NewEnergyNews: 11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013

NewEnergyNews

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

The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Risk Of Natural Gas Vs. The Risk Of Wind
  • QUICK NEWS, April 24: The Health Impacts Of Climate Change; New Energy Is Everywhere; Study Shows LA Does Not Need Aliso Canyon
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: How To Win Friends For New Energy
  • Weekend Video: The Electric Vehicle Highway
  • Weekend Video: Wind And The Economy
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-A Deeper Look At The Heat
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Wind Gets Market Tough
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-UK Gets Utility-Led Solar Plus Storage
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Germany’s VW Talking Its EV To China
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, April 20:

  • TTTA Thursday-U.S. Military Affirms Climate Change-War Link
  • TTTA Thursday-Solar Plus Hydro Drive Wholesale Power Cost Sub-Zero
  • TTTA Thursday-Wind Boom Goes On Growing Midwest Wealth
  • TTTA Thursday-More Kentucky Jobs In New Energy Than In Coal
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Rocky Mountain compromise: Inside Xcel's landmark Colorado solar settlement
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Fixed charge battle looms in Texas as regulators tackle rate design reform
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: No time to think: How utilities are handling the deluge of grid data

    THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Resource Diversity And Grid Reliability
  • QUICK NEWS, April 18: Study Puts 10-Year Timer On Climate Change; The War Between Wall Street And Solar; New Energy To Power Healthcare
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f 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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      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.

  • ---------------
  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, April 25:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Way To Grow EVs
  • QUICK NEWS, April 25: Private Sector Takes Over The Climate Fight; How Sea Level Rise Would Change The Map; Wind Jobs Top 100,000 As Wind Energy Booms

    Saturday, November 30, 2013

    Looking Up At Wind

    The people with the biggest stake speak out. From matt trapnell via YouTube

    Solar Charging Opportunity In Rural Africa

    Business and education are racing forward in remotest Africa on the strength of the smart phone. Now those engines of advancement can get recharged whenever the sun is shining. From World Panel via YouTube

    Climate Denial Crock Of The Week (Joe Barton’s Duplicity)

    This new piece from Peter Sinclair tracks the connection, through Congressman Joe Barton (R-TX), between the “smoking doesn’t cause cancer movement” and the climate change denial movement. From greenman3610 via YouTube

    Friday, November 29, 2013

    THE NEW CLIMATE CHANGE BATTLEFRONT

    Climate Change Is Now in the Developing World’s Hands; Can their economic self-interest help us all?

    Jeffrey Ball, November 29, 2013 (Slate)

    "…[At the just completed Warsaw international climate change conference, almost exactly as has happened in prior [summits]…intonations about a global warming threat were offered, hope for selfless environmental cooperation was expressed…battles over who should foot the bill were fought…[and] little of substance [got] done…[W]hat happened in Warsaw shows that the action has shifted in two ways that diplomats didn’t envision two decades ago, when they began negotiations…First, the important moves are happening in developing countries such as China, not in developed ones such as the United States. Second, they’re happening for economic reasons that aren’t about global warming but that sometimes coincide with it…These two shifts are likely to define the world’s response to climate change for years to come. Together, they mean the world is likely to address climate change only to the extent that developing countries believe doing so will serve goals they see as more immediate and important: providing new jobs, for instance, or cleaning up sooty air…” click here for more

    EVEN MORE SOLAR IN CHINA

    China Solar PV Forecast for 2014 Upgraded to 12 GW

    Steven Han, November 15, 2013 (SolarBuzz)

    “…[Under] the Chinese Bureau of Energy [just-released draft proposal]…new solar installations in China are expected to reach 12 GW in 2014 . This includes 8 GW of distributed PV generation and 4 GW in the ground-mount segment…The release of the quotas for 2014 will provide confidence to project developers in the Chinese solar PV market…[T]he increase in solar PV demand from China is now driving the total Asia Pacific (APAC) baseline forecast to 24 GW for 2014, with an upside as high as 32 GW. The increase from the APAC region is a major contributor to our upgrade of global forecasts for 2014 to the 45-55 GW level…[with China again] forecast to be the largest country for solar PV demand…” click here for more

    545 MW IN 26 BRAZIL WIND PROJECTS TO GE

    GE wins 545 MW of wind farm commitments in Brazil

    Steve Bushong, November 25, 2013 (Windpower Engineering & Development)

    "GE recently won 545 MW of orders for wind turbines in Brazil’s A-3 auction, which was held in mid-November. The total amount of energy auctioned was 867 MW, and GE secured 63% of the auction capacity…GE will provide 1.7-100 and 1.85-82.5 turbines for wind farms developed by Casa dos Ventos, Eletrosul, Contour Global, CEEE, PEC, Rio Energy, and Chesf in the Brazilian states of Rio Grande do Sul, Bahia, and Piauí. GE also will service the wind turbines for 10 years as part of an operations and maintenance agreement that includes an availability guarantee for the 26 wind farms…GE secured a total of 1 GW of commitments for wind energy…at an average rate of R$124/MWh (US$54/MWh)…to meet demand for the country’s electricity needs in 2016…” click here for more

    KENYA’S GEOTHERMAL BOOM

    Kenya's energy revolution: full steam ahead for geothermal power; Electricity may be at a premium in Kenya, but the country hopes to be the world's leading exponent of geothermal power by 2023

    Jessica Hatcher, 22 November 2013 (UK Guardian)

    "…[T]he active east African rift…region is considered one of the most exciting geothermal prospects in the world… [Where teams] have drilled wells, water heated by molten lava roars like a jet engine as it bursts out of the ground…East Africa is undergoing an energy revolution driven…[and] geothermal has become the darling of on-grid solutions for Kenya…[which is why] Kenya's state-owned power producer, Kengen, has been asked to provide consultancy services to Sudan, Rwanda and Tanzania…According to the Geothermal Energy Association, Kenya will become the world leader if its planned projects are completed on time...The country has set the ambitious target of producing 5,000 megawatts (MW) by 2030, which will power millions of homes…The World Bank estimates that geothermal from east Africa's Rift Valley could power 150m homes…” click here for more

    Thursday, November 28, 2013

    Rare Footage – The Story of Thanksgivukkah

    The less said about this the better, but one quick word on the closing scroll: The ice caps will have long since melted before the next Thanksgivukkah comes around in 70 millenia. From Shmideo via YouTube

    Colbert Talks Thanksgivukkah

    From Comedy Central

    Reasons To Be Thankful

    There is always a lot to be grateful for. The heroes who ride at Carousel Ranch and the heroes who serve there are surely among the first of the best. NewEnergyNews is privileged and proud to call Carousel Ranch home.

