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September 2 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “The Upcoming Crisis for Fortis Inc and TransAlta Corporation” Power generators aren’t nearly as safe as investors think they are. What’s the upcoming crisis? It’s solar energy.  The risk is that you and I will put solar panels on our roofs. [The Motley Fool Canada]

Science and Technology:

  • A team at the University of Liverpool set out to find a replacement for the expensive and toxic cadmium chloride used in coating some PVs. They tested numerous alternatives and found that magnesium chloride yielded comparable efficiency. [Scientific American]

World:

  • The respected International Energy Agency (IEA) has found that world renewable energy capacity grew at the fastest ever annual rate in 2013. Renewable energy now accounts for 22% of the world’s electricity generation, and that figure is expected to climb to 26% by 2020. [The9Billion]
  • According to the latest report from the IEA, renewable energy now accounts for 80% of new generation among the 34 developed countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. Policy uncertainty remains a threat, however. [CleanTechnica]
  • New solar PV projects are currently being developed in Japan by First Solar total 250 MW, according to recent reports. The company is reportedly expecting its rooftop sector in the country to eventually grow to be even larger than its commercial-scale segment. [CleanTechnica]
  • Vestas has received a firm and unconditional order for 29 V100-2.0 MW turbines for a wind power project in Poland. The order was placed by EDF Energies Nouvelles, a leader in renewable energy power generation. [Power Online]
  • The firm hired by the Abbott government to conduct the modelling for its controversial review of the Renewable Energy Target has admitted it was instructed to ignore commercial reality – particularly around coal-fired power generation. [RenewEconomy]
  • In the midst of a suburban sprawl halfway between the Eiffel Tower and Paris’s busy Orly airport, a drilling crew works night and day burrowing deep into the Earth’s crust in search of underground heat. The wells will provide heat to nearby homes, schools, and hospitals. [The Rakyat Post]
  • Sales of solar cell modules in Japan rose 14% to 1.88 GW in April through June from a year earlier, industry data showed, supported by the government scheme to speed up the installation of renewable energy. [Reuters Africa]

US:

  • Facing unprecedented, industry-wide declines in electric and water sales over the last decade, officials of JEA, which provides electric, water, and sewer services to residents of Jacksonville, Florida, are searching for new ways to make money. [St. Augustine Record]
  • In Connecticut, both Ansonia and Derby are going ‘green’ in order to save some green. Plans to install thousands of solar panels over each of the cities’ closed landfills are projected to save more than $1 million in electricity costs over the next 15-20 years. [New Haven Register]
  • For various reasons — including logistics, economics and permitting issues — geothermal has not even come close to reaching its potential in the US. That could change with the introduction of a series of bills that may hasten its development and remove some bureaucratic obstacles. [OilPrice.com]
  • The Guam Power Authority is on track to lose $4.5 million this fiscal year because of customers who are using less power or who have started using alternative energy sources, such as solar panels. In response, it is considering changing the way customers are billed for power. [Pacific Daily News]
  • Just months after being ordered to lift their game on distributed, grid-connected solar, Hawaii’s investor-owned electric companies have revealed plans to triple the amount of rooftop solar installed on the island state by 2030. [CleanTechnica]
  • Impatient with the pace at which states and the federal government are confronting climate change, communities from the coast to coast have begun taking steps to elbow aside big electricity companies and find green power themselves. [Los Angeles Times]

Mount Washington Auto Road to host largest gathering of alternative-energy based vehicles in North America

Reposted from the Manchester Union Leader

By JOHN KOZIOL

A Sparrow II, a single passenger, zero-emissions, all-electric vehicle perches atop Mount Washington following its climb up the Mount Washington Auto Road during the 2013 Alt Energy Summit. The summit returns to the Auto Road on Sept. 13 and 14. (COURTESY)

A Sparrow II, a single passenger, zero-emissions, all-electric vehicle perches atop Mount Washington following its climb up the Mount Washington Auto Road during the 2013 Alt Energy Summit. The summit returns to the Auto Road on Sept. 13 and 14. (COURTESY)

GREEN’S GRANT – As all-electric cars become increasingly common, their popularity can be credited in part to events such as the Alt Energy Summit, which next month is hoping to bring the largest field of alternative-energy based vehicles in North America to the Mount Washington Auto Road, according to its organizers.

