NewEnergyNews: 04/01/2014 - 05/01/2014

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

  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Is ‘Game Of Thrones’ About Climate Change?
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Surprises In The New Global Solar Rankings
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Denmark’s Vestas Wins Mexico’s Biggest Wind Deal
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-Supervolcanoes Could Grow Cars With Plugs
  • THE DAY BEFORE

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, August 17:

  • TTTA Thursday-Is The White House Hiding DOE’s Grid Study?
  • TTTA Thursday-Will The White House Hide The Climate Report?
  • TTTA Thursday-Crucial Transmission Line For Wind Denied
  • TTTA Thursday-Wind And Solar Are Saving Lives
  • THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Organizing California’s Distributed Energy Efforts
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: A Deep Look At Evolving U.S. Efforts To Support Solar
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: Big Growth In Customer-Sited Wind
  • QUICK NEWS, August 15: New Forest To Offset Bad U.S. Climate Policies Has 120,000 Pledges; Wind Becoming The Go-To Power; 88,000 Jobs And The Fight Over Solar Imports
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Work On Tomorrow’s Grid So Far
  • QUICK NEWS, August 14: Climate Is The Elephant In The Room; Long-Term, NatGas Is Not The Answer; Why Wind Is Such A Good Choice
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • Weekend Video: Al Gore Talks With Bill Maher
  • Weekend Video: The U.S. Celebrates Its First National Wind Week
  • Weekend Video: Wind Is Just Beginning To Show Its Power
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    Founding Editor Herman K. Trabish

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    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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  • WEEKEND VIDEOS, August 19-20:

  • Colbert On The Newest Climate Fiasco
  • Consumer Reports’ Tesla Vs. Bolt Face-Off
  • All About The Eclipse And The Power Grid

    Wednesday, April 30, 2014

    TODAY’S STUDY: A SOLAR PLAN FOR A BIG SUNNY CITY (THE LOS ANGELES F-I-T)

    Sharing Solar's Promise: Harnessing LA's FIT to Create Jobs and Build Social Equity April 2014 (USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity and UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation)

    Executive Summary

    Los Angeles launched the nation’s largest Feed-in Tariff (FiT) In Basin Solar program in 2013, helping to catalyze an emerging market for multifamily housing, commercial, warehouse and industrial rooftop solar. While the program has met with some initial success, and has positioned Los Angeles to play a larger role in a burgeoning sector that has made California the nation’s leader in solar employment, there is more to be done to achieve the full promise of the program.

    Part of the promise of a properly designed and well-implemented FiT is that it will drive economic growth, enhance environmental sustainability and create social equity in the workforce. After all, creating career ladder jobs through rooftop solar installations will expand the local economy and lead to a dynamic job market. The potential is clearly there: as evidenced in previous reports (and updated here), Los Angeles has numerous solar equity "hot spots," areas with rooftops waiting for conversion in disadvantaged areas in need of career ladder employment.

    Developing a strong in-basin solar market is essential to the City’s efforts to increase solar production. Commercial projects are less expensive per kWh than residential projects, and are often located nearby socioeconomically disadvantaged populations that could, with training and attention to networking and placement, access solar employment.

    According to the 2013 California Solar Jobs Census, California leads the nation in solar jobs, accounting for about one-third of the nation’s total solar industry employment. Within the state, solar job growth (8.1 percent in 2013) outpaced overall job growth (1.7 percent). And this solar job growth is resulting in new hires; nearly three-fourths (72.2 percent) of solar-related firms with job growth hired new workers in 2013. Assuming the new hire trend continues, this will create career ladder opportunities for disadvantaged and entry-level workers.

    Los Angeles should be leading the state in solar production and jobs, but instead is lagging. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has the capacity to deliver the largest rooftop solar program in California but falls behind other utilities in solar production per person, particularly in commercial rooftop solar development. Furthermore, Los Angeles has untapped rooftop potential in high-need neighborhoods. The FiT was designed to provide a pathway into the commercial solar rooftop market while also stimulating local job growth – and, if implemented well, could help secure Los Angeles’ future as a statewide and national leader in in-basin rooftop solar production.

    The good news is that the FiT is finally starting to realize its potential. From the gleaming solar panels on the roof of the 86-year-old California Trophy Company to those atop Oxnard Plaza Apartments in North Hollywood, new solar projects are accelerating. Over 40 percent of the proposed FiT projects located in Los Angeles' solar equity "hot spots" are in neighborhoods with high solar rooftop potential and also are in high socioeconomic and environmental distress. Indeed, while the majority of proposed projects are located in the San Fernando Valley (which has more pockets of socioeconomic distress than many observers realize), there are also a notable number of small projects proposed in and around Downtown Los Angeles and a concentration of larger projects near the Port of Los Angeles. While not all projects are in low-income communities, the solar programs will create the opportunity for career ladder jobs that are easily accessible to potential workers residing in or near those areas.

    Los Angeles is home to a ready workforce. When it comes to innovative solar workforce training programs, Los Angeles excels in the quality, quantity and geographic diversity of its programs. FiT solar projects are connecting local workers through several innovative partnerships between solar providers and organizations with workforce training programs in economically deprived communities. One example: PermaCity Solar’s 5.1 MW project in Lincoln Heights is recruiting workers locally and also hiring graduates of the East Los Angeles Skills Center’s (ELASC) Photovoltaic Installer Program while conducting outreach toother programs.

    The FiT program has attracted new solar firms to Los Angeles, incentivized individuals to create new small businesses and provided a pathway for existing firms to expand their operations. All of these actions have created the foundation for a larger, in-basin solar industry. There are some key success stories that illustrate this potential, and many proposed projects are likely to achieve the solar equity future that is envisioned in this report. There is also spillover potential for manufacturing, particularly for niche and racking products: PermaCity has developed a solar racking technology that Orion Solar Racking, another local firm, will manufacture.

    While the future for the solar rooftop program is bright, three major challenges need to be addressed to ensure further progress and better connect the environmental, economic and equity issues. First, uncertainty about the future of the FiT’s scale and program design, which currently discourages solar providers and property owners from participating in the program. Second is the disconnect between the FiT and workforce development programs that serve disadvantaged communities and workers Third, limited awareness about the existing solar program despite LADWP and Los Angeles Business Council hosting over a dozen FiT technical workshops.

    We have market uncertainty and lack of clarity on the program design, especially the fact that the costs of interconnecting to the grid are not always identified or quantified beforehand and that permitting for actual construction and local manufacturing can be difficult and unpredictable.

    Connectivity is not just about hooking up solar to the grid –it is about creating direct links between the program and opportunity for the region’s unskilled workers. The FiT program needs clear goals and incentives for employment, including credits and/or identified benefits for creating career ladder jobs for the unskilled workforce. While getting that first job is important, firms and workforce developers do recognize that the pathway to the middle class means creating career ladder jobs which allow installers and first-time workers to develop skills which allow them to move up the to employment ladder.

    How should Los Angeles move ahead?

    Our first recommendation is to scale up the FiT program significantly (from its current 100 MW to 600 MW), as this scale would add certainty as well as greater economic development potential.. We also discuss the need to maintain a mix of small and large projects in that growing portfolio as well as further refine the application process and lottery system.

    To increase the job impacts of the program, new types of “solar equity” incentives should be added to the FiT. We specifically suggest that the program should encourage solar job creation in high-need areas, and that disadvantaged worker credits and local business preferences be built into the program.

    We also suggest further streamlining of the permitting process. The Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) is changing its policies to more efficiently process and increase the impact of solar projects. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently announced that LADBS is creating online permit processing for small residential solar projects as a part of PermitLA. We recommend that LADBS adapt its online solar permit processing – which is in the process of rolling out – to include commercial, industrial, warehouse and multifamily residential projects as well.Online processing will mean an end to long wait times in the application process, which developers cite as a key challenge.

    We also recommend that LADBS implement a Priority Plan Check for the DWP FiT carve-out projects (30kW to 150kW systems). This approach is similar to earlier incentive programs for “green” or LEED- certified buildings. This strategy would prioritize smaller FiT projects and put them first in line with the Plan Check engineer, ahead of other projects. As stated before, a notable number of small projects in and around downtown LA can be attributed to the LADWP carve out, which must continue in order for solar developers to be incentivized to continue working with small property owners.

