NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, November 26: THE COMPETITIVENESS OF WIND, 2; GEORGIA GETS INTO SOLAR; SMART GRID ENABLES COMMUNITY WIND

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    Monday, November 26, 2012

    QUICK NEWS, November 26: THE COMPETITIVENESS OF WIND, 2; GEORGIA GETS INTO SOLAR; SMART GRID ENABLES COMMUNITY WIND

    THE COMPETITIVENESS OF WIND, 2 Learning From Kansas: Why Utilities Are Embracing Wind Energy, Part 2 (continued from Wednesday)

    Alan Claus Anderson, Britton Gibson, Luke Hagedorn & Scott W. White, 20 November

    2012 (North American Windpower

    “One of the benefits that renewable energy sources - such as wind and solar - provide is price certainty. When utilities add renewable energy generation to their portfolios, they can lock in power supply at a known price for up to 20 years…Eighty percent of the overall cost of wind power is incurred up front, due to the procurement of the turbines and the construction of the generation facility. Only about 10% of the levelized cost is incurred during operations and maintenance.

    “…[A] utility is able to lock in a price for the electricity for the term of the agreement, regardless of any fluctuations in the ongoing project costs…The benefit of having the bulk of wind facility costs incurred up front is that because the costs are accrued early in the project’s development, it becomes easier to accurately estimate the extent of those costs.”

    “…[T]he total costs for these projects are likely to decrease over time as technology becomes more widely utilized…A May 2012 study conducted by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory for the International Energy Agency…found about a 20% to 30% reduction in the LCOE of wind energy generation by the year 2030…[and] because wind as a “fuel” is free, so there is no exposure to volatile fuel prices or fluctuating fuel transportation costs.

    “…[T]he costs of wind are relatively predictable…[T]he costs of coal and natural-gas generation facilities can fluctuate significantly over time due to the costs associated with fuel prices, as well as increasingly stringent environmental regulations…[And] coal exports are on a record pace this year, so new demands will…likely [increase demand and] drive prices upward…Despite recent developments in hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling, natural-gas prices [also] remain subject to [price volatility]…”

    GEORGIA GETS INTO SOLAR Commission Green-Lights Georgia Power's 210 MW Solar Initiative

    21 November 2012 (Solar Industry)

    “The Georgia Public Service Commission (PSC) has…[unanimously] approved Atlanta-based utility Georgia Power's new solar initiative - the Georgia Power Advanced Solar Initiative (GPASI).

    “Through the GPASI, the utility will acquire 210 MW of additional solar capacity through long-term contracts over a two-year period…[It is] the largest voluntarily developed solar portfolio from an investor-owned utility.”

    “…Georgia Power's utility-scale program will purchase 60 MW annually for two years through a competitive request for proposals (RFP) program, with projects ranging in size from 1 MW to 20 MW. By as early as 2013, a distributed-scale program will provide opportunities for up to 45 MW per year of smaller solar projects…[of] small-scale (less than 100 kW) and medium-scale (100-1,000 kW) projects.

    “RFPs for the utility-scale program will be conducted in 2013 and 2014 and will require commercial operation dates in 2015 and 2016. Georgia Power…could begin signing solar contracts under the distributed-scale program as early the first quarter of 2013.”

    SMART GRID ENABLES COMMUNITY WIND Smart Grid Project Helps Keep Surplus Wind Power Local

    Joseph Bebon, 18 November 2012 (Renew Grid)

    “…The small city of Summerside, located on Canada's Prince Edward Island…decided [in 2003] to build and own…the Summerside Wind Farm…[T]he 12 MW project was commissioned in 2009…[T]he taxpayers own the wind farm and sell the power to the municipal utility, Summerside Electric…Summerside Electric purchases another 9 MW of wind power from West Cape Energy…[The two] sources give the utility 50% wind integration.

    “But there is a problem: Summerside Electric has a peak load of 23 MW, a minimum load of 11 MW and an average load of 18 MW. With a wind capacity of 21 MW, the utility often has to sell surplus wind power to entities outside the city’s borders…[The city believes] the utility and community [should] have a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to power needs…Summerside Electric has to export about 7.5 million KWh of excess wind power every year, and the municipal government wants to keep the energy within its borders….[That] is where Summerside’s smart grid project came in….”

    “In August 2011, the city council voted to use the C$1.5 million that was leftover…[to develop] the Heat For Less Now program: an initiative to install advanced electric heating units, as well as supportive smart grid solutions, at residents’ homes. By [offering the electricity used by the heating appliances at C$0.08/KWh - meaning that for every kilowatt-hour sold, the utility receives four extra cents and customers receive a four-cent rebate from what their existing electrical rates are, it incentivized] residents to heat their houses and water using electricity rather than oil or gas]…

    “…[I]t took about six months to get one-tenth of the community fiber-wired and a year and a half to get the Heat program off the ground. The beta pilot phase…has only installed 103 electric thermal storage units on 54 premises and 115 smart meters on 56 premises thus far…[T]he goal is to get electric heaters to 500 homes and then call it a proven beta system. Right now, 90% of Summerside Electric’s customers still use sources other than electricity to heat their homes and hot water…[T]he city plans to eventually expand its wind farm and become an even greener community…[to make] the Heat program…successful in the long run…”

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