NewEnergyNews

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

Every day is Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • THE STUDY: WORLD WIND’S GROWTH GOES ON
  • QUICK NEWS, April 23: MONEY COMING BACK TO NEW ENERGY; CELLULOSIC BIOFUELS FROM CORN STOVER STUMBLE; SUIT AGAINST WIND FOR BAT IMPACTS THROWN OUT
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    THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE ECONOMIC ADVANTAGES OF NEW ENERGY – THE NORTH CAROLINA CASE
  • QUICK NEWS, April 22: ON EARTH – A QUICK LOOK BACK; OBSERVATIONS FOR EARTH DAY (continued); OBAMA ADMIN UPS BACKING FOR NEW ENERGY
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • THE STUDY: THE U.S. NEW ENERGY MARKET NOW AND AHEAD
  • QUICK NEWS, April 21: OBSERVATIONS FOR EARTH DAY; BACK TO OWNERSHIP IN SOLAR; 15X GROWTH FOR ASIA PACIFIC MIDROGRIDS
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Happy Birthday Solar Cell
  • Weekend Video: Offshore Wind As A Hurricane A Wall
  • Weekend Video: Get On The Climate Policy Train
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 5 (continued from yesterday)
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 6
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 7
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 8
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, April 17:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 1
  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 2
  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 3
  • TTTA Thursday-THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 4
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is a biweekly contributor to NewEnergyNews

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT)

    November 26, 2013 (Huffington Post via NewEnergyNews)

    Everywhere we turn, environmental news is filled with horrid developments and glimpses of irreversible tipping points.

    Just a handful of examples are breathtaking: Scientists have dared to pinpoint the years at which locations around the world may reach runaway heat, and in the northern hemisphere it's well in sight for our children: 2047. Survivors of Superstorm Sandy are packing up as costs of repair and insurance go out of reach, one threat that climate science has long predicted. Or we could simply talk about the plight of bees and the potential impact on food supplies. Surprising no one who explores the Pacific Ocean, sailor Ivan MacFadyen described long a journey dubbed The Ocean is Broken, in which he saw vast expanses of trash and almost no wildlife save for a whale struggling a with giant tumor on its head, evoking the tons of radioactive water coming daily from Fukushima's lamed nuclear power center. Rampaging fishing methods and ocean acidification are now reported as causing the overpopulation of jellyfish that have jammed the intakes of nuclear plants around the world. Yet the shutting down of nuclear plants is a trifling setback compared with the doom that can result in coming days at Fukushima in the delicate job to extract bent and spent fuel rods from a ruined storage tank, a project dubbed "radioactive pick up sticks."

    With all these horrors to ponder you wouldn't expect to hear that you should also worry about the United States running out of coal. But you would be wrong, says Leslie Glustrom, founder and research director for Clean Energy Action. Her contention is that we've passed the peak in our nation's legendary supply of coal that powers over one-third of our grid capacity. This grim news is faithfully spelled out in three reports, with the complete story told in Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves (pdf). (Disclosure: I serve on CEA's board and have known the author for years.)

    Glustrom's research presents a sea change in how we should understand our energy challenges, or experience grim consequences. It's not only about toxic and heat-trapping emissions anymore; it's also about having enough energy generation to run big cities and regions that now rely on coal. Glustrom worries openly about how commerce will go on in many regions in 2025 if they don't plan their energy futures right.

    2013-11-05-FigureES4_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    Scrutinizing data for prices on delivered coal nationwide, Glustrom's new report establishes that coal's price has risen nearly 8 percent annually for eight years, roughly doubling, due mostly to thinner, deeper coal seams plus costlier diesel transport expenses. Higher coal prices in a time of "cheap" natural gas and affordable renewables means coal companies are lamed by low or no profits, as they hold debt levels that dwarf their market value and carry very high interest rates.

    2013-11-05-Table_ES2_FULL.jpgclick to enlarge

    2013-11-05-Figure_ES2_FULL.jpg

    One leading coal company, Patriot, filed for bankruptcy last year; many others are also struggling under bankruptcy watch and not eager to upgrade equipment for the tougher mining ahead. Add to this the bizarre event this fall of a coal lease failing to sell in Wyoming's Powder River Basin, the "Fort Knox" of the nation's coal supply, with some pundits agreeing this portends a tightening of the nation's coal supply, not to mention the array of researchers cited in the report. Indeed, at the mid point of 2013, only 488 millions tons of coal were produced in the U.S.; unless a major catch up happens by year-end, 2013 may be as low in production as 1993.

    Coal may exist in large quantities geologically, but economically, it's getting out of reach, as confirmed by US Geological Survey in studies indicating that less than 20 percent of US coal formations are economically recoverable, as explored in the CEA report. To Glustrom, that number plus others translate to 10 to 20 years more of burning coal in the US. It takes capital, accessible coal with good heat content and favorable market conditions to assure that mining companies will stay in business. She has observed a classic disconnect between camps of professionals in which geologists tend to assume money is "infinite" and financial analysts tend to assume that available coal is "infinite." Both biases are faulty and together they court disaster, and "it is only by combining thoughtful estimates of available coal and available money that our country can come to a realistic estimate of the amount of US coal that can be mined at a profit." This brings us back to her main and rather simple point: "If the companies cannot make a profit by mining coal they won't be mining for long."

    No one is more emphatic than Glustrom herself that she cannot predict the future, but she presents trend lines that are robust and confirmed assertively by the editorial board at West Virginia Gazette:

    Although Clean Energy Action is a "green" nonprofit opposed to fossil fuels, this study contains many hard economic facts. As we've said before, West Virginia's leaders should lower their protests about pollution controls, and instead launch intelligent planning for the profound shift that is occurring in the Mountain State's economy.

    The report "Warning, Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" and its companion reports belong in the hands of energy and climate policy makers, investors, bankers, and rate payer watchdog groups, so that states can plan for, rather than react to, a future with sea change risk factors.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    It bears mentioning that even China is enacting a "peak coal" mentality, with Shanghai declaring that it will completely ban coal burning in 2017 with intent to close down hundreds of coal burning boilers and industrial furnaces, or shifting them to clean energy by 2015. And Citi Research, in "The Unimaginable: Peak Coal in China," took a look at all forms of energy production in China and figured that demand for coal will flatten or peak by 2020 and those "coal exporting countries that have been counting on strong future coal demand could be most at risk." Include US coal producers in that group of exporters.

    Our world is undergoing many sorts of change and upheaval. We in the industrialized world have spent about a century dismissing ocean trash, overfishing, pesticides, nuclear hazard, and oil and coal burning with a shrug of, "Hey it's fine, nature can manage it." Now we're surrounded by impacts of industrial-grade consumption, including depletion of critical resources and tipping points of many kinds. It is not enough to think of only ourselves and plan for strictly our own survival or convenience. The threat to animals everywhere, indeed to whole systems of the living, is the grief-filled backdrop of our times. It's "all hands on deck" at this point of human voyaging, and in our nation's capital, we certainly don't have that. Towns, states and regions need to plan fiercely and follow through. And a fine example is Boulder Colorado's recent victory to keep on track for clean energy by separating from its electric utility that makes 59 percent of its power from coal.

    Clean Energy Action is disseminating "Warning: Faulty Reporting of US Coal Reserves" for free to all manner of relevant professionals who should be concerned about long range trends which now include the supply risks of coal, and is supporting that outreach through a fundraising campaign.

    [Clean Energy Action is fundraising to support the dissemination of this report through December 11. Contribute here.]

    Author's note: Want to support my work? Please "fan" me at Huffpost Denver, here (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anne-butterfield). Thanks.

