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The Exelons and FirstEnergys of the world are clinging to an outmoded business model based on an outdated electricity generation and distribution system that is being overtaken by modern technology and the ingrained American trait of independence and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/
More Renewable Energy For US Navy CleanTechnica December 30th, 2014 by Tina Casey“……… Let’s gear up for the New Year with the Navy’s latest contribution to the US clean energy future.
Earlier this month, the Navy announced a renewable energy plan for seven installations in the Washington, D.C. area, including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the Washington Navy Yard, and the Naval Academy, Observatory, and Maritime Intelligence Center.
Also included in the renewable energy package are four installations in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois Here’s the attraction of renewable energy as stated by the head of the Navy’s Renewable Energy Program Office:
The Department of the Navy has been aggressively pursuing cost-effective renewable energy that will provide long-term price stability and power diversity…Strategically placed renewable energy can create reliable access to energy for DON installations and provide a myriad of benefits to the surrounding communities.
That thing about benefiting the surrounding communities is not just an add-on, by the way. If you’ve been reading up on your US military clean tech news, you know that community stewardship is part and parcel of military sustainability (for more on that, see our recent interview with Rebecca Rubin, CEO of the sustainability consulting firm Marstel-Day)………….http://cleantechnica.com/2014/12/30/more-renewable-energy-for-the-us-navy/
Tuesday, December 23, 2014 Call them renewable energy pioneers. The number of high-profile companies calling for power procurement policy changes or making direct investments in clean energy sources grew exponentially over the past 12 months.
Over the summer, a dozen trend-setters — including General Motors, Hewlett-Packard and Walmart — wrote and signed the Corporate Renewable Energy Pledge asking utility companies to make it simpler for them to buy power generated sustainably through solar, wind, fuel cells and other alternative sources.
More than 19 big brands are on board, representing a combined demand of more than 10 million megawatt hours (MWhs) per year. Or, put another way, enough power to run 1 million homes for a year.
Then, in October, another group of companies lit up the RE100 campaign, which seeks to convince 100 of the world’s largest companies to switch over to 100 percent renewable power. First on board: BT, Commerzbank, FIA Formula E, H&M, IKEA, KPN, Mars, Nestle, Philips, Reed Elsevier, J. Safra Sarasin, Swiss Re and Yoox. (IKEA and Swiss Re were the founding sponsors.)
Both developments underscore growing frustration within the corporate world with the level of progress being made (or not made) by utility companies adding renewable energy-generating sources.
Many big companies buy renewable energy credits as a method of addressing their carbon footprint, and have done some for quite some time. Now, they are taking matters into their own hands, often in the name of guaranteeing price stability and energy independence decades into the future. No more baby steps……..
The Environmental Protection Agency provides a quarterly ranking of companies involved in on-site renewables projects through its Green Power Partnership program. Using that information as a starting point, here’s my list of 12 big companies taking clean power generation into their own hands. ………http://www.greenbiz.com/article/Apple-Google-Walmart-corporate-renewables-leaders?mkt_tok=3RkMMJWWfF9wsRogv6rAZKXonjHpfsX74%2B4qX6%2BylMI%2F0ER3fOvrPUfGjI4HSMdnI%2BSLDwEYGJlv6SgFSLHEMa5qw7gMXRQ%3D
Businessmen tap the power of the sun, Manila Standard, By Alena Mae S. Flores | Dec. 20, 2014 Solar technology is now shining in the Philippines, as some businessmen began to install solar panels on rooftops of schools, office buildings and even shopping malls, seven years after the passage of Republic Act No. 9513, or the Renewable Energy Law. This year alone, the industry saw a significant number of solar rooftop projects installed, a feat that has not been immediately felt after the passage of the law, which promotes the use of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind and mini-hydro projects.
Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla expects renewable energy projects including solar rooftop installations to pick up next year, heralding the golden age of renewable energy in the country. Petilla says solar rooftop capacity will continue to increase in 2015, amid the strong interest from schools, commercial and industrial projects and even government offices.
“You can never tell how many institutions are going to be included because it depends on the size of each project. Because of so many interests for solar technology at the moment, some of them are already moving on their own even without our initiative,” Petilla says.
