NewEnergyNews More: January 2016

NewEnergyNews More

Every day is Earthday.

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



Your intrepid reporter


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


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

  • ---------------
  • Wednesday, January 27, 2016


    NASA's Mars Opportunity Rover Sets Longevity Milestone With Assist From the Sun

    Alyssa Newcomb, January 26, 2016 (ABC News)

    “…Opportunity, the solar-powered Mars rover that has exceeded its planned three-month life span, [just] celebrated its 12th birthday…NASA said the golf cart-sized Opportunity had a ‘very active’ winter since the bot, which uses solar energy, was able to receive cleaner solar rays -- even during the dark Martian winter. Martian years are 1.9 times longer than Earth years, making this Opportunity's seventh winter on Mars…Opportunity has spent the past few years exploring a 14-mile-wide crater named Endeavour…Using its robotic arm, Opportunity has been able to examine the composition and texture of the rock's interior. NASA credited Opportunity's surprising longevity -- 48 times longer than planned -- to choosing north-facing slopes in the winter that allow Opportunity's solar panels to collect energy…NASA predicts Opportunity will have plenty of sunlight to keep it going through the year.” click here for more


    The US could slash energy-production emissions by 78% in just 15 years, report shows; This could be us, but you're playing.

    Fiona MacDonald, 27 January 2016 (ScienceAlert)

    “The US could cut greenhouse gas emissions from electricity production by an incredible 78 percent below 1990 levels within just 15 years - AND keep up with growing energy demand in the process, according to [Future cost-competitive electricity systems and their impact on US CO2 emissions] from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)…[I]f it wanted to, the US could be getting most of its electricity from existing solar and wind technology by 2030, at hardly any extra cost to consumers. All it'll take is the construction of 'electron superhighways' to transmit electricity across the country…[B]ased on technology that already exists, it would be totally feasible for wind and solar to power the majority of the country – the only thing we need to improve is how we move that electricity around the country...[E]ven if the price of renewable energy doesn't decrease as predicted, the US could still cut its CO2 emissions by 33 percent below 1990 levels by 2030, and could deliver electricity at 8.6 cents per kilowatt hours - cheaper than the 9.4 cents per kilowatt hour Americans paid in 2012…” click here for more


    E-storage: Shifting from cost to value 2016

    January 2016 (World Energy Council)

    “…[Energy] Storage is often perceived as too expensive because of the way the calculations are done which do not fully take into account the value it brings to certain situations…[ World Energy Resources Report 2016, E-storage: Shifting from cost to value 2016 – wind and solar applications concludes] that a narrow focus on levelised cost alone can be misleading…[The report] estimates that with the many new technologies in the pipeline, storage costs of energy will fall by as much as 70% over the next 15 years. Solar storage will become more competitive as new battery technology drives prices down, and wind storage more attractive as technical advances in areas such as composite materials enables the power generated by wind turbines to increase…[The right policies to drive these changes must]…Go beyond just costs…Examine storage through holistic case studies…Work with operators and regulators to accelerate the development of flexible markets…Establish supporting policies and an enabling regulatory framework…Consider storage as a key component for grid expansion or extension…” click here for more

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016


    Tesla boss sees bumpy road ahead for electric cars

    January 26, 2016 (PhysOrg)

    “Electric car manufacturers will have to design futuristic vehicles to entice buyers in order to ride out the challenge of plunging oil prices, Tesla co-founder Elon Musk said…The luxury all-electric US car maker, founded in 2003, rose to prominence as oil prices soared and made alternative energy vehicles more tempting…Now the fledgling industry is under pressure…[and Tesla] saw shares dive…Tesla is looking to recruit 1,600 software engineers to help develop ‘Autopilot,’ its autonomous car IT system…aims to have a fully self-driving car by 2018…[and] is taking orders for its new Model X…[which has]…some self-driving facilities…[Musk] predicted all cars would be autonomous within the next 15 years—with steering wheels eventually just a distant memory…Such promises have kept investors firmly behind the California company, even though it has continued to lose money while the big carmakers in Detroit rack up profits in the booming US auto market.” click here for more


    Camp Ripley: Geothermal project brings Minnesota National Guard closer to 'net zero'

    Staff Sgt. Anthony Housey, January 21, 2016 (Brainerd Dispatch)

