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August 27 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “Renewable Energy Momentum Has Passed The Tipping Point” Here in the ides of August, 2014, there exists clear, overwhelmingly convincing evidence that we have passed the tipping point for change into the renewable energy era. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Retail vs Wholesale Energy Pricing: 1 Reason It’s Easy For Rooftop Solar To Be Cost Effective” When residential folks put up solar PVs, we only have to beat the price on our energy bills, which is retail. That makes it easier for rooftop solar to beat utility price rates. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Why wind wreckers are often left snatching at air” Each year, Ryan Wiser and Mark Bolinger from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory put out a superb report documenting developments in the US wind power market. [Business Spectator]

World:

  • Indian wind turbine manufacturers and project developers have been advised by the government to make efforts to increase annual capacity addition to five times its current level, a leading Indian newspaper has reported. That means 10,000 MW is to be added each year. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Mayor of Warsaw has complained to the Polish government that 2030 clean energy goals which Poland believed too radical were in fact unambitious, undemocratically decided, and risk spiking EU decarbonisation moves, in a letter seen by EurActiv. [EurActiv]
  • SunWize Technologies has announced completion of the installation of a 546 kW solar electric system for the Independent State of Samoa. The project with Samoa’s power utility, Electric Power Corporation, is the country’s largest, reducing Samoa’s reliance on imported fossil fuels. [Your Renewable News]
  • Nearly one in four homes in South Australia now has rooftop solar, as the share of renewable energy in the state neared 33% in 2013/14 – delivering the state’s ambitious 2020 target six years ahead of schedule. [RenewEconomy]
  • Carbon Recycling International was founded in 2006 in Reykjavik, Iceland. The company is now recycling CO2 from flue gas into liquid transport fuel by reacting it with H2 at the first production plant using the process. [World Fishing]
  • Provincial regulators have approved Suncor Energy’s 100-MW Cedar Point wind project near Lake Huron in south-western Ontario. The project will have 46 Siemens SWT 2.3-MW 113 turbines. [reNews]

US:

  • In its latest rate request to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, We Energies seeks to charge its customers more and also add new penalties to those who use renewable energy, making solar panels and other green systems less affordable for the average property owner. [Express Milwaukee]
  • US News and World Report took it upon themselves to actually look at the numbers of birds killed each year by electricity sources in the United States. And while all numbers reported are going to be open to interpretation and discussion, the final figures look bad for coal. [RenewEconomy]
  • A pending Austin City Council resolution may help create more solar energy supply for Austin Energy consumers, the city announced August 26. The resolution would create enough solar energy to power 100,000 homes. The proposal will be heard on August 28. [Community Impact Newspaper]

August 26 Green Energy News

A Quote for the Day:

  • “It’s time to join the revolution,” Swiss investment bank UBS is advising clients. The bank says the payback time for unsubsidised investment in electric vehicles plus rooftop solar plus battery storage will be as low as 6-8 years by 2020. [CleanTechnica]

World:

  • A handful of US-based energy firms have met with the government of Cambodia over the past week to discuss plans for two large-scale energy projects worth a total of $900 million. One is a 200-MW solar plant. The other is an oil refinery. [The Phnom Penh Post]
  • First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA has signed an agreement to provide engineering, procurement and construction services for the 52.5 MW Shams Ma’an PV power plant in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. [Semiconductor Today]
  • According to NRDC-CEEW analysis, India’s solar and wind programs have catalysed rapid growth providing much-needed energy access, creating employment opportunities for India’s workforce. The analysis also stresses need for innovative financing solutions. [AltEnergyMag]
  • Pattern Energy Group LP, the developer of Chile’s biggest wind farm, plans to proceed with a solar plant in the top copper-producing nation’s Atacama Desert. Chile’s government seeks to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels to supply cheaper power to the mining industry. [Businessweek]

US:

  • A study of abandoned oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania finds that the hundreds of thousands of such wells may be leaking methane, suggesting that abandoned wells across the country could be a bigger source of climate changing greenhouse gases than previously thought. [Climate Central]
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission recently reopened a year-old petition from anti-nuclear groups concerned about the financial ability of Entergy Corp. to safely operate its nuclear plants, including Vermont Yankee. [GazetteNET]
  • Massachusetts has reached a milestone: The number of solar installations statewide has surpassed 15,000. The state now has 15,762 solar installations that produce 615 MW of electricity, enough to power about 94,000 homes. [Boston Globe]
  • The municipal utility in Palo Alto, CA, set an ambitious target of 33% renewable energy by 2015 and to ultimately deliver a carbon neutral electricity supply. They will reach 48% renewable power in 2017 and met the carbon neutral goal starting last year. [CleanTechnica]
  • US developer Innovative Solar Systems has obtained construction financing for just over 200 MW of approved and construction-ready solar farms in North Carolina, each of 20 MW or more. Construction will start almost immediately. [reNews]
  • Verizon is set to become the number one solar producer among U.S. communication companies. They have announced an investment of nearly $40 million to expand their onsite green energy program. [Domestic Fuel]

August 25 Green Energy News

A Quote for the Day:

  • The commander of the US Defense Logistics Agency Energy dismisses the denialism rampant in American politics and society with: “Call it climate change, call it the big blue rabbit, I don’t give a hoot what you call it — the military has to respond to those kinds of things.” [Japan Focus]

Opinion:

  • “As chair of Arctic Council, US could help the North replace costly, unhealthy diesel” Many Arctic villages diesel fuel in inefficient generators at costs approaching $10 per gallon. Some have been able to secure financing to construct wind projects and use micro grid technology. [Anchorage Daily News]

World:

  • In Australia, the Clean Energy Council has launched a last-ditched media campaign to try to protect the 41,000 GWh renewable energy target, as the Abbott government prepares to deliver what will inevitably be a fatal blow to the industry. [RenewEconomy]
  • Construction of a new hydro plant at the Old Lock on the River Trent, next to Holme Lock and the weir at Holme Pierrepont, is about to begin. It will provide 3000 MWh per year, enough for 700 average homes. Because it will be in an existing lock, it will be largely invisible. [Nottingham Post]
  • In 2012-2013, the Australian Capital Territory government slashed green energy use from the mandatory 37.5% to just 5%. Last week, the ACT government shared in a report that green energy purchases will continue to be 5% of total power use through 2018 and 2019. [Business Review Australia]

US:

  • Dropbox, which provides a free internet document sharing service, has a new San Francisco office. The office is to be powered by a solar PV energy system designed by UGE and is also LEED Platinum certified. [Triple Pundit]
  • To help chill the 9.5 million cases of mass-market and craft beers that Great Bay Distributors delivers each year, the family-owned company is installing an array of 5,000 solar panels as part of the roof. It will become the largest private solar power system in Florida. [TBO.com]
  • A proposal to build one of the world’s largest solar farms in a rural area south of Silicon Valley has cleared one of its final hurdles after five years of planning and environmental debate. The 247-MW facility still awaits a final environmental permit. [Contra Costa Times]
  • Some farmers in the Susquehanna Valley are generating solar electricity while growing crops on the same farmland. They are making money by selling Solar Renewable Energy Credits or using the power produced to save on their own energy bills. [Sunbury Daily Item]

August 24 Green Energy News

World:

  • China’s natural gas demand has been growing as the government seeks to move away from coal in favor of cleaner fuels. According to EIA’s International Energy Outlook 2013 Reference case, demand will more than triple from 5.2 Tcf in 2012 to 17.5 Tcf by 2040. [Energy Collective]
  • Soon after Navigant Research predicted investment in microgrids to reach $31 billion in the Asia Pacific region by 2023, it released another report investigating smart grid technologies, and predict that market spending will total $600 billion from 2014 through 2023. [CleanTechnica]
  • Sri Lanka now has a diversified power generating capacity of 4,100 MW, up from 2,014 MW largely dependent on oil in 2005. Renewable energy is being added, including hydro and solar. Almost 100% of households in the country will enjoy access to electricity by the end of this year. [Sunday Leader]
  • The Indian government is expected to invest $15 billion in cold-storage facilities over the next five years, powering much of it with renewable resources. Waste, partly through poor cold-storage infrastructure, currently may double vegetable and fruit prices. [The National]
  • In Australia, the Greens will today announce a policy to reinstate a Victorian Renewable Energy Target in a move that could pave the way for $5 billion of investment in already approved but not yet constructed wind energy projects. [Weekly Times Now]

US:

  • There seems to be some hysteria online about bird deaths associated with the Ivanpah solar project in California. For example, one news article calls the solar power plant a “death ray,” as if it is a weapon, and that hundreds of thousands of birds might be dying, or 28,000 or 1,000. [CleanTechnica]
  • Summers in the U.S. have been warming since 1970. But on average across the country cities are even hotter, and have been getting hotter faster than adjacent rural areas. In some metro areas in the past 10 years they have spiked as much as 27° higher. [Scientific American]
  • Solar energy is helping Nevada homeowners save thousands on their energy bills and decrease their carbon footprints. NV Energy opened its SolarGenerations program that can provide homeowners with a rebate of 40 cents per watt on approved new installations. [Las Vegas Review-Journal]
  • Energy security is a priority for the US Army, as many of its installations are at the end of the power line. The Army is enacting a three-step program of on-site renewable generation, microgrids, and energy storage to help ensure its bases never go dark again. [NASDAQ]

August 23 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “Eight billion reasons to ignore your customers” Research conducted for The Australian Conservation Foundation, The Climate Institute and WWF – Australia has found our clean energy target is actually GOOD for Australian families.  [SBS]
  • “Is wind power viable?” Wind power currently provides 4% of all US electricity. Massachusetts residents now have the option to fuel their homes with 100% green energy through Mass Energy’s New England Green Start program. [Berkshire Eagle]

World:

  • This summer, the Raglan mine in northern Canada began installing its first wind turbine, manufactured by Enercon, in Germany. Verret predicts that this wind turbine would replace about 5% of the mine’s diesel consumption – or 2.4-million litres of diesel. [Creamer Media's Mining Weekly]
  • Already gaining traction in the United States and Europe, a model of getting the public to collectively fund the installation of solar panels on private properties — for as little as S$10 ($8) in exchange for modest returns — is set to be launched in Singapore next month. [TODAYonline]
  • Southeast Asia’s sole zinc smelter, Padaeng Industry, yesterday announced a Bt1.5-billion ($50 million) investment program to turn itself into a “green business” operation, in a bid to avert bankruptcy when it has to close the smelter within 30 months. [The Nation]
  • Chinese wind turbine manufacturer Goldwind boosted its net profit in the first half of 2014 by 256.8% to 330 million yuan ($53.65 million) compared with the year-ago period on the back of a “sector recovery”. [reNews]
  • The Polish government has published a draft energy policy, which looks to reduce dependency on coal in favour of a low-carbon energy mix. The document released for consultation outlines a strategy of moving away from generation through coal. [World Coal]

US:

  • Until battery cost is cut down to $100 per kWh, the majority of U.S. consumers for battery electric vehicles will be better off by choosing an electric vehicle with a range below 100 miles, according to a new study in Transportation Science. [ScienceDaily]
  • Investment bank UBS says the addition of electric vehicles, and the proliferation of battery storage, will solve the problem of intermittency for rooftop solar and make it viable without subsidies. [CleanTechnica]
  • The cost of solar photovoltaic panels has come down sharply in the last two years, putting solar power within shouting distance of making business sense in Kansas, say installers. Right now, just 200 of Westar Energy’s 680,000 customers have solar systems. [Kansas.com]
  • Housing authorities that are seeking alternate energy sources or new funding streams will be particularly interested in HUD’s latest PIH notice. Its changes seek to encourage use of on-site renewable energy technology at federally subsidized housing projects. [JD Supra]
  • Invenergy, the Chicago-based independent renewable-power producer, has repudiated a lawsuit brought against its recently completed 94 MW Orangeville wind farm in New York state, calling the suit “unfounded”. [Recharge]

