During the first 15 years of nuclear — nuclear subsidies from the federal government accounted for one percent of the federal budget. Despite all the talks about the subsidies solar has received, solar during its first 15 years has only accounted for one tenth of one percent of federal subsidy.
to these elected officials who want the solar tax credit to expire, I say let’s expire all of the direct and indirect subsidies and tax credits that coal, nuclear, and oil are receiving as well. If they want to continue with the fossil fuel tax credits and the nuclear tax credits, then they should continue with the solar and wind tax credits. For every Solyndra they can point to, you can point to a nuclear reactor that’s over budget.
Conservatives need to do their research. Do your research and you’re going to come to the same conclusion that I have, that we’ve been manipulated by groups with interests in fossil fuel into believing that green energy is bad
Why This Tea Party Leader Is Seeing Green on Solar Energy As a founder of the Tea Party movement, Debbie Dooley may be an unlikely advocate for renewable energy. But in an e360 interview, she explains why she is breaking ranks with fellow conservatives and promoting a Florida ballot initiative that would allow homeowners to sell power produced by rooftop solar. 26 MAR 2015: INTERVIEW Environment 360 by diane toomey
Debbie Dooley’s conservative credentials are impeccable. She was one of the founding members of the Tea Party movement and continues to sit on the board of the Tea Party Patriots. She also serves as chairperson of the Atlanta Tea Party.
But on the issue of solar power, Dooley breaks the mold. To the consternation of some of her fellow conservatives, she has teamed up with the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations, first in Georgia and now in Florida, to form the Green Tea Coalition. It’s an unlikely mix of conservative, environmental and other groups whose focus includes campaigning against the maintenance fees that utility companies charge solar customers. In Florida, the group is working to get an initiative on the ballot that would allow individuals and businesses to sell power directly to consumers.
Debbie Dooley: My foray into becoming a strong advocate for decentralized energy began with a fight with a government-created monopoly in Georgia, Georgia Power. I believed that they had far too much power. Continue reading
TREE SHAPED WIND TURBINES TO BE INSTALLED IN PARIS A French company called New Wind is installing tree-shaped wind turbines at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France. The company’s founder, Jérôme Michaud-Larivière came up with the idea while in a Paris square, when he “saw the leaves tremble when there was not a breath of air.” He hopes the trees can be used to exploit small air currents flowing along buildings and streets, and could eventually be installed in people’s yards and urban centres………http://www.alternative-energy-news.info/tree-shaped-wind-turbines-paris/
France Says New Roofs Must Be Covered In Plants Or Solar Panels http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/03/20/3636746/franch-rooftops-go-green/ BY ARI PHILLIPS MARCH 20, 2015
THE SKY’S THE LIMIT UNDER FRANCE’S NEW GREEN ROOFTOP LAW.According to a new French law approved on Thursday, rooftops on new buildings in commercial zones across France must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels.
Green roofs, which cover rooftop space with a layer of grasses, shrubs, flowers, and other forms of flora, offer a number of benefits. They create an insulating effect, reducing the amount of energy needed to heat or cool a building depending on the season. They increase local access to green space, which often comes at a premium in urban environments. They retain rainwater, thus decreasing runoff and any related drainage issues. They provide a space for urban wildlife, such as birds, to congregate and even nest, and they reduce air pollution by acting as natural filters.
Approved by French Parliament, the law was scaled back from initial proposals by environmental groups asking for green roofs to cover the entire rooftop surface of all new buildings. The compromise gave businesses a choice to install solar panels instead or to only cover part of the roof in foliage.
Even in a trimmed-down form, the law is trailblazing and will both change the urban landscape of cities across France as well as potentially inspire other countries to follow suit, especially with the United Nations’ climate summit coming to Paris at the end of the year.
France has lagged behind other major European countries like Germany, Italy and Spain in solar power development. As of last summer, France had just over five gigawatts of photovoltaic capacity, accounting for around one percent of total energy consumption. Germany has nearly 40 GWs installed. France is heavily reliable on nuclear power for its energy, and nuclear generation in 2012 made upabout 83 percent of the country’s total generation.
Rooftop solar benefits all ratepayers http://safeenergy.org/2015/03/18/rooftop-solar-benefits-all-ratepayers/ Michael Mariotte The utility and fossil-fuel industries continue to spread a crude canard against the growing popularity of rooftop solar across America.