    “…[R]enovations on the Garrison Headquarter building at Camp Ripley began] in early 2015…[They replace] the less efficient, traditional boiler and rooftop cooling units with a geothermal system designed to reduce usage costs and improve the environmental footprint of the installation…Geothermal heating systems installed in troop billeting structures in late 2011, reduced energy consumption by 45 percent. Through 2014 and 2015, three additional buildings, were converted to geothermal energy with similar results…The upgrade to the garrison headquarters building involved the replacement of traditional 20-year-old systems that were becoming out-of-date within the next few years. The renovations covered nearly 60,000 square feet of space in all major departments of the building…The field built to sustain heating and cooling, in addition to the upgraded boiler, is spread out over an area the size of four football fields.” click here for more


    Enphase Energy - An Overlooked And Undervalued Solar Energy Company

    Stephen Buchwalter, January 21, 2016 (Seeking Alpha)

    “…Enphase stock has been pummeled, down 73% in 2015…[Its] technology and business model are different from that of SolarCity and its partners…[but, in] many ways, the Enphase approach is superior to its competitors…[T]here will be multiple winners in the renewable energy space…Enphase should be considered as a great opportunity…Its principal products have been microinverter modules that are used to convert direct current (DC) from each solar panel to alternating current…[I]t is often compared to [power optimizer maker] SolarEdge Technologies…These components are not equivalent…[Distributed storage will be a future adjunct to distributed power generation and] Enphase's approach, their announced AC Battery, is different from that of the main competition, the Tesla PowerWall, to be used by SolarCity…It is important for investors to understand the advantages and disadvantages of these two offerings…[T]he precipitous drop in Enphase stock is largely attributable to its lack of glamour and media attention when compared to SolarCity and the related company Tesla…[This] has falsely skewed the stock market's relative valuation [and opportunity in] Enphase…” click here for more

    Monday, January 25, 2016


    Cancer and Climate Change

    Piers J. Sellers, January 16, 2016 (NY Times)

    “I’m a climate scientist who has just been told I have Stage 4 pancreatic cancer…Now that my personal horizon has been steeply foreshortened, I was forced to decide…[if spending my remaining time thinking] about climate change worth the bother…I concluded that all I really wanted to do was spend more time with the people I know and love, and get back to my office [at NASA] as quickly as possible…It’s doubtful that we’ll hold the line at 2 degrees Celsius, but we need to give it our best shot. With scenarios that exceed that target, we are talking about enormous changes in global precipitation and temperature patterns, huge impacts on water and food security, and significant sea level rise….increasing the likelihood of unforeseen, disastrous events.

    “…[I]t will be up to the engineers and industrialists of the world to save us. They must come up with the new technologies and the means of implementing them. The technical and organizational challenges of solving the problems of clean energy generation, storage and distribution are enormous, and they must be solved within a few decades with minimum disruption to the global economy…

    “What should the rest of us do? Two things come to mind. First, we should brace for change. It is inevitable. It will appear in changes to the climate and to the way we generate and use energy. Second, we should be prepared to absorb these with appropriate sang-froid. Some will be difficult to deal with, like rising seas, but many others could be positive. New technologies have a way of bettering our lives in ways we cannot anticipate. There is no convincing, demonstrated reason to believe that our evolving future will be worse than our present, assuming careful management of the challenges and risks. History is replete with examples of us humans getting out of tight spots. The winners tended to be realistic, pragmatic and flexible; the losers were often in denial of the threat…

    “As for me, I’ve no complaints. I’m very grateful for the experiences I’ve had on this planet. As an astronaut I spacewalked 220 miles above the Earth. Floating alongside the International Space Station, I watched hurricanes cartwheel across oceans, the Amazon snake its way to the sea through a brilliant green carpet of forest, and gigantic nighttime thunderstorms flash and flare for hundreds of miles along the Equator. From this God’s-eye-view, I saw how fragile and infinitely precious the Earth is. I’m hopeful for its future...And so, I’m going to work tomorrow.” click here for more


    Twitter fight! Bernie and Hillary battle it out over who has the better climate plan

    Ben Adler, 22 January 2016 (Grist)

    “…[T]he Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton campaigns talked smack to each other on social media, fighting for the hearts of climate hawks…[ Sanders, Clinton, and O’Malley are all actively competing to be the strongest on climate change. It’s a noticeable shift from years past when climate change was considered too low of a priority to become a policy battleground. The candidates are convinced that the Democratic base is fired up about climate change and looking for real vision]…

