May 1, 2013 at 10:26 am by Emily Pickrell
Tugboats pull an LNG tanker to Cheniere Energy's Sabine Pass terminal in 2008. (Nick De La Torre / Houston Chronicle)
What a difference a decade makes, when it comes to liquefied natural gas.
The U.S. is expected to become one of the top exporters of liquefied natural gas in the next five years, with new export facilities becoming the catalyst for a steady stream of shipments to Asia, according to a Moody’s report issued Wednesday.
The first such domestic export facility, Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass Liquefaction in western Louisiana, is expected to come online in 2015.
The impact this increase will have on natural gas prices and markets is mixed.
Exports: Surge in US natural gas pushes other countries to diversify
The increase in exports may impact natural prices domestically, as chemical producers and manufacturers that use natural gas as a feedstock will be competing with liquefied natural gas producers. But liquefied natural gas producers in the U.S. are unlikely to face much competition from international producers, because of the higher price internationally for natural gas.
The increase in exports will be a boon to companies like Chesapeake Energy, as it increases the demand for natural gas and will likely push up the price. The forward price for natural gas closed Monday at $4.42 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The arrival of U.S. liquefied natural gas producers is not expected to create sudden shifts in value of international companies investing in this country, because of the long time periods involved. For example, British utility provider Centrica recently agreed to a 20-year, $5.5 billion deal to buy liquefied natural gas from Cheniere Energy at its Sabine Pass facility.
“Since LNG is a slow-moving business dominated by large, highly-rated companies, we do not
Zack Colman - 05/01/13 12:05 PM ET
The Obama administration will likely approve a limited number of politically controversial natural gas export projects despite some fears on Capitol Hill about a massive expansion, according to a Moody's report released Wednesday.
It said the Energy Department (DOE) would likely approve three out of the 20 applications under review for exporting natural gas to nations that lack a free-trade agreement with the United States. One such application already has received the go-ahead from the DOE.
Those projects have alarmed some lawmakers, who are tussling over whether to allow a major expansion of natural gas exports.
The DOE must determine deals to non-free trade countries are in the national interest under federal law, meaning they must clear a more stringent standard than contracts with free-trade nations.
Given the process at the DOE and the time it takes to build export facilities, Moody's said the United States won't be a major player in the international market until 2020.
Republicans and some Democrats want to send more natural gas to non-free trade nations, arguing doing so would add jobs and generate revenues. But several Democrats worry that too rapid an increase would drive domestic energy prices upward.
The report comes as House lawmakers are preparing to dive into the geopolitical implications of exporting natural gas. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will also hold a series of natural gas “roundtables” this month, one of which will focus on exports.
A bulk of the liquefied natural gas shipped from the United States will likely head to Asia and will help other nations secure lower-cost contracts, Moody's said.
While the United States doesn’t figure to become a player in the global natural gas trade until the next decade, its expected emergence already is having an impact, the
May 1, 2013 at 6:56 am by Vicki Vaughan
Just a day before Valero Energy Corp. was set to spin off its retail division, the company said Tuesday it may execute another separation by forming a master limited partnership.
“After we complete the spinoff of our retail business,” Valero CEO Bill Klesse said, “we will evaluate a master limited partnership for our growing portfolio of logistics assets.”
As much as $600 million in Valero’s midstream assets could be put into a master limited partnership, Chief Financial Officer Mike Ciskowski told analysts in a conference call.
That could generate $125 million to $150 million annually in EBITDA (earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization), Roger Read, senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, said in a note to clients.
Under current tax laws, Valero could drop pipelines, terminals, docks and rail facilities into a publicly traded master limited partnership, spokesman Bill Day said.
It’s also possible that Valero’s 10 ethanol plants could be rolled into an MLP, Day said.
Locally based Valero has been aggressively buying rail cars to ship cheaper crude oil to its plants. It expects to own 9,000 rail cars by the end of next year. It doesn’t own major pipelines, but has smaller gathering systems at some of its refineries, Day said.
A master limited partnership must pay out most of its profits to shareholders, helping it avoid most corporate income taxes and keeping its borrowing costs low.
On Wednesday, Valero will spin off its retail arm, giving its investors one share of new company CST Brands Inc. for every nine Valero shares they own. CST’s stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.
Klesse mentioned the possibility of forming a master limited partnership on Tuesday as part of the company’s first-quarter earnings announcement.
The company said higher refining margins in all of its regions except the
May 1, 2013 at 7:35 am by Jeannie Kever
Continuing to profit from lower-priced U.S. shale oil, Phillips 66 announced Wednesday first-quarter earnings of $1.4 billion, or $2.23 per share.
