NewEnergyNews More: August 2014

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  • Wednesday, August 27, 2014


    Verizon Announces $40 Million Solar Energy Investment

    Kiley Kroh, August 25, 2014 (Climate Progress)

    “…Verizon Wireless Inc. [the biggest U.S. wireless carrier] will invest $40 million into 10.2 megawatts (MW) of solar power…at eight Verizon network facilities in California, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York…[They] will nearly double the amount of power the company derives from solar energy…[Solar is] a key component of the company’s sustainability plan…[according to the company, and] the steadily declining cost of solar power made it a smart financial move…Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), said the latest move by Verizon puts the company at the top of U.S. telecom companies investing in solar power…[and by year’s end] Verizon will be among the top 20 of all companies nationwide [in number of solar installations and solar generating capacity]…Last year, Verizon announced a $100 million investment in a combination of solar panels and fuel cell technology, a decision it predicted would not only lower utility bills and emissions but also improve the reliability of its operations…” click here for more


    How Low Can Wind Energy Go? 2.5¢ Per Kilowatt-Hour Is Just The Beginning

    Tina Casey, August 23, 2014 (Clean Technica)

    “…[A] new Department of Energy report on the US wind energy market…came up [with a new low] average cost for wind energy…[But the] 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report repeatedly cautions that the 2013 sample size is small compared to previous annual wind energy reports...[T]he 2014 sample will be much larger, at 16 projects totaling more than 2 GW (gigawatts)…Power purchase agreements (PPAs) are quickly becoming the financing deal of choice for wind as well as solar power. The report notes that PPAs for wind energy reached a new low on 2013, pegging the figure at $25 per MWh or 2.5¢ per kWh…[M]ost of the projects in the sample are located in the…high-quality wind interior, where costs are lower…[but] the latest generation of wind turbines is on a technology trend that enables a continued decline [in PPA price], even in less than optimal wind areas…[T]he report is confident that wind PPAs will give natural gas a run for the money over the next 25 years, at least in the Interior…[and] beat the pants off other fossil fuels in some regions…” click here for more


    Hearings planned after call for nuke-plant closure

    Michael R. Blood, August 25, 2014 AP via Yahoo News

    A verified confidential filing with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission by former Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant on-site inspector Michael Peck, a PHD in nuclear engineering and senior NRC instructor, recommends shutting down the California plant until its two reactors can be shown capable of withstanding earthquake forces unanticipated when the facility was built, a recommendation made more central by the recent magnitude-6 earthquake in Northern California. Pacific Gas and Electric Co., which owns and operates Diablo Canyon, argues the 1,122 megawatt unit 1, which went online in 1985, and the 1,118 megawatt unit two, which went online in 1986, have had thorough NRC analysis and are "seismically safe" since being retrofitted during construction in the 1970s. Environmentalists argue its 50-mile proximity to a half million people requires higher standards and Peck cited PG&E 2011 research that determined any of three nearby faults is capable of producing significantly more “peak ground acceleration” than was expected in the 1970s. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a supporter of the NRC’s directive to U.S. nuclear plants to reevaluate seismic risks by March 2015 since the 2011 magnitude-9 earthquake and tsunami caused a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi plant, will hold hearings on why Peck’s July 2013 filing has gone unanswered. click here for more

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014


    The story of Elon Musk and GM’s race to build the first mass-market electric car

    Steve Levine, August 25, 2014 (Quartz)

    “One of the hottest clashes in technology pits two pathmakers in the new era of electric cars—Tesla and General Motors. Both are developing pure electrics that cost roughly $35,000, travel 200 miles on a single charge, and appeal to the mass luxury market…The stakes are enormous…Experts regard 200 miles as a tipping point, enough to cure many potential electric-car buyers of…the fear of being stranded when their battery expires. If GM and Tesla crack this, sales of individual electrics could jump from 2,000 or 3,000 vehicles a month to 15 to 20 times that rate…But there is a price to such distance. The 208-mile S starts at around $70,000…Getting 200 miles of range in a $35,000 car will require a battery that can leap over the best lithium-ion technology known to be within reach. And to be ready for 2017 or even 2018 models, it has to accomplish the jump with astonishing speed…Musk’s battery economics are superior…[and GM also] lacks the pizzazz, the style, and the engineering…This makes Musk the bettors’ favorite. Yet where Musk is gambling his company on the success of the Model 3, GM has options. It could ignore Tesla, and surrender the $30,000-$40,000 electric market, along with the technological crown that will go with it…and pull a winning, 200-mile automobile from the drawing boards of its design-and-engineering teams…[or] produce an entirely different, 200-mile car, one aimed at a lower demography, such as that served by its $14,000 Chevy Sonic… GM would arguably leapfrog over Musk, into the biggest mass market of all…” click here for more


