NewEnergyNews: 10/01/2013 - 11/01/2013

NewEnergyNews

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

While the OFFICE of President remains in highest regard at NewEnergyNews, this administration's position on climate change makes it impossible to regard THIS president with respect. Below is the NewEnergyNews theme song until 2020.

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Is peak oil demand coming soon?
  • QUICK NEWS, November 21: Online Deniers Falsely Used NASA Study About Antarctic Melt; The EV As A Mini Power Plant; New Energy Price Knocks Coal, Nuclear Out Of The Market
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: How Green Is The Tech World?
  • QUICK NEWS, November 20: The U.S. Is Starting To Get It; New Energy Buying Goes Mainstream; House, Senate To Face Off Over Wind Support
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: Global New Energy To Boom Through 2040
  • Weekend Video: The Power Of The Sun
  • Weekend Video: World’s First Floating Wind Project
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Three Top Takeaways From The Bonn Climate Summit
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Seven Global New Energy Trends
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-World’s First Floating Wind Project Goes Online
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-VW Commits $11.8BIL EV Spend In China
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, November 16:

  • TTTA Thursday-Big Thumbs Up For Gore’s ‘Inconvenient Sequel’
  • TTTA Thursday- Trends In Global New Energy Through 2040
  • TTTA Thursday-How Wind Energy Learned To Be Better
  • TTTA Thursday-The Secret To See-Through Solar
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    click image for more info about the Sunstock Solar Festival

    Research Associate and Contributing Editor Jessica R. Wunder

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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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      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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  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, November 22:

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Will California's 100% renewables goal get through the political process?
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: What makes a successful utility-led community solar program?

    Thursday, October 31, 2013

    CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE LACK OF VISION

    Why We Don’t Care About Saving Our Grandchildren From Climate Change; A new study shows that human beings are too selfish to endure present pain to avert future climate change. That's why we need win-win solutions now

    Bryan Walsh, October 21, 2013 (Time Magazine)

    “…It will take decades before the carbon dioxide we emit now begins to have its full effect on the planet’s climate. And by the same token, it will take decades before we are able to enjoy the positive climate effects of reducing carbon-dioxide emissions now…But we will feel the economic effects of either emitting or restricting CO₂ right now…What that means, in effect, is that climate policy asks the present to sacrifice for the future. Human beings tend not to be very good at that…American and German researchers led by Jennifer Jacquet of New York University put together a collective-risk group experiment that is centered around climate change…Unsurprisingly, the more delayed the payout was, the less likely the experimental groups would put enough money away to meet the goal to stop climate change…[T]he results do not bode well for humanity’s ability to come together to stop climate change…” click here for more

    VERMONT AIMS AT 20% NEW ENERGY BY 2020

    Vermont Group Calls For 20% Renewables Target For 2020

    29 October 2013 (Solar Industry)

    "…Vermont's renewable energy businesses are calling for Vermont to meet 20% of its total energy consumption with renewable energy, conservation and efficiency by 2020…Vermont's Comprehensive Energy Plan calls for the state to get 90% of its energy from renewable sources by 2050 across all sectors, including its transportation and thermal heating and cooling needs…By 2020, REV estimates that the state will need to conserve, supply or contract for 450 MW of new energy…The group is recommending 158 MW of solar capacity to help achieve that goal…[as well as] an expansion of community-scale solar and wind up to 5 MW…[a strengthened] net energy metering program…a carbon tax…[and] a renewable portfolio standard…” click here for more

    WIND TOURISM IN MICHIGAN

    Meet Michigan’s Thriving Wind Turbine Tourism Industry

    Joanna M. Forster, October 2013 (ClimateProgress via CleanTechnica)

    “They have been called an eyesore, accused of lowering property values and blamed for a wide variety of ailments from dizziness to insomnia…[but now wind turbines are becoming] a tourist attraction…This summer, there were waiting lists for bus tours of the Lake Winds Energy Park in Ludington, in Michigan…[T]he tour was created in response to the sheer number of people who would stop their cars and take pictures of the energy park’s 56 industrial sized pinwheels…Michigan isn’t the only place…In North Palm Springs, California, tourists pay up to $35 to see one of the country’s oldest wind farms. In Atlantic City, New Jersey, wind turbines at the city’s waste water treatment plant attract an average of 15,000 visitors every year. Even in Cape Cod, where the offshore wind project has seemed to cause nothing but controversy for years, Hy-line Cruises is preparing to offer tours of the first-of-its-kind site…” click here for more

    A NATURAL GAS AND NEW ENERGY VISION IN TEXAS

    America’s Low Carbon Energy Revolution - Texas Renewables 2013…Transforming America’s Energy Future with Renewable Energy, Natural Gas and Energy Efficiency

    (October 18, 2013) (Texas Renewables 2013)

    "America is in the midst of a low carbon energy revolution. New energy technology has delivered much needed energy independence to the U.S. In San Antonio, nationally recognized speakers showcase the “All-of-the-Above” energy world and impacts of drastically reduced carbon emissions at Texas Renewables 2013…November 11 – 13 in San Antonio, TX…[The conference will include] TED style talks, video transitions, industry CEO panels and…Dr. Dan Arvizu, Director, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL…Dan Reicher, Executive Director, Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance, Stanford University…Doyle N. Beneby, President and Chief Executive Officer - CPS Energy…[and] Dr. Jurgen Weiss, Principal, The Brattle Group…” click here for more

    Wednesday, October 30, 2013

    TODAY’S STUDY: THE PROGRESS OF DISTRIBUTED WIND

    2012 Market Report on U.S. Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications

    AC Orrell, HE Rhoads-Weaver, LT Flowers, JO Jenkins, MN Gagne, KM Sahl, BH Pro, and RE Baranowski, August 2013 (U.S. Department of Energy)

    Executive Summary

    At the end of 2012, U.S. wind turbines in distributed applications reached a 10-year cumulative installed capacity of more than 812 MW from more than 69,000 units across all 50 states. In 2012 alone, nearly 3,800 wind turbines totaling 175 MW of distributed wind capacity were documented in 40 states and in the U.S. Virgin Islands, with 138 MW using utility-scale turbines (i.e., greater than 1 MW in size), 19 MW using mid-size turbines (i.e., 101 kW to 1 MW in size), and 18.4 MW using small turbines (i.e., up through 100 kW in size).

    Distributed wind is defined in terms of technology application based on a wind project’s location relative to end-use and power-distribution infrastructure, rather than on technology size or project size. Distributed wind systems are connected either on the customer side of the meter (to meet the onsite load) or directly to the local grid (to support grid operations or offset large loads nearby).

    Capacity-weighted average costs reported for a sample of 2012 U.S. distributed wind installations were $2,540/kW for utility-scale wind turbines, $2,810/kW for mid-sized wind turbines, and $6,960/kW for newly manufactured (domestic and imported) small wind turbines. An emerging trend observed in 2012 was an increased use of refurbished turbines. The reported capacity-weighted average cost of refurbished small wind turbines installed in 2012 was $4,080/kW.

    As a result of multiple projects using utility-scale turbines, Iowa deployed the most new overall distributed wind capacity, 37 MW, in 2012. Nevada deployed the most small wind capacity in 2012, with nearly 8 MW of small wind turbines installed in distributed applications. In the case of mid-size turbines, Ohio led all states in 2012 with 4.9 MW installed in distributed applications.

