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July 31 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “Wind Energy Beats Nuclear & Carbon Capture For Global Warming Mitigation” An enduring myth about wind energy and nuclear energy needs to be put to bed. It is that only nuclear can be scaled sufficiently to reduce the impacts of global warming, so wind can be ignored. [CleanTechnica]
  • “FERC Commissioners: Clean Power Plan Doesn’t Spell Doom for Grid Reliability” All five members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission agree that acting on climate change is critical and none indicates the EPA’s plan to cut carbon emissions would hamper grid operations. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

World:

  • Energy monolith GE has announced that it will be investing equity in three Atria Power wind projects currently under construction in India — a move that goes a long way towards GE’s commitment to invest $1 billion annually in the global renewable energy industry. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Australian Renewable Energy Agency today celebrated a major milestone with the installation of the first solar panels at AGL’s large-scale solar plant in Nyngan, New South Wales. The project will have 1.35 million panels and a capacity of 102 MW. [MarineLink]
  • Small, renewable energy projects in South Africa are starting to supplement the limited coal-fired power available from Eskom and the municipalities. About 1,000 MW is expected to be delivered from renewable sources such as wind and power by the end of this year. [SA Commercial Prop News]
  • One of Australia’s oldest and most polluting coal-fired power stations, Energy Brix in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, is being shut down, the plant’s owner announced. It is the first coal plant in the state to close in decades. Environmentalists say its power is no longer needed. [RenewEconomy]
  • Wind power is officially the cheapest source of energy in Denmark, according to the nation’s government—and by 2016, it claims the electricity whipped up by its newest turbines will be half the price of fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. [Motherboard]

US:

  • SunPower Corp. today announced it has started construction on the 135-MW Quinto Solar Project in Merced County, California. After completion, which is scheduled for late 2015, the Quinto project is expected to generate enough electricity for 40,000 homes. [AZoBuild]
  • NextEra Energy Resources has announced plans to begin construction on a wind farm in northeast Hockley County, Texas. The plan is set to have 47 wind turbines on the site by 2016, producing 80 MW. The name of the farm will be Red Raider Wind. [LubbockOnline.com]
  • Members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on July 29 told a congressional committee that they are working closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to make sure the coal-averse Clean Power Plan doesn’t destabilize the grid. [PennEnergy]
  • Flexible alternating current transmission systems have been implemented in electric grids since the 1920s, but growing renewable energy deployment has increased their demand. According to Navigant Research, the market for them to 2022 will be $42 billion. [CleanTechnica]
  • Exelon is getting into the fuel cell business with a commitment to finance projects at 75 commercial facilities throughout the US. The company will provide equity financing for California-based Bloom Energy, which uses fuel cells to produce electricity from natural gas. [Businessweek]

From Renewable Energy Vermont:

Re-Issue of City of Montpelier RFP

Hello REV Members,

Please be advised that the City of Montpelier has re-issued their RFP for group net-metered solar PV. A copy is available here.

The City of Montpelier seeks, through the fruition of this project, to take significant steps toward its recently adopted net-zero energy goal. The City of Montpelier, Vermont (“the City”), in collaboration with its Energy Committee is seeking to offset 70% of the City’s municipal electric metered usage with locally produced net-metered solar power. We anticipate that this will rougly require two 500 kW AC installations. To this end, the City seeks a qualified individual or firm to own an operate solar facilities which will sell net metered power to the City to offset City usage.

The City is making its “stump dump” site available (see description here ) for solar development. The City is also interested in proposals to develop solar on privately owned land within the Green Mountain Power service territory, with a preference for installations located within Montpelier city limits. The City will only entertain proposals for a combination of installations totaling 1000 kW AC.

