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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 40,876

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Natural-Gas Futures Extend Gains



Futures added to Monday's gains that were sparked by Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s decision to cut production in response to low gas prices.

"This is continued momentum from yesterday's announcement from Chesapeake," said Matt Smith, an analyst with Summit Energy. "This has set in a concrete level where production will start to come off."

After gas fell to the lowest price in nearly a decade last week, signs that producers are prepared to turn off the taps have motivated investors to take profits generated from bets on falling prices, a move known as covering a short position.

Chesapeake on Monday said it will immediately curtail 0.5 billion cubic feet a day of gas production, or about 8% of its total output, adding that it could cut an additional 0.5 billion cubic feet a day.


free market manipulation


Federal reports highlight untapped energy potential of Maine tides, waves (


ELLSWORTH, Maine — The waves and tidal currents off the coast of Maine represent a vast, largely untapped energy resource capable of producing more than 15 trillion watts of electricity per year, according to two federal reports.

Maine’s turbulent oceans and surging tidal rivers have long been regarded as enormous pools of renewable energy. Two recent reports from the U.S. Department of Energy attempt to attach a figure to that potential in Maine and across the country as both policymakers and energy developers seek new, more environmentally friendly ways to meet the nation’s energy demands.

The two separate assessments of potential wave energy and tidal energy sources in Maine determined that if developed to their maximum potential those sources could contribute more than 15 terawatt-hours of electricity annually. Nationwide, the total theoretical generation capacity was more than 1,400 terawatt-hours per year, which is roughly one-third of the nation’s annual electricity use.

Federal officials acknowledged that those are theoretical figures and that not all the potential resources could realistically be tapped. But they said the reports showed the potential for expanding the nation’s use of hydropower of all types to generate electricity — and that Maine could play a major role in that expansion.


New York State Expands Solar Incentives


Last week in the New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State address, he announced an initiative with a goal of quadrupling solar energy installations by 2013. In New York’s budget plan that was unveiled yesterday, details of the two new tax credits in what’s being called the “NY-Sun Initiative” were released.

First off, commercial customers would be exempt from state sales tax on solar electric systems. Local governments can opt to waive their local sales tax as well. This expands the current tax credit that is only for residential customers.

Leased systems will also quality for a state income tax credit of a proposed 12.5%, or half of what homeowners currently get for a purchased system.

Carol E. Murphy, Executive Director of the Alliance for Clean Energy New York said the group “applauds Governor Cuomo’s call for energy efficiency and the expansion of our renewable resources.”


Profit from China’s renewed solar appetite (will eat our lunch)


China's Ministry of Commerce is considering including solar products such solar panels and solar water heaters in its home appliance subsidy scheme for rural buyers in hopes to boost domestic consumption of solar companies and the green industry as a whole.Currently farmers are allegeable to receive subsidies equal to 13% of the price of designated types of electrical home appliances in the plan.

The shift in sentiment should benefit the China's solar industry, a sector that has been doing well in recent years driven by various governments' efforts to promote alternative energy. However, many of China's solar companies have suffered on Wall Street, given slow growth in the industry globally, overcapacity and shrinking foreign demand.

The Ministry of Commerce is considering more policies to stimulate domestic consumption and some "fiscal incentives" could be given to drive the sale of household solar products, MOC spokesman Shen Danyang told a press conference Wednesday.


Solar surge hurts coal, deepens Merkel's puzzle (Germany)


Germany is installing so many solar panels that profits at coal-fired power stations run by EON AG and RWE AG may slide more than 40 percent by the middle of 2012.

The country, Europe’s biggest electricity market, installed a record 3,000 megawatts of new panels in December, the Bonn- based Bundesnetzagentur, the network regulator, said this month. The prospect of a glut of power may drive the margin from burning coal to generate electricity, the so-called clean-dark spread, as low as 5 euros ($6.43) a megawatt hour by July, according to UBS AG. It was at 8.70 euros at 8:15 p.m. in Berlin Wednesday, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

"There is not much overcapacity yet, but it will get worse as there is a lot of new supply coming," Patrick Hummel, an analyst at UBS in Zurich who has covered German energy for more than 10 years, said by e-mail on Jan. 16. Germany may be oversupplied for at least five years, according to the bank.


Operators of coal and gas plants including EON and RWE lose a combined 300 million euros in pretax earnings per year, based on current installed solar capacity cutting operating hours at fossil-burning plants, according to Hummel.


World's Largest Wind Farm in Wyoming to Be Equipped with 1000 Wind Turbines


The 2500 GW to be generated are part of the Chokecherry and Sierra Madre Wind Energy facility, a 2012 energetic priority for the US Interior Department.

