NewEnergyNews

NewEnergyNews

Gleanings from the web and the world, condensed for convenience, illustrated for enlightenment, arranged for impact...

The Declaration of Independence

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The challenge now: To make every day Earth Day.

YESTERDAY

THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, July 2:

  • TTTA Thursday-THE POPE’S CLIMATE PAPER AS THE MOBY DICK OF ITS TIME
  • TTTA Thursday-THE TRIUMPH OF EFFICIENCY
  • TTTA Thursday-CITY WIND RISING
  • TTTA Thursday-ASK A UTILITY ABOUT SOLAR
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: "THE NEXT SHALE": HOW SOLAR IS POISED TO TRANSFORM AMERICA'S ENERGY MARKETS
  • QUICK NEWS, July 1: AVATAR DIRECTOR GOES SOLAR; U.S. KEEPS WIND TURBINE BUILDERS BUSY; VW ENTERS THE RACE FOR THE 200 MILE EV
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    GET THE DAILY HEADLINES EMAIL: CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS OR SEND YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS TO: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    THE DAY BEFORE THE DAY BEFORE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: THE STEADY BUILD-OUT OF OCEAN WIND IN EUROPE
  • QUICK NEWS, June 30: BILL GATES BRINGS $2BIL TO NEW ENERGY; THE INEVITABILITY OF U.S. OCEAN WIND; THE INEVITABILITY OF SOLAR
  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • TODAY’S STUDY: SMART MONEY GOES TO NEW ENERGY – BUT WILL IT BE ENOUGH?
  • QUICK NEWS, June 29: SCOTUS SLOWS EPA CLEAN AIR EFFORTS; SOLAR HIGHWAYS; JAPAN TURNS FROM NUKES TO WIND POWER
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • Weekend Video: Bll Maher And EPA Head Gina McCarthy Dish About The Pope
  • Weekend Video: The Grim Facts
  • Weekend Video: Climate Change And Human Health
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING, JUNE 26: HOW BASIN ELECTRIC IS HANDLING EXPLOSIVE NEW LOAD GROWTH IN NORTH DAKOTA
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING, JUNE 26: HOW THE WEST'S NEW ENERGY IMBALANCE MARKET IS BUILDING A SMARTER ENERGY SYSTEM
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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    Some details about NewEnergyNews and the man behind the curtain: Herman K. Trabish, Agua Dulce, CA., Doctor with my hands, Writer with my head, Student of New Energy and Human Experience with my heart

    email: herman@NewEnergyNews.net

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    Your intrepid reporter

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      A tip of the NewEnergyNews cap to Phillip Garcia for crucial assistance in the design implementation of this site. Thanks, Phillip.

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    Pay a visit to the HARRY BOYKOFF page at Basketball Reference, sponsored by NewEnergyNews and Oil In Their Blood.

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  • Saturday, July 04, 2015

    The Cheapest New Energy

    They are called “nega-watts” by the professionals. They are watts that smart consumers don’t use. DO try this at home. From Renewable Enerbgy World via YouTube

    The Venerable Wind

    Count on it. From GreenMtnEnergy via YouTube

    The Amazing Progress Of Solar

    There are some amazing numbers here – and striking some images. How about 174,000 jobs in solar? How about 50,000 vets employed in solar by 2020? How about solar will double from 20,000 MW in 2014 to 40,000 MW in 2016? From Solar Energy Industries Association via YouTube

    Friday, July 03, 2015

    CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE MORE FOOD-LESS WATER CONUNDRUM

    We need to grow 50% more food yet agriculture causes climate change. How do we get out of this bind? The World Bank’s head of agriculture and food security speaks of a “frustrating lack of attention paid to agriculture” at the climate talks and calls for advances in climate-smart farming

    Mark Cackler, 3 July 2015 (The Guardian)

    “We are trapped in a vicious cycle: we will need to grow 50% more food by 2050 to feed 9 billion people but agriculture, which is paradoxically vulnerable to climate change, generates 25% of heat-trapping greenhouse gas emissions that lead to climate change. The more we grow using conventional methods, the more we exacerbate the problem. It’s time for a climate-smart agriculture but first we must address a few man-made problems…By definition, food production affects all countries, rich and poor, and it is hard to imagine any effective post-Kyoto climate change agreement that ignores 25% of the problem. So, we need a climate change agreement where agriculture is a big part of the solution, and delivers a triple win: higher agricultural productivity to feed more people and raise the incomes of poor farmers - especially women, greater climate resilience, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions…” click here for more