    “Sanders — who last month released a very ambitious, but legislatively focused, climate plan — challenged Clinton to detail her own plans…[Clinton has recently moved] left on a couple of key climate issues…[She] came out against [the Keystone Pipeline shortly before President Obama rejected it…[and] took a stance against Arctic drilling and released a plan with high targets for renewable energy generation...But Clinton has not laid out a comprehensive agenda…[or] called for a carbon-pricing system, like Sanders’ carbon tax proposal. It isn’t clear how she would reach her clean energy goals. And she has adamantly refused to join Sanders in calling for a full ban on fossil fuel leasing on federal land…[though she has] said she would charge more than the current below-market rates for federal fossil fuel leases…So the Sanders campaign issued a statement bragging about his climate agenda and…asking if she will make the same commitments…[to] oppose the Bakken crude oil pipeline that cuts through Iowa and three other states…[and] the Northeast Direct pipeline in New Hampshire…[and] support a carbon tax…[and] continue President Obama’s moratorium on all new coal leases on public land…[and ban] fossil fuels extraction on public lands…[and oppose fracking and] offshore drilling…Where is Secretary Clinton’s climate plan?

    “Clinton campaign chair John Podesta tweeted a snappy rebuttal…[pointing] to a post he had published on Medium…[and accusing the Sanders campaign of failing to search effectively for answers]…He went on to highlight Clinton’s comments throughout the campaign on the importance of combatting climate change…[and] the promises she has already made…to fully implement Obama’s Clean Power Plan to reduce emissions from coal-fired power plants…[and asking how Sanders will back out of] international climate deal that President Obama reached with the rest of the world in Paris…[which Sanders opposed]…Sanders has the better of this argument. Coming out against Keystone right before Obama rejected it and promising to complete implementation of your predecessor’s plans isn’t much of a bold new climate agenda…[and Podesta did not answer the Sanders campaign’s] policy questions…” click here for more

    Wednesday, January 20, 2016


    Energy Department Announces $18 Million to Develop Solar Energy Storage Solutions, Boost Grid Resiliency

    January 19, 2016 (U.S. Department of Energy)

    “…[T]o improve the resiliency, reliability and security of the nation’s electrical power grid, DOE…[will invest] $18 million in funding for six new projects across the United States…[to develop and demonstrate] integrated, scalable, and cost-effective solar technologies that incorporate energy storage…[Solutions] will be developed as part of the Department's Grid Modernization Initiative under the SunShot Initiative. These efforts will dramatically increase [the affordable] solar-generated electricity that can be dispatched at any time - day or night - to meet consumer electricity needs while ensuring the reliability of the nation's electricity grid…[They] will utilize internet capable inverters and will work in conjunction with smart buildings, smart appliances, and utility communication and control systems. These projects are either led by a utility company or include a utility company as a key partner, and the teams will conduct at least a one-year field demonstration of their technologies…” click here for more

    click to enlarge


    Natural Power Touts Accuracy Of N.A. Wind Energy Yield Predictions

    January 12, 2016 (North American Windpower)

    “…[The latest Natural Power validation study shows] the company’s energy yield predictions for North American wind projects have demonstrated 99.1% accuracy…[It evaluated] North American pre-construction wind energy yield predictions by comparison to operational production. It covers 1,262 wind turbines at 18 projects totaling over 2.26 GW…[Such energy yield] estimates are the cornerstone of wind power plant financial models…[Natural Power concluded that the wind industry] must demonstrate continuous improvement and continue to develop an understanding of underlying issues behind energy yield prediction discrepancies [and that the new results confirmed its increasing accuracy]…” click here for more

    click to enlarge


    Scientists are using satellites to find untapped sources of geothermal energy under cities; Hot in the city.

    Pete Dockrill, 15 January 2016 (ScienceAlert)

    “…[Scientists] have developed a means of estimating groundwater temperature hidden under the surface of our cities, based on surface temperatures and the density of buildings as measured by satellites…A range of factors, including population density, vegetation levels, surface sealing, industrial structures, and transport all contribute to [the phenomenon of urban heat islands…

    click to enlarge

    “To better understand how thermal conduction operates between the surface and underground heat islands (aka subsurface urban heat islands, or SUHI), the researchers compared above-ground and underground temperatures in four German cities…They found that the older a city is, the more pronounced its underground heat…Approximately 95 percent of the areas studied were found to have a higher groundwater temperature than surface temperature, which the researchers attribute to a greater abundance of underground anthropogenic heat sources, such as cellars of buildings and sewers…It's this higher temperature in groundwater that could be used as a source of sustainable energy, for heating in winter and cooling in summer, with the help of geothermal or groundwater heat pumps…” click here for more

    click to enlarge

    Tuesday, January 19, 2016


    Congress Actually Dealt with Climate Change in the 2016 Budget Bill. Really; It flew under the radar, but the approval of a new flood standard for federal projects means the federal government took a big step.