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    Anne's previous NewEnergyNews columns:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    Your intrepid reporter

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

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

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  • Thursday, April 24, 2014

    AT GROUND ZERO FOR U.S. CLIMATE CHANGE

    Spending Earth Day at Ground Zero for Climate Change In America

    Mark Grunwald, April 22, 2014 (Time)

    “…[A]t an Earth Day hearing in my Miami Beach neighborhood, I got to hear [former astronauts Senator Bill Nelson and NASA science official Piers Sellers] reminisce about the view from 10 million feet…[Climate change is real, they said,] and it’s already a problem in my low-lying part of the world. Saltwater intrusion is increasing in the freshwater Everglades, which is causing problems for farmers…[O]ver the next fifty years, Miami-Dade’s beaches will need about 23 million cubic yards of new sand…Miami Beach alone plans to spend $400 million to upgrade drainage infrastructure…[Yet] Republican politicians in coastal areas [like]Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina] rarely acknowledge the danger their constituents face from rising seas…Dr. Sellers pointed out [that] the IPCC believes the main cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels. And as Senator Nelson pointed out, it will take government action—he mentioned the possibility of a carbon tax—to reduce the burning of fossil fuels…Ultimately, the local argument against climate change—it might flood your neighborhood—seems a lot less compelling than the global argument, the Blue Marble argument. This is a nice earth. It’s our home. It’s the only planet with ice cream and the Everglades and the NBA playoffs. We should try not to mess it up…” click here for more

    GOOGLE INVESTS $100MIL IN ROOFTOP SOLAR FUND

    Going Solar with SunPower

    April 23, 2014 (Google Blog)

    “…[The day after Google’s] biggest renewable energy purchase yet: an agreement with our Iowa utility partners to supply our data center facilities there with up to 407 megawatts of wind energy…[It] joined with SunPower Corporation to create] a new $250 million fund to help finance the purchase of residential rooftop solar systems…Using the fund ($100 million from Google and $150 million from SunPower), we buy the solar panel systems. Then we lease them to homeowners at a cost that’s typically lower than their normal electricity bill…SunPower delivers solar to residential, utility and commercial customers and also manufacturers its own solar cells and panels…This is…our third residential rooftop solar investment (the others being with Solar City and Clean Power Finance). Overall we’ve invested more than $1 billion in 16 renewable energy projects around the world, and we’re always on the hunt for new opportunities…” click here for more

    HOW WIND IS INNOVATING

    Where Is The Real Innovation In Wind Energy?

    Mike Barnard, April 21, 2014 (Clean Technica)

    “Wind energy is a tremendous success story worldwide, with staggering amounts of innovation…Innovation has two flavours: disruptive and incremental…The wind industry centred around the iconic three-blade horizontal axis wind turbine is an example of a disruptive innovation…[that happened through these incremental technical innovations] over the past forty years: Wind turbine height…Mechanical efficiency…Specialization...Aerodynamic improvements…Optimized maintenance…Robustness…Wind modeling…Advanced materials…Advanced coatings…There is tremendous ongoing innovation in wind power generation…[T]he same story can be told about photovoltaic solar generation…” click here for more

    FEDS STUDY OREGON’S OCEAN ENERGY MARKET

    BOEM Assesses Prospects of Wave Energy off Oregon

    Eric Haun, March 24, 2014 (MarineLink)

    "…[T]he Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) [initiated on March 24 a 30-day public comment period to assess]…whether there is competitive interest in wave energy research or development in an area of federal waters offshore Oregon where the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University (NNMREC-OSU) proposes to site a hydrokinetic energy facility to test utility-scale wave energy devices…[The Pacific Marine Energy Center – South Energy Test Site would test] utility-scale wave energy devices at four test berths [located about four nautical miles offshore Newport, Oregon in water depths ranging from 180-230 feet], with a connection to the mainland electric grid via a subsea cable…The project is designed to support up to 10 megawatts (MW) of electricity generation from individual devices and small-scale arrays…The Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the total technically recoverable wave energy resource along the U.S. coast to be 1,170 terawatts a year (TWh/yr), which is almost one third of the 4,000 TWh of electricity used in the United States each year…The recoverable wave energy resource for the West Coast is estimated at 250 TWh/year…” click here for more

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    TODAY’S STUDY: WORLD WIND’S GROWTH GOES ON

    Global Wind Report; Annual Market Update 2013

    April 2014 (Global Wind Energy Council)

    The Global Status Of Wind Power In 2013

    More than 35 GW of new wind power capacity was brought online in 2013, but this was a sharp decline in comparison to 2012, when global installations were in excess of 45 GW In terms of overall investments the global wind sector saw a small decline to USD 80 3bn (EUR 58 7bn1 ) in 2013, down from USD 80 9bn (EUR 59 2bn) in 20122

    The new global total at the end of 2013 was 318,105 MW, representing cumulative market growth of more than 12 5 percent, strong growth for a manufacturing industry given the economic climate, even though it is lower than the average annual rate over the last 10 years of approximately 21 percent

    At the end of 2012, the expectations for wind power market growth were uncertain, as continued economic slowdown in Europe and the political uncertainty in the US made it difficult to make projections 2013 turned out to be another difficult year for the industry, mainly due to the dramatic drop in the US market after record installations in 2012

    China, the largest overall market for wind since 2009, had a good year, and once again gained the top spot in 2013 Installations in Asia again led global markets, with Europe reliably in the second spot, and North America a distant third

    A result of this was that in 2013, unlike in 2012, the majority of wind installations globally were outside the OECD once again This was also the case in 2010 and 2011, and is likely to continue to be the case for the foreseeable future

    By the end of last year the number of countries with more than 1,000 MW installed capacity was 24: including 16 in Europe;3

    4 in Asia-Pacific (China, India, Japan & Australia); 3 in North America (Canada, Mexico, US) & 1 in Latin America (Brazil) By the end of last year six countries had more than 10,000 MW in installed capacity including China (91,412 MW), the US (61,091 MW), Germany (34,250 MW), Spain (22,959 MW), India (20,150 MW) and the UK (10,531 MW)

    China will at some point in 2014 cross the 100,000 MW mark, adding another milestone to its already exceptional history of renewable energy development since 2005 Largely driven by China, Asia is likely to overtake Europe as the region with the most deployed wind capacity by the end of 2014

    Looking ahead, while 2014 is likely to be much better than 2013 in terms of overall installations, the picture is complex across various regions Europe’s framework legislation and its 2020 targets ensure a degree of stability, but a wave of policy uncertainty and the lack of clarity on its post 2020 regime for renewables, combined with the on-going economic crunch means that the outlook for the 2014 market is subdued

    The slowdown in Asia in 2012-2013 was a result of a combination of factors, but these conditions are expected to be short-lived, and Asian dominance of global wind markets is expected to continue Market consolidation and rationalisation in China is now almost over which could lead to installations at 2010/11 levels A partial reinstatement of support mechanisms (GBI) in India is likely to lead to a better 2014 outcome than in 2013, but the market is unlikely to return to 2011 levels before 2015-16

    Canada, Brazil and Mexico are expected to have strong years in 2014, and more than five hundred megawatts from sub-Saharan Africa will come on line for the first time: in South Africa, Ethiopia and possibly Kenya Global installations will be further propped up by new projects coming on line in Japan, Australia, Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand

    Although in the US, the Production Tax Credit expired again at the end of 2013, the new PTC rules mean there will be strong installations in 2014 and 2015, and a more comprehensive set of tax reform legislation may be in the works.

