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Member since: Fri Dec 19, 2003, 02:20 AM
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Investment in renewables expected to triple

Renewables Investment Seen Tripling Amid Supply Glut
By Louise Downing and Alex Morales, Bloomberg
April 22, 2013

LONDON -- The plunge in the cost of wind and solar power that bankrupted more than two dozen manufacturers is forecast to spur a tripling of investment in renewables by 2030 and to reduce the grip fossil fuels have on world energy supply.

Annual spending on clean-energy projects that don’t add to greenhouse-gas pollution may rise to $630 billion at the end of the next decade from $190 billion last year, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said in a report today. That’s 37 percent more than estimated in November 2011 and means renewables would account for half of all generation capacity by 2030.

The findings contrast with production gluts that made most solar and wind manufacturers unprofitable last year, tipping a unit of Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP) into bankruptcy and Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS) into record losses. While suppliers are suffering, lower equipment prices are making more projects profitable to develop and advancing the day when renewables can rival coal and oil on cost.

“The apocalyptic views about what it will cost to shift the world to renewable energy simply aren’t true,” Michael Liebreich, chief executive officer of New Energy Finance, said in an interview. “Three years ago, we thought wind and solar would be cheap as chips, and they’ve even gone below that.”...

More at: http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/04/renewables-investment-seen-tripling-amid-supply-glut?cmpid=SolarNL-Tuesday-April23-2013

Brought to you by the American Legislative Exchange Council and Koch Industries

It has nothing to do with the price of gas. And everything to do with maintaining corporate control of energy

American Legislative Exchange Council

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) describes itself as the largest “membership association of state legislators,” but over 98% of its revenue comes from sources other than legislative dues, primarily from corporations and corporate foundations.[1] After the 2010 congressional midterm elections, ALEC boasted that “among those who won their elections, three of the four former state legislators newly-elected to the U.S. Senate are ALEC Alumni and 27 of the 42 former state legislators newly-elected to the U.S. House are ALEC Alumni.” (A full list of the Congressional freshmen who are ALEC alums can be found here.) [2]

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.

ALEC’s agenda extends into almost all areas of law. Its bills undermine environmental regulations and deny climate change; support school privatization; undercut health care reform; defund unions and limit their political influence; restrain legislatures’ abilities to raise revenue through taxes; mandate strict election laws that disenfranchise voters; increase incarceration to benefit the private prison industry, among many other issues. [3]

More at: http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/American_Legislative_Exchange_Council

A couple of previous threads:
Duke Energy Flip-Flop: ALEC Leads Attack on North Carolina Clean Energy with Duke Funding

ALEC forced to make public "hundreds" of model bills.

Duke Energy and the Koch Bros (and ALEC) Kill Clean Energy in NC

Which Country Saw a 20,000% Increase in Clean Energy Investing?

Which Country Saw a 20,000% Increase in Clean Energy Investing?

No, it’s not China.


...In the Pew Charitable Trust’s fourth annual report, Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2012 Edition, Pew and Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that while investment dropped from 2011 to 2012 in G20 countries, it was up by more than 50 percent in non-G20 countries.

And then there’s South Africa. It’s easy to see big gains when you’re starting from nearly zero, and that’s exactly what’s going on in the country. Clean energy investment was up 20,000 percent to about $5.5 billion for 2012 in South Africa, with $4.3 billion for solar and most of the rest going to wind energy.

South Africa’s clean energy program relies largely on reverse auctions that challenge the market to bid in the lowest possible price for projects, said Ethan Zindler, head of policy analysis at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. The country is aiming to have 3.7 gigawatts of renewables by the end of 2016. South Africa’s investment catapulted it into the top ten from nearly last place.

The top dog, however, was clearly China.

In 2012, China took the lead with...

More at:

Republicans Revolt as Arizona’s Utility Proposes Cut in Solar Programs

Those who read EE regularly know I'm of the opinion that a tipping point in 'winners and losers' is fast approaching in the energy sector as renewable 'winners' begin to outweigh (in a political and economic sense) the entrenched system's heavy hitters. I'm not sure that's what we have here, but it certainly has the appearance of that being the case.

