TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, Oct. 22:
Wednesday, October 22, 2014
QUICK NEWS, Oct. 22: SCHOOLS SAVE W/GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS; BUILDING FOR NEXT-GEN U.S. BIOFUELS; ENERGY STORAGE MARKET EMERGING
SAVINGS FOR SCHOOLS FROM GEOTHERMAL HEAT PUMP SYSTEMS Using Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems in Schools; Some schools in the United States and Europe have begun to use geothermal energy to cut down on energy consumption and provide an energy-efficient education.
Sharon Gamson Danks, October 2014 (Mother Earth News)
“…The temperature of the earth…[at a depth of six feet remains between 45 degrees f and 75 degrees f] throughout the year even when the air temperature experiences wide fluctuations from winter to summer…Geothermal heating and cooling systems are designed to take advantage of this thermal constant by pumping air or water into the ground to be heated or cooled to the earth’s stable temperature…The conditioned air or water may then be used [with little energy expenditure] in radiant heating or cooling systems embedded in the building’s floors, or as part of the building’s HVAC (climate control) systems…[These systems] could save schools a substantial amount of energy [and money and have reasonably short payback periods, generally take up less room in the school than conventional heating and cooling equipment, and run quietly…” click here for more
BUILDING FOR NEXT-GEN U.S. BIOFUELS Production Begins at Second U.S. Cellulosic Biofuel Facility
Jeremy Martin, October 17, 2014 (National Geographic)
“…Spanish company Abengoa is bringing another big cellulosic biofuel facility online in Hugoton, a small community in the Southwest [Kansas]…This is the second big plant starting up this year, showing that after some predictable yet highly scrutinized delays, the cellulosic fuel industry is truly beginning to establish itself and making critical contributions to oil savings and climate goals…The Abengoa plant will double the production capacity on line for cellulosic ethanol, and do it without consuming a kernel of corn…Major companies from all over the world have come to the U.S. to invest in cellulosic biofuel…Yet the U.S. is certainly not the only place that cellulosic biofuels are coming on line. There is also a major cellulosic biofuels facility in Italy, and a cellulosic biorefinery just started up in Brazil…The cellulosic plant that opened in Iowa in August is a collaboration of Poet, a major US ethanol company, and Royal-DSM, a company from the Netherlands…Another major player in cellulosic biofuels is Danish firm Novozymes…[Beta Renewables] just started the cellulosic facility in Brazil…The Renewable Fuel Standard, which calls for increasing biofuels production steadily over time, is central to [U.S.] plans…” click here for more
ENERGY STORAGE MARKET EMERGING Energy Storage Tracker 3Q14; Global Energy Storage Installations: Market Share Data, Industry Trends, Market Analysis, and Project Tracking by World Region, Technology, Application, and Market Segment
3Q 2014 (Navigant Research)
“Government funding, subsidies, and regulatory reforms in energy storage and related areas continue to encourage market growth. Lithium ion (Li-ion) technology has emerged as the global leader…[F]lywheels and flow batteries are also making significant headway. North America continues to move the market forward…[Western Europe] is also leading the market with utility-scale advanced battery and power-to-gas installations and announcements…Key vendors in the industry continue to specialize as systems integrators in the supply chain. In some cases, integrators are entering the sector from other industries. This is a critical time …[M]ore systems integrators are needed…[Navigant Research estimates] 362.8 MW of energy storage projects have been announced globally in the 2013-2014 period with an almost equal distribution between North America (103.3 MW), Asia Pacific (100.5 MW), and Western Europe (91.1 MW)…” click here for more
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
TODAY’S STUDY: WHERE U.S. OFFSHORE WIND WILL CONNECT
QUICK NEWS, Oct. 21: SOLARCITY TO CROWDFUND WITH $1,000 BONDS; NEW JERSEY LOOKS AT OCEAN WIND; SMART LED LIGHTING MRKT TO DOUBLE
SOLARCITY TO CROWDFUND WITH $1,000 BONDS SolarCity Offers Bonds Online to Ordinary Investors
Diane Cardwell, October 15, 2014 (NY Times)