The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines estimates the potential market for solar rooftop projects at $450 million yearly, based on 50,000 households or a tenth of the half a million constructions yearly, with average solar panel installations of 2 kilowatts each.
Solar rooftop installations are expected to reach 2.5 megawatts by end-2014, as more homeowners and enterprises realize the opportunities to save money and mitigate climate change by harnessing sunlight to power homes and offices.
ECCP says with the continued drop in system prices, solar energy is approaching grid parity, opening the way for more solar rooftop installations.
“Vast installation of solar panels on rooftops of households, commercial buildings and industrial facilities could help safeguard the country’s energy security over the long term. Rooftop solar panels could be a viable solution for the Philippines given its high solar irradiation level,” ECCP says.
The Philippine Solar Power Alliance earlier estimated that the country has an untapped solar rooftop potential of about 300 MW.
One company, Propmech Corp., recently installed a solar-rooftop project at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila that will enable the school to save as much as 20 percent in electricity cost.
“We are prioritizing schools for solar projects because of the reason they more open to the public than private companies, other institutions can freely go to them to learn about solar panels,” Petilla says.
St. Scholastica’s joins the rank of other schools such as Manuel L. Quezon University, Mapua Institute of Technology and La Consolaction College-Manila, in utilizing renewable energy.
St. Scholastica’s St. Cecilla’s Hall has been turned into a 96-kilowatt solar power plant that can generate 38.88 percent of the hall’s daily energy needs. The amount will greatly reduce St. Scholastica’s monthly electricity expenses…………….
Solar applications have also long been used as off-grid solutions in rural and remote areas in the country.
Solar systems can also power basic necessities such as lighting, water pumping, communications and a variety of livelihood activities that immediately improve the lives of Filipinos in areas where electricity from the grid is not readily available. http://manilastandardtoday.com/2014/12/20/businessmen-tap-the-power-of-the-sun/
“Other devices produce more water, but they are significantly more expensive, and they require quite a bit of maintenance and consumables,” says Desolenator‘s CEO William Janssen. “On the other side you have the solar still, the traditional solution—but that unit only produces half a gallon of water per day. Our solution can produce 3 to 4 gallons a day, enough for drinking and cooking.”
It’s designed for the hundreds of millions of people around the world who lack easy access to drinking water but happen to live near polluted rivers, lakes, or coastlines.
“If you look around the equatorial belt of the world, there are many countries that are very densely populated where water resources are very stressed,” says Janssen. “It will get worse—by 2025, close to 3 billion people will deal with water scarcity daily. We want to give them something that’s an affordable, family-sized device.”…………..http://www.fastcoexist.com/3039870/all-it-takes-for-the-desolenator-to-make-clean-drinking-water-is-a-little-sunlight#1
“……..Last year, renewables accounted for 24 per cent of the country’s electricity.The German government introduced generous subsidies to kick-start the sector, amounting to 16 billion euros last year. But the government claims the program has already saved billions in fuel costs for the heavily import-reliant country.
“We have created new businesses worth 40 billion euros per year,” Ecologic Institute analyst Andreas Kraemer said.”We have created additional employment for up to 400,000 people. They all pay taxes, they all pay social security charges.”
German households and small business pay the largest share for the renewable turnaround.They pay around 29 euro cents per kilowatt hour and much of that goes towards a renewable energy surcharge.
Big industrial users are exempt from the surcharge and pay just 3.5 cents per kilowatt hour……..
A new-look energy market The energy turnaround has clouded the future for the dominant utility companies in Germany.Germany’s big four, Vattenfall, E.on, RWE and EnBW, have enjoyed an oligopoly driven by nuclear power and fossil fuels………
Investors look for exposure to renewables market The makeup of the German energy market already looks very different, with hundreds of companies and cooperatives being formed in a decentralised industry.
While banks, industry, and project developers own 40 per cent of renewable installations, farmers and private investors own half.A number of new investment vehicles have formed to take advantage of the new industry. Crowd funding start up Bettervest has financed 14 projects since its inception a year ago.
