capacity

    July 16, 2014 (U.S. Energy Information Administration)

    “The Annual Energy Outlook 2014 (AEO2014) Reference case projects 351 gigawatts (GW) of new electric generating additions between 2013 and 2040…U.S. electric generating capacity additions averaged 35 GW annually from 2000 through 2005. Almost all of the capacity added during those years was natural gas-fired…From 2006 through 2012, annual average capacity additions dropped to 19 GW, with 42% of the additions representing renewable technologies [primarily wind] and 45% representing natural gas-fired technologies…The high levels of recent capacity additions, combined with relatively low electricity demand, have resulted in surplus capacity relative to required reserve margins for many regions of the country…In the AEO2014 Reference case, natural gas-fired plants account for 73% of capacity additions (255 GW) from 2013 to 2040, compared with 24% for renewables, 3% for nuclear, and 1% for coal Of the 83 GW of renewable capacity additions, 39 GW are solar photovoltaic (PV) systems (60% of which are rooftop installations) and 28 GW are wind (60% of which occur by 2015 to take advantage of production tax credits)…” click here for more


    Solar And EV Adoption, Climate Policies, And Green Finance Drive U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index Growth

    July 2014 (Clean Edge News)

    “…[The Clean Edge 2014 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index found that eleven] states now generate more than 10 percent of their electricity from non-hydro renewable energy sources, with two – Iowa and South Dakota – exceeding 25 percent. Solar installations climbed more than 40 percent year-over-year in the U.S., while registrations of all-electric vehicles doubled between the 2013 and 2014 indexes, to approximately 200,000 nationwide…California leads the nation in clean tech for the fifth consecutive year, with Massachusetts and Oregon repeating their #2 and #3 rankings from the 2013 State Index. Vermont and Connecticut moved into the Top 10 this year, while Hawaii and Minnesota dropped out. In the Metro Index, San Francisco and San Jose repeated as #1 and #2, while San Diego jumped four places to #3…Eight of the top 10 metro areas are located in the top four states; the exceptions are Washington D.C. (a city without a state), and Austin…” click here for more


    Energy Storage Market Rises to $50 Billion in 2020, amid Dramatic Changes Driven by plug-ins, transportation applications will be worth $21 billion, closing the gap on electronics’ $27 billion market…

    July 15, 2014 (Lux Research)

    “Energy storage, driven largely by electronics and plug-in vehicles, will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8% to $50 billion in 2020, with dramatic shifts coming from the transportation industry…Transportation applications will outpace electronics growth – attaining an 11% CAGR to become a $21 billion market by the end of the decade…[Electronics] will remain the single largest market valued at $27 billion…With global sales of 59 million, a 53% market share and $6.1 billion in annual revenue, micro-hybrids will, for the first time, overtake the conventional internal combustion engine and emerge the most popular drivetrain by 2020...With modest sales of 440,000 units, electric vehicles still will use $6.3 billion worth of energy storage…The United States will lead EV sales for most of the decade, peaking at 167,000 units in 2019…[China will nearly catch up with 2020 sales of 145,000]…[The smartphone market will grow] at a 12% CAGR to $8.4 billion in 2020. Tablet computers follow with a 6% CAGR to $12 billion…Driven by solar integration, residential represents the biggest opportunity in stationary energy storage applications – leaping from less than $0.1 billion to $1.2 billion in 2020…” click here for more

    Monday, July 21, 2014


    Market Snapshot: Wind, solar expected to lead growth in power plant capacity

    Emily Reynolds, July 16, 2014 (SNL)

    “An increasing amount of renewable generation is entering into the energy mix, with solar and wind resources making up a growing share of total generation resources. According to SNL data, natural gas could account for about 33% of all power plant capacity in 2020, up 1 percentage point from 2010, while solar and wind capacity is expected to grow 8 percentage points from 2010 to 2020, with solar accounting for 3% and wind making up 9% of total U.S. capacity by 2020.” click here for more


    100 GW Of US Geothermal Power Will Push US Past Gas

    Tina Casey, July 18, 2014 (Clean Technica)

