QUICK NEWS, 9-22: THE THREAT OF PROP 23; THE ELUSIVE COST OF BIG SUN; CASCADING GEOTHERMAL, A NEW NEW ENERGY; MAJOR SOLAR CONSOLIDATION
THE THREAT OF PROP 23
Proposition 23 Threatens Our Health, Our Jobs
Ian Kim, September 21, 2010 (Asian Week)
"…[S]pecial interests are trying to hijack California’s state ballot to enrich themselves…[T]wo large Texas oil companies [are pushing] Prop. 23…[and it] is a direct threat to [Asian Pacific Americans’] health and our jobs…Valero Energy and Tesoro Corp., the Texas oil giants behind Prop. 23, have already spent nearly $8 million and are expected to spend millions – maybe tens of millions – more…They claim they’re doing this to protect California jobs…Do they really expect us to believe that a group of big oil companies…are spending millions of dollars on a California ballot campaign out of the goodness of their hearts?
"Prop. 23 will block a landmark clean energy law in California, keeping us addicted to oil and other dirty energy sources…[T]hat means more pollution and more asthma and other lung diseases. And…it won’t save jobs – it will kill them…Studies have found a clear link between the air pollution caused by dirty energy and higher rates of respiratory illness. That’s why health organizations…oppose Prop. 23."
Multiple studies, like this one, show climate policies like AB32 boost growth. (click to enlarge)
"Asian and Pacific Islanders face particular challenges when it comes to health…[T]wo thirds of Asian Pacific American children live in areas that fail to meet federal clean-air standards…[I]n California…Asians are the only racial group for whom the leading cause of death is cancer, with higher cancer death rates than any other group…[Prop 23 is] a dirty energy policy that will keep our kids breathing polluted air…[and] though it’s being sold as a mere “pause” in implementation of our state’s clean energy policy…Prop. 23 sets the bar so high that it would essentially be a permanent repeal.
"…[T]he oil companies…whole central claim, that Prop. 23 will save jobs, simply isn’t true…The clean energy economy is growing faster in California than any other state, mainly thanks to the very same clean energy law Prop. 23 seeks to block, known as the Global Warming Solutions Act or AB 32."
AB 32 would cut pollution; Prop 23 would allow it to grow, worsening health and adding to health costs. (click to enlarge)
"For businesses that want to retrofit homes for energy efficiency, make solar panels or build electric cars, the law has provided assurance that there will be a growing market for their products and services…[They have created] over 500,000 new jobs…[and] clean-tech investment in California has skyrocketed, surpassing all other states combined. This is the only sector of our economy that steadily gained jobs during the recession…
"…[T]he proponents of this dirty energy initiative are so shameless that they’ve continued citing a UC Berkeley study as “proof” that AB 32 threatens millions of jobs, even after the authors of the study wrote in the Los Angeles Times that their report “says no such thing.” In fact, the researchers added, our clean energy law “will have a small but positive effect on the state’s jobs.” …The Texas oil companies don’t care about jobs; they just want to protect their profits…Don’t be fooled by the lies. Vote NO on 23."
THE ELUSIVE COST OF BIG SUN
Novatec Biosol: “More transparency needed on solar field cost and performance”
Rikki Stancich, 17 September 2010 (CSP Today)
[Martin Selig, founder, Novatec Biosol:] “…[We must] have a close look at the cost of efficiency of various CSP technologies. We need to look at the parabolic trough field, at the power tower systems - only the solar fields, and assess the specific costs of solar thermal energy. That is the key. This cost has to come down…I do not see too many solar field manufacturers offering guarantees and key performance indicators for their solar systems. This is something we are waiting for. This would make it much easier to compare one system with another.”
[Martin Selig, founder, Novatec Biosol:] “…We have to be able to generate steam at as low a cost as coal and gas…[Novatec] can generate steam using solar energy at a lower cost than could be achieved with fossil fuels on the basis of oil prices, and at a similar cost based on natural gas prices…People should be aware of the cost-competitiveness of CSP compared with steam-generated power from fossil fuels…Now it is up to the power plant engineers to figure out suitable power plant designs to making the best use out of this opportunity…There is also a new opportunity to integrate a solar system into existing or new power plants to substitute (at least during day time) the same or more expensive fossil fuels.”