    FUTURE SOLAR FROM THE SWISS

    Discovery Brightens Solar's Future, Energy Costs to Be Cut

    July 2, 2015 (Reuters via NBC News)

    “Scientists in Switzerland…[have] a cheaper, solar technology that splits water molecules to [make it cheaper to] create clean-burning hydrogen fuel…but a simple version won't be available for average citizens for at least 10 years…Splitting water molecules to create hydrogen allows the sun's energy to be more easily stored to generate electricity or power clean cars…Previous solar hydrogen technologies were too expensive to commercialize, scientists from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne said…The new solar panel looks similar to the traditional version mounted on rooftops, except sunlight first passes through a thin layer of water contained inside the device. Tungsten diselenide, a non-toxic chemical, acts as a photocatalyst and is critical for using the sun's energy to split water into oxygen and hydrogen.” click here for more

    CANARY ISLANDS GET WIND FROM BRIDGES

    Viaducts with wind turbines, the new renewable energy source

    July 2. 2015 (PhysOrg)

    “Wind turbines could be installed under some of the biggest bridges on the road network to produce electricity…[according to European researchers using Juncal Viaduct in Gran Canaria of the Canary Islands] as a reference. This concept could be applied in heavily built-up territories or natural areas with new constructions limitations…[because] the wind blowing between the pillars on this kind of infrastructures can move wind turbines and produce energy…Results confirm that each viaduct presents specific energy possibilities and wind potential. In the Juncal Viaduct case, the evaluated power would be about 0,25 MW per wind turbine. So, with two turbines, the total power output would be 0,5 MW, which is classified in the medium-power range…” click here for more

    AUSSIE’S OCEAN ENERGY WAVE RISING

    Renewable Energy from the Ocean One Step Closer with Completion of Biowave Construction

    June 30, 2015 (PR Newswire)

    “…[BioPower Systems (BPS)] has completed the construction and onshore testing of a 250kW bioWAVE pilot demonstration units [supported by Australian grants]…The unique bioWAVE comprises a 26-metre tall oscillating structure that sways back-and-forth beneath the ocean swell, capturing energy from the waves and converting it into electricity fed into the grid via an undersea cable…The structure is scheduled for deployment at Port Fairy in Victoria Australia later this year. The data collected from the project, combined with the experience gained, is expected to help drive down the cost of wave energy, and contribute to further development of the bioWAVE towards commercial production…Importantly, during infrequent extreme wave events, the structure will automatically assume a ‘safe’ position lying flat against the seabed. This reduces the structural design requirements (and hence cost) while maintaining reliability…” click here for more

    Thursday, July 02, 2015

    THE POPE’S CLIMATE PAPER AS THE MOBY DICK OF ITS TIME

    You can’t fight climate change with denial

    Former George W. Bush speechwriter Micheal Gerson, July 2, 2015 (The Olympian)

    "Reducing Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si to a white paper on global warming is…[like reading Moby Dick as if it was about the whaling industry.] The whole spirit and story of the thing is missed…In the pope’s vision, both nature and human nature are gifts to be appreciated and accepted, not despoiled or redefined…Francis is offended — infuriated, really — by how humans have treated their home and one another…[and] there is no getting around the fact that Francis regards potentially catastrophic, human-caused global warming as a fact…Many conservative Republicans now deny the existence or danger of human-caused warming and routinely question the motives of scientists who speak up on the issue…Truth exists to serve the narrative rather than the narrative arising from truth. It is a malady easy to see in others and harder to diagnose in ourselves. But it is dangerous to democracy…The pope’s views on climate change are shared by every national academy of science in the world…Conservatives can choose their policy reaction, but not their own reality.” click here for more

    THE TRIUMPH OF EFFICIENCY

    Study: Energy efficiency saved US $800 billion last year

    Robert Walton, July 1, 2015 (Utility Dive)