    “Natural gas has been having a field day…but it looks like the sleeping giant of US geothermal power is being nudged out of its stupor…[The Energy Department]…is plunking down $31 million to rev up a cutting edge geothermal demo project [called FORGE, for Frontier Observatory for Research in Geothermal Energy,] that could enable the US to tap into an estimated 100 gigawatts of geothermal power…The idea is to tap into areas underground where the rocks are hot, but the heat doesn’t have a natural way up to the surface…[It is] called an Enhanced Geothermal System. Ideally, an ESG would create pathways that enable fluid to circulate efficiently through rock, and return to the surface piping hot…[by drilling] into the target area, and then injecting water at high pressure and/or heat to split the rock…[With a ‘fracture network’ and a production well, returning water should be hot enough to transition to steam at the surface or] to heat another fluid to produce vapor…for running a turbine…[ESG construction would not likely lead to the widespread environmental impacts of the natural gas industry in states with weak regulations because] ESG lends itself to the kind of large scale, centralized installations that could fall under federal jurisdiction.” click here for more


    Court backs Chinese firm in dispute with Obama

    Timothy Cama, July 15, 2014 (The Hill)

    “A federal appeals court…[has ruled that when President Obama used a rarely invoked authority in 2012 to prevent Ralls Corp. from buying the four wind farms in Oregon located on or near a naval training facility because of national security concerns, it] deprived Ralls of its due-process rights under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution…The judges said Ralls should be allowed to see the evidence the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States used to block the transaction, and should have the chance to respond to the allegations…The committee was formed in the 1970s to stop foreign transactions that could threaten national security. Its proceedings are highly secretive…The panel recommended that Obama block the Ralls acquisitions, and he agreed. It was the first time since 1990 that the authority had been used.” click here for more

    Friday, July 18, 2014


    Eight ways climate change is making the world more dangerous; Disasters including storms, floods and heatwaves have increased fivefold since the 1970s, UN finds

    Suzanne Goldenberg, 14 July 2014, UK Guardian

    “…The world already is nearly five times as dangerous and disaster prone as it was in the 1970s, because of the increasing risks brought by climate change, according to [Atlas Of Mortality And Economic Losses From Weather, Climate And Water Extremes (1970–2012) from] the World Meteorological Organisation…The first decade of the 21st century saw 3,496 natural disasters from floods, storms, droughts and heat waves…nearly five times as many [climate change influenced] disasters as the 743 catastrophes reported during the 1970s…Flooding and storms are also taking a bigger bite out of the economy. But heat waves…[which] didn't even register as a threat in the 1970s…[were, by 2010, one] of the leading causes of deaths in natural disasters, along with storms. In Russia alone, more than 55,000 people died as a result of heat wave in 2010…Disasters were about 5.5 times more expensive by 2010 than they were in the 1970s, and most of that was because of the rising losses due to floods. The cost of disasters rose to $864bn (£505bn) in the last decade…” click here for more


    Solar Funding and M&A 2014 Second Quarter Report

    July 2014 (Mercom Capital Group)

    “Total corporate financing, including VC/PE, debt and public market financing in the solar sector totaled $6.3 billion in Q2 2014…Global VC funding in Q2 2014 totaled $432 million in 21 deals, up from $251 million in 26 deals in Q1…Solar downstream companies accounted for nearly 90 percent of funding, bringing in more than $388 million…Public market financing in Q2 2014 totaled $1.3 billion in ten deals compared to $1.3 billion in 17 deals in Q1 2014…There were 33 large-scale project funding deals in Q2 2014 totaling $3.5 billion, compared to $3.6 billion in 43 deals in the first quarter. Large-scale project announcements worldwide in Q2 2014 totaled 7.6 GW from 150 projects…It was a record quarter for residential and commercial solar funds, with $1.3 billion raised in eight different funds…Solar M&A activity in Q2 2014 came to $400 million in 25 transactions, with most of it in the solar downstream category which had 11 transactions…Announced project acquisitions in Q2 2014 totaled $229 million in 34 transactions…” click here for more