The lie goes something like this: Households and business that install photovoltaic panels are doing so at the expense of other electricity ratepayers because they are “subsidized” by those that don’t have solar panels.
The truth is this: Rooftop solar provides substantial benefits for everyone, regardless of who installs it. It helps power the homes and shops that adopt it, to be sure, but it has far-reaching benefits for other customers as well. If Jane Doe in Anywhere, USA, puts a solar panel on her roof, every other electricity ratepayer within the footprint of whatever regional grid Jane Doe is tied into will benefit as well.
Honest purveyors of utility-industry fact know this, of course, and say it quite often. So, more and more, does Wall Street.No less a titan than Sanford Burstein & Co., one of the perennially best-rated firms in Institutional Investor’s annual rankings of investment researchers, has studied the issue deeply over the past couple of years and comes away with an unequivocal take on the issue: Rooftop solar, aka photovoltaic solar, means lower peak-hour energy prices for all.
Bernstein lays out the supporting research in a reported published last month that found that the rapid increase in the amount of solar PV available on the electricity grid in California—a seven-fold expansion in only four years, from 0.7 gigawatts in 2010 to 4.8 GW in 2014— had helped reduce system loads so much that peak prices were put off until later in the day, when demand was lower. Lower demand means lower prices.
That report went on to predict that the effect will be amplified inevitably across the state as growth in solar capacity continues. This will probably reduce the value of incremental additions of solar capacity on the California grid, but that’s not the point. The overarching conclusion is that all power consumers in California benefit from lower afternoon power prices, not just those that have rooftop solar PV panels.
The February report builds on earlier important work by Burstein & Co, notably a report the firm distributed to clients in November 2013. Titled “Tilting at Windmills: How Conventional Generators are Losing the Battle with Renewables,” that research found that the rapid growth of solar and wind resources (rooftop solar included) in four of the nation’s major electricity regions had suppressed the output of conventional coal and natural-gas fired generators. That’s good news because the trend also eroded the price at which the output of those conventional generators could be sold. Solar- and wind- powered electricity, in other words, drove market prices down.
This happened—and continues to happen—because renewable resources, which have zero variable costs, have displaced higher-cost conventional generation, lowering the marginal cost of supplying power competitively in wholesale markets or in states that do not regulate the retail price of electricity.
That particular Bernstein & Co. research also noted that by suppressing the output of conventional power plants, solar and wind generation had reduced demand for coal and natural gas. The firm estimated that some 52 million megawatt-hours of coal-fired generation and 42 million megawatt-hours of gas-fired generation was displaced in 2012 alone by wind and solar resources in the four regions it studied. This translates into a reduction of “coal burn” by approximately 30 million tons and “gas burn” by approximately .07 billion cubic feet/day. Bernstein & Co. also said this trend will continue too.
But back to rooftop solar for a second. In addition to driving energy market prices down, it brings environmental benefits by reducing dependence on fossil fuels, and it acts as a hedge against fossil-fuel price spikes.
It’s in every ratepayer’s best interest. And that’s the truth.
Karl Cates is IEEFA’s director of media relations; David Schlissel is IEEFA’s director of resource planning analysis.
The original post on IEEFA’s website is here. http://ieefa.org/truth-rooftop-solar-capacity-benefits-all-ratepayers/
“Independent studies show that distributed solar benefits all ratepayers by preventing the need to build new, expensive power plants or transmission lines,” said Matthew Kasper, a fellow at the Energy & Policy Institute, a pro-solar think tank. “Utilities make their money by building big, new infrastructure projects and then sending ratepayers the bill, which is exactly why utilities want to eliminate solar.”
“It’s really about utilities’ fear that solar customers are taking away demand,” said Angela Navarro, an energy expert with the Southern Environmental Law Center. “These customers are installing solar at their own cost and providing a valuable resource: additional electricity for the grid at the times when the utilities need it most. And it’s all carbon-free.”.
Utilities wage campaign against rooftop solar WP By Joby Warrick March 7 Three years ago, the nation’s top utility executives gathered at a Colorado resort to hear warnings about a grave new threat to operators of America’s electric grid: not superstorms or cyberattacks, but rooftop solar panels.
