QUICK NEWS, November 17: PARIS WIND CONF TO OPEN FRIDAY; WHITHER SOLAR?; WIND BRINGS FREE ELECTRICITY
PARIS WIND CONF TO OPEN FRIDAY Wind energy event in Paris will go ahead; The European Wind Energy Association annual event will open tomorrow in Paris as planned, despite the attacks on the city on Friday night.
16 November 2015 (Windpower Monthly)
“…[The European Wind Energy Association has been working closely with the local Paris authorities and they have advised it to move forward with preparations for EWEA 2015, the industry’s annual conference, as intended. EWEA is taking all the necessary security and logistical measures to ensure the utmost safety and care is taken throughout the four-day event. EWEA said it had not taken the decision lightly but decided ‘it is essential that we stand firm in the face of such adversity,’ its head announced. ‘We must continue as we mean to go on.’ Three of the four keynote speakers at the opening event have reconfirmed their attendance…” click here for more
WHITHER SOLAR? Will Solar Energy Plummet if the Investment Tax Credit Fades Away? Many solar supporters say the loss or reduction of the credit will be a ‘cliff’ for the industry. But others say the credit’s impact is overstated and solar will continue to grow.
Amit Ronen and John Farrell, November 15, 2015 (Wall Street Journal)
[Ronen:] “… without congressional leadership, the credit will expire for consumer-owned systems and shrink for commercially owned systems at the end of 2016. When it goes, it will have a dramatic effect on the industry—and economy…Can the solar industry survive without the current credit? Yes, but not as we know it today…The credit has proved an essential financing mechanism to getting solar built, even though some projects rely on complex tax-equity markets to monetize the credit…”
[Farrell:] “…[Third-party leases or power-purchase contracts] took on much of the financial risk and the responsibility for redeeming the 30% tax credit…and as a result, solar developers and customers have received an effective discount of 15% instead of 30%. So the current incentive isn’t as big as it looks, and the effect of losing the incentive won’t be as severe as many think…If the change in the tax credit opens the door to more sizable, low-margin investors that offer a discounted cost of debt and equity for solar projects, we estimate that the net cost of solar would rise just 2.5%...A November 2014 pro forma analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory suggests that self-financing lowers the cost of solar by 23% for residential customers and 87% for commercial customers…[Assuming] a 30% cut in the growth potential for solar energy…[ignores] countervailing forces…” click here for more
WIND BRINGS FREE ELECTRICITY A Texas Utility Offers a Nighttime Special: Free Electricity
Clifford Krauss and Diane Cardwell, November 8, 2015 (NY Times)
“In Texas, wind farms are generating so much energy that some utilities are giving power away…[Thousands of TXU Energy customers are] at the vanguard of a bold attempt by the utility to change how people consume energy. TXU’s free overnight plan, which is coupled with slightly higher daytime rates, is one of dozens that have been offered by more than 50 retail electricity companies in Texas over the last three years with a simple goal: for customers to turn down the dials when wholesale prices are highest and turn them back up when prices are lowest…It is possible because Texas has more wind power than any other state, accounting for roughly 10 percent of the state’s generation…[and] Texas runs its own electricity grid…Wind blows most strongly at night and the power it produces is inexpensive because of its abundance and federal tax breaks. A shift of power use away from the peak daytime periods means lower wholesale prices, and the possibility of avoiding the costly option of building more power plants…” click here for more