    4.9 GW of new offshore wind capacity under construction in Europe

    14 July 2014 (European Wind Energy Association)

    “16 commercial offshore wind farms are under construction [in Europe] totaling 4.9 GW of power capacity [according to The European offshore wind industry - key trends and statistics 1st half 2014]…224 new offshore wind turbines, totaling 781 megawatts (MW), were fully grid connected in Europe during the first six months of 2014 – 25% less than during the same period in 2013 (1,045 MW)…282 wind turbines have been installed but not connected during this period, making a total of 310 offshore turbines awaiting grid connection. Once connected they will add a further 1,200 MW of offshore wind energy capacity…” click here for more


    KfW provides financing for 200 MW geothermal project in Kenya

    July 15, 2014 (PennEnergy)

    “The German Development Bank (KfW) has agreed to an almost $109 million loan to Kenya to build…[t]he Bogoria-Silali geothermal project, which is expected to have a total production capacity of 200 megawatts…[when] developed by the Geothermal Development Company (GDC)…In addition to the Bogoria-Silali geothermal project, KfW also provided a $45 million loan for the Nairobi Water Distribution Project to improve access to water in Kenya. These projects are part of Kenya's Vision 2030, which aims to enhance economic opportunities and improve [environmental quality]…Geothermal projects in Kenya have attracted investment from other banks like the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the French Development Agency (AFD). Kenya plans to drill 20 wells with the $109 million loan from KfW.” click here for more

    Wednesday, July 16, 2014


    Renewable Energy Dominates New U.S. Capacity In May

    24 June 2014 (Solar Industry)

    “Renewable energy, including wind, solar, biomass and hydropower, provided 88.2% of new installed U.S. electrical generating capacity for the month of May…[T]wo new ‘units’ of wind power provided 203 MW, five units of solar provided 156 MW, one unit of biomass provided 5 MW, and one unit of hydropower provided 0.2 MW…[T]wo new units of natural gas provided just 49 MW, while no new capacity was provided by coal, oil or nuclear power…For the first five months of 2014, renewable energy sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, water and wind) accounted for 54.1% of the 3,136 MW of new domestic electrical generation installed. This was made up of solar (907 MW), wind (678 MW), biomass (73 MW), geothermal steam (32 MW) and hydro (8 MW)…[C]oal and nuclear provided no new capacity, while 1,437 MW of natural gas, 1 MW of oil and 1 MW of ‘other’ provided the balance…

    “Renewable energy sources, including hydropower, now account for 16.28% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: water - 8.57%, wind - 5.26%, biomass - 1.37%, solar - 0.75%, and geothermal steam - 0.33%. This is more than nuclear (9.24%) and oil (4.03%) combined…” click here for more


    Wind power backers, opponents gear up for long fight over energy laws; $55M Champaign County wind project may be in jeopardy, but some neighbors want it to stop.

    Matt Sanctis, July 12, 2014 (Dayton Daily News)

    “…Wind energy advocates [say two recently signed laws] put the future of wind energy in Ohio in jeopardy, potentially stalling or killing as many as 10 shovel-ready projects that could mean $2.5 billion in investment in the state, along with as much as $20 million in combined tax payments to local governments and lease payments to property owners…Statewide, both sides said they are gearing up for a protracted fight over how electricity will be developed and delivered in the state in the years ahead…At the heart of the debate are [the] two recently signed laws that will take effect later this year…Senate Bill 310 will freeze Ohio’s renewable energy mandates for two years and create a panel to study whether to change the state’s energy laws. House Bill 483, which could have a bigger effect on wind developers, would significantly increase how far a wind turbine must be from a neighboring property…” click here for more


    Survey Reveals Majority Of Critical Infrastructure Providers Have Been Breached

    July 11, 2014 (Renew Grid)