“SolarCity, the country’s leading installer of rooftop solar systems, began selling bonds online to ordinary investors…joining a handful of companies that are using crowdfunding to finance solar development…The company will issue up to $200 million in the bonds, whose maturities range from one to seven years and carry interest rates of 2 percent to 4 percent…The company has moved aggressively to raise money to finance its fast-growing business, including several debt offerings for institutional investors, like one begun last month to raise as much as $575 million. But this new effort is open to any United States citizen, 18 or older, with a domestic bank account who makes a minimum investment of $1,000…Several companies, like Mosiac, are already using crowdfunding to funnel money into solar projects. But those largely pool money from investors to provide loans for small- and medium-scale projects. SolarCity’s platform will instead pay back the bonds it issues with the income from the monthly solar electricity payments made by its customers, which include homeowners, schools, businesses and government organizations…[T]hey hope to appeal to people who want to help finance the growth of clean energy but desire the security of bonds…” click here for more
NEW JERSEY LOOKS AT OCEAN WIND Measure Ratchets Up Targets For Nj’s Offshore-Wind Industry; Backers say bill, which calls for 4,500 megawatts by 2050, isn’t meant for the Christie administration but for one friendlier to renewable subsidies
Tom Johnson, October 15, 2014
“…A bill (S-2444) being considered by the [New Jersey] Senate Environment and Energy Committee would require 3,000 megawatts of generation from offshore wind projects by 2030 and 4,500 megawatts by 2050 be delivered to customers. That is far more than the 1,100 megawatts that would be required by 2020, a goal few think will ever be met. In fact, the measure eliminates the 1,100-megawatt target…The proposal is part of a bill that would require 80 percent of New Jersey’s electricity to come from renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, by 2050. But even its advocates acknowledge the legislation stands little chance of being approved anytime soon, although they hope to lay the groundwork for passage in the next administration…Both the Christie administration and the Legislature once viewed offshore wind as an opportunity to develop a new green industry off the coast, a move that would create thousands of well-paying jobs and provide a needed spur to the state’s economy…[but] rising costs of subsidies to support renewable energy have become an increasing concern…[A]dvocates of the bill say opponents’ arguments about the costs fail to reflect the benefits of moving to cleaner ways of producing electricity in a state long-burdened with air pollution problems that affect public health…” click here for more
SMART LED LIGHTING MRKT TO DOUBLE Residential Energy Efficient Lighting and Lighting Controls; Incandescent, Halogen, Fluorescent, and LED Luminaires and Lamps and Intelligent Controls: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts
3Q 2014 (Navigant Research)
“The global residential lighting market is on the verge of a major transformation…Extremely energy efficient light-emitting diode (LED) lamps are being adopted at an astonishing rate while remote control of connected lights is on the cusp of becoming much more commonplace…[and] all-encompassing home energy management (HEM) and home automation…is steadily gathering pace…Increasingly, homeowners are being drawn to the range of new use cases that controllable and networked LEDs bring. The ability of these devices to communicate with other popular connected devices is likely to prove particularly popular…[and bring] about energy savings automatically. According to Navigant Research, global revenue associated with the installation of residential lighting controls is expected to grow from $2.4 billion in 2014 to $4.6 billion in 2023…” click here for more
Monday, October 20, 2014
TODAY’S STUDY: NEW OPPORTUNITIES IN TRANSMISSION
Market Resource Alternatives: An Examination of New Technologies in the Electric Transmission Planning Process
Julia Frayer and Eva Wang, October 2014 (London Economics International)
WIRES commissioned London Economics International LLC (“LEI”) to provide a report on market resource alternatives (“MRAs”). The purpose of this Report is to provide external parties with a clear understanding of MRAs, and compare their features - advantages and shortcomings - relative to transmission. In addition, based on analysis of how MRAs have been examined by planners and regulators, LEI also proposes a set of analytical tools and techniques that can be used to effectively evaluate MRAs alongside transmission investment. The Report consists of four chapters: the first chapter addresses the question “what are MRAs and why do we need to analyze them?”; the second chapter discusses how MRAs are considered in federal and regional policy; the third chapter shows how MRAs are used in organized markets in the U.S. through a case study analysis; and the fourth chapter provides a proposed ”toolkit” of analytical tools and techniques that would allow for the effective evaluation of MRAs within the transmission planning environment.