    NewEnergyNews is also grateful to so many others…to the Marks family foundation…the inimitable Frenchie and the sparkling new Juliette…the enduring Randolph and the Scott clan…Sandy, Nani, and the others who submit their muscles regularly…Miss Lila and the guys at Akbar…Carol and the Cowboy Palace dancers…and to Teri in Austin for essential support…to the many kind folks who are building infrastructure to harvest the power of this good earth’s wind, sun, deep heat, and flowing waters for sharing themselves, especially the passionate solar warriors in Arizona and Colorado…and, of course, to the readers who keep clicking on this page…May you always count your blessings and may a kind fate lead you. From CarouselRanch via YouTube

    Wednesday, November 27, 2013

    TODAY’S STUDY: THE RISKS OF FRACKING DISCLOSED

    Disclosing The Facts: Transparency And Risk In Hydraulic Fracturing Operations

    Richard Liroff, Investor Environmental Health Network, Danielle Fugere, As You Sow, Lucia von Reusner, Green Century Capital Management, Inc., Steven Heim, Boston, Common Asset Management, LLC, Leslie Samuelrich, Green Century Capital Management, Inc., November 2013

    Executive Summary

    Since 2009, institutional investors have been pressing oil and gas companies to be more transparent in reporting how they manage and mitigate the environmental risks and community impacts of their hydraulic fracturing operations. Measurement and disclosure of best management practices and impacts are the primary means by which investors gauge how companies are addressing the business risks of their operations.

    This inaugural scorecard is a collaborative effort of As You Sow, Boston Common Asset Management, Green Century Capital Management, and the Investor Environmental Health Network. The scorecard analyzes and benchmarks the public disclosures of 24 oil and gas companies on the use and effectiveness of best management practices for reducing and managing environmental risks and community impacts from hydraulic fracturing operations. It does so by examining overall industry performance on use of quantitative metrics for disclosure, identifying those indicators most commonly reported, and distinguishing companies disclosing more about their practices and impacts from those disclosing less. The scorecard specifically measures company disclosures across five areas of environmental, social, and governance metrics: (1) toxic chemicals; (2) water and waste management; (3) air emissions; (4) community impacts; and (5) management accountability, on a play-by-play basis.

    The assessment in this scorecard is based solely on information companies make publicly available on their websites and in their financial statements. The results of the scorecard demonstrate a widespread industry trend of underperformance in disclosure of key performance metrics. Companies, nearly across the board, are failing to provide investors and the public with sufficient quantitative information to adequately understand and compare the risks and opportunities these companies present within their hydraulic fracturing operations.

    Key Findings

    1. Poor Overall Industry Performance on Disclosures of Key Metrics: Quantitative, play-by-play disclosure is inadequate across the industry. Company disclosures remain mostly qualitative and narrative in form, making it difficult for investors to rigorously assess and compare company performance. Too often, companies provide aggregate reporting (e.g., on a companywide or countrywide basis) and rely on anecdotes or narrative statements as a substitute for systematic, quantitative reporting on critical regional and local practices and impacts. Further, we believe that narrative reporting does not give investors and other stakeholders the information necessary to determine if individual companies are sufficiently managing the risks inherent to their operations across their multiple plays.

    2. Reporting Varies Widely Company to Company: The highest scoring company in this review, Encana, provided disclosures on only 14 of the 32 indicators. QEP provided disclosures on only 1 of 32 indicators, receiving the lowest score in the report.

    3. Most Commonly Reported Indicators: The most commonly reported survey indicators were: executive compensation tied to health, environment, and safety performance (71% of companies surveyed); the use of pipelines to transport water in lieu of diesel trucks to lower air emissions (62%); and company policy on the use of non-potable versus fresh water (46%).

    4. Least Reported Indicators: Companies scored worst on their disclosure of how community concerns are tracked and responded to, especially on a play-by-play basis. Only 6 companies received any points in the community impacts section of the scorecard. While certain companies may be addressing local community impacts, no company is systematically reporting company successes and failures in accommodating community concerns on a play-by-play basis.

    QUICK NEWS, November 27: SOLAR’S U.S. PIPELINE; RECORD 45% OF GRID POWER FOR IRISH WIND; $30BIL+ IN TRANS-OCEAN TRANSMISSION BIZ TO 2023

    SOLAR’S HUGE U.S. PIPELINE The US has 43 nuclear power plants’ worth of solar energy in the pipeline

    Todd Woody, November 25, 2013 (Quartz)

    “The boom in solar energy in the US in recent years? You haven’t seen anything yet. The pipeline of photovoltaic projects has grown 7% over the past 12 months and now stands at 2,400 solar installations that would generate 43,000 megawatts(MW)… If all these projects are built, their peak electricity output would be equivalent to that of 43 big nuclear power plants, and enough to keep the lights on in six million American homes…Only 8.5% of the pipeline is currently being installed, with most of it still in the planning stages. Some projects will inevitably get canceled or fail to raise financing…But there’s reason to believe that a good chunk of these solar power plants and rooftop installations will get built over the next two years…” click here for more

    RECORD 45% OF GRID POWER FOR IRISH WIND Irish wind energy output hits record 1,564MW

    20 November 2013 (SiliconRepublic)

    “Wind power output reached a record 1,564 megawatts (MW) in Ireland this morning, enough to power more than 1m homes, the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA) reported…The record output, recorded at 8am, corresponded to more than 45pc of the Irish electricity demand at that time, according to figures from EirGrid…The IWEA's chief executive Kenneth Matthews said the new peak shows the vital role wind energy is already playing in Ireland's domestic energy supply, as sustained levels of wind generation are being created…” click here for more

    $30BIL+ IN TRANS-OCEAN TRANSMISSION BIZ TO 2023 Submarine Electricity Transmission; HVDC and HVAC Submarine Power Cables: Supply Constraints, Demand Drivers, Technology Issues, Prominent Projects, Key Industry Players, and Global Market Forecasts

    4Q 2013 (Navigant Research)

    “The market for high-voltage submarine cables is a small and highly specialized industry that will experience increasing growth over the next several years…As cable technology advances, more projects are being proposed that require longer, deeper, and higher-capacity cables…Even the most conservative growth models show that the industry will expand rapidly and the supply chain has expanded…[T]he primary restraints on the submarine cable market in the foreseeable future are restrictions in financing and regulatory roadblocks. Navigant Research forecasts that the high-voltage submarine cable market will realize $33.8 billion in cumulative revenue between 2014 and 2023 under a conservative scenario…” click here for more

    Tuesday, November 26, 2013

    TODAY’S STUDY: WHAT GEOTHERMAL ENERGY OFFERS

    The Values of Geothermal Energy: A Discussion of the Benefits Geothermal Power Provides to the Future U.S. Power System

    October 2013 (Geothermal Resources Council and Geothermal Energy Association)

    Introduction

    Geothermal power offers both firm and flexible solutions to the changing U.S. power system by providing a range of services including but not limited to baseload, regulation, load following or energy imbalance, spinning reserve, non-spinning reserve, and replacement or supplemental reserve. It is well known that geothermal plants can operate 24 hours a day with a steady output, regardless of environmental conditions, and are not subject to the unpredictability and voltage swings that variable energy resources (VER) face and, hence, can fulfill the necessary role as a renewable baseload power source. As aging baseload fossil fuel plants retire, geothermal plants can provide the generation these plants have historically provided to the power system.