    "Nearly 70% of companies that are responsible for the world's power, water and other critical functions have reported at least one security breach that led to the loss of confidential information or disruption of operations in the past 12 months, according to [ Critical Infrastructure: Security Preparedness and Maturity by the Poneman Institute and Unisys Corp.,]...In a survey of 599 security executives at utility, oil and gas, energy, and manufacturing companies, 64% of respondents said they anticipated one or more serious attacks in the coming year. Despite this risk, only 28% ranked security as one of the top five strategic priorities for their organization, while a majority named their top business priority as minimizing downtime…Only one in six respondents described their organization's IT security program or activities as mature. Respondents who reported suffering a data breach within the past year most often attributed these breaches to an internal accident or mistake, and negligent insiders were the most cited threat to company security…[but] only 6% of respondents said they provide cybersecurity training for all employees..." click here for more

    Tuesday, July 15, 2014


    A Smarter Power Grid for U.S. Utilities

    Mark Chediak, Jim Polson, and Kevin Wells (July 10, 2014 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

    CenterPoint Energy (CNP), American Electric Power, San Diego Gas & Electric, PG&E, and DTE Energy are among the utilities remaking their local grids for more “intelligent” operations with sensors, switches, smart meters, wireless relays, and data analysis software that assimilates customers’ power use in real time. CNP’s first phase in Texas is scheduled to be complete by yearend at a cost of $138 million, with the help of $50 million from the federal government; PG&E’s smart grid R&D facility has 120-plus engineers and technicians testing smart advances; and DTE Energy has begun a five-year, $250 million grid upgrade.

    U.S. power outages are up 285% percent since 1984 with the outages lasting longest among major industrialized nations and costing businesses as much as $150 billion a year while “smart” algorithms can analyze weather patterns and spot weaknesses in the lines to predict failures, reduce the risk of overload by helping reduce load, and may be necessary if the nation’s grid is to absorb and manage changes from distributed energy resources. click here for more


    Does LADWP Want to Charge Solar Customers For Grid Access?

    Chris Clarke, July 10, 2014 (KCET)

    To expand its net energy metering (NEM) program beyond its current cap of 310 megawatts, which it will hit in 2016, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) would need to unbundle the rate charge on customer bills from the charge for infrastructure maintenance to protect non-solar-owning customers from paying more than their fair share, according to a recent report from LADWP to the City Council. Due to a push by the Koch brothers-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to make NEM an issue, utilities across the country are raising concerns about such a cost shift, while advocates argue rooftop solar saves ratepayers by reducing the need for new power plants and transmission lines.

    LADWP wants to avoid the controversy by instead expanding its 100-megawatts-by-2016 feed-in tariff (FIT) program, one of the biggest in the U.S., because with FITs the utility pays solar owners for the electricity send to the grid but bills them for their electricity use, allowing for infrastructure maintenance charges. Third-party-ownership (TPO) companies that operate solar leasing programs are expected to object because NEM serves their business model whereas FIT and VOST programs support ownership of solar. click here for more


    Autonomous Vehicles; Self-Driving Vehicles, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems, and Autonomous Driving Features: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    3Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “Combinations of advanced driver assistance features that can enable semi-autonomous driving are now being brought to market for the first time…Simple automated driving functions such as keeping in lane while adjusting speed to the vehicle in front are currently being introduced…[T]he first more comprehensive self-driving features will be brought to market by 2020, but significant hurdles remain…[T]he biggest practical hurdles before rollout to the public are those of liability, regulation, and legislation…Navigant Research forecasts that 94.7 million autonomous-capable vehicles will be sold annually around the world by 2035…” click here for more

    Monday, July 14, 2014


    PV Industry Leaders See A 'Second Gold Rush' Coming In The Solar Sector

    Michael Puttre, 9 July 2014 (Solar Industry)