WIRES commissioned London Economics International LLC (“LEI”) to provide a Report on market resource alternatives (“MRAs”). Specifically, WIRES asked LEI to determine whether and when MRAs can augment and/or replace transmission, and how MRAs and transmission can be evaluated on equal footing in the system planning context. The purpose of this Report is twofold. First, we seek to provide readers with a clear understanding of MRAs and their features - advantages and shortcomings - relative to transmission. Second, drawing on analysis of how MRAs have been examined by planners and regulators to date, we propose a set of analytical tools and modeling techniques (which we refer to as the “toolkit”) that can be used to effectively evaluate MRAs alongside transmission investment.
An understanding of MRAs and how they can be compared to and evaluated alongside transmission investment is critical given the increasing attention being paid to MRAs and as a result of advancements in technology, policy evolution, and the basic need for transmission investment to maintain, modernize, and expand the grid. System planners are required to consider reliability, market outcomes, and transmission congestion as well as public policy as they work to develop a robust power grid. MRAs are increasingly being put forth as possible solutions in lieu of transmission infrastructure. However, based on the characteristics of MRAs today, MRAs are rarely a complete substitute to transmission, and individual MRAs typically provide only a partial suite of the services that transmission provides. Nevertheless, MRAs (either individually or in combination) can provide specific benefits and can serve as complements to transmission, and vice versa. Furthermore, MRAs have the potential to delay the timing for needed transmission investment. An understanding of what services MRAs can and cannot provide, and the benefits and challenges associated with MRAs is therefore critical for system planners, who must ultimately be able to evaluate viable MRAs and transmission projects side-by-side and select a solution that best addresses the needs of the electric power system and customers.
Through our research and case studies, LEI developed key observations about MRAs and transmission investment.
• Transmission provides a variety of services and offers a broad range of potential benefits. Understanding the types of services and benefits transmission can provide is necessary as MRAs will be evaluated in terms of the services and benefits they can provide when compared to transmission.
• An MRA generally is able to provide only a partial suite of services that transmission provides. MRAs may provide some of the services that transmission can provide, but they cannot perfectly replace transmission. Furthermore, the services each MRA can provide vary.
• Comprehensively measuring the benefits and costs to customers is necessary in order to distinguish among the feasible solutions and the various services that MRAs and transmission can provide; relying on least cost analysis is not sufficient. In the analysis of MRA policies regionally, federal guidelines, and specific case studies involving MRAs, we have found that such a comprehensive analysis is rarely performed.
• It is important to consider both the magnitude and breadth of benefits of MRAs compared to transmission. One must consider the ability of a solution - be that MRAs or transmission - to provide benefits and services to various customer classes and over what geographic and time dimension. Different MRAs provide benefits of varying magnitude and breadth. Transmission, on the other hand, is typically built to provide benefits to the larger regional system over a long period of time.
• Operational uncertainty is an important consideration for MRAs. We have found that there are often high levels of operational uncertainty associated with MRAs, especially in the longer term. Given the technical and operational characteristics of transmission system planners historically have not had to give significant weight to operational uncertainty in their analyses.
• A comprehensive analysis must include consideration of negative and positive externalities associated with potential costs and benefits. Externalities can be positive; there are examples of strong complementarity between transmission and some MRAs, where transmission opens up further opportunities for MRAs, and vice versa.