    Geothermal plants can also ramp up or down quickly, allowing them to adjust to the changing needs of the power system and act as a flexible power source in addition to baseload. The increasing percentage of electricity produced from VER, such as solar and wind, is placing an escalating level of stress on an aging power system designed for fossil fuels. The varying output can cause voltage swings in transmission lines, potentially creating power surges and blackouts.

    This combination of firm and flexible power positions geothermal energy as an ideal candidate to fill several roles historically performed by emission-heavy fossil fuels, such as baseload, regulation, load- following, and reserve functions typically reserved for coal and/or natural gas plants. In addition to considerable environmental advantages over fossil fuels, geothermal plants generally lack the fuel costs of other baseload sources, or the ancillary and transmission costs associated with variable energy resources that often equate to the long-term stability in energy costs.

    Looking beyond these specific benefits, geothermal has a number of other attractive features, including:

    • Geothermal power production has a positive impact on local economies, and creates significantly more jobs per megawatt than natural gas.

    • Geothermal power has a smaller land footprint than most other energy sources, particularly when compared with other renewables.

    • Geothermal power has very low emission levels. Binary plants produce near-zero GHG emissions while flash and dry steam plants represent a significant reduction compared to fossil fuel based generation.

    • Geothermal power’s established history of consistent output demonstrates a level of reliability unmatched by other renewables and fossil fuel based generation.

    Relevant Terms and Definitions

    Ancillary services are defined by FERC as the services necessary to support the transmission of electricity from a supplier to a purchaser, given the obligations of a control area and that area’s transmitting utilities to maintain reliable operations of the interconnected transmission system. There are six different kinds of ancillary services: scheduling and dispatch, reactive power and voltage control, loss compensation, load following, system protection, and energy imbalance.

    Balancing Authority Area is a metered segment of the electric power system in which electrical balance is maintained. In a balancing authority area, the total of all generation must equal the total of all loads (as supplemented by electrical imports into and exports out of the area).

    Baseload Power (Firm Power) is the minimum amount of power that a utility or distribution company must generate for its customers, or the amount of power required to meet minimum demands based on reasonable expectations of customer requirements. Baseload values typically vary from hour to hour in most commercial and industrial areas. Large baseload units also tend to have lower operating costs relative to other fossil-fueled facilities.

    Capacity Factor/Value of a power plant is the ratio of its actual output over a period of time to its potential output if it were possible for it to continuously operate at full nameplate capacity. To calculate the capacity factor, the total amount of energy produced by the power plant during a period of time is divided by the amount of energy the plant would have produced at full capacity. Capacity factors vary greatly depending on the type of fuel that is used and the design of the plant. The capacity factor should not be confused with the availability factor, capacity credit (firm capacity) or with efficiency.

    Contingency Spinning Reserve is generation (or responsive load) that is poised, ready to respond immediately, in case a generator or transmission line fails unexpectedly. Spinning reserve begins to respond immediately and must fully respond within 10-15 minutes. Enough contingency reserve (spinning and non-spinning) must be available to deal with the largest failure that is anticipated.

    Demand response is not a single technology or rate which a power plant can be activated. Rather, Demand Response is any technology that controls the rate of electricity consumption rather than the rate of generation. FERC defines the term Demand Response to include “consumer actions that can change any part of the load profile of a utility or region, not just the period of peak usage.”

    Dispatchable energy is closely related to load following and ramping. However, dispatchable energy focuses on the energy consumption at times of peak capacity requirements and minimum load while Load Following focuses on the rate of change in generation and consumption, i.e., the ramping requirements. Both can be obtained from sub-hourly and hourly energy markets and/or the movements of the marginal generators or loads.

    Distributed generation refers to electricity generated from many small energy sources. Most countries generate electricity in large centralized facilities powered by fossil fuels or hydropower. Distributed generation allows energy to be collected from many sources and may result in a lower environmental impact and improved security of supply.

    Dry Steam, Flash, and Binary are the three main types of geothermal power conversion technologies. In dry steam technology, steam is withdrawn directly from a subsurface geothermal reservoir and used to run the turbines that power the generator. In flash plants, high-pressure and high - temperature geothermal fluids separate (“flash”) into steam and water either in the reservoir, in the well, or in a surface separator as a result of pressure decrease. The steam is delivered to a turbine that powers a generator and the resulting liquid is injected back into the reservoir. In binary plants, geothermal fluid is prevented from flashing by maintaining the pressure and is used to heat a secondary liquid called a working fluid, which boils at a lower temperature than water. Heat exchangers are used to transfer the heat energy from the geothermal fluid to vaporize the working fluid. The vaporized working fluid, like steam in flash plants, turns the turbines that power the generators. The geothermal water is injected back into the reservoir. The binary configuration is a closed-loop system with zero emissions that maintains complete separation from groundwater sources.

    Energy Imbalance Service is a market service that provides for the management of unscheduled deviations in individual generator output or load consumption.

    Intermediate and Peaking Units are power plants that have fast ramp rates and relatively lower minimum generation levels and can be shut down and started up relatively quickly. Intermediate and peaking units are most often used to provide load following generation service due to their ability to ramp up and down quickly.

    Load Following is a slower response (from several minutes to a few hours) whereby available resources are dispatched to follow system ramping requirements. Load following is not a defined FERC service, but is obtained from intra-hour and hourly energy markets. Furthermore, a load following power plant is a power plant that adjusts its power output as demand for electricity fluctuates throughout the day and typically falls between baseload and peaking power plants in efficiency, speed of startup and shutdown, construction cost, cost of electricity, and capacity factor.

    Non-Spinning Reserve is similar to spinning reserve, except that response does not need to begin immediately. Full response is still required within 10 minutes, however.

    Organic Rankine Cycle (ORC) is named for its use of an organic, high-molecular mass fluid with a liquid- vapor phase change, or boiling point, which occurs at a lower temperature than the water-steam phase change. The fluid allows Rankine cycle heat recovery from lower temperature sources such as biomass combustion, industrial waste heat, geothermal heat, solar ponds, etc.

    Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is a contract between two parties, one who generates electricity (the seller) and one who is looking to purchase electricity (the buyer). The PPA defines all of the commercial terms for the sale of electricity between the buyer and the seller, including when the project will begin commercial operation, the schedule for delivery of electricity, penalties for under delivery, payment terms, and termination of the agreement. The PPA is the principal agreement that defines the revenue and credit quality of a generating project and is thus a key instrument used in project finance. There are many forms of PPAs in use today and they vary according to the needs of buyer, seller, and financing counterparties

    Peaking power plants, also known as “peakers,” are power plants that generally run only when there is a high demand for electricity, often referred to as peak demand. Although these plants supply only occasional power, the power supplied commands a much higher price per kilowatt hour than a plant supplying baseload power.