To read the full RFP, and for more details, visit:  www.revermont.org/main/resources/rfps.
Proposals are due August 29, 2014. The final selection will be made in September 2014. Respondents should reply with information to :

Mike Miller, Director of Planning & Community Development
City of Montpelier
39 Main Street
Montpelier, VT 05602-2950

Kind Regards,

Renewable Energy Vermont
PO Box 1036
Montpelier, VT 05601
(802) 229-0099

Bernie Says it All! Will Capitol Hill Listen?

senator-Bernie-SandersSanders Backs EPA Curbs on Power Plant Pollution

WASHINGTON, July 30 – At a news conference on Capitol Hill and in testimony at an Environmental Protection Agency public hearing, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today strongly endorsed an EPA proposal to limit carbon pollution from power plants to curb global warming.

bernie sanders“If we do not address this crisis, our children and grandchildren will look back on this problem and we will be judged by history in a very negative way,” Sanders said.

The EPA hearings here and in Denver and Atlanta were held to take public comment on President Barack Obama’s plan to address climate change by cutting carbon-dioxide emissions from electric power plants by 30 percent by 2030.

“We are facing a planetary crisis,” said Sanders, a member of the Senate energy and environment committees.  “The vast majority of climate scientists agree that our planet is warming, that human activities – especially burning fossil fuels – are the primary cause, and that climate change already is causing devastating damage across the world in the form of floods, droughts, wildfires and extreme weather.”

Power plants are the largest source in the United States of harmful carbon pollution, accounting for roughly one-third of all carbon released into the air. Unlike other pollutants, there are now no limits to the amount of carbon pollution that a power plant can release.

The EPA wants to set state-by-state carbon pollution limits. By 2030, the standards are expected to reduce U.S. power plant carbon pollution by 30 percent compared to 2005 levels. That’s equal to the annual emissions from more than 150 million cars, or almost two-thirds of the nation’s passenger vehicles.

There are no coal-fired power plants in Vermont, but the state will collaborate with New England neighbors in a Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Vermont also will continue to be a model for other states by aggressively encouraging the development of alternative energy sources and promoting energy efficiency.  In proposing the new national rules, EPA singled out Efficiency Vermont as a model that states should look to in developing their plans.

According to new research for the U.S. National Climate Assessment, the average global temperature has increased by more than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit between 1880 and 2012. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, temperatures in Vermont and New England have increased at least 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 30 years. By 2100, New England could be up to 10 degrees hotter.

“We are facing a pivotal moment in history. We must act quickly and boldly to dramatically cut carbon pollution, transform our energy system, and create good-paying jobs all over this country,” Sanders said.

Contact: Michael Briggs (202) 224-5141

July 30 Green Energy News

World:

  • The longer the world waits to act on climate change, the more costly it will be to rein in the environmental impacts of releasing heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere, according to a White House report on climate change. [Christian Science Monitor]
  • An international arbitration court ruled on Monday that Russia must pay $50 billion for expropriating the assets of Yukos, the former oil giant whose CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky fell foul of the Kremlin. [Reuters]
  • France’s planned energy law will mobilize about €10 billion ($13.4 billion) in tax credits and low-interest loans to spur energy efficiency and renewable generation, according to Environment Minister Segolene Royal. [Businessweek]
  • Since 2010, 35 solar farms, totaling approximately 257 MW, have been constructed under the project and connected to the utility grid in Northeastern Thailand. A ceremony held earlier this month in Surin Province commemorated the launch of the installations. [Today's Energy Solutions]
  • In China, M&G Chemicals announced a joint venture with Anhui Guozhen CO, using PROESA technology licensed by Beta Renewables to convert 970,000-1,300,000 metric tons per year of agricultural residues into cellulosic ethanol, glycols and by-products such as lignin. [Biobased Digest]
  • Onshore wind turbines market in Germany posted strong growth in the first half of 2014 with some 1,723 MW generation capacity having been installed as against 1,038 MW in the corresponding period last year, a growth of 66%. [Big News Network.com]
  • PV installations in Germany generated significantly higher profits than onshore installations despite producing less electricity overall, according to a new study by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research. [pv magazine]
  • On the second anniversary of a scheme aimed at boosting Japan’s renewable energy after the Fukushima crisis, its powerful industry ministry is taking steps critics say will choke off solar investment and pave the way for a return to nuclear power. [eco-business.com]