    Asia: China And India Remain At The Top

    For the sixth year in a row, Asia was the world’s largest regional market for wind energy, with capacity additions totaling just over 18 2 GW

    In terms of annual installations China regained its leadership position, adding 16 1 GW of new capacity in 2013, a significant gain over 2012 when it installed 12 96 GW of new capacity In 2011, the new annual installed wind power capacity in China (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) was 17 63 GW By the end of 2011, its cumulative installed capacity was over 62 GW In 2011, China was the world’s second-largest wind producer, generating 73 billion kWh, a level about 64% higher than in 20104

    In 2012, wind-generated electricity in China amounted to 100 4 billion kWh, accounting for 2 percent of the country’s total electricity output, up from 1 5 percent in 20115 Wind power generated 134 9 billion kWh of electricity in 2013, up 34 percent year on year, contributing 2 6 percent of the country’s total electricity generation.

    China’s total installed electricity generation capacity was an estimated 1,145 GW at the beginning of 2013 By the end of 2012, wind energy (5 percent) had the third largest installed capacity after coal (66 percent) and hydropower (22 percent), surpassing natural gas (3 percent) and nuclear (1 percent)7 By the end of 2013, wind’s contribution had risen to 6 percent8

    The Chinese wind market more than doubled its capacity from 44 7 GW in 2010 to reach 91 4 GW by the end of 2013, cementing China’s global lead in terms of cumulative installed wind power capacity

    Everyone has been surprised by the astonishing growth of China’s wind sector since 2006, but it is now entering a more steady development and refinement stage The pace of growth in the Chinese wind energy market had in the period from 2010-12 outstripped the ability of the power grid and system operators to manage it effectively Curtailment of electricity generation became a new challenge for wind power projects In 2011 alone, more than 10 billion kWh of wind power was lost because the grid had no capacity to absorb it

    In the meantime, however, the NEA and State Grid are working to solve the transmission bottlenecks and other grid issues The NEA is also actively encouraging wind farm development in lower wind zones that are closer to load centers.

    India today is the second largest wind market in Asia, presenting substantial opportunities for both international and domestic players The Indian wind sector has struggled in the last couple of years to repeat the strong market in 2011 when over 3 GW was installed, and 2013 was a slower year due to a lapse in policy in 2012

    Nonetheless, India saw new wind energy installations of 1,729 MW in 2013, for a total of 20,150 MW This pace of growth kept the Indian wind power market firmly in the top five rankings globally As of January 2014, total wind installations had risen to 20,298 8 MW bringing the total grid connected renewable energy installations in the country to 30,177 9 MW9

    By the end of 2012, renewable energy accounted for over 12 8% of total installed capacity, and about 5% of electricity generation, up from 2% in 1995 Wind power accounted for about 66% of total renewable energy capacity and about 8 6% of the total installed capacity of 234 GW at the end of January 201410 With the acute need for electrification and rising power consumption in the country, wind energy is going to provide an increasingly significant share of the renewables based capacity While the rest of Asia did not make much progress in 2013, there are some favourable signs on the horizon.

    The Japanese market saw new installations of 50MW in 2013 to reach a cumulative capacity of 2,661 MW This represents around 0 5% of the total power supply in Japan After the Fukushima accident in March 2011, Japan is slowly moving towards a transformation of its energy system to allow for a more diverse energy mix including more wind power and other renewables However, removing existing barriers will still take some time Offshore wind development, in particular floating turbines, is a promising prospect for the future

    The Government of South Korea made “green growth” one of its national development priorities Although wind power is still a relatively small energy generation technology in South Korea, 2013 saw 79 MW of new installations onshore, which brought the total installed capacity to 561 MW The Korean government had earlier put forward a strategy for offshore wind development with a target of 2 5 GW by 2019

    Thailand added 111 MW of new capacity in 2013, bringing its total up to 223 MW Pakistan commissioned another large-scale commercial wind farm of 50 MW in 2013, with total installed capacity reaching 106 MW by the end of the year Taiwan added 43 MW of new capacity, bringing its total installed capacity up to 614 MW As for the rest of Asia, we expect new projects to come on line in Vietnam and the Philippines in 2014.

    North America: Record Installations In Canada

    1,599 MW of new wind capacity came online in Canada in 2013, making it the fifth largest market globally Compared to the 938 9 MW added in 2012, Canada’s wind power market saw significant growth in 2013, its best year ever Wind power now supplies approximately 3 percent of Canada’s electricity

    Ontario leads Canada with more than 2,470 MW, now supplying over 3% of the province’s electricity Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) confirmed that the production of wind energy in Ontario had doubled over the past four years, from 2 3 to 5 2 TWh between 2009 and 201311 Quebec ranks a close second with 2,398 3 MW in installed capacity Quebec is likely to see a total of 3,300 MW of wind energy commissioned by 201512

    The Canadian industry expects another record year in 2014 with the addition of almost 2,000 MW of new capacity, led by Ontario and Quebec

    Uncertain federal policies in the US continue to inflict a ‘boom-bust’ cycle on the country’s wind industry The US had its strongest year ever in 2012, but 2013 saw a precipitous drop in installations of over 92% year on year with just 1,084 MW in new installations, most of that in the fourth quarter

    The US is now home to over 61 GW of wind power capacity, up from 60 GW in 2012 By the end of 2013, wind provided 5 23% of total installed generation capacity in the US13

    The production tax credit for wind and other renewable energy technologies expired at the end of 2013 However, an important provision was included in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (enacted in January 2013) allowing eligible projects that were ‘under construction’ before January 1, 2014 to qualify for the PTC Although the US market came to a near complete stop in 2013, the nature of the extension has created a combined pipeline of over 12 GW of projects under construction14

    In terms of total capacity, Texas again leads the Top-5 rankings with 12,355 MW, followed by California (5,830 MW), Indiana (5,178 MW), Illinois (3,568 MW) and Oregon (3,153 MW) In the US, 29 of the 50 states have firm RPSs, and seven states have renewable energy goals According to AWEA, by the end of 2025 RPS markets will drive the development of more than 63 wind equivalent gigawatts (GWe) of new capacity15

    Mexico installed 380 4 MW of new capacity to reach a total of 1917 MW by the end of 2013 Last year was an important year for the wind industry in Mexico especially with the Constitutional Amendment enabling energy reform in December 2013 The market reforms for the electricity sector will have a significant impact on the future of wind power in the country Mexico has a target of 35% of electricity from renewable energy by 2024 2014 is set to mark a year of change for the wind industry in Mexico thanks to the new legislation.