That’s more than twice the profit from the first quarter of 2012, although it’s not an exact comparison — Phillips 66 split off from ConocoPhillips in May 2012, so the two companies were combined for the first quarter of last year.
At that time, they reported first-quarter earnings of $636 million.
Greg Garland, chairman and CEO of Phillips 66, attributed the new company’s strong results to favorable chemicals and refining margins.
“We also are investing in the continued growth of our business,” he said in a statement. “Our plans for a new natural gas liquids fractionator on the Gulf Coast reinforce our commitment to the American energy landscape and highlight our unique opportunities across the downstream value chain.”
Phillips 66 operates 15 refineries and a large chemical business, Chevron Phillips. It also operates a midstream business, DCP Midstream.
The refining segment recorded first-quarter earnings of $922 million, and adjusted earnings of $909 million. Adjusted earnings were $455 million higher than the first quarter of 2012, primarily reflecting higher gasoline and distillate market crack spreads, the company said.
The company reported processing 221,000 barrels per day of Eagle Ford, Bakken and Mississippian Lime crudes. Those numbers represented a 120,000 barrel-per-day increase over the first quarter of 2012.
The chemicals earnings were $282 million, up $65 million from the first quarter of 2012.
Phillips 66 has been busy this spring, jumping on a number of trends intended to boost its value. In addition to announcing plans for a 100,000-barrel-per-day natural gas liquids fractionator in Old Ocean, near the company’s refinery in Sweeny, in March it filed plans with..
May 1, 2013 at 7:10 am by Zain Shauk
Chesapeake Energy Corp. reported earnings of $15 million in the first quarter of 2013, results that were hampered by poorly priced natural gas contracts.
The nation’s second-largest natural gas producer after Exxon Mobil Corp. said it lost $94 million because of its hedges, which are contracts for future production that the company secured as a form of insurance against volatile prices.
Chesapeake’s hedges meant that it received an average of $2.13 per thousand cubic feet of natural gas, down from even one year ago, when it earned $2.35 per thousand cubic feet of the resource at a time when prices were falling to their lowest levels in a decade.
Currently, natural gas sells for more than $4 per thousand cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
The Oklahoma City-based company also said it incurred an $83 million charge because of employee and retirement expenses that came about because of recent employee buyout deals and a separation agreement with its co-founder and former CEO Aubrey McClendon.
Still, the results were up from a year ago, when Chesapeake lost $71 million because of falling natural gas prices.
Chesapeake made some production gains in the first three months of 2013, increasing overall output by 9 percent from the same period a year ago. It produced the equivalent of about 4 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day in the first quarter, up 1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012, the company said.
That daily production rate included a 56 percent percent jump in Chesapeake’s oil production from the same period a year ago. The company now puts out about 103,000 barrels per day of oil, a figure that is up 6 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012.
Oil now makes up 16 percent of Chesapeake’s production, up from 11 percent in the first quarter of 2012. Natural gas accounts for 76 percent of Chesapeake’s..
Monday, April 29, 2013 - 11:11pm
Tom ChervenyWest Central Tribune
BIRD ISLAND — Renville County could become host to the first large-scale commercial project to produce hydrogen from wind in the U.S.
Norfolk Wind Energy of Bird Island and Emerald H2 of Minneapolis entered into an agreement to develop the project, the companies announced Monday.
Norfolk Wind Energy is a community wind project of farmers and landowners in the area south of Bird Island. They are seeking to erect wind turbines with a capacity to produce 40 megawatts of electricity, with the opportunity to eventually expand to 100 megawatts, according to Dave Scheibel of Bird Island, its founder and president.
Emerald H2 of Minneapolis holds rights to a technology that is believed to be more efficient at using electricity to produce hydrogen from water than systems now in use, according to Scheibel.
Norfolk Wind would use electricity generated by the wind during periods of time where there is low electrical demand to produce hydrogen, said Scheibel. Electricity produced during other periods would be transmitted to the grid and sold to a utility customer.
The proposed project would be the first to demonstrate whether hydrogen can be produced from wind-produced electricity on a large scale. The proposed project would include a capacity for using 10 megawatts of wind-generated electricity to produce 500,000 kilograms of hydrogen.
Emerald H2 and Norfolk Wind are currently in discussions with a distributor to sell the hydrogen to industrial customers within a 100- to 150-mile radius of Bird Island. Hydrogen is used in a wide range of industrial applications, from oil refining and altering stainless steel to producing polymers, solvents and even the fats for margarine.