Republicans Revolt as Arizona’s Utility Proposes Cut in Solar Programs
“That’s not the conservative way and it’s not the American way.”


As Greentech Media heads to Phoenix for its annual Solar Summit, April 22-24, it will find an Arizona solar industry in bipartisan tumult. Arizona Public Service (APS), the state’s dominant investor-owned utility, proposed doing away with the Arizona renewables standard (RES) distributed generation (DG) carve-out and net metering.

“APS was ordered to address how it would comply with the RES rules if direct cash incentives were no longer available and it no longer received Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) from customers,” an APS representative testified to the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC), which regulates the state’s utilities. “APS proposes to track the energy produced...[but] there would no longer be a requirement that affected utilities acquire a particular amount of RECs.”

“They view the recent election of an all-Republican ACC as an opportunity to kill the independent solar market in Arizona,” said Jason Rose, spokesperson for Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed (TUSK), a newly formed organization led by former Arizona Republican Congressman Barry Goldwater, Jr.

TUSK believes it would be “very un-Republican” to take energy choice away from Arizonans, Rose said.

"We have no greater resource than our sun,” Goldwater states on the TUSK website...


See also: India's Prime Minister Vows to Double Renewable Energy Capacity

India's Prime Minister Vows to Double Renewable Energy Capacity
By Jeff Postelwait, Associate Editor, Electric Light & Power
April 18, 2013

India will seek to double the amount of renewable energy it can generate to 55 GW in the next four years, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in his inaugural address.

"It is proposed to double the renewable energy capacity in our country from 25,000 MW in 2012 to 55,000 MW by the year 2017. This would include exploiting non-conventional energy sources such as solar, wind power and energy from biomass," Singh said.

These initiatives were announced as part of the prime minister's presentation of India's 12th Five Year Plan.

Developed countries are the ones best poised to help meet the challenge of climate change, he said, adding that India has set a goal of cutting its energy use by 20 to 25 percent by 2020 by increasing its energy efficiency.

Another measure ...


Right Wing myth: The United States cannot rely on renewables

Report Says Major Boost In Renewables Would Not Hurt U.S. Grid Reliability
by NAW Staff on Thursday 18 April 2013

If the U.S. ceases to burn coal, shuts down a quarter of existing nuclear reactors and trims its use of natural gas by 2050, the resulting increased reliance on wind, solar and other renewables will not result in a less reliable electricity grid, according to a new report prepared by Synapse Energy Economics Inc. for the nonprofit Civil Society Institute.

The new study finds that in the envisioned 2050 with a heavy reliance on renewables, regional electricity generation supply could meet or exceed demand in 99.4% of hours, with load being met without imports from other regions and without turning to reserve storage. In addition, the report adds, surplus power would be available to export in 8.6% of all hours, providing an ample safety net where needed from one region of the U.S. to the next.

"Put simply, the message today is this: It is a myth to say that the United States cannot rely on renewables for the bulk of its electricity generation,” says Thomas Vitolo, analyst at Synapse Energy Economics Inc. and the report’s co-author. “This study finds that the projected mixes, based entirely on existing technology and operational practices, are capable of balancing projected load in 2030 and 2050 for each region - in nearly every hour of every season of the year."


Download report with this link:

Assessing Risk and Cost in India: Solar's Trajectory Compared to Coal

Assessing Risk and Cost in India: Solar's Trajectory Compared to Coal
By Sourabh Sen, Co-Chairman, Astonfield Renewables
April 17, 2013

Only months after the world's largest electricity blackout, which left over 600 million people in the dark, the energy supply gap in India has reached a level that jeopardizes the country's economic growth prospects and national security. Last July, average peak demand exceeded supply by 10.5 gigawatts (GW), or roughly 8.1 percent, according to the Central Electricity Authority (CEA). In January, demand exceeded supply by 8.4 GW, or roughly 9.9 percent. In 2006, India's Integrated Energy Policy developed by the country's central Planning Commission estimated that installed energy capacity in the country would need to reach 960 GW by 2031-32 in order to support 9 percent annual GDP growth. As of January 2013, India's installed capacity base stood at only 213 GW, implying that almost 37 GW of new generation capacity (the equivalent of 37 nuclear power plants) would need to be commissioned each year for the next two decades in order to meet this target.

