NewEnergyNews More: April 2015

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

email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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Your intrepid reporter

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  • Wednesday, April 29, 2015

    THE INEVITABILITY OF SOLAR

    A solar future isn't just likely — it's inevitable

    David Roberts, April 28, 2015 (Vox)

    “…[S]olar photovoltaic (PV) power is eventually going to dominate global energy. The question is not if, but when…The main reason is pretty simple: solar PV is different from every other source of electricity, in ways that make it uniquely well-suited to 21st-century needs…[including] abundance, resilience, and sustainability…Coal plants, gas plants, nuclear plants, and concentrated solar power plants are all just different ways of boiling water to produce steam that spins a turbine. Wind power harnesses the wind to spin a turbine. Hydropower dams use flowing water to crank a turbine. These spinning turbines, in turn, provide mechanical force to an electric generator, which translates it into electrical current…[Solar PV] converts sunlight directly into electricity…[A] solar cell has no moving parts, so operation and maintenance costs tend to be very low. It has to be kept clean, but that's about it…[A] solar cell requires no fuel — so fuel costs are zero…[And] a solar cell generates power without any pollution…” click here for more

    MICHIGAN TURNS TO WIND

    What's next for Michigan's energy transformation?

    Keith Matheny, April 25, 2015 Detroit Free Press

    “…Michigan this year met a goal, set in state law in 2008, to generate 10% of its power from renewable sources...Gov. Rick Snyder in March laid out a renewable energy plan calling for the state to meet up to 40% of its power needs through energy waste reduction, increased use of natural gas and renewable energy sources such as wind and biomass…Wind surpassed biomass as the state's primary renewable energy resource last year, with the state in the top five nationally for adding capacity…Michigan's 20 utility-scale wind farms and total capacity of more than 1,500 megawatts place it 18th among U.S. states for wind energy generation. Michigan's wind resource has the potential to produce…nearly five times Michigan's entire 2012 electricity demand…[The state is] in the midst of a significant shift away from coal, spurred largely by federal mandates…Michigan is required to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from power plants by 31% over 2012 levels…Snyder projected a reduction in coal-produced energy in Michigan from 54% now to 34% in 10 years. The power plants are largely transitioning to natural gas…But natural gas also comes with concerns. It's moved around the state in a pipeline system that is old and crumbling…” click here for more

    DEMAND RESPONSE MRKT – $0.2BIL TO $1.3BIL IN 10 YRS

    Demand Response Enabling Technologies; Metering, Communications, and Controls Equipment: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2015 (Navigant Research)

    “Demand response (DR) is becoming a growing part of the resource base that electric system operators rely on to maintain reliability on the grid…Advanced technologies [like automated demand response (ADR) systems] can help speed this transition…A number of drivers point toward increased DR adoption in North America and other regions of the world. The changing resource mix in electric grids globally is creating more potential for DR to play a pivotal role. New market types, like ancillary services such as reserves and regulation, are opening up to DR. The concepts of resiliency and microgrids have taken strong root along the Atlantic Coast following Hurricane in 2012, and DR will be an integral part of those developments. The advent of grid modernization is also tied to this new view on how the grid should be designed. According to Navigant Research, global DR spending is expected to grow from $183.8 million in 2015 to more than $1.3 billion in 2024…” click here for more

    Tuesday, April 28, 2015

    THE NEED FOR COMMUNITY SHARED SOLAR

    NREL Report Estimates Market Potential of Shared Solar and Discusses Relevant Securities Regulations

    April 27, 2015 (National Renewable Energy Laboratory)

    “Analysis from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) finds that by making shared solar programs available to households and businesses that currently cannot host on-site photovoltaic (PV) systems shared solar could represent 32 to 49 percent of the distributed photovoltaic market in 2020…Shared solar models allocate the electricity of a jointly owned or leased system to offset individual consumers' electricity bills, allowing energy consumers to share the benefits of a single solar array…[explains] Shared Solar: Current Landscape, Market Potential, and the Impact of Federal Securities Regulation…At least 49 percent of U.S. households and 48 percent of businesses are currently unable to host a PV system when excluding residential renters, those without access to roof space (e.g., multi-unit housing, malls), and/or those living or working in buildings with insufficient roof space. There are several factors, including easier and less restrictive participation and economies of scale, that may cause shared solar deployment to be significantly higher than these estimates…[S]hared solar could lead to cumulative U.S. PV deployment growth of 5.5-11.0 gigawatts between 2015 and 2020 and represent $8.2 to $16.3 billion of cumulative investment…” click here for more

    FIRST U.S. OFFSHORE WIND PROJECT BEGINS CONSTRUCTION

    Deepwater Breaks Ground on America’s First Offshore Wind Project; Block Island Wind Farm to Cut Electricity Rates for Residents by 40 percent

    April 27, 2015 Sierra Club

    Deepwater Wind broke ground on the first U.S. offshore wind project on Monday, the five turbine, 30 MW installation off Rhode Island’s Block Island. Construction, which will create an estimated 300 jobs, is expected to be finished by the end of 2016. The Block Island project, proposed in 2009, has a power purchase agreement with National Grid. The turbines will provide electricity to all the island’s homes and businesses in place of diesel generators. Excess generation will go into the mainland grid via a new undersea cable. The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has designated an area off the Rhode Island and Massachusetts coasts for wind development that has a 9,000 MW potential and could create 43,000 New England jobs. There were about 7 GW of offshore wind installed globally at the end of 2014, most in Europe, where 6.6 GW were in construction and development…DOE funding for offshore wind has been substantial but hasn’t broken the U.S. logjam. None of the other 14 projects in development, representing 4.9 GW of capacity, have started construction. click here for more