US:

  • A new report by The Analysis Group, “EPA’s Clean Power Plan: States’ Tools for Reducing Costs and Increasing Benefits to Consumers,” shows that states seem to already possess the tools needed to cut down on carbon emissions, boost the economy and protect consumers financially. [Energy Collective]
  • Under a system called “community choice,” a town can become the bulk buyer of electricity on behalf of its residential and small business customers. Marin Clean Energy in California has fought for nearly decade to offer service in their commitment to renewable energy. [CleanTechnica]
  • A total of $250 million in state grant funding is available to fund clean-energy generation projects, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said Tuesday. Funding will be for wind farms, fuel cells, biomass facilities, renewable biogas and the upgrading of types of hydropower projects. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]
  • New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has launched a $27 million initiative to build the market for high-efficiency, low-emissions wood heating systems in the state. The money is coming from New York’s share of proceeds from the nine-state Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. [Press & Sun-Bulletin]
  • The “new reality” facing electricity consumers and their utility companies is that renewable energy is meeting an increasingly larger share of U.S. energy needs, according to a report Ceres and Clean Edge. That translates into more and better choices and a clean energy future. [Triple Pundit]

July 29 Green Energy News

Opinion:

  • “The Coal Industry Has Been Fear-Mongering for 40 Years Now” The fossil fuel industry has been promising catastrophe coming with regulation for decades. But if the sky fell because of the EPA’s proposed climate rule like promised, it would the first time the industry guessed it right. [The New Republic]
  • “Energy diversity critical to U.S. economy” The uncertainty around the future prices of natural gas, oil, coal, uranium, and others means uncertainty regarding the cost to produce electricity. A diversified portfolio is the most cost-effective tool available … [Fierce Energy]

World:

  • Gamesa has added two new Brazilian wind projects worth 214 MW to its order pipeline. According to the website, the Spanish wind manufacturer will supply 166 MW to Companhia de Energias Renováveis plus 48 MW to Eletrobras subsidiary Eletrosul. [CleanTechnica]
  • Kyocera and partner SPCG have achieved full commercial operations at a solar cluster totalling 257 MW in Thailand. The string of 35 plants has been under development in Surin Province since 2010 and together constitute one of the largest PV projects in south-east Asia. [reNews]
  • Babcock and Wilcox Company announced that B&W Vølund, a subsidiary of B&W Power Generation Group, was awarded a contract exceeding $80 million to build a 280 MWth biomass boiler system for the Skærbækværket district heating and power plant. [BioEnergy News]
  • NextEra Energy Canada has received renewable energy approval for the 102 MW Goshen wind project to be constructed adjacent to Lake Huron in Ontario.  Goshen will employ 62 1.6 MW units and one 1.56 MW machine on 80-meter towers. [reNews]
  • The share of renewables in Germany’s gross electricity consumption surged to a record 28.5% in the first half of 2014, up from 24.6% in the year-earlier period, according to preliminary figures from the federation of energy and water industries BDEW. [Recharge]

US:

  • The American Wind Energy Association has just come out with some facts and figures about the so-called hidden cost of wind power. According to AWEA’s calculations the “hidden cost” for conventional power plants in Texas is 17 times more than wind. [CleanTechnica]
  • Small natural gas leaks from old buried pipes may be more common than previously thought, according to the preliminary findings of a new methane mapping project being carried out by Environmental Defense Fund and Google Earth. [Energy Collective]
  • Arizona Public Service Co. is looking to enter the rooftop residential solar market with a plan to install and operate panels on as many as 3,000 Phoenix-area homes. It’s a departure for the Arizona’s largest utility, which until this point has only built large utility-scale projects. [Phoenix Business Journal]
  • Two Wisconsin utility companies — once among the early leaders in promoting solar power — now say the solar industry has grown so much it is hurting their business and their customers. They are asking state regulators for rate changes that they call a matter of fair treatment. [RenewablesBiz]
  • Faced with increasing interest in renewable energy generation, the Chicopee, Massachusetts Planning Board and Planning Department is developing guidelines for generating power from sun or wind. The plan allows home and business solar installations without special permits. [MassLive.com]
  • Oahu could become the first place in the United States to connect the energy harvested from ocean waves to a power grid. Northwest Energy Innovations, a private company, will start testing a prototype in September, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported. [The Tribune]
  • Green Mountain Power is expanding its groundbreaking heat pump pilot program to Montpelier as part of the city’s major initiative focused on making Montpelier the first net zero capital city in the country. [vtdigger.org]