    Unpacking unpaused global warming – climate models got it right; Global surface warming has slowed down due to internal and external factors, consistent with climate model predictions that account for these effects

    Dana Nuccitelli, 25 August 2014 (UK Guardian)

    "Although the global climate has continued to build up heat at an incredibly rapid rate, there has been a keen focus among climate contrarians and in the media on the slowdown of the warming at the Earth’s surface. The slowdown is in fact a double cherry pick – it focuses only on the 2% of global warming that heats the atmosphere (over 90% heats the oceans), and it only considers the past 10–15 years…[Nevertheless,] the latest IPCC report addressed it specifically:...‘The long-term climate model simulations show a trend in global-mean surface temperature from 1951 to 2012 that agrees with the observed trend (very high confidence). There are, however, differences between simulated and observed trends over periods as short as 10 to 15 years (e.g., 1998 to 2012).’ …From 1998 through 2012…[it was estimated] that global surface temperatures had warmed by about 0.06°C, whereas the average climate model projection put the value at closer to 0.3°C. This apparent discrepancy only represented a tiny fraction of overall global warming…but it was nevertheless a challenge for climate scientists…[Recent studies show] the climate models are doing a pretty good job…” click here for more


    What You Need to Know Before You Invest in Solar Energy

    Motley Fool, August 24, 2014 (NASDAQ)

    "Solar energy is one of the greatest investing opportunities of our generation with well over a trillion dollars in annual market potential around the world. But with all that potential comes tremendous risk, particularly as new technologies emerge…[T]he cost of [silicon] technology has been reduced to a level that's now economically viable…[Thin-film technology and utility-scale technology] costs are too high…New solar technologies can make for great headlines but…the best bets are technologies that are tried and true…[Four keys for solar investing are…1. Make manufacturers prove it...2. Bet on cost reductions over technology improvements…3. Understand the risk a company is taking…4. Remember the bottom line…The solar industry has literally trillions of dollars in potential but with that potential comes risk…” click here for more

    Monday, August 25, 2014


    Renewable Energy Accounts For All New U.S. Power In July

    August 20, 2014 (Renew Grid)

    "All new U.S. electrical generating capacity put into service in July came from renewable energy sources…[including 379 MW of wind, 21 MW of solar and 5 MW of hydropower, according to the July 2014 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)lEnergy Infrastructure Update]…For the first seven months of this year, renewables have accounted for more than half (53.8%) of the 4,758 MW of new U.S. electrical capacity that has entered service, with solar (25.8%) and wind (25.1%) each accounting for more than a quarter of the total. In addition, biomass provided 1.8%, geothermal 0.7% and hydropower 0.4%...natural gas accounted for 45.9%, while a small fraction (0.3%) came from oil and ‘other’ combined…[T]here has been no new electrical generating capacity from either coal or nuclear thus far in 2014…Renewable energy sources now account for 16.3% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S.: hydro - 8.57%, wind - 5.26%, biomass - 1.37%, solar - 0.75%, and geothermal steam - 0.33%...” click here for more


    Why Climate Change Could Be the Biggest Threat to Your Portfolio

    Arjun Sreekumar, August 22, 2014

    "…[C]limate change may be the biggest threat of all…[to] oil and gas companies' asset values and share prices…[W]e must limit emissions to no more than 900 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide (GtCO2) over the period 2013-2049 if we are to keep, at 80% probability, the global temperature from rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels…Meeting that emissions target means that the vast majority of the global fossil fuel reserves owned by energy companies and foreign governments cannot be burned...[Burning these reserves] would raise the global temperature by well over 3 degrees Celsius…[Even with allowances, companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP] could harvest no more than a third of their existing reserves…[A]out two-thirds of their reserves could be, at worst, worthless…[But the more likely case is that] we fail to act and end up exceeding the stated target…For investors, this means that your fossil fuel stocks are likely safe for the foreseeable future. But in the improbable event that global leaders somehow scrape together and enforce a carbon reduction plan, fossil fuel stocks could be in trouble. Caveat emptor…” click here for more


    Which Is More Scalable, Nuclear Energy Or Wind Energy?