    $102 BIL ROBOT CAR MRKT BY 2030

    The $102 Billion Opportunity for Automation in Cars

    Sensors, software and apps will benefit from greater automation of cars, even as full ‘self-driving’ capabilities remain mostly over the horizon through 2030, says Lux Research

    April 28, 2015 (Lux Research)

    “Advanced driver-assist systems (ADAS) will have a $102 billion opportunity by 2030, up from a mere $2.4 billion today, as carmakers rush to add automation features…Sensors will account for 23% of the opportunity, while the connectivity and apps segment takes a higher 28% share; software to coordinate sensor fusion and enable critical safety operations will claim a 25% share…Cars with basic driver- assist features, like parking assist, will cash in early, with a potential $29.6 billion market by 2022…[Enhanced] features such as adaptive cruise control and lane merge offers the largest opportunity to automakers and tier-one manufacturers – worth $73 billion in 2030…Partial autonomy features – like self-driving on the highway – will be slow to roll out over the next 10 years, before growing to a $22.7 billion opportunity by 2030. In the most likely case, fully autonomous cars will not hit the market before 2030, largely because of regulations and a current lack of prototypes…Enhanced driver-assist features will add $527 to the price of new cars in 2020, and a lower $481 per car in 2030…” click here for more

    Monday, April 27, 2015

    THE POPE’S CLIMATE CHANGE MOVE

    Pope Francis poised to weigh in on climate change with major document

    Michael Boorstein, April 27, 2015 (Washington Post)

    “…[Pope Francis] is putting the final touches on what may be the most authoritative papal teaching ever on the environment, a topic bound up with economics, global development and politics and thus very controversial. Even though no one outside Francis’s inner circle has seen the document — called an encyclical — it’s already being lambasted by some religious and political conservatives and held up by environmentalists as a potential turning point in their movement…The encyclical is expected to be published in early summer and, church historians say, represents the first time in memory that such an important papal writing is being timed by a pope to influence a civil process — in this case, a major U.N. summit in December on climate change…[M]ost pope-watchers think Francis will raise urgent concerns about global warming and highlight human impact on climate change. More broadly, they expect Francis to frame with new emphasis the Earth’s health as a core Catholic social justice concern, up there with topics such as poverty and abortion…[Still unknown] is how, specifically, Francis will urge his church to respond…” click here for more

    FIRST SOLAR GOES INTO COMMUNITY SOLAR

    First Solar Set To Exploit The Changes In Distributed Generation Solar Industry

    Casual Analyst, April 23, 2015 (Seeking Alpha)

    “...First Solar, with its investment through Community Solar market leader CEC, is set to become an increasingly important DG player starting 2015…[Utility scale installations can be] deployed at below $1.50 a watt…[Residential rooftop solar is] being deployed at above $4 a watt by companies like] SolarCity and Vivint Solar…The current residential deployment, however, is unsuited to all but a limited set of potential US solar customers…The answer in many cases is alternative solar deployments such as community solar, microgrids, and nanogrids. These solutions are not limited by rooftop space, shading, and other factors that limit the scope of current residential and commercial solar deployments. Given the potential scale benefit of these projects, they are likely to have far superior economics compared to hosting a solar system on a rooftop. Larger community installations may even have a cost structure closer to that of utility solar and consequently, these deployments have the potential to offer cost effective alternatives…” click here for more

    WHAT WIND CAN DO

    Wind Energy’s Role

    Michael Goggin, April 23, 2015 (NY Times)

    “Wind energy plays a critical role in reducing carbon emissions while minimizing [water use and] land use. Wind turbines provide high ¬density energy production, as typically only 1 to 2 percent of the land within a wind plant is occupied by turbines, roads and electrical substations. The rest can be used for its original purposes; for example, farmers and ranchers benefit from wind lease payments while continuing to work the land around the turbines. A recent Energy Department report calculated that supplying 35 percent of America’s electricity from wind would use less land than just a third of our golf courses. Moreover, other energy sources consume fuel that must be continually mined or drilled, devouring new land over time, while wind plants produce energy from the same land in perpetuity. Most important, United States wind energy reduced carbon pollution by 125 million metric tons in 2014, the equivalent yearly emissions of 26 million cars. As the lowest cost zero¬ emission energy source, wind energy must play a critical role in tackling the most pressing challenge facing all of Earth’s lands: climate change.” click here for more

    Wednesday, April 22, 2015

    EARTH DAY PROGRESS REPORT

    Are we doing better today than on the first Earth Day?

    Deborahh D. Stine, April 22, 2015 (The Hill)

    “…Are we doing better today than on the first Earth Day 45 years ago? …When Earth Day is discussed, speeches and articles often focus on pollution and natural resources without recognizing that producing and using energy is a major source leading to that impact…[The Energy Information Administration (EIA) Annual Energy Outlook 2015 offers] good news: Improvement in energy efficiency, due to adoption of energy-efficient technologies and policies, has led to declines in energy consumption in the residential and transportation sectors…Increases in electricity demand, due to federal tax credits and state renewable energy portfolio standards, are largely able to be met by increases in renewable energy production…There has been a stabilization of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions due to a combination of increases in energy efficiency and decreases in carbon-related emissions from electricity generation due to increases in the use of both renewable energy and natural gas…[But we still face challenges to limit fossil fuels and get to more use of New Energy and Energy Efficiency. Are] we doing better today than on the first Earth Day 45 years ago? Yes. Might it take another 45 years to achieve our Earth Day goals related to energy? The answer to that question is "yes," as well…” click here for more

    EARTH – WHAT NASA SEES

    Earth Day quiz for space fans: What makes our planet unique? As of Earth Day 2015, NASA has discovered more than 1,800 planets outside of our solar system. Do you know what makes Earth different from so many other planets?