    As in previous years, state and federal policies and incentives continued to play a substantial role in the development of distributed wind projects. In 2012, U.S. Treasury Section 1603 payments and grants and loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Energy for America Program were the main sources of federal funding for distributed wind projects. State and local funding varied across the country, from rebates to loans, tax credits, and other incentives.

    Reducing utility bills and hedging against potentially rising electricity rates remain drivers of distributed wind installations. In 2012, other drivers included taking advantage of the expiring U.S. Treasury Section 1603 program and a prosperous year for farmers. While 2012 saw a large addition of distributed wind capacity, considerable barriers and challenges remain, such as a weak domestic economy, inconsistent state incentives, and very competitive solar photovoltaic and natural gas prices.

    The distributed wind industry remains committed to improving the marketplace by advancing third-party certification of wind turbines and introducing alternative financing models, such as third-party power purchase agreements and lease-to-own agreements more typical in the solar photovoltaic market. Continued growth is expected in 2013.

    Introduction

    Distributed wind energy systems are commonly, but not always, installed on residential, agricultural, commercial, industrial, and community sites and can range in size from a few- hundred-watt, off-grid turbine at a remote cabin or a 5-kW turbine at a home to a multi-MW turbine at a manufacturing facility.

    Distributed wind energy systems are connected either on the customer side of the meter (to meet the onsite load) or directly to the local distribution or micro grid (to support grid operations or offset large loads nearby). This distinction differentiates distributed wind power from wholesale power generated at large wind farms and sent via transmission lines to substations for subsequent distribution to loads.

    The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) Wind and Water Power Technologies Office defines distributed wind in terms of technology application based on a wind project’s location relative to end-use and power-distribution infrastructure, rather than on technology size or project size (Wind Program 2013); thus, the distributed wind market includes turbines and projects of many sizes. Wind systems are characterized as distributed based on the following criteria: • Proximity to end-use: wind turbines installed at or near the point of end-use for the purposes of meeting onsite load or supporting the operation of the local (distribution or micro) grid. • Point of interconnection: wind turbines connected on the customer side of the meter or directly to the local grid.

    Therefore the scope of this report has been expanded from past years’ reports to include a finer breakdown of small wind statistics (i.e., up through 100 kW in size), more extensive statistics on mid-size turbines (i.e., 101 kW to 1 MW in size) used in distributed applications, and new statistics on utility-scale turbines (i.e., greater than 1 MW in size) used in distributed applications. Past years’ reports only focused on small wind turbines; thus, this report makes use of more historical data for the small wind market than it does for the mid-size and utility-scale distributed wind markets.

    U.S. Distributed Wind Market Overview and Highlights

    At the end of 2012, U.S. wind turbines in distributed applications reached a 10-year cumulative installed capacity of more than 812 MW (Figure 1) from more than 69,000 units across all 50 states.

    Overview of Distributed Wind Market Segments

    Although sales of small wind turbines declined in 2012, distributed wind installations still comprise more than 68% of all wind turbines installed in the United States (on a unit basis) over the past 10 years (2003 – 2012), and small wind systems still make up the majority of turbine units used in distributed applications (Figure 2). In 2012, the majority of distributed wind projects installed consisted of single turbines, and the largest project installed consisted of six turbines.

    Off-grid small wind turbine models continue to account for the bulk of wind turbine units installed in U.S. distributed wind applications. In 2012, almost 72% of turbines in distributed wind projects were installed to power remote homes, telecommunications facilities, rural electricity and water supply, and military sites.

    Wind turbines connected to the distribution grid, or “grid-tied” applications, comprised more than 99% of the annual domestic distributed wind capacity (in terms of MW), with more than 66% either installed on the customer side of the meter at residences, farms, schools, and businesses; in net metering and net billing arrangements; or otherwise meeting onsite demand across 40 states, primarily in the Midwest, New England, and California. The remaining 2012 grid-tied distributed wind projects, accounting for 27% of the mid-size and 36% of the utility- scale distributed wind capacity, were connected to distribution lines serving local loads and constructed primarily in Iowa—with one project each in Vermont, California, Washington, and Illinois.

    Annual U.S. Distributed Wind Deployment

    In 2012, the annual capacity of distributed wind installed in the United States increased by 62% over that of 2011 with 175 MW deployed. Additions in 2012 account for about 3,800 wind turbines and represent more than $410 million in domestic investment.2 Corresponding to a large decrease in off-grid and residential-scale units sold, the number of small wind turbine units installed in 2012 U.S. distributed wind applications dropped by nearly 50% from 2011. Over the same period, the number of mid-size wind turbines installed in the U.S. increased by more than 250% and the number of utility-scale wind turbines increased by nearly 100%, leading to a sharp decline in the contribution of small wind turbines to the overall U.S. wind market. Small wind turbines dropped from nearly 70% of all U.S. wind units installed in 2011 (Figure 3a) to less than 40% of units installed in 2012 (Figure 3b). For context, utility-scale turbines installed in wind farms – non-distributed applications – are also shown in Figures 2 and 3.

    Utility-scale wind turbines (i.e., above 1 MW) installed in distributed applications showed the largest increase—an 80% increase from 77 MW in 2011 to 138 MW in 2012. The next largest increase was in mid-size wind turbines (i.e., 101-1,000 kW), which increased more than 50% from 12 MW in 2011 to 19 MW in 2012. Newly manufactured mid-size and utility-scale wind turbines installed in distributed wind applications (excluding refurbished equipment) increased 81%, from 85 MW in 2011 to 154 MW in 2012.

    Sales of newly manufactured small wind turbines (i.e., up through 100 kW) installed in the United States decreased by 53% from about 19 MW in 2011 to 8.9 MW in 2012. Seven U.S.- based suppliers of newly manufactured and refurbished small wind turbines (i.e., reconditioned equipment emerging primarily from California wind farm repowering) reported sales greater than 1 MW, up from four suppliers in 2011. The combined U.S. market for new and refurbished small wind turbines declined by 3% from 19 MW in 2011 to 18.4 MW in 2012, representing $101 million in investment and nearly 3,700 units sold.

    Types of Turbines and Towers

    In 2012, reported U.S. distributed wind deployments encompassed 84 different wind turbine models ranging from 100 W to 3 MW3 from 55 suppliers with a U.S. sales presence (Figure 4), including suppliers from Asia (i.e., China, Japan, South Korea, and India), Europe (i.e., UK, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Netherlands, and Spain), Canada, and South Africa. U.S. manufacturers based in 14 states (i.e., Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin) sold 38 different models. Nine of the top 10 models of all 2012 wind turbines installed in distributed applications (on a unit basis) were manufactured in the United States.

    The widest variety of wind turbine and tower designs are for turbines rated under 20 kW. Only a few turbines larger than 10 kW are not configured as 3-bladed horizontal-axis units installed on self-supporting tubular towers. Self-supporting lattice and guyed monopole towers were reported as the most popular designs for U.S. residential-scale wind turbine models, with vertical-axis and rooftop models representing less than 3% of 2012 U.S. distributed wind capacity and less than 9% of units. A wide range of tower designs and heights were sold for small turbine projects, including guyed lattice and monopole (including tilt-up designs4) and self- supporting lattice and tubular towers.

    Tower heights ranged from as low as 9 m up to 49 m for small turbines and from 30 m to 100 m for mid-size and multi-MW turbines, with most 2012 grid-tied distributed wind installations featuring hub heights of 30 to 80 m. The capacity-weighted average hub height for all 2011 and 2012 utility-scale distributed wind projects was 82 m. In 2012, the average mid-size distributed wind hub height increased from 53 m in 2011 to 60 m and the average hub height for refurbished distributed mid-size turbines increased from 39 m in 2011 to 52 m.

