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jpak

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Member since: 2002
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China Cuts Subsidies for Pilot Solar-Power Projects on Declining Costs

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-02/china-cuts-subsidies-for-pilot-solar-projects-on-declining-costs.html

China, the world’s biggest producer of solar panels, cut subsidies for demonstration sun-power projects approved in 2011 and this year after the cost of components declined.

The government reduced the subsidy for projects approved last year by 11 percent to 8 yuan ($1.3) a watt, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement yesterday. It will offer a subsidy of 7 yuan a watt for those that are eligible for the assistance this year.

The subsidy applies only to projects developed by owners who will consume the power for their own use under the so-called Golden Sun program.

The cost of solar panels fell 47 percent last year as Chinese manufacturers increased production, leading to excess capacity after European governments cut back on subsidies. The price declines has led some some companies including Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) to predict that solar technology is nearing parity with fossil fuels to supply power to national electric grids at a competitive price.

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California solar plans exceed state goals: regulator

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/01/us-solar-california-idUSTRE81001M20120201

The number of proposed solar projects in California last year was 4-1/2 times the level the state needs to meet its 33 percent renewable power target by 2020, a state regulator said on Tuesday.

California is the biggest U.S. solar market, although its share of the new project market has slipped from 80 percent in the middle of the last decade to about a third as other states, such as Arizona, Colorado and New Jersey have stepped up support for renewable energy.

Developers of large, or utility-scale, solar power plants have sought to expand beyond the Golden State, citing the large number of projects under development in California that have filled the state's demand through about 2016.

Still, only about 6 percent of new project proposals last year won approval by the California Public Utilities Commission, commissioner Timothy Alan Simon said at the Solar Power Generation Conference in Las Vegas.

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Falling solar prices good for climate, bad for firms

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/01/climate-solar-prices-idUSL5E8CV3LT20120201

There is a bright side to the plunge in solar panel prices that has brought down some U.S. and German manufacturers which relied too heavily on subsidies for green energy - solar power costs have fallen faster than anyone thought possible.

The falls in prices for photovoltaic components, pushed down by economies of scale and fierce competition from China, have made solar nearly as cheap as conventional sources in Germany's electricity grid.

The boom in Germany, the world's biggest photovoltaic market with 24,000 megawatts of installed capacity, has also helped to drive down costs worldwide, making solar a more viable and accessible alternative to fossil fuels in places ranging from India and the Middle East to Africa and North America.

The unexpectedly rapid drop in global solar prices has nevertheless hit some equipment makers hard - producers like Solyndra in the United States and Solon in Germany that failed to keep pace and ended up in bankruptcy protection.

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Town turns off wind, opts for solar energy (Duxbury, Mass.)

http://www.boston.com/news/local/massachusetts/articles/2012/02/02/duxbury_turns_off_wind_project_buys_solar_energy_instead/

At a time of accelerating production of both wind and solar energy, Duxbury officials have decided to buy solar energy produced elsewhere and take their own wind project off the table.

“It’s an opportunity to save money,’’ Jim Goldenberg, chairman of the town’s Alternative Energy Committee, said after town selectmen signed a 20-year agreement with a solar energy company that plans to build its facility in Acushnet.

The deal is expected to save the town up to $30,000 a year in energy costs and supply about 25 percent of the energy the town needs to run facilities such as schools, Town Hall, and other buildings, officials say. The producer, Pegasus Renewable Energy Partners LLC of Marstons Mills, has yet to begin construction of the solar farm. It’s expected to take about a year to begin producing power.

Duxbury is also moving ahead on a plan to lease its capped landfill to a private developer, American Capital Energy, a national company whose customers include the Army, to build a solar energy farm there. Town Meeting backed the project last fall.

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Siemens supplies 100 MW of wind turbines to Morocco

http://www.reinforcedplastics.com/view/23560/siemens-supplies-100-mw-of-wind-turbines-to-morocco/

Siemens Energy has secured its first wind turbine orders in Africa, with a total of 100 MW to Nareva Holding for the Haouma and Foum El Oued Wind Power Plants in Morocco.

Both wind farms are expected to commence commercial operation by summer 2013.

"These two orders mark Siemens Wind Power´s entry on the African wind market and clearly show that our internationalisation strategy is successful," says Felix Ferlemann, CEO of the Siemens Wind Power Division.

The Haouma Wind Farm project will be built in Northern Morocco, approximately 30 km east of Tangier, and 6 km south of the Mediterranean coast. At 50 MW, Haouma will feature 22 Siemens SWT-2.3-93 wind turbines.