    Mike Barnard, August 22, 2014 (Forbes)

    “China is the true experiment for maximum scalability of nuclear vs wind. It has a tremendous gap between demand and generation. It can mostly ignore democracy and social license for nuclear. It is building both wind and nuclear as rapidly as possible. It has been on a crash course for both for about the same period of time. It has bypassed most of the regulatory red tape for nuclear…[And] China turned on just over 16 GW of nameplate capacity of wind generation in 2013…[while over] the four years of 2010 to 2014, China managed to put 4.7 GW of nuclear into operation [at five plants. Their stated plans for nuclear] had them building almost double this in 2013 alone and around 28 GW by 2015…The variance between the nuclear roadmap and nuclear reality in China is following the trajectory of nuclear buildout worldwide: delays, cost overruns, and unmet expectations…Modern wind turbines have a median 40.35% capacity factor…[The nuclear capacity factor is] 90.9%...[T]hat’s about 6.5 GW of real capacity of wind energy in one year vs 4.3 GW of real capacity for nuclear over four years. That’s roughly six times more real wind energy capacity than nuclear per year…In empirical terms, it doesn’t matter what anybody claims is theoretically possible: wind energy is growing rapidly while nuclear is going backwards. That’s reality…” click here for more

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014


    Anti-wind 'experts' failing legal test

    John Conroy, August 17, 2014 (The Australian)

    “…[Wind Health Impacts Dismissed in Court from the Energy and Policy Institute]found that of the 49 cases heard globally relating to wind farms and health, 48 were determined to have no reliable evidence showing wind farms cause health impacts…[and described] 16 individuals who have self-identified as experts in wind farms and health despite an ‘almost complete lack of credentials or experience that would justify an expert perspective in legal cases’…In total, 21 reviews of evidence have concluded that, with the usual minimum setbacks of 400-600m, wind turbines cannot make people sick…[A] number of anti-wind ‘experts’ [are] leveraging ‘no-longer-active or irrelevant’ medical credentials to lend weight to campaigns against wind energy, and [are] performing research without oversight…” click here for more


    Old car batteries could make cheaper, more efficient solar panels

    Rachel Feltman, August 18, 2014 (Washington Post)

    “Lead-acid car batteries have the potential to cause a whole host of environmental issues, but… researchers have worked on solar cells that use a compound called perovskite. The cells have quickly achieved over 19 percent efficiency in converting sunlight to usable electricity, which is comparable to commonly used silicon-based cells…[But lead] is destructive to plants and animals, and it can build up gradually in both the body and the environment…[T]hese solar cells can be built efficiently using recycled lead. Instead of adding more lead to the environment, this process would actually prevent lead in defunct car batteries from entering landfills…[and the lead] could be recycled from one solar cell to another in much the same way that car batteries continue to use it from generation to generation…Because the solar cells only need thin sheets of perovskite (about half a micrometer thick), the lead from just one car battery could make enough solar panels to power 30 households…They’re also cheaper and easier to make than silicon-based cells, and could potentially become more efficient…” click here for more


    Five Companies Riding the Wave of Ocean Energy

    Amy Gleich, August 3, 2014 (OilPrice)

    "…[The ocean] could meet around a quarter of the United States’ -- and three-quarters of the United Kingdom’s -- energy needs, but is largely being ignored by investors…[but] other green energies, such as wind and solar, have received tremendous attention and investiture, [but] tidal and wave energy is, as of yet, untapped…[Harnessing the ocean’s power] is a much more difficult prospect…[W]hile the world has yet to see the establishment of a large-scale, wave-fueled commercial power station, there have been notable advancements…[Aquamarine Power, Pelamis, Oceanlinx, the U.S. Air Force, and Ocean Power Technologies are poised to try and become ocean-power pioneers that succeed…The wave power industry is still the ‘wild west’ of technological entrepreneurship. While this unbridled spirit comes with its own challenges, it’s this same dynamic and ‘anything goes’ culture that’s so essential for developing innovative solutions. But no invention can get off the ground without investment; without billions of dollars of capital, this sector of the renewable market can’t take off…” click here for more

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014


    DOE promotes wind power in reports

    Timothy Cama, August 18, 2014 (The Hill)

    “…[A] series of reports released [by the Department of Energy (DOE)] found that the United States ranks second to China in wind energy installation and wind power provides 4.5 percent of the country’s electricity, among other conclusions…DOE used the reports to advocate for reinstatement of the wind energy [production tax credit (PTC), a tax break for wind energy production that expired last year…A Senate panel voted earlier this year to renew the credit, but the proposal did not move forward. The tax break has proven extremely controversial in Congress…One [report] focuses on the market for wind energy technology and the other is about distributed wind energy, which is installed at homes, businesses or other sites that are not utility-scale generation facilities…Utility-scale wind power is in 39 states and territories, and spurs $500 million in exports annually…Wind power is at an all-time low price, and utilities are buying it to save money…Distributed wind power accounts for more than 80 percent of all wind turbines in the United States…” click here for more


