NewEnergyNews More: October 2015

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  • Wednesday, October 28, 2015


    The U.S. dips a toe in the offshore windfarm water

    Aaron Heinrich, October 15, 2015 (GizMag)

    “Offshore wind farms have been creating electricity off the coast of [Europe] since 1991…[but] until recently there were no [U.S.] offshore wind farms…[but last summer the] 30 megawatt, 5 turbine Block Island Wind Farm project [started construction] in Rhode Island…[It is] scheduled to go online next year, producing enough electricity to power 17,000 homes…US projects [are] currently in various stages of proposal, review, and approval, mostly off the East Coast, and [a few off the California and Hawaii coasts]…The reasons for the lag by the US…can roughly be attributed to the high cost of construction, changing regulations, and personal lobbying…[but the] National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates a gross wind potential of 4,223 gigawatts (GW) off the coast of the United States alone – roughly four times the generating capacity of the entire US electric grid…Many industry experts and government officials say that the potential for increased energy production inherent in offshore wind farms would offset those costs. This argument, which appears to have held up in other parts of the world, is about to be tested in the US…” click here for more


    Researchers developing roads that charge your electric car while you're driving

    Lucas Merian, October 27, 2015 (ComputerWorld)

    “At least two universities are testing or preparing to test wireless charging stations embedded along roadways that will incrementally recharge vehicles as they drive over them…Clemson University's International Center for Automotive Research (ICAR) in Greenville, S.C., has been testing stationary wireless vehicle charging and is now preparing to test mobile wireless recharging for vehicles…[Its] stationary wireless charging technology uses magnetic resonance to create a field between a ground charging coil and a copper coil embedded in a vehicle through which electricity can pass. Key to the technology is the Wi-Fi communications system, created by researchers at Oak Ridge that allows the ground and vehicle charging systems to talk to one another…

    “Stationary wireless vehicle charging is an emerging technology already commercialized by Evatran and Bosch. The two companies unveiled their PLUGLESS vehicle charging system at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The PLUGLESS charger is available for the Chevrolet Volt for $2,998 and the Nissan LEAF for $3,098…In the U.K., the government is expected to perform off-road trials of dynamic wireless charging that it acquired from researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU)…The NCSU research suggests that vehicles driving on roadways with dynamic wireless charging stations could increase their driving range anywhere from 62 miles to about 310 miles…” click here for more


    Council members, oil lobby square off in tense hearing on biofuel bills

    David Giambusso, October 26, 2015 (PoliticoNewYork)

    “Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration tacitly endorsed two bills to increase the use of biofuel citywide…[but] oil lobby representatives showed up to challenge them…Intros 642 and 880 would expand the use of biofuel — a plant-based fuel that can be mixed with petroleum-based products and is responsible for lower greenhouse gas emissions — in home heating oil and city school buses respectively…[The currently-used 5-percent biofuel blend vehicle fuel and 2 percent heating biofuel introduced under former mayor Michael Bloomberg have] reduced greenhouse gas emissions…the equivalent of taking 30,000 cars off the road…[The two new bills mandate] that all buildings still heated by oil must use at least 5 percent biofuel by 2016 and 20 percent biofuel by 2030, and that the city's school buses use ultra low-sulfur diesel with at least 5 percent biodiesel…[But the New York State Petroleum Council argued] the biofuel bills would pose a costly alternative to traditional petroleum-based products and would expose consumers to higher fuel prices and more expensive food…[I]t set off a shouting match between Council members and panelists…” click here for more

    Tuesday, October 27, 2015


    60% Of New U.S. Generating Capacity In First Three-Quarters 2015 Is From Renewables; Wind Is Largest Source Of New Capacity, Beating Out Natural Gas

    Ken Bossong, October 27, 2015 (Sun Day Campaign)