Founded in 1975, the Alt Energy Summit went dormant in recent years but was “rebooted” in 2013 and returns again this year on Sept 13 and 14 under the direction of Ted Dillard, a Boston-area writer, photographer and businessman who expects as many as 100 alternative-energy vehicles to be on hand.To be held rain or shine, the free event will feature a parade up the Auto Road as well as workshops for inventors and the public to educate both groups about the variety of alternate-fueled vehicles already out there and to inspire them to build – or buy – one.

National event

This year’s summit, said Dillard from his Dedham, Mass., home, will serve to kick off the New England celebrations of National Drive Electric Week. The New Hampshire Electric Cooperative is the presenting sponsor of the summit, which boasts major manufacturers, electric vehicle associations, industry suppliers and individual “makers.”

Read more at the Manchester Union Leader, at This Link.

CarTrance

September 4, Thursday, 7 p.m.
Brattleboro Museum

Fifty years ago, the 20th century prophet of technology and media, Marshall McLuhan exclaimed that “we shape our tools and therefore our tools shape us.”  We’ll explore this theme and the perplexing difficulty we have detecting the ways in which the automobile has altered our internal landscape and transformed our worldview.  To journey further inside this phenomenon, we’ll employ McLuhan’s quip that stunned our culture a half a century ago –– “the medium is the message” –– to probe the subtle and tricky neuropsychology behind how the car radically mediates our sensory experience of the ecological and social environments we encounter.  We’ll also consider why the message that the automobile has bestowed upon us has become so elusive and hard for us to notice.

September 1 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “Fossil fuels win battle, but will they win the war?” In Australia, the fossil fuel industry appears to hold absolute power and is able to bring the Renewable Energy Target to a halt. But while they have won a key battle,  it is by no means certain that they will win the war. [Echonetdaily]

Science and Technology:

  • According to a team of scientists at Stanford University. The researchers have developed a low-cost, emission-free mechanism that uses a 1.5-volt battery to split water into its constituent elements of oxygen and hydrogen. This could be the basis for inexpensive hydrogen. [Motley Fool]

World:

  • The Indian government plans to take advantage of clauses in the WTO agreements to subsidise solar power projects by the army, railways, and public sector enterprises. Under the plan, the Indian army and public sector companies will set up 1,000-MW solar PV projects each. [CleanTechnica]
  • Neyveli Lignite Corporation, an Indian government-owned lignite mining and power generating company, is planning to invest over Rs 500 crore ($82.7 million) in renewable energy projects. The company plans to set up over 80 MW of wind and solar energy projects. [Business Standard]
  • In the UK, the Liberal Democrats have plans for five new laws to protect the environment. They plan legal targets for clean air and water, an end to dirty coal power stations and an ambitious decarbonisation target for the electricity sector. [Liberal Democrats]
  • The Japanese government may be considering a significant increase in its renewable energy targets. According to the Kyodo news agency, the Environment Minister said the country should aim to source 30% of its power from renewable sources by 2030. [Business Green]
  • South Australia’s Sustainability, Environment and Conservation Minister Ian Hunter has condemned the recently released Renewable Energy Target Review report, referring to the move by the Abbott Government to scale back the RET as “anti-science.” [Energy Matters]
  • UK anti-nuclear campaigners have called on EDF Energy to give up its nuclear ambitions for Somerset and elsewhere following a report from UBS, a multinational investment bank, which says it is time to: “join the solar revolution”. [South West Business]
  • In China, a State Council meeting Wednesday determined the government’s focus on several major projects, including beefing up development of renewable energy, and starting construction of wind power, hydro power, solar power and coastal nuclear plants. [WantChinaTimes]

US:

  • Just days after the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection disclosed 243 cases of contamination from oil and gas drilling operations, a major drilling company has voluntarily dropped an attempt to force its operations upon unwilling property owners. [CleanTechnica]
  • New Mexico’s largest electric utility is underestimating the costs that will be passed on to customers under a proposal to shut down part of an aging coal-fired power plant in northwestern New Mexico, according to a regulatory filing made by advocates of renewable energy. [Peninsula On-line]
  • The Austin City Council approved a resolution that brings solar to the foreground in Texas. And, perhaps most interestingly, they did so because it made business – and not just environmental – sense in current energy markets. [Scientific American]
  • With the Islamic State (ISIS) reportedly trying to recruit terror operatives just across our southern border, one terrorism expert — an ex-CIA officer — is warning of an “imminent threat” to the US electric grid. [Western Journalism]

August 31 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “Climate Scientists Spell Out Stark Danger And Immorality Of Inaction In New Leaked Report” We can still stop the worst — with virtually no impact on growth — but future generations will not be able reverse whatever we are too greedy and shortsighted to prevent. [Energy Collective]
  • “Reasons for optimism as the US readies for Paris climate negotiations” The project manager for the Powering Forward Plan being produced by the Center for the New Energy Economy of the Colorado State University shares his reasons for being optimistic about climate change. [Mountain Town News]

World:

  • One of the most important pieces of news of the summer made virtually no headlines at all, and seemed to only appear on the website of the US Energy Information Administration. It is that 127 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies are running out of cash. [Resilience]
  • According to Volvo, compared against a conventional diesel bus, the plug-in 7900 Electric Hybrid bus uses up to 75% less fuel, dropping CO2 emissions. Overall energy consumption is reduced by somewhere around 60%. The 7900 Electric Hybrid is about to be released. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Indian State of Piyush Goyal will launch three efficiency initiatives developed by Bureau of Energy Efficiency. They include design guidelines for energy-efficient multi-story residential buildings and star ratings for hospital buildings and diesel generators. [indiablooms]
  • The Indian textile industry, in collaboration with German International Cooperation, has achieved its target of saving over 10 MW of electricity through implementation of Energy Management Systems in several mills. [The Nation]
  • When the Seychellois head of state visited the University of Auckland, discussions with the Dean of the Faculty and other faculty staff centred on the university’s research into renewable energy such solar energy, geothermal energy, wind power, and bio-fuel. [Seychelles News Agency]
  • Nicaragua’s latest revolution is a switch to green energy. The country is drawing a parade of distinguished admirers coming to examine how the nation is radically changing its energy footprint with an aggressive goal of becoming a green-energy powerhouse. [The Seattle Times]

US:

  • Electric operators in New England have been both generating more electricity from natural gas and importing more hydroelectric generation from Quebec over the past decade. These two sources of electricity are displacing the use of coal and oil as generation fuels in the region. [Energy Collective]
  • Kit Carson Electric buys its electricity from Tri-State Generation and Transmission. Under a contract that does not expire until 2040, Kit Carson is only allowed to generate 5% of its total energy use through renewable sources, but it may get the chance to renegotiate the contract. [taosnews]
  • The City of Anaheim, California announced the completion of a 2.4-MW solar panel system on the Anaheim Convention Center. The $5.7 million project has 7,908 installed solar panels, making it the largest city-owned, convention center, roof-mounted system in North America. [Orange County Breeze]

August 30 Green Energy News

Science and Technology:

  • Water is an ancient power source, one usually exploited by harnessing its flow. For decades, though, scientists have been working on another kind of water power — one relying on salt. This technique exploits the natural process of osmosis. [Wall Street Journal]

World:

  • Solar panel canopies are to be placed above leisure center parking lots in the UK city of Nottingham. In all, the canopies will cost the council £2 million. They should generate £200,000 worth of energy a year, so in ten years they will be generating that free as income. [Nottingham Post]
  • The Samoa government has officially opened the country’s first wind energy project at Vailoa Aleipata on the southern coast of Upolu island. The Aleipata wind farm includes two 55 meter high wind turbines, each with a capacity of 275 kW. [Radio New Zealand]
  • The Russian government has accepted the Energy Ministry’s proposal for Russia to join the International Renewable Energy Agency. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a corresponding document, the cabinet website said on Friday. [ITAR-TASS]
  • Greenpeace volunteers have launched a “peaceful campaign” in front of a solar station in south Amman, Jordan, demanding that the government switch its energy plans from nuclear to renewable. [Bakken.com]
  • Two innovative renewable energy projects are moving forward in Scotland: Britain’s first tidal power array, and the world’s first deployment of two-bladed wind offshore turbines. The experimental technologies are hoped to achieve significant cost savings. [The Ecologist]
  • Ecodrive and Wattstor teamed up with the University of Exeter to monitor and manage the monetary value of the most expensive element of an electric vehicle – its battery. The result could produce a change in the way EVs are marketed. [Western Morning News]