    Ramp Rate is essentially the speed at which a generator can increase (ramp up) or decrease (ramp down) generation. Generating units have different characteristics making some more suited to supplying certain needed functions.

    Regulation is the time frame during which generation (and potentially load) automatically responds to minute-by-minute deviations in a supply-demand balance. Typically, signals are sent by an automatic generation control (AGC) system to one or more generators to increase or decrease output to match the change in load. The frequency regulation control portion of the AGC system is typically called the load frequency control (LFC). Changes in load during the regulation time are typically not predicted or scheduled in advance and must be followed by generation reserve capacity that is online and grid-synchronized.

    Replacement or Supplemental Reserve is an additional reserve required in some regions. It begins responding in 30 to 60 minutes. It is distinguished from non-spinning reserve by the response time frame.

    Unit commitment typically covers several hours to several days. Unit commitment involves the starting and synchronizing of thermal generation so that it is available when needed to meet expected electricity demand.

    Variable Energy Resources (VER) are any sources of energy that are not continuously available due to some factor outside direct control of the resource operator (solar, wind, tidal, etc.). The VER may be predictable, for example, tidal power, but cannot be dispatched to meet the demand of a power system.

    The Changing U.S. Power Market

    Until recently, renewable energy technologies represented only a small fraction of the U.S. power system. However, in recent years, renewables have become an increasing contributor to the grid, generating approximately 14% of the electricity of the United States as of June 2013 with wind, solar, and geothermal power generating about 5% of that electrical power.

    Wind and solar generation are important and innovative technologies that will play a prominent role in the transition to a clean energy economy and help alleviate the significant consequences of a warming planet. However, wind and solar photovoltaic rely heavily on the prevailing weather conditions for their generation. Changes in wind patterns or a cloudy day can affect the availability of these generation technologies. As a result, reliability of the overall power system can fluctuate. Geothermal energy is a renewable power source that can provide baseload and flexible power, quickly adjusting to fit the needs set by variable renewable energy technologies.

    In addition, President Obama’s climate goals encourage new opportunities for geothermal power to provide clean electricity to communities across the U.S. Unfortunately, natural gas is used in many scenarios rather than geothermal power, but not all the externality and ancillary costs associated with natural gas are factored into the price of electricity. This misconception creates the illusion that natural gas power plants are a viable alternative to geothermal power.

    Other actions by President Obama, such as directing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to work expeditiously to complete carbon pollution standards for both new and existing power plants, will create new opportunities for geothermal power. In 2012 the President set a goal to issue permits for 10 gigawatts (GWe) of renewables on public lands by the end of the year. With approximately half of geothermal power plants on public lands this new goal should accelerate geothermal development. Also, the Department of Defense – the single largest consumer of energy in the United States – is committed to deploying 3 GWe of renewable energy on military installations, from solar, wind, biomass, and geothermal sources, by 2025. Federal agencies are setting a new goal of reaching 100 megawatts (MWe) of installed renewable capacity across the federally subsidized housing stock by 2020.

    Lastly, state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), require electric utilities and other electric service providers to derive a certain percentage of their retail sales, consumption, or some other metric, from eligible renewable energy resources. These standards should increase demand for geothermal power and other renewables. However, not all state RPS requirements treat all renewables equally. For example in California, the bidding process adjusts prices for the "time of day" which devalues technologies that would otherwise provide power as baseload and does not value capacity or integration costs, which historically were given value in the procurement process…

    Firm Power: Geothermal the Clean, Cost Effective, Baseload Resource…Replacing Baseload Coal…A Substitute for Natural Gas…Flexible Power: Geothermal Power’s Ability to Adapt to Variability…The Need for a Flexible Power System…The Realities of a 21st Century Power System & Variability…Flexible Power…Ancillary Services, Integration, Transmission Costs…Other Benefits of Geothermal Power…Employment and Economic Development…Small Land Footprint…Near Zero Emissions…Reliability: Predictable and Long-lasting…

    Conclusion

    Geothermal power is a reliable, economical, and clean option to provide baseload power for the growing U.S. power system.

    • Retirement of emission-heavy coal plants will provide opportunities for more environmentally-friendly friendly geothermal power plants. Among energy sources which are suitable for baseload production, geothermal power represents arguably the smallest carbon footprint. Geothermal power has significantly lower CO2 emissions than coal or natural gas.

    • The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) formulates the levelized cost per kilowatthour for various energy sources. The estimated average levelized cost for geothermal power ($89.60/MWh) comes in significantly lower than coal (conventional or advanced), nuclear, or biomass.

    • Baseload or Load Following using gas-fired generation is more costly than geothermal power when factoring in ancillary costs of natural gas electrical generation.

    • The transition from a coal to a natural-gas-dominated electricity system would not be sufficient to meet U.S. climate goals. A natural-gas-centered power system still carries significant economic, environmental, and public health risks from methane’s impact on climate change as well as environmental consequences from natural gas extraction.

    Despite previous misconceptions geothermal power has the ability to operate in a flexible mode that can quickly adapt to uncertainties in the U.S. power system. Geothermal power offers flexible solutions to provide a range of services including, but not limited to, baseload, regulation, load following or energy imbalance, spinning reserve, non-spinning reserve, and replacement or supplemental reserve.

    • Geothermal power plants can ramp up and down very quickly, multiple times per day to a minimum of 10% of nominal power and up to 100% of nominal output power. The normal ramp rate for a geothermal ORC turbine is 15% of nominal power per minute.32

    • As VER achieve higher levels of penetration in the Western electricity market, market participants and regulatory agencies are realizing the importance of quantifying integration and transmission costs associated with them. Failure to include these costs and the value of ancillary services results in an imprecise price-per-MWh comparison between energy technologies. Well- established inaccurate procurement comparisons increase ratepayer costs on a power system built for older, baseload energy technologies.

    • Geothermal power uses already existing transmission capacity efficiently because of its high capacity factors averaging 92%. Meanwhile, VER capacity factors average 20-34%. Therefore, a 100 MW VER needs to consume 100 MW of transmission even though the VER may seldom use the full capacity of that line. As a result, existing transmission capacity becomes unavailable to other generators. Geothermal power on the other hand will almost fully use the transmission capacity that it reserves from that same line.

    Geothermal power has a number of other attributes which make it an economical and attractive resource for electrical generation including:

    • Geothermal power production has a positive impact on local economies, and creates significantly more jobs per megawatt than natural gas.34

    • Geothermal power has a smaller land footprint than most other energy sources, particularly when compared with other renewables.