    Katherine Bagley, January 19, 2016 (Inside Climate News)

    “President Obama's plan to safeguard the nation from increasing flood risk due to climate change was quietly green-lighted by Congress last month in the 2016 omnibus budget bill…[It was] one of the only actions Congress took on global warming in all of 2015, and it came as a surprise considering the longstanding opposition from Republicans. And it is a critical one…It will impact billions of dollars of federally funded construction projects across the country, from highways and bridges to hospitals and housing complexes, at a time when flooding in the U.S. is getting worse every year because of climate change…Obama's plan, executive order No. 13960, mandates that all federally funded projects located in a floodplain be built higher and stronger than previously required [to the standard of a 500-year event]. It is the first update to the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard since the policy was created 38 years ago. It applies to both new construction and rebuilding following a disaster…[Congress approved the program in a roundabout way by saying no federal funds can be used] but then adds the qualifier statement "other than for—", and lists nearly all of the activities in Executive Order 13690…Now that the standard has funding, government agencies will develop guidelines for implementing the new policy…” click here for more


    Why Solar Energy Is Such A Threat To Other Energy Sources

    Sneha Shah, January 14, 2016 GlobalWorldInvestor via Seeking Alpha)

    “Solar Energy is growing at a tremendous pace globally, with the demand growth surprising even the most optimistic analyst. The biggest reason behind the growth has been the sharp reduction in costs and prices (75% in the 5 years)…Solar energy is already competitive with gas and coal in many regions…[and] will become cheaper than coal and gas in the coming 10-15 years. Solar energy will also threaten the oil industry as solar energy starts penetrating the transport sector (through electric vehicles)…[The main drivers will be a fall] in polysilicon prices…More efficient usage of silicon…Reduction in non-silicon costs…Improvement in cell-to-module power Ratio…Improvement in Cell Efficiency levels…[S]olar energy could increase to 40% of electricity production by 2050…Solar plus storage is expected to be a huge threat to the utility industry, as energy storage costs are also expected to see >50% cost reduction in the next 5-10 years. By 2020, solar plus storage costs are expected to reach parity with retail electricity prices in a number of places. Solar energy is all set to bring about a paradigm change in the global energy industry…” click here for more


    Wind energy among fastest, cheapest ways to cut costs, grow Montana economy

    Tom Darin, January 18, 2016 (The Montana Standard)

    “…All energy forms receive federal support. Over the last 100 years, American taxpayers have paid over $500 billion and counting to subsidize the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. Many of these incentives are permanent and thus make it very difficult to create a level playing field for renewable energy, which does not receive this type of generous treatment…[T]he performance-based federal tax incentive for wind power has helped make the U.S. a global leader in wind production…[and] led to a 66 percent drop in costs in just six years…Over time, these savings will increase because wind power isn’t subject to fuel price volatility…[New data from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) shows] new investments in wind power can yield over $650 million in potential savings through 2050 for Montana ratepayers…[And] wind power actually makes the utility system more reliable…Wind now supplies Iowa with nearly 30 percent of its electricity; Kansas and South Dakota rely on windpower for more than 20 percent. At one point in November wind met over 66 percent of the electricity demand on the main Colorado grid…[Finally, wind] already supports hundreds of well-paying jobs in [Montana] while paying rural landowners $2 million a year to host wind turbines on their land…and those land-lease payments could grow to over $10 million a year by 2030.” click here for more

    Monday, January 18, 2016


    Martin Luther King And The Call To Direct Action On Climate Change

    Joe Romm and Van Jones, January 18, 2016 (ClimateProgress)

    "…[Martin Luther King Jr.] viewed civil rights through a moral lens…The greater the moral crisis, the more his words apply. The greatest moral crisis of our time is the threat posed to billions — and generations yet unborn — from unrestricted carbon pollution…We think there has been far too little direct action, given the staggering scale of the threat. As the International Energy Agency has explained, we must leave the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground if we are to preserve a livable climate…King explained that any nonviolent campaign has] four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action…Every major scientific body and international group has taken to begging and pleading for [climate] action…

    “It has taken a quarter century of international climate [negotiation] to get the world to finally act together…We understand why the fossil fuel industry works to block Congressional action and funds what has become the most effective disinformation campaign in history. We are bewildered by those who claim to accept climate science, but feel no urgency to act…[N]othing compares to the centuries of racial injustice King was impatient about. But each year brings an ever-worsening array of megadroughts and superstorms juiced by global warming…We know we’re fast approaching climatic tipping points — the loss of Arctic sea ice, the disintegration of the great ice sheets, the release of vast amounts of carbon from the permafrost, Dust-Bowlification of much of the world’s arable land — that are irreversible and catastrophic…It is past time for many more to speak out, and for many more to join direct action…” click here for more


    NBC could have asked Democratic candidates 1,000 smarter questions on climate change than this.