    “The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) has released a new report finding energy efficiency in the United States has come a long way in the last 35 years, slashing in half the ‘energy intensity’ metric that compares energy consumed to the gross domestic product…The United States has cut the amount of energy it uses, compared to each dollar of gross domestic product, from 12.1 thousand Btus per dollar in 1980 to 6.1 thousand Btus per dollar in 2014, ACEEE found...Last year, the study found, efficiency measures saved the United States $800 billion. Most of the improvements over the last 35 years came from advances in energy efficiency itself, ACEEE concluded, and not changes in the broader economy…” click here for more

    CITY WIND RISING

    Urban turbines mine wind power; Engineers are creating more efficient rooftop wind turbines, but their cost is a problem

    Chelsey B. Coombs, Jjne 29, 2015 (ScienceLine)

    “The skyline is changing in the outer boroughs of New York City, especially in Brooklyn and Queens, where an influx of young, rich people has led to an influx of tall, luxury office buildings and residential towers…[O]n some of those buildings, whether they are residential, such as Long Island City’s Pearson Court Square and Downtown Brooklyn’s 388 Bridge St., or commercial, such as the Whole Foods in Gowanus, wind turbines stand tall, a testament to both engineering ingenuity and the public’s increasing green conscience…Space limitations and economies of scale are the key problems for rooftop turbines…This means the standardized design of a utility-scale turbine just doesn’t work on a rooftop. Instead, engineers have turned to alternate designs…” click here for more

    ASK A UTILITY ABOUT SOLAR

    Is Solar Power Right For Me? Utilities Offer Advice With “WattPlan” App

    Aisha Abdelhamid, July 1, 2015 (Clean Technica)

    “Allowing customers to learn about and explore solar power options at their convenience, a new online application helps utility customers learn the answer to many solar power-related questions, including, ‘Is solar power right for me?’ …Newly launched by Clean Power Research, the new ‘WattPlan’ online application engages [homeowners and small businesses] with highly personalized [comprehensive energy and financial analysis] about solar power and other energy technologies…[It] incorporates customer-specific information such as [smart meter data, available sunlight, incentives, electric rate structure and rooftop characteristics]… to offer customer education when and where customers want it…” click here for more

    Wednesday, July 01, 2015

    ORIGINAL REPORTING: "THE NEXT SHALE": HOW SOLAR IS POISED TO TRANSFORM AMERICA'S ENERGY MARKETS

    "The next shale": How solar is poised to transform America's energy markets; A new study says the solar boom is coming faster than many think

    Herman K. Trabish, February 19, 2015 (Utility Dive)

    A lot of people didn’t see the shale oil and gas revolution coming, and now a new report says many are failing to anticipate a coming energy explosion that will transform the energy sector to a similar extent.

    Plummeting module prices and rising module efficiencies are driving a solar boom so big it may face only one obstacle: Its own success.

    “The comparison is that the magnitude of the impact solar can have on the market is similar to the impact shale gas has had,” said Wood Mackenzie Research Director Prajit Ghosh. “The economics of solar is already competitive in many parts of the U.S. and that will only get better.”

    There are many parallels between the energy revolution created by shale resource development and what is now happening in solar, said Ghosh, lead author of the consultancy's recently-released report, "Solar: The Next Shale?" An example is that rigs became more productive in shale in the same way that module efficiencies are driving the solar boom.

    The comparison is more qualitative than quantitative but both the shale revolution and today’s solar boom are technology driven, Ghosh added.

    A Net Cost Analysis verifies solar’s value

    Dissatisfied with levelized cost of energy (LCOE) studies showing solar’s competitiveness, Ghosh’s Wood Mackenzie team worked up a Net Cost Analysis (NCA) for comparison.

    “LCOE doesn’t account for the fact that solar only produces energy during the day when there is no cloud cover,” Ghosh explained. “It doesn’t account for the revenue side.”

    The Wood Mackenzie team created an annual revenue model for all U.S. and Canadian transmission load pockets that included a full range of factors, including varying supply-demand profiles, solar and wind resource profiles, and gas supply profiles. It then created annual revenue for a specifically defined solar facility at a known cost.

