NewEnergyNews More: June 2015

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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



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  • Tuesday, June 30, 2015


    Offshore Wind in Europe; Walking the tightrope to success

    March 2015 (Ernst and Young)

    Key Findings

    In a context of strong commitment on GHG emissions reduction and uncertainty on fossil fuel prices and energy security, the large-scale deployment of renewable energy capacity appears indispensable to Europe moving forward. Offshore wind energy represents a crucial component of the future European energy system:

    • Offshore wind in Europe currently represents one of the most stable sources of renewable energy, with increased energy capture expected due to Europe’s leading position in offshore wind R&D.

    • Offshore wind energy is expected to grow to 23.5 GW by 2020, tripling current installed capacity.

    • Industry efforts to reduce capital and operating costs mean that offshore wind will become highly competitive by 2023 when compared to other sources of energy. LCoE could reach €90/MWh by 2030 as long as a continual stream of projects enters the pipeline.

    • The policy framework for securing 27% renewables and 40% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 is currently unclear. However, in an “Offshore Wind Scenario”, the installed capacity of offshore wind power could reach almost 65 GW by 2030, allowing wind energy to make up more than 25% of electricity generation in Europe.

    • The “Offshore Wind Scenario” could also save Europe €18b each year on fuel imports in 2030. Applying the SCoE model to the “Offshore Wind Scenario” shows that it is possible to build a low carbon energy sector €4b cheaper than in a “Nuclear Scenario”. Compared with other energy mix scenarios, prioritizing offshore wind energy could create the most jobs in the energy sector, displace the most carbon, and would be cheaper for society than nuclear or conventional sources of energy.

    Today’s needed actions for 2030

    In order to secure Europe’s commitments to climate change, energy security and a low carbon economy, offshore wind should be considered as an important component to the power mix. Continued cost reduction and support from policy makers are necessary to maximize the potential of offshore wind resources and to realize the socioeconomic benefits of a fully industrialized and emerging sector. Several key priorities have been identified to address these challenges:

    • Ensure a stable regulatory framework and define long-term policy schemes

    • Improve access to finance for the offshore wind sector

    • Ensure cost-effective grid investment and connection

    • Address planning system issues

    • Face supply and logistics challenges

    • Support innovation and training, and enhance synergies to reduce costs

    The potential of offshore wind and the industry today…The cost of offshore wind…The future of offshore wind… Industry and government actions to realize the potential of offshore wind…


    Bill Gates to invest $2bn in breakthrough renewable energy projects; Bill Gates plans to double investment in green energy technology and research to combat climate change, but rejects calls to divest from fossil fuels

    Emma Howard, 29 June 2015 (The Guardian)

    “…[Bill Gates will invest $2bn] in renewable technologies initiatives, but rejected calls to divest from the fossil fuel companies that are burning carbon at a rate that ignores international agreements…[Gates will] double his current investments in renewables over the next five years in a bid to ‘bend the curve’ on tackling climate change…[The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation] currently has $1.4bn invested in fossil fuel companies…[but Gates said divestment] would have little impact…Instead he said there was an urgent need for ‘high risk’ investments in breakthrough technologies…[He said] a ‘miracle’ on the level of the invention of the automobile was necessary to avoid a climate catastrophe…[because] current renewables are not yet close to being able to meet projected energy needs by 2030…[Innovation, he said,] is the only way to reach a positive scenario…” click here for more


    Offshore wind still the best bet for clean energy

    Ann Berwick, June 29, 2015 (Boston Globe)

    “…A bill pending in the Massachusetts Legislature would require that large amounts of electricity come from wind turbines located offshore…For the Northeast to address climate change, developing offshore wind is a necessity. That’s because nothing beats offshore wind for generating power…To cut [climate change inducing greenhouse gas emissions drastically, we need to do three things: reduce the amount of energy we use; ‘green’ the electric grid with renewable sources of energy; and — as much as possible — use that clean electricity to run electric vehicles and heat buildings…In this part of the country, there are currently only four potential large sources of renewable power for generating electricity: onshore wind, hydropower (mostly from Canada and some from northern New England), solar, and offshore wind. Examine each option more closely and it becomes apparent that we cannot do without offshore wind…” click here for more


    The Solar Energy Revolution: Past the Point of No Return; Solar energy is now so cheap that it's beating fossil fuels, putting it on a path for growth that can't be stopped.