Externalities can be negative; some MRA installations require additional investment to maintain system reliability.
Recommended Tools and Techniques
We recognize that system planners have their own analytical approaches and planning processes that have been developed over the decades to provide an extremely reliable and affordable electric system. We are not attempting to specify an approach. We recognize that transmission planners and ISOs/RTOs may have specific processes in place that are unique to their situation. Rather than a “one-size fits all” analytical approach, we are recommending a “toolkit” for system planners with various suggested modeling tools and analytical techniques that can be deployed to analyze transmission and MRAs.
The analysis deployed by system planners should be inclusive, and consider all feasible solutions – transmission and MRAs. The analysis should be sufficiently detailed and comprehensive so as to distinguish between the feasible solutions’ traits and defining characteristics and benefits. We suggest several guidelines that will provide for an effective analysis of MRAs and transmission:
• MRAs should be judged on the same criteria for reliability and economic benefits as proposed transmission;
• Technical feasibility should be a requirement for any solution, not an option; the ability of MRAs to consistently meet the technical (reliability) needs of the system are sometimes overlooked for the sake of policy;
• MRAs and transmission are not equals in the services and benefits they provide, therefore, the evaluation framework must be able to assess a broad set of benefits and costs to fairly compare MRAs and transmission;
• A robust cost-benefit analysis should measure and quantify the uncertainties and risks associated with MRAs and transmission;
• Economic cost-benefit analysis should consider the dynamic evolution of the system; such an analysis may show potential for complementarity between transmission and certain MRAs, which could justify the need for more investment.
A successful analytical framework, consistent with these guidelines, should
1. Identify all the benefits and costs and gather them under the umbrella of a cost-benefit analysis,
2. Use the right set of tools to measure both those benefits and costs and the risks and uncertainties involved, and
3. Conduct analyses that specifically address the identified challenges for evaluating both MRAs and transmission in an efficient manner.
If one evaluates MRAs and transmission technically to the same specified “needs” criteria, across the same categories of benefits and over the appropriate geographical and time dimensions, the most robust and efficient investments can be chosen.
MRAs can be broadly defined as a group of solutions to identified electric system needs that do not involve traditional transmission infrastructure. MRAs are often referred to as non-transmission alternatives (“NTAs”), a misleading convention that incorrectly implies that MRAs are always a substitute for transmission. MRAs can in fact be complements to transmission infrastructure and should be thought of as one element in a portfolio of infrastructure elements that together are necessary for the efficient and reliable provision of electricity to customers.
Indeed, the electric system would not be able to operate and provide services to customers if there were only investment in either transmission or MRAs in isolation. MRAs come in a variety of forms and can include supply-side resources (for example, conventional generation and distributed generation or advanced generation-like technologies such as batteries and storage) and demand-side resources (such as demand response and conservation/energy efficiency programs), or a combination of resources that are not conventionally associated with transmission. Discussions of MRAs occurring in wholesale power markets and at state regulatory commissions generally focus on six categories of MRAs: energy efficiency; demand response; utility-scale generation; distributed generation; energy storage; and smart grid technology.
Services provided by transmission and MRAs
In order to put the capabilities and benefits of each MRA in context, it is first important to understand the types of services that transmission provides. Transmission provides for the transportation of electric power from producers (generators) to customers (load), often times over long distances. Transmission can also help to ensure resource adequacy because it allows generators located in an isolated area to serve customers in another area of the power grid (in this way, transmission effectively provides capacity). In addition to facilitating the delivery of energy and capacity, transmission can provide other benefits. For example, transmission system reinforcements can reduce system losses and improve overall system efficiency.
Transmission can also provide support to the electric power grid through the provision of certain ancillary services, which are used to keep the grid operating smoothly. Transmission can provide insurance against uncertain future market events and the costs of such unforeseen events on customers. For example, if in the future a generator were to unexpectedly go off line, transmission lines could allow other generators on the system to serve customers.