August 22 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “Opening the Multi-Trillion Dollar Market for Energy Management” Energy management is one of the most important parts of our changing energy landscape. It is a market made up of part energy efficiency, part Big Data solution and part Internet of Things. [Energy Collective]

World:

  • Greenland and Antarctica are home to the two largest ice sheets in the world, and a new report released Wednesday says that they are contributing to sea level rise twice as much as they were just five years ago. [Huffington Post]
  • Construction on one of the world’s largest tidal power projects will begin in the Pentland Firth later this year, Energy Minister Fergus Ewing has announced. Once completed, the 269-turbine project could power almost 175,000 homes and support over 100 jobs in the north of Scotland. [Herald Scotland]
  • The first utility-scale solar PV project in Rwanda will have a generation capacity of 8.5 MW, and will boost the country’s installed power generation capacity by more than 7%. That is a big achievement for a country in which fewer than one in five homes have access to electricity. [CleanTechnica]
  • Bloomberg reports that Africa is expected to add about 1.8 gigawatts of wind, solar, biomass, or geothermal power. Sub-Saharan Africa will add more renewable energy projects in 2014 than it has in the last 14 years. [ThinkProgress]
  • The Norwegian energy companies Statoil and Statkraft have awarded Siemens Energy an order for 67 D6 wind turbines for the Dudgeon offshore wind power plant in the UK. Each turbine is rated at 6 MW and is equipped with a 154-meter rotor. [Renewable Energy Magazine]
  • The organized opposition to the federal government’s moves to abolish or reduce Australia’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) has begun. More than 500 people attended a rally in Brisbane to protest against changes to the RET. [pv magazine]

US:

  • The TVA will shut down the Allen coal plant in Memphis, Tennessee and build a new natural gas-fired power plant on the same site in the next four years. TVA directors unanimously approved construction of a $975 million, combined-cycle gas plant as a replacement. [Chattanooga Times Free Press]
  • PSEG, a utility based in New Jersey, recommended that the Long Island Power Authority delay a series of new or pending projects. Nevertheless, LIPA is moving ahead with its plans for a big, new green energy source, including a proposed $1 billion wind farm. [Newsday]
  • A Massachusetts court has reinstated the building permit for a controversial wood-burning power plant in Springfield, overturning a vote by the city’s zoning board of appeals to invalidate the building permit for the 35-MW power plant proposed by Palmer Renewable Energy. [WAMC]
  • Microsoft Corp. has left the American Legislative Exchange Council because of concerns about the lobbying group’s opposition to renewable energy, according to the Sustainability Group and Walden Asset Management, sustainable investing asset management companies. [Bloomberg]
  • In results from a new poll by Public Policy Partners released today by Public Citizen and the Sierra Club, a strong percentage of Ohio electricity customers favor clean, renewable energy sources to power the state – and do not support subsidizing aging coal plants to keep them going. [eNews Park Forest]
  • California officials have been urged to halt the operations of the Ivanpah solar plant, which was built by BrightSource Energy in the Mojave Desert, as some environment groups have raised concerns about its impact on birds and other wildlife of the desert. [Energy Business Review]

August 21 Green Energy News

Science and Technology:

  • Under the right scenario, exporting US coal to power plants in South Korea could lead to a 21% drop in greenhouse gas emissions compared to burning it at less energy-efficient US plants. This depends on which fuel is used to replace the coal in the US. [ScienceDaily]
  • The study from the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory demonstrates a concept that provides opportunities for the successful conversion of lignin into a variety of renewable fuels, chemicals, and materials for a sustainable energy economy. [EIN News]