    Travis Hoium, June 27, 2015 (Motley Fool)

    “…[In 2011, the SunShot Initiative’s goal of $1-per-watt solar energy seemed a long way off]… First Solar's CEO Jim Hughes said that $1 per watt is…less than two years away…The government's progress toward achieving $1 per watt by 2017 and having it be a widespread commercial reality by 2020 is well ahead of schedule…Whether you invest in tech, retail, oil and gas, utilities, coal, or any other industry, this will affect the companies you own. And you're going to want the solar boom to be a tailwind, not a headwind…First Solar says that bids for solar projects are now in the $0.04-to-$0.05-per-kWh range, which is less than you can build a fossil fuel plant for, no matter the source of energy…” click here for more

    Monday, June 29, 2015


    High court strikes down power plant regulations

    Richard Wolff, June 29, 2015 (USA Today)

    “A narrowly divided Supreme Court struck down federal clean air regulations…on coal- and oil-fired power plants…The 5-4 ruling blocks the Environmental Protection Agency from jump-starting new rules designed to reduce the amount of dangerous mercury and other toxins that pollute the nation's air, at an unknown net cost to power plants and consumers…It was a major defeat for the Obama administration, which had been on a roll at the high court on environmental matters…[and] a victory for a coalition of 20 states, along with major electric utilities and coal producers…[The court agreed EPA must take the estimated annual cost of $9.6 billion into account, but the agency did not do so…The government said the regulations would prevent premature deaths and illnesses from asthma, cancer and heart disease, and protect pregnant women and unborn children...[from] overexposure to mercury…Among the industries most threatened were coal plants…” click here for more


    Start of test with solar energy generating noise barriers alongside highway

    June 29, 2015 (PhysOrg)

    “Alongside the A2 highway near Den Bosch, The Netherlands, two test noise barriers are installed that generate solar energy. The aim of this practical test, that was officially launched 18 June is to assess the economic and technical feasibility of this form of energy generating noise barriers…These 'luminescent solar concentrators' (LSCs) receive sun light and guide it to the side of the panels. There, it lands in concentrated form on traditional solar cells…The researchers intend to assess the feasibility of generating electricity using solar cells integrated in noise barriers or SONOBs (Solar Noise Barriers)…The aim is to provide better understanding of how much electricity these semi-transparent acoustic screens can generate under different conditions.,,” click here for more


    This Huge Wind Turbine Floating on Water Is Fukushima's Energy Solution

    Bryan Lufkin, June 23, 2015 (GizModo)

    “A mere 12 miles from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will soon sit a 620-foot, 1,500-ton [7 MW] windmill atop a 5,000-ton podium. It’ll be the biggest [most powerful] floating wind turbine on Earth, and it could usher in a new age of green energy for a region largely fed up with nuclear energy…The beast of a turbine sports three 270-foot-long blades and is built to stand against winds nearly 200 mph…The $401 million Fukushima wind farm project is a government-sponsored collaboration among 11 companies and research orgs, like Mitsubishi, Hitachi, and the University of Tokyo…” click here for more

    Tuesday, June 23, 2015


    The Best Play In Wind Energy Right Now

    Martin Tiller, 21 June 2015 (OilPrice)

    “…Everything points to serious growth in the [wind] industry over the next few years…[but figuring how to invest] is when the going gets tough…The problem is that there are seemingly two types of companies in the space, small ventures…or multinational, giant conglomerates…The German company Siemens (ADR: SIEGY) and GE (GE) were one and two in a recent global market share analysis,.. While GE doesn’t disclose separate revenue or profit numbers for wind energy, Siemens does, and the importance of the business within the company is actually quite surprising. In 2013, wind power accounted for 5.2 Billion Euros in revenue at Siemens, or around 25 percent of the total…[or] you might consider Vestas (VWSYF), the Danish company that finished third in those rankings…Siemens looks like the best investment…” click here for more


    Oklahoma wind industry looks to finish projects before tax incentives end

    Michael Overall, June 16, 2015 Tulsa World

    Oklahoma wind developers foresee a hectic 18 months as they race to complete project before their state tax incentives expire December 31, 2016. They also foresee uncertainty and a potential crash following the incentives’ expiration. The recently enacted SB 498 terminated wind developers’ 5-year property tax exemption and SB 502 ended wind developers’ investment/new jobs tax credit. Wind projects currently in production or put into production by December 31, 2016, will retain the full 5-year property tax exemption. Fiscal conservatives backed the laws to limit the impact of the incentives on a budget deficit expected to be $611 million for fiscal year 2016. Legislative consent to the laws was produced through a compromise brokered by stakeholders. The zero emissions production tax credit is expected to allow Oklahoma wind to remain cost-competitive but it is expected to be a target for budget hawks. click here for more