If demand for residential solar continued to soar, traditional utilities could soon face serious problems, from “declining retail sales” and a “loss of customers” to “potential obsolescence,” according to a presentation prepared for the group. “Industry must prepare an action plan to address the challenges,” it said.
The warning, delivered to a private meeting of the utility industry’s main trade association, became a call to arms for electricity providers in nearly every corner of the nation. Three years later, the industry and its fossil-fuel supporters are waging a determined campaign to stop a home-solar insurgency that is rattling the boardrooms of the country’s government-regulated electric monopolies.
The campaign’s first phase—an industry push for state laws raising prices for solar customers—failed spectacularly in legislatures around the country, due in part to surprisingly strong support for solar energy from conservatives and evangelicals in traditionally “red states.” But more recently, the battle has shifted to public utility commissions, where industry backers have mounted a more successful push for fee hikes that could put solar panels out of reach for many potential customers. Continue reading
“………. What are we up against?
Let’s not kid ourselves. The fossil fuel industry’s main response to clean energy is to try to squash it. Selling the highly concentrated energy in oil, coal and gas is far more profitable in the short term than the slow-release, distributed energy from wind or solar power – especially when you factor in generous government fossil fuel subsidies, an international energy infrastructure already set up to use these fuels, and free rein to pump carbon pollution into the air at little or no cost. Whether it’s funding pro-fossil politicians, forging cosy links with officials or pouring money into anti-renewable front groups, the big oil, gas and coal companies are working hard to keep society hooked on their highly profitable products, and prevent alternatives from getting off the ground.6
There are exceptions to this rule. If those alternatives can provide decent short-term returns or access to new subsidies without disrupting the existing energy markets, then the big players might be tempted to step in. This is why the likes of BP, Shell and Exxon have moved into liquid biofuels, and why major power plants like Drax in Britain are starting to mix large quantities of woodfuel in with their coal supply.
We need a democratically controlled, people-focused clean energy system
Industrial biofuels and wood-fired power stations – along with the continued destruction caused by large hydropower dams – provide perfect examples of what can happen if supposedly ‘renewable’ energy sources are exploited for maximum profit, without proper consideration for people and the environment. Energy crops and hydroelectricity may both be sustainable on a small, local, carefully managed scale – but the current profit-driven rush to turn food crops and forests into fuel is leading to hunger, land grabs and deforestation; while megadams threaten huge areas of natural habitat along with the homes, lands and livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people.
These projects should act as a stark warning. Wind and solar power are still relatively small industries on a global scale, but are growing fast. These technologies are far less destructive than fossil fuels, but that doesn’t mean they’re impact-free – especially if they develop to the scale we need for a fossil-free future. Will they be carefully manufactured in renewably powered workshops with strict respect for workers’ rights and environmental standards; using largely recycled materials, and built as part of community-run, co-operatively owned and democratic energy schemes which benefit the communities where they are sited? Or will they be churned out in nightmarish sweatshop conditions, using minerals from exploitative mining projects and sited in giant energy parks on cleared rainforest land from which the residents have been forcibly evicted?
It could go either way. Renewables could transform our energy system, with solar panels particularly well-suited for decentralized use: 85 per cent of today’s solar panels are spread over millions of rooftops, with only 15 per cent in solar parks. Increased access to and control over energy could empower millions of people, improving lives and livelihoods and boosting the political and social influence of marginalized communities.
Unfortunately, the risks are also clear. Wind and solar generators require a significant amount of building material and land space. Though requiring less than 1 per cent of the extraction needed to keep pulling coal, oil and gas out of the ground, ramping up renewables will mean a significant spike in demand for steel, cement, aluminium and copper that could have serious local impacts around the world if not carefully managed. Wind power, unlike solar, is far more efficient when built on a large scale; big wind farms typically require levels of capital investment that are out of the reach of community groups. They’re more likely to be installed by governments or large utility companies such as E.ON. Seventy-five per cent of all wind turbines are manufactured by just 10 companies.
