NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, November 21: THE COMPETITIVENESS OF WIND, 1; BEHIND SUN NUMBERS, 3; GOOGLE PUTS $75BIL MORE INTO WIND

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    Wednesday, November 21, 2012

    QUICK NEWS, November 21: THE COMPETITIVENESS OF WIND, 1; BEHIND SUN NUMBERS, 3; GOOGLE PUTS $75BIL MORE INTO WIND

    THE COMPETITIVENESS OF WIND, 1 Learning From Kansas: Why Utilities Are Embracing Wind Energy, Part 1

    Alan Claus Anderson, Britton Gibson, Luke Hagedorn & Scott W. White, 20 November 2012 (North American Windpower)

    “In Kansas, wind energy generation is at least equivalent in cost - and often cheaper - than traditional sources of energy, according to academic studies that analyzed the costs of various types of generation in the state.

    “The best standard for this type of analysis is known as a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) comparison, which takes into account the following cost components for each type of generation source: investment and installation costs; operations and maintenance costs; fuel costs; life of the generating unit; and energy generated by the unit…”

    “Based on [a number of LCOE studies by a variety of different governmental and non-governmental entities], the average LCOE for wind generation is $68.25/MWh if the federal production tax credit (PTC) is taken into consideration, or $90.25/MWh if the PTC is not included. This compares very favorably to the average LCOE for combined-cycle natural gas, at $74.55/MWh; conventional coal, at $104.35/MWh and natural-gas peaking facilities, at $177.20/MWh.

    “One of the main reasons that wind energy costs in Kansas are so low is that the state has an excellent wind resource. Therefore, wind projects in the state have capacity factors that far exceed the national average. Projects with high capacity factors see a marked decline in their total levelized costs. Thus, Kansas’ excellent wind resource leads to markedly lower wind generation prices than can be found in other areas across the country…”

    BEHIND SUN NUMBERS, 3 Delving Into The Numbers: Latest Solar Jobs Census Shows Strong Growth (Continued from Monday and Tuesday)

    15 November 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “The National Solar Jobs Census…[just released by The Solar Foundation (TSF)]…reveals positive growth once again in solar employment. Several of the business subsectors analyzed posted increases in their job numbers, and all indicators point to further good news in 2013…

    “[Among] the most important numbers [were]…29,742: The number of people in the U.S. working in solar manufacturing…Given the well publicized struggles of U.S. solar manufacturers in the face of international competition and precipitous module price declines, it comes as no surprise the solar manufacturing industry saw a decline in job totals. Last year, this subsector employed 37,941 people…However, this trend is expected to reverse itself as the sector recovers…”

    “61%: The percentage of solar developers that expect to add workers next year…This year's census breaks out "project development establishments" in their own category for the first time. Currently totaling 414, these companies will expand their ranks in the coming year.

    “According to the report, the total number of employees at project developers will reach 9,108, with approximately 1,110 jobs expected to be added to the existing 7,998 positions.”

    GOOGLE PUTS $75BIL MORE INTO WIND Google extends commitment to green energy with $75 million investment in Iowa wind farm

    November 15, 2012 (AP via Washington Post)

    “Google is investing $75 million in an Iowa wind farm as part of its effort to encourage development of cleaner energy sources…[The deal] gives Google Inc. a stake in the Rippey Wind Farm in Greene County, Iowa. RPM Access LLC is the primary owner. [Google’s investments in renewable energy now exceed $990 million]…”

    “The wind farm is located about 130 miles northeast of Council Bluffs, Iowa, which is home to one of the eight data centers that power Google’s Internet search engine and other services…[but the] Iowa data center won’t be getting power from the wind farm…[though the] high electricity demand of Google’s massive data centers is one of the reasons the company backs energy projects that cause less pollution than traditional power plants.”

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