    Amid coal fight, power company seals wind deal

    Dennis Webb, June 11, 2015 The Daily Sentinel

    Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, a Colorado generation and transmission cooperative that supplies 44 electric cooperatives and public power districts in Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming, contracted for the 76 MW output of Iberdrola Renewables’ Twin Buttes II Wind Project. The wind will provide backup if the utility cannot get the Colowyo mine’s half of its Craig coal facility’s supply. A federal judge ruled in May the Colorado Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement’s 2007 approval for the mine’s expansion was flawed. Mining will be shut down within 60 days if Tri-State’s appeal fails and errors are not corrected. Tri-State’s delivered electricity in 2014 was 24% renewables-sourced. Baseload coal provides 59% of the utility’s mix while 2% of its electricity comes from natural gas and the balance is merchant-supplied. The Twin Buttes wind project is expected to annually provide $270,000 in local tax benefits and $250,000 in landowner lease payments. click here for more

    Monday, June 22, 2015


    Renewable energy giant SolarCity to make first community solar investment in Minnesota; Apartment residents are focus of planned solar garden.

    David Shaffner, June 17, 2015 Minneapolis Star Tribune

    SolarCity, the biggest U.S. residential solar installer, will partner with Minnesota’s Sunrise Energy Ventures to invest $200 million in 100 community shared solar projects at the periphery of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Community arrays, called solar gardens in Minnesota, offer people without solar suitable roofs the benefits of owning solar such as reduced cost along term fixed price electricity. Subscribers might be renters, utility customers whose usage is too low to justify a rooftop system, or homeowners whose roofs are heavily shaded.This is SolarCity’s first community shared solar commitment but its marketing captured over a third of the U.S. residential market in 2014. For Minnnesota solar garden subscribers, it will offer a streamlined sign-up, a one-year-only commitment, and a 10% to 15% electricity bill reduction. click here for more


    NC WARN sets up test case on solar-power sales

    John Downey, June 17, 2015 Charlotte Business Journal

    Solar advocacy group NC WARN built a 5.2 kW solar project on the roof of North Carolina’s Faith Community Church, is selling the power to the church, and asked state regulators to approve the arrangement to test whether the variation on third party ownership (TPO) solar financing is legal. NC WARN wants the North Carolina Utilities Commission (NCUC) to find the TPO agreement to be a funding mechanism that allows the church to avoid the upfront costs of the solar project and therefore legal under state law even though the sale of solar-generated electricity to anybody but the local utility is prohibited. NC WARN believes it can win approval from the NCUC and the courts if necessary. Duke Energy, the state’s dominant electricity provider, argues NC WARN is using utility privileges but avoiding rules and regulations governing utilities. click here for more


    Iowa utilities: No net metering for third-party solar projects

    Karen Uhlenhuth, June 19, 2015 Midwest Energy News

    Alliant Energy and MidAmerican Energy, two of Iowa’s dominant electricity providers, are challenging assumptions in the 2014 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that it is legal for solar installer Eagle Point Solar to build third party owned projects. Alliant, supported by MidAmerican, is refusing to allow net metering to Eagle Point’s installations for the City of Asbury and argues the Iowa Utilities Board’s rulings on rates limits net metering to customers who buy all of their power from the utilities. In a third party ownership (TPO) financing plan, the solar hosts buy part of their electricity from the solar owners. The Asbury TPO installation is Eagle Point’s first since the Supreme Court decision. Alliant and MidAmerican are “trying to make the same distinction that the court rejected,” according to attorney Josh Mandelbaum of the Environmental Law & Policy Center, the firm that argued the Supreme Court case. “It doesn’t make a difference if a project is leased or paid for outright or paid for through a (power-purchase agreement),” he added, and “certainly the spirit (of the ruling) is being violated.” click here for more

    Wednesday, June 17, 2015


    Opposition Is Piling On A Proposal To Increase Access To Solar Power In Florida

    Katie Valentine, June 16, 2015 (ThinkProgress)