    The difference between the revenues and the cost in the NCA confirmed LCOE analyses of solar’s rapidly expanding price competitiveness. In larger scale solar, 19 states will be at grid parity and competitive with natural gas generation by 2020 and 38 states will be there by 2030, according to the study. By 2025, states will be approaching grid parity in residential rooftop solar as well.

    “An NCA for California solar shows the economics went from no-reason-to-build in 2009 to 10% of peak solar market share in 2014 and 2015 that approaches 14% to 15% in some months,” Ghosh said.

    How solar displacing gas could stunt solar's growth

    The NCA also showed how solar threatens solar’s growth.

    “The regulatory support for shale exploration was in place to accommodate the impact of shale gas,” Ghosh said. “The power market structures are not.”

    As the cost of solar falls, due to economies of scale and efficiencies, more is installed. With this increased market penetration, solar both displaces gas – which takes market share away – and also decreases the price the market pays for gas as capacity, Ghosh explained.

    “This is not just a forecast, it is actually happening,” he said, noting the drastic drop in solar’s net cost curve and the rising gas cost curve shown in the Wood Mackenzie study. In particular, natural gas revenue in the high-price capacity market is lost.

    “The economic incentive for new gas plants is no longer there,” Ghosh said. “But to integrate more solar, the market has to have something to run when solar is not available.

    There either must be a technology, like battery storage, or an incentive to build flexible natural gas, like California’s flexible resource adequacy product.”

    Accommodating such integration costs will either diminish the solar value proposition or impede growth, Ghosh believes. The more likely outcome will be a slowed pace of growth as integration costs are socialized. Grid operations and infrastructure will be affected. And other technologies, like wind and battery storage, could be factors.

    “It depends on the market,” Ghosh said. “In ERCOT, the cost of the transmission build out to support wind was socialized. And there are a lot of mutual benefits in solar and wind profiles. In other markets, there might be a generally good profile showing wind could back up solar but it might not be a perfect correlation.”

    Solar's biggest threat: Poor rate designs

    In distributed and rooftop solar, Ghosh said, the economics are not as clear as in large scale solar because of many nuances and varying incentives.

    The expanding battle in states over net energy metering (NEM) and rate designis a central question. Retail rate NEM was introduced in the 20th century as a convenience, not a calculation. It was intended to grow solar and it did.

    But as rooftop solar owners’ electricity bills go down, their payments for bill infrastructure charges are reduced proportionally, Ghosh explained. “As solar rooftops proliferate, some utilities and regulators say those costs are being shifted to non-solar-owners.”

    As a result, there is now much anti-NEM legislation and rate design review that will be decided in 2015, he said. “Watch those cases to know how the economics of rooftop solar will go.”

    If utilities are successful at implementing rate design changes that capture fixed charges, it could curtail economic rooftop solar, Ghosh said. “But 20th century rate design with net energy metering does not account for the fixed cost in an appropriate manner and that rate design has to be changed.”

    If the cost is not paid for appropriately, the problem multiplies, he said. “As solar gets more economic and more customers move away from the grid, it could cause a rate increase loop. The more rates increase, the more customers will want to leave. And it gets worse and worse for the utilities.”

    Kicker: More cost reductions coming

    There is every indication the cost of solar will continue to go down, Ghosh said. Module efficiency, the biggest driver of cost reductions, continues to improve. As prices get better, competition increases and that will push out market inefficiencies like value pricing and grow new opportunities like building integrated photovoltaics.

    Finally, solar is not one technology. Just as thin film created competition that produced higher efficiency silicon-based modules, perovskite now may be a silicon replacement.

    “It is not at all market ready,” Ghosh said. “But its efficiency has increased from 2% to 20%, a learning curve we have not seen historically. Given the rate of change of these technologies, we have to pay attention.”

