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jpak

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 38,259

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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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Arizona's Buckeye Union High School District Dedicates 4.29-Megawatt Solar Generation Project

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/arizonas-buckeye-union-high-school-district-dedicates-429-megawatt-solar-generation-project-from-constellation-energy-2012-01-31

Constellation Energy CEG -0.40% and the Buckeye Union High School District, today announced the completion of an aggregate 4.29-megawatt (DC) solar generation project. Baltimore-based Constellation Energy's retail business owns and will maintain the solar power systems. In return, the school district will purchase and receive all of the electricity generated by the solar panels at a fixed rate from Constellation Energy under a 25-year solar services agreement.

Located at three sites -- Buckeye Union High School and Youngker High School in Buckeye, Ariz. and Estrella Foothills High School in Goodyear, Ariz. -- the installations collectively generate enough electricity to power the three high schools, meeting up to 70 percent of the school district's electricity needs.

The installations, which were developed by GV Enterprises and REgeneration Finance and built by CORE Construction, were facilitated, in part, by the Arizona Corporation Commission-approved APS Renewable Energy Incentive Program. This program offers financial incentives, covering up to 40 percent of the installation costs, to customers who add renewable energy systems to their homes or businesses.

In honor of the solar project completion, a celebration and ribbon-cutting were held today at Buckeye Union High School. Students as well as representatives from Buckeye Union High School District, Constellation Energy, APS, GV Enterprises, REgeneration Finance, CORE Construction and elected officials were on hand for the event, including Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck.

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U.S. May Slap Tariff on China’s Solar Firms

http://www.loansafe.org/u-s-may-slap-tariff-on-chinas-solar-firms

Chinese solar panel companies are receiving illegal subsidies on “massive” imports of their products in the United States, the Commerce Department’s International Trade Administration said on Monday in a preliminary determination.

Federal officials notified U.S. importers of solar panels and parts used to make solar panels from Wuxi Suntech Power Co., Ltd.; Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd.; and all other Chinese producers or exporters that a tariff could be imposed on imports retroactive to early December.

The preliminary determination is not enforceable but includes regulators’ initial findings that they have a “reasonable basis to believe or suspect” the allegations are valid. The determination states that the increase in Chinese-made solar panel imports has been “massive over a relatively short period of time,” based, in part, on an imports increase of 15 percent or more.

Industry officials in the United States urged caution in interpreting the findings before they are final.

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