    “…[R]enewable sources (i.e., biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, wind) accounted for…[60.20%] of the 7,276 MW of new electrical generation placed in service in the United States during the first nine months of 2015…[according to the September Energy Infrastructure Update from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission…[W]ind accounted for 2,966 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity…[and 40.76%] of all new capacity year-to-date…[S]olar followed with 1,137 MW…[N]atural gas contributed 2,884 MW…FERC reported no new capacity for the year-to-date from nuclear power and just 9 MW from six units of oil and 3 MW from one unit of coal. Thus, new capacity from renewable energy sources during the first three-quarters of 2015 is 1,460 times greater than that from coal while new capacity from wind alone exceeds that from natural gas…Renewable energy sources now account for 17.40% of total installed operating generating capacity in the U.S…Renewable electrical capacity is now greater than that of nuclear (9.19%) and oil (3.87%) combined…” click here for more


    Texas hits new wind power milestone…

    Jordan Blum, October 22, 2015 (Fuel Fix)

    “The Texas electric grid hit a new record for wind power use [October 22 when]…the main Texas grid operator reported that nearly 37 percent of demand was met with wind power. The Electricity Reliability Council of Texas, which manages nearly 90 percent of the state’s electric needs, said it used 12,237.6 megawatts of wind power at the time. That bested a previous record set on Sept. 13 of 11,467 megawatts…The new record came the same day as the American Wind Energy Association reported Texas accounted for nearly half of the nation’s wind power growth in the third quarter of the year…Texas now has about 16,400 megawatts of wind power…which is about 10,000 megawatts more than the second and third windiest states, California and Iowa…Texas is expected to exceed 20,000 megawatts next year. Further growth after 2016 may depend on whether Congress extends the production tax credit for wind projects…” click here for more


    What to Look For When Solar Energy's Big 3 Report; SolarCity, SunPower, and First Solar all report earnings this week. Here's what you need to watch for.

    Travis Hoium, October 26, 2015 (Motley Fool)

    “…[SolarCity, First Solar, and SunPower, three] of the biggest and most important companies in the solar industry report earnings later this week and what they say will give us an indication of where the industry is heading…[T]he key for SolarCity to remain competitive when the investment tax credit drops in 2017 is to keep cost reductions coming…[and] slow growth spending…so a slower rate of planned growth in the future would be a prudent plan given the current uncertainty in the future of residential solar…First Solar's incredible efficiency improvement and strengthening financials [need to continue and it needs to continue to report a] 21% to 22% gross margin and $3.30 to $3.60 per share in earnings… so any improvements on those levels would be welcome for investors...[SunPower needs to take back its module efficiency lead and continue showing] solid margins on the products it is installing and improving margins in commercial solar…” click here for more

    Monday, October 26, 2015


    Geothermal Energy Could Soon Stage A Coup In Oil And Gas

    Gaurav Agnihotri, 21 October 2015 (

    “Geothermal energy is one of the most widely available green energy sources in the world today. In spite of its availability, its consumption is almost miniscule when compared to wind and solar energy mainly due to high drilling costs…Oil and gas drillers can play an important part in developing geothermal energy…Every single barrel of oil also brings out close to seven barrels of boiling hot water which can be utilized to generate electricity through geothermal turbines…The current [oil] market turmoil has created a once in a generation opportunity for savvy energy investors…Whilst the mainstream media prints scare stories of oil prices falling through the floor smart investors are setting up their next winning oil plays…A report released in April this year stated that Continental Resources and Hungary based MOL group were testing a system that could generate electricity by using hot water that is present in the oil well. With close to 25 billion gallons of water used by U.S. drillers on an annual basis, this system (if developed commercially in the near future) could generate electricity, which would be the equivalent to three coal fired plants running 24 hours a day, thereby reducing overall costs…” click here for more


    Xcel CEO: Wind energy cheaper than natural gas

    October 23, 2015 (Bloomberg News via Finance & Commerce)