    “A ballot petition to increase access to solar power in Florida has gotten a lot of heat from groups across the state, with utilities, cities, and even black and Hispanic organizations opposing…[a petition which] seeks to secure a 2016 ballot initiative that would allow Floridians to purchase solar power directly from other consumers. Right now in Florida, consumers can purchase electricity — solar or otherwise — only from utilities…The most expected opposition came from the state’s largest utilities — Florida Power and Light, Duke Energy, Tampa Electric Co., and Gulf Power…The Florida State Hispanic Chamber of Commerce filed an opposition brief against it…[because the language does not inform the voter of the price increases to their electrical bill that would occur…And the Florida Chapter of the National Congress of Black Women [concurred. Solar advocates say there is] ‘no truth whatsoever’ to the claims that the proposal would increase rates and some say the claim] may have been pushed by utilities…” click here for more


    The Promise of Wind Energy in Virginia…

    Sandy Hausman, June 16, 2015 (Virginia National Public Radio)

    “Dominion Virginia Power has leased land offshore for a wind park, but it’s not clear when construction might begin. The company says a demonstration project is needed to guide future development, but the cost to build those turbines offshore is too high…Key to the success of [offshore wind in Europe] are sophisticated computer programs that manage the grid, minute by minute. Also essential is cooperation with…[a source of] hydro-electric power when the wind isn’t blowing…[Dominion] has the biggest pumped storage plant in the world…[Offshore turbines’ excess power on windy days could be used to pump water up, ready to flow downhill through turbines and meet demand if offshore winds fade]…” click here for more


    GM gets life out of old electric car batteries

    Greg Gardner, June 16, 2015 (Detroit Free Press)

    “General Motors is betting that using electric vehicle batteries for generating and storing electricity after the car is scrapped will save money for the company and others…It could also bolster the case that vehicles like the Chevrolet Volt, and the upcoming all-electric car, the Chevrolet Bolt, are about more than garnering credits toward meeting the government's fuel-economy standards…[F]ive Volt battery packs are already helping light offices at the company's Milford data center…Because the Volt typically draws its power from a band of energy in a battery pack, there is a lot of leftover electricity…A new solar array and two wind turbines feed the Milford data center's circuit breaker panel, where the Volt batteries work in parallel to supply power to the building…” click here for more

    Tuesday, June 16, 2015


    Draft of Pope Francis’ Climate Change Encyclical Leaks; It calls on world governments to work together to fight climate change.

    Jason Plautz (w/Clare Foran), June 15, 2015 (National Journal)

    “…A 192-page Italian-language version of the encyclical, set to be released Thursday, was leaked by L'Espresso. An official statement from the Vatican says the document [which says global warming is a threat to the world's poor and calls on governments to work together to solve the problem] does not represent the final text...Laudato Sii is meant to influence the United Nations climate talks in Paris at the end of the year, but is expected to also make waves in the national debate about climate change. Green groups and the faith community are calling it potentially one of the most influential documents on climate change, while skeptics have been quick to dismiss the potential impact...Based on a Google translation of the document, here's what you need to know about what the draft says…1) Global warming is real…2) Fossil fuels are a problem...3) Governments should act on climate change—and do it right…4) Poor people are feeling the impact…5) Rich countries should take the burden…” click here for more


    Most People Choose the Costliest Route to Going Solar

    Lisa Halverstadt, June 15, 2015 (Voice of San Diego)

    “…About 70 percent of new solar customers in California are getting panels with leases or power purchase agreements, which has them paying for the energy their panels produce rather than regular monthly sums, according to [Banking on Solar: An Analysis of Banking Opportunities in the U.S. Distributed Photovoltaic Market from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. People] who buy solar panels come away with a better deal over the long haul, but leasing is attractive to people with less to spend up front and who don’t want to make the commitment…Solar experts agree purchasing the panels usually pays off more over the long haul, especially with a federal tax credit that shaves up to 30 percent of the cost off both cash purchases and loans…Twenty or 30 years in, customers who lease or enter into a power purchase agreement with a solar company may still be paying – and end up spending far more…” click here for more


    Setting the record straight on the wind energy tax credit

    Mike Garland and Susan Reilly, June 11, 2015 (The Hill)

    “…[Contrary to misrepresentations, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)… has consistently stated, and as the Government Accountability Office recently confirmed, without a long-term [Production Tax Credit (PTC)] extension U.S. wind power installations will drop, many communities will miss out on the economic opportunities that come with new wind farms, and American consumers will lose out…[The PTC] is the primary federal incentive for wind energy, and provides initial tax relief that has allowed wind industry to scale up against mature industries that continue to get a wide variety of permanent subsidies after up to 100 years. A typical wind farm more than repays all of this short-term tax relief in local, state, and federal taxes over the life of the project…Polls find widespread support for the PTC among Republicans, Independents and Democrats. There are certain interests [like Koch Industries] that manufacture opposition…” click here for more