    • Geothermal power has very low emission levels. Binary plants produce near-zero GHG emissions while flash and dry steam plants represent a significant reduction compared to fossil fuels based generation.

    • Geothermal power’s established history of consistent output demonstrates a level of reliability unmatched by other renewables and fossil fuel based generation.

    QUICK NEWS, November 26: SECURITIZING SOLAR; WELLS FARGO BUYS COLORADO WIND; HUGE BOOM IN POWER ELECTRONICS FOR BUILDINGS

    SECURITIZING SOLAR Bonds Backed by Solar Power Payments Get Nod

    Diane Cardwell, November 14, 2013 (NY Times)

    “…[I]n a milestone of sorts for the emerging solar industry, the finance wizards are embracing a new kind of security, this one backed by solar electricity payments…Standard & Poor’s has given its preliminary blessing to the first offering of this kind, rating a set of notes intended to raise $54.4 million for the fast-growing installation company SolarCity…[I]t gave a rating of BBB+, a low investment-grade designation, to the notes. SolarCity plans to sell the bonds, which are secured by a bundle of residential and commercial power contracts, privately this month…The bonds are expected to have a yield of around 4.8 percent, which, in a time of low interest rates, is a relatively high rate that compensates investors for buying such an untested security. The offering is also relatively small and will be sold only to select institutional investors…[and] will help finance the rapid expansion of SolarCity…” click here for more

    WELLS FARGO BUYS COLORADO WIND Wells Fargo Wind to acquire interests in 91-MW Colorado wind facility

    Kristine Esperacion, November 18, 2013 (SNL)

    "Colorado Highlands Wind LLC on Nov. 12 applied with FERC to sell Wells Fargo & Co. affiliate Wells Fargo Wind Holdings 100% of the noncontrolling class A interests in the 91-MW Colorado Highlands project…Alliance Power Inc. owns 100% of the class B membership interests in Colorado Highlands Wind while General Electric Capital Corp. subsidiary EFS CHW owns 100% of the class A membership interests…All of the electrical output of the facility is committed to Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association Inc. under a long-term power purchase agreement…” click here for more

    HUGE BOOM IN POWER ELECTRONICS FOR BUILDINGS DC Power for Commercial Buildings; DC Building Power Supply Equipment, Building Controls and Functionality, Lighting, Plug Loads, and Building Microgrid Infrastructure: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts

    4Q 2013 (Navigant Research)

    “Public electric utilities deliver alternating current (AC) power exclusively. However, electronics, LED lighting, and certain other common devices operate on direct current (DC) power. These devices must convert power from AC to DC and step down voltage…When using renewable wind or PV energy, additional AC/DC transformations are needed…[O]ver many AC/DC conversions and voltage changes, total power losses can surpass 20% in some systems…Navigant Research forecasts that the global market value for DC power building technologies will grow from $609.1 million in 2013 to $9.7 billion in 2020…” click here for more

    Monday, November 25, 2013

    TODAY’S STUDY: WORLD MUST RAISE ITS EMISSIONS CUTTING EFFORTS NOW

    The Emissions Gap Report 2013

    November 5, 2013 (United Nations Environment Program)

    Executive Summary

    The emissions gap in 2020 is the difference between emission levels in 2020 consistent with meeting climate targets, and levels expected in that year if country pledges and commitments are met. As it becomes less and less likely that the emissions gap will be closed by 2020, the world will have to rely on more difficult, costlier and riskier means after 2020 of keeping the global average temperature increase below 2° C. If the emissions gap is not closed, or significantly narrowed, by 2020, the door to many options limiting the temperature increase to 1.5° C at the end of this century will be closed.

    Article 2 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (‘Climate Convention’) declares that its “ultimate objective” is to “[stabilize] greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”. The parties to the Climate Convention have translated this objective into an important, concrete target for limiting the increase in global average temperature to 2° C, compared to its pre-industrial levels. With the aim of meeting this target, many of the parties have made emission reduction pledges, while others have committed to reductions under the recent extension of the Kyoto Protocol.

    Since 2010, the United Nations Environment Programme has facilitated an annual independent analysis of those pledges and commitments, to assess whether they are consistent with a least-cost approach to keep global average warming below 2° C. This report confirms and strengthens the conclusions of the three previous analyses that current pledges and commitments fall short of that goal. It further says that, as emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise rather than decline, it becomes less and less likely that emissions will be low enough by 2020 to be on a least-cost pathway towards meeting the 2° C target.

    As a result, after 2020, the world will have to rely on more difficult, costlier and riskier means of meeting the target – the further from the least-cost level in 2020, the higher these costs and the greater the risks will be. If the gap is not closed or significantly narrowed by 2020, the door to many options to limit temperature increase to 1.5° C at the end of this century will be closed, further increasing the need to rely on accelerated energy-efficiency increases and biomass with carbon capture and storage for reaching the target.

    1. What are current global emissions?

    Current global greenhouse gas emission levels are considerably higher than the levels in 2020 that are in line with meeting the 1.5° C or 2° C targets, and are still increasing. In 2010, in absolute levels, developing countries accounted for about 60 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

    The most recent estimates of global greenhouse gas emissions are for 2010 and amount to 50.1 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (GtCO2e) per year (range: 45.6–54.6 tCO2e per year). This is already 14 percent higher than the median estimate of the emission level in 2020 with a likely chance of achieving the least cost pathway towards meeting the 2° C target (44 GtCO2e per year). With regards to emissions in 2010, the modelling groups report a median value of 48.8 GtCO2e, which is within the uncertainty range cited above. For consistency with emission scenarios, the figure of 48.8 GtCO2e per year is used in the calculation of the pledge case scenarios.

    Relative contributions to global emissions from developing and developed countries changed little from 1990 to 1999. However, the balance changed significantly between 2000 and 2010 – the developed country share decreased from 51.8 percent to 40.9 percent, whereas developing country emissions increased from 48.2 percent to 59.1 percent. Today developing and developed countries are responsible for roughly equal shares of cumulative greenhouse gas emissions for the period 1850-2010.

    2. What emission levels are anticipated for 2020?

    Global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 are estimated at 59 GtCO2e per year under a business-as-usual scenario. If implemented fully, pledges and commitments would reduce this by 3–7 GtCO2e per year. It is only possible to confirm that a few parties are on track to meet their pledges and commitments by 2020.

    Global greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 are estimated at 59 GtCO2e per year (range: 56–60 GtCO2e per year) under a business-as-usual scenario – that is, a scenario that only considers existing mitigation efforts. This is about 1 GtCO2e higher than the estimate in the 2012 emissions gap report. There have been no significant changes in the pledges and commitments made by parties to the Climate Convention since the 2012 assessment. However, both rules of accounting for land-use change and forestry, and rules for the use of surplus allowances from the Kyoto Protocol’s first commitment period have been tightened.