A Novatec Biosol linear fresnel system. (click to enlarge)
[Martin Selig, founder, Novatec Biosol:] “Water prices in [MENA] countries do not reflect the real cost, because they are highly subsidised. For this reason it is very important to have a solar technology that has low water requirement…[As to siting difficulties,] there should be some gigawatts out there [that] are generated via the integration of solar boilers with existing plants…”
Schematic of the Novatec Biosol concentrating system. (click to enlarge)
[Martin Selig, founder, Novatec Biosol:] “…[Northern Africa] countries face a huge ramp up and have a huge requirement for new installed capacity. Given the recent growth of wealth and population, I think that these countries are looking at building new power plants…[T]here will be markets for new CSP plants and for retrofitting older ones. There will be a robust market for both, most definitely…In Algeria they are favouring the integrated solar combined cycle model…Morrocco, on the other hand, is looking to build real solar power plants…”
[Martin Selig, founder, Novatec Biosol:] “In the United Arab Emirates, some of the power plants are directly linked to the desalination plants. During winter they still have a high water demand but much lower electricity demand, so they have difficulties in matching both demand curves…[D]e-coupling power from desalination by using a solar boiler to power these desalination plants during winter could be a real option…When it comes to desalination, you are talking about coastal areas where typical land values are much higher than in the desert…Our Nova1 system is able to generate 30% more solar thermal energy than a parabolic trough solar field, on the same amount of land…”
CASCADING GEOTHERMAL, A NEW NEW ENERGY
“Cascading” Geothermal Energy Could Revive Small Towns with New Green Jobs
Tina Casey, September 21, 2010 (Clean Technica)
"Part of a new U.S. Department of Energy grant for innovative geothermal technology is going to fund a project that could help small towns and mid-sized cities generate low cost local power, cut their carbon footprint, create new green jobs, and even develop local sources for fish and produce. The technology is called “cascading” geothermal because it uses and re-uses the same fluid in a series of applications…
"…[A] religious community called I’SOT…in Canby, California provides a textbook example…[It] is under development in partnership with the Department of Energy and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In 2006 the community began operating a geothermal heating system that provided heat and hot water for 34 buildings, but the effluent from that operation was simply filtered and discharged to a river…"
Schematic of "cascading" geothermal from Northern Arizona University (click to enlarge)
"Under the new project, the highest-temperature fluid will be used to generate electricity. After that, energy can still be extracted for additional space heating and hot water, operating up to ten acres of greenhouses, heating up to four 30-foot diameter aquaculture tanks, and for melting snow. The system may also provide enough energy to operate a new food storage and laundry facility…
"The Modoc Contracting Company – also of Canby – won the DOE grant…That $2 million is a modest amount compared to the impact it could have on communities across the U.S., as DOE estimates that in the west alone there are about 1,500 possible well sites in small towns and mid-sized cities with the potential to develop cascading geothermal projects. That in turn could create new green jobs in local aquaculture and greenhouse-based agriculture operations…"
Schematic of "cascading" geothermal from the International Gothermal Assoc (click to enlarge)
"If the concept of urban fish-farming seems a little far fetched, at least one expert has been successfully raising food grade fish in the middle of New York City, so cascading geothermal projects may have potential in larger cities where space is hard to come by. The possibility of developing add-ons and tie-ins with other forms of renewable energy could also help maximize the use of space…
"…[A] greenhouse operation powered by geothermal energy could converge with algae biofuel production, and an aquaculture pond could double as a platform for a floating solar energy installation."
MAJOR SOLAR CONSOLIDATION
Sharp to buy solar developer Recurrent Energy; Sharp to pay up to $305 million for solar company
Sarah McBride and Poornima Gupta (w/ Carol Bishopric), September 21, 2010 (Reuters)
"Sharp Corp…plans to buy solar power company Recurrent Energy for up to $305 million, expanding Sharp's footprint in the solar field.
"Privately-held Recurrent Energy, which is majority owned by Hudson Clean Energy Partners, focuses on small-scale projects of up to 20 megawatts. It has a pipeline of more than 2 gigawatts of projects planned in the United States, Canada and Europe."
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"Sharp is one of the world's biggest solar cell producers. It is counting on Recurrent to help it expand its business in the photovoltaic area…from developing and producing solar cells and modules to developing and marketing power generation plants…"
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"For Recurrent…[Sharp ensures continued growth with] credibility and access to capital markets…"
"Acquisitions activity in solar energy has lagged other fields such as technology. Issues such as declining prices for solar panels and uncertainty over the fate of government subsidies in alternative energy have dampened enthusiasm for the once red-hot industry…[This] acquisition is expected to close by the end of this year."