    Jeff Ward-Bailey, April 22, (Christian Science Monitor)

    “…[I]t is Earth’s complexity that challenges scientists, NASA recently wrote, as] they seek to figure out how the whole planet works as a system…So far, scientists have been able not only to get a better picture of our home planet’s workings, but also to identify more than 1,800 planets outside of our solar system [via data collected with the orbiting Kepler telescope]. About two dozen of these planets are considered ‘Earth-like,’ meaning they could have liquid water and atmospheres similar to Earth’s…Most of the planets NASA has identified so far are hundreds of light-years away – simply too distant to be able to study in depth. But a few are close enough that scientists could collect data about their atmospheres and compositions…NASA’s Earth Day 2015 celebration is called ‘No Place Like Home,’ and while the Earth is uniquely suited to supporting human life, there are almost certainly other planets similar to our own out there…” click here for more

    FROM THE SUN, FOR THE EARTH

    Earth Day 2015 picks: 5 cool tech gadgets to get you excited about solar power

    April 22, 2015 (CoolMomTech)

    “…One of the trends we’re really starting to see blow up, at last, is the use of solar power. There are so many smart products out there, and they’re getting even more affordable, accessible and truly useful for everyday people…[I]n honor of Earth Day 2015, check out] these 5 really cool tech products…Solpro Solar Gadget Chargers…BirkSun Solar Charging Backpacks…[T]hey’ve also got solar messenger bags too…Goal Zero Solar Powered Portable Speakers…XD Design Solar Window Charger…[and] Voltaic Solar Power Rechargeable Battery Kit…Because let’s be honest, no one knows about the pains of battery-munching devices like a parent who’s just installed a new baby swing or set up some electronic toys.” click here for more

    Tuesday, April 21, 2015

    HOW TO DECIDE ON SOLAR

    How to Know If Solar Energy Is Right for Your House

    Travis Holum, April 20, 2015 (Daily Finance)

    “By the end of 2015, solar panels will be on more than a million homes in the U.S. In over a dozen states around the country, you can go solar with $0 down and actually save money on your electric bill -- and more states are coming online regularly…[Here’s how to] know if you'll be a prime candidate for benefiting from solar energy…Solar energy only makes financial sense for your home if solar panels can make electricity for a lower cost than what you pay a utility for electricity. Not only does a sunny climate matter, high electricity costs are essential as well…[T]he next question is whether your home works for solar…[T]he surface area covered by panels needs to be at least 270 square feet…with a [south or west-facing] 35-degree pitch…There are three main ways to pay for solar panels today: cash, loan and lease. Cash is simple enough…All tax or cost benefits then go to the owner]…Loans are beginning to grow in popularity and complexity…The most common financing for solar panels today is the lease [with] a company like SolarCity…” click here for more

    NEW ENERGY’S PROPERTY VALUE

    Energy-Efficiency Retrofits Offer Higher Returns for Real Estate Investors…

    April 21, 2015 (Rocky Mountain Institute)

    …Many real estate investors are beginning to realize they can earn higher returns from their properties by investing in deep retrofits, which employ integrated efficiency measures to reduce energy consumption by 30 percent or more compared to pre-retrofit use while achieving superior sustainability. These types of retrofits can reduce operating costs and are able to improve the satisfaction and health of occupants, as well as enhance the sustainability leadership, reputation, and risk management of tenant companies…RMI is working to equip real estate investors with practical guidance to incorporate all the value elements of deep energy retrofits—both energy and non-energy benefits—into their decision making. This guide defines and provides clear guidance for investors to identify key value elements for deep retrofits, including how to prepare a comprehensive deep retrofit value report to be presented as part of a retrofit capital request. The key value elements include…Retrofit capital costs…Non-energy operating costs…Tenant revenues…Sales revenues…[and] Retrofit risk analysis…” click here for more

    THE EPA CLEAN POWER PLAN, JOBS, AND THE ECONOMY

    Independent Analysis Shows The EPA’s Clean Power Plan Increases Economic Growth And Jobs Nationwide

    April 21, 2015 ()

    "The Long-term Interindustry Forecasting Tool (LIFT), a macro-econometric model developed and maintained by the Interindustry Forecasting Project (Inforum) at the University of Maryland, indicates that the proposed CPP will likely increase U.S. employment by 196,000 jobs by 2025. Much of this growth will take place in the construction industry with a likely increase of 58,000 jobs, followed by retail trade with a projected addition of 55,000 jobs...Compared to other studies examining the EPA’s CPP, the LIFT analysis breaks new ground by providing an economy-wide assessment of the rule’s impact on employment from independent third party analysts at UMD and Industrial Economics..." click here for more

    Monday, April 20, 2015

    GULF OIL SPILL IMPACTS GO ON

    5 Years After BP Oil Spill, Effects Linger And Recovery Is Slow

    Debbie Elliott, April 20, 2015 (National Public Radio)