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Buffett's utility votes for wind energy

http://www.evwind.es/noticias.php?id_not=16361

MidAmerican Energy, owned by Warren Buffett, said this week that it will set up a new unregulated subsidiary to invest in wind power, solar power, geothermal energy and hydro projects.

The electric utility owned by one of America's best-known investors, a man noted for his thoughtful view of investment fundamentals, is planning a systematic organizational push into wind power and other renewable forms of energy.

MidAmerican Energy, owned by Warren Buffett (known as the "Sage of Omaha" for his investment prowess), said this week that it will set up a new unregulated subsidiary to invest in wind power, solar energy, geothermal energy and hydro projects.

Of particular note were the comments of two senior MidAmerican officials regarding the new subsidiary. Greg Abel, the utility's chairman, president and CEO, said, "We look forward to expanding our wind farm, geothermal energy, solar energy and hydro portfolio. We believe the need for renewable energy will continue to grow." Jonathan Weisgall, MidAmerican's Vice President for Federal Policy, added, "This is a vote for renewable energy. It is not a bet."

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Calif. seeks flexible power rules as wind expands

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/30/us-utilities-california-idUSTRE80T20T20120130

The California power grid wants to make sure it can keep electricity flowing as residents rely on a greater amount of wind and solar power and strict water rules force the shutdown of power plants along the coast in the next few years, the agency said.

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Among the challenges of integrating a 33 percent renewable mandate "is ensuring that the ISO has sufficient flexible capacity to address the added variability and unpredictability created by intermittent resources," the agency said.

"This challenge is magnified even further with the prospect of losing over 12,000 megawatts of flexible capacity resources to once-through-cooling mandates established by the State Water Resources Control Board," the report added.

The ISO requested a waiver last week at the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to be able to compensate Calpine Corp to keep a 500-megawatt natural gas-fired plant operating even as weak power prices have made the 10-year old plant uneconomical, according to its owner.

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Goldwind Signs $5.5 Billion China Development Bank Wind Pact

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=post&forum=1127

Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Xinjiang Goldwind Science Technology & Co., China’s second-largest wind-turbine maker, signed a financial agreement with China Development Bank Corp. for wind power projects worth 35 billion yuan ($5.5 billion).

The accord signed through its unit Beijing Tianrun New Energy Investment Corp. also covers asset acquisition, Goldwind said today in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange. The agreement runs to 2013, according to Urumqi-based Goldwind.

Goldwind’s latest agreement comes after it received a 10 billion-yuan credit facility from Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. in November. China’s state-controlled banks are signing billions of dollars of credit lines with wind and solar manufacturers including Sinovel Wind Group Co. and Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. to fund capacity expansion and overseas business, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“The Chinese Development Bank is helping domestic companies fund overseas expansion and asset purchases as their home market slows,” Lawrence Brader, a Hong Kong-based trader at Parry International Trading Ltd., said today by e-mail.

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National Solar Power announces 3rd giant PV project in FL

http://www.cleanenergyauthority.com/solar-energy-news/national-solar-announces-giant-pv-project-in-fl-013112/

National Solar Power is continuing in its efforts to catch up with New Jersey’s and California’s solar markets. Last week the company announced its third utility-scale PV farm in the Sunshine State. This time, the company announced plans to build a PV farm in Liberty County, Florida.

It’s the third project the company has announced since September 2011. Its first project is a 400-megawatt PV farm in Gadsden County, Fla. It’s second is a 200-megawatt farm in Hardee County, Fla., which it announced in December 2011.

The company also is looking into developing projects in other southeastern states, according Ryan Banfill, a spokesperson for National Solar.

“The Liberty plant will be up to 100 megawatts in size and represent an up-to-$350-million investment. It’s on some land that’s near where National Solar is planning the farm in Gadsden County,” Banfill said. “It’s like low-index timberland. There are a lot of trees over in that part of Florida.”

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Global warming not caused by increased solar activity (NASA)

http://www.tgdaily.com/sustainability-features/61128-global-warming-not-caused-by-increased-solar-activity

A new NASA study has confirmed that it's greenhouse gases - not changes in solar activity - that are the main cause of global warming

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And Hansen's team has concluded that the Earth absorbed over half a watt more solar energy per square meter than it emitted throughout the six-year study period. This imbalance is more than twice as much as the fall in incoming solar energy between maximum and minimum solar activity.

"The fact that we still see a positive imbalance despite the prolonged solar minimum isn't a surprise, given what we've learned about the climate system, but it's worth noting because this provides unequivocal evidence that the sun is not the dominant driver of global warming," says James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

According to the team's calculations, the imbalance implies that carbon dioxide levels need to be reduced to about 350 parts per million to restore the energy budget to equilibrium. They're currently 392 parts per million, and scientists expect the figure to continue to rise in the future.

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