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jpak

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Solar Power Is Now Just As Cheap As Conventional Electricity In Italy And Germany

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/03/24/3418145/solar-grid-parity-italy-germany/

Once all its costs are accounted for, the price of commercial solar power has pulled even with retail electricity rates in Italy and Germany, according to a new report.

The analysis is the third installment in a regular report by the consulting firm Eclareon, done on behalf of an international group of sustainable energy interests. This installment was also the first to look at solar power in the commercial sector rather than the residential sector. It looked at a standard 30 kilowatt solar photovoltaic system for your average commercial building, and the built a methodology to assess its “leveled cost of energy” (LCOE) in seven different countries: Brazil, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico and Spain.

The LCOE of any source of power — solar, natural gas, coal, wind, etc — accounts for everything that goes into determining that electricity’s cost: installation, maintenance, investment, the electricity itself, depreciation, and so forth. The goal is to give a more complete picture of each power source’s economic position vis-a-vis its rivals.

According to Eclareon’s analysis, solar’s LCOE in Italy and Germany is now at “grid parity,” meaning it’s even with retail electricity prices in general in those countries. Spain’s already gotten there as well, and Mexico and France are coming up.

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In bid against gas, Minnesota regulators say solar can proceed (100 MW)

http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2014/03/27/in-bid-against-gas-minnesota-regulators-say-solar-can-proceed/

A proposed $250 million distributed solar project appears to have held its own in a Minnesota regulatory process that put it in competition with three natural gas options.

The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission on Thursday ordered Xcel Energy to pursue a power-purchase agreement with a Twin Cities solar developer to meet part of its projected generation shortfall later this decade.

Geronimo Energy’s 100 megawatt solar proposal will be paired with one or more natural gas projects, to be determined later, to provide up to 500 megawatts of new generation Xcel expects to need by 2019.

The agreements would be subject to further review by the PUC.

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China's geothermal energy could replace coal

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/848321.shtml#.UySooz9dWbs

China's geothermal energy potential roughly equals 853 billion tonnes of standard coal, and has the potential to replace coal in energy consumption, the country's energy regulator said on Thursday.

Current annual exploration of geothermal energy has reached only about three million tonnes, according to the National Energy Administration (NEA).

Exploration of geothermal energy will facilitate the restructuring of energy consumption as coal consumption amounts to about 66 percent of China's total energy consumption.

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Offshore wind power's eye-popping capacity factors

http://earthtechling.com/2014/02/offshore-wind-powers-eye-popping-capacity-factors/

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Capacity factor, as many EarthTechling readers know, is a measure of how much energy a generator produces over a period of time as a percentage of the maximum it could produce. So you take the total amount of energy produced in, say, a year, and divide by the amount of power the generator would produce had it run continuously at 100 percent.

Wind power capacity factors vary considerably by site, but generally people think around 30 to 35 percent when they talk about capacity factors for wind. But in Denmark in 2013, 13 offshore wind farms, totaling installed capacity of 1,271 megawatts, together had a capacity factor of 42.7 percent.

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2013: A year of record highs for Danish wind energy

http://www.stateofgreen.com/en/Newsroom/2013-A-Year-of-Record-Highs-for-Danish-Wind-Energy

2013 marked many records for the expansion of wind energy in Denmark. At year end, more than 33% of Danish electricity was supplied from wind turbines and 656 new MW were connected to the electricity grid - of which 307 MW were land-based.

The share of wind power in the Danish electricity grid reached roughly a third of the total Danish electricity consumption in 2013 (33,2%).

This marks an increase of 3,12 percentage points, which is the second-largest ever recorded in Denmark, only surpassed by a 6,27 percentage point increase in 2011.

Measured in terms of megawatt, 2013 surpassed all previous years with a net increase of 609 MW, excluding older dismantled turbines, bringing the total Danish wind capacity to 4,772 MW at year end:

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Excess Wind Power Turned Into Gas in Denmark Using Hydrogenics Technology

http://www.nasdaq.com/press-release/excess-wind-power-turned-into-gas-in-denmark-using-hydrogenics-technology-20140218-00145

MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, Feb. 18, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hydrogenics Corporation(Nasdaq:HYGS) (TSX:HYG), a leading developer and manufacturer of hydrogen generation and hydrogen-based power modules, today announced that it will be a participating partner of the Power-to-Gas Biological Catalysis ("BioCat" Project in Denmark. The "BioCat" installation will use hydrogen made ​​from excess wind power to convert biogas from sewage sludge into cleaner methane gas. This new Danish energy project will illustrate how future energy systems can be better integrated.

The "BioCat" project has received 27.6 million DKK (€3.7 million) in funding from the Danish research pool ForskEL. The consortium is led by Electrochaea, a developer of methanation technologies for Power-to-Gas applications, and the Danish transmission system operator for power and gas, Energinet. Other partners in the BioCat consortium include Hydrogenics, Audi, NEAS Energy, HMN Gashandal, Spildevandscenter Avedore, and Insero Business Services.

For this project, Hydrogenics will install a 1 MW water electrolysis plant in Spildevandscenter Avedøre, one of the largest wastewater treatment facilities in Denmark. The site will use surplus electricity from the grid to produce hydrogen using Hydrogenics' electrolyzer, and the hydrogen will then be combined with carbon dioxide from raw biogas and fed into a separate bioreactor - in which microorganisms will perform a catalytic reaction to produce pipeline-grade renewable methane. The facility will be operated in different modes to demonstrate its ability to produce methane under dynamic operations, including while providing ancillary services to the electricity grid. The product gas will be injected into a nearby gas distribution system, and the by-products - oxygen and heat - will be recycled onsite in the wastewater treatment process. The biomethanation technology was developed by Electrochaea.