    Texas law lets developers ban solar panels while subdivisions are growing

    Wendy Hundley, 16 August 2014 (Dallas News)

    "…[D]espite a Texas law that bans HOAs from restricting the use of solar power…the law allows builders to restrict solar-energy devices while a housing development is under construction…Solar advocates call this a legal loophole that creates unnecessary obstacles for homeowners who want to go green. But builders say it’s an exception that protects investments in new housing…Developers object to the solar devices for aesthetic reasons…[and] the ban lasts only until the neighborhood is built out and the builder relinquishes control of the HOA board to residents…But green-energy advocates say solar panels are no more unsightly than air-conditioning units and cite…[a 2011 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research] found that solar panels can add 3 to 4 percent to the value of a home…” click here for more


    Survey Reveals What U.S. Consumers Expect From Their Utilities

    August 15, 2014 (Up Front via Renew Grid)

    “…[A GE Digital Energy business survey] found that millions of Americans are willing to pay $10 more on their monthly bills for better power reliability…[The Grid Resiliency Survey], conducted by Harris Poll, [found] 82% of U.S. customers would like their utility to do more to encourage energy conservation and share ideas to improve energy efficiency in their homes. Meanwhile, 81% expect their utilities to use higher levels of renewable energy in the future to meet power needs…56% of U.S. adults were without power for an hour or more during their latest outage…If the power goes out and consumers’ electronic devices are not charged, nearly half of U.S. adults (39%) also would be frustrated with the absence of their smartphones, with laptops following closely behind (25%)…[T]he survey found that 50% of U.S. adults believe natural disasters and weather-related events are the greatest threat to the U.S. power grid…41% of Americans living east of the Mississippi River are willing to pay an additional $10 per month to ensure the grid is more reliable, compared to 34% of those living west of the river…” click here for more

    Monday, August 18, 2014


    Germany Has One Of The World’s Most Efficient Grids

    Roy L. Hales, August 7, 2014 (The ECO Report)

    “Close to 29% of Germany’s electricity, during the first half of 2014 came, from renewable sources…[and] Germany has one of the World’s most efficient grids…In terms of grid reliability, the only nations that rival Germany are Japan (another “green” leader) and Singapore…In 2012, Germany lost an average of 15.91 minutes per customer…[I]t’s closest Western European competitors lost more than a half an hour…The most recent figures from the United States are for 2008. The 244 minute per customer loss that year puts America near the bottom…Canadian statistics…[in the last five years are] always significantly higher than 4 hours…[T]he UK and France lost roughly six times as many minutes as Germany in 2012…Germany’s renewable sector is growing. The wind, photovoltaic, and biomass sectors generated over 71 terawatt-hours of electricity in the first six months of 2014. That is almost a 25% increase over last year and comes at a time when the nation’s conventional energy sources are being asked to produce less…It may be more than a co-incidental that the nations which created the World’s most stable grids are now also among the greenest…” click here for more


    Partly Sunny; America is making lots of solar energy. What’s holding it back from making solar panels?

    Daniel Gross, August 14, 2014 (Slate)

    “…The annual [U.S.] installation of solar systems rose from 1.265 megawatts in 2008 to 4.75 gigawatts in 2013…America has emerged as the third-largest market for solar…[But the] two biggest solar panel manufacturers headquartered in the U.S., First Solar and SunPower, have located most of their manufacturing capacity in Southeast Asia…[A]bout half of the panels used in the U.S. last year came from China. U.S. module production fell from 1,200 megawatts in 2011 to 541 megawatts in 2012 and bounced back up to 988 megawatts in 2013…[But this summer, SolarCity bought Silevo and] the two firms plan to build a massive factory in Buffalo, New York...[1366] has raised $64 million to make solar wafers [in a big U.S. factory]...Suniva, the second-largest manufacturer of panels in the U.S….[will double in size with] a new factory in Saginaw Township, Michigan…[Also,] the Commerce Department… may impose tariffs on panels made in China that could add up to 35 percent to the cost of the products…[and] Government agencies such as the military [and cities, states, nonprofits, or public institutions such as universities, may push their contractors] to comply with the Buy American Act and the Buy America provisions of the 2009 stimulus bill...[A] few announcements don’t make for a full-fledged renaissance. And the U.S. still accounts for only a tiny sliver of global module manufacturing…But it’s the direction that counts as much as the volume…” click here for more


    Texas becomes ground zero for surge in wind power

    Javier E. David, August 9, 2014 (USA Today)