    “A ‘second gold rush’ for the photovoltaic industry is coming, enabled by the ‘inevitable’ adoption of distributed generation (DG) solar power on a widespread basis [Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems Director Eicke Weber at a recent solar industry international conference]…[California grid operator President/CEO Steve Berberich said] the economics of solar power make it competitive with conventional generation sources…[and] the policies and market forces that have made it so are expected to continue in the near term…[but utility-accessible energy storage is critical to future growth and] detente between utilities and solar customers is needed to move forward …[Yingli Green Energy Americas VP Tim Larrison said] tariffs on Chinese solar cells are not only imposing additional costs on PV generation, but also squelching innovation by reducing research and development budgets and preventing new technologies from reaching key markets, particularly in the U.S…” click here for more


    Mass., R.I. lead nation in wind energy efforts, report says

    Ariel Wittenberg, July 10, 2014 (South Coast Today)

    “Massachusetts and Rhode Island are ‘leading the way’ for offshore wind in the United States, according to [Catching The Wind: State Actions Needed To Seize The Golden Opportunity Of Atlantic Offshore Wind Power] by the National Wildlife Federation…[It] outlines efforts to promote offshore wind in every state on the Atlantic Coast…[cites three investments by Massachusetts] in offshore wind development…Massachusetts and Rhode Island are currently in a race to see which will be home to the first offshore wind farm in the country. In Rhode Island, Deepwater Wind has plans to develop a five-turbine farm off the coast of Block Island. In Massachusetts, Cape Wind is on track to begin construction of its 130-turbine wind farm for Nantucket Sound…There are other wind projects in the works offshore Massachusetts and Rhode Island as well…In addition to outlining states' progress in supporting offshore wind, the NWF report also emphasizes the benefits of generating energy offshore [including pollution-free power at peak demand periods and good paying jobs]…” click here for more


    Transportation Forecast: Medium and Heavy Duty Vehicles; Medium and Heavy Duty Hybrid Electric, Plug-In Hybrid Electric, Battery Electric, Natural Gas, Propane Autogas, Fuel Cell, and Conventional Vehicles: Global Market Forecasts, 2014-2035

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    "The global medium and heavy duty vehicle (MHDV) market is changing rapidly, due to rising fuel costs and environmental concerns that are pushing commercial and government fleet operators to consider investments in fuel efficiency technologies and alternative fuels. Navigant Research projects that today more than 1.2 billion light, medium, and heavy duty vehicles are on roads, and less than 5% belong to the MHDV segment. Of these vehicles, over 94% utilize a conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) powered by either gasoline or diesel…The MHDV markets’ dependency on oil has pushed governments to examine programs that will speed the adoption of…[less] expensive alternatives to petroleum-based fuels…[and fleet managers have begun seeing] a return on investment in as few as 3 years…Navigant Research forecasts that global annual MHDV sales and conversions will grow from 4.3 million vehicles in 2014 to 7.1 million in 2035…” click here for more

    Wednesday, July 9, 2014


    Fortune 100 companies saved $1.1B using renewable energy; Ironically, energy companies and financial services companies are the biggest laggards

    Lucas Mearian, July 1, 2014 (ComputerWorld)

    “…[M]ore than half of Fortune 100 companies collectively saved $1.1 billion in energy costs by rolling out renewable energy programs…[according to Power Forward 2.0 from] Ceres, David Gardiner & Associates, Calvert Investments and the World Wildlife Fund…43% of Fortune 500 companies, or 215 in all, have set targets in one of three categories: reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving energy efficiency and using renewable energy. When narrowed to just the Fortune 100, 60% of the companies have set the same clean energy goals…The 53 Fortune 100 companies reporting on climate and energy targets to the Carbon Disclosure Project [including UPS, Cisco Systems, PepsiCo, United Continental, General Motors, Intel, Wal-Mart, AT&T and Dell] have, according to a conservative estimate, saved $1.1 billion annually through emission reduction and renewable energy initiatives…” click here for more


    Record Wind Output Helping Keep The Lights On During Record Drought

    Michael Goggin, 25 June 2014 (American Wind Energy Association)