    There is more at stake for Los Angeles and the region than just making the best use of the city’s abundant sunshine. Many people still think of Los Angeles as a land of suburban sprawl, wrenching inequality and environmental distress. But overthe last decade a new Los Angeles has been emerging: commitments to infill development and public transit, a rising concern for the working poor and a desire to be one of America’s greenest cities are pointing the way to a different future. Bridging the gap between the old and new are diverse coalitions and innovative policies. A scaled-up FiT could help pave the pathway to a Los Angeles that merges livability and inclusion, clean air and clean technology, and helps to unite diverse communities of Angelenos across the city.

    QUICK NEWS, April 30: SOLAR DONATIONS TO GEORGIA REGULATORS QUESTIONED; FEDS PASS LA WIRES TO SOCAL EDISON; TOP TEN UTILITIES IN U.S. SOLAR FOR 2014

    SOLAR DONATIONS TO GEORGIA REGULATORS QUESTIONED Solar industry is a top donor in Georgia PSC elections

    Kristi E. Swartz, April 28, 2014 (E&E Publishing)

    Disclosures from Georgia’s ethics agency show incumbent regulators Doug Everett and Lauren "Bubba" McDonald have received more than $14,000 from individual solar companies, national and Georgia solar industry groups, lobbyists, contractors, and associated attorneys as donations to their re-election campaigns…Members of Georgia's Public Service Commission (PSC), which governs utility rates and policy regulations, is one of few elected state commissions because most are appointed by the Governor…Solar industry advocates say, like campaign donors from other industries have said in the past, that they are simply trying to support elected representatives who are doing a good job…A key decision from Georgia’s PSC recently went in favor of sustaining solar’s net energy metering incentive but the larger decision on how to value solar over the long term is still to come…Georgia's solar industry reportedly represented $189 million in investments in 2013 and is made up of 150 companies that provide 2,600 jobs…Georgia Power is a subsidiary of Southern Company, a utility that regularly incurs the wrath of the anti-coal movement for millions in lobbying donations. click here for more

    FEDS PASS LA WIRES TO SOCAL EDISON FERC rejects wind, solar interests' demands that CAISO retain control of transmission lines

    Glen Boshart, April 21, 2014 (SNL)

    “Despite the fears of wind and solar interests that allowing the California ISO to cede to Southern California Edison Co. control over certain transmission assets in Southern California's Antelope Valley could harm reliability and cause operational problems, FERC recently signed off on the move...CAISO and SoCalEd have concluded…[SoCalEd's Antelope and Bailey 66-kV transmission facilities and several 66-kV to 220-kV transformers should be local distribution]…not subject to CAISO control even though they continue to perform certain wholesale functions…[T]he costs of that equipment would be directly assigned to the generators served by those lines, including members of the California Wind Energy Association and First Solar Inc...[T]he CWEA and First Solar in December 2013 asked FERC to block the move for reliability and other reasons…FERC agreed with CAISO...[finding] that the facilities will not support service outside the SoCalEd distribution system and that an outage of those facilities would not affect CAISO's transmission system…” click here for more

    TOP TEN UTILITIES IN U.S. SOLAR FOR 2014 SEPA Analysis Shows that 10 Utilities Accounted for 82 Percent of All Integrated Solar Capacity in 2013; 7th Annual Rankings Identifies PG&E, SDG&E and APS as Leaders in Utility Solar

    April 28, 2014 (Solar Electric Power Association)

    Rankings of U.S. utilities based on how many new megawatts of solar they built in 2013 and how many megawatts per customer they have installed were released by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA)…The ranked utilities accounted for 82 percent of all new solar capacity in 2013, up from 73 percent in 2012 and the top three builders of new solar in 2013, regulars throughout the seven year history of the listings, were Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E), and Arizona Public Service (APS)…Also returning to the top ten list for new megawatts were Southern California Edison (SCE), Public Service Electric and Gas Company (PSE&G), Hawaiian Electric Company, and Duke Energy Carolinas, while Duke Energy Progress, National Grid, and Georgia Power made the rankings for the first time…This year’s rankings were based on responses from 287 U.S. utilities, up from 2013’s 256 utility reponses, according to a SEPA source…The watts-per-customer rankings, which give small utilities the opportunity to shine, were led by Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD), a public power utility in Massachusetts that serves 3,700 customers. click here for more

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

    TODAY’S STUDY: NEW MONEY FOR NEW ENERGY WORLDWIDE

    Global Trends In Renewable Energy Investment 2014

    April 2014 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance for the UNEP and the Frankfurt School)

    Key Findings

    Total investment in renewable power and fuels (excluding large hydro-electric projects) fell for the second year running in 2013, reaching $214 billion worldwide, some 14% lower than in 2012 and 23% below the 2011 record. The decline reflected a sharp fall in solar system prices, and the effect of policy uncertainty in many countries. The latter issue also depressed investment in fossil fuel generation in 2013.

    - If the drop in investment was a cloud, it had several silver linings. One was the sharply reduced cost of solar photovoltaic systems, which meant that a record amount of PV capacity (some 39GW) was constructed in 2013, and for less money than the smaller 2012 total of 31GW. A second silver lining was that 2013 brought a 54% recovery in clean energy share prices, stimulating equity raising by specialist companies on the public markets.

    - A third was that in 2013 cost reductions and efficiency improvements enabled onshore wind and PV projects to be built in a growing number of locations around the world without subsidy support. Wind and PV may be able to out-compete fossil-fuel options as long as there are plentiful local sunshine or wind resources, low capital costs, and no cheap, indigenous coal or gas feedstocks.

    - A fourth was that, renewable energy excluding large hydro made up 43.6% of the new power capacity added in all technologies in 2013 (the same figure as in the previous year), and raised its share of total generation worldwide to 8.5% from 7.8%. Global energy-related CO2 emissions would have been some 1.2 billion tonnes higher but for this contribution.

    - Investment in wind was relatively resilient in 2013, falling just 1% to $80 billion, while that in solar tumbled 20% to $114 billion. Biofuels saw a 26% drop in investment to $5 billion, the lowest for nine years, while biomass and waste-to-energy fell 28% to $8 billion, and small hydro-electric (projects of less than 50MW) declined 16% to $5 billion. Geothermal was the only riser, investment in it gaining 38% to $2.5 billion.

    - 2013 also saw an interruption to the previously rising trend of renewable energy investment in developing economies as a whole. After eight years of increases, this fell 14% last year to $93 billion. Investment in developed economies also retreated 14%, to $122 billion.

    - Last year was the first ever that China invested more in renewable energy than the whole of Europe. The Chinese total, although down 6% to $56 billion, finished well ahead of Europe’s shrunken $48 billion, down 44%. The US saw a fall of 10% to $36 billion, while India moved 15% down to $6 billion, and Brazil 54% down to $3 billion, the lowest since 2005.

    - The only regions gaining ground in 2013 were the Americas excluding the US and Brazil, with a 26% increase to $12 billion, helped by positive trends in several Hispanic countries and in Canada, and Asia-Oceania excluding China and India, with a 47% rise to $43 billion. Japan was the biggest contributor to the latter move, as its solar boom helped to drive an 80% increase in renewable energy investment to $29 billion (excluding R&D).

    - Among the different types of investment, asset finance of utility-scale wind farms, solar parks and other new installations fell 13% to $133 billion, while outlays on small-scale projects such as rooftop solar lurched downwards 25% to $60 billion - mostly due to the decline in PV system costs.

    - Venture capital and private equity investment in specialist renewable energy companies slumped 46% to $2 billion, the lowest figure since 2005, as funds took a cautious view of young high-technology enterprises and of the chances of securing a profitable exit. Government research and development spending on renewables rose 3% to $5 billion, while corporate R&D was 6% lower at $5 billion.

    - The star performer among investment types was public market equity raising by renewable energy companies. This jumped 201% to $11 billion, the highest since 2010, spurred on by the rally in clean energy share prices and by institutional investors’ increased appetite for funds offering solid yields on portfolios of operating projects.

    - Large hydro-electric projects, of more than 50MW, were another important area of renewable energy activity, albeit outside the main scope of the statistics in this report. At least 20GW of capacity are estimated to have come on stream in 2013, equivalent to approximately $35 billion of investment.