July 28 Green Energy News

Science and Technology:

  • A new study finds that when climate models factor in the temporary warming and cooling impact of El Niño and La Niña, they accurately predict recent global warming. It agrees with other studies leading one climatologist to say, “Global temperatures look set to rise rapidly.” [Energy Collective]
  • With an EPA-rated range of 265 miles per charge, the Tesla Model S is the longest-range electric car you can buy today. In an interview with AutoExpress, though, Elon Musk revealed that a 500-mile battery will be possible “soon” … but at an exceedingly high cost. [CleanTechnica]

World:

  • Plans to replace up to 70% of the diesel-powered electricity generation on Australia’s Lord Howe Island with hybrid renewables generating capacity and storage have received financial backing from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. [CleanTechnica]
  • GE Energy Financial Services, part of the GE conglomerate, has undertaken investments in three wind energy projects in India, the company said on Monday. These wind farms, being constructed by Atria Power, have a combined capacity of 126 MW. [NDTV]
  • Soon, all of Germany’s coal-fired power plants will be dependent on imports, with the country expected to halt coal mining in 2018 when government subsidies end. US exports of power plant-grade coal to Germany have more than doubled since 2008. [Times Colonist]
  • Solar Frontier has signed an agreement with the town of Hiraizumi to build a 13 MW CIS megasolar power plant. To be located on 30 hectares of land designated for commercial use, the utility-scale power plant has received support of local residents. [Energy Business Review]
  • An Australian-made energy storage system is now on site in Western Sydney. Built for Transgrid by Magellan Power, the system has 400-kWh lithium polymer (LiMnNiCoO2) batteries and an advance bi-directional inverter. [Energy Matters]

US:

  • Con Ed filed a proposal for a program it hopes can defer costs to build a $1 billion substation. Instead, $200 million would go to novel customer-side load management programs, and $300 million toward more traditional utility investments to reduce load from specific areas by 2018. [Energy Collective]
  • Amazon Web Services and Greenpeace have become embroiled in another slanging match over the cloud provider’s green credentials, due its supposed lack of energy-efficient data centres to power its services. [V3.co.uk]
  • The Army has awarded the final round of solar technology contracts that will support a $7 billion renewable and alternative energy power production for Department of Defense installations Multiple Award Task Order Contract. [AZoCleantech]
  • Clarkson University, partnering with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, National Grid and others, is designing a grid that will provide renewable and conventional electricity to many entities in the village of Potsdam, New York. [WatertownDailyTimes.com]
  • Dominion North Carolina Power dedicated the company’s first renewable power grid at Kitty Hawk. The project will be used to reduce the amount of power the Kitty Hawk regional office pulls from the grid. It has four wind turbines for 13 kW and 6 kW of solar PVs. [The Outer Banks Voice]
  • A Texas Empowerment report released by Choose Energy shows that about one in three Texans choose renewably sourced energy options. That’s 100% more than any other state, according to Levente McCrary, spokeswoman for Choose Energy. [Tyler Morning Telegraph]

July 27 Green Energy News

Economy and Finance:

  • In the transition towards a post-carbon future, infrastructure built today for fossil fuels could easily become stranded assets which burden investors and taxpayers with sunk costs. The future looks bleak for coal, and we should not invest in it. [Resilience]