    “Xcel Energy Inc., the biggest U.S. provider of wind power, expects long-term contracts for the technology to beat the cost of natural gas, another sign of the rapid transformation of the power market…[Xcel] is receiving bids for 20-year power-purchase agreements at about $25 a megawatt-hour for wind energy, Chief Executive Officer Ben Fowke said…While gas prices are close to historic lows, he doesn’t see them remaining there forever, and Xcel expects prices for electricity from the fossil fuel to be closer to $32 a megawatt- hour over the same period…Fowke has plans to add 1,600 megawatts of wind energy over the next 15 years or so, partly to replace output from at least two coal-fired plants that are being retired. He also expects to exceed requirements in its largest states, Minnesota and Colorado, to get 30 percent of Xcel’s power from renewable resources…” click here for more


    How Utilities Are Profiting From Solar Energy; Instead of seeing it as a threat, utilities are finding ways to partner on solar developments.

    Travis Hoium, October 24, 2015 (Motley Fool)

    “For years, the solar industry has been creeping up behind the electric utility industry. At first, it was a small nuisance that utilities had to deal with but rapid cost cuts and growth made it a threat many utilities could no longer ignore…[Some utilities are now finding ways to profit off residential and commercial-scale solar. The ones that do will pave a path to long-term profit and lower the risk in their business model…Utilities have long bought solar energy from solar projects, but until recently they weren't big buyers of projects themselves. But that's changed recently as utilities see the long-term cash flows and low risk as a model that fits well within a utility…The next solar boom to watch is in community solar. These are projects built around cities that residents can buy electricity from and utilities usually play a major role in their operations. It's like buying power from the solar system…on your roof, except the project is built in a field instead of on a roof…” click here for more

    Wednesday, October 21, 2015


    Energy Apps for Residential Customers

    4Q 2015 (Navigant Research)

    "Energy-focused applications, or apps, for residential customers help people efficiently use and manage energy consumption in their homes, thanks to new tools and access to data…[that give] residential customers insight into their power usage and offer ways to reduce consumption, helping customers save money. Simultaneously, utilities benefit from better informed and more engaged customers who help make grid operations more efficient…The market for energy apps is still in its early stage…[but the] number of energy apps is growing, and customers now expect them to be readily available—either from a mobile device or online through a PC or laptop. Savvy utilities need an app strategy to meet these expectations. Several utilities already offer energy apps for customers, including DTE Energy, Direct Energy, and Infinite Energy, and point to generally positive customer experiences and possible energy savings of approximately 8%...” click here for more


    A Tower of Molten Salt Will Deliver Solar Power After Sunset; For the first time, solar thermal can compete with natural gas during nighttime peak demand

    Peter Fairley, 21 October 2015 (IEEE)

    “Solar power projects intended to turn solar heat into steam to generate electricity have struggled to compete amid tumbling prices for solar energy from solid-state photovoltaic (PV) panels. But the first commercial-scale implementation of an innovative solar thermal design could turn the tide. Engineered from the ground up to store some of its solar energy, [SolarReserve’s 110-megawatt Crescent Dunes plant] is nearing completion…It aims to simultaneously produce the cheapest solar thermal power and to dispatch that power for up to 10 hours after the setting sun has idled photovoltaics…[Due] on line by the end of this year, [it] uses over 17,000 mirrors to focus sunlight on a heat receiver atop a 165-meter-high tower…[to heat] a molten mixture of nitrate salts that can be stored in insulated tanks and withdrawn on demand to run the plant’s steam generators and turbine when electricity is most valuable…Crescent Dunes promises to be the first of many big molten salt towers…[They presently make] the most sense in markets where, unlike the United States, natural gas is pricey enough to make gas-fired plants less attractive…” click here for more


    Procter & Gamble to Run Its Factories With Wind Power

    Rachel Abrams, October 19, 2105 (NY Times)