    - Although investment in renewable energy capacity including all hydro in 2013 was once again below gross investment in fossil-fuel power, at $227 billion compared to $270 billion, it was roughly double the net figure for investment in fossil-fuel power excluding replacement plant.

    Executive Summary

    Some foundations for future growth in the renewable energy market fell into place in 2013, even as investment levels declined for the second successive year. Lower costs, a return to profitability on the part of some leading manufacturers, the phenomenon of unsubsidised market uptake in a number of countries, and a warmer attitude to renewables among public market investors, were hopeful signs after several years of painful shake-out in the sector.

    Renewable energy continued to build up its share of the global electricity market. Renewables excluding large hydro projects accounted for 43.6% of the new generating capacity installed worldwide in 2013, raising its share of world electricity generation from 7.8% in 2012, to 8.5%. If this capacity were not present, world energy-related CO2 emissions would have been an estimated 1.2 gigatonnes higher in 2013, adding about 12% to the 2020 projected emissions gap that needs to be closed to remain within a two degrees Celsius global temperature increase.

    New investment in renewable energy excluding large hydro-electric projects slipped 14% in 2013 to $214 billion, but even this disguised one major positive development. One of the two main reasons for this fall in 2013 was a reduction in costs in photovoltaics – even as the dollar investment in solar went down, the number of gigawatts of PV systems added went up.

    Nevertheless, the decline in investment was disappointing for the industry and those hoping to see investors and financiers increasing their dollar commitments to the decarbonisation of the energy system.

    There were setbacks to investment in many important geographical areas, including China (down 6% at $56 billion), the US (down 10% at $36 billion) and – most of all – Europe (down 44% at $48 billion). The biggest exception to the downward trend was Japan, where investment excluding research and development soared 80% to $29 billion.

    Behind That $214 Billion Figure

    Worries about policy support, and reductions in technology costs, were the two main reasons for the fall in global financial commitments to renewable energy in 2013. Both factors were also instrumental in the drop in investment in 2012 from its record in 2011, so the decline in 2013 could be seen as the second half of a two-year downward trend amounting to 23%. Investment in fossil fuel generation was also somewhat lower in 2013 than a year earlier.

    Last year’s total of $214 billion was the lowest since 2009 and some $65 billion below the 2011 peak, although still five and a half times the 2004 tally of $40 billion and one and a half times the 2007 figure of $146 billion.

    The make-up of the 2013 investment total is shown in Figure 2. The figure for new investment, $214 billion, is shown alongside a $54 billion number representing acquisition activity – corporate mergers and takeovers, asset purchases, buy-outs and refinancings. These acquisitions do not represent new investment but are important for recycling finance in the sector, and are covered in this report in Chapter 10.

    The new investment total consists of all the elements to the left of the $214 billion figure in Figure 2, starting with early-stage technology support through venture capital and government and corporate research and development, via assistance for more mature businesses from private equity and public market investors. Finally, there is the roll-out of utility-scale wind farms, solar parks and other projects via asset finance, and the deployment of small-scale distributed capacity such as rooftop solar. The year-by-year changes in each of these aggregates, and the headline sector and regional shifts, are shown in Figure 3.

    Looking at the reasons for the decline in overall investment in 2013, worries about future policy support for renewables delayed investment decisions in countries such as the US, Germany, India, the UK, France, Sweden, Romania and Poland. In some other countries, such as Spain and Bulgaria, retroactive subsidy cuts for existing projects almost killed off investment entirely, while in Italy, the amount of PV capacity eligible for support quickly ran up against a government-set cap. The issues in these countries are explored in more depth in Chapter 1.

    Technology costs were a second big reason for the latest fall in investment. Although PV module prices bottomed out in early 2013 as the industry’s severe over-capacity eased, balance-of-plant costs for PV systems continued to fall. In addition, there was a shift in the global mix of PV installations in 2013, with a lower share of relatively high-cost per MW residential systems and a higher share of relatively low-cost per MW utility-scale systems, particularly in China. The result was that although PV capacity installed was up from 31GW in 2012 to a record 39GW in 2013, dollar investment in solar capacity was down 23% at $104 billion.

    There were other, local reasons for the lower investment figure in 2013. For instance, the Chinese wind market was held back by grid connection delays and by cash shortages as a result of a nationwide credit squeeze. In some other developing countries, there was a pause in the flow of investment decisions. Financings in Brazil, for instance, were affected by the delay between auction rounds (in which large amounts of new wind capacity were awarded power purchase agreements last year) and the subsequent signatures on debt and equity deals for those projects.

    A consequence of all these issues was that, for the first time for at least a decade, there was a fall in investment in renewable energy in developing countries. The 14% reduction in dollar commitments to $93 billion in 2013 is shown in Figure 4, along with a similarly-sized slippage in investment in developed economies.

    As well as the $214 billion global figure mentioned above, there were additional sums of money committed to large hydro-electric projects of more than 50MW. These projects are mature in terms of technology and fall outside the main scope of this report. However, at least 20GW of large hydro capacity are estimated to have been commissioned in 2013, equivalent to approximately $35 billion of investment. There is a box on large hydro investment at the end of Chapter 5.

    Improvement In Fundamentals

    Although renewable energy investment in 2013 was some 14% down on 2012, there were more hopeful signs for investment in 2014 and beyond. The first sign was the further gain in the cost-competitiveness of the two leading renewable power technologies -- solar PV and onshore wind. Chapter 3 explains how over a five-year period to the first quarter of 2014, the worldwide average levelised cost of electricity has declined by 53% for crystalline silicon PV systems, and 15% for onshore wind turbines. Over the same years, the cost per MWh of coal- and gas-fired generation has increased in many countries, with the notable exception of the US where gas prices remain much lower than elsewhere.

    The cost reductions for the two leading renewable technologies have enabled subsidies for new projects to be reduced, and brought wind and solar much closer to full competitiveness with fossil-fuel alternatives – even where the latter are not encumbered by carbon emission charges.

    That brings us to the second patch of brightness in 2013. The year brought a trickle of significant projects – many of them in Latin America but others in the Middle East and Africa – in which hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of investment was being made in wind and solar without any subsidy support.

    Hydro-electric has for decades competed head-on with coal and gas. Now, in an increasing number of locations – generally those with strong wind resource or sunshine, an expanding need for power and no cheap indigenous fossil fuel reserves – wind and solar are doing the same.

    The third shaft of light for renewables in 2013 came from investors themselves. After a four-and-a-half-year bear market in clean energy stocks that brought share prices down by a total of 78%, the WilderHill New Energy Global Innovation Index, or NEX, bottomed out in July 2012. This bottoming developed into a strong rally during 2013, with the NEX, which tracked 96 clean energy stocks worldwide last year, gaining 54%. The improved share price performance took place as many companies in the solar and wind manufacturing chains moved back towards profitability after the painful period of over-capacity and corporate distress in 2011-12. The impact of this on public market investment flows is examined in Chapter 7.

    There has also been a deepening in the involvement of long-term investors such as pension funds, insurance companies, wealth managers and private individuals in the equity and debt of wind and solar projects. This process is at a relatively early stage, and renewable energy still makes up only a tiny fraction, for instance, of pension fund assets. Both the developments of 2013 and some of the remaining obstacles are discussed in Chapter 4.

    Where Investment Went In 2013

    Figure 5 shows that investment in renewable power and fuels was dominated by wind and solar in 2013. Both generation sources saw reductions in their financial flows, of 1% and 20% respectively, but they still accounted for 90% of investment in renewables excluding large hydro.

    In earlier years, other technologies such as biofuels and biomass and waste-to-energy accounted for much bigger slices of the overall cake, but in 2013, those two sectors saw investment of just $5 billion and $8 billion respectively, down 26% and 28% respectively. The figure for biofuels was the lowest in any year since 2004, and for biomass the lowest since 2005. Small hydro and geothermal remained small features in the overall renewable energy investment picture last year, accounting for $5 billion (down 16%) and $3 billion (up 38%) of outlays respectively.