    Reflecting the shift in the distributed wind market toward larger “grid-tied” units connected to the distribution grid, the capacity-weighted average size of wind turbines across all distributed wind sectors increased by more than 300% between 2011 and 2012, from about 15 to 47 kW (Figure 5). This large increase was primarily due to the 50% reduction in the number of small wind turbines and the 70% growth of mid-size and utility-scale turbines in distributed applications.

    In addition, the total number of grid-tied wind turbines installed in U.S. distributed applications decreased considerably from more than 3,000 units in 2011 to just over 1,100 grid-tied units in 2012. Off-grid units also declined by about 37%. Grid-tied projects accounted for an increased portion of the overall annual capacity. The average size of grid-tied turbines installed in U.S. distributed applications increased from 35 kW in 2011 to 156 kW in 2012, while the average size of off-grid units sold in the United States in 2012 remained stable at about 380 W, continuing the slight decrease from the 2007 off-grid average of 520 W. The dramatic increase in reported installations of refurbished turbines sized 40 kW to 1 MW, from 9 units totaling 3.5 MW in 2011 to 111 units totaling 11.8 MW in 2012, also contributed to this trend.

    Top Ten States for Distributed Wind:

    Annual and Cumulative Installations Distributed wind installations were documented in 40 states in 2012 (Figure 6), and in all 50 states plus Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands over the past 10 years (Figure 7).

    Iowa, Massachusetts, California, and Wisconsin led the nation for new distributed wind power capacity installations in 2012 across all turbine types (Table 1). Comparing 2012 to 2011 year- end figures, Vermont, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Nevada, and Massachusetts were the fastest growing states in 10-year cumulative distributed wind capacity (Table 1).

    Iowa deployed the most distributed wind capacity, 37 MW, in 2012. Further, Iowa retained its position as the state with the most small wind capacity installed over the past 10 years as well as its third place standing for cumulative distributed wind capacity installed over the past 10 years. Iowa installed considerably more distributed wind capacity in 2012 than historical leaders Minnesota and Texas, but not as much small wind capacity as Nevada which added the most small wind capacity in 2012.

    Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, California, and Massachusetts led the states for all cumulative distributed wind installations over the past 10 years; each of these five states now has more than 60 MW of small, mid-size, and utility-scale wind turbines combined in distributed applications (Figure 8). Ohio, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado, and Washington now each have more than 10 MW of distributed wind capacity.

    Installed Costs Due to substantial differences in costs of various tower types and heights, as well as manufacturer methodology for setting nominal power ratings and estimating installation expenses, reported costs for wind technologies used in 2012 distributed applications ranged widely.

    As shown in Figure 9, the reported capacity-weighted average cost to install new small wind turbines (domestic and imported) in the United States in 2012 was $6,960/kW, based on data for about 3,500 turbines totaling 8.9 MW, with a range of $1,500 to $27,500 per kW. The reported capacity-weighted average installed cost for U.S.-based small wind manufacturers’ 2012 sales was $6,510/kW, based on data for about 3,200 turbines totaling 6.3 MW, 19% lower than for non-U.S. suppliers. The reported capacity-weighted average installed cost of refurbished small wind turbines in 2012 was $4,080/kW, based on data for 105 turbines totaling 9.6 MW, with a range of $3,560 to $7,480 per kW.

    The reported capacity-weighted average installed cost for mid-size wind turbines in 2012 U.S. distributed applications, based on a sample size of 8 projects totaling 9.5 MW, was $2,810/kW, with a range of $2,400 to $3,350 per kW. The reported capacity-weighted average installed cost for utility-scale wind turbines installed in 2012 U.S. distributed applications, based on a sample size of 26 projects totaling 78 MW, was $2,540/kW, with a range of $1,760 to $4,000 per kW.

    Top Suppliers and U.S. Manufacturers

    The top U.S. small wind turbine manufacturers in terms of total 2012 sales (domestic and exports) were Southwest Windpower, based in Arizona; Bergey Windpower, based in Oklahoma; and Northern Power Systems, based in Vermont. Leading importers were Endurance Wind Power of Canada and Sonkyo Energy of Spain.

    The top suppliers of 2012 mid-size wind turbines installed in U.S. distributed applications were Gamesa of Spain, PowerWind of Germany, and Massachusetts-based Aeronautica.

    The top suppliers of 2012 utility-scale wind turbines installed in U.S. distributed applications were General Electric (GE), with corporate headquarters in the United States; Goldwind of China; and Vestas of Denmark.

    Imports and Top Supplier Countries

    In 2012, U.S.-based manufacturers claimed nearly 86% of domestic small wind capacity sales. However, imports comprised more than 60% of the total (small, mid-size, and utility-scale) annual domestic distributed wind capacity. China alone supplied more than 30% of distributed utility-scale wind capacity, with five turbine models from five manufacturers, and Denmark supplied more nearly 11% of total distributed wind capacity. Canada and Spain were the sales leaders in 2012 small wind imports to the United States, with nine models from four manufacturers. Spain also led the mid-size market segment and ranked third in 2012 utility-scale distributed capacity with three additional models.

    In 2012, the top 10 supplier countries (based on manufacturer corporate ownership) for U.S. distributed wind applications were based in North America, Europe, and Asia (see Table 2)…

    QUICK NEWS, October 30: SOLAR-PLUS-STORAGE MARKET TO BOOM; THE TRUTH ABOUT WIND ENERGY AND EAGLES; NEW ENERGY FOR DIGGING AND DRILLING

    SOLAR-PLUS-STORAGE MARKET TO BOOM Coupled Solar and Energy Storage Market to Grow to $2.8 Billion in 2018; Dominated by grid installations, this market segment will be a boon to energy storage producers but have only a modest impact on the solar market…

    September 10, 2013 (Lux Research)

    "…This symbiotic match [of the solar and energy storage sectors] shows promise, yielding a $2.8 billion market over the next five years, according to Lux Research…Grid-tied solar installations will comprise 675 MW, or nearly 95% of the combined 711 MW market, while off-grid applications including telecom power claim the remaining 5%...As lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and overall storage arrays fall in price, residential systems will gain the most, growing to 382 MW in 2018. The light commercial segment will increase to 220 MW while heavy commercial/industrial systems lag, growing only to 73.3 MW…Japan is the worldwide leader [with 381 MW]…Germany will come in second at 94 MW, while the U.S. will be third at 75 MW…[New] policies may dramatically increase the market…” click here for more

    THE TRUTH ABOUT WIND ENERGY AND EAGLES Saving the Earth While Killing Some Protected Birds; Wind offers one the lowest-impact, most environmentally benign energy technology available to us today.