    “Five years ago, BP's out-of-control oil well deep in the Gulf of Mexico exploded. Eleven workers were killed on the Deepwater Horizon rig…[T]he blast unleashed the nation's worst offshore environmental catastrophe…[O]il gushed from the Macondo well for nearly three months. More than three million barrels of Louisiana light crude fouled beaches and wetlands from Texas to Florida, affecting wildlife and livelihoods…Today, the spill's impacts linger…[Because the oil coated the roots of mangrove trees, they died and] without the mangroves to hold the islands together, within three years most of [the] islands were gone…Dolphin deaths continue, oil is still on the bottom of the ocean, tar balls keep coming up…[and] nobody really is able to say what we may find in five years [or] 10 years… BP has already spent $28 billion on response and cleanup and to pay economic claims to oil spill victims. He says the company has changed its safety procedures, and pre-deployed capping stacks around the world that could more quickly shut down an out-of-control well…[but nobody knows what the long-term environmental consequences will be]…” click here for more

    SUNPOWER, APPLE DO SOLAR IN CHINA

    Apple Goes To China To Build Solar Projects With SunPower

    Ucilla Wang, April 16, 2015 (Forbes)

    “…Apple [is teaming up with SunPower] to build 40 megawatts of solar generation projects in the Sichuan Province…Apple [has worked with SunPower to develop 90 megawatts of projects for Apple in the U.S., many]…near or next to its data centers in North Carolina, Arizona and Nevada…Apple also signed a $850 million deal to buy solar power from a 130-megawatt project that will be built by First Solar in California…[In China, Apple] isn’t investing in projects that will benefit its operations. But…most of its products are made in China through contract manufacturers. It’s becoming more like Google, which does a mix of buying solar energy and taking stakes in solar power projects…Other tech companies such as Microsoft and Facebook have opted for buying renewable energy to inject more low-carbon electricity into the local grids…[In China,] Apple will co-own the two projects with a joint venture of SunPower’s called Sichuan Shengtian New Energy Development Co…The projects will use SunPower’s concentrating photovoltaic technology, which uses parabolic mirrors to concentrate sunlight onto solar cells to produce electricity. This system is run on a tracker that follows the sun’s movement…SunPower is already building these two projects and plans to complete them in the fourth quarter of this year…” click here for more

    THREE BETS ON WIND

    3 Best Stocks for Investing in Wind Energy

    Jason Hall, April 19, 2015 (The Motley Fool)

    “…[W]hile solar energy gets a lot of the headlines, wind [produced 11-times as much electricity last year] at 181.8 million megawatt hours, versus 15.9 million for photovoltaic solar…According to the International Energy Agency, wind is on track to increase from 2013's 2.6% of global energy production, to 18% in 2050…[Unlike solar], wind is dominated by a handful of companies…[General Electric] has significantly strengthened its global position in energy over the past year...[Its] wind business is a relatively small part of the company's total, but the company sold more than 2,800 wind turbines in 2014, making it a major global player…Vestas Wind Systems competes head-to-head with GE and German industrial giant Siemens. But while its two largest competitors are fully integrated behemoths with operations in dozens of industries and product categories, Vestas is 100% committed to wind…[Berkshire Hathaway, Inc] is one of the largest producers of wind energy in the U.S. and is aggressively adding to its capacity at subsidiary Berkshire Hathaway Energy…Wind energy projects are big and long-term…[but] looking at the bigger picture, wind will continue to become a more and more important part of meeting the world's energy needs…” click here for more

    Wednesday, April 15, 2015

    A TRANSFORMATIVE YEAR FOR NEW ENERGY

    Why 2015 Will Be a ‘Transformative Year’ for Renewable Energy in the US

    April 14, 2015 (Solar Energy)

    “…[ Medium-term Outlook for U.S. Power: 2015 from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)] has some good news for anyone who supports a greener American energy sector: 2015 will be a “transformative year” for U.S. power, as more natural gas and renewable energy will combine with fewer coal plants to create a 20-year low in U.S. power sector emissions…[T]hese three factors will combine to drive carbon emissions from the power sector to their lowest levels since 1994…First, 2015 is expected to be a record-breaking year for the installation of renewable energy, with around 18 new gigawatts (GW) of power coming online from solar and wind. The previous record, set in 2012, was 17.1 GW, and most of that came from wind plants built ahead of tax credit expirations…This year will be different, because experts think we’ll see an equal mix of solar and wind projects…[S]olar will reach record installations in three areas: utility scale installations, like mega-projects in California, rooftop solar installations, and non-residential roof-space. This year and 2016 are important years for solar — especially for utility-scale solar — because the federal Investment Tax Credit, which offers a dollar-for-dollar reduction in federal income tax for those who invest in solar projects, is set to fall from 30 percent to 10 percent in 2017, a policy change that will make large-scale solar projects less appealing for investors…” click here for more

    PLUG-IN CARS SATISFY COMMUTERS

    Even As Batteries Age, Electric Cars Meet Commuter Needs: Study

    Bengt Halvoffrson, April 14, 2015 (The Car Connection)

    “…[Electric cars] can lose 20 percent or more of their range over a few years daily use…[T]hat dwindling range as the battery ages may be cause for some electric-car shoppers to either worry about budgeting for a replacement battery pack or forget about it and go with a hybrid instead…While it’s a valid concern for the few who are really pushing the range of their vehicles on a daily basis, researchers…[found] that even if their test Nissan Leaf EVs were to lose 20 percent of their capacity (officially 24 kWh, with an EPA driving range of 84 miles)…they can still meet the daily-driving needs of 85 percent of U.S. motorists. Even at 50 percent of its original storage capacity, about 80 percent of daily driving needs could still be met, the researchers calculated; and at 30 percent of the original, 55 percent would still have enough…” click here for more

    EV ENABLING BIZ TO BE $36BIL BY 2025

    Connected Vehicles; Vehicle-to-X Communications and Supporting Technologies: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    Q2 2015 (Navigant Research)