The Desertec initiative gives us an example of what a profit-driven, centralized solar energy future might look like. We shouldn’t be surprised to see it develop along the same neo-colonial and racist lines as our current fossil fuel industry, where the rights of Indigenous peoples and communities of colour around the world are trampled in the pursuit of ‘cheap’ energy for the industrialized nations…….” http://newint.org/features/2015/03/01/renewable-energy-keynote/
One of the world’s most iconic sites has become the latest high profile venue to embrace renewable energy, after the installation of two vertical axis wind turbines as part of the Eiffel tower’s high profile renovation project….
Roberta Combs, president of the group, titled her post “For God and Country, Indiana and America Need Better Energy Policies,” writing,
Indiana’s utilities are interested in keeping us reliant on traditional fuel sources that hurt our national security and weaken our economy. We must allow homes, businesses, public organizations, and churches to create local, American power by installing solar.
As conservatives, we stand up for our country’s national security and the health of our economy. And, as Christians, we recognize the biblical mandate to care for God’s creation and protect our children’s future
In Indiana, a fight over net metering — basically, whether people with rooftop solar can return their excess power to the grid and thereby lower their utility bills — has drawn out groups ranging from the state chapter of the NAACP to the conservative TUSK (Tell Utilities Solar won’t be Killed) in favor of the practice.
Arrayed on the other side of the issue, meanwhile, are the Indiana Energy Association, a group of utilities, and Republican Rep. Eric Koch, sponsor of a bill that would potentially change how net metering works in the state. The legislation, in its current form, would let utility companies ask the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission to include various “tariffs, rates and charges, and credits” for those customers generating their own energy at home. Continue reading
One way to decrease this demand is to use household or community-owned renewables instead of commercial energy plants for power.
At the moment, this is rare in Britain, because the cheap bank loans which could fund renewable energy aren’t made available to individuals or community groups (while fossil fuel investors have no problem getting hold of them).
Community projects often cost under $15 million, and ‘at that level, banks aren’t really interested,’ explains Emma Bridge, chief executive of community generator association, Community Energy England (CEE).
Crowd-sourcing and community funding schemes such as Trillion Fund can pay for some renewables, but when it comes to bigger renewable projects, current laws don’t give communities much in the way of rights to buy and profit from them.
Renewables face not only a funding problem, but a legal problem too, especially in places where laws don’t allow members of the public to buy shares in private power plants.
The ‘right to invest’ clause in the most recent version of the Infrastructure Bill (currently working its way through parliament) only lets the public ask for 5-per-cent ownership on large wind-turbine projects, even when they are in public backyards.
Lord Cameron of Dillington’s remark when debating the bill was that 10-per-cent public wind-turbine ownership would let members of the activist public stop wind-turbine construction.
In Denmark, where there is currently a fracking ban in place, the opposite is true. Most of Denmark’s wind-power energy source is community-owned and wind power provides most of the country’s power on some days.
Profits from wind-energy bills go towards local community funds, thanks to a law requiring up to 20-per-cent public ownership of wind turbines.
‘For a long time, Britain has been one of the worst-performing countries in Europe when it comes to utilizing renewable energy,’ says Paul Monaghan, sustainability advisor at Co-operative Energy.
The British consumer-managed energy supplier thinks 25 per cent should be the minimum amount of public ownership offered for larger renewable power projects.
Instead, the government will soon remove British landowners’ right to prevent frackers from trespassing beneath homes.
Allowing more public ownership of renewables can be seen as a way of safeguarding public access to electricity and water in the face of fracking and dwindling traditional oil and gas reserves. http://newint.org/blog/2015/02/13/buy-renewables/#sthash.0uTfDW2S.dpuf
High efficiency concentrating solar cells move to the rooftop, EurekAlert, 5 Feb 15 ULTRA-HIGH EFFICIENCY SOLAR CELLS SIMILAR TO THOSE USED IN SPACE MAY NOW BE POSSIBLE ON YOUR ROOFTOP THANKS TO A NEW MICROSCALE SOLAR CONCENTRATION TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPED BY AN INTERNATIONAL TEAM OF RESEARCHERS.
“Concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) systems leverage the cost of high efficiency multi-junction solar cells by using inexpensive optics to concentrate sunlight onto them,” said Noel C. Giebink, assistant professor of electrical engineering, Penn State. “Current CPV systems are the size of billboards and have to be pointed very accurately to track the sun throughout the day. But, you can’t put a system like this on your roof, which is where the majority of solar panels throughout the world are installed.”