    Europe: Stronger Than Expected Market

    During 2013, 12,031 MW of wind power was installed across Europe, with European Union (EU-28) countries accounting for 11,159 MW of the total The 2013 figures reflect orders made before the wave of political uncertainty that has swept across Europe since 2011, which is taking a toll on the wind power sector

    There are now just over 117 GW installed in the EU-28, and a total cumulative capacity of 121 4 GW for all of Europe Wind is now meeting 8% of EU electricity demand, up from 7% at the end of 2012, 6 3% at the end of 2011 and 4 8% at the end of 2009

    The overall EU installation levels mask significant volatility across Europe In a number of previously healthy markets such as Spain, Italy and France installations decreased significantly compared to 2012, by 84%, 65% and 24% respectively This has contributed to 46% of all new installations in 2013 being in just two countries (Germany and the United Kingdom), a significant change compared to previous years when installations were less concentrated and spread across many more healthy European markets

    Wind energy represented 32% of all new EU power capacity installed last year, and investments of between EUR 13 bn and EUR 18 bn Renewable power installations accounted for 72% of new installations during 2013 - 25 GW of a total 35 GW of new power capacity, up from 70% the previous year 2013 installations were led by Germany (29%), the UK (17%), Poland (8%), Sweden (6%), Romania (6%), Denmark (6%), France (6%), Italy (4%), Austria (3%) and all others accounted for 12%

    Offshore accounted for almost 14% of total EU wind power installations last year, up from 10% in 2012 It was a record year for offshore installations, with 1,567 MW of new capacity grid connected

    Currently, destabilized legislative frameworks, economic crises and austerity measures being implemented across Europe are hitting the wind industry The year ahead will be tough, and the long-term prospects for the wind industry are closely linked to the outcome of the debate over the EU’s 2030 targets for climate and energy The German wind energy market continued its steady growth in 2013, adding 3,238 MW to bring Germany’s total installed capacity up to 34 25 GW The German wind industry expects a solid 2014 as well

    The Renewable Resources Act (EEG) will be amended some time in 2014 Chancellor Merkel’s government agreed to phase out nuclear power in favour of renewables; however, her new coalition has talked about reducing the support available to renewables

    In January 2014, Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel proposed a plan for the reform of the EEG The proposal includes a cap on renewables of 45% of German electricity output by 2025, and of 60% by 2035 It also stipulates a 10% to 20% cut in feed-in tariffs for onshore wind and an annual cap to its expansion, as well as more hardship for PV16 The German and European renewables industry has been critical of the terms being discussed

    The United Kingdom was the second largest market for wind in Europe last year, adding 1,883 MW in 2013 of which 1,150 MW was onshore and 733 MW was offshore The UK is the largest offshore wind market in the world with total installations of almost 3,681 MW, accounting for over half of the European (and global) offshore market The UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) statistics released in February 2014 show that the amount of electricity produced by wind grew 38% from 2012 to 2013 In total the amount of electricity generated by wind grew from 5 5% in 2012 to 7 7% in 201317

    Following on from the 2012 launch of the Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Taskforce report, the UK government and industry are working together through the Offshore Wind Programme Board The UK’s offshore industry has signed up to a target of reducing costs by 30% by 2020, based on the delivery of 18GW of offshore wind.

    The other noteworthy European markets last year include Poland, Sweden, Italy, Turkey and Denmark Poland has had strong annual growth in the past couple of years despite a difficult political environment for renewables It now has a total installed capacity of 3,390 MW, up from 2,496 MW in 2012, the ninth largest wind market in Europe Sweden installed 724 MW in 2013 to reach a total installed capacity of 4,470 MW At the end of 2013, wind power accounted for 7% of Sweden’s total electricity consumption

    France’s wind capacity is also growing steadily and has now reached 8,254 MW The French government set a target of 25 GW by 2020, but it looks like it will be hard pressed to meet it Italy installed only 444 MW for a total of 8,552 MW, 65% below its installations for 2012 Denmark installed 657 MW for a total of 4,772 MW In 2013 wind power accounted for over 33% of Denmark’s total electricity consumption

    Turkey continued to be a growth market for wind power in 2013 It installed 646 MW for a total of 2,959 MW Looking ahead, the future of Turkey’s wind sector looks very promising Facing extensive impacts from domestic austerity measures Spain continued to be the second largest market in the EU in cumulative terms, but just 175 MW in new capacity was added in 2013, to reach 22 9 GW of cumulative capacity The future of the Spanish wind market at present is very uncertain.

    Latin America: Growing Stronger, Brazil Leads

    Wind power is reaching critical mass in a number of Latin American markets, and the region has begun developing a substantial wind power industry to complement its rich hydro and biomass (and potentially solar) resources In the medium to long-term, the demand for energy security and diversity of supply is expected to foster the growth of wind power in Latin America

    For the second year in a row the Latin American market installed over 1 GW of new capacity In 2012, six markets in the region installed 1,225 MW of new wind capacity for a total installed capacity of just over 3 5 GW In 2013, just four markets including Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay accounted for 1,163 MW of new wind power capacity for a total installed capacity of 4 8 GW

    Brazil once again led Latin America, adding 953 MW of new capacity; although the projects were fully commissioned not all of them could be given a grid connection before the end of the year Brazil is one of the most promising onshore markets for wind energy, for at least the next five years Brazil contracted for a total of 4 7 GW of new wind power in 2013 in three auctions, and has a strong pipeline of almost 7 GW to be completed by the end of 2015 Government projections foresee 17 5 GW of wind power installed in the country by the end of 2022

    Chile added 130 MW to reach a total of 335 MW, and Argentina added 76 MW of new capacity to bring its total installed capacity up to 218 MW last year Both Chile and Argentina are potentially promising markets, which have substantial wind resources Uruguay added to its total tally with the commissioning of 4 MW of new capacity, bringing its total installed capacity up to 59 MW

    In the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic added 52 MW of new capacity last year, bringing the total installed capacity across the Caribbean to 221 MW by the end of 2013

    Pacific: Wind In Australia Gives Confidence

    Total installed capacity across the region reached 3 8 GW last year The Australian market added 655 MW in 2013 (up from 358 MW in 2012), bringing its total installed capacity up to 3,239 MW

    According to recent research conducted by the Clean Energy Council, wind farms have reportedly generated more than AUD 4 bn (EUR 2 6 bn) in investment in Australia since their introduction19

    Last year Australia saw a new coalition government led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott come to power During the elections last year his party had stated that it would look again at Australia’s Renewable Energy target, which mandates that 20% of Australia’s power should come from renewables by 2020, with a 41 TWh annual generation goal from large-scale renewable sources A review panel has been constituted and will report to the government by the middle of this year, in time for its findings to be fed into an energy white paper This policy uncertainty may jeopardize up to AUD18 bn (EUR 11 6 bn) worth of investments and almost 30,000 jobs20 New Zealand and the rest of the Pacific did not add any new wind power capacity in 2013

    Africa And The Middle East

    Africa and the Middle East are awakening to the opportunity of their enormous wind power potential Growth in 2013 was still small in absolute terms, with just 90 MW installed across the region, for a cumulative total of 1,255 MW However, the South African market will take off in 2014, and several countries have announced long-term plans for installing commercial scale wind power: Ethiopia, Morocco, Kenya, Jordan, Tanzania and Saudi Arabia, among others

    Africa’s wind resource is best around the coasts and in the eastern highlands, but until last year it was in North and EastAfrica that wind power has been developed at scale This, too, is where current national policies are set to grow the sector further At the end of 2013, over 99% of the region’s total wind installations of 1,255 MW were to be found across nine countries - Egypt (550 MW), Morocco (291 MW), Ethiopia (171 MW), Tunisia (104 MW), Iran (91 MW), Cape Verde (24 MW), South Africa (10 MW), Israel (6 25 MW) and Kenya (5MW).