    Monday, June 15, 2015


    Top Stocks to Watch in Solar Energy

    Travis Holum, June 12, 2015 (The Motley Fool)

    “…[H]ere are three stocks that will tell you where the [solar] industry is headed…[The three market segments are very different]…The first stock on my list is First Solar(NASDAQ: FSLR ) , which is almost exclusively a utility-scale solar project builder. That means the company builds massive solar projects and negotiates a contract with the appropriate utility for the energy from that project over 10, 20, or 30 years. This assures long-term cash flow and a solid return on investment…SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY ) specializes in installing residential solar systems around the U.S. It is on target to install 1 million systems on rooftops by mid-2018…SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR ) is unique because it makes the industry's most efficient solar panel (21.5%) and plays a part in everything from very small projects to the largest solar power plants in the world…First Solar, SolarCity, and SunPower are worth watching because they are industry leaders with very different strategies…” click here for more


    Why Google would want to back a huge wind farm in Africa

    Katier Fehrenbacher, June 12, 2015 (Fortune)

    “…After investing close to $2 billion into solar and wind farms, mostly across the U.S., Google may now be taking that strategy to Africa. Google is in discussions to invest potentially tens of millions of dollars into the largest wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa…Called The Lake Turkana Wind Power Project...[it] is supposed to be completed in 2017 and deliver 300 megawatts to the Kenyan grid…[That is] 20 percent of all the electricity produced in the country...[It] is expected to cost close to $1 billion…Google has ponied up close to $2 billion in more than 20 clean energy projects, and has committed to buy another 1 gigawatt worth of clean energy from various farms… It’s a big and growing international business with traditional investors like Warren Buffett…Clean energy development is also a growing business in Africa…Google’s investment could also help unlock a $250 million investment guarantee from the U.S. government’s development finance institution…” click here for more


    Grid Edge Intelligence for DER Integration; Operational IT/OT, Distributed Monitoring and Control, and Communications Networks: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2015 (Navigant Research)

    "The global utility business faces unprecedented challenges—and opportunities—as distributed energy resources (DER) proliferate. Thus, there is a growing need for more intelligence, control, and agility in the distribution grid, particularly at the edge, where many new disruptive resources and loads are located. To date, utility efforts have been largely reactive…In the longer term, grid edge intelligence and automation will enable the proactive development of markets…North America, Europe, and Asia Pacific have experienced the greatest penetrations of distributed renewables and other resources creating disruptive loads…[but] market trends have developed differently…According to Navigant Research, revenue for global grid edge technologies for DER is expected to grow from $8.5 billion in 2015 to $14.5 billion in 2024…” click here for more

    Wednesday, June 10, 2015


    Study: EPA climate rule would create jobs

    Devin Henry, June 9, 2015 (The Hill)

    “The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions at power plants will end up creating more jobs than it cuts…The EPA has previously estimated that the plan [requiring existing power plants to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a cleaner supply of energy] would create 120,000 jobs by 2020 but lead to 24,000 job loses as plants move away from fossil fuel energy sources…[According to [A Comprehensive Analysis of the Employment Impacts of the EPA’s Proposed Clean Power Plan from the Economic Policy Institute]…the jobs both lost and gained would have ‘a substantial ripple effect’ in other industries. The plan would lead to a net increase of 360,000 new jobs by 2020…By 2030, the deadline for state compliance with Clean Power Plan greenhouse gas reduction targets, the plan's employment benefits will have wained, to the point where it would have created a net increase of 24,342 jobs total…” click here for more


    Hawaii drops out of top 10 in solar energy installations, new report says

    Duane Shimogawa, June 9, 2015 (Pacific Business News)

    “Hawaii has dropped out of the top 10 in the nation when it comes to solar photovoltaic installations…[but] the Aloha State managed to rank seventh in the United States in terms of cumulative solar energy installations…[Though it] ranked ninth overall in the first quarter of 2014, [Hawaii] dropped two spots to 11th in the first quarter of this year…To date, Hawaii has 52,211 individual residential installations and 2,550 commercial installations…Looking ahead, the Solar Energy Industries Association/GTM Research project that the state will end up with 48-megawatts of residential solar capacity in 2015, down 21 percent from 2014…In terms of its commercial market, which does not include utility-scale projects, the report projects that Hawaii will install 38 megawatts of solar in 2015, up 18 percent from 2014…” click here for more