US:

  • SolarCity plans a 1 GW integrated PV manufacturing plant to use technology developed by recently acquired Silevo. According to recent reports, the plant is expected to cost somewhere between $400–$450 million. [CleanTechnica]
  • After more than a year of study, United Water has decided to develop a small hydroelectric power plant at the Dundee Dam to produce enough power to supply 1,000 homes. The dam is on New Jersey’s Passaic River, where it runs between Garfield and Clifton. [NorthJersey.com]
  • Utah solar advocates and customers are hailing a decision Friday by the Utah Public Service Commission to reject Rocky Mountain Power’s request of a monthly fee for rooftop solar homes. The commission, in its order, said it could not rule that the fee was justified. [Deseret News]
  • Austin Energy could be a greenhouse-gas-free utility eventually, as the Austin City Council passed a measure requiring the utility to make larger investments in renewable energy. The goal is for the utility to be completely green by 2030. [Austin Business Journal]
  • As utilities across the US grapple with stagnant electricity sales, many see opportunity in the fledgling need for electric-car charging stations. But some companies’ tactics are spurring complaints from consumer advocates. [Wall Street Journal]

August 29 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “Fossil fuels win battle over RET, but will they win the war?” Time is not on the side of the Australian power generators. UBS has warned that mass grid defections could happen as early as 2018, and that centralized generation could be largely extinct in a decade. [RenewEconomy]

Science and Technology:

  • The tar sands industry’s tailings problem is a growing liability and it is getting worse. For every barrel of tar sands bitumen produced (the semi-solid substance from which oil is eventually refined), 1.5 barrels of toxic liquid waste is added to the tailings ponds. [Energy Collective]

World:

  • The expansion of renewable energy will slow over the next five years unless policy uncertainty is diminished, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said today in its third annual Medium-Term Renewable Energy Market Report. [Eurasia Review]
  • Japan’s Ministry of Environment has earmarked ¥300 million ($2.89 million) in its budget request for fiscal 2015 from April for a nationwide survey into the viability of the small hydropower generators, which can be installed at relatively a small cost and take up little space. [GlobalPost]
  • The world’s largest working advanced digestion plant opened in Manchester, UK. It handles the sewage of 1.2 million people, putting enough surplus power to the UK grid to power 25,000 homes. It uses waste formerly dumped in the Irish Sea. [Energy Voice]
  • The Scottish Government has granted a windfarm planned for Aberdeen Bay its final planning consent. The development remains tied up in court battles with US tycoon Donald Trump, who has led a bitter public campaign against the project. [Aberdeen Press and Journal]
  • Europe has released it non-binding target for renewable energy at 27% by 2030. In response the IEA has raised the alarm and is asking for a clear and stable framework in a report that raises questions about how effective the overall non-binding target can be. [Domestic Fuel]
  • A carbon tax is set to go before Chile’s House of Representatives next week, as part of a larger tax reform package that includes measures intended to fight air pollution and climate change. Chile would become the second country in Latin America to have a carbon tax, after Mexico. [ThinkProgress]

US:

  • A new study, published online in the journal Nature Climate Change, has found that savings from health benefits dwarf the estimated $14 billion cost of a cap-and-trade program. It says the health savings outweigh cap-and-trade pollution abatement costs more than 10 times over. [CleanTechnica]
  • Fluor Corporation has completed the engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning for both phases of LS Power’s 170 MW Centinela solar energy facility near El Centro, California. The project has more than 875,000 solar PV panels on its 1,600-acre site. [reNews]
  • Maine regulators have given preliminary approval to US developer First Wind’s up to 206 MW Bingham wind project. Subsidiary Blue Sky West proposes to use 3 MW or 3.3 MW machines, either the Vestas V112 or Siemens SWT 113. [reNews]
  • More and more utilities say they buy wind energy to save their customers money. In some places, wind is now the cheapest way to add electrical generating capacity. It provides a great long-term hedge against rising prices for natural gas everywhere. [CleanTechnica]
  • In three of the last ten months, renewable energy accounted for 100% of new US electricity capacity twice and 99.3% once. As wind power and solar power have gotten cheaper, they have become cost-competitive, even without considering the market price of fossil fuel externalities. [Treehugger]