    “One of wind energy’s most overlooked benefits is that it requires virtually no water to produce electricity, while almost all other electricity sources evaporate tremendous amounts of water…California is currently facing a record drought…[with precipitation at only 61 percent of average, the remaining snowpack at 2 percent of average, and the state’s main reservoirs at only 50-70 percent]…The drought has taken a toll on California’s hydroelectric generation, though wind energy is helping to pick up the slack. Through the end of April, California’s year-to-date hydroelectric generation stood at 3,981 GWh, down 3,475 GWh or 47%...Wind generation more than made up for that shortfall, providing 3,955 GWh…[T]he state grid operator set a new wind energy generation record of 4,768 MW on April 12 at 5:48 PM. This eclipses the previous record of 4,302 MW, which was set on June 23, 2013…Last week, the Department of Energy released an in-depth report that explores the many ways our energy and water resource systems are intertwined [and it noted that renewables like PV and wind energy require “very little” water]…” click here for more


    Smart Cities; Smart Technologies and Infrastructure for Energy, Water, Transportation, Buildings, and Government: Business Drivers, City and Supplier Profiles, Market Analysis, and Forecasts

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “…[City leaders are] laying out a vision for how cities can use technology to meet sustainability goals, boost local economies, and improve services. This commitment to changing how cities operate is driving the continued interest in smart cities. Moreover, the smart city concept is evolving…[and a] growing range of suppliers [are delivering] solutions to meet their emerging needs…including energy management, water management, urban mobility, street lighting, and public safety, for example. These innovations are underpinned by general developments in areas such as wireless communications, sensor networks, data analytics, and cloud computing. The smart city concept is also driving new integrated approaches to city operations. Navigant Research forecasts that global smart city technology revenue will grow from $8.8 billion annually in 2014 to $27.5 billion in 2023…” click here for more

    Tuesday, July 8, 2014


    Divided US Congress unlikely to act on energy: Senator

    Mark Davidson w/Jeff Barber, 30 June 2014 (Platts)

    “Political gridlock in the US Congress has reached the point where making any meaningful decisions on energy policy -- including whether the country should lift its nearly 40-year ban on oil exports -- may be impossible, former Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota said…Dorgan said he is frustrated that legislation on renewable energy tax credits, LNG and crude oil exports -- all vital to the US economy -- appears to be hung up indefinitely by partisan wrangling…If Congress won't act, Dorgan said, President Barack Obama has made clear he will move on his own through the executive action, for example, by ordering the Environmental Protection Agency to issue rules on greenhouse gas emissions. But that will not be a quick fix [because of legal challenges]…” click here for more


    Coalition Of Over 300 Clean Energy Organizations, Businesses, Urge Immediate Action On Tax Extenders

    Peebles Squire, 27 June 2014 (American Wind Energy Association)

    “In a letter sent out yesterday to House and Senate leadership, a group of 302 businesses and organizations, including major players in the U.S. economy, urged Congress to act quickly to pass the EXPIRE Act and extend tax policies critical to the continued growth of clean energy technologies…[The legislation] includes important provisions for the clean energy industry, including the Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit for wind power…Signers to the letter included major companies such as Sherwin Williams and the MidAmerican Energy Co., and important voices for growth across the U.S. economy and conservation such as the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Tooling and Machining Association, the American Association of Port Authorities, the Center for Rural Affairs, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, and the National Wildlife Federation…” click here for more


    Smart Street Lighting; LEDs, Communications Equipment, and Network Management Software for Roadway and Highway Lighting: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “Falling prices for light-emitting diode (LED) street lights have spurred a global transition from older lamp technologies…[P]ayback periods are becoming reasonable with or without subsidies. Residents in cities worldwide are appreciating the improved nighttime visibility…[and] city managers are enjoying the cost savings…[M]ost LED upgrades continue to be completed without any additional controls beyond simple photocells. After years of pilot control projects, however, a growing number of large-scale networked systems have proven that networked systems can work and can provide real benefits. These smart street lighting systems can provide substantial energy savings and a host of non-energy benefits. Yet, as LED prices continue to erode and the long lifespan of LED lamps results in fewer replacements, overall revenue from street lighting will begin to fall. Navigant Research forecasts that global street lighting revenue will decline from $2.5 billion in 2014 to $2.3 billion in 2023…” click here for more