If this proves viable, Scheibel said the hope here is to eventually use the hydrogen to make anhydrous ammonia. In effect,
Fracking rules coming 'in weeks,' says Interior chief Jewell
By Zack Colman - 04/30/13 01:47 PM ET
Draft federal rules on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, will be released in a matter of “weeks, not months,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Tuesday.
The draft rules have undergone “sufficient change,” Jewell said during a media call. They’ll go through a public comment period once revealed.
Interior decided in January to rewrite the rules that would govern fracking on federal lands.
The controversial drilling method involves injecting a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals into tight-rock formations to tap oil and gas reserves buried deep underground.
Environmentalists are concerned that fracking pollutes groundwater and have called for strong regulations to protect drinking reservoirs.
The draft rules are expected to establish new requirements for maintaining well integrity and managing so-called flowback water. They will also force drillers to disclose chemicals they use during the fracking process.
The oil and gas industry contends fracking is safe, noting that states have regulated the practice for decades.
The industry is pushing back against the rules, which it says would be duplicative and would fail to account for geological differences between states.
Jewell, for her part, has said a “one-size-fits-all” approach to regulating fracking won’t work.
Jackie Weidman, Guest Blogger on Apr 30, 2013 at 2:10 pm
BP announced its 2013 first-quarter profits this morning, reporting earnings of $4.2 billion — down 10 percent from this time last year but higher than analysts’ forecasts.
Here are some key facts about BP’s profits:
•The company is sitting on nearly $28 billion in cash reserves.
•In the first three months of 2013, BP spent $834 million buying back its own stock.
•Meanwhile, worldwide oil production decreased to 2.3 million barrels per day, 5 percent lower than the first quarter of 2012.
•BP’s CEO Bob Dudley raked in $2.7 million in 2012.
•In 2012, BP gave over $400,000 in federal campaign contributions, with 59 percent going to Republicans. They also spent nearly $9 million on lobbying.
•The company received an estimated $300 million annual tax break for 2011.
April 20th marked the third anniversary of BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion that killed 11 workers and spewed 210 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico over the course of 87 days.
In November 2012, BP agreed to pay a $4.5 billion settlement in criminal charges related to the spill: the largest criminal penalty in history. But a separate, and much larger civil trial, is still underway for Clean Water Act violations and is expected to continue well into this year. Record-setting fines for this trial could reach up to $17 billion if BP is found guilty of gross negligence. On top of that, Alabama, Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi are seeking an additional $34 billion for economic and property damage under the Oil Pollution Act.
The Daily Beast recently detailed the extreme health effects related to pouring 1.8 million gallons of toxic chemicals into the ocean in the wake of the spill. Corexit, a “dispersant,” was used to keep oil from reaching the Gulf Coast shorelines. In the
April 30, 2013
Amonix Inc. is no stranger to setting peak efficiency records with its concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar power systems. As a matter of fact, it just set a new record that successfully converted more than 36% of direct sunlight into electricity. This new achievement breaks the old record Amonix established in May 2012 of 34.2% peak efficiency.
Amonix has been the leading designer and manufacturer of concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) solar power systems for quite some time. This result continues Amonix’s long history of leading the world in solar module efficiency, having been the first to convert over ⅓ of the sun’s energy in May 2012, and the first to break 30% module efficiency in 2011.
Amonix’s latest-generation CPV technology started in late February with outdoor testing, and ran until April of this year. The results from this period showed a peak operating efficiency of 36.2% measured on March 14, 2013, with a DNI of 876 W/m2, an ambient temperature of 16°C and instantaneous wind speed of 1 m/s.
Throughout the entire testing period, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) gave the Amonix module an outdoor efficiency rating of 34.9%, a new world record, under international standard operating conditions for concentrator photovoltaics of 900 W/m2, 20°C ambient temperature and 2m/s wind speed. This broke the previous 33.5% rated efficiency record also set by Amonix in May 2012.
The new module design incorporates Boeing Spectrolab 40% high-efficiency solar cells with Amonix’s proprietary CPV technology to achieve world record performance.
The Amonix Founder and CTO, Vahan Garboushian, is naturally very pleased with the new CPV system:
Amonix’s proprietary technology platform allows us to continue driving rapid performance improvements in our CPV system. The advances we have demonstrated over the last 2 years have all been with the
April 30, 2013, 12:05 p.m. EDT
Canergy selects Chemtex for the development of their 25 million gallon a year cellulosic biofuels facility to be located in the Imperial Valley of California.