    John Anderson, October 22, 2013 (Wall Street Journal)

    "…[W]ind offers the lowest-impact, most environmentally benign energy technology available to us today. Plus, wind attracted $25 billion in private investment last year and is supported by the major conservation organizations and Americans nationwide (71% per Gallup)…American-made wind power enables the U.S. to…fight climate change—the number one threat to wildlife, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service…No one takes wildlife impacts more seriously than the wind industry…[W]hile unfortunately some eagles collide with turbines at some wind farms…fatalities of golden eagles at modern wind facilities represent only 2% of all documented sources of human-caused eagle fatalities, and only a few bald eagles have collided with turbines in the history of the industry…Groups like the National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society, which make it their job to protect birds, including eagles, and other wildlife, support the development of responsibly sited wind turbines…” click here for more

    NEW ENERGY FOR DIGGING AND DRILLING Renewable Energy in the Mining Industry; Solar PV, Wind Power, Geothermal, Fuel Cells, and Solar Thermal in the Global Mining Industry: Market Analysis and Forecasts

    4Q 2013 (Navigant Research)

    “The mining industry is under continued pressure from shareholders and external stakeholders to reduce dependence on traditional energy resources. In countries where mining represents a significant percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), it can also be a significant draw on the country’s electricity grid infrastructure…[T]he industry has reached a tipping point and is transitioning from using solar, wind, and other renewable energy technologies in demonstration projects to an increased focus on larger scale deployments…[E]xternal and internal pressures are combining to provide an expansion of market opportunities for renewable energy providers to work with mining companies. Navigant Research forecasts that renewable energy technologies will supply between 5% and 8% of the world’s mining industry power consumption by 2022…” click here for more

    Tuesday, October 29, 2013

    TODAY’S STUDY: THE CORPORATIONS THAT USE SOLAR

    Solar Means Business 2013; Top U.S. Commercial Solar Users

    October 2013 (Solar Energy Industries Association and VoteSolar)

    Introduction

    In an increasingly competitive business landscape, some of the most well-run and efficient companies are turning to solar energy to stay ahead. From large corporations such as Walmart, Costco, Apple and IKEA to small, local companies, U.S. businesses are making significant investments in solar to cut energy costs. Solar allows businesses of all sizes and in a range of industries to lower their energy expenditures, improve their bottom line and gain a competitive advantage.

    Businesses, including some of the most recognized brands in the U.S., have adopted solar at an unprecedented rate. Since the first edition of Solar Means Business was released last year, U.S. businesses, non-profits and government organizations have blanketed their rooftops and properties with over 1,000 megawatts (MW) of new photovoltaic (PV) solar installations.1 As of mid-2013, cumulative commercial deployment totaled 3,380 MW at over 32,800 facilities throughout the country, an increase of more than 40 percent over last year.

    The consistent decline in the cost of PV systems has continued to improve the solar value proposition to commercial users. The average price of a completed commercial PV project has dropped by 30% since the beginning of the 2011 making solar more affordable than ever for American businesses. The dramatic fall in prices is encouraging more and more companies to open their investment portfolios to on-site solar energy systems.

    This second edition of Solar Means Business, produced by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and the Vote Solar Initiative (Vote Solar), chronicles the continued and growing deployment of the leading commercial solar users in the U.S. For this edition, researchers contacted all Fortune 100 companies,3 as well as a number of additional businesses with known significant solar portfolios, to gather data.

    The increased solar adoption by major corporations shown in this report reflects the growth displayed in the overall commercial solar sector over the last year. The 25 companies with the highest total solar capacity as of August 2013 have deployed more than 445 MW at over 950 different facilities, enough to power 73,400 American homes. This is up significantly from Solar Means Business 2012, in which the top 25 companies had installed just over 300 MW at 730 facilities.

    This growth is occurring in new state markets as well. The companies analyzed for this report have deployed systems in 30 states and Puerto Rico. In fact, more than one out of every three Americans lives within 20 miles of at least one of these businesses’ solar installations. This growth is all the more impressive since several companies had already made significant commitments to solar in prior years (refer to Percent of Facilities Solar Powered section later in the report). This year’s report not only ranks companies by the total installed capacity of their systems and the number of operating installations, but also shows the geographic diversity of their solar deployment. Solar Means Business 2013 includes a new section on commercial real estate developers’ solar activity as well.

    Solar Is A Smart Investment For Business Leaders

    In the eyes of some of the most iconic, well-managed companies, solar means business. For many companies, electricity costs represent the single largest operating expense. The continued fall in solar system prices and the adoption of innovative financing models that can reduce up-front costs allow companies that have deployed solar to dramatically reduce energy expenditures. In a growing number of markets, companies can either generate or purchase solar energy at or below local retail electricity rates, saving businesses money from “Day 1”.

    Utility price volatility also presents a challenge to businesses’ long-term budgets. Solar allows companies to lock in fixed energy prices for decades. Whether the system is purchased upfront or financed through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPAs) or lease, solar offers long-term price visibility and a valuable hedge against rising and volatile conventional electricity rates. In addition, companies are learning that they can offset tax liability using the federal investment tax credit while powering their facilities as well. An investment in solar allows American companies to reduce energy costs, allocate resources to their core business operations, and better plan for the future.

    Top 25 Companies By Solar Capacity

    American businesses have gone solar at an unprecedented rate in the past few years. The list below shows the massive investment leading companies have made in solar and ranks businesses by their total on-site solar installed capacity, or the maximum power potential measured in megawatts. The 2013 rankings have expanded since the last edition of this report to include the Top 25 companies by capacity. While the list is made up of many of the same companies ranked last year, the new rankings show the growing solar portfolios of many of the country’s leading businesses and the continued development of the overall commercial market. The Top 25 companies have installed more than 445 MW of solar PV capacity across the country, up from about 300 MW last year.

    Breakout Rankings

    Solar is an attractive investment for companies in a range of industries. The rankings below show the leading solar commercial users by industry sector. While retailers have installed the most capacity, auto manufacturers, pharmaceuticals and food servicers as well as companies in many other industries, have all looked to solar to lower operating costs.

    Top Companies By Number Of Installations

    The energy demands and load profiles vary significantly by company and by facility. In some cases, businesses have significant energy needs at one or two locations and install large solar arrays to help offset that demand. Other companies have multiple sites appropriate for solar and continue to install systems at facilities all across the country, building off the success of prior solar investments. One trend is evident —companies that have installed solar continue to add more. The list below ranks businesses by the number of their on-site solar installations. The Top 25 companies have installed more than 950 individual systems, a clear sign that solar meets a range of energy needs for a variety of different companies throughout the U.S.

    Top Companies By Geographic Diversity

    The growth in the commercial market is not limited to only California, the largest state market for solar. Continued cost declines coupled with smart, effective policies have encouraged businesses to invest in solar in states across the country. In total, 117 million people in 30 states and Puerto Rico live within 20 miles of at least one of the 1,000 commercial solar installations that were analyzed in this report. The list below ranks businesses by the number of states in which they have installed PV systems at company facilities.

    Top Solar Commercial Users By Percent Of Solar-Powered Facilities

    Some of the leading commercial solar users have made a massive commitment to solar, as evidenced by the data below. The figures show the usage rate of solar energy on company facilities for select businesses that ranked highly in both installed capacity and number of installations. Note that the list is not a full ranking, but rather is a comparison of some of the top commercial solar users in the report’s analysis. Many smaller companies with only one or two locations have solar at “all” of their facilities. With more than 32,000 commercial PV systems in the U.S., ranking all companies is not practical.

    Commercial Real Estate Developers

    The Solar Means Business 2013 rankings only include systems that supply power directly to company facilities on-site. Installations that either power facilities occupied by other tenants or sell electricity to utilities at the wholesale level are not included in this analysis.

    The methodology therefore excludes the work of some real estate developers and investment trusts (REITs) that are extremely active in the solar market. Traditional commercial real estate developers and REITs have developed businesses often develop and/or own solar projects at their properties, but they do not consume the energy on-site themselves, rather utilities or their tenants use the electricity generated from their solar arrays. Developers have looked to utility off-takers when the solar potential of a given facility greatly exceeds the on-site energy demand. This is usually the case with warehouses and distribution centers that have large roof area but low electrical load. Real estate developers have also deployed solar at a range of commercial properties, including strip malls and big box retail outlets. Tenants of these facilities typically consume the energy generated from the solar installation on-site.