Giebink notes that the falling cost of typical silicon solar cells is making them a smaller and smaller fraction of the overall cost of solar electricity, which also includes “soft” costs like permitting, wiring, installation and maintenance that have remained fixed over time. Improving cell efficiency from about 20 percent for silicon toward greater than 40 percent with multi-junction CPV is important because increasing the power generated by a given system reduces the overall cost of the electricity that it generates………http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2015-02/ps-hec020515.php
America’s nuclear power utilities seek big ratepayer bailouts by nirsnet JAN 23, 2015
“……….Americans aren’t stupid. Solar power simply makes sense, from any angle you look at it: it makes sense environmentally, it makes sense economically. Not only is solar now cheaper than grid electricity in 42 of the 50 largest U.S. cities, but “the numbers show money spent on a residential solar system earns a better return than investing in Standard and Poor’s 500 index fund.”
A new solar installation–mostly rooftop solar–is being installed every 2.5 minutes in the U.S. now; last year it was every four minutes, next year it will be 90 seconds. When it gets to every 15 seconds–or 1/2 million homes/year–which could happen as early as 2018, the 20th century utility business model of mammoth and dirty baseload power plants pumping out electricity to the masses will be upended as the 21st century smart grid based on distributed generation and technological advancement emerges.
The Exelons and FirstEnergys of the world are clinging to an outmoded business model based on an outdated electricity generation and distribution system that is being overtaken by modern technology and the ingrained American trait of independence and self-sufficiency. If Americans can provide themselves and their families with their own electricity, and the cost is competitive, they’re going to do that. That people now actually save money by installing rooftop solar is just accelerating the trend.
That’s how you get the Tea Party forming coalitions with environmental groups in states like Florida and Georgia to encourage solar power. When “Green Tea” coalitions exist and grow in strength–and even Fox News covers it favorably–-you know it’s pretty much game over for the utilities that can’t shake themselves free of their 20th century stylings. The last time nuclear power was on a roll was the disco era of polyester and platform shoes. A retro return to that low point in fashion history is far likelier than the nuclear power industry ever returning to relevance.
This post is based on reporting that first appeared in several articles on NIRS’ blogGreenWorld, atwww.safeenergy.org http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/01/23/1359730/-America-s-nuclear-power-utilities-seek-big-ratepayer-bailouts#
Municipalities in Sweden powering cities from renewable energy sources Phys Org, 13 Jan 15 By relying on district heating combined with heat and power production, municipalities in Sweden power their cities from renewable energy sources. Nordic countries have achieved a great independence from fossils because of their widespread district heating systems. District heating is a smart way to avoid using fossil fuels to heat buildings. It is typically based on wood, peat and other biofuels, or household waste. But other non-fossil fuel sources, such as deep thermal heat—sourced from between 100 to 500 meters below the ground—or recycled heat from industries can be used as well.
Two Swedish experts talk to youris.com about ways of removing carbon-based fuels from the heating equation, and what other municipalities can learn from their experience. One of them is Karin Ericsson, a senior lecturer at the Department of Environmental and Energy Systems of Lund’s University. Her research field is energy system analysis and bioenergy in Europe. The other is Mats Didriksson, who is director for the business area energy of Kraftringen, an energy company owned by four municipalities in Southern Sweden near the city of Lund.
What is the history of the development of district heating in Sweden?………
What can cities in other countries learn from Sweden’s experiences?………..http://phys.org/news/2015-01-municipalities-sweden-powering-cities-renewable.html
Bonaire (pop. 14,500), a small island off the coast of Venezuela, is famous for its beautiful marine reefs, which are visited by 70,000 tourists every year. What many of the tourists don’t realize is that the majority of the electricity powering their needs comes from renewable energy. Yet for the residents of Bonaire, the switch from fossil-fueled to renewable energy systems has made a world of difference………
the government and local utility began working together to create a plan that would allow Bonaire to reach a goal of generating 100 percent of its electricity from renewable sources.