    Rebecca Leber, January 17, 2016 (New Republic)

    “The Democratic base cares about climate change, so unlike at the GOP debates, networks have usually given Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Martin O’Malley a throwaway question [about climate change but it] couldn’t be clearer on Sunday night that NBC considers it irrelevant. The network] gave only Sanders and O’Malley less than two minutes combined to answer a question, after playing a lengthy cartoon video that explained climate change…There are real policy differences in the Democratic field that are important to tease out. At the very least, there is an interesting question to pose to the candidates about pursuing progress without a cooperative Congress…Sanders answered the question forcefully, though not substantively…O’Malley challenged his fellow candidates to adopt his plan to pursue 100 percent clean energy-powered electricity by 2050. We didn’t get to hear Clinton’s answer, because the network cut to a commercial break.” click here for more


    Sanders: Trump Thinks 'Climate Change Is A Hoax Invented By The Chinese'

    Caitlin Macneal, January 17, 2016 (TPM)

    "During the Sunday Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) bashed Republican politicians who do not take climate change seriously, calling out Donald Trump for his theory that the concept of global warming was created by the Chinese:…‘It is amazing to me, and I think we'll have agreement on this up here, that we have a major party called the Republican Party that is so owned by the fossil fuel industry, and their campaign contributions, that they don't even have the courage, the decency to listen to the scientists…It is beyond my comprehension how we can elect a president of the United States, somebody like Trump who believes that climate change is a hoax invented by the Chinese.’ …Trump floated his theory about climate change on Twitter in 2012.” click here for more

    Wednesday, January 13, 2016


    Obama in SOTU: If You Still Dispute Climate Change, ‘You’ll Be Pretty Lonely’ in That

    Josh Feldman, January 12, 2016 (MediaIte)

    “…[President Obama got] in a few jabs at Republican climate denial during his State of the Union [speech]…’Look,’ Obama said, ‘if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it’…[but] anyone who does that will be ‘pretty lonely’…[because] the U.S. military, much of corporate America, ‘the majority of the American people, [and] almost the entire scientific community’ [accept human-caused climate change. He also] invoked that historic climate deal that roughly 200 nations [just] agreed to…[and argued] that climate change should be important regardless of record temperatures because ‘why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?’” click here for more


    Solar gets a nod in U.S. President Obama’s last State of the Union address

    Christian Roselund, 13 January 2016 (PV Magazine)

    “…Solar, other forms of renewable energy and climate change shared space in the [President’s seventh and final State of the Union address] with a wide range of other issues…[He] made multiple references to the transition to renewable energy, and the U.S. role in it, emphasizing at different times technological innovation, business opportunities, consumer empowerment and jobs…[He] noted that the benefits of renewable energy extend well beyond climate change…[and said] oil and coal resources need to ‘better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet’…[W]hile comprehensively cutting subsidies for fossil fuels has yet to be achieved, many of the policy initiatives to support Obama’s clean energy rhetoric have already been announced…[He] mentioned the three-fold increase in wind capacity and the 30-fold increase in solar capacity during his presidency…[His] rhetoric may reflect more hope than policy] in consumer empowerment…[because] the fight for net metering as an enabling policy for rooftop solar is happening at the state level, and for practical proposes outside the control of the federal government.” click here for more


    Obama on Climate and Energy in 2016 State of the Union

    January 13, 2016 (Inside Climate News)

    “…Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there. We didn’t argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget. We built a space program almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon…Seven years ago, we made the single biggest investment in clean energy in our history. Here are the results. In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power. On rooftops from Arizona to New York, solar is saving Americans tens of millions of dollars a year on their energy bills, and employs more Americans than coal…Meanwhile, we’ve cut our imports of foreign oil by nearly sixty percent, and cut carbon pollution more than any other country on Earth…Gas under two bucks a gallon ain’t bad, either…

    “Now we’ve got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy. Rather than subsidize the past, we should invest in the future — especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels…we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system…None of this will happen overnight, and yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo. But the jobs we’ll create, the money we’ll save, and the planet we’ll preserve — that’s the kind of future our kids and grandkids deserve…” click here for more

    Tuesday, January 12, 2016


    Why climate change is an ethical problem

    Stephen Gardiner, January 9, 2016 (Washington Post)

