NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, February 20: THE END IN SIGHT FOR NUCLEAR; COMPARING SOLAR PANEL PRICES; SMART HOMES FROM SMARTTHINGS

NewEnergyNews

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

The new challenge: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: HAWAII'S UTILITIES PLAN FOR 67% RENEWABLES BY 2030
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: CAN WARREN BUFFETT'S PACIFICORP BRING THE NORTHWEST'S RENEWABLE RICHES TO MARKET?
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: A UTILITY IN THE MAKING: THE MUNICIPALIZATION OF BOULDER, COLORADO
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT NATIONAL HIGH VOLTAGE TRANSMISSION SYSTEM?
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    GET THE DAILY HEADLINES EMAIL: CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR SEND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: THE STATE OF THE U.S. WIND INDUSTRY (AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR UTILITIES)
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: HOW SACRAMENTO'S PUBLIC UTILITY IS GETTING IN THE RESIDENTIAL SOLAR BUSINESS
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: HAS APS INVENTED A ROOFTOP SOLAR BUSINESS MODEL FOR UTILITIES?
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: THE GRID NEEDS INDEPENDENT DISTRIBUTION SYSTEM OPERATORS
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: HOW SHOULD UTILITIES VALUE SOLAR?
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: IS PUERTO RICO THE NEW POSTER CHILD FOR THE UTILITY DEATH SPIRAL?
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Weekend Video: Reindeer Stresses
  • Weekend Video: Pink Fracking
  • Weekend Video: Fighting Duke For Solar
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • 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.

  • ---------------
  • Wednesday, February 20, 2013

    QUICK NEWS, February 20: THE END IN SIGHT FOR NUCLEAR; COMPARING SOLAR PANEL PRICES; SMART HOMES FROM SMARTTHINGS

    THE END IN SIGHT FOR NUCLEAR Texas Wind Power Transmission Set To Skyrocket As Energy Exec Hints At End Of Nukes

    Tina Casey, February 10, 2013 (Clean Technica)

    “A $7 billion project that will send wind power from remote areas in West Texas to Dallas, Houston and other big cities is on the verge of completion, and that could pound yet another nail into the coffin for U.S. nuclear power and, for that matter, coal…When completed some time this year…3,500 miles of new line [will carry] up to 18,456 megawatts, and according to a trade news report, PUC is already looking to order more wind power transmission lines, apparently with connections to out of state markets…

    “…Christopher Crane, the CEO of energy giant Exelon…predicted that the influx of low cost wind power would lead the company to start shuttering its nuclear plants…Direct costs and risk management issues are already casting a shadow over the nuclear industry in Texas…In 2011, rival utility giant NRG was set to build two new power plants in Texas but backed off…The U.S. market isn’t the only place where nuclear energy is getting a chilly reception due to cost and safety concerns. The U.K.’s ambitious plan to build 10 new nuclear power plants just lost the backing of British utility Centrica, which is apparently going to concentrate its resources on renewable energy as well as natural gas.”

    “Coal is on even more shaky ground, partly because new wind farms and other clean energy facilities are beginning to offer more competitive alternatives, and also because existing coal power plants are being converted to other fuels, namely biomass and natural gas…As with nuclear power, the regulatory framework is also becoming more hostile to coal…Though the… domestic market for coal is drying up…U.S. coal companies have simply begun exporting more coal abroad…[and] pressure is mounting on Congress to allow more natural gas exports due to the domestic gas boom…

    “As for nuclear energy, the nation’s stock of aging nuclear facilities is creating one giant headache for local emergency planners to say nothing of ratepayers and taxpayers. It’s also creating a conundrum for diversified energy companies like Exelon, which operates the nation’s largest fleet of nuclear facilities but is also rapidly embracing wind and other renewables in its portfolio…Exelon’s first commercial wind farm only started operating in January 2012, and the company already has 44 wind projects operating in 10 different states…”

    COMPARING SOLAR PANEL PRICES What’s Happening with c-Si and Thin Film Pricing Categories?

    Michael Barker, February 14, 2013 (SolarBuzz)

    “…c-Si module pricing started 2012 with a larger quarterly decrease than thin film. But the pricing trends for c-Si and thin film modules were essentially parallel for the remainder of last year…Over the past year, thin film modules have retained higher ASPs than most c-Si modules, the exception being the higher prices obtained by c-Si Tier 1 Premium Brand products.

    “Two factors contribute to this trend. First, some thin film technologies have higher production costs than standard efficiency c-Si modules….ASPs may be higher than c-Si modules…[but] the margins on thin film products are not by default higher…”

    “Second, the higher price of some thin film products can also be due to their ability to fill niche markets not addressable by c-Si PV, such as low weight-bearing rooftops, non-uniform surfaces which require flexible substrates, or in low-light or high irradiation climates where sales teams are particularly effective in selling thin film components against c-Si modules.

    “There is still differentiation…End-users must determine the best product for their particular situation…[Brand] and bankability are also major factors when selecting PV components…With most companies offering 20+ year warranties, customers want to be assured that these obligations will be met in the future and will often pay more for such assurances…[C]omparative pricing…is certainly not the sole factor behind the purchase…”.

    SMART HOMES FROM SMARTTHINGS SmartThings Aims to Deliver the Internet-Connected Home

    Brad Stone, February 14, 2013 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

    “…[SmartThings is] selling [home automation] kits with moisture sensors, power outlets, and motion detectors that turn previously dumb appliances such as fans and garage door openers into Internet-connected devices that can be controlled using the company’s smartphone apps…SmartThings is also trying to create the dominant platform for such devices, providing free open-source software tools to thousands of developers and hackers, in the hope they’ll find additional uses that will appeal to consumers. The goal is to connect appliances to each other, to the Web, and to their owners…

    “…[H]ome-automation companies’ various visions over the years, devices…were complicated and required either advanced coding skills or third-party installers to set them up…SmartThings raised $1.2 million on Kickstarter, the crowdfunding site, last summer…In December the 30-employee company announced it had raised $3 million in seed funding from venture capital firm First Round Capital and prominent angel investors includingFacebook (FB)-backer Yuri Milner and actor Ashton Kutcher...”

    “…To seed the market, the company recently started [$299] shipping kits to its Kickstarter contributors…[allowing them to] connect their house lights to their home network so they can control them with their phone. It also comes with a motion detector that doubles as a burglar alarm and a moisture sensor that can alert an owner when the basement floods. All the equipment is controllable with SmartThings mobile apps…

    “…The high price for consumers is one reason some analysts question the viability of home-automation systems…SmartThings is also entering a market in which…[t]he stylish Nest Learning Thermostat, which adapts to its owners’ daily routines, is one of the best-selling accessories in Apple stores despite its $250 price tag. SmartThings’ approach—bringing Internet smarts into any device in the home—contrasts sharply with Nest’s strategy of targeting a single product…”

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