Transmission can also reduce production costs of energy through expansion of a market (and increased competition from other existing resources) as well as provision of market access to new resources. As a consequence of expanding access to market for existing and new resources, transmission can also help to reduce the emissions footprint of the market as a whole and curb harmful pollutants such as carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
It is important to consider to what extent MRAs can produce these same services, over what time dimension they can be counted on to provide these services, and for what geographical area. In many cases, MRAs may have shorter economic lives (or less certain longevity in terms of the market benefits that they create) than transmission, and provide benefits to a smaller or more localized geographical segment of customers.
In Figure 2 below, we have prepared a visual comparison of the services that various current MRA technologies can provide relative to transmission. This comparison is meant to reflect the relative abilities of generic MRAs and generic transmission investment to provide broad classes of services. In reality, the specific services will vary with the characteristics of the individual project (i.e., proposed solution) and the underlying “need.” Furthermore, the comparative charts of transmission and MRAs in the following sections reflect the overall experience of LEI and WIRES members with the technologies as they exist today. We recognize that technology (both MRAs and transmission) is evolving rapidly and that MRAs and transmission will likely be able provide a more extensive list of services in the future. Finally, we recognize that this type of comparative chart can simplify the relationship between transmission and MRAs. As mentioned earlier, transmission and MRAs are interconnected – a system comprised of one or the other would not be functional. In this sense, transmission can only provide energy and capacity if there is a generator connected to the grid able to generate the energy and capacity.
Likewise, generation can only provide energy and other services if there is a transmission system that connects the generator to customers. Nevertheless, the comparison of relative abilities under current technology provides a high level consideration of relative strengths and weaknesses of different MRAs, from which benefits can be evaluated. Such a comparison of services is also a useful cross-check for the toolkit, which needs to contain tools and techniques that can capture such differences in services provided, technical characteristics, and ultimately economic costs and benefits.
We observe that individual MRAs are generally not capable of providing all of the same services that transmission provides for the same tenure and geographical dimension. Furthermore, there is considerable variety among MRAs in their ability to provide services.
With the exception of utility-scale generation in limited circumstances, no single MRA is a workable substitute for transmission. However, in certain instances, depending on the identified needs of the system, other MRAs (either individually or in combination) can be beneficial and can serve as complements to transmission, and vice versa.
Given the characteristics of transmission, it tends to provide a broad array of benefits that accrue to a wide variety of parties over a large geographical dimension. That is, the benefits accrue at a micro or local level (for example, to the investor or a particular community), but transmission also directly benefits a broader set of customers in the electricity sector and indirectly creates benefits for society as a whole, for example through achievement of public policy and macroeconomic benefits (see Figure 11).
When considering if and how MRAs are able to provide the equivalent benefits of transmission, it is important to understand any challenges or limitations to the ability of MRAs to deliver these benefits (or for system planners and operators to take advantage of these benefits). Not only is it important to understand which of these benefits MRAs can provide, but also to consider the magnitude and breadth of the benefits.
Transmission delivers its services and provides benefits throughout its long lifecycle. And once built, a transmission asset is a fixed element of the power system and therefore its existence is not dependent on market dynamics. In contrast, some MRAs such as generation (either utility-scale or distributed) or demand response may decide to exit the market and close operations if market conditions are not attractive. The permanent nature of transmission - once in service - means that system planners have reasonable certainty that transmission would provide services and benefits would accrue over the transmission asset’s life. Experience has shown that there is a higher degree of uncertainty associated with MRAs, both in terms of the services and the benefits they can provide.
Finally, when considering the benefits of transmission or MRAs, it is important to consider the optionality associated with the investment. These can be either positive or negative: for example, if a solution can provide an option to delay other investments or an option for future expansion, that would have a positive value to customers and system planners alike. On the other hand, if a solution requires additional incremental investment to come online (perhaps in the form of additional infrastructure), that cost should also be considered.