    “…Procter & Gamble’s biggest foray into wind power…is the latest in a burst of partnerships between major American corporations and renewable energy companies…Hewlett-Packard, Kaiser Permanente and Dow Chemical all announced plans this year to buy renewable energy…[and] 81 companies, including Procter & Gamble, [have] committed to [President Obama’s] American Business Act on Climate Pledge, which includes reducing greenhouse gas emissions…Consumers have increasingly scrutinized consumer products companies for their use of chemicals and impact on the environment. In recent years, those concerns have gained traction, as manufacturers see the potential effects they can have on the bottom line…One by one, consumer products companies have removed offending ingredients…[P&G’s new wind project] is scheduled to be operational in December 2016, and is expected to help reduce [its] carbon emissions by 200,000 metric tons annually. EDF is funding the project, but P.&G. has signed a 12-year contract to buy power from the plant…” click here for more

    Tuesday, October 20, 2015


    U.S. Said to Engage in Talks on Carbon Market Rules

    Mathew Carr, October 19, 2015 (Bloomberg News)

    “The U.S. is engaged in [not yet public] talks on setting international rules and guidelines for carbon trading in the event that United Nations climate talks fail to set a framework for such a system, according to a person with direct knowledge of the plan…A coalition of nations and regions willing to implement the market standards to meet their domestic climate targets would be a fallback position in case the UN-negotiated climate deal expected in Paris doesn’t include such measures or progress is deemed too slow…Almost 200 countries are meeting today in Bonn for a final session of climate talks before a conference in Paris in November, at which envoys plan to seal a global emissions-limiting deal…If the UN effort is seen on track setting required market rules, there would be no need for regulations from a smaller markets group…Governance of such a system is still to be determined…” click here for more


    3 Undervalued Solar Energy Stocks Investors Should Buy

    John Persinos, October 19, 2015 (The Street)

    “…The conventional wisdom is that low oil and gas prices motivate energy consumers to abandon solar power in favor of cheaper fossil fuels…[but] the infrastructure for the solar industry is now so pervasive and entrenched, it has precipitated a ‘price decoupling’ between solar and fossil fuels. Solar and other renewable energies are increasingly part of the energy status quo…Three solar stocks are in the best position to profit from this new pricing dynamic: First Solar (FSLR), SunPower (SPWR), and Canadian Solar (CSIQ)…[These solar stalwarts are] priced at absurdly low valuations right now…[T]he proxy for solar energy stocks, the Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF(KWT), is down 7.27% year-to-date…[but it has been on a multi-year tear and was bound to take a breather. KWT's three-year return stands at an impressive 90.02%, compared to 14.5% for the S&P 500…” click here for more


    Xcel blows through Colorado wind-energy records

    Mark Harden, October 15, 2015 (Denver Business Journal)

    “Xcel Energy Inc. has set new records for single-day and one-hour wind-energy production in Colorado…[The utility] said that on Oct. 2, an average of 54 percent of its Colorado customers' energy was supplied by wind power, the highest percentage ever...Almost all of that wind energy was produced within Colorado…[Wind served more than 50 percent of Xcel] customers’ load every hour that Friday, except during the last hour of the day when it served about 49 percent…Xcel also set a new Colorado record for wind generation over a one-hour period: 2,352 megawatt hours from 3 to 4 p.m. on Oct. 2, compared to the previous record of 2,203 megawatt hours on Dec. 23, 2014, from 5 to 6 p.m…Weather records show sustained winds up to about 17 mph in both Denver and Boulder [that afternoon]…” click here for more

    Monday, October 19, 2015


    Global companies sign White House pledge on climate change action

    Demetri Sevastopulo and Barney Jopson, October 19, 2015 (Financial Times)

    “Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Nike and Ikea are among dozens of global companies that have signed a White House-sponsored pledge to take more aggressive action on climate change, as part of a broad push by President Barack Obama to corral corporate support for a global climate deal this year in Paris…68 companies have joined the 13 original signatories to the so-called American Business Act on Climate Change Pledge…[L]arge oil and gas companies such as ExxonMobil and Chevron were notably absent…Mr Obama hopes that support from companies with a combined market capitalisation of more than $5tn will boost the chances that the delegates from almost 200 countries can reach a climate accord in Paris. He also plans to use the pledges to craft a legacy on climate change during his final 15 months in office…” click here for more