    The list below shows the current solar portfolios of some of the leading real estate developers and REITs that have deployed solar at a significant scale. While these companies have a range of different types of installations at a variety of facilities, each viewed solar as a strong investment and a valuable way to utilize available roof space and land at their properties…

    QUICK NEWS, October 29: A PLAN TO STREAMLINE ROOFTOP SOLAR INSTALLATION; WIND READIES A TEXAS HOME ON THE RANGE; WEST COAST CLIMATE FIGHT EXPANDS

    A PLAN TO STREAMLINE ROOFTOP SOLAR INSTALLATION IREC Proposes Proactive Grid Planning Procedure To Fast-Track Residential PV Interconnection

    Michael Puttre, 24 October 2013 (Solar Industry)

    “The Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC)…[ plan addresses] the skyrocketing number of interconnection applications swamping utility inboxes…[T]here were 65,000 grid-connected PV installations of all sizes in the U.S. in 2011. In 2012, the number of connections jumped to 95,000, meaning that utilities had to approve 30,000 new interconnection applications over the course of a single year. This figure does not count applications that were considered and rejected…Residential-type installations are generally put on a "fast track" evaluation process; nevertheless, the sheer volume is a tremendous strain on the small generator interconnection procedures the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission enacted in 2005, when there were a mere 7,000 PV grid connections…” click here for more

    WIND READIES A TEXAS HOME ON THE RANGE Iberdrola moves forward with 202-MW Texas wind project

    Kristine Esperacion, October 22, 2013 (SNL)

    “Iberdrola Renewables LLC…is preparing to begin construction of its 202-MW Baffin Wind Farm in Kenedy County, Texas, following the county's approval of a tax abatement agreement…Kenedy County commissioners recently approved the agreement for the wind farm, which includes a fixed annual payment to the county over the 10-year term of the abatement. The project, which represents a potential $300 million investment, will include the installation of 101 Gamesa G97 wind turbines at 2 MW each…[It] brings the total generation capacity to 606 MW as Iberdrola Renewables' largest renewable complex…The first two facilities, Peñascal I and Peñascal II, have 168 turbines at 403.2 MW combined…Construction is slated to begin in the fourth quarter of 2013 with commercial operations scheduled by year-end 2014…” click here for more

    WEST COAST CLIMATE FIGHT EXPANDS Western U.S. States, British Columbia Agree to Set Carbon Prices

    Lynn Doan, October 29, 2013 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

    “The governors of Oregon and Washington agreed to put a price on emissions and adopt fuel standards, bringing their efforts to cut greenhouse-gas pollution closer to those of California and British Columbia…Oregon will build on existing programs to set a price for carbon and Washington will impose emissions limits and establish a market to meet those caps. British Columbia and California will maintain their current efforts, and all four will link up ‘where possible’ to offer consistency…A movement to create a market across the western U.S. and parts of Canada collapsed two years ago after some states sought other ways to cut emissions…[California Governor Jerry] Brown said the group will ‘soon be joined by provinces on the coast of China,’ noting that a [Jabuary] meeting has been scheduled…” click here for more

    Monday, October 28, 2013

    TODAY’S STUDY: NEW ENERGY AND THE WORLD ENERGY MIX TO 2050

    World Energy Scenarios; Composing energy futures to 2050 October 2013 (World Energy Council and Paul Scherrer Institute)

    The WEC’s approach

    Scenarios are alternative views of the future which can be used to explore the implications of different sets of assumptions and to determine the degree of robustness of possible future developments. While most widely known scenarios are normative, the WEC has adopted a different, exploratory approach. ‘Normative’ in this context means that the scenarios are being used to drive the world towards a specific objective such as a particular atmospheric CO2 level. In contrast, the WEC with its exploratory scenarios Jazz and Symphony, attempts to provide decision makers with a neutral fact-based tool that they will be able to use to measure the potential impact of their choices in the future.

    Rather than telling policymakers and senior energy leaders what to do, in order to achieve a specific policy goal, the WEC’s World Energy Scenarios to 2050 will allow them to test the key assumptions that they decide to make to shape the energy of tomorrow. Investors can use this tool to assess which are likely to be the most dynamic areas and real game-changers of tomorrow.

    These scenarios are therefore likely to change the way energy decision makers consider the choices they make in understanding the real impact of their actions in the long term. This approach can only be done successfully by a network like the WEC’s with its impartial and inclusive membership structure. Over 60 experts from more than 28 countries have contributed to the WEC’s scenario building process over a period of three years.

    Assessing the energy trilemma

    These scenarios are designed to help a range of stakeholders address the ‘energy trilemma’ of achieving environmental sustainability, energy security, and energy equity and hence putting forward different policy options. Clearly, each policy option has some cost associated with it. The cost of one scenario versus the other must not only be considered in terms of necessary capital investments and the impact on and of gross domestic product (GDP) growth; the overall environmental benefits and avoided climate change adaptation costs also need to be taken into account. This means that one scenario is not necessarily better than the other and should not be judged as such. Instead, a wider view needs to be adopted when assessing the overall implications of each of the scenarios.

    Composing Energy Futures to 2050

    The WEC has built two scenarios typified by characteristics, which, each from their own perspective, may comprehensively describe large parts of the world in 2050. In this scenario exercise, the elements of the two scenarios are generalised as being applicable to the (albeit imaginary) whole world: the more consumer-driven Jazz scenario and the more voter-driven Symphony scenario. While the scenarios are ‘music based’, they are completely different in nature.

    Energy landscape in 2050

    The energy landscape we expect to see in 2050 will be quite different from how it looks today. Meeting future energy demand will be a key challenge. The world’s population will increase from approximately 7 billion in 2013 to approximately 8.7 billion in the Jazz scenario and approximately 9.4 billion in the Symphony scenario in 2050, which is equal to a 26% increase (36% respectively). The GDP per capita will also increase from slightly more than 9,000 US$2010 on average globally (US$2010 MER) in 2010 to approximately 23,000 US$2010 in Jazz and about 18,000 US$2010 in Symphony in 2050. This represents an increase by 153% and 100%, respectively. Mobility will also increase, with car ownership in terms of cars per 1000 people increasing from 124 in 2010 to 244 in 2050 in Jazz and 193 in Symphony. This equates to an increase by 98% and 57% respectively. Total primary energy supply +61% in the Jazz scenario in 2050 +27% in the Symphony scenario in 2050

    Estimated increase globally of total primary energy supply (equal to consumption)

    The WEC estimates that total primary energy supply (equal to consumption) will increase globally from 546 EJ (152 PWh) in 2010 to 879 EJ (144 PWh) in the Jazz scenario and 696 EJ (193 PWh) in the Symphony scenario in 2050. This corresponds to an increase of 61% in Jazz and 27% in Symphony. Just to compare: from 1990 to 2010 – which is roughly half the time span covered in this scenario study – total global primary energy consumption rose by approximately 45%. It is expected that global primary energy consumption will continue to rise, but at a much lower rate than in previous decades. Meeting both global and regional energy demand will be a challenge. There is no one global solution to the energy supply issue. Instead, each of the individual parts of the challenge must be worked out to reach the global goal of sustainable, affordable and secure energy supply for all.