The 1 MW electrolyzer from Hydrogenics will contribute to electricity balancing through the services of NEAS Energy, thus ensuring optimal use of available wind power and demonstrating the full potential of electrolysis for grid management and regulation. The upgraded methane will be supplied to the local gas distribution system and traded by HMN Gashandel, a Danish energy service and gas distribution company managing gas grids, biogas upgrading plants, and grid injection facilities.

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1,100 MW Solar PV Project Now Under Construction In China

http://cleantechnica.com/2014/03/14/commission-1-1-gw-pv-solar-project-commenced-china/

The development of a huge 1.1GW solar power plant project in China’s Gansu Province has begun, with China-based solar manufacturer and developer, China Singyes Solar Technologies Holdings, announcing the commencement of the 300MW ‘first phase’ in Hongshagang Industrial Park in Minqin County, Wuwei.

Development of the 1.1GW PV plant was announced by Singyes in December last year, as part of a broader deal with the Minqin County government to establish an environmental industry and clean energy development zone, including a solar R&D base.

This 300MW first phase of the solar power plant is expected to be completed by the end of 2014, and have an average annual power generating output of 480 million kWh. The overall project has a planned construction period of five years.

Singyes, which is listed on Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, has been enjoying a good run, lately – last week bucking a broader market slump to hit a record high at $HK12.58 during the Friday session.

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How Texas Made Wind Energy a Real Player

http://blog.ucsusa.org/wind-energy-in-texas-431

Press reports of Texas completing new transmission lines for wind describe an energy boom with a difference — this is carbon-free wind energy. The grid operator in Texas, ERCOT, says agreements are already done for 7,500 MW of new wind power, most of which will be using the new transmission lines by 2016. That will put installed Texas wind around 20,000 MW. There are 15 U.S. states with 1,000 MW or more, but Texas wind is already twice as big as the next largest wind states, California and Iowa.

For size comparison, ERCOT’s winter demand for electricity can hit 57,000 MW, and summer demand peaks upwards of 68,000 MW. The energy from wind varies with the weather and time of day, as does the electric demand. Line these up, and see how much has wind actually contributed: on Christmas Day, 2013, wind supplied 26 percent of ERCOT’s electricity use. On January 29, 2013, Texas wind power produced 32 percent of total electricity needed.

How has this happened?

This is a great story of collective action, mandated by the Texas state legislature. It all started with the Texas RPS law, signed by Governor Bush. Once Texans found wind could be profitable, the legislature raised the RPS and set out this transmission planning-and-building requirement known as CREZ. Eight years in the making, from designing the transmission to completion.

During these eight years, many advocacy efforts tried to describe how to duplicate this in other regions. Texas does all its electricity policy and planning in one city, Austin. There isn’t any other state involved, and the electricity sector is largely exempt from Federal energy market rules. These unique circumstances have not been available to another transmission-for-wind effort.

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LePage intervention in Statoil deal could damage Maine’s image in global energy

http://bangordailynews.com/2013/09/23/business/business-consultant-lepage-intervention-in-statoil-deal-could-damage-maines-image-in-global-energy-market/?ref=comments

AUGUSTA, Maine — New revelations about how Gov. Paul LePage’s administration worked behind the scenes to stymie Statoil’s offshore energy project are renewing worries about the state’s image in the eyes of the international business community.

Prior to pushing legislation in June that essentially put the Norwegian company’s project on hold while the University of Maine could prepare a competing proposal, the LePage administration initially attempted “a much more aggressive effort to explicitly void” the state’s agreement with Statoil, according to a report published Sunday by the Associated Press, which obtained emails and documents regarding Statoil’s project in Maine through a Freedom of Access Act request.

If true, the revelations further hurt Maine’s image in the eyes of the international business community, according to Annette Bossler, an international business consultant based in Bremen.

“That Associated Press article is in every major U.S. national newspaper and it’s only a matter of days until it will get picked up by the international media,” Bossler told the Bangor Daily News on Monday. “It does not do much to improve Maine’s image, neither in the offshore wind energy industry or in general, because let’s face it — Statoil is not just in wind, their main business is oil and gas.”

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2012’s Extreme Weather Influenced by Manmade Climate Change

http://www.highlightpress.com/2012s-extreme-weather-influenced-by-manmade-climate-chance/4732/mhoster

2012 was a year or wild, wacky and in some instances downright catastrophic weather. Most regions experienced conditions not befitting the seasons or the kinds of extremes few were prepared for, while others had their lives torn apart by natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy.

And while there’s little to nothing that can be done about what Mother Nature has in store for any of us, the American Meteorological Society has stated that at least some of last year’s extreme weather was entirely our own fault.

The AMS suggests that climate change directly resulting from the activities of the human population may have contributed to the global events of last year. From record rainfall across parts of Europe to the superstorms that wiped whole villages off the map, they warn that to some extent we have only ourselves to blame.

Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration looked into a series of events from last year in order to assess which may have been triggered or at least contributed to by manmade climate change. They concluded that although things like solar radiation the temperatures of the world’s oceans influence different events in different ways, human beings nonetheless played a part in at least 50% of the extreme weather events of 2012.

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