    “Climate change presents a severe ethical challenge, forcing us to confront difficult questions as individual moral agents, and even more so as members of larger political systems. It is genuinely global and seriously intergenerational, and crosses species boundaries. It also takes place in a setting where existing institutions and theories are weak, proving little ethical guidance…A central component of this perfect moral storm is the threat of a tyranny of the contemporary, a collective action problem in which earlier generations exploit the future…The real climate challenge is ethical, and ethical considerations of justice, rights, welfare, virtue, political legitimacy, community and humanity’s relationship to nature are at the heart of the policy decisions to be made. We do not “solve” the climate problem if we inflict catastrophe on future generations, or facilitate genocide against poor nations, or rapidly accelerate the pace of mass extinction. If public policy neglects such concerns, its account of the challenge we face is impoverished, and the associated solutions quickly become grossly inadequate…” click here for more


    Amazon plans wind farm in Ohio to help power data centers

    January 10, 2016 (San Francisco Chronicle)

    “Amazon plans to develop a windfarm in northwest Ohio to help power a $1 billion project to build three data centers near Columbus for its web services subsidiary…[The 48 wind turbines] will generate up to 100 megawatts of electricity…[E]conomic development officials estimated that the wind farm would cost [the e-commerce retail giant] between $175 million and $200 million. Amazon hasn't set a start date for construction, but is pushing to have the site running by May 2017…[The wind farm would power three data centers will] provide cloud storage, database and analytic services through Amazon Web Services…[This] will be Amazon Web Services' third wind farm. The company has put a high emphasis on using electricity from renewable sources for its services…The company expects to surpass a goal of using 40 percent renewable energy globally by the end of the year…” click here for more


    5 Solar Energy Trends for 2016 in the Residential Market

    Sarah Lozanova, January 7, 2016 (Triple Pundit)

    The solar energy accounted for 32% of total new power generation in 2014, more than coal and wind energy though still less than natural gas. In just nine years, the installed cost of solar energy has fallen by more than 73%. In 2016, Vikram Aggarwal, founder and CEO of EnergySage, the Kayak of solar, expects [1] The unprecedented boom to continue, [2] Misinformation in the solar market to continue, with solar system owners saving a lot on utility bills, but the absence of this information limiting the marketplace, [3] a dizzying array of solar options in equipment, ownership and financing while solar installers continue to push one package and not be transparent about all the options, [4] Increased availability of solar financing options, making it much easier to obtain financing with low-interest loans at as little as no money down, and [5] solar homes continuing to generate an average 85% of their total demand from solar, and the average 7.9-kilowatt system saving roughly $2,000 on electricity costs each year. click here for more

    Monday, January 11, 2016


    The Quest to Hack Trees and Beat Climate Change

    Matt McFarland, January 6, 2016 (Washington Post)

    “…[Trees suck] in carbon dioxide, reducing the harmful greenhouses gases in our air. But…[they] can’t absorb enough of the carbon dioxide humanity is throwing at them…[W]hat if trees — or machines modeled after them — had superpowers? Artificial trees…[might be able] to capture the excess carbon and store it or convert it into something useful such as fuel…[The cost of the technology is] not to a point where it’s affordable to install ‘forests’ of these systems…The Center for Negative Carbon Emissions is developing technology that it says is 1,000 times as effective as trees, per unit of biomass…Once the technology is fully built out, they expect to remove a ton of carbon dioxide for about $100 a ton. Their long-term estimate is less than $30 per ton…[Bill Gates] is one of the investors…” click here for more


    Renewables: Share data on wind energy; Giving researchers access to information on turbine performance would allow wind farms to be optimized through data mining…

    Andrew Kusiak, 4 January 2016 (Nature)

    “The energy industry has long met demand by varying the rate at which it consumes fuel…But the wind cannot be turned up or down. Smart software can make wind farms more efficient and responsive. Computer models can predict wind speed and control the number and capacity of turbines in operation to meet energy demand…Optimizing renewables requires data: on device performance, energy output and weather predictions, seconds to days in advance. Vast quantities of information are collected by turbine manufacturers, operators and utility companies…[but] prohibitively difficult for anyone outside to access…The lack of data sharing in the renewable-energy industry is hindering technical progress and squandering opportunities for improving the efficiency of energy markets…There is money to be made…Controlling wind turbines with data-driven software could, models show, increase energy production by at least 10%, and gains of 14–16% are possible…” click here for more


    New material stores solar energy, releases it on demand as heat energy

    January 8, 2016 (Dispatch Tribunal)