    GE's new dome-shaped wind turbine generates more electricity

    Carl DeStassio, June 9, 2015 (Inhabitat)

    “…GE’s new ecoROTR offers such [a technological] advancement…The dome-shaped attachment allows this turbine to capture wind energy that is lost by standard turbines…The new wind turbine design promises a 3 percent increase in performance which, when multiplied over the entire turbine array, totals a substantial amount of additional energy generation. Standing 450 feet tall, the new turbine is still a peculiar-looking experiment…The dome-shaped addition, affixed to the center of the turbine, deflects wind that would have otherwise passed right through the blades…[and] channels that air outward to the blades…” click here for more

    Tuesday, June 9, 2015


    Cheap Michigan Wind Energy Set To Save Consumers $15 Million Annually

    Silvio Marcacci, June 9, 2015 (Clean Technica)

    "Higher consumer prices are often cited by fossil fuel interests to oppose state renewable energy targets, but…[Michigan utility] DTE Electricity has asked regulators to let it cut monthly residential electricity rates, citing fast-falling wind energy costs as it works to comply with the state’s 10% by 2015 renewable portfolio standard (RPS)…[Millions of customers could save $15 million per year and state legislators would] get a powerful new reason to expand the current RPS after it is reached and expires…Assuming DTE’s request is approved, the surcharge will disappear from the bills of its 2.1 million electricity consumers in January 2016. Michigan’s other major utility, Consumers Energy, eliminated its 53-cent renewable energy surcharge in July 2014. Both utilities also say they will meet the 10% renewables goal by the end of this year…[T]he US Energy Information Administration just projected wind power would be cheaper (on average) than any other type of generation except the most efficient natural gas technology by 2020…” click here for more


    What you need to know about home solar power

    June 9, 2015 (CBS MoneyWatch)

    “…The combination of falling prices, financial incentives, and increasing environmental awareness makes solar power a tempting option…In some arrangements, you could even sell some of your unused power back to the utility…[To decide if] solar is right…Check for…neighborhood covenants or city ordinances that preclude or limit solar…Set your goals and tolerances…Evaluate your needs and site capabilities…by checking your past utility bills for usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh)...Total all costs for the panels, installation labor, taxes, and any other initial costs, and then subtract any tax incentives…Research vendors [and lease and purchase options]…Solar panels can save you money in energy costs, increase the value of a home, and help you do your part to conserve the planet's resources. Unless you live under a black cloud, why wouldn't you at least investigate the possibilities?...” click here for more


    Meeting looks at tapping the Jemez Mountains for geothermal power

    Staci Matlock, June 2, 2015 (Santa Fe New Mexican)

    “…The [U.S.] Forest Service has launched a years long process to determine where companies can explore and potentially build utility-scale geothermal power plants in [New Mexico’s] Jemez Mountains. The plants generate electricity by recirculating water heated by the earth’s core to turn turbines…Geothermal exploration will be excluded from some parts of the Jemez Mountains to protect endangered wildlife, hot springs and other protected resources…The Bureau of Land Management is in charge of the geothermal leases, but the Santa Fe National Forest has to first prepare an environmental assessment about the potential impacts of leasing the land for geothermal development…If the Forest Service approves the leasing plans, BLM will hold a competitive bid…Companies that win the leases will have to go back to the Forest Service to have individual geothermal projects approved…New Mexico has vast potential…” click here for more

    Monday, June 8, 2015


    Calif. Senate passes climate package aiming for 50% renewable power, halving petroleum use

    Anne C. Mulkern, June 4, 2015 E&E Publishing

    The California Senate passed a package of 12 bills that would advance the state’s strong efforts against climate change. S.B. 350 would codify the targets set by Democratic Governor Jerry Brown in his January inaugural to get the state to 50% renewables for electricity generation by 2030, cut oil use by 50%, and increase building energy efficiency by 50%. S.B. 32 would extend the state's landmark climate change law by requiring the California Air Resources Board to bring lay out and implement a plan to get the state’s greenhouse gas emissions 80% below the 1990 level by 2050. The bills were passed by the Senate Democratic majority without much support from Republicans. The package of legislation amounts to a “job killer,” according to the Senate Republican caucus. click here for more