With such ambitious requirements set against a lack of abundant domestic conventional energy resources, solar power must play a significant role in supporting the country’s power sector growth plan. The country’s landmark national solar policy, implemented through the Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM), aims to build 20 GW of solar generation capacity by 2022, although the market opportunity is generally believed to be multiples of that target. But as India builds other types of power plants to electrify the 400 million people who were without power before the blackouts, some inevitable scenarios are becoming a reality. Coal-based power’s cost and risk profile is steadily climbing, and solar energy is becoming increasingly attractive (i.e. more economically viable). Coal’s predicament is based principally on domestic fuel scarcity and fuel price volatility driven by increasing reliance of importation of the resource, which affects both existing plants and those under construction.


India has made great strides in building new power generation capacity. In the past five years, the country has added 35 percent more generation, reaching over 213 GW—though a good portion of that capacity is not available during periods of peak demand due to fuel inventory shortages. Coal represents approximately 57.2 percent of India’s total power capacity. This heavy reliance on coal power will exacerbate India’s energy crisis and affect every sector of its economy.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance estimates, in July, the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for coal was estimated to be approximately Rs.1.9-4.8 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). However, it is well documented that coal supply shortages have crippled the nation’s ability to meet electric demand, and the ability for new coal plants to secure supply contracts. Private coal plant developers have said that over 68 GW worth of new coal projects are at risk of default because they cannot secure supply.

The coal supply gap could be five times as big as it is today in 2017, according to Credit Suisse, and the cost of importing coal could equal 1 percent of GDP. The Economist reported last January that benchmark coal prices have risen at least 50 percent above its 2009 average. Others have pegged it as high as 180 percent. Meanwhile, solar module prices have fallen 70 percent since 2009.

Coal’s risk profile should make anyone shudder...


45 GigaWatts of wind installed in 2012

Global Wind Power Capacity Increased 19 Percent in 2012
By James Montgomery, Associate Editor, RenewableEnergyWorld.com
April 17, 2013

New Hampshire, USA -- Wind power surged to a new record in 2012 with nearly 45 gigawatts (GW) of new installations, a 10 percent increase from 2011, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)'s Annual Market Update. Global installed capacity increased roughly 19 percent to 282.6 GW, which is slightly below the 22 percent average annual growth rate over the last 10 years.


Thanks to the expiring production tax credit (PTC), the US connected over 13.1 GW of new wind power capacity in 2012, exceeding 50 GW of total wind power capacity, nearly a 30 percent increase from 2011. Canada added 935 MW of new wind capacity, a slowdown from 1.2 GW in 2011, but still its second-best year, while 2013 is expected to see a surge to 1.5 GW of new capacity. Mexico more than doubled its installed capacity in 2012 to exceed 1.3 GW.

China added nearly 13 GW of new wind capacity in 2012, a significant drop over the past three years. Nonetheless, China's electricity generated by wind energy surpassed 100 million MWh, making up 2 percent of the country's total electricity output (up from 1.5 percent in 2011). China's total cumulative installed wind power capacity is now more than 75 GW, nearly tripling over the past three years.

India is another key market for wind, but also saw a bit of a slowdown in 2012. New wind energy installations exceeded 2.3 GW, with 18.4 GW in cumulative total. Wind power accounted for about 69 percent of total renewable energy capacity of 26.9 GW in India. Japan, meanwhile, continues its slow transition to a diversified energy mix with more renewable energy options. The country added 88 MW of new installations in 2012 for a cumulative capacity of 2.6 GW, translating to roughly 0.5 percent of total power supply...

Future of fossil fuels: Back-up for renewables

Have you seen this meme being pushed on DU?
"The nuclear industry has been trying to ridicule Angela Merkel’s decision to exit nuclear, suggesting that without nuclear grid operators will simply turn to more polluting energy sources such as coal or gas. Germany is their Exhibit A, where they insist that 20GW of coal-fired power will be required to be built to substitute for retired nuclear plant."