    Implementing the pledges would reduce emissions by 3–7 GtCO2e, compared to business-as-usual emission levels.

    A review of available evidence from 13 of the parties to the Climate Convention that have made pledges or commitments indicates that five – Australia, China, the European Union, India and the Russian Federation – appear to be on track to meet their pledges. Four parties – Canada, Japan, Mexico and the U.S. – may require further action and/or purchased offsets to meet their pledges, according to government and independent estimates of projected national emissions in 2020. A fifth party – the Republic of Korea – may also require further action but this could not be verified based on government estimates. However, new actions now being taken by all five of these parties many enable them to meet their pledges, although the impact of these actions have not been analyzed here. Not enough information is available concerning Brazil, Indonesia and South Africa. It is worth noting that being on track to implement pledges does not equate to being on track to meet the 1.5° C or 2° C temperature targets.

    3. What is the latest estimate of the emissions gap in 2020?

    Even if pledges are fully implemented, the emissions gap in 2020 will be 8–12 GtCO2e per year, assuming least-cost emission pathways. Limited available information indicates that the emissions gap in 2020 to meet a 1.5° C target in 2020 is a further 2–5 GtCO2e per year wider.

    Least-cost emission pathways consistent with a likely chance of keeping global mean temperature increases below 2° C compared to pre-industrial levels have a median level of 44 GtCO2e in 2020 (range: 38–47 GtCO2e). Assuming full implementation of the pledges, the emissions gap thus amounts to between 8–12 GtCO2e per year in 2020 (Table 1).

    Governments have agreed to more stringent international accounting rules for land-use change and surplus allowances for the parties to the Kyoto Protocol. However, it is highly uncertain whether the conditions currently attached to the high end of country pledges will be met. Therefore, it is more probable than not that the gap in 2020 will be at the high end of the 8–12 GtCO2e range.

    Limiting increases in global average temperature further to 1.5° C compared to pre-industrial levels requires emissions in 2020 to be even lower, if a least-cost path towards achieving this objective is followed. Based on a limited number of new studies, least-cost emission pathways consistent with the 1.5° C target have emission levels in 2020 of 37–44 GtCO2e per year, declining rapidly thereafter. Limiting increases in global average temperature further to 1.5° C compared to pre-industrial levels requires emissions in 2020 to be even lower, if a least-cost path towards achieving this objective is followed. Based on a limited number of new studies, least-cost emission pathways consistent with the 1.5° C target have emission levels in 2020 of 37–43 GtCO2e per year, declining rapidly thereafter.

    4. What emission levels in 2025, 2030 and 2050 are consistent with the 2° C target?

    Least-cost emission pathways consistent with a likely chance of meeting a 2° C target have global emissions in 2050 that are 41 and 55 percent, respectively, below emission levels in 1990 and 2010.

    Given the decision at the 17th Conference of the Parties to the Climate Convention in 2011 to complete negotiations on a new binding agreement by 2015 for the period after 2020, it has become increasingly important to estimate global emission levels in 2025 and thereafter that are likely to meet the 2° C target. In the scenarios assessed in this report, global emission levels in 2025 and 2030 consistent with the 2° C target amount to approximately 40 GtCO2e (range: 35–45 GtCO2e) and 35 GtCO2e (range: 32–42 GtCO2e), respectively. In these scenarios, global emissions in 2050 amount to 22 GtCO2e (range: 18–25 GtCO2e). These levels are all based on the assumption that the 2020 least-cost level of 44 GtCO2e per year will be achieved.

    5. What are the implications of least-cost emission pathways that meet the 1.5° C and 2° C targets in 2020?

    The longer that decisive mitigation efforts are postponed, the higher the dependence on negative emissions in the second half of the 21st century to keep the global average temperature increase below 2° C. The technologies required for achieving negative emissions may have significant negative environmental impacts.

    Scenarios consistent with the 1.5° C and 2° C targets share several characteristics: higher-than-current emission reduction rates throughout the century; improvements in energy efficiency and the introduction of zero- and low-carbon technologies at faster rates than have been experienced historically over extended periods; greenhouse gas emissions peaking around 2020; net negative carbon dioxide emissions from the energy and industrial sectors in the second half of the century and an accelerated shift toward electrification.

    The technologies required for achieving negative emissions in the energy and industrial sectors have not yet been deployed on a large scale and their use may have significant impacts, notably on biodiversity and water supply. Because of this, some scenarios explore the emission reductions required to meet temperature targets without relying on negative emissions. These scenarios require maximum emissions in 2020 of 40 GtCO2e (range: 36–44 GtCO2e), as compared to a median of 44 GtCO2e for the complete set of least-cost scenarios.

    6. What are the implications of later action scenarios that still meet the 1.5° C and 2° C targets?

    Based on a much larger number of studies than in 2012, this update concludes that so-called later-action scenarios have several implications compared to least-cost scenarios, including: (i) much higher rates of global emission reductions in the medium term; (ii) greater lock-in of carbon-intensive infrastructure; (iii) greater dependence on certain technologies in the medium-term; (iv) greater costs of mitigation in the medium- and long-term, and greater risks of economic disruption; and (v) greater risks of failing to meet the 2° C target. For these reasons later-action scenarios may not be feasible in practice and, as a result, temperature targets could be missed.

    The estimates of the emissions gap in this and previous reports are based on least-cost scenarios, which characterize trends in global emissions up to 2100 under the assumption that climate targets will be met by the cheapest combination of policies, measures and technologies. But several new studies using a different type of scenario are now available – later-action scenarios, which assume that a least-cost trajectory is not followed immediately, but rather forwards from a specific future date. Like least-cost scenarios, later-action scenarios chart pathways that are consistent with the 2° C target. Contrary to least-cost scenarios, later-action scenarios assume higher global emissions in the near term, which are compensated by deeper reductions later, typically, after 2020 or 2030.

    For least-cost scenarios, emission reduction rates for 2030–2050 consistent with a 2° C target are 2–4.5 percent per year. Historically, such reductions have been achieved in a small number of individual countries, but not globally. For later-action scenarios, the corresponding emission reduction rates would have to be substantially higher, for example, 6–8.5 percent if emission reductions remain modest until 2030. These emission reduction rates are without historic precedent over extended periods of time. Furthermore, and because of the delay between policy implementation and actual emission reductions, achieving such high rates of change would require mitigation policies to be adopted several years before the reductions begin.

    Apart from assuming higher global emissions in the near term, later-action scenarios also have fewer options for reducing emissions when concerted action finally begins after 2020 or 2030. This is because of carbon lock-in – the continued construction of high-emission fossil-fuel infrastructure unconstrained by climate policies. Because technological infrastructure can have life-times of up to several decades, later-action scenarios effectively lock-in in these high-emission alternatives for a long period of time.