Practical Experience with MRAs
Practical experience with MRAs is relatively limited. FERC’s Order 1000, issued in 2011, requires consideration of MRAs in the regional transmission planning process. However, it does not establish any requirements as to which MRAs should be considered or what the appropriate metrics for evaluating MRAs against transmission solutions would be. We found that MRAs appear to generally be considered in the transmission planning process in Independent System Operators and Regional Transmission Organizations (“ISO/RTOs”) although the timing of an analysis varies on a RTO-to-RTO basis. Generally, evaluation of MRAs completed to date appears to be targeted and localized, rather than comprehensive. This is not surprising as economic analysis of transmission is also a relatively nascent but evolving component of the system planning process.
We selected four case studies that cover a variety of MRA technologies and investment needs, apply varying levels of analytical techniques for consideration of MRAs and transmission solutions, and highlight different aspects of the interplay between MRAs and transmission investment. Specifically, we considered the following case studies in our review of MRAs: Boothbay Smart Grid Reliability Pilot project in Maine, I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Transmission Project by Bonneville Power Administration (“BPA”), PATH and MAPP transmission projects in PJM, and Tehachapi Renewable Transmission Project in California.
QUICK NEWS, Oct. 20: ELEVEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY; YAHOO BUYS WIND; SMART THERMOSTATS’ BILLION DOLLAR FUTURE
ELEVEN GOOD THINGS ABOUT SOLAR ENERGY Advantages of Solar Energy
Zachary Shahan, October 16, 2014 (PlanetSave)
"…[The disadvantage of solar energy is that] the sun doesn’t shine 24/7…[The advantages of solar energy] everybody should know…Solar energy can (probably) save you money…is better for our health...fights global warming and catastrophic climate change…makes the grid more secure…cuts the need for a lot of transmission…comes at times of very high demand…protects us from fuel price volatility… is renewable…is extremely abundant…is a great job creator…[and] needs very little water…” click here for more
Oct. 16, 2014 (PRNewswire)
“…Yahoo!, Inc. [has entered into a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with OwnEnergy to purchase half the wind power output from the 48 megawatt Alexander Wind Farm in Kansas] which will be used to offset much of Yahoo's energy usage in the Great Plains region…OwnEnergy partners with energy entrepreneurs across the country to develop wind projects. The company's local partners are leading members of wind-rich communities who play an active role in project development and receive a share of project ownership in return…While Yahoo is one of the first tech companies to embrace this model of community-centric partnership, the trend for corporate purchasers to buy wind directly from wind farms is gaining pace…OwnEnergy is the national leader in mid-sized wind energy development [with a pipeline of 25 projects representing 2,000 megawatts in 23 states. It]…enables landowners and communities to build and profit directly from their own local wind farms…” click here for more
SMART THERMOSTATS’ BILLION DOLLAR FUTURE Smart Thermostats; Communicating Thermostats, Smart Thermostats, and Associated Software and Services: Global Market Analysis and Forecasts
3Q 2014 (Navigant Research)
“The market for communicating and smart thermostats has exploded with activity since 2013…The year 2014 has seen significant business activity in the form of mergers and acquisitions, international expansion, technological growth, and more conclusive evidence of cost-effectiveness…In North America and Europe, interest in smart thermostat technology is growing among utilities and energy retailers, as well as consumers…[S]mall businesses are increasingly adopting solutions originally intended for residences…[to manage] heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. For other regions, the technology remains nascent…According to Navigant Research, global revenue for communicating and smart thermostats and associated software and services is expected to grow from $146.9 million in 2014 to $2.3 billion in 2023…” click here for more
Saturday, October 18, 2014
The Ocean Speaks Out
“…I’m what they crawled out of…It’s not their planet anyway. It never was. It never will be…” From ConservationDotOrg via YouTube
Adapting To The Inevitable