    Venture capital and private equity investment in renewable energy was depressed in 2013, down 46% at $2.2 billion, the lowest figure since 2005. VC/PE investors were held back by a lack of available capital, as there has been a dearth of successful exits for venture-backed clean energy companies in recent years and it has been difficult to raise new funds; and by general wariness after a tough few years for early-stage technology players in renewable power.

    The shrunken VC/PE flow of 2013 was allocated as shown in Figure 6. Surprisingly, given that it is generally seen as a mature technology, wind was the largest recipient, at $1 billion. Much of the explanation was that wind attracted a significant amount of new private equity capital into project development businesses. Solar soaked up $549 million of VC/ PE investment, far down on the peak year of 2008 when it took $5 billion, while biofuels took $333 million.

    There was a very different outcome for public markets investment, which was buoyed up by the share price gains discussed above and recorded a 201% jump in 2013 to its highest level since 2010. Figure 7 reveals that solar took nearly half the $11 billion total last year, with wind second and important contributions also by geothermal and biofuels.

    The largest single part of overall investment in renewable energy is the asset finance of utility-scale projects of 1MW or more. In 2013, this fell 13% to $133 billion, with the sector make-up displayed in Figure 8. Wind made up the largest part of this and suffered only a 3% decline, while solar, second largest, saw dollar commitments fall 20% even though the number of utility-scale megawatts installed actually increased.

    Adding small-scale projects of less than 1MW to the comparison for capacity investment shows that solar was by some distance the leading renewable energy sector in 2013, just as it was in 2012 (see Figure 9). The last year in which there was higher dollar investment in wind capacity than in solar capacity was 2010.

    There is, however, a difference between how those two top technologies compare in developed countries, and developing countries.

    Despite the PV boom taking place in China, the dominant share of solar capacity investment in 2013 still occurred in developed economies, while developing economies took the lion’s share of spending on wind power projects.

    Developing countries also led in small hydro while, last year at least, developed countries made up most of the investment in biofuel, biomass and geothermal capacity. A full geographical analysis of investment flows follows in Chapter 1.

    In summary, it could be said that 2013 for renewable energy was the flip-side of 2011. In the earlier year, investment hit a record worldwide of $279 billion. However, there were many dark clouds, including collapsing share prices, severe pressure on solar and wind manufacturers caused by over-capacity, the fading of the green stimulus programmes, and the imposition of retroactive feed-in tariff cuts in Spain. In 2013, investment was down at $214 billion, but the mood was more cheerful, with share prices up, manufacturers rebuilding margins, and renewable energy being chosen for projects around the world on the back of its improved cost-competitiveness.

    QUICK NEWS, April 29: GOOGLE MAKES ITS BIGGEST NEW ENERGY BUY; XCEL RFP CALLS FOR 100 MW OF BIG SOLAR; NY GOV PROPOSES NEW GRID, NEW ENERGY VISION

    GOOGLE MAKES ITS BIGGEST NEW ENERGY BUY Google Agrees to Buy 407 Megawatts of Buffett’s Iowa Wind

    Ehren Gossens, April 22, 2014 (Bloomberg News)

    “Google Inc. agreed to buy 407 megawatts of wind power from Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co., the technology company’s largest deal to date for renewable energy…The capacity will power Google’s Council Bluffs, Iowa, data center…Google, along with Facebook Inc., Apple Inc., Intel Corp. (INTC) and other companies, are buying power from renewable energy projects to curb greenhouse-gas emissions…MidAmerican will provide the capacity from multiple wind farms that are part of its Wind VIII effort to add 1,050 megawatts of wind energy in Iowa by the end of 2015…[Google] has invested more than $1 billion in 15 projects around the world in an effort to promote wider use of clean power…” click here for more

    XCEL RFP CALLS FOR 100 MW OF BIG SOLAR Xcel sets stage for solar bidding war

    David Shaffer, April 23, 2014 (Minneapolis StarTribune)

    Xcel Energy’s request for proposals (RFP) for 100 megawatts of new solar will dramatically increase Minnesota’s installed solar capacity over from its present twelve megawatts at about 730 rooftop sites. The RFP, for commercial-industrial and utility scale installations of five megawatts and over, will move Xcel about one-third of the way toward compliance with the Minnesota's Solar Energy Standard mandating its utilities get 1.5 percent of their power from solar by 2020. The proposals must be submitted to Xcel and reviewed in time for regulatory approval of the twenty year power purchase agreements this fall so construction can be completed before the 30 percent federal investment tax credit drops to 10 percent after December 31, 2016. This new round of solar development will be an opportunity for Xcel to demonstrate if it will use Minnesota’s newly instituted Value of Solar Tariff or revert to the familiar net energy metering policy. click here for more

    NY GOV PROPOSES NEW GRID, NEW ENERGY VISION Governor Cuomo Announces Fundamental Shift in Utility Regulation; Regulatory Changes to Spur Development of World-Class Energy System in New York State and Mitigate Climate Change Impacts

    April 24, 2014 (Governor’s Press Office)

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Reforming Energy Vision (REV) initiative will ask the state Public Service Commission (PSC) to prepare utilities and the grid operator for smart technologies, a streamlined electricity market, and practices that will expand demand management, energy efficiency, renewable energy, distributed generation, and energy storage. The initiative would create new policies and programs to support adoption of practices by consumers, businesses, and industries that would ease the burden on power generators of peak demand and open the single biggest saving opportunity for ratepayers. The initiative leaves to the PSC the burden of deciding which existing grid operating and electricity market practices should be modified and how utilities can manage distributed energy resources and move ratepayers to energy consumption priorities that benefit themselves and the system. The example of the Empire State Building efficiency retrofit stands tall in New Yorkers awareness of the savings available from such programs. click here for more

    Monday, April 28, 2014

    TODAY’S STUDY: HOW U.S. HOMEOWNERS SEE ROOFTOP SOLAR

    U.S. Homeowners on Clean Energy: A National Survey; 2014 Poll Results & Clean Energy Growth Trends

    March 2014 (Clean Energy and SolarCity)

    Executive Summary

    Over the past decade, clean-energy products and services—including solar PV, utility-scale renewables, hybrid electric vehicles, and green buildings—have all experienced double-digit compound annual growth rates (CAGRs) more akin to smartphones and the Internet than that of the usually staid energy and transportation sectors. It’s a distributed revolution, with significant adoption of clean-energy technologies across broad demographic groups.

    To better understand this rapidly expanding market, and the consumers behind it, SolarCity and Clean Edge commissioned a survey of U.S. homeowners by polling firm Zogby Analytics. While a number of previous surveys have looked at overall green consumer trends, this is the first study focused on U.S. homeowners and their choices and attitudes towards a wide range of clean-energy technologies. Respondents were randomly selected to answer questions about renewables, energy efficiency, clean transportation, energy storage, and other related topics. The purpose of the survey was to learn what homeowners know and think about clean-energy products and services, electric utilities, third-party energy service providers, and consumer choice.

    All interviews were completed in January 2014. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 2.7 percentage points.

    Key highlights from the 2014 U.S. Homeowners on Clean Energy Survey include:

    Homeowners Want Energy Options

    * While homeowners generally view their utilities favorably, a majority of homeowners (69%) say they want more choices when it comes to their energy and electricity supply.

    * Reflecting this desire for choice, three out of four respondents believe that utilities should not be able to block individual residential customers from installing distributed solar power, energy storage, and other onsite systems. Such sentiments were strongest among respondents that identified themselves as Republicans, Conservatives, the middle-aged (55-69), and elderly (70+), at 80%, 83%, 89%, and 94%, respectively.

    * A solid majority of homeowners (73%) say they would welcome an inexpensive and reliable form of energy provided by someone other than their current utility.

    * 62% of American homeowners say that they want solar power for their homes.

    * Four in ten Americans say they have recently experienced power outages with their current utility and that motivates them to get backup power; 50% of homeowners are interested in backup power for their homes.

    Support for Renewables is Strong and Widespread

    * A solid majority of homeowners nationally (88%) believe that renewable energy is important to America’s future.

    * Support is high among all major political affiliations, with respondents that identified themselves as Republicans, Democrats, and Independents coming in at 87%, 93%, and 83%, respectively.