    “…Home to both vast repositories of conventional and shale oil, the Lone Star State is also a major player in wind power, a new twist on the U.S. energy independence narrative…[T]he nation's second largest state… has invested about $7 billion in a sprawling wind power network that spans nearly 4,000 miles. Wind power generates more than 12,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity…[making Texas] first in the country for total MW of wind power capacity…A combination of public subsidies, new federal carbon regulations and private investment has [driven the boom]…[W]ind plants have been a staple of Texas' electric supply since at least 1995, a function of the state's climate and the massive amounts of electricity it consumes…[Oil and gas giant BP divested most of its renewable properties but] still maintains wind power properties worth more than $1 billion [including four in Texas]…Google has staked a claim to two Texas wind farms…[and] Walmart and Microsoft have also channeled resources into the emerging wind sector…” click here for more

    Wednesday, August 13, 2014


    An initial critique of Dr. Charles R. Frank, Jr.’s working paper “The Net Benefits of Low and No-Carbon Electricity Technologies,” summarized in The Economist as “Free exchange: Sun, wind and drain”

    Amory Lovins, August 8, 2014 (Rocky Mountain Institute)

    “A May 2014 working paper by nonresident Brookings Institute fellow Dr. Charles Frank, highlighted in The Economist, claims that wind and solar power are the least, while nuclear power and combined-cycle gas generation are the most, cost-effective ways to displace coal-fired power…[A] detailed twelve-page critique by RMI's Amory Lovins shows that those priorities are artifacts of Dr. Frank's obsolete data. Replacing nine of his wrong numbers with up-to-date empirical ones, even without correcting his methodology, reverses his priorities to the ones most energy experts would expect: after efficiency, the best buys are hydropower (on his purely economic assumptions), then windpower, photovoltaics, gas combined-cycle…and last of all nuclear power…The more obvious of Dr. Frank's data problems were assuming wind and solar power half as productive and twice as costly as they actually are, gas power twice as productive as it actually is but with no methane leakage or price volatility (let alone extractive side-effects of fracking), nuclear power at about half its actual cost and construction time and one-fifth its actual operating cost, a supposed need for new generating capacity and for bulk electricity storage, and no efficiency opportunities worth mentioning…” click here for more


    How Congress Messes With The Wind Industry (Charts)

    Zachary Shahan, August 9, 2014 (Clean Technica)

    …The U.S. Congress has consistently interrupted wind industry growth. While other energy industries’ federal supports are coded into law. the wind energy production tax credit (PTC) has been enacted for 1-3 years at a time and renewal has often been postponed until year-end or longer. Though wind is supported by Republicans, Democrats, and the public, it is the controversial fossil fuel and nuclear industries that get unhesitating federal support while tens of thousands of wind energy jobs and billions in wind revenues must beg year after year while politicians pose and pander…[A chart from The American Wind Energy Association] US Wind Industry Second Quarter 2014 Market Report demonstrates this… click here for more


    Geothermal energy has success in Nevada, wants to spread to the rest of the West…

    Megan Guess, August 10, 2014 (Ars Technica)

    “…[S]ome 12 gigawatts of geothermal power are generated worldwide, and the US is one of the largest producers of it, generating nearly 3.4 gigawatts in 2013…Geothermal energy advocates are quick to point out that when the Sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing, geothermal facilities can be brought online [within an hour]…Coal-fired plants, on the other hand, have long and costly ramp-up times…One notable [geothermal] advance occurred in the late '80s, when researchers and entrepreneurs started implementing what is called a binary cycle…[allowing] power plant operators to generate electricity at geothermal wells with lower temperatures…With this method, little water is lost, and the power plant is able to maintain pressure underground…Still, without government help, geothermal energy as an industry has a tendency for stagnation. The risk involved in drilling a geothermal well is much higher than it is to build a solar or wind farm…[and] the monetary reward for drilling and striking geothermal activity is often less than you'd see from drilling and finding, say, natural gas…” click here for more

    Tuesday, August 12, 2014


    Rules prevent solar panels in many states with abundant sunlight

    Evan Halper, August 9, 2014 (LA Times)

    “…Florida is one of several states, mostly in the Southeast, that combine copious sunshine with extensive rules designed to block its use…States like Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York — not known for clear, blue skies — have outpaced their counterparts to the south in the installation of rooftop solar panels…[One reason is] opposition from utilities grown nervous by the rapid encroachment of solar firms on their business…The business models that have made solar systems financially viable for millions of homeowners in California, New England and elsewhere are largely illegal in…[many] Southern states. Companies that pioneered the industry, such as SolarCity Corp. and Sunrun Inc., do not even attempt to do business there…Under the typical business model for the solar industry, homeowners sign lease agreements with installation companies. The homeowners pay the cost of the panels over time and sell any excess power the systems generate [at relatively high rates]…Along with tax breaks and other government incentives, the lease agreements have made solar installations increasingly affordable…Southern states, several of which cherish low electricity rates afforded by extensive use of coal, typically have far fewer solar incentives [and, often, permitting and interconnection obstructions]…” click here for more


    Fall River company named Cape Wind electrical outfitter; A Fall River company has been selected by Cape Wind to be the electrical outfitter for the 130-wind turbine project planned for Horseshoe Shoals in Nantucket Sound.