It is now necessary now to prepare for the unavoidable – and avoid the catastrophic. From Scripps Oceanography via YouTube
The Joy Of Driving EVs Powered By The Sun
It’s all about plugging in New Energy. From YaleClimateForum via YouTube
Friday, October 17, 2014
HOTTEST SEPTEMBER EVER; WORLD’S HOTTEST MONTHS STREAK AT SIX
September Sets Records as Global Warming Claims Another Month
Andrew Freedman, October 15, 2014 (Mashable)
“September was the warmest such month on record for the planet, according to preliminary data from NASA as well as independent analysis from the Japan Meteorological Agency…This extends the string of warmest months to six in a row, and, if confirmed in coming days by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), keeps the world on course to have its warmest year…[since record-keeping began in 1880 (climate records extend farther back in time through tree rings, ice cores and other so-called "proxy" data). It is] powered by record warm ocean waters…[I]t is in line with expectations based on the interaction between manmade global warming and natural climate variability…
“Californians are suffering through their warmest year on record as well as one of the driest…[California’s 2014] has been running 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit above its 20th century average…[If predictions prove true that the drought will go on through the winter wet season,] it would have profound consequences for water resources…The likely formation of weak-to-moderate El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean will make continued warm temperature records more likely for the rest of the year, on a global basis…All of the planet's top 10 warmest years have occurred since the year 2000.”
“Californians are suffering through their warmest year on record as well as one of the driest…[California’s 2014] has been running 4.1 degrees Fahrenheit above its 20th century average…[If predictions prove true that the drought will go on through the winter wet season,] it would have profound consequences for water resources…The likely formation of weak-to-moderate El Niño conditions in the Pacific Ocean will make continued warm temperature records more likely for the rest of the year, on a global basis…All of the planet's top 10 warmest years have occurred since the year 2000.”click here for more
EU WIND BEATS FOSSIL, NUKE ENERGY PRICES
Wind power is cheapest energy, EU analysis finds; Onshore windfarms far cheaper than coal and gas when health impacts are factored in, report shows
Arthur Neslen, 13 October 2014 (UK Guardian)
“Onshore wind is cheaper than coal, gas or nuclear energy when the costs of ‘external’ factors like air quality, human toxicity and climate change are taken into account…[Subsidies and costs of EU energy; An interim report for the European Commission (EC)] says that for every megawatt hour (MW/h) of electricity generated, onshore wind costs roughly €105 (£83) per MW/h, compared to gas and coal which can cost up to around €164 and €233 per MW/h, respectively…Nuclear power, offshore wind and solar energy are all comparably inexpensive generators, at roughly €125 per MW/h…[The EC] published results that did not include external health and pollution costs…These showed that renewable energy took €38.3bn of public subsidies in 2012, compared to €22.3bn for gas, coal and nuclear. The EU did however note that if free carbon allowances to polluters were included in the data, it [would reduce the difference]…The figures for the energy sources in the report are all approximate, as the bar chart listing them is counted in units of €25 MW/h…” click here for more
DESERTEC SUCCUMBS TO MIDEAST TURMOIL
Companies abandon ambitious plan for solar energy plants in African, Middle Eastern deserts
Oct. 14, 2014 (AP)
“It sounded like a good idea: build massive solar energy plants in the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East to supply Europe with 15 percent of its electricity needs by 2050…But The Desertec Industrial Initiative behind the ambitious plan has now admitted defeat following disagreements over funding and persistent political instability in the desert nations where the plants were going to be built…[I]t is going to focus on consulting others after most of its former backers pulled out, including German insurance company Muenchener Rueckversicherung…The remaining members of the Munich-based consortium are Saudi company ACWA Power, German utility giant RWE and Chinese grid operator SGCC.” click here for more
JAPAN UPS PUSH FOR GEOTHERMAL
Japanese government plans to promote geothermal power