    Wind industry betting on PTC extension

    Michael Copley, October 15, 2015 SNL

    “Wind companies are continuing to plan projects that rely on the federal production tax credit…even though the incentive expired at the end of 2014 and there is uncertainty whether Congress will reinstate it…[T]he industry seems to have worked through the pipeline of projects that were rushed into development in order to qualify for the production tax credit's safe harbor provision, and…[companies have new deals ready to go if Congress reinstates the subsidy…If developers are betting wrong, they will have to mothball projects…But if they do not take the gamble, [they fall behind their competition]….That calculation illustrates the pressure industry lobbyists are under to win over lawmakers who have started challenging tax policy that historically has had bipartisan support…The Senate Finance Committee in July voted to reinstate the PTC, which credits developers $23 per MWh that a wind farm generates, as part of a larger tax-extenders bill. However, House Republicans would rather select a few of the expired tax breaks and make them permanent. The production tax credit has not been one of them…” click here for more


    Austin City council ups solar procurement to 450MW

    John Parnell, 16 October 2015 PV Tech

    “The council of Austin, Texas voted to up its solar procurement plans to 450MW…[by the end of 2019 and its utility, Austin Energy,] is eyeing post-investment tax credit (ITC) savings by owning its solar assets itself…Documents from the meeting put the annual cost of procuring up to 650MW at US$44 million valuing the 25-year power purchase agreements at US$1.1 billion. Up to 450MW has been costed at US$17 million a year and US$425 million in total...Concerns over the impact on energy bills resulted in a 1% increase cap on consumer bills…A presentation by Austin Energy also dismissed the impact of the ITC's step-down from 30 to 10% at the end of 2016…The company said it had been offered power from post-ITC cut projects for less than 2% more than the cost of pre-2016 projects…[which plant ownership would offset] with lower build costs.” click here for more

    Tuesday, October 13, 2015


    Volkswagen is pegging its fate to a major bet on electric cars

    Steve LeVine, October 13, 2015 (Quartz)

    “Volkswagen, confronting a daunting threat to its size and prestige, is making a dramatic pivot to electric vehicles. The move has seemed a likely one since mid-September, when the German company was caught running about 11 million diesel vehicles with fake emissions controls…[But it just announced] it will create a standardized electric architecture that can be used in all VW Group vehicles, and is meant to allow travel of 250 to 500 kilometers (156 to 312 miles) on a single charge. The flagship will be a retooled luxury Phaeton, an $80,000 sedan for which VW had planned only diesel and plug-in hybrid versions for the 2018 or 2019 model years. Now, the Phaeton will [challenge the Tesla S as] all-electric…The decision significantly raises VW’s profile in a coming electric-car collision at the end of the decade, when the world’s major carmakers are expected to introduce numerous electric models with lower price points and much better performance than those currently available…” click here for more


    The U.S. needs a solar energy revolution. But it’s laying off solar energy researchers

    Chelsea Harvey, October 8, 2015 (Washington Post)

    “…[Fifteen solar research staff members at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) were laid off] due to federal funding cuts…And another 40 to 60 staff members are expected to be lost through a voluntary separation program that the lab will initiate…Almost all of the researchers already laid off were involved in ‘next generation,’ or long-term, solar research…It’s the latest sign of a trend that experts say is undermining U.S. efforts to promote alternative energy: Federal funding for solar energy research has declined steadily over the past several years, despite emphasis from the Obama administration on continued investment in research and development of clean energy technologies…[It seems] to decline a little more every year…[T]hey have occurred despite significantly higher budget requests each year from the White House…” click here for more


    Building Energy Management Systems Boom Due to Falling Cost and $1.4B in VC Funding; Tools to gather and analyze energy data in buildings are increasingly using SaaS models and pricing as low as $0.01/ft2…

    October 13, 2015 (Lux Research)

