QUICK NEWS, 10-26: NEW ENERGY, THE CAMPAIGN ISSUE; CHINA STARTS OFFSHORE’S BIGGEST; 1,000 MEGAWATTS OF SUN OK’D; TRUCK STANDARDS LEAVE POTHOLES
NEW ENERGY, THE CAMPAIGN ISSUE
Campaign Ads Slam Stimulus Bill Program for Renewable Energy
October 25, 2010 (NY Times)
"Republican and Democratic campaign leaders clashed…over the accuracy of GOP political ads attacking a stimulus bill program that gives money to renewable power companies.
"The wind industry's biggest trade group in a letter had asked national campaign committees to cease running ads that the industry argues make false statements about the program. The spots, appearing in several states, make inaccurate criticisms about the stimulus law's section 1603 program, said Denise Bode, president and CEO of American Wind Energy Association. The effort gives grants in place of tax credits that businesses otherwise would get for alternative energy projects…Bode said…[the leverages both] foreign and domestic investment [to create U.S. jobs]…"
From americanwindenergy via YouTube
"…A study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that as many as 40 percent of the wind farms built in the first year of the program installed turbines and other equipment manufactured overseas…[A NY Times] investigation found that 64 percent of the 50 largest projects -- representing $2.7 billion -- started construction before the stimulus bill became law. The Obama administration, AWEA and other renewable companies said the program provided essential capital…during the recession. Many of those businesses would have had to stop development, Bode said...[I]n interviews [some companies] said that they could have gone forward and carried the debt…
"The ads are running as part of 18 House races, AWEA said. They appear in Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Colorado, Tennessee, Ohio, Illinois, New Mexico, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, West Virginia, Oregon, Michigan and Minnesota. The wind trade group said the National Republican Campaign Committee funds the ads in most states where they appear…The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee defended the program and attacked Republicans for using the program in its political ads."
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[The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee:] "In an effort to distract from their support of corporate tax breaks for outsourcing American jobs, Republicans across the country have launched blatantly false attacks on Democrats…By law, 100 percent of wind projects that receive incentives through Recovery Act are built in the United States by American workers to provide power for U.S. homes and businesses…[According to the Treasury Department, which issues the grants], property which is used predominantly outside the United States does not qualify for a payment under Section 1603."
"…Republicans cited statements by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to criticize the program. Schumer last year reacted sharply following news reports that a large portion of money under the program had gone to foreign corporations…Large wind developers and AWEA have said that when the program started there were fewer wind part manufacturers in the United States. That portion of domestically made products has grown because of the stimulus incentive, they said…Bode said that the program has been critical to protecting 85,000 wind industry jobs…"
CHINA STARTS OFFSHORE’S BIGGEST
World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm Begun by China
Susan Kraemer, October 23, 2010 (Clean Technica)
"China, which shot to world leadership in turbine production after passing renewable energy legislation…[and] local construction mandates in 2005, has begun building the world’s largest off-shore wind farm in Bohai Bay…[three] hours from Beijing.
The engineering design and construction of what will be the world’s largest offshore wind farm at 1,000 MW…is being undertaken by the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC)...
"…[Offshore oil and offshore wind technology] share some of the same technical and engineering issues. Stat-Oil in Norway is also investing in offshore wind development, because many of the engineering solutions found to develop offshore oil, are also applicable to the development of offshore wind, like building platforms in deep sea."
An earlier offshore project in China under construction (click to enlarge)
"Once complete, in 2020, the Bohai Bay wind farm…will be the largest off-shore wind farm in the world, at 1,000 MW. The current world’s largest offshore wind farm…[the Thanet project off the east coast of England] just started sending power to the grid in September from a 300 MW array of turbines in the North Sea.
"To build the massive infrastructure needed, nearby Tianjin has received an investment of $2.2 billion from the Chinese government. The potential is for a staggering 750 Gigawatts of offshore wind power off the coast of China, more than twice the potential 330 GW off the Atlantic coast of the US, which itself would power the East Coast twice over."
1,000 MEGAWATTS OF SUN OK’D
Largest Solar Plant in the World Receives Final Regulatory Approval; Solar Millennium’s 1,000 MW Blythe plant checks the final box in its permitting checklist. Still waiting on the Federal Loan Guarantee, some hefty equity investors, and then its shovel-time.
Brett Prior, October 25, 2010 (Greentech Media)
"Solar Millennium LLC's Blythe concentrating solar project secured a Final "Record of Decision" from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approving the plant's Right of Way Grant...This is a big win for all players involved, including the following members of the CSP food chain:
"Receiver tube manufacturer: Schott or Solel (Siemens)...Reflector/mirror manufacturer: Flabeg (headquartered in Germany)...Engineering firm: Flagsol (JV between Solar Millennium AG & Ferrostaal AG)...EPC: Kiewit (headquartered in Nebraska)..."
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"The obvious bottleneck is the Loan Guarantee program, which is effectively holding up Blythe, as well as the Tessera/Stirling projects."
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"Can the folks at the DOE make commitments in time for these projects to break ground by 12/31/10 - so that they can qualify for the 30% Treasury Grant program?
We'll know soon enough.
"As dry-cooled plants cost more and delivery less electricity (lower capacity factor), the estimated LCOE of this project is around $0.18/kWh. Therefore this project needs the subsidized debt from the Feds in order to provide sufficient returns to attract project and tax equity investors. Without a loan guarantee, it looks as though this project could be unfinance-able."
TRUCK STANDARDS LEAVE POTHOLES
Proposed Truck Standards a Milestone, but Some Savings Opportunities Left Untapped
October 25, 2010 (American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy)
"…[T]he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Transportation proposed the first-ever fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emissions standards for medium- and heavy-duty trucks and buses. The affected vehicles, ranging from large pickup trucks to big rigs, today consume about 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, one-fifth of total transportation oil use in the U.S.
"ACEEE applauded the agencies tackling this essential but complex task…[as a way of] saving oil and reducing emissions…[while] it will help keep down the price of goods that move by truck…"
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"…[But a] National Academy of Sciences study published earlier this year shows how long-haul tractor-trailers — the biggest diesel users — could reduce their fuel consumption by at least 35 percent by 2017, using measures that would pay for themselves in two years…
"…[T]he proposed rule calls for no more than 20 percent savings. Trailers are not covered by the rule, even though improving trailers’ aerodynamics and tires alone could reduce fuel use by 10 percent."
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"…[ACEEE also said it does not drive] advanced technologies [from advanced transmissions to hybrid drive trains] into the market…for “vocational” trucks such as refuse trucks, delivery vans, utility trucks, and school buses…
"Moreover, the standards should set the efficiency bar high enough that the entire industry will start using these technologies sooner rather than later…Similarly, while engine improvements anticipated later in this decade could achieve fuel savings in excess of ten percent, the proposal calls for only six percent…"