World:

  • Kudos Energy, a new Australian start-up solar company, believes that the Australian market for rooftop solar leasing for the residential and commercial sectors could reach $100 billion in the next decade. Kudos is the brainchild of two leading private equity investors. [CleanTechnica]
  • According to the Chilean specialized media ‘Electricidad,’ Abengoa, the world leader in the Concentrated Solar Power market, is planning to invest up to $10 billion in renewable energy infrastructures in Chile. [CSP World]
  • Scottish businesses have invested almost £50 million in onsite power stations in recent years because of concerns over cost and security of supply. There are now 40 commercial-scale renewable energy projects including wind turbines, solar PVs and anaerobic digestion plants. [Scotsman]
  • Secretaries of the ministries concerned will brief Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi once a month on key infrastructure projects. This decision was taken at a meeting after the secretary of the Planning Commission presented India’s infrastructure targets and achievements. [Business Standard]
  • From an initial targeted development of 23 MW, Filipino firm Eastern Renewables has been moving its goal higher to accomplish an expansion of up to 100 MW for biomass projects. Eastern Renewables is the arm for renewable energy ventures for Eastern Petroleum Corporation. [Manila Bulletin]
  • Over £45 million has been invested in commercial-scale renewable energy projects across the UK county of Hampshire. Farmers, businesses, communities and public sector organisations in the county have taken advantage of renewable energy projects, with 74 now operating. [Daily Echo]

US:

  • The old US microgrid model, built for power security and based on fossil fuels, is evolving. Microgrid development is expected to grow 70 to 80% in the next three years, with many hew projects at private commercial operations and including solar PV, battery storage and biogas. [Energy Collective]
  • With a new battery pack built in partnership with LG Chem, it seems like GM plans to usurp Tesla’s plans to deliver a long-range and affordably priced EV to the masses. The rumors of a 200-mile GM-branded EV have been around for a while, and now the car may appear soon. [CleanTechnica]
  • In the past few years a tremendous technological transformation has occurred. The barriers for electric companies to entertain unprecedented growth potential by devouring a large piece of the oil companies’ share of the US energy market for transportation is now clearly in reach. [Energy Collective]
  • Ohio green energy advocates want to ensure the state’s new two-year freeze on renewable energy mandates for utilities becomes just that — a timeout from requirements set forth under a 2008 law and not a backdoor strategy to repeal it after this fall’s gubernatorial election. [Toledo Blade]
  • A new project would transform 25 acres of brownfield in Lackawanna, New York into a 4 MW solar farm with 13,000 solar panels. The project would be near a related wind project with its 14 wind turbines on the Hamburg and Lackawanna waterfront. [Buffalo News]
  • Renewable-energy advocates are rallying against a proposed utility fee for Utah residents who have solar panels and wind turbines, saying it could hinder further development of renewable energy. [Washington Times]

July 26 Green Energy News

World:

  • Russia is a major exporter of crude oil, petroleum products, and natural gas. Sales of these fuels accounted for 68% of Russia’s total export revenues in 2013, based on data from Russia’s Federal Customs Service. [Energy Collective]
  • A consortium of Australian energy groups look to create a “mini electricity” system relying on local renewable energy production and storage. The search has begun for a suitable town to become Australia’s first “zero net energy town,” using renewables, storage and a local mini-grid. [RenewEconomy]
  • The signals coming from Australia’s Federal Government say it is preparing to cut the renewable energy target back. But Melbourne and Sydney have set ambitious targets to slash carbon emissions and are determined to make it happen, whatever direction Canberra takes. [ABC Online]
  • A project to build 65 MW of solar power generation in Uruguay has successfully reached financial close. The Spanish, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, has signed for $70 million in funds from Norway’s DNB Group. Spanish bank, Santander is also financing $24 million. [PV-Tech]
  • Construction is starting at the Westermeerwind nearshore wind farm in the Netherlands after the developer reached financial close on the project. It will feature 48 3-MW turbines between 500 metres and 1100 metres from the dikes of the Noordoostpolder. [reNews]