August 28 Green Energy News

Science and Technology:

  • GE’s Energy Consulting business has presented an extensive study that modeled the Eastern Interconnection in the US. It determined that when equipped with the appropriate modern plant controls, wind applications can substantially enhance grid resiliency. [EarthTechling]
  • The two major forecasting agencies, Washington’s EIA and Paris’ IEA, are both more pessimistic about growth in shale oil production than is generally known for they both foresee US shale oil production leveling off as soon as 2016. [Resilience]

World:

  • The Australian federal government has released its review of the Renewable Energy Target. It concludes the costs of the scheme “outweigh its benefits” and has recommended the scheme either be shelved or changed. [Business Insider Australia]
  • Germany, which has come to rely heavily on wind and solar power in recent years, is launching more than 20 demonstration projects that involve storing energy by splitting water into hydrogen gas and oxygen. [MIT Technology Review]
  • According to the EIA’s annual Medium-term Renewable Energy Market report, power generation from renewable sources including wind, solar and hydro reached almost 22% of global production. But they project that growth will slow after 2014. [Recharge]
  • In 2013 world geothermal electricity-generating capacity grew 3% to top 11700 MW across 24 countries. Though wind power has expanded 21% per year since 2008 and solar power has grown at a blistering 53% annual rate, this was geothermal’s best year in the time. [MENAFN.COM]
  • A new poll in Brazil shows that an unexpected challenger in the 2014 presidential election would defeat the incumbent president in a hypothetical run-off. Marina Silva, an ardent environmentalist, has vaulted to the front of the pack. [OilPrice.com]
  • GE announced today it has achieved a total installed capacity of 1 GW of wind energy in Brazil. During the first half of 2014, GE connected 381 wind turbines to the grid in Brazil, providing 600 MW of capacity to the country. [AltEnergyMag]

US:

  • Renewable energy sources accounted for 14.3% of net US electrical generation in the first half of the year, according to a new report by the EIA. Last year, the EIA forecast that the US would reach the 14% renewable mark in 2040. [pv magazine]
  • From June 2013 to June 2014, the US produced more than 12,000 GWh of solar power, compared to around 5,600 GWh from June 2012 to June 2013. This is an increase of over 210%, year-on-year. [Smithsonian]
  • Hawaiian Electric Company released details of its plan for the state’s energy future. It calls for 65% of all electricity generated on Oahu, the Big Island and Maui County to come from renewables. However, environmental groups say the plan relies too heavily on natural gas. [KITV Honolulu]
  • Minnesota Power and the Minnesota National Guard are expected to sign a partnership today to build a $25 million solar farm that will supply Camp Ripley with much of its electrical needs. The 10 MW solar farm on 100 acres and will be the largest contiguous solar farm in Minnesota. [Brainerd Daily Dispatch]
  • Michigan’s Thumb area is well known for the diversity of crop production, from carrots to strawberries to wheat, hay, corn, soybeans, sugar beets and some of the finest dairy herds in Michigan. Now, this rich agricultural area is producing a new “crop” of windpower. [Farmers Advance

PSB Approves Reduced Rates

Green Mountain Power Receives Public Service Board Approval to Lower Rates for Customers

2.46% rate decrease takes effect October 1st and is the second rate decrease proposed by GMP in three years

Colchester, VT – Green Mountain Power (GMP) is pleased to announce today that state regulators have approved the company’s proposal to decrease electric rates by 2.46% for residential and commercial customers starting October 1. The rate decrease will be the second decrease offered by GMP in three years and is part of the company’s mission to deliver reliable, clean and cost-effective power to its customers.