    “…[A new material capable of storing solar energy and releasing it on demand as heat energy] can be used for a number of applications including electric cars…[The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) created material] can be produced as a transparent polymer film…[T]he key to storing solar energy for longer time is to store it in some form of energy other than heat [that dissipates. Chemical storage can be longer term] and can be released through a trigger in the form of small jolt of heat (or light or electricity). The key is to have a material or a system that can retain the solar energy in a stable molecular configuration and then release it…[Solar thermal fuels (STF) have that characteristic but] were designed to be used in liquid solutions…[Scientists have now developed the polymer film material with an increased energy density] called azobenzenes…[T]he system as it exists now might be a significant boon for electric cars…” click here for more

    Wednesday, January 6, 2016


    A single gas well leak is California's biggest contributor to climate change; Rupture of Aliso Canyon well has released more than 77,000 metric tons of methane and refocused attention on America’s accident-prone infrastructure

    Suzanne Goldenberg, 5 January 2016 (The Guardian)

    “The single biggest contributor to climate change in California is a blown-out natural gas well more than 8,700ft the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage site [owned and operated by SoCalGas which] has released more than 77,000 metric tons of the powerful climate pollutant methane since the rupture was first detected on 23 October [and it has now been revealed that the company removed a blow-out preventer at the bottom of the well in 1979]…Methane is a fast-acting climate pollutant – more than 80 times more powerful than carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame…Experts believe the breach, which has forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents from the town of Porter Ranch, is the largest ever in the US…Locals have complained of headaches, sore throats, nosebleeds and nausea…About 1,000 people are suing the company…The leak is unlikely to be brought under control before late February – and even that timetable depends on work crews’ success in locating and plugging a 7-inch pipe deep underground…The release of methane from the ruptured well has now slowed…[but is] widely seen as the climate equivalent of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico…” click here for more


    First Solar, Inc.'s Worst Moves in 2015; First Solar, Inc. was the best-performing large solar company in 2015, but it may not be investing enough to keep that lead for long.

    Travis Hoium, January 5, 2015 (The Motley Fool)

    “2015 was a great year for [investors in world-leading utility-scale solar developer] First Solar...The stock is up over 50%...and the company made some positive steps in improving its competitive position long term…But First Solar has also left some opportunities on the table…[Its earnings and gross margin were down on the systems First Solar is providing panels for and/or engineering, but for which it is not performing the development. Management says this also reduced risk that will be less of a factor now that the federal investment tax credit has been extended for five years]…First Solar has [also done far less than companies like SolarCity and Sun Power] to adapt to new technologies that it knows will be necessary [to mitigate solar variability]…First Solar won't need the same technologies as some competitors, particularly in the residential solar space…But utility-scale projects will be under pressure as they take over more of the grid [but it should be doing more]…” click here for more


    The Next Big Trend In Wind Energy?

    Michael McDonald, 5 January 2016 (

    “A new take on wind energy is starting to emerge…Traditional wind energy relies on turbines…but a new group of companies [wants to use kites flying offshore. They would reduce environmentalists’] protests about installing new turbines…since they would generally be tethered far offshore…[More importantly,] kite-based wind power represents an opportunity to save money, and decrease power costs by rethinking the wind energy supply chain because onshore and offshore kites are] likely to be much less costly to install…[Kites could be] developed without Government subsidies and offers a technology that can be deployed in locations where conventional wind can’t…Competitors in the space [include KPS Power Solutions,] Altaeros Energies, Ampyx Power, and SkySails....Google is backing a company called Makani…[The biggest challenge] will be proving that the kites are durable enough…” click here for more

    Tuesday, January 5, 2016


    Want to install solar panels but can't? No problem.

    Jason Margolis, January 1, 2016 (Public Radio International)

    “…[T]he solar industry got a big holiday gift at the end of 2015 — Congress extended an investment tax credit (ITC) to build new solar panels…[but many] of us living in dense urban areas are finding it challenging to go solar…That doesn’t mean we can’t own solar panels…They just can’t be on our roofs…[With community solar, a person can] own a few solar panels in [a] field and they pump electrons into the electricity grid. Due to federal tax rebates and incentives from the state of Massachusetts, [the solar electrons are cheap [enough to earn a discount from the utility]…So, if your bill is $100 now, you’d pay $90 with community solar…Besides Massachusetts, community solar is gaining traction in a handful of states providing extra incentives: New York, California, Minnesota and Colorado…[T]here’s no upfront capital cost…In order to make the community solar business model work though, you have to commit to it [through] a 20-year contract…” click here for more


    The strong economics of wind energy; Major international companies are using wind power to go green and save money.