    “…One of the key enabling systems for the success of [vehicle electrification and automated driving systems] is the provision of real-time data to vehicles, drivers, and pedestrians through vehicle-to-external communications (V2X) using dedicated short-range communications (DSRC)…Even before there is significant deployment of automated vehicles, V2X connectivity has the potential to alleviate some of these issues. DSRC-based V2X systems are anticipated to be deployed by OEMs beginning in 2016 and see rapid expansion over the next decade. In addition to the embedded OEM systems on new vehicles, aftermarket retrofit systems and new smartphones with DSRC capability are expected to be adopted. According to Navigant Research, global revenue from sales of OEM and aftermarket DSRC-based V2X systems is projected to reach more than $36 billion by 2025…” click here for more

    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    PLUG-IN CARS ON THE VERGE

    Electric Car Batteries Just Hit A Key Price Point

    Joe Romm, April 13, 2015 (ClimateProgress)

    “…By the end of 2014, more than 700,000 total plug-in vehicles had been sold worldwide (plug-in hybrids and pure battery electrics), up from about 400,000 at the end of 2013. As of 2015, dozens of models of electric cars and vans are available…A major reason for the rapid jump in EV sales is the rapid drop in the cost of their key component -– batteries. The energy stored in a battery is measured by kilowatt-hour(kWh). The more kWh stored, the further the car can go on one charge…The lower the cost [per kwh], the cheaper it is to build an electric car with a significant range…[According to a study by Björn Nykvist and Måns Nilsson,] the best manufacturers have already reached the battery price needed for cost parity with conventional cars…[and concluded that if] costs reach as low as $150 per kilowatt hour this means that electric vehicles will probably move beyond niche applications and begin to penetrate the market more widely, leading to a potential paradigm shift in vehicle technology…[T]hat $150 per kWh can be hit around 2020 without a major battery breakthrough but simply with continuing improvements…” click here for more

    WHAT MADE TEXAS A WIND POWER

    How Conservative Texas Took The Lead in U.S. Wind Power

    Roger Real Drouin, 9 April 2015 (Yale Environment 360)

    “…In 2014, wind generated 10.6 percent of Texas electricity, up from 9.9 percent the previous year and 6.2 percent in 2009…Wind energy generation that falls under the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), which manages the grid for 24 million Texans, nearly doubled from 2009 to 2014. Currently, Texas has more than 12 gigawatts of wind power capacity installed across the state — equitarget="_blank"valent to six Hoover Dams. That figure could jump to 20 gigawatts in a few years…Strong government incentives, sizeable investments in infrastructure, and innovative policies have played an important role. So has the backing of governors of all political persuasions, from liberal Democrat Ann Richards to conservative Republican Rick Perry. But at heart the profit motive has driven the state’s wind energy boom, with ranchers and landowners seeing gold in the spinning turbines…A major leap forward for Texas’ wind industry came in 2005 when Governor Perry and the state legislature approved the $7 billion Competitive Renewable Energy Zone initiative, a 3,600-mile network of transmission lines. The project made it possible to move the electricity from the wind farms in West Texas and the panhandle to the bigger markets…Today, the wind energy industry is eyeing expansion along the state’s coast and offshore in the Gulf of Mexico…” click here for more

    SMART GRID PROTECT BIZ TO DOUBLE TO $9.7BIL

    Smart Grid Protective Relays; Mechanical, Solid-State, and Digital Protective Relays and Integrated Digital Protection Systems: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    Q2 2015 (Navigant Research)

    "The use of digital protective relay technologies is changing and advancing the management and control of transmission and distribution (T&D) grids…[T]he capabilities of advanced protective relays (ADVPRs) have evolved, and more powerful, intelligent modules have been added. Advanced sub-second monitoring, data collection, communications, and even phasor measurement unit (PMU) capabilities have been added. These are game-changing developments for utilities. Grid conditions can now be monitored and managed in near real time all the way out to distribution substations…The first generations of protective relays are reaching the end of their useful lives and are being replaced with the next generation of ADVPR solutions. Navigant Research expects these systematic replacement cycles to provide a growing revenue stream for vendors over the next decade. According to Navigant Research, global protective relay revenue is projected to grow from $5.5 billion in 2015 to $9.7 billion in 2024…” click here for more

    Monday, April 13, 2015

    THE NEW DEBATE WHEN DENIAL ENDS

    What will happen after people stop ignoring the evidence on climate change

    Chris Mooney, April 7, 2015 (Washigton Post)

    “…[T]he conservative-leaning American Legislative Exchange Council is stressing…[it does not deny climate change and is more welcoming to divergent views]…Southern Company, a major utility, will cease funding the climate ‘skeptic’ scientist Willie Soon later this year…The apparent shift here is…to the question of] whether proposed regulations cost too much, weaken reliability or are illegal…[I]t’s possible that we’re living through a moment that will later be remembered as a key marker in the decline of climate change doubt…[M]any signs of a turn in the debate are already there, mainly in the form of huge political momentum developing on climate this year — an expected encyclical from the Pope, and a major international meeting in Paris in December to bring the world together around new carbon cuts…[T]hen we would fight over the policy of emissions reductions measures…with major implications for the tone of debate…” click here for more

    NEW ENERGY NEEDS A NEW GRID

    Want More Wind And Solar Energy? Invest A Lot More In The Grid

    Ken Silverstein, April 13, 2015 (Forbes)