“Our energy future is a bright one. We are empowering customers with new tools and resources to control energy use and save money while at the same time bringing down rates for all customers,” said Mary Powell, President and CEO of GMP. “Lowering electricity rates at a time when other costs continue to rise, is an important part of helping Vermont families and businesses.”

GMP partnered with key stakeholders across Vermont in advance of its filed rate decrease. Including the Department of Public Service, IBM and Associated Industries of Vermont. GMP and key stakeholders agreed to a 1.46% rate decrease, with an additional 1% decrease provided directly to customers through revenue sharing agreement from the sale of Vermont Yankee in 2002. Customers will receive a credit on their bills over the next two years, to ensure rates remain low for customers for the coming years.  Commercial customers, in particular, manufacturers and other energy intensive industries will greatly benefit from lower electricity costs.

Autumn Harp, which specializes in R&D and manufacturing for the cosmetics and skincare industry employs over 200 Vermonters at its state of the art 115,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Williston, Vermont says that their company will benefit greatly from lower electric rates.

“This is great news that GMP is lowering rates,” said Dave Logan one of the owners of Autumn Harp. “Bringing down electricity costs helps our Vermont manufacturing plant and business stay competitive. While we are seeing double digit increases in other New England states where we operate, Vermont is leading with clean lower cost energy, helping us keep good jobs here.”

About Green Mountain Power

Green Mountain Power (www.greenmountainpower.com) generates, transmits, distributes and sells electricity in the state of Vermont. The company, which was named 2014 Solar Champion by Vote Solar, serves more than 250,000 customers and has set its vision to be the best small company in America.

August 27 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “Renewable Energy Momentum Has Passed The Tipping Point” Here in the ides of August, 2014, there exists clear, overwhelmingly convincing evidence that we have passed the tipping point for change into the renewable energy era. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Retail vs Wholesale Energy Pricing: 1 Reason It’s Easy For Rooftop Solar To Be Cost Effective” When residential folks put up solar PVs, we only have to beat the price on our energy bills, which is retail. That makes it easier for rooftop solar to beat utility price rates. [CleanTechnica]
  • “Why wind wreckers are often left snatching at air” Each year, Ryan Wiser and Mark Bolinger from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory put out a superb report documenting developments in the US wind power market. [Business Spectator]

World:

  • Indian wind turbine manufacturers and project developers have been advised by the government to make efforts to increase annual capacity addition to five times its current level, a leading Indian newspaper has reported. That means 10,000 MW is to be added each year. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Mayor of Warsaw has complained to the Polish government that 2030 clean energy goals which Poland believed too radical were in fact unambitious, undemocratically decided, and risk spiking EU decarbonisation moves, in a letter seen by EurActiv. [EurActiv]
  • SunWize Technologies has announced completion of the installation of a 546 kW solar electric system for the Independent State of Samoa. The project with Samoa’s power utility, Electric Power Corporation, is the country’s largest, reducing Samoa’s reliance on imported fossil fuels. [Your Renewable News]
  • Nearly one in four homes in South Australia now has rooftop solar, as the share of renewable energy in the state neared 33% in 2013/14 – delivering the state’s ambitious 2020 target six years ahead of schedule. [RenewEconomy]
  • Carbon Recycling International was founded in 2006 in Reykjavik, Iceland. The company is now recycling CO2 from flue gas into liquid transport fuel by reacting it with H2 at the first production plant using the process. [World Fishing]
  • Provincial regulators have approved Suncor Energy’s 100-MW Cedar Point wind project near Lake Huron in south-western Ontario. The project will have 46 Siemens SWT 2.3-MW 113 turbines. [reNews]

US:

  • In its latest rate request to the Wisconsin Public Service Commission, We Energies seeks to charge its customers more and also add new penalties to those who use renewable energy, making solar panels and other green systems less affordable for the average property owner. [Express Milwaukee]
  • US News and World Report took it upon themselves to actually look at the numbers of birds killed each year by electricity sources in the United States. And while all numbers reported are going to be open to interpretation and discussion, the final figures look bad for coal. [RenewEconomy]
  • A pending Austin City Council resolution may help create more solar energy supply for Austin Energy consumers, the city announced August 26. The resolution would create enough solar energy to power 100,000 homes. The proposal will be heard on August 28. [Community Impact Newspaper]