    Ariel Wittenberg, August 6-7, 2014 (Tauton Daily Gazette via The Standard-Times)

    “…[Fall River Electrical, a Massachusetts company, was picked as the subcontractor for the New Jersey/D.C.-based Weeks/Manson] to be the electrical outfitter for the 130-wind turbine [Cape Wind] project planned for Horseshoe Shoals in Nantucket Sound…Weeks Marine [has] invested in building a jack-up barge specifically to use for installing wind turbines offshore…[Before turbines are installed], workers from Fall River Electrical will help outfit the turbine towers with electrical equipment. That work will be done onshore, although…[the decision has not yet been reached on whether to use] New Bedford or Rhode Island’s Quonset Point…[A Cape Wind spokesperson those involved are committed to] maximizing potential for local and regional subcontractors…[and the] workers who build Cape Wind will be coming from the local and regional work force…” click here for more


    Navigant Research Leaderboard Report: Building Energy Management Systems; Assessment of Strategy and Execution for 14 Building Energy Management System Vendors

    Q3 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “The competitive landscape for building energy management systems (BEMSs) has heated up in recent years. Software developers aim to take advantage of a confluence of technology and market factors…[including] the advent of cloud-based software as a service (SaaS)…[and] a rise in demand for systems that reduce operating costs, control corporate carbon emissions, and increase visibility into operations…[T]he BEMS market is poised for significant growth…[because] the promise of data-driven energy management solutions has attracted a wide range of new and traditional players to the global market, each of which leverages a combination of tested technologies and innovative analytics capabilities to gain a foothold in this intensely competitive market. Navigant Research forecasts that the global BEMS market will grow from $2.4 billion in 2014 to $5.6 billion in 2020…” click here for more

    Monday, August 11, 2014


    Embryonic No More: U.S. Offshore Wind Industry Gaining Momentum

    Jesse Broehl and Michael Ernst, August 6, 2014 (North American Windpower)

    “…The offshore sector is progressing not only with key projects like Cape Wind and the Block Island wind farm, but also more broadly as the federal government provides new grants and works with coastal states to offer large leases for future offshore development…As of the end of July, the developer behind the 468 MW Cape Wind project had secured close to two-thirds of the approximately $2.5 billion needed for the wind farm, to be located off the coast of Cape Cod, Mass. In addition, the developer sold more than 77% of the projected output (363 MW) through stable, 15-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) at $0.187/kWh plus inflation…Deepwater Wind’s more modest 30 MW wind plant, located off the Rhode Island coast, has its entire output secured with a 15-year PPA at $0.244/kWh…preliminary contracts for turbines from Alstom…an installation vessel from Fred Olsen Windcarrier, and continues to move through final regulatory hurdles…Construction of both projects is planned to commence in 2015…The pipeline potential being built up through offshore lease signings through a program administered by the federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is also an exciting development…” click here for more


    Over 3 GW of US Utility Scale Solar-PV Projects at Risk from US Anti-Dumping Case…PV project pipeline approaching 50 GW in the United States, but large-scale developments are at risk from proposed trade rulings

    August 4, 2014 (SolarBuzz)

    “More than 3 gigawatts (GW) of the projects currently in the US photovoltaic (PV) project pipeline had been set to use Chinese modules, according Solarbuzz…[W]ith the recent anti-subsidy and anti-dumping rulings proposed by the US Department of Commerce, companies may have to find other suppliers or potentially pay higher prices for those modules…Approximately half of the US PV project pipeline is composed of ground-mount systems—many of them large-scale. While traditionally these have been attractive due to economy of scale savings, many could face challenges, in the form of cost increases stemming from the US trade investigation…[The size of the project and total market demand now approaching 50 GW of commercial and utility projects] continues to grow in the US, indicating sustained interest from project developers working in the market…” click here for more


    TVA board to pick wind, solar or natural gas to replace Allen plant being shuttered in Memphis

    Dave Flessner, August 7, 2014 (Chattanooga Times Free Press)