BRAWLEY, CA & Wilmington, Apr 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE via COMTEX) -- via PRWEB - Canergy, LLC, an advanced biofuels company based in California that is focused on the production of ultra-low carbon intensity ethanol from sustainable non-food energy crops, is pleased to announce that it has selected Chemtex, a leader in chemical engineering and renewable processes, and Beta Renewables, a global leader in cellulosic bio-fuels, for the development of their 25 million gallon a year cellulosic biofuels facility to be located in the Imperial Valley of California. Construction of the new facility is targeted to begin in Q1, 2014 pending successful completion of permitting and financial activities. The facility is expected to be operational in 2016.
Tim Brummels, Canergy's CEO, said, "We are excited to be moving this project forward. California is the country's largest retail gasoline market and this first project's biofuel will facilitate obligated parties compliance with California policy directives to reduce their carbon footprint through 2020. We have completed extensive research and have concluded that PROESA(R) Technology is both ready now and is the most advanced and competitive cellulosic platform in the marketplace today. We are also excited to have CHS Inc., a leading global energy, grains and foods company, working with us as a development partner in the project."
John Litterio, Director of Renewable Fuels Marketing for CHS, said, "CHS is a leading ethanol marketer with global trading offices in the United States, Brazil and Europe. Our financial strength, logistical expertise, risk management services and 30+ years of biofuels experience wl
Senators seek WTO challenge over European ethanol tariffs
By Ben Geman - 04/30/13 10:40 AM ET
A bipartisan group of 14 farm-state senators is pressing the Obama administration to challenge new European duties on U.S. ethanol imports before the World Trade Organization.
In a letter to U.S. trade officials, the lawmakers call the penalties announced in February “unprecedented” and say that European officials failed to make the case that any specific producers or marketers are engaged in “dumping.”
“We believe this rule sets dangerous precedent for trade and trade remedies in advance of the well-publicized start of important trade talks between the United States and the European Union, and will dramatically and unilaterally change the boundaries and limits of international anti-dumping law,” states the April 29th letter to acting U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis and acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank.
Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), #$%$ Durbin (D-Ill.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and eight others signed the letter.
European officials in February announced they would impose a tariff that amounts to $83.03 per metric ton of U.S. ethanol entering the European Union, according to U.S. ethanol groups that oppose the penalties.
Zack Colman - 04/30/13 12:33 PM ET
A federal reassessment of oil-and-gas resources in North Dakota found the state holds twice as much shale oil — and three times as much gas — than was previously estimated.
Technological advancements have made the unconventional fossil fuels in North Dakota’s Three Forks formation “technically recoverable,” the Interior Department's United States Geological Survey (USGS) announced Tuesday.
And by rolling Three Forks into the Bakken shale formation, the region that spans North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana could now produce 7.4 billion barrels of oil, 6.7 trillion cubic feet of natural gas and 0.53 billion barrels of natural gas liquids.
Compared to 2008 estimates, that's triple the amount of shale gas and double the amount of shale oil that the region could yield.
“These world-class formations contain even more energy resource potential than previously understood, which is important information as we continue to reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign sources of oil,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement.
Jewell stressed in a Tuesday media call that some of the reserves “may not be economically recoverable,” but that new technologies made it possible to tap the hydrocarbons.
Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is largely responsible for the U.S. domestic energy boom. The drilling method accesses “unconventional” fossil fuel deposits by injecting a high-pressure mixture of water, sand and chemicals into tight shale formations.
Sen. John Hoeven (R-N.D.), an oil-and-gas industry supporter on Capitol Hill, lauded the estimate. He predicted it would draw more energy firms to the region.
“This new USGS study further confirms and reinforces the fact that the Williston Basin is a sustainable, long-term play warranting strong private-sector investment for decades into the future,” said Hoeven,
Zack Colman - 04/30/13 11:41 AM ET
Saudi Arabia’s oil chief said Tuesday that he expects newfound fossil fuel reserves in the United States will further integrate — rather than isolate — the nation into the international market.
“I believe these reserves will lead the United States into a much deeper engagement in world energy markets,” Saudi Petroleum and Natural Resources Minister Ali al-Naimi said at a Washington, D.C., event hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The recent discovery of a wealth of U.S. fossil fuels has many lawmakers heralding a not-too-distant future free of oil imports from the Middle East, Venezuela and other nations.
Al-Naimi said talks of North American energy independence is “naïve and simplistic,” explaining such discourse “fails to recognize the interconnected nature of global energy markets.”
Since the United States consumes more oil than it produces, it still makes sense for the United States to import some of it because prices are set globally, al-Naimi said. He said that helps explain why U.S. imports of Middle East oil still rose last year despite frequent boasts of North American energy independence on Capitol Hill.
On the possibility of the United States hoarding its fossil fuel supplies for domestic consumption, al-Naimi therefore said, “I don’t believe that is in anybody’s best interest, and I don’t think that will happen.”