    Africa is likely to emerge as a new hot spot for wind energy development with new projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Mauritius coming online, along with a resurgence in Morocco 2014 will be a milestone for the South African market, where up to 1 GW of new capacity will come online

    2013: Slow Year Due To Policy Uncertainty

    2013 was a market with downward pressure on prices through oversupply in the turbine market; fierce competition with incumbents; and a wave of downward revisions to support mechanisms in an austerity driven economic landscape The industry continues to be challenged to compete on a price basis directly with heavily subsidized fossil fuel and nuclear energy plants, particularly in the OECD Having said that, all the fundamental drivers for wind power development still hold, and there is a need around the world for new power generation, which is clean, affordable, indigenous, reliable and quick to install…

    QUICK NEWS, April 23: MONEY COMING BACK TO NEW ENERGY; CELLULOSIC BIOFUELS FROM CORN STOVER STUMBLE; SUIT AGAINST WIND FOR BAT IMPACTS THROWN OUT

    MONEY COMING BACK TO NEW ENERGY Stronger First Quarter For Global Investment in Clean Energy; Small-scale solar in Japan and the US, and renewable power financings in emerging markets, help investment to rise 10% compared to Q1 2013

    April 16, 2014 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)

    “Investment in clean energy worldwide rallied nearly 10% in the first quarter of 2014 compared to the same period a year earlier, reaching $47.7bn…[owing] much to a 42% jump in investment in small-scale solar, as households and businesses in countries such as Japan and the US took advantage of the big falls that have taken place in the cost of photovoltaic systems…The first quarter is often the weakest of the year for investment in clean energy…So, although global investment in Q1 2014, at $47.7bn, was down on Q4′s $58.1bn, the more useful comparison is with the first quarter of 2013′s $43.6bn… Also rising strongly year-on-year was public markets investment…The WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index, or NEX, which tracks around 100 clean energy stocks worldwide, appreciated 11% in the first quarter, to roughly double its low of July 2012…” click here for more

    CELLULOSIC BIOFUELS FROM CORN STOVER STUMBLE Study: Fuels From Corn Waste Not Better Than Gas

    Dina Cappiello, April 21, 2014 (AP)

    “Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term…challenging the Obama administration's conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change…[A study in the] peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7 percent more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline…While biofuels are better in the long run, the study says they won't meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel…The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels…About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue…The biofuel industry and administration officials immediately criticized the research as flawed. They said it was too simplistic in its analysis of carbon loss from soil…” click here for more

    SUIT AGAINST WIND FOR BAT IMPACTS THROWN OUT Federal lawsuit over western Md. wind farm ends

    April 18, 2014 (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

    “A legal dispute over a western Maryland wind farm has ended…A U.S. District Court judge in Baltimore dismissed…The citizen group Save Western Maryland filed the lawsuit in 2010 against developers of the 28-turbine Criterion wind farm in Garrett County. The project owned by Chicago-based Exelon Corp has been operating since 2010… In December, the [U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service] approved operational changes Exelon had proposed to minimize harm to the bats…” click here for more

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    TODAY’S STUDY: THE ECONOMIC ADVANTAGES OF NEW ENERGY – THE NORTH CAROLINA CASE

    Economic Impact Analysis of Clean Energy Development in North Carolina—2014 Update

    April 2014 (RTI International for North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association)

    Executive Summary

    This report presents an update to the retrospective economic impact analysis of renewable energy and energy efficiency investment included in the 2013 report, The Economic, Utility Portfolio, and Rate Impact of Clean Energy Development in North Carolina, prepared by RTI International and LaCapra Associates (2013).

    In this supplement to the 2013 report, the direct and secondary effects associated with major energy efficiency initiatives and the construction, operation, and maintenance of renewable energy projects (collectively, “clean energy development”) are analyzed to measure the magnitude of clean energy development’s contribution to North Carolina’s economy.

    Changes in consumer, utility, and government spending patterns are analyzed, including

     investment in clean energy projects in North Carolina and their ongoing operation and maintenance,

     how renewable energy generation and energy savings from energy efficiency projects have changed spending on conventional energy generation,

     reductions in spending due to the utility rider renewable energy and energy efficiency performance standard, and

     government spending that would have been spent on other government services in the absence of state support for clean energy investment.

    Our research findings are as follows:

     Approximately $2,672.5 million was invested in clean energy development in North Carolina between 2007 and 2013, which was supported, in part, by the state government at an estimated cost of $135.2 million. Clean energy projects were nearly 20 times as large as the state incentives for them.

     Renewable energy project investment in 2013 was $732.4 million, or nearly 42 times the $17.5 million investment observed in 2007.

     Total contribution to gross state product (GSP) was $2,971.5 million between 2007 and 2013 (see Table ES-1).

     Clean energy development supported 37,100 annual full-time equivalents (FTEs) from 2007 to 2013.

     Catawba, Davidson, Duplin, Person, and Robeson Counties experienced the greatest amount of investment—more than $100 million each between 2007 and 2013.

     Beaufort, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Wake, and Wayne Counties each experienced between $50 million and $100 million between 2007 and 2013.

    Introduction…

    Between 2007 and 2013, annual investment in clean energy development in North Carolina increased nearly 20-fold from $44.6 million to $889.1 million, of which $732.4 million (82%) was for renewable energy projects and $156.7 million (18%) was for major energy efficiency initiatives. The total amount of energy generated or saved through renewable energy and energy efficiency programs amounted to 10.674 million MWh, which is sufficient to power nearly 985,000 homes for 1 year.

    Although the growth in energy generation from renewable sources has been documented in annual energy reports, the economic impact of clean energy development—economic activity from construction, operation, maintenance, changes in energy use, and consequent changes in spending—on North Carolina’s economy had not been comprehensively measured until the 2013 report, The Economic, Utility Portfolio, and Rate Impact of Clean Energy Development in North Carolina, prepared by RTI International and LaCapra Associates (2013)…

    Economic Impacts, 2007–2013

    From 2007 through 2013, $2,056.0 million was spent on construction and installation of renewable energy projects in North Carolina. An additional $616.5 million was spent on implementing energy efficiency programs.4 Total clean energy development was valued at $2,672.5 million.

    Although investment was distributed across the state, Catawba, Davidson, Duplin, Person, and Robeson Counties each experienced the greatest amount, with more than $100 million in renewable energy project investment each.

    Clean energy development contributed $2,971.5 million in GSP and supported 37,100 annual FTEs statewide. As a result of changes in economic activity from the development of clean energy in North Carolina, state and local governments realized tax revenue of $232.0 million.

    Estimated Direct Impacts Of Clean Energy Development

    As depicted in Figure 2-1 and Table 2-1, investment in clean energy development increased substantially over the 7-year analysis period. For example, renewable energy project investment in 2013 was $732.4 million, which was about 42 times the size of 2007’s $17.5 million. In 2013 alone, clean energy investment was 33% of the total investment from 2007 to 2013.

    In addition to demonstrating growth in investment value over time, Figure 2-1 and Table 2-1 illustrate that clean energy projects were nearly 20 times as large as the state incentives for them. Although we do not attempt to statistically estimate the share of these investments that was motivated by these incentive programs, it is likely that there is a strong positive relationship…

    Investment Value of Clean Energy Projects

    Renewable energy investment was estimated primarily from facilities registered with NC-RETS, supplemented with data from EIA databases—EIA-860 and EIA-923; North Carolina’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources; NCUC dockets for individual projects; NC Green Power; and personal communication with industry experts to adjust reported data or address areas where information was incomplete. Investments in energy efficiency were taken from program reports submitted by utilities to the NCUC and annual reports of the Utility Savings Initiative…

    Table 2-2 summarizes the cumulative direct spending in renewable energy by category between 2007 and 2013. Investment in renewable energy projects totaled $2,056.0 million. Investment in energy efficiency totaled $616.5 million. Thus, total clean energy investment was $2,672.5 million during the study period.

    Of the $2,056.0 million investment in renewable energy projects,

     solar photovoltaics made up $1,619.7 million (79%),

     biomass made up $122.7 million (6%), and

     landfill gas made up $144.6 million (7%).