The Yomiuri Shimbun, Oct. 12, 2014 (Chicago Tribune)
“The Japanese government will revise the current feed-in tariff system, which requires power companies to purchase electricity generated by solar power and other renewable energy sources at fixed prices, to make utilities buy more electricity from geothermal power generation…[T]he government is trying to correct the system's current overemphasis on solar power…[and] control the rise of electricity rates by lowering the feed-in tariffs for solar power…Geothermal power is said to be economical in price and stable in supply [regardless of weather]…Japan has many volcanoes, and is said to have the world's third-largest amount of geothermal resources. There are geothermal power stations at 17 locations…But new geothermal generation facilities have not been developed…Since solar power generation takes only about one year for development [and gets high feed-in tariffs], solar plant operators have already won most of the rights to use power grids…This leaves few rights for operators of geothermal plants, which take about 10 years to develop…Electricity generated geothermally accounts for only 0.3 percent of [Japan’s electricity]…The government aims to raise this figure to 1 percent by 2030…” click here for more
Thursday, October 16, 2014
THE MILITARY FALLS FOR THE HOAX
Pentagon Report: U.S. Military Considers Climate Change a 'Threat Multiplier' That Could Exacerbate Terrorism
Zoe Schlanger, October 14, 2014 (Newsweek)
“…[The Department of Defense has apparently fallen for what hardcore deniers insist is a hoax by dramatically shifting] its views towards climate change…[The DOD] has already begun to treat the phenomenon as a significant threat to national security. Climate change, the Pentagon writes, requires immediate action on the part of the U.S. Military…[2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap anticipates] that climate change may require more frequent military intervention within the country to respond to natural disasters, as well as internationally to respond to ‘extremist ideologies’ that may arise in regions where governments are destabilized due to climate-related stressors…The military is integrating climate change considerations into all its operations, including in its training for war scenarios…[and] is already preparing and assessing its bases for conditions like sea level rise and increased flooding…” click here for more
FORTUNE 100 BUSINESSES BOOST SUN
America’s Leading Companies Continue to Invest Big in Solar Energy
October 14, 2014 (National Journal)
“…America's leading Fortune 100 companies continue to significantly ramp up their use of clean solar energy, according to the 3rd annual Solar Means Business report [from] the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA)...[which] identifies major commercial solar projects and ranks top corporate solar users…[It] shows Walmart at the top of the list for the third year in a row with 105 megawatts (MW) installed at 254 locations…Rounding out the Top 25 companies utilizing solar are Kohl's, Costco, Apple, IKEA, Macy's, Johnson & Johnson, Target, McGraw Hill, Staples, Campbell's Soup, U.S. Foods, Bed Bath & Beyond, Kaiser Permanente, Volkswagen, Walgreens, Safeway, FedEx, Intel, L'Oreal, General Motors, Toys "R" Us, Verizon, White Rose Foods, Toyota and AT&T…[T]hese blue chip companies have deployed 569 MW of solar capacity at 1,100 locations - a 28 percent increase over a year ago and a 103 percent increase since 2012…” click here for more
IOWA UTILITY BUYS WIND TO CUT COSTS
MidAmerican expands Iowa wind foothold
Matthew Patane, October 11, 2014 (Des Moines Register)
“…[Utility MidAmerican Energy will] invest an additional $280 million…[to] add 67 wind turbines at two western Iowa locations… will go to a new wind farm…The other three will expand an existing [project]…The turbines have the potential to generate 162 megawatts of energy, enough to power 48,000 homes…[Construction will start in summer 2015 and provide 200 construction jobs and at least 10 permanent positions]…More than 27 percent of [Iowa’s] energy comes from wind, the highest state percentage in the nation…Iowa also has the seventh-best wind resource, or potential for wind energy generation, in the U.S…[MidAmerican] is continuing to invest in wind projects because they are a good way to reduce costs for customers and bring the state closer to meeting goals for reducing carbon emissions…Last year MidAmerican began construction on $1.9 billion worth of turbines in five Iowa counties [representing 1,050 megawatts]…” click here for more