    Homeowners Weigh Environmental Impact, but Economics Rule

    * Homeowners say they care about the environmental impact of their car, home, and other major purchases. More than two-thirds of all homeowners (70%) consider or investigate the environmental impact/sustainability of big-ticket items when making purchasing decisions.

    * Such environmental considerations are increasing. Nationwide, more than half of homeowners said they were more likely to make such considerations today than three years ago.

    * While homeowners say they care about the environment, economics drive most purchasing decisions. Respondents cite zero up-front costs and ongoing cost savings as the top two reasons for considering a solar power installation. For backup energy storage systems, cost tops the list of key factors influencing purchasing decisions.

    Clean-Energy Purchases are Becoming Mainstream, but Perceived Price Barriers Persist

    * The most popular planned clean-energy purchase in the next year are light eminating diode (LED) light bulbs (31%). The LED revolution is taking hold much more rapidly than many had expected, showing that lower prices for LEDs (around $10 a bulb), coupled with mid- to long-term savings, are attracting consumers. After LEDs, the next most common planned clean-energy purchases for homeowners in the next year are smart thermostats (11%), double- or triple-pane windows (10%), hybrid cars (9%), and Energy Star-rated hot water heaters (9%).

    * Electric vehicles could be poised for growth similar to hybrid vehicles over the past decade. Among homeowners, 7% stated that an Electric Vehicle (EV) would be among their next clean-energy purchases.

    * Perceived price barriers have kept some homeowners from adopting clean-energy products. Less than half of all homeowners nationally (45%) believe that solar power is more affordable today than it was three years ago—even though during the past several years prices for solar panels dropped by more than half. As noted above, homeowners state that low up-front costs, and savings over time, would drive increased adoption of solar power and other clean-energy purchases.

    In the following report, SolarCity and Clean Edge delve into these findings, analyzing the inaugural homeowners’ survey.

    The report also includes a look at the high growth of clean-energy technologies over the past 10 years and a discussion of recent consumer adoption trends.

    SolarCity and Clean Edge plan to release the homeowner survey annually, with the next report scheduled for early 2015.

    The 2014 report is available for free download at www.cleanedge.com/reports here

    QUICK NEWS, April 28: WIND’S BENEFITS BLOCKED BY D.C. GRIDLOCK; EXELON CALLS FOR FED SUPPORT FOR NUCLEAR; SOLAR FINDS TROUBLE IN HAWAIIAN PARADISE

    WIND’S BENEFITS BLOCKED BY D.C. GRIDLOCK U.S. Wind Energy Could Double, But It’s Deja-vu All Over Again in Congress

    Andrew Burger, April 21, 2014 (TriplePundit)

    “…By the end of 2013, 46,100 wind turbines on 905 utility-scale wind farms with rated generation capacity of 61,110 megawatts (MW) were online, producing more than 4 percent of U.S. electricity generation…[I]nvestment has been growing at a 19.5 percent annual rate over the past five years, with an average $15 billion per year invested in new projects. With costs dropping 43 percent between 2008 and 2012, wind energy…growth and development has been remarkable…notwithstanding successive boom-bust cycles – the result of the waxing and waning of the wind energy PTC…[W]ind energy has become the lowest cost means of producing electricity in a growing number of U.S. markets, accounting for 31 percent of new U.S. electric generation capacity over the past five years…Driven by ongoing technological advances, declining costs and the Jan. 2, 2013 extension of the wind energy PTC, last year’s results were dramatic. Equally dramatic have been the effects of allowing the federal wind energy PTC to expire…Unfortunately, for the U.S. wind energy participants and society at large, the debate as to whether or not to renew the PTC for wind energy is playing out yet again this year…” click here for more

    EXELON CALLS FOR FED SUPPORT FOR NUCLEAR Exelon touts the nuclear necessity

    Barbara Vergetis Lundin, April 24, 2014 (FierceEnergy)

    Government policies and market structures don’t give nuclear power the value it deserves as a source of emissions-free base load generation and, according to Exelon, as much as 25 percent of the U.S. nuclear fleet could be shuttered. Exelon’s nuclear plants, it said, were crucial to the PJM response during the extreme January cold because of natural gas supply constraints and price spikes. Exelon has pushed to end the federal production tax credit (PTC) vital to the wind energy value proposition, claiming the PTC causes negative pricing in electricity markets. Exelon does not mention the federal incentives available to the nuclear industry or the fact that markets have largely decided that nuclear plant costs and lead times make nuclear an uneconomic choice for new generation. Wind energy advocates say the negative pricing is not due to the PTC but to local transmission outages, extremely low electricity demand, and the inability of Exelon’s nuclear plants to ramp down when transmission is out or demand drops off. Executives of both NextEra and Xcel, both of which have generation portfolios broadly comparable to Exelon, say low natural gas prices play a much bigger role than the PTC in negative pricing and current nuclear plant economics. click here for more

    SOLAR INDUSTRY FINDS TROUBLE IN HAWAIIAN PARADISE Hawaiian Electric affirms commitment to solar; Boasting one of the highest levels of installed solar power in the country, Hawaiian Electric has rejected the findings of a recent poll and claims that it has "a significant public image problem."

    Edgar Meza, 25 April 2014 (PV Magazine)

    Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO) denies intentionally slowing rooftop solar interconnections to limit the impact of customer-sourced distributed generation (DG) on its revenues but a recent poll paid for by The Alliance for Solar Choice (TASC) found that while 94 percent of Hawaiians want more rooftop solar 90 percent believe HECO is slowing the integration of it into the grid. HECO does not lose revenues from increased DG because its current rate structure allows for cost recovery, according to a utility spokesperson. HECO is 10th in the U.S. for megawatts of installed solar capacity, ahead of bigger utilities, and helped grow Hawaii solar 39% in 2013. Less than half of those polled had a favorable opinion of HECO, according to TASC. The HECO spokesperson noted the utility doubled rooftop solar on its grid annually from 2008 to 2012 and has an 11% solar penetration on Oahu while utilities in California, Arizona and other sunny states are at 2% to 3%. HECO’s high DG penetration has resulted in technical issues on the circuit and system level other states are only just now talking about, a HECO source recently said, and it is working on solar interconnections on circuits that can handle them safely and reliably. click here for more

    Saturday, April 26, 2014

    John Stewart Talks Climate Change With The EPA Head

    The biggest problem is not climate, it’s Congress. From Comedy Central

    Happy Earth Day From The Colbert Report

    Bad news for cellulosic ethanol does not mean that solar power “depends on clubbing baby seals…” or that “trying to help is pointless…” From Comedy Central

    Why Investing In Fossil Fuels Is A Bad Deal

    Wise investors aware of where the world is going will avoid fossil fuel investments. From greenmanbucket via YouTube

    Friday, April 25, 2014

    CLIMBING EVEREST IN A TIME OF CLIMATE CHANGE

    Climate Change Likely to Make Everest Even Riskier

    Katy Daigle, April 23, 2014 (ABC News)

    Editor's note: A new avalanche was reported at Everest as this piece was being posted. There have so far been no reports of new fatalities.

    “Climbing to the roof of the world is becoming less predictable and possibly more dangerous…as climate change brings warmer temperatures that may eat through the ice and snow on Mount Everest…While it is impossible to link any single event [liker the sudden ice avalanche that killed 16 Sherpa guides] to long-term changes in the global climate, scientists say the future will likely hold more such dangers in high-altitude regions…Avalanches of snow, rock or ice could increase. Climbing and trekking terrains would become unsteady. Glaciers may be more unpredictable. Storms will become more erratic, and the Himalayas in particular could see more snow as warming oceans send more moisture into the air for the annual Indian monsoon that showers the 2,400-kilometer (1,500-mile) mountain range…[S]cientists say mountaineers should assume that everything is now in flux…[As global temperatures have gone up 0.75 degrees C (1.4 degrees F) in the last century,] studies show the Himalayas warming at a rate up to three times as high…” click here for more

    NEW ENERGY UP, BIG MONEY TO FOLLOW

    The Global Renewable Energy Share Of Electricity Generation Has Grown Despite A Fall In Investment: Study

    Chris Pash, April 7, 2014 (Business Insider)