    QUICK NEWS, July 1: AVATAR DIRECTOR GOES SOLAR; U.S. KEEPS WIND TURBINE BUILDERS BUSY; VW ENTERS THE RACE FOR THE 200 MILE EV

    AVATAR DIRECTOR GOES SOLAR James Cameron’s Plan to Fix Solar Panels

    Alissa Walker, June 30, 2015 (GizModo)

    “…[Avatar director, deep-sea explorer, NASA advisor, and all around badass James Cameron has turned his attention to solar. Panels] are installed a certain way on-site to receive the peak amount of solar energy, but this optimal placement also means the panels’ performance will plummet at other times of the day…[whereas Cameron decided] the design needed to be able to track with the sun’s movement throughout the day, increasing productivity, and not rely on a roof’s pitch for optimized installation…[Cameron] chose a sunflower…

    “Cameron then worked with the solar company Sonnen…The first Sun Flowers were installed last month on the Malibu campus of the MUSE School, a nonprofit school focused on environmental learning which was cofounded by his wife Suzy Amis Cameron…The grid-tied system is currently generating about 260 kWh per day, which provides about 75 to 90 percent of the school’s power needs, but Cameron believes in the upcoming summer months the panels could supply the full 100 percent…” click here for more

    U.S. KEEPS WIND TURBINE BUILDERS BUSY Vestas racking up big orders for new U.S. wind farms

    Cathy Proctor, June 30, 2015 (Denver Business Journal)

    "Vestas Wind Systems is racking up more orders from customers eager to put the Danish manufacturer’s wind turbines to work across the United States…[It has] orders for more than 250 of its wind turbines for U.S. wind farms. And Vestas’ factories in Colorado will be building components for those wind farms…Vestas employs nearly 3,000 people in the state and has four factories…The wind industry has been revving lately in the United States, following an extension of the federal wind Production Tax Credit, worth $23 for every megawatt-hour of power produced for 10 years. New wind farms where at least 5 percent of the budget was spent in 2014 will qualify for the credit…” click here for more

    VW ENTERS THE RACE FOR THE 200 MILE EV In Battle to Produce World’s First Truly-Affordable Long-Range Electric Car, VW Throws its Hat into the Ring

    Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield, June 30, 2015 (Transport Evolved)

    "With the exception of the high-end, high-priced Tesla Model S electric sedan, the majority of mass-market electric cars on sale today still offer a real-world range of between 60 and 110 miles…[M]ost advocates and automakers alike all quietly agree that in order to accelerate the mass-adoption of electric vehicles beyond their already-positive levels, cars need to be developed which are both affordable and offer double or even triple [the battery range] of today’s vehicles…Consequentially, Nissan, General Motors and Tesla Motors are all racing to bring next-generation electric models to market in the next few years which offer a price point of around $35,000 as well as real-world, achievable [200 miles per charge] ranges…Now German Automaker Volkswagen has thrown its hat into the ring…” click here for more

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015

    TODAY’S STUDY: THE STEADY BUILD-OUT OF OCEAN WIND IN EUROPE

    Offshore Wind in Europe; Walking the tightrope to success

    March 2015 (Ernst and Young)

    Key Findings

    In a context of strong commitment on GHG emissions reduction and uncertainty on fossil fuel prices and energy security, the large-scale deployment of renewable energy capacity appears indispensable to Europe moving forward. Offshore wind energy represents a crucial component of the future European energy system:

    • Offshore wind in Europe currently represents one of the most stable sources of renewable energy, with increased energy capture expected due to Europe’s leading position in offshore wind R&D.

    • Offshore wind energy is expected to grow to 23.5 GW by 2020, tripling current installed capacity.

    • Industry efforts to reduce capital and operating costs mean that offshore wind will become highly competitive by 2023 when compared to other sources of energy. LCoE could reach €90/MWh by 2030 as long as a continual stream of projects enters the pipeline.

    • The policy framework for securing 27% renewables and 40% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 is currently unclear. However, in an “Offshore Wind Scenario”, the installed capacity of offshore wind power could reach almost 65 GW by 2030, allowing wind energy to make up more than 25% of electricity generation in Europe.

    • The “Offshore Wind Scenario” could also save Europe €18b each year on fuel imports in 2030. Applying the SCoE model to the “Offshore Wind Scenario” shows that it is possible to build a low carbon energy sector €4b cheaper than in a “Nuclear Scenario”. Compared with other energy mix scenarios, prioritizing offshore wind energy could create the most jobs in the energy sector, displace the most carbon, and would be cheaper for society than nuclear or conventional sources of energy.