    Monday, July 7, 2014


    Climate change threatens national security; This issue is about science, not politics, and the military is taking it very seriously…

    Rear Adm. David W. Titley, July 5, 2014 (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

    “Climate change is an accelerating threat to national security…[according to] a recent report by the CNA Corporation’s Military Advisory Board…[a panel of hard-nosed leaders] with decades of experience evaluating national security risks…[W]e are increasingly worried about the lack of comprehensive action by the United States and the global community…The changing climate is already serving as a catalyst for conflict…[T]he severe drought in the years leading up to the civil war in Syria…didn’t cause the war, but it certainly served as a destabilizing factor…I used to be something of a skeptic about climate change. I have a Ph.D in meteorology. I know how complicated the weather system is and how difficult it is to predict accurately…Over the years, scientific findings on climate change have built to the point where we simply cannot afford to ignore them…” click here for more


    NC quietly becomes a star on solar energy stage

    Daniel Gross, July 5, 2014 (Charlotte News and Observer)

    “…[In] the last few years, the Tar Heel State has quietly become a leader in rolling out solar. The Solar Energy Industries Association, or SEIA, notes that last year, North Carolina added 335 megawatts of capacity – the third-best tally of any state in the country. With a total of 592 megawatts of solar capacity installed, North Carolina ranks fourth among the 50 states…[and] North Carolina ranks second in the number of solar farms under construction, behind only California…Relatively favorable state standards have unleashed a burst of entrepreneurial energy. Progressive companies from out of state have demanded that their new facilities be powered by renewable resources, such as solar. And now that the industry has gained critical mass, it has displayed an ability to export its expertise to neighboring states…As the industry has gained critical mass, it has also gained clout…North Carolina solar keeps gathering momentum…” click here for more


    Women serving prominent roles in Maine’s emerging wind energy industry

    Jon Marcus, July 4, 2014 (Bangor Daily News)

    “…Maine leads New England in the amount of power it generates from wind, but substantial obstacles remain. The high cost and environmental impact of running transmission lines to connect far-flung wind farms to the electrical grid is one of them…Another is a thicket of regulation that contributes to the fact that only one in five projects in the Northeast actually ever gets built…[Katherine Joyce, an attorney at Bernstein Shur in Portland who specializes in the complex permitting process needed to harness wind for power, is] one of a surprising number of women in Maine who are prominent in the fast-growing industry…[W]omen hold only 12 percent of jobs in the business nationwide…[I]n spite of alternative energy’s meteoric growth, far fewer women than men enter the occupations that principally fuel it. Barely 14 percent of engineers and architects are women, and women make up only 2 percent of electricians…[and] colleges and universities continue to graduate four times more male than female engineers…But the fact that wind energy is still a comparatively new industry means there are also fewer traditional barriers for those women who want to move in and move up…” click here for more

    Wednesday, July 2, 2014


    Market Snapshot: Texas, California continue to set records for wind, solar generation

    Emily Reynolds, June 27, 2014 (SNL)

    “Solar and wind-powered electricity is growing rapidly in the U.S., with Texas and California positioned to remain the frontrunners…Across the U.S., wind generation reached close to 17 million MWh in March, 1.3 times the amount generated in early 2009, while solar production is up nearly 7.5 times the amount generated in April 2009, reaching close to 850,000 MWh in March…Wind generation in Texas set three records in March [including the current all-time instantaneous hourly peak wind generation of 10,296 MW], and [according to grid operator ERCOT]…will continue to set records as wind capacity grows across the state…[California is] setting daily records…for utility scale solar energy across the state…[A] midday hourly peak of 4,767 MW was delivered into the California grid on June 1. During the month of May [according to grid operator CAISO], total solar electricity output provided 6% of total electric load…compared to only 2% generated in May 2013…” click here for more


    Why Geothermal Systems Are Heating Up

    Loretta Waldman, June 27, 2014 (Hartford Courant)