    “The Tennessee Valley Authority will continue to move away from the coal-fired generation that once supplied most of its power when it likely shuts down the Allen Steam Plant in Memphis by 2018…[TVA's staff claims the lowest-cost replacement option would be] a natural gas plant, which is projected to cost anywhere from $500 million to $1.3 billion…[T]he federal utility is obligated to pick the cheapest replacement power that complies with environmental and other rules…[The Tennessee chapter of the Sierra Club] questions whether natural gas will be less expensive than renewable sources over the long run…[and] is urging TVA to buy into a 3,500-megawatt wind power connection coming to Memphis by a Houston company known as Clean Line Energy Partners. The $2 billion project would carry wind-generated power from windmills in Texas and Oklahoma over a 700-mile, direct-current line into the Tennessee Valley…TVA contends that wind is too variable…But [Sierra Club says] the winds being tapped in the Great Plains are more steady and could be supplemented with more solar power and with some limited gas-fired generation in the Memphis area…” click here for more

    Wednesday, August 6, 2014


    Solar And Wind Power Poised To Overtake Hydropower As Largest Source Of U.S. Renewable Electricity Generation: EIA

    Maria Galluci, August 1, 2014 International Business Times

    "Hydropower, long the main source of U.S. renewable energy supplies, is about to cede its throne to solar, wind, geothermal and biomass power for the first year in history, federal projections show…April marked the eighth consecutive month that total monthly ‘nonhydro’ renewable power generation topped that of hydropower generation…[A] decade ago, U.S. hydropower accounted for three times as much generation as nonhydro sources…Wind and solar power in particular are driving the shift, fueled by state mandates [and federal tax credits]…Declining hardware and financing costs have made it cheaper and easier to adopt renewables…At the same time, hydropower is on the decline in arid states like California, where a crippling three-year drought is shrinking reservoirs and straining water supplies…” click here for more


    AWEA backs Clean Power Plan

    30 July 2014 (ReNews)

    “The proposed federal regulations on carbon pollution from existing electric power plants under the Clean Power Plan can be an economic boon to wind-rich states if they meet them by developing more wind energy, according to the American Wind Energy Association…[Because] electricity generated from a wind farm in one location allows a utility to reduce generation from fossil fuels and therefore carbon output in another…EPA rightfully follows the lead of dozens of states, many leading power plant owners, and various regions of our country that have already embraced the carbon reduction, economic development, and job creation opportunities of renewable energy…[A] recent study by PJM, the regional grid operator for 13 Mid-Atlantic and Midwestern states and the District of Columbia, found wind energy could power 30% of its power grid ‘while reducing wholesale prices by billions of dollars annually’…” click here for more


    Wireless Control Systems for Smart Buildings; Proprietary Wireless RF, ZigBee, EnOcean, Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, and Other Wireless Protocols for HVAC, Lighting, Fire & Life Safety, and Security & Access Control Systems

    3Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “While building automation and controls have been used for decades, wireless is becoming the catalyst for enabling more granular and immediate control over building systems. Wireless controls offer economic benefits due to the savings in labor costs for installation and maintenance compared with wired systems…Wi-Fi technology has enabled users who found traditional networking too costly or complicated to quickly connect existing devices. Yet…building owners and managers remain skeptical about reliability and security. Navigant Research forecasts that global revenue from wireless nodes for building controls will grow from $84.8 million in 2013 to $434.0 million in 2023…” click here for more

    Tuesday, August 5, 2014


    More Utilities Are Shifting to Renewable Energy

    Bill DiBenedetto, July 30, 2014 TriplePundit

    “The ‘new reality’ facing electricity consumers and their utility companies is that renewable energy is meeting an increasingly larger share of U.S. energy needs, according to [Benchmarking Clean Energy Deployment 2014] from Ceres and Clean Edge…[Wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, waste heat and small-scale hydroelectric were] 49 percent of new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2012…[T]he nation’s 32 largest electric utilities and their local subsidiaries…[were] were benchmarked on three major indicators of clean energy deployment…Renewable energy sales, or the total amount of renewable electricity sold to retail customers…Cumulative annual energy efficiency savings...[and] Incremental annual energy efficiency savings, or the energy savings from new programs or new participants in existing programs…[W]ide disparities were found in the extent to which electric utilities currently deliver renewable energy and energy efficiency, the report says…[NV Energy, Xcel Energy, PG&E, Sempra Energy and Edison International] of the 32 companies included in the report accounted for nearly 54 percent of renewable energy sales…SCANA, Southern Company, Dominion Resources, AES and Entergy…[accounted] for less than 2 percent of each of their total retail electricity sales…” click here for more