    Feds fast-track approval for 3 solar power farms

    Timothy Cama, June 1, 2015 The Hill

    The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has approved the first three solar projects permitted under the Western Solar Plan, which pre-identified 19 Solar Energy Zones (SEZs) and set up streamlined permitting that allowed the projects to be processed in less than 10 months. The three Nevada sites have a total capacity of 440 MW and will be built by Invenergy, First Solar, and NV Energy. The companies won project rights in a June 2014 auction that brought the federal government a cumulative $5.8 million in leasing fees. Thoughtful planning at the landscape level and upfront public participation were keys to streamlining bureaucratic procedures and getting reduced permitting times that will make solar development in the six-state SEZs more attractive to developers, according to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. click here for more


    Texas backing away from cutting support for wind, solar energy

    James Osborne, 27 May 2015 Dallas Morning News

    Texas legislation that would prematurely terminate the state’s $7 billion Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) transmission build-out and end the state’s renewables mandate 10 years before it is set to expire, appears stopped in the House of Representatives after winning approval by the Senate in April. Powerful Republican Senator Troy Fraser, who sponsored Senate Bill 931. Advocates say ending the mandate early could have disrupted $40 million per year in payments from utilities to wind farms that were factored into financing at construction. Leaving the CREZ lines unfinished would have eliminated 2,000 MW of renewables carrying capacity that could be vital to Texas meeting emissions reduction goals. Last ditch moves by Senator Fraser to accomplish his goals through other legislation failed. click here for more

    Wednesday, June 3, 2015


    The rooftops of municipal buildings could become solar power plants

    Mike Jaffe, June 2, 2015 Denver Post

    "The roofs of municipal buildings could generate thousands of megawatts of solar power and save millions of dollars for cities, according to [ Public Rooftop Revolution ] by the Institute of Local Self-Reliance…The study calculates that there are enough municipal sites to hold 5,000 megawatts of solar arrays – equal to about a quarter of all the solar capacity in the county at the end of 2014...Cities that have moved into municipal solar are already saving money. The 16 megawatts of solar installed by New Bedford, Mass is saving $6 million to $7 million a year on electricity. Lancaster, California, a city of 159,000, is saving about $450,000 a year…” click here for more


    LEEDco partners with European firm for offshore wind energy farming

    Simon Husted, June 3, 2015 (The News Herald)

    “A pilot project to introduce offshore wind energy farming along Lake Erie has found its foundation — literally…[The Lake Erie Energy Development Corp.] plans to use an innovative foundation design developed by [Denmark’s] Universal Foundation to significantly reduce installation costs compared with the modified monopile concept LEEDCo developed in 2013…The foundation is called Mono Bucket, and it is an all-in-one steel structure consisting of a monopile shaft attached to a large-diameter bucket. It is installed with a unique suction system that requires no pile driving or dredging — eliminating noise and soil disturbance. A prototype has been supporting two offshore wind turbines in Denmark since 2002 and 2009…” click here for more


    Plug-In Electric Car Sales In May: Leaf, Volt, Others Surge

    John Voelcker, June 2, 2015 (Green Car Reports)

    “...Sales during the months of May through August are usually among the highest of the year, and at least for May, that rule is holding as strongly for 2015 as it did last year…The Nissan Leaf, now the best-selling plug-in vehicle in the U.S. as well as the world at large, saw May deliveries of 2,104 cars…That brings the year's five-month total to 7,742, and the total number delivered in the U.S. since December 2010 to more than 80,000 Leafs…The first-generation Chevy Volt, meanwhile, continues on its long wind-down…[and assembly of] the all-new 2016 model will start shortly…Nonetheless, last month Volt sales surged: Chevy delivered 1,618 Volts, its best monthly figure since last August…That brings the 2015 total to 4,397, and the total over four and a half years to 77,754…” click here for more

    Tuesday, June 2, 2015


    In Texas floods, is there a link to climate change?

    John Neilsen-Gammon, June 2, 2015 (The Conversation)

    [Click through and read the whole article if possible]

    “…Thermodynamically, there’s a limit to how much water vapor can be carried by the air…Studies have shown the odds of very intense rainfall in this part of the country have gone up substantially over last century. The cause and effect with climate change and surface temperature is fairly direct. There’s definitely a connection there…It depends on how you measure drought. The biggest factor driving drought in Texas and the Great Plains in general is rising temperatures. It’s not clear yet whether the rising temperatures are going to outpace the increase in rainfall that’s been observed to lead to more or less drought overall…

    “…[C]limate change is going to make temperatures warmer, make evaporation more intense and increase water demand for plants and agriculture, so it will make that aspect of drought worse. But it remains to be seen whether droughts overall will become worse, because that depends on rainfall…[Y]ou do end up getting more extremes…[T]hey can be extremely damaging…Extremely damaging events are droughts, floods, hurricanes and tornadoes…In the case of heavy local rainfall, trends have been detected and the models predict an increasing trend…[but] event attribution is a still an immature science…” click here for more