World’s biggest wind farm could be built in Wyoming with 1,000 wind turbines. Europe was the global leader with cumulative installed wind energy capacity of 86 GW at the end of 2010, Asia was second with 58.6 GW and North America was third with 44.1 GW of wind power.

Anyone who has ever travelled through Wyoming comes away realising that the US state is an iconic symbol of wide-open spaces, intimidating mountain ranges and powerful winds.

Building on this natural bounty, it now seems likely that the state will soon be home to North America’s largest wind farm — as many as 1,000 wind turbines generating up to 2,500 megawatts of emissions-free electricity for 30 years.


note: I'm pretty sure they meant 2500 MW - not GW...

First Wind gets OK for (150 MW) Maine wind project


Energy company First Wind has landed approval from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for its proposed 150 megawatt Oakfield Wind project in Aroostook County, Maine, where it could create 300 local construction jobs, according to the company.

The Boston-based wind energy company said it submitted an amendment in June 2011 to increase the size of its original proposal for a 51 megawatt Oakfield project, which received approval from the Maine DEP in January 2010. The company added that it hopes to move ahead with the project soon.

“The local review process on this project has been unprecedented,” Matt Kearns, First Wind’s vice president of business development, said in a statement. “We provided resources for the town to hire independent sound experts, engineers, and lawyers and participated in a lengthy and robust review process in which issues of local interest were fully reviewed. We did that both for the originally planned project, and again based on the revised project layout.”

Located about 2.5 miles from the center of Oakfield, Maine, the project will consist of 50 3-megawatt turbines that have the capacity to power more than 48,000 homes.


Report: Wind turbines don’t cause health problems


There is little to no evidence that wind turbines pose a risk to the health of residents living near them, a panel of independent scientists and doctors found in a report commissioned by the state Department of Environmental Protection.

The panel concluded that there is no rigorous research showing that churning turbines or the resulting flickering light and vibrations produce dizziness, nausea, depression, or anxiety - a set of symptoms that critics call “wind turbine syndrome.’’

But the 164-page report released yesterday found “limited evidence’’ that the noise from wind turbines can result in sleep disruption and annoyance.

“It is extremely important that we have the best science available to us as we make decisions on wind energy,’’ Kenneth Kimmell, state environmental protection commissioner, said in an interview.


Solar PV Competitive With Oil And Gas In MENA Nations


With the cost of solar panels and associated equipment dropping rapidly while gas prices have been rising, solar PV is now competitive with fossil fuel in many Middle East/North Africa (MENA) countries for electricity generation.

According to a recent report from the Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA), when oil or LNG prices are above US$13 /million British thermal units (MMBtu) or around $80/barrel oil, solar PV projects become commercially viable - and without subsidies. With solar PV pricing expected to fall further, it will then become a case where harvesting clean energy from the sun becomes an even better proposition.

EISA also points out that in most MENA countries, electricity prices at the consumption end are subsidised - through financial support of the generator or regulated prices well below fuel import prices; or the price at which that fuel could be exported. An example is Saudi Arabia, where oil is supplied to power plants for as little as $2.70 a barrel. This presents an "opportunity cost" loss of around $50 billion annually - over 10% of Saudi Arabia's nominal GDP.

Given such support, solar power is viewed as uncompetitive - but the loss to the Saudi government and consequently its people through propping up fossil fuel based power generation is massive. Removal of electricity subsidies, or extension of those subsidies to solar power, would level the playing field says EISA.


Polysilicon Prices To Drop in 2012, Bringing Solar PV Prices to 70 Cents a Watt


The structural oversupply of solar modules on the global market has driven down prices for photovoltaic panels at an astonishing pace. And new analysis shows that decline will only continue into 2012.

In 2011, the average selling price for crystalline silicon PV modules was cut in half — falling from $1.80 at the beginning of the year to $0.90 in December, according GTM Research.

With a glut of silicon now on the market, buyers are starting to renegotiate contracts downward. This could help drop the average price for crystalline silicon solar modules to as low as $0.70 a watt.

Brett Prior, a senior analyst with GTM Research explains how a ramp-up in silicon production activity in 2011 will impact the market over the coming year:

In 2011, in the polysilicon industry — and the solar supply chain in general — manufacturing outpaced end-use. After a half-decade of silicon demand outstripping supply, the aggressive expansion plans finally overshot. This supply/demand imbalance will push producers to lower contract prices closer to the level of manufacturing costs at $20 per kilogram, and will force higher-cost manufacturers to exit the industry. While the solar market will continue to grow at a 10 percent to 20 percent pace in the coming years, reductions in the amount of silicon used in each module means that end demand for polysilicon will grow at a slower pace. The end result is that the current roster of over 170 polysilicon manufacturers and startups will likely be winnowed down to a dozen survivors by the end of decade.

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