    Today’s needed actions for 2030

    In order to secure Europe’s commitments to climate change, energy security and a low carbon economy, offshore wind should be considered as an important component to the power mix. Continued cost reduction and support from policy makers are necessary to maximize the potential of offshore wind resources and to realize the socioeconomic benefits of a fully industrialized and emerging sector. Several key priorities have been identified to address these challenges:

    • Ensure a stable regulatory framework and define long-term policy schemes

    • Improve access to finance for the offshore wind sector

    • Ensure cost-effective grid investment and connection

    • Address planning system issues

    • Face supply and logistics challenges

    • Support innovation and training, and enhance synergies to reduce costs

    The potential of offshore wind and the industry today…The cost of offshore wind…The future of offshore wind… Industry and government actions to realize the potential of offshore wind…

    QUICK NEWS, June 30: BILL GATES BRINGS $2BIL TO NEW ENERGY; THE INEVITABILITY OF U.S. OCEAN WIND; THE INEVITABILITY OF SOLAR

    BILL GATES BRINGS $2BIL TO NEW ENERGY Bill Gates to invest $2bn in breakthrough renewable energy projects; Bill Gates plans to double investment in green energy technology and research to combat climate change, but rejects calls to divest from fossil fuels

    Emma Howard, 29 June 2015 (The Guardian)

    “…[Bill Gates will invest $2bn] in renewable technologies initiatives, but rejected calls to divest from the fossil fuel companies that are burning carbon at a rate that ignores international agreements…[Gates will] double his current investments in renewables over the next five years in a bid to ‘bend the curve’ on tackling climate change…[The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation] currently has $1.4bn invested in fossil fuel companies…[but Gates said divestment] would have little impact…Instead he said there was an urgent need for ‘high risk’ investments in breakthrough technologies…[He said] a ‘miracle’ on the level of the invention of the automobile was necessary to avoid a climate catastrophe…[because] current renewables are not yet close to being able to meet projected energy needs by 2030…[Innovation, he said,] is the only way to reach a positive scenario…” click here for more

    THE INEVITABILITY OF U.S. OCEAN WIND Offshore wind still the best bet for clean energy

    Ann Berwick, June 29, 2015 (Boston Globe)

    “…A bill pending in the Massachusetts Legislature would require that large amounts of electricity come from wind turbines located offshore…For the Northeast to address climate change, developing offshore wind is a necessity. That’s because nothing beats offshore wind for generating power…To cut [climate change inducing greenhouse gas emissions drastically, we need to do three things: reduce the amount of energy we use; ‘green’ the electric grid with renewable sources of energy; and — as much as possible — use that clean electricity to run electric vehicles and heat buildings…In this part of the country, there are currently only four potential large sources of renewable power for generating electricity: onshore wind, hydropower (mostly from Canada and some from northern New England), solar, and offshore wind. Examine each option more closely and it becomes apparent that we cannot do without offshore wind…” click here for more

    THE INEVITABILITY OF SOLAR The Solar Energy Revolution: Past the Point of No Return; Solar energy is now so cheap that it's beating fossil fuels, putting it on a path for growth that can't be stopped.

    Travis Hoium, June 27, 2015 (Motley Fool)

    “…[In 2011, the SunShot Initiative’s goal of $1-per-watt solar energy seemed a long way off]… First Solar's CEO Jim Hughes said that $1 per watt is…less than two years away…The government's progress toward achieving $1 per watt by 2017 and having it be a widespread commercial reality by 2020 is well ahead of schedule…Whether you invest in tech, retail, oil and gas, utilities, coal, or any other industry, this will affect the companies you own. And you're going to want the solar boom to be a tailwind, not a headwind…First Solar says that bids for solar projects are now in the $0.04-to-$0.05-per-kWh range, which is less than you can build a fossil fuel plant for, no matter the source of energy…” click here for more

    Monday, June 29, 2015

    TODAY’S STUDY: SMART MONEY GOES TO NEW ENERGY – BUT WILL IT BE ENOUGH?

    New Energy Outlook 2015

    June 2015 (Bloomberg New Energy Finance)

    Executive Summary

    By 2040, the world’s power-generating capacity mix will have transformed: from today’s system composed of two-thirds fossil fuels to one with 56% from zeroemission energy sources. Renewables will command just under 60% of the 9,786GW of new generating capacity installed over the next 25 years, and twothirds of the $12.2 trillion of investment.