    “…[Building energy management services (BEMS) have benefitted from falling costs and $1.4 billion in venture funding] from 2000 to 2014, about 26% of all investment in building energy technology domains. A third of this total was in software, 27% in energy services, 25% in sensors and controls, and 13% in semiconductors…[according to Beyond the Walls: Benchmarking BEMS Software and Hardware] from Lux Research…Newly available data streams and acquisition devices mean the definition of BEMS has taken on new capabilities from low- to high-touch, such as performance benchmarking to detailed equipment performance monitoring. The cost across the spectrum ranges from $0.005-$1.00/ft2 per year, but are often less than $0.01/ft2 for low-touch tools…A flurry of activity has taken place in the hardware-centric segment, particularly by companies such as Circuitmeter that do non-intrusive load monitoring. Companies in this segment need to remain targeted on specific vertical markets…” click here for more

    Monday, October 12, 2015


    Parent coalition calls for 'bold action' on climate change

    Lydia Wheeler, October 12, 2015 (The Hill)

    "Climate-focused advocacy groups, made up of parents, grandparents and families, are joining forces in an international coalition aimed at pushing global leaders to cut carbon pollution…Our Kids’ Climate coalition, which includes groups like Climate Mama and DearTomorrow in the U.S. and the Norwegian Grandparents Climate Campaign and Canadian Parents for Climate Action, is circulating an international parent petition…[calling] for a commitment to keep global temperature rise at safe levels and create a world that’s powered by 100 percent clean energy with net zero greenhouse gas emissions…the group [says] it’s had enough of ‘political passivity and profit-motivated roadblocks to bold action on climate’…” click here for more


    Report: More Michigan Wind Energy Could Save Locals Billions Of Dollars

    9 October 2015 (North American Windpower)

    “Michigan households and business owners can keep more money in their pockets - and rural Michigan landowners will receive millions of dollars more a year in land lease payments - by building new wind farms that tap into more of the state's wind energy resources…[according to A wind vision for new growth in Michigan from] the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) and the Wind Energy Foundation (WEF)…[Wind] can save Michigan homeowners and businesses over $3.59 billion dollars…[and] supply enough electricity for over 710,000 homes in Michigan…[E]conomic benefits for the Great Lakes State can grow to over $11.6 million dollars in added annual property tax revenue, and Michigan landowners would be paid by wind farm owners an additional $7.6 million in lease payments a year by 2030…[Some] 4,000 jobs are supported by wind power today in Michigan, including manufacturing jobs at 33 factories producing wind power parts and supplies…[The industry] has already attracted $2.9 billion in capital investment to Michigan…” click here for more


    A novel technology to produce microalgae biomass as feedstock for biofuel, food, feed and more

    2 October 2015 (EurekAlert)

    “…[A novel] and scalable technology and production process combining algal biomass cultivation, harvesting and concentration as well as extraction and fractionation of fatty acids from the biomass…[offers a] high quality feedstock for various industries in a highly competitive price…UniVerve Ltd. (UniVerve), an Israeli company, has begun scaling-up its technological process, which is expected to change the feedstock market in various industries, such as food, feed and biofuel…[UniVerve’s Hanging Adjustable V-shaped Pond uses a suspended, modular and scalable triangular structure with transparent walls that allows light to penetrate from all sides, thus increasing photosynthetic activity and enhancing yield and] provides a scalable, cost effective and sustainable solution…The oil, which can be extracted with off-the-shelf wet extraction technologies and used as an excellent feedstock for all kinds of biofuel, is expected to be produced at up to 50 dollars per barrel (equal to the current market price of crude fossil oil)…” click here for more

    Wednesday, October 7, 2015


    Wind energy is now as cheap as natural gas, and solar is getting close; And it's only getting cheaper.