    Renewable energy projects are widely distributed across North Carolina, bringing investment to both urban and rural counties. Figure 2-2 illustrates the geographic distribution of renewable energy projects individually valued at $1 million or greater. Including all eligible wind, landfill gas, biomass, hydroelectric, solar photovoltaics, and solar thermal projects valued over $1 million accounts for renewable project investment of approximately $1,816.4 million (88% of the total $2,056.0 million in renewable investment over the period).

    Catawba, Davidson, Duplin, Person, and Robeson Counties each experienced more than $100 million in renewable energy project investment from 2007 through 2013, and Beaufort, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Wake, and Wayne Counties each experienced between $50 million and $100 million in renewable project investment.

    In preparing last year’s Economic, Utility Portfolio, and Rate Impact of Clean Energy Development in North Carolina Final Report, RTI interviewed contacts from clean energy businesses who noted that jobs were often created in rural counties that had been hard hit by contraction in the construction industry.

    Energy Generated or Saved from Clean Energy Projects Tables 2-3 and 2-4 summarize the energy generated by renewable projects and the energy saved by energy efficiency projects between 2007 and 2013.

    Renewable energy facilities generated 6.8 million MWh of energy, of which

     72% was biomass,

     14% was landfill gas, and

     10% was solar photovoltaics.

    Efficiency initiatives also produced large savings in North Carolina. Energy efficiency programs run by utility companies saved 3.836 million MWh of energy during the study period. The Utility Savings Initiative, a government-run energy efficiency program, lacked data on specific MWh saved, but the program documents note savings of $559.7 million on energy expenses.

    Thus, total energy generated or saved from clean energy projects is estimated to amount to at least 10.7 million MWh.

    State Incentives for Clean Energy Investment State incentives for clean energy investment, including the renewable energy investment tax credit and state appropriations for the Utility Savings Initiative, are modeled as a reduction in spending on other government services.

    Investment spending was funded, in part, through state incentives. Through direct state government appropriation, renewable energy projects received $122.6 million in tax credits and energy efficiency projects received $12.6 million. Total government expenditures were $135.2 million between 2007 and 2013 (Table 2-5).

    For the purpose of this study, it was assumed that the money the government spent on renewable energy and energy efficiency was not spent on other government services. Thus, the government programs contributed to the positive investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency of $2,672.5 million.

    However, the $135.2 million spent on renewable energy and energy efficiency was shifted from what the government could have otherwise spent the money on, creating a minor offset that reduces gross impacts slightly…

    Secondary Impacts of Clean Energy Development…Changes in North Carolina Spending Patterns from Renewable Energy Generation…Changes in North Carolina Spending Patterns from Energy Efficiency Initiatives…North Carolina Economy-Wide Impacts…Impacts Associated with Renewable Energy Projects…Impacts Associated with Major Energy Efficiency Initiatives…

    Total Impact Associated with Clean Energy Projects

    For 2007 through 2013 the total economic activity associated with renewable energy projects and energy efficiency initiatives was (Table 2-8):

     $4,710.8 million in gross output (revenue),

     $2,971.5 million in GSP (value-added),

     37,100 FTEs, and

     $232.0 million in state and local tax revenues.

    These results account for a comparatively small offset associated with government spending changes because the tax credit and appropriations for the Utility Savings Initiative caused an estimated loss in output of $109.5 million. It should be noted that these losses are due to a reduction of government spending and not from any assumed issues with governmental involvement in the energy sector.

    In Table 2-8, the fiscal impact analysis shows that state and local governments realized revenue of $232.0 million as a result of gross changes in economic activity…

    QUICK NEWS, April 22: ON EARTH – A QUICK LOOK BACK; OBSERVATIONS FOR EARTH DAY (continued); OBAMA ADMIN UPS BACKING FOR NEW ENERGY

    ON EARTH – A QUICK LOOK BACK

    Every day is Earth Day. Make a difference. Be the change. From csunas via YouTube

    OBSERVATIONS FOR EARTH DAY (continued) 17 Inspiring Quotes for Earth Day…(continued from yesterday)

    Vi-An Nguyen, April 19, 2014 (Parade)

    “Celebrate Earth Day…with moving quotes about the natural world from conservationists and naturalists…They’re all worth remembering on this day set aside to honor Mother Nature…Here is your country. Cherish these natural wonders, cherish the natural resources, cherish the history and romance as a sacred heritage, for your children and your children’s children. Do not let selfish men or greedy interests skin your country of its beauty, its riches or its romance. — Theodore Roosevelt…Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together … all things connect… — Chief Seattle…You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you. What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. — Jane Goodall…” continued from yesterday – click here for more

    OBAMA ADMIN UPS BACKING FOR NEW ENERGY US Energy Dept plans $4 bln in loan aid for renewable energy

    Ayesha Rascoe, April 18, 201`4 (Reuters)

    "The U.S. Energy Department…unveiled a plan for up to $4 billion in loan aid for renewable energy companies to help rejuvenate a program that faced harsh political attacks over past failures of federally subsidized projects…The Obama administration's draft plan would provide loan guarantees for innovative projects that limit or avoid greenhouse gas emissions…It will specifically focus on advanced electric grid technology and storage, biofuels for conventional vehicles, energy from waste products and energy efficiency…[Financing should be awarded] by the end of the year or early 2015…” click here for more

    Monday, April 21, 2014

    TODAY’S STUDY: THE U.S. NEW ENERGY MARKET NOW AND AHEAD

    The Outlook For Renewable Energy In America 2014

    April 2014 (American Council on Renewable Energy)

    Executive Summary

    The Outlook for Renewable Energy in America: 2014 assesses the marketplace and forecasts the future of each renewable energy technology sector from the perspectives of U.S. renewable energy trade associations. Each sector forecast is accompanied by a list of the trade association’s specific policy recommendations that they believe might encourage continued industry growth.

    Renewable energy has now become a technology of choice for many Americans, accounting for nearly 40% of all new, domestic power capacity installed in 2013. Presently, renewable power capacity exceeds 190 GW, biofuels are responsible for roughly 10% of our nation’s fuel supply, and renewable thermal energy systems heat and cool a growing number of homes, businesses, public buildings, and other structures throughout the country.

    The array of technologies are either fully or increasingly cost-competitive with conventional energy sources, and costs continue to fall. Per Bloomberg New Energy Finance, private-sector investment in the U.S. clean energy sector surpassed $100 billion in 2012–2013, stimulating economic development while supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. The industry-specific authors of the Outlook forecast this growth to continue, driven by increasing cost-competitiveness with conventional generation, technology advancements, and growing acceptance by Americans to embrace clean and renewable technologies.

    The impressive growth of renewable energy over the past decade is a signal that, when certain, state and federal policies have worked. Further scale up requires evolving and cost-effective policies that drive continued private-sector investment. ACORE offers the following, high-level recommendations for growth:

    • Building on the success of past and present policy efforts, reinvigorate effective policies to promote market certainty, stable growth, and align federal, state, and private initiatives.

    • Increase access to greater amounts of cheaper and more liquid capital by extending to renewable energy innovative financing options that are successful in motivating capital formation in other sectors.

    • Promote the expansion of all proven forms of renewable energy, whether centralized or distributed power generation, transportation fuels, thermal energy, or other technologies. America needs a diverse array of options to transform its energy sector to meet 21st century needs.

    • Continue support of public and private research, development, demonstration, and deployment to fuel the next generation of renewable technologies.

    • Build renewable energy in tandem with enabling technologies, such as energy storage, hydrogen fuel cells, waste heat, and smart grid technologies, to enhance system-effectiveness.