    Energy efficiency

    Energy efficiency will increase significantly in both scenarios: primary energy intensity as measured in energy use per unit of GDP created will decrease by 50% and 53% in Jazz and Symphony respectively by 2050. Hence when comparing primary energy consumption to GDP produced, only half the amount of energy is needed until 2050 to produce the same output. This is true for both scenarios although primary energy consumption is higher in 2050 in the Jazz scenario than it is in the Symphony scenario. WEC World Energy Scenarios to 2050 show that energy efficiency and energy conservation are absolutely crucial in dealing with demand outstripping supply – both require a change in consumer priorities and have cost implications across industries – and hence capital is required to finance energy-efficiency measures in terms of an initial investment before it can pay off.

    Future primary energy mix

    The future primary energy mix in 2050 shows that growth rates will be highest for renewable energy sources. In absolute terms, fossil fuels (coal, oil, gas) will remain dominant, up to and including 2050. The share of fossil fuels will be 77% in the Jazz scenario and 59% in the Symphony scenario – compared to 79% in 2010. The share of renewable energy sources will increase from around 15% in 2010 to almost 20% in Jazz in 2050 and almost 30% in Symphony in 2050. Nuclear energy will contribute approximately 4% of total primary energy supply in Jazz in 2050 and 11% in Symphony globally – compared to 6% in 2010.

    Global electricity generation

    Global electricity generation will increase between now and 2050: In 2010, global electricity production was 21.5 billion MWh globally. In Jazz, this is expected to increase by 150% to 53.6 billion MWh by 2050. In Symphony, the increase is about 123% to 47.9 billion MWh by 2050. Simply due to the sheer increase in electricity production that is needed to meet future demand, the future electricity generation mix will be subject to tremendous changes up to 2050.

    Future investment needs in electricity generation

    Huge investment in electricity generation is needed to meet future electricity demand. The WEC estimates that total investment needed will range from US$19 trillion in Jazz to US$26 trillion in Symphony (in 2010 terms) – in terms of cumulative investment in electricity generation in both scenarios (2010–2050, undiscounted). Depending on each scenario, a share of 46% in Jazz and almost 70% in Symphony of this is to be invested in renewable electricity generation. Major investment requirements are in solar PV, hydro and wind electricity generation capacity. The WEC’s work clearly highlights that the availability of funds for investment is one of the key clusters in scenario building terms that will shape the energy landscape until 2050.

    Access to Energy

    The degree of electrification measured in terms of the share of electric energy on the final energy mix, increases up to 2050 significantly. In Jazz, the degree of electrification will be almost 30% in 2050, in Symphony this will even be slightly more than 30% in 2050 – as compared to 17% in 2010.

    Electricity consumption per capita increases globally by 111% in Jazz and 78% in Symphony in 2050. Electricity access, measured as the share of population connected to the electricity grid will increase in both scenarios: energy access will hence improve. While in 2010, 1.267 billion people were without access to electricity globally, this reduces to 319 million in Jazz and 530 million in the Symphony scenario in 2050.

    Regional developments

    Future economic growth shifts from developed countries to developing and transition economies, in particular in Asia. Of all the eight regions considered in this scenario study, Asia will be characterised by highest economic growth both in relative and absolute terms. By 2050, nearly half of all economic growth (measured in terms of production of GDP) will happen in Asia and its three sub-regions: Central and South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia and Pacific both for Jazz and Symphony. This means that the share of Asia on total primary energy consumption will increase from 40% in 2010 to 48% in Jazz and 45% in Symphony. To compare: by 2050, Europe and North America (including Mexico) will make up for about 30% of total global primary energy consumption in Jazz and 31% in Symphony (2010: 44%). Africa, including the middle East will account for 15% (Jazz) and 16% in Symphony (2010: 11%) and Latin America and The Caribbean 8% in Jazz and 7% in Symphony (2010: 5%).

    Implications for climate

    The WEC has analysed where the Jazz and Symphony scenarios might lead in terms of climate change. The WEC has also assessed the potential impact of Jazz and Symphony scenarios on the climate with reference to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Jazz scenario

    In Jazz, an assumption is made that the negotiations on climate change and emissions targets are not finalised. In the absence of international agreed commitments, regions, countries, states and municipalities take their own sustainable development initiatives and pathways. An international carbon market grows slowly from the bottom up based on regional, national and local initiatives, which coalesce to achieve greater market efficiencies and liquidity. Commercially viable innovative low-carbon technologies (solar, wind, and city gas/waste to energy) experience growth, major reductions in CO2 emissions come from growth in natural gas, in preference to oil and coal for purely economic reasons.

    Symphony scenario

    In Symphony, countries pass through the Doha Gateway and successfully negotiate a global treaty because all countries are prepared to accept commitments and concessions. Climate change has more focus along with international initiatives on climate change. Low-carbon technologies are promoted despite lacking commercial viability at initial stages. The carbon market is top-down based on an international agreement, with commitments and allocations. In the early part of the scenario period, national initiatives to meet treaty obligations to reduce emissions emerge (developed and developing countries).

    These national initiatives are linked to form regional markets with exchange of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) and other emission units. The final part of the scenario period sees global action on climate change with the market instrument emission trading as the leading mechanism for meeting CO2 emission obligations.

    The WEC’s scenarios and climate implications

    The above chart shows the potential implications of the emissions trajectories for Jazz and Symphony for atmospheric GHG concentrations (and hence climate) based on the IPCC’s 4th Assessment Report:

    Although Jazz includes a stronger emphasis on adaptation and Symphony mitigation, in both scenarios additional action is expected over the longer term (beyond 2050), further reducing the impact on climate. The implications of these changes to atmospheric GHG concentrations for surface temperature change, sea-level rise, changes in precipitation, incidence of extreme events and other impacts remain uncertain. Pressure for climate action will change over the period, the WEC recognises that the climate forcing of CO2 is considered now to be lower in some of the scientific literature in 2013. There is also increasing awareness of severe weather events that could be linked to climate forcing.

    Carbon capture utilisation and storage

    Carbon capture utilisation and storage (CC(U)S) technologies are widely employed in Symphony and hence subject to higher growth rates in the Symphony scenario than in the Jazz scenario. Half of the total electricity generated based on fossil fuels will be in conjunction with CC(U)S in 2050 in Symphony. Combining nuclear and CC(U)S for gas, coal and biomass, more than 80% of all electricity generated in 2050 will be from low-carbon sources in the Symphony scenario, compared to 40% in the Jazz scenario. To compare: In 2010, only one-third of global electricity generation was CO2 from low-carbon sources.

    The WEC believes that CC(U)S technology, solar energy and energy storage are the key uncertainties moving forward up to 2050. For CC(U)S to work, clear legislative frameworks are needed – combined with infrastructure investment and the right incentives. A low-carbon future is not only linked to renewables: CC(U)S is important and consumer behaviour needs changing. Changes in consumption habits can be an effective way to decarbonise the energy system. Voters need to balance local and global issues.

    The WEC’s World Energy Scenarios to 2050: Key signal messages for policymakers and energy leaders from Jazz and Symphony

    Signal 1

    Energy system complexity will increase by 2050

    The energy landscape we expect to see in 2050 will be quite different from how it looks today. Meeting energy supply and demand will gain complexity. Energy systems will remain complex – there are substantial system integration costs especially when a large proportion of renewables are involved due to increased network expansion costs in both transmission and distribution systems (especially in the Symphony scenario). To better understand and ultimately cope better with this increasing complexity, integrated system modelling will deserve more attention in the future to provide a more holistic view and lead to a better understanding of complex energy systems.