    7 October 2015 (Science Alert)

    “Wind power is now comparable in price to fossil fuels, and solar is well on its way, according to [Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2015 by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, which]confirms earlier predictions that renewables aren't just the best option for the environment - they’re unequivocally the smartest long-term investment you can make on energy…[I]n the second half of 2015, the global average cost of onshore wind energy will be $83 per megawatt-hour of electricity (which is down $2 from the first half of the year), and for thin film solar photovoltaics, the cost is $122 per megawatt-hour (down $7 in the past six months)…The costs as they are now, and the steady drops we’ve seen in price over the past six months alone, suggest that as the technology to eke out more and more electricity from solar and wind energy gets ever-more sophisticated, those prices can only continue to fall…” click here for more


    Riding the Waves and Tides to a Cleaner Energy Future

    Joan M. Bondareff, September 29, 2015 (Marine Technology News)

    “…For the first time progress is being made in the U.S. to develop offshore wind resources…But recently, progress is also being made in the development of tidal and wave energy resources closer to shore, which are known as marine hydrokinetic or MHK resources…[which] generate electricity from waves or directly from the flow of water in ocean currents, tides or inland waterways. Ocean thermal energy is also part of the MHK equation but has not been actively pursued…

    "The technically recoverable resource for electric generation from waves is approximately 1,170 terawatt-hours (TWh) per year which is almost one third of the 4,000 TWh of electricity used in the U.S. each year. Approximately 85,000 homes can be powered by 1 TWh/year…The technical resource potential for tidal generation is estimated to be 250 TWh/year…The technical resource potential for electric generation from ocean thermal resources is estimated at 576 TWh/year in U.S. coastal waters, including all 50 states...[But] companies are left largely on their own to develop, fund and promote MHK technologies with limited federal and state support…” click here for more


    Geothermal Energy: Is New Technology Resetting the Agenda?

    Kennedy Maize, October 1, 2015 (Power Magazine)

    “…Legendary venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who made a pile of money in information technology and computers, is…making a wager on geothermal because…[unlike the sun and wind, geothermal energy offers round-the-clock generation…[T]he fundamental geological fact is that hot rocks are ubiquitous, although not always attractive for conventional geothermal technologies…because the easiest plays—high-pressure steam from underground turning turbine generators…—aren’t plentiful…[But] AltaRock Energy, backed by Khosla personally and through his venture capital company, Khosla Ventures…aims to use a technology that has proven revolutionary…[called enhanced geothermal systems (EGS) that drills] into the deep strata to reach hot rocks. Then the operators inject cold water at high pressure into the rock, breaking the strata apart, liberating heat, and producing plentiful hot water. The hot water, and steam, then flow up the well, where they can turn a turbine generator directly or run a binary system with a heat-transfer liquid…” click here for more

    Tuesday, October 6, 2015


    Environmentalists: The Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement Is A Disaster For Climate Change

    Samantha Page, October 5, 2015 (ClimateProgress)

    “…[T]he United States and 11 other countries reached an agreement on the Trans-Pacific Trade agreement (TPP)…[that would] eliminate or reduce tariffs between Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam. But while it specifically addresses some environmental concerns — such as trade of illegally harvested resources or wildlife trafficking — climate change activists…say the TPP protects multinational corporations that profit from fossil fuels. Some have argued that under the TPP — as with the North American Free Trade Agreement — companies will be able to sue countries that enact laws to limit fossil fuel extraction or carbon emissions, if it interferes with profits. The deal also will lead to the rubber-stamping of export facilities for natural gas from fracking and will prevent the U.S. Trade Representative from ever including climate change action in trade deals…Environmentalists aren’t buying it…” click here for more


    Harness the wind: Energy kite set to launch early next year

    Bret Yager, October 5, 2015 (Hawaii Tribune Herald)