    A number of opportunities exist at the federal, state, and local levels for industry advancement and investment; however, they are not one-size-fit-all solutions for every renewable technology. The articles in this report detail specific market drivers for the biofuel, biomass, geothermal, hydropower, solar, waste, and wind energy sectors. We applaud the unity of the renewable industry community and their united front demonstrated in The Outlook for Renewable Energy in America: 2014.

    With the right policy mechanisms in place, the potential of America’s clean energy economy extends beyond one fuel choice or pipeline, and provides the country with an unparalleled opportunity to reinvigorate our economy while protecting our environment. An America powered on renewable power, fuels, and thermal energy is a stronger, more secure, prosperous and cleaner America.

    The Outlook For Wind Power

    The American investment in wind energy continues to pay off in the form of reduced costs, improved efficiency, and lower prices for consumers. The beginning of 2014 marked a record wave of new construction, and the American Wind Energy Association reported that wind power continues to lead the way on affordable, reliable renewable energy.

    “In many parts of the country today[...] wind is the most economic form of new energy generation,” as NextEra Energy Chief Financial Officer Moray P. Dewhurst said on a recent earnings call.

    Investments in technological advancements and stable policy have helped drive down the cost of wind energy by 43% in four years, and the industry remains on schedule to grow to supply 20% of the U.S. power grid by 2030, and beyond…

    The Outlook For Solar Energy

    Existing Marketplace

    The U.S. solar industry has much to celebrate about the year 2013. Photovoltaic (PV) installations continued to proliferate, increasing 41% over 2012 to reach 4,751 MWdc, and 410 MWac of concentrating solar power (CSP) plants also came online. Solar was the second-largest source of new electricity generating capacity in the U.S., exceeded only by natural gas. And the cost to install solar fell throughout the year, with average system prices ending the year 15% below the mark set at the end of 2012.

    The U.S. solar market showed the first real glimpse of its path toward mainstream status in 2013. The combination of rapid customer adoption, grassroots support for solar, improved financing terms, and public market successes indicated clear gains for solar in the eyes of both the general population and the investment community. And in the long term, a mainstream solar industry will need customers who seek out and support solar, as well as investors who see an attractive risk-adjusted opportunity in the market.

    The solar industry also became a major part of a much larger discussion that took center stage in 2013 around the future of electricity and electric utilities. As distributed solar gains steam, and as adjacent technologies such as energy storage become economically viable, the traditional utility business model is increasingly called into question. Throughout the electricity industry, 2013 was the year of catchphrases such as “utility 2.0” and “utility of the future.” Utilities themselves began to stake out positions on all sides of the issue, some seeking to protect their current territory and others investing in distributed generation— capitalizing on the opportunity that comes with change…

    The Outlook For Geothermal Energy

    Existing Marketplace

    In early 2014, the United States’ installed geothermal power capacity is about 3,442 megawatts (MW). The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) identified 182 projects under development as of September 2013, representing about 2,500 MW of planned capacity additions in the pipeline in 13 states. Image 1 shows total installed capacity in the U.S. over time since 1971. GEA will release new statistics in April, and while we expect a drop in total projects due to expiration of the production tax credit (PTC), inadequate transmission, and lackluster renewable portfolio standard (RPS) markets, we do not expect the drop to be as precipitous as witnessed in some other industries facing similar circumstances…

    The Outlook For Hydropower

    Existing Marketplace

    Hydropower is the largest source of renewable electricity in the United States, responsible for over half of all renewable electricity generation last year and 7% of total generation. In fact, the largest power producing facility in the U.S. is the Grand Coulee Dam in Washington State, with an installed capacity of over 6,800 megawatts (MW).

    Using hydropower provides enough clean power for 30 million typical American homes and annually helps avoid nearly 200 million metric tons of carbon emissions. The 100,000 MW of total hydropower capacity also includes approximately 20,000 MW of pumped storage hydropower, which presently provides 98% of all energy storage in the United States.

    Hydropower is unique among energy resources due to its ownership. The federal government owns just over half of the hydropower capacity in the United States. The other half is held by non-federal entities that receive licenses from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). These entities include investor-owned utilities, public utilities, and independent power producers. Hydropower is also a powerhouse of economic development. For over a century, hydropower has provided clean energy that powered our way out of the Great Depression and fueled the war effort in the Second World War. Today, the industry employs between 200,000-300,000 American workers and supports a vibrant supply chain of over 2,500 companies that reaches from coast to coast. Navigant Consulting found in 2010 that with the right policies in place, the industry could support an additional 1.4 million cumulative jobs by 2025 while expanding hydropower capacity by 60,000 MW…

    The Outlook For Marine And Hydrokinetic Energy

    Existing Marketplace

    The marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) renewable energy sector is an emerging industry with an ever-changing outlook, and significant challenges and advantages coming from existing industries, international competition and cooperation, and competition for limited resources. The examples of cooperation have in many ways created models of inspiration, as competitors acknowledge that no country has substantial market share at this time, and that all boats rise with the tide.

    Some areas of international collaboration include U.S. participation in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Ocean Energy Systems (OES) initiative, which brings together 19 countries and the International Electrotechnical Commission’s (IEC) Technical Committee 114 (TC-114) for marine energy, with 14 participating countries and nine observing countries…

    The Outlook For Biomass Energy

    Biomass Power

    Existing Marketplace

    The biomass power sector has undergone significant growth in recent years. The 2013 completion of several large-scale projects added up to more than 750 megawatts (MW)—enough to power hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses. All regions of the country have experienced some biomass growth, but the Southeast has experienced the most, with major new facilities opening in Gainesville and Brooksville, Florida; Altavista, South Boston, Hopewell, and Southhampton, Virginia; Dorchester and Allendale, South Carolina; and Barnesville, Georgia. Much of the growth can be directly attributed to federal incentive programs, which have since expired. The Treasury Department’s 1603 Grant program, established in 2009, helped to make several of these facilities a reality by securing loans needed to attract serious investors.

    Five-Year Outlook For The Biomass Industry

    Opportunities for further development, while difficult to predict, are significant…

    Biomass Thermal Energy

    Existing Marketplace

    Thermal energy represents more than 30% of all energy consumption in the U.S. The market for biomass thermal energy, generated from combusting organic matter for heating or cooling purposes, has seen continuing growth in regions of the United States where there are: (1) high fossil fuel costs; (2) reliable access to renewable biomass feedstocks; and (3) year-round or prolonged heat energy demand…

    The Outlook For Waste-To-Energy

    Existing Marketplace

    Waste-to-energy (WTE) is a proven technology used globally to generate clean, renewable energy from the sustainable management of municipal solid waste (MSW). Progressive communities around the world employ strategies to reduce, reuse, recycle, and recover energy from waste. Post-recycled MSW is an abundant, valuable, and underutilized source of domestic energy. By processing this material, WTE facilities: produce renewable, base-load energy; reduce greenhouse gases; create good-paying, green jobs; operate with superior environmental performance; and complement recycling goals…

    The Outlook For Ethanol

    The renewable fuel standard (RFS) has been a resounding success story. The RFS is the primary driver behind the only large-scale, commercially-viable alternative to regular gasoline—ethanol. Ethanol has reduced our dangerous dependence on foreign oil and made our nation more energy independent, created American jobs, revitalized rural America, injected much-needed competition into a monopolized vehicle fuels market, lowered the price at the pump, and improved the environment. Ethanol’s record is a great record of successful accomplishment…