US:

  • Seneca Mountain Wind issued a statement saying it has ceased development its project in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. It has withdrawn a request to connect the project to the New England power grid and it has terminated all its leases it had to build the turbines. [Greenfield Daily Reporter]
  • A lobbyist for Exelon Corporation recently bragged about killing the wind industry and claimed they would kill the solar industry next. Now the company favors extension of a net metering cap in Massachusetts, though in a watered-down form. It remains to be seen why. [CleanTechnica]
  • Georgia Power will add 34 MW of solar PVs via three large projects following an approval by the Georgia Public Service Commission in December. In addition, they will add an additional 7.2 MW at smaller sites through a small- and medium-sized initiative program. [Macon Telegraph]
  • Two months after an Angelina County judge decided to allow the Aspen Power’s trustee to recommence operations at the biomass facility, wood chip conveyor belts were up and running. Traffic in and out of the facility signaled a positive movement for the restart of the facility. [KTRE]
  • Researchers at the West Central Research and Outreach Center in Minnesota are working together on an initiative to lower energy consumption and introduce renewable energy generation to crop, dairy, and swine production systems. [Morris Sun Tribune]
  • The Baltimore Interfaith Solar Co-op allows members to purchase home solar systems from an installer together, negotiating a group rate. Despite its title, the Baltimore co-op is open to all regardless of church membership or religious affiliation. [Baltimore Sun]
  • California could meet its energy needs with renewables alone, according to Stanford University researchers. The authors of a recent study say a transition scenario is economically as well as technically feasible. [Deutsche Welle]

July 25 Green Energy News

Science and Technology:

  • A new report has found that the number of incidents of wind turbines catching fire is a sizeable issue for the wind industry, and a problem that is not being accurately reported on, with an estimated ten times more fires occurring than are actually being reported. [CleanTechnica]

World:

  • Global prospects for wind power are rising despite disappointing 2013 numbers, say analysts at Navigant Research. Wind power now supplies about 3% of the world’s electricity, but Navigant expects wind power to deliver 7.3% of global electricity by 2018. [CleanTechnica]
  • Bradford Council has become the first local authority in the UK to back plans for its schools to run on solar power, as it emerged that nationally just five schools have installed renewables that qualify for feed-in tariff incentives in the past year. [Business Green]
  • Alice Springs can expect 4% of its electricity supply to come from solar by the end of 2015. Already Australia’s largest tracking solar farm, the 3.1 MW expansion of Uterne will bring its total capacity to 4.1 MW. [ABC Online]
  • Plans for a series of new UK offshore wind farms have been thrown into doubt after the Government disclosed it would only award enough subsidies this autumn to fund one such project. Wind farm developers for other projects will be forced to wait to find out about funds. [Telegraph.co.uk]
  • Ventinveste, a consortium of some of Portugal’s top energy and engineering companies, and Ferrostaal GmbH, a worldwide project developer, will build four wind farms in the country, in a €220 million investment that will strengthen the country’s renewable energy cluster. [AltEnergyMag]
  • Research sponsored by business groups and the mining industry shows Australia’s 20% renewable energy target (RET) will cost the economy $29 billion and 5000 jobs by 2020. This is in direct conflict with other recent reports finding consumers would be better off with the RET. [Sydney Morning Herald]
  • European power sector stakeholders are fully aware that a substantial transition is taking place there. A poll taken during POWER-GEN Europe revealed that half of the delegates present expected that the European market for large power plants will never return. [Cogeneration & On-Site Power Production Magazine]
  • According to a new report by analyst Frost & Sullivan published this week, global solar power market revenues are set to more than double to $137 billion by 2020, up from just under $60 billion in 2013. [Business Green]

US:

  • The National Hockey League is the first A-list pro sports league to issue a Sustainability Report. In its report, the NHL took on climate change deniers and set a new high bar for all the other pro sports leagues in the US. [CleanTechnica]
  • The US Energy Department and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory have awarded funding totalling $1.35 million to four distributed wind companies to help drive down the cost of small- and medium-sized wind energy systems. [reNews]
  • More than three years after the town of Edgartown, Massachusetts made a bet on green energy, the first municipal solar sites on Martha’s Vineyard are now feeding power back into the grid. But getting to this point has been anything but easy. [Martha's Vineyard Gazette]
  • New York State has awarded seven research teams $3.3 million to develop smart grid technologies to “enhance grid performance, reduce the risk of power outages, and lessen environmental impacts and energy consumption, all while reducing the cost of power delivery.” [SmartMeters]
  • A new Stanford study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert California’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by wind, water, and solar. The plan could create tens of thousands of jobs and save billions of dollars. [Phys.Org]
  • Wind power makes up 15% of the energy supply that Xcel Energy provides to customers and can meet the energy needs of about 2.5 million homes. At one point in May 2013, wind accounted for more than 60% of the power on the Colorado system, setting the national record. [Intelligent Utility]

July 24 Green Energy News

Science and Technology:

  • As governments struggle to find practical routes forward with positive outcomes for CO2 mitigation, attention is turning to dealing with other greenhouse gases, particularly methane. A number of methane emission initiatives are now underway or being planned. [Energy Collective]
  • Planning is underway to replace the aging US power network with a new, “smart” grid, one that’s energy efficient and flexible enough to handle variability in both supply and demand — one comprised of microgrids that can isolate electrical crises before they spread. [KQED QUEST]
  • Google wants to see the size of inverters shrink – and will award a million dollars to the person or team that comes up with the best design. An inverter can take the DC current produced by the solar modules or wind turbines and converts it to AC. [Energy Matters]

World:

  • UK renewable-power projects will compete for guaranteed payments totaling more than £200 million ($340 million) a year of as part of its first auction of contracts to spur low-carbon electricity. By 2021 as much as £1 billion a year may be available, it said. [Bloomberg]
  • Increased focus on curbing the emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants is fuelling the global solar power market. Coupled with favourable legislation and the need to enhance energy self-sufficiency and security, these factors will help the solar power market grow rapidly. [Greentech Media]
  • South Australia’s Tindo Solar is being provided up to $20 million senior debt finance from the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to locally manufacture, install and own rooftop solar arrays and sell the power to building occupants under a power purchase agreement. [Manufacturers' Monthly]
  • The Government of Rwanda is preparing to commission in early August 2014 the first utility-scale solar PV power plant in East Africa with a production capacity of 8.5 MW. The project has commenced testing phase of up to 20% of its total capacity. [AltEnergyMag]
  • First Solar has submitted an application to build a huge solar power plant in Chile. According to a press release from the Centre for Renewable Energy, the plant will be one of the biggest in the world and the largest in Latin America at 370 MW. [ValueWalk]
  • The European Commission approved the U.K. government’s renewable energy contracts and so-called capacity payments, saying the program that benefits power plants complies with state-aid rules. [Businessweek]

US:

  • According to data from the Solar Industries Association, more than 44% of solar capacity installed in the US during the first quarter was non-utility. Adding that amount to the utility solar power indicates that solar is leading the nation in terms of installations. [CleanTechnica]
  • Though solar power is still far from surpassing coal as America’s primary energy source, the number of people employed by the solar industry has surpassed the number of coal miners. There are about 142,000 people in the US workforce working at least half time on solar. [CleanTechnica]
  • On Wednesday, US Senator Chuck Schumer unveiled a proposal for a federal tax credit to reimburse farmers for 30% of the cost of anaerobic digesters. Such systems can be costly, but the electricity from the waste of 400 cows is enough to power 185 average households. [Albany Times Union]
  • Last year, California created a mandate calling for 1,325 MW of energy storage projects by 2020. As of mid-2014, more than 2,000 MW of energy storage projects have already applied to interconnect with the state’s grid. [Energy Collective]