    “Renewable energy’s share of world electricity generation continued its steady climb with equities markets loving the sector last year despite a 14% drop in investments to USD 214.4 billion, according to [ Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014 from the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate and Sustainable Energy Finance, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance]…The investment fall of USD 35.1 billion was partly down to the falling cost of solar photovoltaic systems. The other main cause was policy uncertainty in many countries, an issue which also depressed investment in fossil fuel generation in 2013…Globally, renewables excluding large hydro accounted for 43.6% of newly installed generating capacity in 2013…” click here for more

    NEW ENERGY WILL CUT POWER BILLS FOR AUSSIES

    Schneider study finds boosting renewables will cut energy costs

    Giles Parkinson, 14 April 2014 (RenewEconomy)

    “Analysts at French based energy components company Schneider Electric have concluded that extending or expanding Australia’s renewable energy target would lead to lower electricity prices, lower carbon emissions and increased competition…Reducing, or removing the renewable energy target – as many incumbent generators, industry lobby groups, state governments and some of its own members are urging the Abbott conservative government to do – will have the opposite impact, pushing prices higher and creating a greater reliance on expensive gas-fired generation…[The] analysis says Australia will benefit from maintaining, extending or expanding its large scale renewable energy target (LRET) because renewable generation has lower emissions and lower marginal costs than do fossil fuels- fired generation…” click here for more

    BIG YEAR FOR WORLD’S GEOTHERMAL

    GEA report shows substantial growth in global geothermal energy market

    April 22, 2014 (Penn Energy)

    "…[Almost 700 geothermal projects are] currently under development in 76 countries. Threats caused by climate change and the need for a renewable energysource that can satisfy both firm and flexible grid needs are among the key factors driving…[i]nternational geothermal market growth…85 MW of the total global 530 MW of new geothermal capacity in 2013 was in the U.S., according to [The 2014 Annual U.S. & Global Geothermal Power Production Report]…U.S. growth was flat because of policy barriers, gridlock at the federal level, low natural gas prices and inadequate transmission infrastructure…Globally, significant geothermal development growth is expected over the next few years. In East Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia are building power plants greater than 100 MW…” click here for more

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

    AT GROUND ZERO FOR U.S. CLIMATE CHANGE

    Spending Earth Day at Ground Zero for Climate Change In America

    Mark Grunwald, April 22, 2014 (Time)

    “…[A]t an Earth Day hearing in my Miami Beach neighborhood, I got to hear [former astronauts Senator Bill Nelson and NASA science official Piers Sellers] reminisce about the view from 10 million feet…[Climate change is real, they said,] and it’s already a problem in my low-lying part of the world. Saltwater intrusion is increasing in the freshwater Everglades, which is causing problems for farmers…[O]ver the next fifty years, Miami-Dade’s beaches will need about 23 million cubic yards of new sand…Miami Beach alone plans to spend $400 million to upgrade drainage infrastructure…[Yet] Republican politicians in coastal areas [like]Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina] rarely acknowledge the danger their constituents face from rising seas…Dr. Sellers pointed out [that] the IPCC believes the main cause of climate change is the burning of fossil fuels. And as Senator Nelson pointed out, it will take government action—he mentioned the possibility of a carbon tax—to reduce the burning of fossil fuels…Ultimately, the local argument against climate change—it might flood your neighborhood—seems a lot less compelling than the global argument, the Blue Marble argument. This is a nice earth. It’s our home. It’s the only planet with ice cream and the Everglades and the NBA playoffs. We should try not to mess it up…” click here for more

    GOOGLE INVESTS $100MIL IN ROOFTOP SOLAR FUND

    Going Solar with SunPower

    April 23, 2014 (Google Blog)

    “…[The day after Google’s] biggest renewable energy purchase yet: an agreement with our Iowa utility partners to supply our data center facilities there with up to 407 megawatts of wind energy…[It] joined with SunPower Corporation to create] a new $250 million fund to help finance the purchase of residential rooftop solar systems…Using the fund ($100 million from Google and $150 million from SunPower), we buy the solar panel systems. Then we lease them to homeowners at a cost that’s typically lower than their normal electricity bill…SunPower delivers solar to residential, utility and commercial customers and also manufacturers its own solar cells and panels…This is…our third residential rooftop solar investment (the others being with Solar City and Clean Power Finance). Overall we’ve invested more than $1 billion in 16 renewable energy projects around the world, and we’re always on the hunt for new opportunities…” click here for more

    HOW WIND IS INNOVATING

    Where Is The Real Innovation In Wind Energy?

    Mike Barnard, April 21, 2014 (Clean Technica)

    “Wind energy is a tremendous success story worldwide, with staggering amounts of innovation…Innovation has two flavours: disruptive and incremental…The wind industry centred around the iconic three-blade horizontal axis wind turbine is an example of a disruptive innovation…[that happened through these incremental technical innovations] over the past forty years: Wind turbine height…Mechanical efficiency…Specialization...Aerodynamic improvements…Optimized maintenance…Robustness…Wind modeling…Advanced materials…Advanced coatings…There is tremendous ongoing innovation in wind power generation…[T]he same story can be told about photovoltaic solar generation…” click here for more

    FEDS STUDY OREGON’S OCEAN ENERGY MARKET

    BOEM Assesses Prospects of Wave Energy off Oregon

    Eric Haun, March 24, 2014 (MarineLink)

    "…[T]he Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) [initiated on March 24 a 30-day public comment period to assess]…whether there is competitive interest in wave energy research or development in an area of federal waters offshore Oregon where the Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center at Oregon State University (NNMREC-OSU) proposes to site a hydrokinetic energy facility to test utility-scale wave energy devices…[The Pacific Marine Energy Center – South Energy Test Site would test] utility-scale wave energy devices at four test berths [located about four nautical miles offshore Newport, Oregon in water depths ranging from 180-230 feet], with a connection to the mainland electric grid via a subsea cable…The project is designed to support up to 10 megawatts (MW) of electricity generation from individual devices and small-scale arrays…The Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the total technically recoverable wave energy resource along the U.S. coast to be 1,170 terawatts a year (TWh/yr), which is almost one third of the 4,000 TWh of electricity used in the United States each year…The recoverable wave energy resource for the West Coast is estimated at 250 TWh/year…” click here for more

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    TODAY’S STUDY: WORLD WIND’S GROWTH GOES ON

    Global Wind Report; Annual Market Update 2013

    April 2014 (Global Wind Energy Council)

    The Global Status Of Wind Power In 2013

    More than 35 GW of new wind power capacity was brought online in 2013, but this was a sharp decline in comparison to 2012, when global installations were in excess of 45 GW In terms of overall investments the global wind sector saw a small decline to USD 80 3bn (EUR 58 7bn1 ) in 2013, down from USD 80 9bn (EUR 59 2bn) in 20122

    The new global total at the end of 2013 was 318,105 MW, representing cumulative market growth of more than 12 5 percent, strong growth for a manufacturing industry given the economic climate, even though it is lower than the average annual rate over the last 10 years of approximately 21 percent

    At the end of 2012, the expectations for wind power market growth were uncertain, as continued economic slowdown in Europe and the political uncertainty in the US made it difficult to make projections 2013 turned out to be another difficult year for the industry, mainly due to the dramatic drop in the US market after record installations in 2012

    China, the largest overall market for wind since 2009, had a good year, and once again gained the top spot in 2013 Installations in Asia again led global markets, with Europe reliably in the second spot, and North America a distant third

    A result of this was that in 2013, unlike in 2012, the majority of wind installations globally were outside the OECD once again This was also the case in 2010 and 2011, and is likely to continue to be the case for the foreseeable future

    By the end of last year the number of countries with more than 1,000 MW installed capacity was 24: including 16 in Europe;3

    4 in Asia-Pacific (China, India, Japan & Australia); 3 in North America (Canada, Mexico, US) & 1 in Latin America (Brazil) By the end of last year six countries had more than 10,000 MW in installed capacity including China (91,412 MW), the US (61,091 MW), Germany (34,250 MW), Spain (22,959 MW), India (20,150 MW) and the UK (10,531 MW)

    China will at some point in 2014 cross the 100,000 MW mark, adding another milestone to its already exceptional history of renewable energy development since 2005 Largely driven by China, Asia is likely to overtake Europe as the region with the most deployed wind capacity by the end of 2014

    Looking ahead, while 2014 is likely to be much better than 2013 in terms of overall installations, the picture is complex across various regions Europe’s framework legislation and its 2020 targets ensure a degree of stability, but a wave of policy uncertainty and the lack of clarity on its post 2020 regime for renewables, combined with the on-going economic crunch means that the outlook for the 2014 market is subdued

    The slowdown in Asia in 2012-2013 was a result of a combination of factors, but these conditions are expected to be short-lived, and Asian dominance of global wind markets is expected to continue Market consolidation and rationalisation in China is now almost over which could lead to installations at 2010/11 levels A partial reinstatement of support mechanisms (GBI) in India is likely to lead to a better 2014 outcome than in 2013, but the market is unlikely to return to 2011 levels before 2015-16

    Canada, Brazil and Mexico are expected to have strong years in 2014, and more than five hundred megawatts from sub-Saharan Africa will come on line for the first time: in South Africa, Ethiopia and possibly Kenya Global installations will be further propped up by new projects coming on line in Japan, Australia, Pakistan, Vietnam and Thailand

    Although in the US, the Production Tax Credit expired again at the end of 2013, the new PTC rules mean there will be strong installations in 2014 and 2015, and a more comprehensive set of tax reform legislation may be in the works.