    • Economics – rather than policy – will increasingly drive the uptake of renewable technologies. All-in project costs for wind will come down by an average of 32% and solar 48% by 2040 due to steep experience curves and improved financing. Wind is already the cheapest form of new power generation capacity in Europe, Australia and Brazil and by 2026 it will be the least-cost option almost universally, with utility-scale PV likely to take that mantle by 2030.

    • Over 54% of power capacity in OECD countries will be renewable energy capacity in 2040 – from a third in 2014. Developed countries are rapidly shifting from traditional centralised systems to more flexible and decentralised ones that are significantly less carbon-intensive. With about 882GW added over the next 25 years, small-scale PV will dominate both additions and installed capacity in the OECD, shifting the focus of the value chain to consumers and offering new opportunities for market share.

    • In contrast, developing non-OECD countries will build 287GW a year to satisfy demand spurred by economic growth and rising electrification. This will require around $370bn of investment a year, or 80% of investment in power capacity worldwide. In total, developing countries will build nearly three times as much new capacity as developed nations, at 7,460GW – of which around half will be renewables. Coal and utility-scale PV will be neck and neck for additions as power-hungry countries use their low-cost domestic fossil-fuel reserves in the absence of strict pollution regulations.

    • Solar will boom worldwide, accounting for 35% (3,429GW) of capacity additions and nearly a third ($3.7 trillion) of global investment, split evenly between small- and utility-scale installations: large-scale plants will increasingly out-compete wind, gas and coal in sunny locations, with a sustained boom post 2020 in developing countries, making it the number one sector in terms of capacity additions over the next 25 years.

    • The real solar revolution will be on rooftops, driven by high residential and commercial power prices, and the availability of residential storage in some countries. Small-scale rooftop installations will reach socket parity in all major economies and provide a cheap substitute for diesel generation for those living outside the existing grid network in developing countries. By 2040, just under 13% of global generating capacity will be small-scale PV, though in some countries this share will be significantly higher.

    • In industrialised economies, the link between economic growth and electricity consumption appears to be weakening. Power use fell with the financial crisis but has not bounced back strongly in the OECD as a whole, even as economic growth returned. This trend reflects an ongoing shift to services, consumers responding to high energy prices and improvements in energy efficiency. In OECD countries, power demand will be lower in 2040 than in 2014.

    • The penetration of renewables will double to 46% of world electricity output by 2040 with variable renewable technologies such as wind and solar accounting for 30% of generation – up from 5% in 2014. As this penetration rises, countries will need to add flexible capacity that can help meet peak demand, as well as ramp up when solar comes off-line in the evening.

    • Daily load profiles are also getting ‘peakier’, reflecting more household and commercial consumption and less steady industrial baseload. As this trend increases over time, power systems will need to increasingly reward system services such as demand response, battery storage, interconnectors and control systems that work along with traditional firm capacity to help match supply with demand.

    • Despite significant growth in renewables, fossil fuels will maintain a 44% share of generation in 2040 – albeit down from two-thirds in 2014. Some 1,291GW of new coal-fired capacity will be added to 2040, and 99% of this will be in developing countries where supply is relatively cheap and climate change policies weak or yet to be implemented. Only 1,359GW of gas will be added globally – 86% in developing countries – as its role as a 'transitional fuel' looks more and more doubtful outside the US where the shale gas revolution and environmental regulations seem set to push coal out of the market.

    • CO2 emissions from the power sector will rise by 13% over 2014-40. The utilisation of lowcost domestic fossil-fuel reserves from developing countries, the long life of coal plants and the absence of a strict regulatory framework will mean power sector carbon emissions are likely to peak around 2029 at 15.3Gt, then ease only slowly to reach 14.8Gt in 2040.

    • More than half of the new generating capacity to 2040 will be built in Asia Pacific so that for every 1GW of new build in the Americas, 3.4GW will be installed in APAC. China alone will attract $3.3 trillion of new investment – nearly double the total for the Americas – and build 2,601GW more capacity by 2040.