Bonaire’s Electricity System Transformation
The result is a transformed electricity system on Bonaire. The island is now home to 12 wind turbines with a total of 11 MW of wind power capacity, which contribute up to 90 percent of the island’s electricity at times of peak wind, and 40–45 percent of its annual electricity on average. Battery storage (6 MWh) is included in order to take advantage of available power in times of excess wind, and provide that stored electricity in times of low wind. The battery also boosts the reliability of the overall system—it is capable of providing 3 MW for over two minutes, allowing time for additional generation to be started when there is a sudden drop in wind………http://cleantechnica.com/2015/01/09/caribbean-island-ditching-diesel-favor-renewable-energy/
Pakistan to pull solar energy into national power grid – TRFN BY AAMIR SAEED REPORTING BY AAMIR SAEED; EDITING BY LAURIE GOERING Tue Jan 6, 2015 ISLAMABAD, (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Amid a worsening energy crisis, Pakistan has approved the use of grid-connected solar energy, rooftop solar installations and mortgage financing for home solar panels to boost uptake of clean energy in the country.
The government has also reversed course and eliminated a 32.5 percent tax imposed on imported solar equipment in the country’s 2014-2015 budget. The reversal aims to bring down the cost of installing solar panels.
The approval of net-metering – which allows solar panel purchasers to sell power they produce to the national grid – is a major breakthrough that could spur use of solar energy and help Pakistan’s government cut power shortages in the long run, said Asjad Imtiaz Ali, chief executive officer of the Alternative EnergyDevelopment Board, a public organisation.
“The initiative will help scale up demand for solar energy acrossPakistan,” he said, “and we hope the increased demand will also result in sufficient decreases in the price of solar equipment.”
Ali said the government decided to cut newly imposed taxes on the import of solar panels following pressure from business owners, the public and media.
And the decision to allow solar generators to sell their excess generating capacity means “consumers can now install rooftop solar systems and sell the extra energy to the national grid,” he said……….
Qamar-uz-Zaman, an expert on climate change with Lead Pakistan, a non-profit organisation in Islamabad, predicted net-metering and private sector financing for solar installation would revolutionise the use of renewable energy in Pakistan, as it has done for many other developed and developing countries.
“Pakistan can cut carbon emissions to a significant extent and access international climate financing by promoting solar energy, besides overcoming its energy crisis,” he said. http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/01/06/pakistan-solar-idUSL6N0UL15J20150106
China as a model renewable energy economy Ft.com By Li Hejun, China New Energy Chamber of Commerce and Hanergy Holding Group 31 Dec 14 “……..Even more exciting than falling costs are the new ways in which China will use and transmit power. China is now intent on developing a distributed power grid that will rely on the interconnection of thousands of rooftop and building-integrated solar installations generating power close to the point of consumption. This is a drastic departure from the current centralised power system that relies on goliath, coal-burning power plants and costly, inefficient power transmission over hundreds, or even thousands of kilometres. This new, smart grid will help eliminate pollution, slash costs, and increase reliability.
In addition to making the distributed grid possible, new forms of solar technology are ushering in an era of mobile energy in which customers can take power with them wherever they go.
At present, around 90 per cent of the world’s solar power output is geared towards first-generation crystalline silicon panels, which for a long time were the most efficient technology available. But traditional silicon panels are hard, opaque and heavy, while thin film solar technology can be can be lightweight, flexible, and translucent, making it ideal for a wide variety of applications, from curved automobile rooftops and building integration to consumer clothing and portable power stations.
In recent years, thin-film technology has caught up with, and even surpassed, crystalline silicon in terms of both conversion efficiency and cost. Furthermore, producing thin-film cells requires just a fraction of the material and energy necessary to make crystalline silicon, conserving resources, cutting costs, and reducing pollution.
In the coming years, technologies will continue to improve, and prices will continue to fall. Two of the most promising technologies now are solar cells made from CIGS (Copper, Indium, Gallium, Selenide) and those from GaAs (Gallium-Arsenide), with maximum conversion efficiencies topping 20 percent, and 30 percent, respectively. As these are further developed and brought to market on a mass scale, solar panels will transform into something capable of being integrated into nearly every fabric, product, and structure at a reasonable cost……..
Li Hejun is Director of the China New Energy Chamber of Commerce, and CEO of multinational clean energy company Hanergy Holding Group. http://blogs.ft.com/beyond-brics/2014/12/31/guest-post-china-as-a-model-renewable-energy-economy/
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