QUICK NEWS, March 13: MORE SOLAR PARITY; NEW TRANSMISSION MEANS NEW WIND, NEW JOBS; FEDS FUND ADVANCED EV CHARGING
MORE SOLAR PARITY
Cost of Going Solar Is Dropping Fast, State Study Finds; The price of solar energy systems dropped by 36 percent in North Carolina between 2006 and 2011, in a trend that is likely occuring across the U.S.
Maria Gallucci, March 9, 2012 (Inside Climate News)
"The cost of solar power in North Carolina is falling steeply…providing the first real evidence of a trend that is likely occurring in other states that are harnessing the power of the sun…The price of solar photovoltaic (PV) systems dropped by 36 percent in North Carolina between 2006 and 2011, from $8.50 to $5.44 per watt…[while] fossil fuel costs jumped three percent on average in the state every year of the past decade…
"The Feb. 29 report by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) is the first attempt to calculate both ‘dollars per watt’ and the ‘levelized cost of energy,’ or LCOE, for solar energy in a single state. The dollars-per-watt metric, used above, measures initial installation and hardware costs only. [The national average for solar was $6.20 per watt in 2010, according to the most recent available data]…"
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"The LCOE is a more complex and newer metric that assesses all costs of a solar system across its lifetime, including the cost of generating electricity and other factors like maintenance. It can be compared easily to other electricity sources…Using the LCOE, the report finds that solar will be cost competitive with retail electricity prices in North Carolina by 2020, without federal or state subsidies. Large-scale solar systems are already cost competitive when subsidies are factored in.
"The biggest factor in North Carolina's falling solar prices is global market forces…particularly the glut in solar panels and their components, like polysilicon…Between 2008 and 2010, the cost of solar panels worldwide fell by about 40 percent, according to industry figures. In 2011, prices dropped again by 50 percent from 2010, as the supply of panels far outstripped demand, due in a large part to a state-subsidized solar manufacturing boom in China…The findings in North Carolina give solar advocates a solid basis to draw conclusions about the entire industry…"
NEW TRANSMISSION MEANS NEW WIND, NEW JOBS
Clean Line Energy Signs Agreement With Conductor Manufacturer; Transmission Line Project Will Lead To Increased Demand For Wind Products Manufactured In Illinois
March 6, 2012 (Clean Line Energy Partners)
"Clean Line Energy Partners LLC announced an agreement…designating Southwire as the preferred supplier for the overhead transmission cable for the Rock Island Clean Line…[T]he cable will be produced from Southwire’s facility in Flora, Illinois…The Rock Island Clean Line transmission line project will consist of an approximate 500-mile overhead, high voltage direct current (HVDC) transmission line that will deliver 3,500 megawatts of renewable power from Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska and South Dakota to communities and businesses in Illinois and other states to the east. The line will end near Morris, Illinois where it will interconnect with the PJM system…
"…[The Southwire] facility expects to produce cable over a 12 to 14 month period of time…Clean Line’s potential future supply order from Southwire could be worth $70 million or more…In addition to an estimated $1.7 billion in direct costs for the Rock Island Clean Line HVDC itself, the Rock Island Clean Line will make possible approximately $7 billion worth of investments in new wind energy projects, which today cannot be constructed due to the lack of transmission…"
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"…[As a result of the new wind farms] Southwire could realize additional benefits of $30 million or more in additional sales by producing and selling cables that are used within the turbine, placed down the tower and buried underground for the power collections systems…
"…[Construction of the Rock Island Clean Line could begin as early as 2014 and may continue over the next few years…[It] will create hundreds of direct construction jobs… [and completion] should also lead to increased employment for…wind energy manufacturing companies…[The line] will…deliver enough energy to power more than 1.4 million Midwest homes. Clean Line estimates that property taxes on the transmission lines will generate millions of dollars annually in Illinois and will be distributed to counties where the line is routed…"
FEDS FUND ADVANCED EV CHARGING
Eaton Awarded DOE Grant To Increase Efficiency Of EV Charging
9 March 2012 (Renew Grid)
"Eaton Corp. has received a $1.84 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the development and demonstration of more efficient commercial electric-vehicle (EV) chargers. The project will promote smart charging technology that better manages the efficiency, availability and reliability of power, especially during peak times and at popular charging locations…"
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"Eaton's grant is part of a larger federal research and development program to help reduce the current costs of EV chargers by 50% over the next three years and to support the adoption and deployment of EVs…"