    John Abraham, 28 December 2015 (The Guardian)

    “…[Companies are investing in wind because it] is competitive economically…[For] industry leaders like Unilever, BNP, Aveda, IKEA, LEGO, Google, Microsoft, SAP, and others...[it] adds value...Companies want to reduce their emissions and they want access to reliable, inexpensive power…For many of them, wind is the answer…Globally, the average cost of wind is $83 per megawatt-hour…[T]he averages for coal and gas are $84 and $98, respectively. In the USA, gas is slightly cheaper than wind but this is the only large economy where that is the case…[S]olar photovoltaic energy averages $122 globally…There are some additional [system integration costs, market balancing costs, the cost of balancing out variability, and] the costs of reinforcing the grid…[which] might typically amount to 30% of the total costs. However, they are reduced with a properly functioning electrical market…The renewable energy sector also supplies many high-paid and high-skilled jobs…” click here for more


    Mystery electric-car maker shows teaser video

    Chris Woodyard, December 31, 2015 (USA Today)

    “Faraday Future, the mysterious automotive startup, has posted a teaser video ahead of the debut of its new model next week…Faraday doesn't share much…They focus on the notion of a clean, possibly electric next-generation car for a new age that includes shared transportation…But it does manage to throw out a few tantalizing tidbits…The car is only shown as a shadow. Its outline makes it looks like a city pod car, like Google's self-driving car concept or the BMW i3 electric…The idea that Faraday could be showing its new model at the Consumer Electronics Show only months after the company's existence became known would seem to indicate that it is farther along than industry experts thought.” click here for more

    Monday, January 4, 2016


    5 New Year's Resolutions For Reporting n Climate Change

    Denise Robbins, December 31, 2015 (MediaMatters)

    “Whether they were covering extreme weather events or presidential campaign events, media outlets often came up short in their reporting on climate change this year…[H]ere are five resolutions for reporters looking to provide better coverage of climate change in the new year…Resolution #1: I Will Disclose The Fossil Fuel Ties Of Those Attacking Climate And Clean Energy Policies…Resolution #2: I Will Not Provide False Balance On The Science Of Climate Change…Resolution #3: I Will Provide The Climate Change Context When Reporting On Extreme Weather Events…Resolution #4: I Will Compel Presidential Candidates To Discuss Climate Change, And Hold Them Accountable When They Do…Resolution #5: I Will Give Climate Change The Coverage It Deserves…” click here for more


    Wind, solar power soaring in spite of bargain prices for fossil fuels

    Joby Warrick, January 1, 2015 (Washington Post)

    “Wind and solar power appear set for a record-breaking year in 2016…in spite of a global glut of cheap fossil fuels…Installations of wind turbines and solar panels soared in 2015 as utility companies went on a worldwide building binge, taking advantage of falling prices for clean technology as well as an improving regulatory and investment climate. Both industries have seen stock prices jump since Congress approved an extension of tax credits for renewables…Orders for 2016 solar and wind installations are up sharply, from the United States to China to the developing economies of Africa and Latin America, all in defiance of stubbornly low prices for coal and natural gas, the industry’s chief competitors…

    “Energy analysts say the boom is being spurred in part by improved technology, which has made wind and solar more competitive with fossil fuels in many regions. But equally important, experts say, is better access to financing, as major Wall Street investment houses adopt a more bullish posture toward an industry that was once considered financially risky…Wind and solar together account for only about 6 percent of U.S. electricity generation, compared with about 39 percent for coal. And wind and solar companies have yet to conquer the biggest challenge for renewables: how to cheaply store energy so it is reliably available on cloudy or calm days…Analysts also warn that renewables could suffer if prices for natural gas remain at such historically low levels…For now, however, industry officials say cheap fossil fuels are having little impact on purchase orders…” click here for more


    The growing potential of energy-efficient pot farms; Cannabis industry is a heavy energy user but has potential to go green with the right technology and incentives

    Renee Lewis, January 1, 2016 (Al Jazeera)

    “Cannabis production is among the most energy-intensive industries in the U.S. But some experts, growers, utility companies and local government agencies in states where marijuana is legal point the way toward reducing pot production's energy consumption and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions…One study found that Colorado growing operations in 2014 used energy equivalent to that consumed by 35,000 households…A key challenge is that most commercial growing operations in Colorado are located indoors…Indoor operations often use 1000-watt, high-intensity bulbs — which generate a lot of unwanted heat that then has to be removed from the indoor environment with air conditioners and ventilation systems…[E]nergy bills might represent 30 percent of the total cost of an operation…[But with legalization, a gradual shift is expected] to outdoor cultivation and sophisticated greenhouse designs…Some cautioned that greenhouses also consume energy through their use of ventilation systems and supplemental lighting [during the winter. But experts agree] new technologies are currently being developed — including brighter LED lighting — that can make the industry more energy efficient and climate friendly…” click here for more