Company spokesman Julien Schroder-Gianoncelli said investors are attracted by the projects and the returns,\. “We are offering 5-10 per cent in interest, which is pretty good at the moment,” he said.
Ceramic Fuel Cells believes Germany’s regulations, incentives and market make it the place to be. Mr Obernitz said that, for the time being at least, there are no incentives available in Australia.
“I’m not sure if that is going to change,” he said.
“We would favour that because we have invented the technology in Australia, and it’s something that will change the world.”……… https://au.news.yahoo.com/vic/a/25372077/germanys-renewable-energy-incentives-and-regulations-attracting-australian-companies/
Solar costs heading to 4c/kWh, rooftop solar seen “unbeatable” REneweconomy. By Giles Parkinson on 30 September 2014 The highly conservative International Energy Agency predicts the cost of solar energy will fall to around 4c/kWh in coming decades as the sun becomes the dominant source of power generation across the world.
As we reported yesterday, the IEA now expects solar to become the biggest single source of energy by 2050 and has now doubled its forecast capacity for solar PV.
Rooftop solar, it says, will now account for one half of the world’s solar PV installations, because as a distributed energy source the technology is “unbeatable”.
On costs, it says all solar technologies will fall dramatically in coming decades, with solar PV falling to as low as 4c/kWh, utility-scale solar to around the same level, and solar thermal with storage will fall to as low as 6.4c/kWh.
As this graph [in original] below shows, the minimum price tends to occur in regions with great sunshine, and it also assumes a low capital cost of around 8%……..
The forecasts from the IEA are not the most dramatic that can be found, but they are significant because the IEA is essentially a conservative organisation that was created in the 1970s to defend developed countries’ access to fossil fuels
It has a history of underestimating the impact of new technologies such as solar, as we pointed out in this article – even though it has doubled its forecast for solar PV deployment in just the last few years. Other agencies, such as IRENA, have a much more bullish forecast for solar……http://reneweconomy.com.au/2014/solar-costs-heading-4ckwh-rooftop-solar-seen-unbeatable-74425
More Than A Light Bulb: How Clean Energy Is Powering Health Clinics Beyond The Grid http://cleantechnica.com/2014/08/26/light-bulb-clean-energy-powering-health-clinics-beyond-tthe-grid/August 26th, 2014 by Vrinda Manglik It is hard to overstate the effect that access to reliable electricity can have on people’s lives in rural communities worldwide.
That’s why we are so supportive of interventions like off-grid clean energy that not only put power directly in people’s hands, but do it in a time frame that matters: now, not decades from now. That’s something traditional grid extension and centralized power plants simply can’t do. Despite the important leg up off-grid clean energy provides these communities, we’ve heard some concerns that these interventions can only be used to provide lighting and supplies like light bulbs. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
To help us understand what kinds of resources these companies are powering with clean energy, we turned to SunFarmer, a US- and Canada-based non-profit organization, to learn more about off-grid companies powering health clinics.
SunFarmer is a pretty unique organization. As a non-profit, it has learned important lessons all off-grid companies should live by, including not to give things away for free. That’s why SunFarmer employs a rent-to-own business model that specifically seeks to empower local companies to deliver clean energy services to hospitals and health clinics. SunFarmer’s value to these companies is simple, but big: it unlocks crucial financing. Given how hard financing is to come by in this market, that’s incredibly important.
In addition, SunFarmer provides ever critical after-sales service in the form of technical assistance, quality assurance, and system maintenance — while local partners lead on project management. SunFarmer is also developing a monitoring and control platform to track the levels of energy production, observe the system’s battery performance, and communicate any issues (including energy theft) to health clinic staff. All of these critical data points prove that the next big frontier for these markets is data analytics.
But why should SunFarmer target large consumers, like health clinics, when most organizations working in this clean energy market start with small household needs — including lighting and mobile phone charging?
The answer is simple: the founders of SunFarmer were moved by the negative effect unreliable power has on 300,000 healthcare facilities worldwide. These critical public health care providers suffered from hours of power shortages and cuts that were keeping them from doing their job — saving lives.