    By definition, later-action scenarios are more expensive than least-cost scenarios. The actual cost penalty of later action depends on the future availability of technologies when comprehensive mitigation actions finally begin, as well as on the magnitude of emission reductions up to that point. Finally, although later-action scenarios might reach the same temperature targets as their least-cost counterparts, later-action scenarios pose greater risks of climate impacts for four reasons. First, delaying action allows more greenhouse gases to build-up in the atmosphere in the near term, thereby increasing the risk that later emission reductions will be unable to compensate for this build up. Second, the risk of overshooting climate targets for both atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and global temperature increase is higher with later-action scenarios. Third, the near-term rate of temperature increase is higher, which implies greater near-term climate impacts. Lastly, when action is delayed, options to achieve stringent levels of climate protection are increasingly lost.

    7. Can the gap be bridged by 2020?

    The technical potential for reducing emissions to levels in 2020 is still estimated at about 17 ± 3 GtCO2e. This is enough to close the gap between business-as-usual emission levels and levels that meet the 2° C target, but time is running out.

    Sector-level studies of emission reductions reveal that, at marginal costs of below US $50–100 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent, emissions in 2020 could be reduced by 17 ± 3 GtCO2e, compared to business-as-usual levels in that same year. While this potential would, in principle, be enough to reach the least-cost target of 44 GtCO2e in 2020, there is little time left.

    There are many opportunities to narrow the emissions gap in 2020 as noted in following paragraphs, ranging from applying more stringent accounting practices for emission reduction pledges, to increasing the scope of pledges. To bridge the emissions gap by 2020, all options should be brought into play.

    8. What are the options to bridge the emissions gap?

    The application of strict accounting rules for national mitigation action could narrow the gap by 1–2 GtCO2e. In addition, moving from unconditional to conditional pledges could narrow the gap by 2–3 GtCO2e, and increasing the scope of current pledges could further narrow the gap by 1.8 GtCO2e. These three steps can bring us halfway to bridging the gap. The remaining gap can be bridged through further national and international action, including international cooperative initiatives. Much of this action will help fulfil national interests outside of climate policy.

    Minimizing the use of lenient land-use credits and of surplus emission reductions, and avoiding double counting of offsets could narrow the gap by about 1–2 GtCO2e. Implementing the more ambitious conditional pledges (rather than the unconditional pledges) could narrow the gap by 2–3 GtCO2e. A range of actions aimed at increasing the scope of current pledges could narrow the gap by an additional 1.8 GtCO2e. (These include covering all emissions in national pledges, having all countries pledge emission reductions, and reducing emissions from international transport). Adding together the more stringent accounting practices, the more ambitious pledges, and the increased scope of current pledges, reduces the gap around 6 GtCO2e or by about a half.

    9. How can international cooperative initiatives contribute to narrowing the gap?

    There is an increasing number of international cooperative initiatives, through which groups of countries and/or other entities cooperate to promote technologies and policies that have climate benefits, even though climate change mitigation may not be the primary goal of the initiative. These efforts have the potential to help bridge the gap by several GtCO2e in 2020.

    International Cooperative Initiatives take the form of either global dialogues (to exchange information and understand national priorities), formal multi-lateral processes (addressing issues that are relevant to the reduction of GHG emissions), or implementation initiatives (often structured around technical dialogue fora or sector-specific implementation projects). Some make a direct contribution to climate change mitigation, by effectively helping countries reduce emissions, while others contribute to this goal indirectly, for example through consensus building efforts or the sharing of good practices among members.

    The most important areas for international cooperative initiatives appear to be:

    - Energy efficiency (up to 2 GtCO2e by 2020): covered by a substantial number of initiatives.

    - Fossil fuel subsidy reform (0.4–2 GtCO2e by 2020): the number of initiatives and clear commitments in this area is limited.

    - Methane and other short-lived climate pollutants (0.6–1.1 GtCO2e by 2020); this area is covered by one overarching and several specific initiatives. (Reductions here may occur as a side effect of other climate mitigation.)

    - Renewable energy (1–3 GtCO2e by 2020): several initiatives have been started in this area.

    Based on limited evidence, the following provisions could arguably enhance the effectiveness of International Cooperative Initiatives: (i) a clearly defined vision and mandate with clearly articulated goals; (ii) the right mix of participants appropriate for that mandate, going beyond traditional climate negotiators; (iii) stronger participation from developing country actors; (iv) sufficient funding and an institutional structure that supports implementation and follow-up, but maintains flexibility; and (v) and incentives for participants.

    10. How can national agricultural policies promote development while substantially reducing emissions?

    Agriculture now contributes about 11 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions. The estimated emission reduction potential for the sector ranges from 1.1 GtCO2e to 4.3 GtCO2e in 2020. Usage of no-tillage practices, improved nutrient and water management in rice production, and agroforestry are among the most effective policies that can help realise this potential.

    Not many countries have specified action in the agriculture sector as part of implementing their pledges. Yet, estimates of emission reduction potentials for the sector are high, ranging from 1.1 GtCO2e to 4.3 GtCO2e – a wide range, reflecting uncertainties in the estimate. In this year’s update we describe policies that have proved to be effective in reducing emissions and increasing carbon uptake in the agricultural sector.

    In addition to contributing to climate change mitigation, these measures enhance the sector’s environmental sustainability and, depending on the measure and situation, may provide other benefits such as higher yields, lower fertilizer costs or extra profits from wood supply. Three examples are:

    - Usage of no-tillage practices: no-tillage refers to the elimination of ploughing by direct seeding under the mulch layer of the previous season’s crop. This reduces greenhouse gas emissions from soil disturbance and from fossil-fuel use of farm machinery.

    - Improved nutrient and water management in rice production: this includes innovative cropping practices such as alternate wetting and drying and urea deep placement that reduce methane and nitrous oxide emissions.

    - Agroforestry: this consists of different management practices that all deliberately include woody perennials on farms and the landscape, and which increase the uptake and storage of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in biomass and soils.