    Asia: China And India Remain At The Top

    For the sixth year in a row, Asia was the world’s largest regional market for wind energy, with capacity additions totaling just over 18 2 GW

    In terms of annual installations China regained its leadership position, adding 16 1 GW of new capacity in 2013, a significant gain over 2012 when it installed 12 96 GW of new capacity In 2011, the new annual installed wind power capacity in China (excluding Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan) was 17 63 GW By the end of 2011, its cumulative installed capacity was over 62 GW In 2011, China was the world’s second-largest wind producer, generating 73 billion kWh, a level about 64% higher than in 20104

    In 2012, wind-generated electricity in China amounted to 100 4 billion kWh, accounting for 2 percent of the country’s total electricity output, up from 1 5 percent in 20115 Wind power generated 134 9 billion kWh of electricity in 2013, up 34 percent year on year, contributing 2 6 percent of the country’s total electricity generation.

    China’s total installed electricity generation capacity was an estimated 1,145 GW at the beginning of 2013 By the end of 2012, wind energy (5 percent) had the third largest installed capacity after coal (66 percent) and hydropower (22 percent), surpassing natural gas (3 percent) and nuclear (1 percent)7 By the end of 2013, wind’s contribution had risen to 6 percent8

    The Chinese wind market more than doubled its capacity from 44 7 GW in 2010 to reach 91 4 GW by the end of 2013, cementing China’s global lead in terms of cumulative installed wind power capacity

    Everyone has been surprised by the astonishing growth of China’s wind sector since 2006, but it is now entering a more steady development and refinement stage The pace of growth in the Chinese wind energy market had in the period from 2010-12 outstripped the ability of the power grid and system operators to manage it effectively Curtailment of electricity generation became a new challenge for wind power projects In 2011 alone, more than 10 billion kWh of wind power was lost because the grid had no capacity to absorb it

    In the meantime, however, the NEA and State Grid are working to solve the transmission bottlenecks and other grid issues The NEA is also actively encouraging wind farm development in lower wind zones that are closer to load centers.

    India today is the second largest wind market in Asia, presenting substantial opportunities for both international and domestic players The Indian wind sector has struggled in the last couple of years to repeat the strong market in 2011 when over 3 GW was installed, and 2013 was a slower year due to a lapse in policy in 2012

    Nonetheless, India saw new wind energy installations of 1,729 MW in 2013, for a total of 20,150 MW This pace of growth kept the Indian wind power market firmly in the top five rankings globally As of January 2014, total wind installations had risen to 20,298 8 MW bringing the total grid connected renewable energy installations in the country to 30,177 9 MW9

    By the end of 2012, renewable energy accounted for over 12 8% of total installed capacity, and about 5% of electricity generation, up from 2% in 1995 Wind power accounted for about 66% of total renewable energy capacity and about 8 6% of the total installed capacity of 234 GW at the end of January 201410 With the acute need for electrification and rising power consumption in the country, wind energy is going to provide an increasingly significant share of the renewables based capacity While the rest of Asia did not make much progress in 2013, there are some favourable signs on the horizon.

    The Japanese market saw new installations of 50MW in 2013 to reach a cumulative capacity of 2,661 MW This represents around 0 5% of the total power supply in Japan After the Fukushima accident in March 2011, Japan is slowly moving towards a transformation of its energy system to allow for a more diverse energy mix including more wind power and other renewables However, removing existing barriers will still take some time Offshore wind development, in particular floating turbines, is a promising prospect for the future

    The Government of South Korea made “green growth” one of its national development priorities Although wind power is still a relatively small energy generation technology in South Korea, 2013 saw 79 MW of new installations onshore, which brought the total installed capacity to 561 MW The Korean government had earlier put forward a strategy for offshore wind development with a target of 2 5 GW by 2019

    Thailand added 111 MW of new capacity in 2013, bringing its total up to 223 MW Pakistan commissioned another large-scale commercial wind farm of 50 MW in 2013, with total installed capacity reaching 106 MW by the end of the year Taiwan added 43 MW of new capacity, bringing its total installed capacity up to 614 MW As for the rest of Asia, we expect new projects to come on line in Vietnam and the Philippines in 2014.

    North America: Record Installations In Canada

    1,599 MW of new wind capacity came online in Canada in 2013, making it the fifth largest market globally Compared to the 938 9 MW added in 2012, Canada’s wind power market saw significant growth in 2013, its best year ever Wind power now supplies approximately 3 percent of Canada’s electricity

    Ontario leads Canada with more than 2,470 MW, now supplying over 3% of the province’s electricity Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) confirmed that the production of wind energy in Ontario had doubled over the past four years, from 2 3 to 5 2 TWh between 2009 and 201311 Quebec ranks a close second with 2,398 3 MW in installed capacity Quebec is likely to see a total of 3,300 MW of wind energy commissioned by 201512

    The Canadian industry expects another record year in 2014 with the addition of almost 2,000 MW of new capacity, led by Ontario and Quebec

    Uncertain federal policies in the US continue to inflict a ‘boom-bust’ cycle on the country’s wind industry The US had its strongest year ever in 2012, but 2013 saw a precipitous drop in installations of over 92% year on year with just 1,084 MW in new installations, most of that in the fourth quarter

    The US is now home to over 61 GW of wind power capacity, up from 60 GW in 2012 By the end of 2013, wind provided 5 23% of total installed generation capacity in the US13

    The production tax credit for wind and other renewable energy technologies expired at the end of 2013 However, an important provision was included in the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (enacted in January 2013) allowing eligible projects that were ‘under construction’ before January 1, 2014 to qualify for the PTC Although the US market came to a near complete stop in 2013, the nature of the extension has created a combined pipeline of over 12 GW of projects under construction14

    In terms of total capacity, Texas again leads the Top-5 rankings with 12,355 MW, followed by California (5,830 MW), Indiana (5,178 MW), Illinois (3,568 MW) and Oregon (3,153 MW) In the US, 29 of the 50 states have firm RPSs, and seven states have renewable energy goals According to AWEA, by the end of 2025 RPS markets will drive the development of more than 63 wind equivalent gigawatts (GWe) of new capacity15

    Mexico installed 380 4 MW of new capacity to reach a total of 1917 MW by the end of 2013 Last year was an important year for the wind industry in Mexico especially with the Constitutional Amendment enabling energy reform in December 2013 The market reforms for the electricity sector will have a significant impact on the future of wind power in the country Mexico has a target of 35% of electricity from renewable energy by 2024 2014 is set to mark a year of change for the wind industry in Mexico thanks to the new legislation.