    Top wind energy stocks for renewables investors

    Michael McDonald, May 30, 2015 ( via USA Today)

    “…[W]ind power is generating roughly 5% of the overall power for the country…States like Minnesota, Kansas, and Iowa are generating 15 to 30% of their power from wind…Texas and California are nearing 10%...Wind power has fully become a mainstream source of electricity…[But new taller towers, longer blades, and bladeless turbines] have the potential to make wind energy even more viable…[I]ndustrial behemoth General Electric announced a new digital system that it says will boost wind farm energy production by up to 20%...There are 50 GW of wind power being installed worldwide…Each GW is worth about $50 million a year, and assuming GE used the product in a Software as a Service (SaaS) format…[so] the technology could yield profits of roughly $250 million annually starting in the first year. Assuming wind power generation grows at 20% per year, in less than eight years, the firm would be generating a billion dollars a year in revenue…Northern Power Systems is a manufacturer of wind turbines and other equipment and represents a purer play on wind energy…” click here for more


    Pros And Cons Of Solar Energy

    Matthew Johnston, May 30, 2015 (Investopedia)

    “With the growing threat of climate change due to the excessive release of carbon emissions, many nations are looking to clean energy alternatives…Of all the clean energy alternatives, solar has arguably been the most expensive. However, after considering the pros and cons along with the 80% drop in solar panel prices over the last five years, the future of solar energy is looking rather bright…THE PROS…Sustainable…Low Environmental Impact…Energy Independence…THE CONS…Intermittency…Land Use…Scarcity of Materials…THE BOTTOM LINE While solar energy technology has some disadvantages that make it somewhat expensive in certain markets, it is becoming an increasingly cost-competitive alternative…Considering the enormous potential gains of harnessing the sun’s light and heat, it may be worth increasing the incentives…” click here for more

    Monday, June 1, 2015


    EIA finds wind energy will have largest role in cost-effectively meeting Clean Power Plan

    Michael Goggin, May 28, 2015 (EnergyBiz)

    “Low-cost, zero-emission wind energy will become even more valuable as states and utilities develop plans to cost-effectively reduce carbon pollution to comply with EPA’s Clean Power Plan, according to [ Analysis of the Impacts of the Clean Power Plan] from the Energy Information Administration (EIA)…[that found] wind energy consistently emerged as the lowest cost option for reducing emissions…[A World Resources Institute analysis] found that, thanks to recent cost declines, renewable energy is poised to make the largest contributions to emissions reductions. In WRI’s optimal energy mix scenarios, renewable energy grew to provide 27 to 28 percent of electricity in 2030 and 36 to 38 percent in 2040…” click here for more


    Capacity up 30% in '14, solar power's day in sun arriving

    Naureen S. Malik, June 1, 2015 (Bloomberg News via Arkansas Online)

    “Move over, shale. The sun is now the fastest-growing source of U.S. electricity…Solar power capacity in the U.S. has jumped 20-fold since 2008…Rooftop panels are sprouting on homes from suburban New York to Phoenix…Giant farms of photovoltaic panels, including Warren Buffett's Topaz array in California, are changing power flows in the electrical grid, challenging hydro and conventional generators and creating negative prices on sunny days…Solar capacity surged 30 percent in 2014 to more than 20 gigawatts and will more than double by the end of 2016…The biggest gains will be in California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, New York and New Jersey…” click here for more


    Energy Service Company Market Overview; Expanding ESCO Opportunities in the United States and Europe

    2Q 2015 (Navigant Research)

    “The energy service company (ESCO) industry in the United States follows a modest revenue growth trajectory generated by the business of implementing comprehensive facility upgrades…Long-term market expansion is expected to arise from new business in the private sector and through the development of opportunities in markets outside of the United States…The private sector represents a significant volume of market potential…A new wave of companies is opening the door to commercial sector energy efficiency with business models that help private sector customers overcome the upfront capital hurdle…Europe is expected to be the first key international market for the largest U.S. ESCOs…[A] tipping point is nearing and momentum is expected [in developing markets outside the United States] in the mid- and long-term. According to Navigant Research, the U.S. ESCO market is expected grow from $6.3 billion in 2015 to $11.5 billion in 2024, while ESCO revenue in Europe is projected to grow from $2.7 billion to $3.1 billion…” click here for more