    • In Europe, small-scale solar will increase its share of the capacity mix to 22% from 6% in 2014 as households and businesses try to offset high retail power tariffs. Meanwhile environmental legislation, the age of the coal fleet, the EU carbon price and the technology’s relative inflexibility will nearly halve coal capacity. By 2040, just under 50% of generation will come from variable sources like wind and solar.

    • In the Americas, the US story to 2020 will be all about gas, which will see 90% of new build, thanks to low wholesale prices and coal retirements. From 2020 however it is small-scale solar that dominates, with 21GW added per year. At the same time, Latin America will invest just under $500bn in wind and solar as it tries to diversify away from an over-reliance on drought-prone hydro over the next 25 years.

    • In the Middle East & Africa, some 38% of new capacity will be fossil-fuelled as countries seek to exploit their substantial reserves. But we also expect 160GW of solar PV as many of these nations exploit their world-class solar potential. Despite the prevalence of subsidised retail power tariffs, as much as 40% of the new solar could be small-scale systems, used for example to build mini-grids to electrify communities sited away from the main grid.

    QUICK NEWS, June 29: SCOTUS SLOWS EPA CLEAN AIR EFFORTS; SOLAR HIGHWAYS; JAPAN TURNS FROM NUKES TO WIND POWER

    SCOTUS SLOWS EPA CLEAN AIR EFFORTS High court strikes down power plant regulations

    Richard Wolff, June 29, 2015 (USA Today)

    “A narrowly divided Supreme Court struck down federal clean air regulations…on coal- and oil-fired power plants…The 5-4 ruling blocks the Environmental Protection Agency from jump-starting new rules designed to reduce the amount of dangerous mercury and other toxins that pollute the nation's air, at an unknown net cost to power plants and consumers…It was a major defeat for the Obama administration, which had been on a roll at the high court on environmental matters…[and] a victory for a coalition of 20 states, along with major electric utilities and coal producers…[The court agreed EPA must take the estimated annual cost of $9.6 billion into account, but the agency did not do so…The government said the regulations would prevent premature deaths and illnesses from asthma, cancer and heart disease, and protect pregnant women and unborn children...[from] overexposure to mercury…Among the industries most threatened were coal plants…” click here for more

    SOLAR HIGHWAYS Start of test with solar energy generating noise barriers alongside highway

    June 29, 2015 (PhysOrg)

    “Alongside the A2 highway near Den Bosch, The Netherlands, two test noise barriers are installed that generate solar energy. The aim of this practical test, that was officially launched 18 June is to assess the economic and technical feasibility of this form of energy generating noise barriers…These 'luminescent solar concentrators' (LSCs) receive sun light and guide it to the side of the panels. There, it lands in concentrated form on traditional solar cells…The researchers intend to assess the feasibility of generating electricity using solar cells integrated in noise barriers or SONOBs (Solar Noise Barriers)…The aim is to provide better understanding of how much electricity these semi-transparent acoustic screens can generate under different conditions.,,” click here for more

    JAPAN TURNS FROM NUKES TO WIND POWER This Huge Wind Turbine Floating on Water Is Fukushima's Energy Solution

    Bryan Lufkin, June 23, 2015 (GizModo)

    “A mere 12 miles from the wrecked Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will soon sit a 620-foot, 1,500-ton [7 MW] windmill atop a 5,000-ton podium. It’ll be the biggest [most powerful] floating wind turbine on Earth, and it could usher in a new age of green energy for a region largely fed up with nuclear energy…The beast of a turbine sports three 270-foot-long blades and is built to stand against winds nearly 200 mph…The $401 million Fukushima wind farm project is a government-sponsored collaboration among 11 companies and research orgs, like Mitsubishi, Hitachi, and the University of Tokyo…” click here for more

    Saturday, June 27, 2015

    Bll Maher And EPA Head Gina McCarthy Dish About The Pope

    They agree: He can't be ignored. From Real Time With Bill Maher via You Tube

    The Grim Facts

    This is the human impact of Pakistan’s heat wave. Is it related to climate change? Is the Pope Catholic? From CNN via YouTube

    Climate Change And Human Health

    There is a threat – and an opportunity. It’s “no longer a question of science or technology. it’s a matter of political will…” From LancetTV via YouTube