    "Want to increase the use of green energy and reduce the level of harmful emissions? Invest heavily in the grid to both modernize and expand it, which will accomplish such aims while also building the US economy…[according to energy and utility experts at the recent Public Utilities Fortnightly conference]…A smarter and more extensive grid that is able to distribute greener power is expensive. But the benefits of creating a modern infrastructure are huge…For every $1 invested in the nation’s [bulk power system made up of 10,000 power plants, 170,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines, nearly 6 million miles of low-voltage distribution lines, and 15,000 substations], as much as $6 is returned, not to mention the 47,000 new jobs since 2012…[Also, t]hose who run electricity systems can now apply algorithms to tell operators which units to run and where to avoid congestion on the lines, all of which favors wind and solar energy that is variable in nature…The pressure to increase the use of renewables will only intensify, in part because of EPA’s proposed Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2030…[Network expansion will be necessary but] it is an effort and an investment that will pay off…” click here for more

    BROADWIND AND BUILDING WIND

    Can this wind power company ever make money?

    Michah Maidenberg, April 4, 2015 (Crain’s)

    “…Six years after Broadwind began trading on the Nasdaq stock market, the company has yet to turn an annual profit and its stock has…[slumped] to $4.89 on April 2, down 80 percent since touching $24.30 in January 2011…[Broadwind is one of a clutch of manufacturers, including S&C Electric, Winergy, and ZF Services], that depend at least in part on the development and operations of wind farms. Like the others, the company stands to gain if wind becomes a bigger part of the energy mix around the country—a recent U.S. Department of Energy report predicts that the U.S. could derive 20 percent of its power from wind by 2030, up from 4.5 percent in 2013…But then there are those headwinds: a recent slowdown in the growth rate for electricity, subsidies for other energy generation such as nuclear power, competition from bigger U.S. and foreign manufacturers, and the expiration of a federal tax credit for wind farms and other renewable energy…The vast majority of [Broadwind’s] revenue last year, $184.9 million, came from sales of towers…” click here for more

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    Wednesday, April 8, 2015

    A U.S. ‘WIND RUSH’

    'Wind rush' underway across much of America

    March 31, 2015 (American Wind Energy Association)

    “Advanced wind turbines are accessing faster, steadier winds at higher altitudes so they can generate more electricity, creating a modern-day ‘wind rush’ as new areas in the Great Lakes states and the Southeastern U.S. become economical sites to develop more wind energy…Modern wind turbines require a wind speed of only about 8 miles per hour (5 meters per second) to start generating utility-scale quantities of electricity. Sites with comparatively lower average wind speeds can now be considered for commercial turbines for the first time…The Great Lakes region [states like Michigan are] an early beneficiary…With continued technology advancements, states that currently have no commercial wind turbines at all, primarily in the Southeast, will see development opportunities open up in the coming years….High-wind areas are becoming even more productive thanks to longer blades, as the average annual “capacity factor” or percentage of the maximum rated capacity that a turbine generates year-round now tops 50 percent…” click here for more

    THE VALUE OF NEW ENERGY

    Renewable Energy Finally Gets A Solid Dollar Figure Backing Up Its Adoption: $500 Billion Per Year And 1.3 Million Saved Souls

    April 7, 2015 (Inquisitr)

    “If [the U.S., the European Union and China started taking the steps towards using 100 percent renewable energy by 2050], they would collectively save $500 billion each year…[according to Assessing the missed benefits of countries’ national contributions commissioned by the Climate Action Network]…Apart from backing up the decision of using renewable energy with a good solid dollar figure, the study also assures that the green-energy sources will also save more than a million lives annually…[This could force governments] to speed-up and enhance adoption of renewable energy…Apart from saving huge amounts and the environment, the governments would save the lives of around 1.3 million people who are killed prematurely by air pollution…[and] create 3 million new jobs by 2030. If that’s not enough, the study also predicted that if all countries started collectively moving towards the 100 percent renewable target, global warming would not cross the two degrees Celsius threshold that many scientists believes is the “point of no return” for climate change…” click here for more

    PARTIALLY-EV MRKT TO TRIPLE

    Stop-Start Vehicles; Onboard Energy Storage, Lead-Acid Batteries, Lithium Ion Batteries, and Ultracapacitors: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2015 (Navigant Research)

    “The basic stop-start system is gradually evolving into one piece of a multifaceted approach to improving fuel economy in light duty vehicles. Enabling an automatic engine stop to avoid idling for long periods requires that other systems are also electrified and made more efficient. This spurs the development and implementation of ancillary systems such as air conditioning, power steering, and brake assistance that are only activated when required, rather than being a small but constant drain on engine output…North America has been a target market for stop-start systems…but initial rollouts were met with a wave of consumer resistance…Smoother and faster operation is key to stop-start systems gaining acceptance in North America. According to Navigant Research, total global sales for light duty stop-start vehicles (SSVs) are expected to grow from 19 million vehicles in 2015 to nearly 59 million by 2024…” click here for more

    Tuesday, April 7, 2015

    NEW ENERGY + STORAGE = MORE GRID FREE

    Report: The way we power our homes may be on the verge of a major change

    Chris Mooney, April 7, 2015 (Washington Post)

    “…The way we get power is ‘at a metaphorical fork in the road’ [according to the Rocky Mountain Institute’s The Economics of Load Defection because of] the growing feasibility of home electricity systems combining solar panels with batteries for storage of energy…Customers will choose these options, the study finds, because they’ll save money on their bills. And once they can not only generate their own power from the sun, but can also store it until they need it (including overnight, when there’s no sun shining), the old model of buying all your power from a single utility company could be strongly challenged…[P]eople will not be abandoning the grid en masse. But [within the next 10-15 years], more and more of the electrons that they use to power their homes and lives could. While most people will stay connected so that they’ll always have backup power, they’ll increasingly generate and store more and more of their own, and potentially sell it back to the grid (a key reason to remain connected)…” click here for more