    "Before [an experimental 600 kW energy kite] can begin spinning 1,100 feet above the ground [in Hawaii in 2016], the Google-owned development company behind the initiative must receive clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration and a building permit from Hawaii County…[Representatives of Makani hope a year of testing will get them closer to] a commercially viable product that is up to 50 percent more efficient at generating electricity than a conventional wind turbine…The 85-foot airfoil with eight wind generation rotors — and the 50-foot tower from which it will be launched and controlled — is essentially finished…The device loops in the sky at the end of a…[1,400-foot carbon fiber tether attached to a giant drum used to reel the kite in and out. The kite mimics] the most energy efficient part of a conventional wind turbine blade — the tip — without the need for the massive concrete, steel and fiberglass infrastructure of a conventional windmill…The top of the kite’s loop will reach twice the height of a conventional turbine…When the winds die, electricity can be reversed back up the tether to the rotors, which will then spin to control the craft’s descent…” click here for more


    Affordable Solar Energy Options For Homeowners

    Ric Romero, October 3, 2015 (KABC News)

    “Homeowners may feel pressured to take advantage of solar panel federal rebates set to expire at the end of 2016…Rooftop solar panel installation nearly doubled in 2014 and solar energy companies claim you can drastically reduce your monthly electric bill…However, experts say there a few things to consider before taking the investment…Not every house is a good candidate…Panels are usually installed on the south side of your roof and shouldn't be shaded..Knowing how old and sturdy your roof is can also be important…While it may initially be cheaper to lease, homeowners will likely pay more over the life of the typical 20-year contract…[There could be roof warranty or property tax issues]…Checking the homeowner's insurance policy to see if you'll be covered in the event the panels are damaged by a storm is also crucial…” click here for more

    Monday, October 5, 2015


    Many Conservative Republicans Believe Climate Change Is a Real Threat

    Coral Davenport, September 28, 2015 (NY Times)

    “A majority of Republicans — including 54 percent of self-described conservative Republicans — believe the world’s climate is changing and that mankind plays some role in the change, according to…[What Policies Do Voters - Particularly Republican Voters - Support To Accelerate Development And Use Of Clean Energy?]conducted by three prominent Republican pollsters…The results echo a number of other recent surveys concluding that despite the talk of many of the party’s candidates, a significant number of Republicans and independent voters are inclined to support candidates who would back some form of climate action. It may also point to a problem facing Republicans seeking their party’s presidential nomination: The activists who crowd town hall meetings and Republican presidential caucuses and primaries might not reflect the broader attitude of even the Republican electorate…” click here for more


    Clean Energy Industries Join Over 580 Signers to Urge Congress to Pass Clean Energy Extenders

    October 5, 2015 (Business Council for Sustainable Energy)

    “…[T]he Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE) joined over 580 companies and organizations urging the passage of legislation that provides the extension of expired and expiring tax incentives benefiting clean energy technologies as soon as possible this year…According to the Sustainable Energy in America Factbook from Bloomberg New Energy Finance and BCSE, the use of lower and zero carbon energy sources has grown rapidly over the past seven years. These sectors are quickly embedding themselves into the mainstream fabric of the U.S. energy economy and tax policy has played a role in this transformation. The clean energy tax provisions have a proven track record of helping scale up production and drive down the cost of clean energy technologies, thereby ensuring that market-ready technologies are deployed to their full potential…” click here for more


    Global nuclear facilities 'at risk' of cyber attack

    5 October 2015 (BBC News)

    “The risk of a "serious cyber attack" on nuclear power plants around the world is growing, warns Cyber Security at Civil Nuclear Facilities; Understanding the Risks from Chatham House]…The civil nuclear infrastructure in most nations is not well prepared to defend against such attacks…[because it is ‘insecure by design’ because of its age…Such an attack on a nuclear plant, even if small-scale or unlikely, [needs] to be taken seriously because of the harm that would follow if radiation were released…Unfortunately, research carried out for the study showed that the UK's nuclear plants and associated infrastructure were not well protected or prepared because the industry had converted to digital systems relatively recently…This increasing digitisation and growing reliance on commercial software is only increasing the risks the nuclear industry faces…[The researchers] also found evidence of virtual networks and other links to the public internet on nuclear infrastructure networks. Some of these were forgotten or simply unknown to those in charge of these organisations…” click here for more