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/
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/
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