    LA DWP DRAGS ITS FEET ON SOLAR

    Limited staffing for DWP’s rooftop solar energy plan causes delays, new study says

    City News Service, March 27, 2015 (LA Daily News)

    “The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s rooftop solar energy [feed-in-tariff] program has suffered delays, with only a small fraction of the projects generating energy since it began in 2012…[The program] allows property owners to install solar panels on their buildings and sell the energy back to the utility…But despite having already authorized 150 megawatts of solar projects, just 6.5 megawatts are currently being generated, according to the [UCLA/USC study] commissioned by the Los Angeles Business Council Institute…Another 8.2 megawatts are under contract and awaiting construction, and 56 megawatts are in the works…[T]he programs were delayed by limited staffing, with the number of the equivalent of three full-time workers in the program in 2013, even though there was originally a budget for 30…[R]esearchers recommended increasing staffing and processing applications for the program based on how ready the projects are, rather than on when they are submitted…” click here for more

    BLDG EE OPS BIZ WILL DOUBLE TO $6.6BIL

    Building Optimization and Commissioning Services; Initial Commissioning, Retrocommissioning, and Monitoring-Based Commissioning Services: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    1Q 2015 (Navigant Research)

    “As energy efficiency continues to become the highest priority in construction and building operations, more complex equipment and solutions are emerging that promise reduced energy consumption, reduced waste, and better operation…[but only] if these solutions operate properly. The complicated construction process of buildings as well as their maintenance and operations can lead actual performance to drift away from the intended design…Building optimization and commissioning services are a tool to ensure operational and energy efficiency…[R]ecent policies and regulations requiring commissioning of new construction and existing buildings has further reinforced…growth. In turn, the savings building owners have achieved through the commissioning process has further driven demand for such services. According to Navigant Research, global revenue for building commissioning services is expected to grow from $2.7 billion in 2014 to $6.6 billion in 2024…” click here for more

    Monday, April 6, 2015

    TO BEAT CLIMATE CHANGE

    How to win the climate change wars

    Chris Trejbal, April 6, 2015 (AmericaBlog)

    "America has failed to act decisively on climate change not because the science isn’t there but because the message isn’t. Reason and science are losing the marketing war to polluters and the politicians they’ve purchased…If we’re going to get serious about climate change, we need to declare war…There’s nothing like a good war metaphor to stoke the imagination and rally the people. Conservatives have Ronald Reagan’s ‘War on Drugs’ and George W. Bush’s ‘War on Terror,’ along with Fox News’ imagined ‘War on Christmas’ and…Progressives talk of Lyndon Johnson’s ‘War on Poverty’…War is extreme. There’s no room for squishiness when we’re at war. We’re in it to win…If we are to match war with war, what should the other side invoke? Are climate change deniers waging a war on the world? A war on humanity? A war on the future? Yes to all of those,..” click here for more

    THE WIND AND SOLAR HANDBOOK

    Wind and solar industries release handbook to help states use renewable energy to comply with EPA’s Clean Power Plan

    March 30, 2015 (American Wind Energy Association)

    “The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) have jointly published A Handbook For States: Incorporating Renewable Energy Into State Compliance Plans For EPA’s Clean Power Plan…[which details] how to incorporate renewable energy into state plans to comply with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, the proposed regulation to cut carbon emissions from existing power plants…[The handbook] interprets the more than 1,000 pages of the draft EPA rule and technical support documents and provides step-by-step guidance to states on how to incorporate renewable energy into their state compliance plans…[It also] details the benefits of using renewable energy as a compliance tool, including the consumer benefits created by integrating low-cost renewables and provides access to dozens of in-depth renewable integration studies confirming significant amounts of wind and solar energy can be added to the power system without harming reliability…” click here for more

    PLUG-IN CARS GETTING AFFORDABLE

    Affordable Electric Cars Are Coming Soon, Study Says

    Maddie Stone, April 5, 2015 (GizModo)

    "For many of us, purchasing an electric vehicle is still a pie in the sky dream. But that might be changing soon, if a new Nykvist and Nilsson peer-reviewed study is correct that the cost of electric car batteries is falling much more quickly than we assumed…Lithium ion batteries make up anywhere between a quarter and half the cost of electric cars today. By systematically reviewing over 80 cost estimates published between 2007 and 2014, researchers at the Stockholm Environment Institute found that the cost of Li-battery packs used by leading manufacturers like Tesla and Nissan is falling by roughly 8 % per year…[That means] battery cost is rapidly approaching a threshold that could make the average Joe think seriously about trading in his gas guzzler…The authors found that batteries appear on track to reach $230 per kilowatt-hour by 2018. Depending on the price of gas, the sticker price of an EV is expected to appeal to many more people if its battery costs between $125 and $300 per kilowatt-hour…” click here for more

    Wednesday, April 1, 2015

    APRIL FIRST VIDEO – THERE IS NO CLIMATE CHANGE

    The Climate Change Hoax

    Just a chance for scientists to show they can pull off pranks, too. From NextGen Climate via YouTube

    THE FACTS – WOMEN FACE CLIMATE CHANGE

    House Dem Warns Climate Change Will Force Millions Of Poor Women To Engage In ‘Transactional Sex’

    March 26, 2015 (CBS News – Washington, D.C.)