Here is what those pushing that meme know, but hope no one will mention:

Future of fossil fuels: Back-up for renewables

By Giles Parkinson on 28 August 2012

The two largest electricity utilities in Germany – E.ON and RWE – have declared they will build no more fossil fuel generation plants because they are not needed, challenging a widespread belief that the phasing out of nuclear in Europe’s most industrialised economy will require more coal-fired generation to be built.

Both E.ON and RWE say the rapid expansion of renewable energy, particularly solar but also wind, would make up for the loss of capacity from nuclear. “We won’t be building any more gas and coal power generation plants in western Europe, because the market does not need them,” a spokesman for E.ON told reporters at a briefing at the group’s headquarters on Friday. RWE made a similar statement a week earlier. A third major operator, Vattenfall, agreed that the market in Western Europe is oversupplied but said some limited capacity may be needed in the southern part of Germany.

The nuclear industry has been trying to ridicule Angela Merkel’s decision to exit nuclear, suggesting that without nuclear grid operators will simply turn to more polluting energy sources such as coal or gas. Germany is their Exhibit A, where they insist that 20GW of coal-fired power will be required to be built to substitute for retired nuclear plant.

But that’s not happening. The only fossil fuel plants that are being built are those committed to, or commenced, before the nuclear phase out was announced. And not only do Germany’s two biggest utilities dismiss the need for additional coal or gas capacity, they say that the current fossil fuel generation will ultimately be relegated to a role of back-up generation for renewables, rather than being called upon to supply “baseload” power. In some cases it is already happening. Indeed, a 2,200MW lignite-fuelled power station opened by RWE this month is designed to act as a sort of peaking plant, with the ability to ramp up (and down) 500MW of capacity within 15 to 30 minutes.

This is a fundamental transformation of the energy industry...


And this is where you end up:
Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time

ABSTRACT - We model many combinations of renewable electricity sources (inland wind, offshore wind, and photovoltaics) with electrochemical storage (batteries and fuel cells), incorporated into a large grid system (72 GW). The purpose is twofold: 1) although a single renewable genera- tor at one site produces intermittent power, we seek combinations of diverse renewables at diverse sites, with storage, that are not intermittent and satisfy need a given fraction of hours. And 2) we seek minimal cost, calculating true cost of electricity without subsidies and with inclusion of external costs. Our model evaluated over 28 billion combinations of renewables and storage, each tested over 35,040 h (four years) of load and weather data. We find that the least cost solutions yield seemingly-excessive generation capacity—at times, almost three times the electricity needed to meet electrical load. This is because diverse re- newable generation and the excess capacity together meet electric load with less storage, lowering total system cost. At 2030 technology costs and with excess electricity displacing natural gas, we find that the electric system can be powered 90%–99.9% of hours entirely on renewable electricity, at costs comparable to today's—but only if we optimize the mix of generation and storage technologies.


Pull plug on Florida's nuclear tax

Pull plug on Florida's nuclear tax
By Mark Cooper
Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Florida is one of just three states that made the mistake of allowing utilities to bill consumers in advance for the construction of nuclear reactors. Now, both chambers of the Legislature are considering measures (HB 4003 and SB 1472) that would correct this error to varying degrees.

Florida's lawmakers will do consumers a huge favor if they pull the plug on what is referred to as "advance cost recovery" or "the nuclear tax."

The plain truth is that Sunshine State residents are facing billions of dollars in charges for four nuclear reactors that are unlikely to ever be built. Utilities, state lawmakers and the Public Service Commission have known for years that additional nuclear reactors for Florida were both unneeded and far too expensive to justify. I know that is true — I am one of the experts who testified to those facts before the Florida PSC in July 2009 and August 2010.

...All of the reactors being built today are in the tiny handful of states that unwisely shifted nuclear construction risk onto the shoulders of ratepayers. Three-quarters of the reactors that were proposed during the nuclear renaissance were to be in states that did not have advanced cost recovery. Not one of those projects is moving forward.

In contrast...

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