World:

  • India’s plans for setting up the world’s largest solar power station has been hit by political wrangling. A newly-elected local state government says the area is only to be used for salt-making. The salt lake is home to migratory birds. [Wall Street Journal]
  • The European Commission now expects final power demand in 2020 to be 11% lower than it did in 2009. The commission has prepared three growth scenarios for wind power, with growth projections ranging from 41% to 85.9% by 2020. [Maritime Journal]
  • World energy markets will soon enter a period of “extreme flux,” according to a new report out from Citigroup. The report paints a bleak picture for the future of the oil industry, while predicting massive growth in the renewable sector. [OilPrice.com]
  • In India, 306 million people don’t have access to electricity. An Australian company is helping to address this issue via solar power. One of the products they offer is the Sunking light, which comes with a small detachable solar panel. [Energy Matters]
  • The British government is currently lobbying the European Commission for a legal exemption to keep a south-Wales power station open, despite the fact its nitrogen oxide emissions exceed EU legal limits by 500%. [RT]
  • A public poll conducted by ComRes quizzed all three major UK political parties over their support for various renewables. More than four out of five MPs said that they supported the deployment of renewables in order to decrease dependence on oil and gas. [Solar Power Portal]

US:

  • Researchers have developed a new type of solar concentrator that when placed over a window creates solar energy while allowing people to actually see through the window. It is a transparent luminescent solar concentrator and can be used on anything that has a flat, clear surface. [ScienceDaily]
  • Greenhouse gas regulations recently proposed by the EPA could make it virtually impossible to build a 895-MW coal-fired facility next to an existing plant outside Holcomb, Kansas. Carbon emissions from the new unit may exceed the limits by about 50%. [hays Post]
  • During July, 100% of US utility-scale power installations were renewables. So far this year, 25.8% of installations were utility scale solar, 25.1% wind, combined with biomass, geothermal and hydropower, the total is 53.8%. The rest was nearly all natural gas. [CleanTechnica]
  • In many places, anti-wind activists fight wind turbines. In Iowa, the state which produces the greatest portion of its power from wind, it’s more that people are fighting to get wind turbines on their land, according to Iowa Wind Energy Association Executive Director Mike Prior. [Breaking Energy]
  • In just three years, new numbers tell us, more than half of the states in the US may have rooftop solar available at the same price as the local grid’s electric rates. And that’s even without considering state and local incentives! [CleanTechnica]

August 20 Green Energy News

Science and Technology:

  • Algae Systems LLC demonstrated a process that combines wastewater with algae to produce the world’s first energy-generating wastewater treatment process, using carbon-negative technologies. This process will yield both bio-fuel and drinking water. [Your Renewable News]

World:

  • According to analysis produced by Lauri Myllyvirta and Greenpeace International in the first half of this year, China’s coal use dropped for the first time this century – while the country’s gross domestic product actually grew. [Energy Collective]
  • In Australia, Queensland businesses with their own renewable resources are being hit with service charges of up to $500 a day on their electricity bills, in a move the solar industry says is designed to kill the roll-out of commercial-scale rooftop solar across the state. [CleanTechnica]
  • JinkoSolar, a solar cells and photovoltaic manufacturer, has announced that is has signed an agreement with the administration of Lishui, Zhejiang province, to set up 500 MW of solar power capacity over the next five years. [CleanTechnica]
  • Demand for renewable electricity and power generation capacity is growing at an unprecedented rate in the Asia Pacific region. Cumulative investment in microgrids across the region will total $30.8 billion from 2014 to 2023, according to a Navigant Research report. [PennEnergy]

US:

  • Last month, twelve major corporations announced a combined goal of buying 8.4 million MWh of renewable energy each year, and called for market changes to make these large-scale purchases possible. Demand for renewables has reached the big time. [Energy Collective]
  • US Wind Inc bid a record $8.7 million to win the 1.45 GW Maryland offshore wind lease auction in the third competitive sale off the US east coast. Following a 19-round auction process, the developer claimed both the 670 MW, 32,737-acre north lease area and the 760 MW, 46,970-acre south area. [reNews]
  • Plains and Eastern Clean Line LLC has obtained approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission for its up to 3.5 GW transmission project that will deliver wind power from the Oklahoma Panhandle region to communities in Arkansas, Tennessee, and other states. [reNews]
  • A 10-year energy strategy for New Hampshire is due to be completed. The draft report envisions that by 2025 consumers will be empowered statewide to make choices that will help lower energy bills through self-reliance. This will make the state cleaner and more sustainable. [WMUR Manchester]

August Green Energy Times is Available Online

Articles in the August 15, 2014 edition of Green Energy Times have been posted and can be read online here:

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August 19 Green Energy News

Science and Technology:

  • A new battery electrode that combines liquid-state sodium and cesium to significantly improve the safety, efficiency and life span of sodium-beta batteries has been developed by researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington. [Chinatopix]

World:

  • The Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century says the world now gets 22% of its energy from renewable sources. And renewables accounted for more than 56% of last year’s investments for additions to global power capacity, beating fossil fuels for the fourth year in a row. [reNews]
  • Saudi Arabia is gearing up to generate approximately 30% of its power needs from solar power within the next 20 years. The kingdom hopes to install as much as 41 GW of PV solar energy capacity by 2032, and has enlisted the help of solar world-leader China to reach that goal. [pv magazine]
  • Tony Abbott’s attacks on the renewable energy industry have effectively killed the wind energy and large-scale solar market in Australia – at least for the next few years. But it could spark another rush to solar for households and small businesses before remaining incentives are closed. [RenewEconomy]
  • Clean Energy Finance Corporation says it still plans to build Australia’s largest solar power station in Alice Springs, despite similar projects losing momentum. In July, they announced a $13 million loan to triple the project’s capacity. [ABC Online]
  • The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region plans to use electricity created by offshore wind farms by 2017. Huadian Heavy Industries will introduce ocean-energy technologies to build an industrial base for ocean wind power in Hebei province. [China.org.cn]
  • Eco Energy World Ltd has connected five solar-energy farms totalling 70 MW to the grid in the UK in the past few weeks. The renewable energy developer’s new solar projects are located in Essex, Devon and Wiltshire. [Renewable Energy Magazine]
  • A new record 22% of UK electricity was generated by wind power on August 17, according to industry body RenewableUK. The 22% meant wind outshone coal’s 13% share and nudged close to nuclear (24%) and gas (26%). [Recharge]
  • A new report released by the Alberta government reveals a concerning trend with declining air quality as a result of tar sands operations. The data the report is based on are two years old, and there is no indication what the government’s management actions will be. [Energy Collective]

US:

  • Minnesota’s solar power industry is in a growth spurt that’s about to accelerate. The industry, once focused largely on installing solar photovoltaic panels for homes, businesses and government, now is seeing a surge in investment by electric utilities. [RenewablesBiz]
  • Solar power, apparently, is working out just fine in Frederick County, Maryland. Vivint Solar has installed solar panels on more than 160 Frederick County homes since the company opened its Frederick office in April, and they say they have enough jobs to keep them busy for a long time. [RenewablesBiz]
  • A just-released Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory report pegs utility-scale wind power-purchase agreement pricing as averaging $25 per MWh for projects that negotiated contracts in 2013. That’s cheap power. [Greentech Media]
  • The US ranks second in installed wind power capacity in the world with 61 GW of total capacity following modest growth in 2013, according to a Department of Energy report. Wind power additions stalled last year with only 1,087 MW of new capacity added. [reNews]
  • Apel Steel Corporation, based in Cullman, Alabama is having a 340 kWh PV system designed to generate 470,213 kWh of AC solar power a year – meeting 98% of the firm’s energy needs in the process and all but taking the company off the state grid. [pv magazine]