    CA Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee’s House Concurrent Resolution 29 warns climate change and the natural disasters it is already causing will have uniquely devastating impacts on the world’s women.

    The NewEnergyNews post on the resolution earlier this week has rightfully drawn criticism. Though the headline accurately characterized the message, the source article was unsatisfactory.

    With the resolution continuing to cause controversy, it is time to ignore all the April Fools and offer the entire text so readers can make up their own minds:

    H. CON. RES. 29

    Recognizing the disparate impact of climate change on women and the efforts of women globally to address climate change.

    ________________________________________

    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

    March 25, 2015

    Ms. Lee submitted the following concurrent resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce

    ________________________________________

    CONCURRENT RESOLUTION

    Recognizing the disparate impact of climate change on women and the efforts of women globally to address climate change.

    Whereas women in the United States and around the world are the linchpin of families and communities and are often the first to feel the immediate and adverse effects of social, environmental, and economic stresses on their families and communities;

    Whereas the United Nations has recognized, as one of the central organizing principles for its work, that “no enduring solution to society's most threatening social, economic and political problems can be found without the full participation, and the full empowerment, of the world's women”;

    Whereas the United Nations Development Programme 2013 Human Development Report has found that the number of people living in extreme poverty could increase by up to 3,000,000,000 by 2050 unless environmental disasters are averted by coordinated global action;

    Whereas climate change is already forcing vulnerable communities in developing countries to face unprecedented climate stress, including water scarcity and drought, severe weather events and floods, which can lead to reduced agricultural productivity, food insecurity, and increased disease;

    Whereas climate change exacerbates issues of scarcity and lack of accessibility to primary natural resources, forest resources, and arable land for food production, thereby contributing to increased conflict and instability, as well as the workload and stresses on women farmers, who are estimated to produce 60 to 80 percent of the food in most developing countries;

    Whereas women will disproportionately face harmful impacts from climate change, particularly in poor and developing nations where women regularly assume increased responsibility for growing the family’s food and collecting water, fuel, and other resources;

    Whereas epidemics, such as malaria, are expected to worsen and spread due to variations in climate, putting women and children without access to prevention and medical services at risk;

    Whereas food insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex, and early marriage that put them at risk for HIV, STIs, unplanned pregnancy, and poor reproductive health;

    Whereas conflict has a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable populations including women, and is fueled in the world’s poorest regions by harsher climate, leading to migration, refugee crises, and conflicts over scarce natural resources including land and water;

    Whereas it is predicted that climate change will lead to increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather conditions, precipitating the occurrence of natural disasters around the globe;

    Whereas the direct and indirect effects of climate change have a disproportionate impact on marginalized women such as refugee and displaced persons, sexual minorities, religious or ethnic minorities, adolescent girls, and women and girls with disabilities and those who are HIV positive;

    Whereas the relocation and death of women, and especially mothers, as a result of climate-related disasters often has devastating impacts on social support networks, family ties, and the coping capacity of families and communities;

    Whereas women in the United States are also particularly affected by climate-related disasters, as evidenced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region, which displaced over 83 percent of low-income, single mothers;

    Whereas the ability of women to adapt to climate change is constrained by a lack of economic freedoms, property and inheritance rights, as well as access to financial resources, education, family planning and reproductive health, and new tools, equipment, and technology;

    Whereas, despite a unique capacity and knowledge to promote and provide for adaptation to climate change, women often have insufficient resources to undertake such adaptation;

    Whereas women are shown to have a multiplier effect by using their income and resources, when given the necessary tools, to increase the well being of their children and families, and thus play a critical role in reducing food insecurity, poverty, and socioeconomic effects of climate change; and

    Whereas women are often underrepresented in the development and formulation of policy regarding adaptation to climate change, even though they are often in the best position to provide and consult on adaptive strategies: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress—

    (1) recognizes the disparate impacts of climate change on women and the efforts of women globally to address climate change;

    (2) encourages the use of gender-sensitive frameworks in developing policies to address climate change, which account for the specific impacts of climate change on women;

    (3) recognizes the need for balanced participation of men and women in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts, including in governance positions;

    (4) affirms its commitment to support women who are particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts to prepare for, build their resilience, and adapt to those impacts, including a commitment to increase education and training opportunities for women to develop local resilience plans to address the effects of climate change;

    (5) affirms its commitment to empower women to have a voice in the planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of strategies to address climate change so that their roles and resources are taken into account;

    (6) affirms the commitment to include women in economic development planning, policies, and practices that directly improve conditions that result from climate change; and

    (7) encourages the President to—

    (A) integrate a gender approach in all policies and programs in the United States that are globally related to climate change; and

    (B) ensure that those policies and programs support women globally to prepare for, build resilience for, and adapt to climate change.

    NO HOAX – U.S. VOTERS WANT CLIMATE ACTION

    Topline Results on International Climate Change Action

    March 25, 2015 (Benenson Strategy Group)

    “…[U.S.] voters nationwide overwhelmingly would support…[the President] signing an international agreement [at the December U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris] committing all countries to address climate change by reducing their carbon emissions…72% support signing an international agreement; just 24% oppose…[and, ultimately], people want the U.S. to lead on this issue…65% [want the U.S. to] take the lead and make meaningful reductions in its carbon emissions and other gases that may cause global warming, regardless of what other countries do…Another 13% [want the U.S. to] make meaningful reductions only if other countries do as well…[Only 17% think the U.S. doesn’t] need to make significant reductions of carbon dioxide or other gases, regardless of what other countries do…Majorities across the partisan and demographic spectrums support President Obama taking action alongside the international community…” click here for more