    “…In a storage room in the finished basement [of a Hartford, CT, home] sits a WaterFurnace Envision dual-capacity geothermal heat pump, the heart of the system that heats and cools the 3,200-square-foot house. Tentacle-like hoses extend up from the box-shaped pump, wind around the upper edge of two walls, to a cluster of pipes leading out of the foundation…Beyond that, hidden from view, are loops of polyethylene pipe stretching 300 feet into the ground in two vertical wells. The pipes are filled with water that, because the temperature range of the ground at that depth is 48 to 52 degrees, stays warm year-round. Depending on the season, the heat pump transfers the heat energy into or out of the house to keep it warm or cool…[T]he system is delivering lower-than-predicted energy costs…[The electric bill for the 2012 months of May, June and August was $16 per month, the basic monthly distribution charge…[Upfront costs are] recouped within three to seven years…Geothermal is a niche market compared to oil and gas — less than 2 percent of residential and commercial buildings in the United States — but heat-pump sales have been rising since the 1980s…” click here for more


    Smart Waste; Advanced Collection, Processing, Energy Recovery, and Disposal Technologies for the Municipal Solid Waste Value Chain: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “…In developed economies, tightening regulations around the disposal of waste and the increasing cost of landfilling are driving demand for innovative solutions across the municipal solid waste (MSW) value chain. In developing economies, the focus is on building out basic infrastructure in the face of rapid urbanization and rising levels of affluence…[E]merging smart technologies offer the opportunity to enhance MSW collection, generate renewable energy, and optimize the environmental performance of landfills…The emerging smart waste market is expected to grow rapidly over the next decade…Europe and North America are the most mature markets…Asia Pacific is expected to see its share…more than double between 2014 and 2023. Smart energy recovery, which includes facilities like incineration plants, landfill gas capture projects, and advanced biorefineries, is the most mature smart waste segment. Yet, high capital costs and the localized focus of waste management services remain key impediments…Navigant Research forecasts that annual smart MSW technology revenue will grow from $2.3 billion in 2014 to $6.5 billion in 2023…” click here for more

    Tuesday, July 1, 2014


    Going for the green

    Editorial, June 25, 2014 (North Jersey Media)

    “…[Germany’s] renewable energy generation surged to a record portion — nearly 75 percent — of the country's overall electricity demand for part of [one day this month and electricity prices plummeted. On a different day] for an hour solar power provided half the country's electric power…[I]n the first quarter of 2014, renewable energy met 27 percent of the country's electricity demand, which is up from 6 percent in 2000 and 20.5 percent in 2011. That's compared to about 13 percent of the U.S. total…Renewable energy is not yet the panacea. There are still fluctuations in renewable power but improvements in batteries and solar panels are among the technologies starting to meet this challenge…[The] renewable energy sector [in which the German government has invested heavily] provided in excess of 300,000 German jobs at good wages, something our country sorely needs…Yet in this country there is an effort meant to damage the roof-top solar energy industry…Proposals to tax the financing of home solar panels are creeping up in legislation…[and] there's the Obama Administration proposal to get rid of the 30-percent tax credit…This country has to invest in its infrastructure…” click here for more


    Feds Nix Eagle Penalties for California Wind Farm

    Scott Smith, June 26, 2014 (AP)

    “…The Shiloh IV Wind Project LLC, 60 miles east of San Francisco, will [become the first in the nation to] receive a special permit [from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] allowing up to five golden eagles to be accidentally killed over five years. Previously, such a violation could potentially draw criminal charges and discourage private investment in wind farms known for catching birds in their rotors…The permit will require the facility to take steps to prevent eagle injuries and deaths from electrocution by retrofitting 133 power poles. The permits are not required of wind farms, and federal prosecutors have only once filed criminal charges against a wind farm, in Wyoming…[T]he permit encourages development of renewable energy while requiring the wind company to take steps to protect eagles from turbines and power lines…Birds on the hunt can become distracted by what's on the ground and fly into the rotors…Federal wildlife officials in California, Nevada and Southern Oregon are working on two more applications for five-year eagle permits and one for 30 years…” click here for more