    Signal 2

    Energy efficiency is crucial in dealing with demand outstripping supply

    The WEC’s World Energy Scenarios to 2050 show that energy efficiency and energy conservation are absolutely crucial in dealing with demand outstripping supply – both require a change in consumer priorities and have cost implications across industries – and hence capital is required to finance energy-efficiency measures in terms of an initial investment before it can pay off. Both in the Jazz and Symphony scenarios, electric mobility comes later than originally expected – at the earliest after 2030. Policymakers and industry need to undertake even greater effort to promote the share of renewables in electricity production which is not increasing enough to ensure environmental sustainability in the long run up to 2050 and beyond.

    Signal 3

    The energy mix in 2050 will mainly be fossil based

    The WEC’s World Energy Scenarios to 2050 show that, in 2050, fossil fuels will still play a crucial role for both power generation and transport, this is particularly so in Jazz. Coal is going to play an important role in the long run, especially for power generation in China and India, the two most rapidly growing demand centres up to 2050. Natural gas, especially from unconventional sources, will play an increasing role and gain more importance in the energy share. An example is the transport sector where heavy transport will depend on fossil fuels for decades to come.

    Oil will continue to remain dominant for transport, an increase in importance of unconventional sources – in particular oil sands, and oil shale – is expected. No renaissance of nuclear energy is anticipated. Nuclear energy is not a game-changer – with limited impact also because of restrictions in economics. In the Symphony scenario, the WEC anticipates a large increase in the share of renewables – mainly in solar PV, hydro and wind globally.

    Signal 4

    Regional priorities differ: there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to the energy trilemma

    There is no global solution to the energy supply issue. Instead, reaching a solution relies on solving each of the individual parts to reach the global goal of sustainable, affordable and secure energy supply for all. Critical uncertainties remain, especially with regard to CC(U)S and the future development of energy storage technologies that are scalable in economic terms.

    In this complex world, governments play a crucial role in determining and establishing frameworks for markets to function in both scenarios. Industries and markets need to provide efficient solutions. Up to 2050, the reality will lie somewhere between the Jazz and Symphony scenarios in terms of energy supply, energy demand increases, and GDP growth – or it might even go beyond the levels indicated here.

    Signal 5

    The global economy will be challenged to meet the 450ppm target without unacceptable carbon prices

    World Energy Scenarios to 2050 underline that a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions is possible in the second half of the scenario period if it comes to global agreements and the implementation of cost-efficient market instruments like emissions trading within a cap and trade system (assumed in Symphony). Carbon capture and storage (CC(U)S) as a cost-efficient CO2 mitigation option can play an important role after 2030 – dependent on the assumed CO2 price. Such a price for CO2 has to be high enough to create right signals to provide an adequate incentive for CO2 reduction.

    The WEC’s World Energy Scenarios to 2050 indicate that these large reductions in CO2 are possible when governments are acting and industry players and markets are given right incentives to provide suitable technological solutions to achieve this. However, current signals indicate that the global economy is not on track to meet the 450ppm target (in terms of the emission pathway) without unacceptable carbon prices. In the Symphony scenario, CO2 emissions begin to drop from 2030, but fall short of the 450ppm target. In the Jazz Scenario, lower carbon prices emissions do not plateau until around 2050.

    Signal 6

    A low-carbon future is not only linked to renewables: CC(U)S is important and consumer behaviour needs changing

    Carbon capture, use and storage (CC(U)S) is a suitable technology (In addition to renewable electricity generation) to reduce CO2 emissions. Given a CO2 price signal CC(U)S can play an important role after 2030 as a cost efficient CO2 mitigation option. Such a price for CO2 has to be high enough to create the right signals to provide an adequate incentive for CO2 reduction. Issues remain such as technical feasibility at a large scale, public resistance and the upfront infrastructure cost. These are addressed more in Symphony where CC(U)S and solar contribute equally to the decarbonisation of energy systems by 2050.

    For the decarbonisation to be more effective, citizens play a crucial role, as consumers in Jazz, and voters in Symphony. Changes in consumption habits can be an effective way to decarbonise the energy system. Voters need to balance local and global issues. CC(U)S technology, solar energy and energy storage are the key uncertainties moving forward up to 2050

    Signal 7

    The WEC believes that CC(U)S technology, solar energy and energy storage are the key uncertainties moving forward up to 2050.

    CC(U)S technology is already available and is potentially one of the lower-cost, deep decarbonisation options, but it will always be an added cost and will require major pipeline and other infrastructures. For CC(U)S to work, clear legislative frameworks are needed – combined with infrastructure investment and the right incentives.

    The WEC assumes that solar technologies, in particular solar PV, will take off promoted by feed-in electricity tariffs, subsidies and net pricing in Europe, and solar technology prices tumbling. The technologies then make major inroads, and used in India, Africa and other countries to bring power to rural and off-grid communities. Subsidies are needed for solar to be economic and to create an incentive for investment to happen. Subsidies for solar are higher in Symphony than they are in Jazz, which leads to a higher trajectory of uptake of solar PV in Symphony.

    As far as energy-storage technologies are concerned, pump storage is a well-developed and widely applied technology, its use is limited. Other new and emerging energy storage technologies, batteries, hydrogen, power to gas (hydrogen or methane), still need more research and development (R&D) before they become commercially viable. Investment in R&D is therefore needed to promote these technologies which could play a key role up to 2050 especially to overcome the problem of intermittency of high levels of renewables in Symphony.

    Signal 8

    Balancing the energy trilemma means making difficult choices

    Citizens face a choice between affordable energy with higher economic growth in Jazz, or more expensive energy prices and less impact on the environment in Symphony. This underlines that a holistic long-term view on the energy sector is required to address these energy trilemma issues up to 2050 and beyond.

    For politicians, the time of short-termism is over: clear and stable legislative frameworks are needed to ensure financial predictability, for markets to develop and for industry to provide solutions to rising global energy needs.

    Signal 9

    Functioning energy markets require investments and regional integration to deliver benefits to all consumers

    The availability of funds for investment is one of the key clusters in scenario building terms that will shape the energy landscape until 2050. The WEC has assessed the investment implications for electricity generation both for the Jazz and the Symphony scenarios at the global and regional level. Long-term investment decisions are needed to meet future energy demand.

    The investment costs for electricity generation associated with each scenario are in the region of approximately US$265 trillion (US$2010) in the Jazz scenario and approximately US$19 trillion (US$2010) in the Symphony scenario for electricity-generating capacity only.

    For an investment in this region to be taken, clear signals are needed, together with high financial predictability, stable regulatory frameworks with low regulatory risk and functioning markets to ensure that energy can be delivered to all consumers who need it and to the greater benefit all.

    Signal 10

    Energy policy should ensure that energy and carbon markets deliver

    The WEC firmly believes that energy policy should ensure that energy and carbon markets deliver investments, promote regional integration and hence provide benefits to consumers. In Symphony, an agreed 2030 decarbonisation target could provide the right signals to investors of incentivising investment in different technologies.

    In Symphony, governments should be aware that promoting new technologies through subsidies such as feed-in tariffs can also lead to ‘energy market bubbles’. In the Jazz scenario, governments can facilitate the growth of national and regional markets by cutting the red tape, and the promotion of regional integration and greater cooperation. This will lead to better market integration and the creation of regional markets with greater benefits for all consumers.