When hospitals or health clinics lack reliable power, they can’t refrigerate vaccines. They can’t perform surgeries. Babies are delivered by flashlights or candlelight. Health clinic staff with SunFarmer projects have described the difference between delivering babies in darkness versus light, noting, “Previously, delivery was difficult using flashlights held in the mouth as they could neither see clearly nor could give instructions.” Continue reading
More State-Owned Facilities In California Going Solar http://www.energymatters.com.au/index.php?main_page=news_article&article_id=4458 25 Aug 14 Two solar power installations totaling 3.22 megawatts have recently been completed at a state prison and state hospital in California.
The Department of General Services (DGS) managed systems are installed at Pleasant Valley State Prison (1.22MW) and Coalinga State Hospital (2MW).
“State agencies manage approximately 1,700 facilities that use about $200 million worth of electricity and natural gas every year,” said DGS Director Fred Klass. “Efficient operation of state facilities, including on-site renewable energy generation, is critical to achieving Governor Brown’s climate goals.”
In 2012, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. issued a sweeping executive order directing state agencies to slash their greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2015 and 20% by 2020, as measured against a 2010 baseline.
The order calls upon state government to slash mains-grid energy purchases for state-owned buildings by at least 20 percent by 2018.
The order also directs new State buildings and major renovations beginning design after 2025 be constructed as Zero Net Energy facilities; with an interim target for 50% of new facilities beginning design after 2020 to be Zero Net Energy.
Pleasant Valley State Prison is one of a dozen jails in California now using solar power. The Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says its use of solar will avoid an estimated 61,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions this year and will save taxpayers approximately $78 million in electricity costs over the next two decades.
The DSH-Coalinga array is expected to generate 24 percent of the hospital’s electricity requirements during its first year.
Both projects have been executed under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). Under a PPA, a solar provider installs the system via third party financing and the electricity generated by the array is sold to the host facility at a competitive rate. The host facility is not required to pay any up-front costs.
DSG says state agencies will have around 38MW of installed solar capacity by the end of this year.
Stand-Alone Solar Power “Container” Supports Educational Development on Remote Indonesian Island
>Panasonic, Jul 22, 2014 Indonesia consists of approximately 13,000 islands, many of which lack access to electricity due to the difficulty building large power plants and running power lines in the distinctive geography. Panasonic chose Karimunjawa Island, an island located not far from Java Island, near Jepara District, as the recipient of our installation of the Power Supply Container, an easy to set up and transport electrical supply system, in aims to make life better for the people living there.
In total, 250 people attended the ceremony, including Governor KH. Ahmad Marzuki of Jepara District, Minister Yoshiko Kijima of the Embassy of Japan in Indonesia, Representative Director Iskandar Budisaroso Kuntoadji of IBEKA, and the Executive Director Tri Mumpuni as guests of honor; and teachers and students. The guests of honor delivered congratulatory speeches; Mrs. Kijima told that she felt really happy about regional contributions through support by a Japanese company.
People in Karimunjawa Island can only use electricity at night from 6pm-6am, utilizing diesel generators. As no power is available during daytime, their crucial activities are interfered including commercial activities and certain education curriculum. In particular the opportunity to utilize electronic devices, such as fans, computers, or even lighting during the day ultimately hamper the economical development of the island. To solve this social issue, Koperasi Pundih Artah, which receives Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security, IBEKA and Panasonic have launched a project for improving the educational environment, by utilizing the Power Supply Container, under the cooperation of Jepara District and the Embassy of Japan in Indonesia.
During school hours, the Power Supply Container gives support to improve the educational environment; children can use lighting fixtures, ceiling fans and audiovisual educational materials through personal computers and TVs. When there are no classes, the electricity is sold to nearby areas through a management association of the Power Supply Container to contribute to activation of the regional community and improve the regional electricity infrastructure.
Panasonic made efforts to provide the Power Supply Container and to offer IBEKA with technical assistance in this project. Meanwhile, IBEKA is giving support for establishing management associations in Karimunjawa for independent operation of power supplies as well as provides training and supports for their operation, management and maintenance to achieve a sustainable power supply in Karimunjawa……..http://news.panasonic.net/stories/2014/0722_28041.html
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