    QUICK NEWS, November 25: A SLIDE SHOW ON WORLD ENERGY; PICKING THE BEST HOUSES FOR SOLAR; TEXAS COULD LEAD OCEAN WIND

    A SLIDE SHOW ON WORLD ENERGY World Energy Outlook 2013

    12 November 2013 (International Energy Agency)

    For scrolling through. click here for more

    PICKING THE BEST HOUSES FOR SOLAR

    David Shaffer, November 19, 2013 (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

    “…Sun Number, a start-up company that’s expanding in Minnesota, is using massive databases and web-based tools to help homeowners and solar panel installers determine whether millions of U.S. buildings get enough sun to make rooftop solar power worthwhile…[The technology] relies on aerial mapping known as Lidar that takes a three-dimensional snapshot of the landscape, accurately depicting tree and building heights, roof angles and other features…Using sophisticated 3-D analytics, Sun Number has rated the solar potential for 7.5 million properties in eight metropolitan regions…In places where the analysis is done, a free tool at sunnumber.com allows people to type in an address and see a score from 0 to 100 for a rooftop’s solar potential. Any score above 70 is worth considering for solar panels…” click here for more

    TEXAS COULD LEAD OCEAN WIND Could first U.S. offshore wind farm be in Texas? After years of struggles, offshore wind power developers hope they are turning a corner

    James Osborne, November 19, 2013 (Dallas Morning News)

    “Five miles off the coast of South Padre Island lays the beginning of the Gulf Offshore Wind Project, which developers like to refer to by the optimistic acronym GOWind…[I]n three years' time, a team [put together by developer Baryonyx]… is hoping to have the nation’s first commercial scale wind farm installed and eventually generating enough power for 1.8 million homes…While offshore wind power has taken off in countries like Denmark and Japan, the United States has yet to get past the starting line…Price remains the biggest hurdle…[because] government subsidies are a fraction of those in Europe...[and] a megawatt of offshore wind power is estimated to cost twice as much as its equivalent on land…” click here for more

    Saturday, November 23, 2013

    A Philippine Delegate To The Climate Talks Speaks Out

    Warning: This one is moving. From ReturnProject via YouTube.

    Here’s The Thing About The Warsaw Climate Conference…

    "Their attention is on the short term while the endgame looms." From Menzaooo via YouTube

    An Example of Short Term Thinking

    This innocuous-seeming ad, paid for by a lobbying front group with ties to Arizona’s biggest utility, was run in Arizona to turn ratepayers against solar’s vital net metering incentive. From Prosper via YouTube

    Friday, November 22, 2013

    John F.Kennedy's Innaugural Address

    Assassinated 50 years ago today. The words still inspire.

    January 20, 1961

    Vice President Johnson, Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, President Eisenhower, Vice President Nixon, President Truman, reverend clergy, fellow citizens,

    We observe today not a victory of party, but a celebration of freedom—symbolizing an end, as well as a beginning—signifying renewal, as well as change. For I have sworn before you and Almighty God the same solemn oath our forebears prescribed nearly a century and three quarters ago.

    The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.

    We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

    Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

    This much we pledge—and more.

    To those old allies whose cultural and spiritual origins we share, we pledge the loyalty of faithful friends. United, there is little we cannot do in a host of cooperative ventures. Divided, there is little we can do—for we dare not meet a powerful challenge at odds and split asunder.

    To those new States whom we welcome to the ranks of the free, we pledge our word that one form of colonial control shall not have passed away merely to be replaced by a far more iron tyranny. We shall not always expect to find them supporting our view. But we shall always hope to find them strongly supporting their own freedom—and to remember that, in the past, those who foolishly sought power by riding the back of the tiger ended up inside.

    To those peoples in the huts and villages across the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the Communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.

    To our sister republics south of our border, we offer a special pledge—to convert our good words into good deeds—in a new alliance for progress—to assist free men and free governments in casting off the chains of poverty. But this peaceful revolution of hope cannot become the prey of hostile powers. Let all our neighbors know that we shall join with them to oppose aggression or subversion anywhere in the Americas. And let every other power know that this Hemisphere intends to remain the master of its own house.

    To that world assembly of sovereign states, the United Nations, our last best hope in an age where the instruments of war have far outpaced the instruments of peace, we renew our pledge of support—to prevent it from becoming merely a forum for invective—to strengthen its shield of the new and the weak—and to enlarge the area in which its writ may run.

    Finally, to those nations who would make themselves our adversary, we offer not a pledge but a request: that both sides begin anew the quest for peace, before the dark powers of destruction unleashed by science engulf all humanity in planned or accidental self-destruction.

    We dare not tempt them with weakness. For only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.

    But neither can two great and powerful groups of nations take comfort from our present course—both sides overburdened by the cost of modern weapons, both rightly alarmed by the steady spread of the deadly atom, yet both racing to alter that uncertain balance of terror that stays the hand of mankind's final war.

    So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.

    Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.

    Let both sides, for the first time, formulate serious and precise proposals for the inspection and control of arms—and bring the absolute power to destroy other nations under the absolute control of all nations.

    Let both sides seek to invoke the wonders of science instead of its terrors. Together let us explore the stars, conquer the deserts, eradicate disease, tap the ocean depths, and encourage the arts and commerce.

    Let both sides unite to heed in all corners of the earth the command of Isaiah—to "undo the heavy burdens ... and to let the oppressed go free."

    And if a beachhead of cooperation may push back the jungle of suspicion, let both sides join in creating a new endeavor, not a new balance of power, but a new world of law, where the strong are just and the weak secure and the peace preserved.

    All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this Administration, nor even perhaps in our lifetime on this planet. But let us begin.

    In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than in mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Since this country was founded, each generation of Americans has been summoned to give testimony to its national loyalty. The graves of young Americans who answered the call to service surround the globe.

    Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, "rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation"—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.

    Can we forge against these enemies a grand and global alliance, North and South, East and West, that can assure a more fruitful life for all mankind? Will you join in that historic effort?

    In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.

    And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.

    My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

    Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.

    CLIMATE CHANGE AND 90 COMPANIES

    Man-Made Climate Change Mostly Due To Just 90 Companies

    Suzanne Goldenberg, November 20, 2013 (UK Guardian)

    "The climate crisis of the 21st century has been caused largely by just 90 companies, which between them produced nearly two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions generated since the dawning of the industrial age, new research [which has been accepted for publication in the journal Climactic Change] found that the vast majority of the firms were in the business of producing oil, gas or coal…Half of the estimated emissions were produced just in the past 25 years – well past the date when governments and corporations became aware that rising greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of coal and oil were causing dangerous climate change…Many of the same companies are also sitting on substantial reserves of fossil fuel which – if they are burned – puts the world at even greater risk of dangerous climate change…Climate change experts said the data set was the most ambitious effort so far to hold individual carbon producers, rather than governments, to account…” click here for more

    NEW ENERGY TO LEAD WORLD, CHINA TO LEAD NEW ENERGY

    China to Build More Renewables Than EU, U.S. Combined, IEA Says

    Matthew Carr, November 12, 2013 (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)

    “China is expected to build more renewable power plants through 2035 than the U.S., European Union and Japan combined, according to the International Energy Agency [World Energy Outlook 2013]…The share of energy sources including hydropower, biomass, wind and solar in world electricity supply will rise above 30 percent in that period…[moving ahead of natural gas in the next few years] and reaching coal as the leading fuel for power generation in 2035…Wind and solar photovoltaic technology will boost renewable output by 45 percent, helping it account for almost half of the increase in global power generation through 2035…Energy-related emissions will rise 20 percent in the period, meaning global temperatures probably will advance more than 3.6 degrees Celsius (6.5 Fahrenheit) in the long term, above the maximum of 2 degrees internationally agreed as the safe limit…” click here for more