    QUICK NEWS, October 28: U.S. OFFSHORE WIND ON THE VERGE; HUNDREDS OF HIDDEN OIL SPILLS; HOME ENERGY MGMT TECHNOLOGY TO BOOM GLOBALLY

    U.S. OFFSHORE WIND ON THE VERGE New Report Shows Trend Toward Larger Offshore Wind Systems, with 11 Advanced Stage Projects Proposed in U.S. Waters

    October 23, 2013 (U.S. Department of Energy)

    "…[This year’s U.S. Offshore Wind Market and Economic Analysis, authored by the Navigant Consortium for the Energy Department shows] progress for the U.S. offshore wind energy market in 2012, including the completion of two commercial lease auctions for federal Wind Energy Areas and 11 commercial-scale U.S. projects representing over 3,800 megawatts (MW) of capacity reaching an advanced stage of development. Further, the report highlights global trends toward building offshore turbines in deeper waters and using larger, more efficient turbines in offshore wind farms, increasing the amount of electricity delivered to consumers…” click here for more

    HUNDREDS OF HIDDEN OIL SPILLS 100s of U.S. state's oil spills not publicized

    October 25, 2013(AP via USA Today)

    North Dakota, the No. 2 oil producing state behind Texas, recorded nearly 300 oil pipeline spills in less than two years, state documents show…[T]he pipeline spills, many of them small, are among some 750 ‘oil field incidents’ that have occurred since January 2012 without public notification…[R]egulators are reviewing the state's policies for when to publicly report such incidents after a massive spill was discovered last month in northwestern north Dakota by a wheat farmer. State and company officials kept it quiet for 11 days — and only said something after the AP asked about it…North Dakota regulators, like in many other oil-producing states, are not obliged to tell the public about oil spills under state law. But in a state that's producing a million barrels a day and saw nearly 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) of new pipelines last year, many believe the risk of spills will increase, posing a bigger threat to farmland and water…” click here for more

    HOME ENERGY MGMT TECHNOLOGY TO BOOM GLOBALLY Home Energy Management; In-Home Displays, Networked HEM Systems, Standalone HEM Systems, Web Portals, and Paper Bill HEM Reports: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    4Q 2013 (Navigant Research)

    "The home energy management (HEM) market continues to attract attention, especially with the increasing presence of newer stakeholders like broadband service providers (e.g., Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast) and security companies (e.g., ADT and Vivint). However, the products and services that constitute the HEM market continue to struggle for more traction [despite the increasingly smart grid]…Over the coming decade, a continued desire among consumers to reduce bills, regulatory mandates for greater efficiency, wider use of variable pricing schemes, and a strong green sentiment will combine to help drive adoption forward…Navigant Research forecasts that global revenue from various segments of the HEM market will grow from $300.7 million in 2012 to $1.8 billion in 2022…” click here for more

    Saturday, October 26, 2013

    The Solar Powered Future

    We’re in the future already, explains Sungevity Founder Danny Kennedy. There are right now hundreds of thousands of people “living solar powered lives.” From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    A Wind Power Primer

    This animated intro to wind energy points to wind’s future on the oceans. From Razan Salhi via YouTube

    Tipping Points

    A new series from The Weather Channel. From The Weather Channel via YouTube

    Friday, October 25, 2013

    AUSTRALIA’S WILDFIRE HOLOCAUST AND CLIMATE CHANGE

    Australia, U.N. spar over wildfires and climate change

    Alister Doyle, October 23, 2013 (Reuters)

    “…Firefighters were battling about 60 fires burning across New South Wales state, with strong winds fanning blazes in the Blue Mountains, a major commuter area of small towns west of Sydney…Christiana Figueres, head of the U.N.'s Bonn-based Climate Change Secretariat…[said] there was ‘absolutely’ a link between climate change and wildfires…Conservative Prime Minister Tony Abbott rejected any suggestion that the blazes in Australia were the product of rising carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels such as coal, a major Australian export…The dispute highlights how almost all climate experts say man-made global warming is under way but it is usually impossible to link it to individual extremes such as floods, heatwaves, droughts or the wildfires raging around Sydney…Wildfires, many of them devastating, have happened naturally throughout history. Global warming may, however, be loading the dice in favor of more extremes…” click here for more

    WORLD WIND NEARING 300 GIGAWATTS

    Worldwide Wind Capacity close to 300 Gigawatt

    17 October 2013 (World Wind Energy Association)

    “The worldwide wind capacity reached 296’255 MW by the end of June 2013 [according to the 2013 Half-Year Report from the World Wind Energy Association], out of which 13’980 MW were added in the first six months of 2012. This increase is significantly less than in the first half of 2012 and 2011, when 16,5 GW and 18,4 GW respectively were added. All wind turbines installed worldwide by mid-2013 can generate around 3,5 % of the world’s electricity demand…The global wind capacity grew by 5% within six months (after 7 % in the same period in 2012 and 9 % in 2011) and by 16,6 % on an annual basis (mid-2013 compared with mid-2012). In comparison, the annual growth rate in 2012 was significantly higher (19 %)…” click here for more

    THE WORLD’S MANY AND SHIFTING PV MARKETS

    Geographic & customer segmentation demand; Evolution of an end market

    Michael Barker, October 2013 (SolarBuzz)

    "…To better understand the PV industry situation, it is essential to examine long-term demand trends by both geographic market and customer segmentation…Europe took the leading position in terms of driving end market demand in 2004 to 2005…[leading] to supply increases…[and falling] PV component prices…[G]enerous incentive policies in Europe led to rapidly expanding demand…[Supply-side imbalances led] to antidumping and anti-subsidies investigations…[and] changing regulatory structures to lower the costs associated with legacy PV incentive policies…By the time these cases were resolved (or in the case of European investigations, announced but not yet implemented), end-market demand in Asia accounted for over 45% of annual demand, while European demand share had declined from approximately 80% in 2010 to less than 35% today…” click here for more

    ETHIOPIA BUYS BIG INTO GEOTHERMAL

    Ethiopia signs $4 billion geothermal deal

    October 23, 2013 (Phys Org)

    "Ethiopia signed a $4 billion deal…with American-Icelandic company Reykjavik Geothermal to develop a 1000-megawatt geothermal farm…When completed, the project to provide energy for both local consumption and export will be the largest source of foreign direct investment in Ethiopia…Three-quarters of the [first geothermal project in Ethiopia] is funded by Reykjavik Geothermal, backed by private investors, while 25 percent will be borrowed…$40 million (29 million euro) of investment has already been secured…The geothermal farm—located 200 kilometres (124 miles) south of the capital Addis Ababa—will be built in two phases, with the first 500 MW phase to be completed in 2018. The second phase is expected to be finished in 2021...[G]eothermal is an ideal source of energy in Ethiopia, which [has a 3,000 MW geothermal potential and] is vulnerable to erratic weather and oil price fluctuations…” click here for more

    Thursday, October 24, 2013

    POWER PLANT EMISSIONS DROP ON MOVE AWAY FROM COAL

    Greenhouse gas emissions from power plants declined from 2011 to 2012, EPA says

    Lenny Bernstein, October 23, 2013 (Washington Post)

    "Greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and other industrial facilities declined by 4.5 percent from 2011 to 2012 as utilities continued to switch from coal to natural gas to generate electricity and produced slightly less power overall, the Environmental Protection Agency reported…Greenhouse gas emissions from these sources have declined by 10 percent in the two years since the EPA began compiling the data in 2010. Power plants poured about 2.1 million metric tons of heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere last year, about 31 percent of the total U.S. production of such gases. Power plants release far more greenhouse gas than any other type of facility reviewed by the EPA, including refineries, chemical plants, and oil and gas exploration equipment…” click here for more