    Europe: Stronger Than Expected Market

    During 2013, 12,031 MW of wind power was installed across Europe, with European Union (EU-28) countries accounting for 11,159 MW of the total The 2013 figures reflect orders made before the wave of political uncertainty that has swept across Europe since 2011, which is taking a toll on the wind power sector

    There are now just over 117 GW installed in the EU-28, and a total cumulative capacity of 121 4 GW for all of Europe Wind is now meeting 8% of EU electricity demand, up from 7% at the end of 2012, 6 3% at the end of 2011 and 4 8% at the end of 2009

    The overall EU installation levels mask significant volatility across Europe In a number of previously healthy markets such as Spain, Italy and France installations decreased significantly compared to 2012, by 84%, 65% and 24% respectively This has contributed to 46% of all new installations in 2013 being in just two countries (Germany and the United Kingdom), a significant change compared to previous years when installations were less concentrated and spread across many more healthy European markets

    Wind energy represented 32% of all new EU power capacity installed last year, and investments of between EUR 13 bn and EUR 18 bn Renewable power installations accounted for 72% of new installations during 2013 - 25 GW of a total 35 GW of new power capacity, up from 70% the previous year 2013 installations were led by Germany (29%), the UK (17%), Poland (8%), Sweden (6%), Romania (6%), Denmark (6%), France (6%), Italy (4%), Austria (3%) and all others accounted for 12%

    Offshore accounted for almost 14% of total EU wind power installations last year, up from 10% in 2012 It was a record year for offshore installations, with 1,567 MW of new capacity grid connected

    Currently, destabilized legislative frameworks, economic crises and austerity measures being implemented across Europe are hitting the wind industry The year ahead will be tough, and the long-term prospects for the wind industry are closely linked to the outcome of the debate over the EU’s 2030 targets for climate and energy The German wind energy market continued its steady growth in 2013, adding 3,238 MW to bring Germany’s total installed capacity up to 34 25 GW The German wind industry expects a solid 2014 as well

    The Renewable Resources Act (EEG) will be amended some time in 2014 Chancellor Merkel’s government agreed to phase out nuclear power in favour of renewables; however, her new coalition has talked about reducing the support available to renewables

    In January 2014, Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel proposed a plan for the reform of the EEG The proposal includes a cap on renewables of 45% of German electricity output by 2025, and of 60% by 2035 It also stipulates a 10% to 20% cut in feed-in tariffs for onshore wind and an annual cap to its expansion, as well as more hardship for PV16 The German and European renewables industry has been critical of the terms being discussed

    The United Kingdom was the second largest market for wind in Europe last year, adding 1,883 MW in 2013 of which 1,150 MW was onshore and 733 MW was offshore The UK is the largest offshore wind market in the world with total installations of almost 3,681 MW, accounting for over half of the European (and global) offshore market The UK Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) statistics released in February 2014 show that the amount of electricity produced by wind grew 38% from 2012 to 2013 In total the amount of electricity generated by wind grew from 5 5% in 2012 to 7 7% in 201317

    Following on from the 2012 launch of the Offshore Wind Cost Reduction Taskforce report, the UK government and industry are working together through the Offshore Wind Programme Board The UK’s offshore industry has signed up to a target of reducing costs by 30% by 2020, based on the delivery of 18GW of offshore wind.

    The other noteworthy European markets last year include Poland, Sweden, Italy, Turkey and Denmark Poland has had strong annual growth in the past couple of years despite a difficult political environment for renewables It now has a total installed capacity of 3,390 MW, up from 2,496 MW in 2012, the ninth largest wind market in Europe Sweden installed 724 MW in 2013 to reach a total installed capacity of 4,470 MW At the end of 2013, wind power accounted for 7% of Sweden’s total electricity consumption

    France’s wind capacity is also growing steadily and has now reached 8,254 MW The French government set a target of 25 GW by 2020, but it looks like it will be hard pressed to meet it Italy installed only 444 MW for a total of 8,552 MW, 65% below its installations for 2012 Denmark installed 657 MW for a total of 4,772 MW In 2013 wind power accounted for over 33% of Denmark’s total electricity consumption

    Turkey continued to be a growth market for wind power in 2013 It installed 646 MW for a total of 2,959 MW Looking ahead, the future of Turkey’s wind sector looks very promising Facing extensive impacts from domestic austerity measures Spain continued to be the second largest market in the EU in cumulative terms, but just 175 MW in new capacity was added in 2013, to reach 22 9 GW of cumulative capacity The future of the Spanish wind market at present is very uncertain.

    Latin America: Growing Stronger, Brazil Leads

    Wind power is reaching critical mass in a number of Latin American markets, and the region has begun developing a substantial wind power industry to complement its rich hydro and biomass (and potentially solar) resources In the medium to long-term, the demand for energy security and diversity of supply is expected to foster the growth of wind power in Latin America

    For the second year in a row the Latin American market installed over 1 GW of new capacity In 2012, six markets in the region installed 1,225 MW of new wind capacity for a total installed capacity of just over 3 5 GW In 2013, just four markets including Brazil, Chile, Argentina and Uruguay accounted for 1,163 MW of new wind power capacity for a total installed capacity of 4 8 GW

    Brazil once again led Latin America, adding 953 MW of new capacity; although the projects were fully commissioned not all of them could be given a grid connection before the end of the year Brazil is one of the most promising onshore markets for wind energy, for at least the next five years Brazil contracted for a total of 4 7 GW of new wind power in 2013 in three auctions, and has a strong pipeline of almost 7 GW to be completed by the end of 2015 Government projections foresee 17 5 GW of wind power installed in the country by the end of 2022

    Chile added 130 MW to reach a total of 335 MW, and Argentina added 76 MW of new capacity to bring its total installed capacity up to 218 MW last year Both Chile and Argentina are potentially promising markets, which have substantial wind resources Uruguay added to its total tally with the commissioning of 4 MW of new capacity, bringing its total installed capacity up to 59 MW

    In the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic added 52 MW of new capacity last year, bringing the total installed capacity across the Caribbean to 221 MW by the end of 2013

    Pacific: Wind In Australia Gives Confidence

    Total installed capacity across the region reached 3 8 GW last year The Australian market added 655 MW in 2013 (up from 358 MW in 2012), bringing its total installed capacity up to 3,239 MW

    According to recent research conducted by the Clean Energy Council, wind farms have reportedly generated more than AUD 4 bn (EUR 2 6 bn) in investment in Australia since their introduction19

    Last year Australia saw a new coalition government led by Prime Minister Tony Abbott come to power During the elections last year his party had stated that it would look again at Australia’s Renewable Energy target, which mandates that 20% of Australia’s power should come from renewables by 2020, with a 41 TWh annual generation goal from large-scale renewable sources A review panel has been constituted and will report to the government by the middle of this year, in time for its findings to be fed into an energy white paper This policy uncertainty may jeopardize up to AUD18 bn (EUR 11 6 bn) worth of investments and almost 30,000 jobs20 New Zealand and the rest of the Pacific did not add any new wind power capacity in 2013

    Africa And The Middle East

    Africa and the Middle East are awakening to the opportunity of their enormous wind power potential Growth in 2013 was still small in absolute terms, with just 90 MW installed across the region, for a cumulative total of 1,255 MW However, the South African market will take off in 2014, and several countries have announced long-term plans for installing commercial scale wind power: Ethiopia, Morocco, Kenya, Jordan, Tanzania and Saudi Arabia, among others

    Africa’s wind resource is best around the coasts and in the eastern highlands, but until last year it was in North and EastAfrica that wind power has been developed at scale This, too, is where current national policies are set to grow the sector further At the end of 2013, over 99% of the region’s total wind installations of 1,255 MW were to be found across nine countries - Egypt (550 MW), Morocco (291 MW), Ethiopia (171 MW), Tunisia (104 MW), Iran (91 MW), Cape Verde (24 MW), South Africa (10 MW), Israel (6 25 MW) and Kenya (5MW).

    Africa is likely to emerge as a new hot spot for wind energy development with new projects in Ethiopia, Tanzania and Mauritius coming online, along with a resurgence in Morocco 2014 will be a milestone for the South African market, where up to 1 GW of new capacity will come online

    2013: Slow Year Due To Policy Uncertainty

    2013 was a market with downward pressure on prices through oversupply in the turbine market; fierce competition with incumbents; and a wave of downward revisions to support mechanisms in an austerity driven economic landscape The industry continues to be challenged to compete on a price basis directly with heavily subsidized fossil fuel and nuclear energy plants, particularly in the OECD Having said that, all the fundamental drivers for wind power development still hold, and there is a need around the world for new power generation, which is clean, affordable, indigenous, reliable and quick to install…