    The Outlook For Biodiesel And Advanced Biofuels

    Overview

    The world has witnessed a sea change in the drivers of energy production and demand. Moving toward 2035, a minimum of three factors will play heavily in terms of how the United States considers its energy future: supply, demand, and public policy. In 2009, Cambridge Energy Research Associates, in their Future of Global Oil Supply report, suggested that by 2030 the world would demand around 110 million barrels of oil a day and that, despite new liquid resources, current oil reserves, fields under development, and production from unconventional liquids, there would be a gap of 35 million barrels a day that would need to be filled. Recent modeling continues to support this, as the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Energy Information Administration (EIA) AEO2013 estimates global petroleum and liquid fuel consumption for 2040 to be between 111 million and 118 million barrels per day, forcing new production of liquid fuels from biomass, coal, and natural gas…

    QUICK NEWS, April 21: OBSERVATIONS FOR EARTH DAY; BACK TO OWNERSHIP IN SOLAR; 15X GROWTH FOR ASIA PACIFIC MIDROGRIDS

    OBSERVATIONS FOR EARTH DAY 17 Inspiring Quotes for Earth Day: 'The Environment Is Where We All Meet'

    Vi-An Nguyen, April 19, 2014 (Parade)

    "Celebrate Earth Day this Tuesday, April 22, with moving quotes about the natural world from conservationists and naturalists…They’re all worth remembering on this day set aside to honor Mother Nature…The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. — Lady Bird Johnson…A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children. — John James Audubon…In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. — John Muir…Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better. — Albert Einstein…” continued tomorrow – click here for more

    BACK TO OWNERSHIP IN SOLAR Solar Monetization Option Challenges Third-Party Ownership Assumptions

    Mark Del Franco, April 17, 2014 (Solar Industry)

    “While third-party ownership (TPO) represents much of the growth in residential photovoltaic installations, several factors may be starting to inject a few new wrinkles into the home solar market…[In the current third-party model, solar providers] own, maintain and insure solar panels on a homeowner's roof. Homeowners switch to solar without the high upfront cost, avoid the responsibilities of ownership and save money on electricity bills…[M]ore than $3 billion in project financing has been raised since SolarCity and Morgan Stanley closed the first residential tax equity portfolio financing in the U.S. in 2008…[But in] an emerging scenario, the homeowner - not the solar company - owns the PV system and typically signs a maintenance and service contract with an electrical contractor…The homeowner is able to fully monetize the tax credits on a dollar-for-dollar basis…[and some financial players] are deploying debt products in an effort to shift industry focus away from TPO…” click here for more

    15X GROWTH FOR ASIA PACIFIC MIDROGRIDS Microgrids in Asia Pacific; Commercial/Industrial, Community/Utility, Campus/Institutional, and Remote Microgrids: Country-Level Market Analysis and Forecasts

    2Q 2014 (Navigant Research)

    “…[T]he Asia Pacific region has experienced particularly robust demand for microgrids due to economic development, electrification, and industrialization…In emerging countries such as China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, electricity has not been and still is not a commodity service for everyone…[R]emote microgrids will show strong growth in these countries through 2023…[D]eveloped nations, including Australia, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, will pursue technology development and pilot projects in the next few years and then will deploy diverse applications, especially in the commercial/industrial, campus/institutional, and community/utility microgrid segments. Navigant Research forecasts that annual grid-tied and remote microgrid capacity in the nine select Asia Pacific countries will grow from 37.0 MW in 2013 to 597.3 MW in 2023…” click here for more

    Saturday, April 19, 2014

    Happy Birthday Solar Cell

    April 25 is the photovoltaic solar cell’s 60th birthday. From go100percent renewable energy via YouTube

    Offshore Wind As A Hurricane Wall

    Instead of a storm wall, how about an energy generating wall that pays for itself? From The Daily Conversation via YouTube

    Get On The Climate Policy Train

    Millenials can BE the change. From PBS Newshour via YouTube

    Friday, April 18, 2014

    THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 5 (continued from yesterday)

    So what happened after science finally discovered the secret...

    For the 60th anniversary of the silicon solar cell, PV60 – History Becoming the Future, is being organized by the Renewables 100 Policy Institute and co-sponsored by the City of Palo Alto on April 18, 2014. To join the celebration, NewEnergyNews will run, on April 18 and 19, eight questions and answers about the silicon solar cell’s history from John Perlin, the author of Let It Shine: The 6,000 Year Story Of Solar Energy.

    5-So what happened [after science finally discovered the secret of photovoltaics]?

    The semiconductor revolution began at Bell Laboratories that started with the discovery of the transistor and took silicon electronics from theory to working device led to the great breakthrough that we are celebrating this year. Serendipitously, Gerald Pearson, a Bell scientist, took one of the first silicon transistors and applied light to it. To his surprise, he recorded an efficiency of almost six times greater than any other solar cell had ever produced. Like Archimedes, he ran down the hall at the lab, shouting to a colleague, Daryl Chapin, who was working with selenium at the time for a remote telephone power project, “Don’t waste another moment on selenium!,” and gave him his piece of doped silicon. So began the Bell Solar Battery project that a year later in 1954 produced the most significant breakthrough in solar history and perhaps, the history of electricity – a solar cell capable of converting enough sunlight directly into electricity for useful purposes. click here for more

    THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 6

    What was the reaction of the world...

    For the 60th anniversary of the silicon solar cell, PV60 – History Becoming the Future, is being organized by the Renewables 100 Policy Institute and co-sponsored by the City of Palo Alto on April 18, 2014. To join the celebration, NewEnergyNews will run, on April 18 and 19, eight questions and answers about the silicon solar cell’s history from John Perlin, the author of Let It Shine: The 6,000 Year Story Of Solar Energy.

    6-What was the reaction of the world to the Bell discovery?

    The day after Bell executives presented the first practical solar cell to the world at a press conference on April 25, 1954. The following day The New York Times noted on page one, that the Bell solar cell “…may mark the beginning of a new era, leading eventually to the realization of one of mankind’s most cherished dreams – the harnessing of the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization.” U.S. News and World Report came out with a story as full of hope as the Times’ piece with the title: “Fuel Unlimited,” exclaiming that the silicon solar cells “may provide more power than all the world’s coal, oil and uranium…Engineers are dreaming of silicon powerhouses. The future is limitless.” click here for more

    THE SOLAR CELL TURNS 60, Part 7

    Why didn’t the silicon solar cell immediately...

    For the 60th anniversary of the silicon solar cell, PV60 – History Becoming the Future, is being organized by the Renewables 100 Policy Institute and co-sponsored by the City of Palo Alto on April 18, 2014. To join the celebration, NewEnergyNews will run, on April 18 and 19, eight questions and answers about the silicon solar cell’s history from John Perlin, the author of Let It Shine: The 6,000 Year Story Of Solar Energy.

    7-Why didn’t the silicon solar cell immediately take off?

    First, its price was an obstacle. One watt cost $286. More importantly, at the moment of the solar breakthrough, the Eisenhower Administration, to counter worldwide anti-nuclear protests, initiated the Atoms for Peace program, to give nuclear a happy face. Subsidies and funding for nuclear ran into the billions. There was no parallel Solar for Peace program despite that the Bell breakthrough happened at the same time. Selling the peaceful atom as the world’s future energy source had become America’s number one priority. The nuclear dream eclipsed any consideration of solar development. Newsweek judged "the sun's diffuse radiation" as "paltry" when compared with what nuclear could do. The best solar enthusiasts could hope for, according to the prevailing wisdom of the middle and late 1950’s, was to plan for far-off energy needs. The New York Times best articulated this point of view, predicting in an editorial, "Electricity from the atom will keep industry turning and homes lighted for centuries in the future. And the energy of the sun...will be available after the last atomic fuel is gone." click here for more

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