    Renewable Energy Pushing Utilities & Grid Operators To Invest In FACTS

    Joshua S. Hill, July 30, 2014 Clean Technica

    “Though the first flexible alternating current transmission systems (FACTS) were implemented in electric grids in the 1920s, the recent surge in renewable energy deployment has rapidly increased their demand…[A]ccording to a new report compiled by Navigant Research, utilities and grid operators are soon to be investing more than $42 billion into FACTS between 2014 and 2022…Flexible alternating current transmission systems mitigate drops in voltage across a power grid…[W]ith the recent increase in renewable energy sources being installed across energy grids the world over, FACTS have become a necessity…The study also showed that the FACTS industry will surpass $5 billion in annual revenue worldwide by 2022…” click here for more


    Livermore 'friends' pleased with potential settlement from Groton Wind project

    Dan Seufert, July 29 New Hamphire Union-Leader

    “…[New Hampshire officials have] negotiated a settlement in which a local wind power company would donate $150,000 to the Livermore Falls [walking bridge] project….[The Livermore Falls Chapter of Friends of the Pemi] has been studying way to improve and enhance the [waterfalls, cliffs and beaches along the river below the historic Pumpkin Seed Bridge and the towns of Campton, Plymouth and Holderness] for public use [since last year]. One idea was building the new bridge next to the historic Pumpkin Seed Bridge…Iberdrola Renewables’ Groton Wind LLC wind-energy plant has agreed to give the committee $150,000 as part of a settlement with the state’s Site Evaluation Committee…” click here for more

    Saturday, August 2, 2014


    Is a fee for solar energy users a ‘sun tax’ or fair play? Solar power » State regulators to hear testimony Monday on the costs and benefits of “net-metered” residences.

    Brian Maffly, July 27, 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune

    “…[2,700 Rocky Mountain Power customers "net meter"] — earning credit for the excess power they produce — and this number is growing rapidly as the cost of solar installations drops. Now the utility wants to charge such customers $4.65 a month to help cover the grid’s fixed costs, those associated with transmission and distribution of electricity through a vast network of wires, transformers and substations…While this charge would raise only $150,000 in its first year, a disparate group, including local governments, businesses and religious leaders, criticizes it as a ‘sun tax’ or ‘solar penalty’ that would inhibit the market for energy from renewable sources [that bring environmental, economic, and energy security benefits and want]…the Public Service Commission (PSC) to reject the fee…But the utility, joined by state regulators and consumer advocates, contends critics are ignoring a good case for imposing the charge, which is a small part of RMP’s request for a general 5 percent rate increase…” click here for more


    NRG Yield Plans $400 Million Green Bond for Alta Wind Buy

    Christopher Martin, July 28, 2014 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

    “NRG Yield Inc., a spinoff of mostly renewable energy assets by NRG Energy Inc., plans to offer $400 million in bonds for its purchase of the Alta Wind farm…The so-called green bonds tied to sales of clean energy technologies are due in 2024 and are guaranteed by NRG Yield and its parent…Proceeds from the offering will help NRG Yield acquire the biggest wind farm in North America for $870 million in cash from Terra-Gen Power LLC. Alta Wind in Tehachapi, California, can produce as much as 947 megawatts. The output is sold to Edison International’s Southern California Edison utility under a long term contract…The market for green bonds could almost triple this year to $40 billion from $14 billion last year…” click here for more


    New Technologies, Fuels Enhance Viability of $10 Billion District Heating Market; The decades-old alternative to distributed heating can deliver cost gains of up to 74%, depending on specific technologies, fuel mix and climate…

    July 29, 2014 (Lux Research)

    “District heating (DH) can deliver cost gains of up to 74% over conventional distributed heating…Although the sector is decades old and worth $10 billion annually, efficiency and technical sophistication of systems varies from region to region, with Europe currently leading the way…[N]ew technologies – coupled with a range of alternative fuels – will enable more efficiencies, lower carbon output, and enhance the economic viability of district heating for a wider range of geographies, notably the Northeast United States, Spain, Poland, South Korea and Japan…With incremental gains in combustion efficiency, natural gas-fired DH produces the most consistent total cost of operations (TCO) reductions across all three building types – residential, multi-residential and commercial. Cost savings range between 47% and 74%, better than those derived from biomass and waste-to-energy (WTE)…[DH can displace] high-cost electric heating [in Scandinavia and]…is a cost-effective alternative to fuel oil in Japan, Spain and Poland…In Asia-Pacific, the most promising technologies are Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHPs), biomass and solar thermal. Each can drive down TCO by 10%-20%. In South Korea, the GSHPs can realize a higher 30% cost reduction while China’s commercial segment alone is viable for Waste-to-Energy (WTE)…” click here for more