Many lawmakers feel the same way.
Some have touted increasing exports — especially for liquefied natural gas — as a way to generate more federal revenues and jobs. Even further, some see exports as a tool to free allies from relying on less friendly suppliers.
April 30, 2013
Energy storage may be the next big thing in cleantech, and in the energy sector as a whole. We have never had much energy storage in place across the world. Instead, we have built a tremendous amount of backup capacity. With the variability of wind and solar, their increasingly low costs, and the desire to have a renewably powered world, the drive for cost-effective storage has picked up in pace. And many new solutions seem to be on the horizon. Furthermore, as the market expands, economies of scale allow the manufacturing costs to drop considerably.
A new report from IMS Research, which is part of IHS Inc, finds that the market will grow from under $200 million in 2012 to $19 billion by 2017. That’s quite explosive growth.
The report, “The Role of Energy Storage in the PV Industry,” also finds that Germany will lead that growth. (Who’s surprised?)
“Following the introduction of an energy storage subsidy in Germany, global installations of PV storage systems are forecast to grow by more than 100 percent a year on average over the next five years, to reach almost 7 gigawatts (GW) in 2017 and worth $19 billion,” IMS Research writes. “Germany will account for nearly 70 percent of storage installed in residential PV systems worldwide in 2013.”
Germany’s energy storage subsidy, which is starting on May 1 (tomorrow), may not be ideal, but it is certainly a start. “IHS predicts that the subsidy will promote rapid growth in the German residential sector, and result in almost 2 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of effective storage capacity being installed during the next five years.”
The reason storage in Germany is looking so promising, beyond the storage incentive, is that the feed-in tariff for solar power has gotten so low that it is lower than residential electricity rates. So, a homeowner saves more money by using solar power on location than selling it. But
by Pete Danko
What will become the world’s largest solar photovoltaic development is now in “major construction” mode in California’s Antelope Valley, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.
The solar manufacturer and developer SunPower and the utility company MidAmerican announced this new status late last week, coinciding with a big community event at the 3,230-acre site, where preliminary work began in January.
The development consists of Antelope Valley Solar Project 1, a 309-MW plant that will straddle the Kern-Los Angeles county line; and AVSP 2, a 270-MW plant that will be entirely in Kern County.
SunPower’s Oasis Power Plant product consists of scalable 1.5-megawatt power blocks that employ the company’s single-axis tracking panels. (image via SunPower)
When completed by the end of 2015, if all goes according to plan, the Antelope Valley Solar Projects will add up to 579 MW, dwarfing any other PV outpost in the world.
Right now, the Agua Caliente project in Arizona – a First Solar development owned by NRG and MidAmerican – is at the top of the heap, at 250 megawatts. Other U.S. projects under way are aiming to match or beat Agua Caliente, but even the biggest, the 550-MW Topaz project in San Luis Obispo County, won’t best the Antelope Valley Solar Projects.
“The start of construction on the Antelope Valley Solar Projects underscores that solar is a reliable, cost-competitive energy source,” Howard Wenger, SunPower president, regions, said in a statement. “SunPower is proud to partner with MidAmerican Solar and Southern California Edison on this historic project, which is bringing critically needed jobs and economic opportunity to Californiatoday and will generate abundant clean, renewable power to the state over the long term.”
MidAmerican purchased Antelope Valley Solar from SunPower in January for between $2 billion and $2.5 billion, according to federal filings.
March 21, 2013
I recently ran across this awesome image from Greenpeace International over on Google+:
Luckily, the Google+ share also included a link to an Indian business site that had more details. The Hindu Business Line writes:
Close on heels of commencing use of wastelands in northern districts and rooftops in towns and cities, Gujarat is set to potentially use the existing 19,000 km-long network of Narmada canals across the State for setting up solar panels to generate power.
The Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, will inaugurate the first of a series of this project, known as Canal Solar Power Project, when he launches a 1 megawatt (mw) pilot project, which is already commissioned, on Narmada branch canal near Chandrasan village of Kadi taluka in Mehsana district on Tuesday.
However, this can’t be new, since the date on the article is April 23 (no year) and the next line is: “Last week, he inaugurated a 600-MW solar power project spread across 11 districts. This included a 214MW Solar Power Park, the largest such generation centre at a single location in Asia.” This occurred last April. I assume the canal solar project is now complete and solar power is being generated for the local communities, but I’m not actually finding any updates to the original story. So, for now, here are just some more details from The Hindu Business Line:
The pilot project has been developed on a 750-m stretch of the canal by Gujarat State Electricity Corporation (GSECL) with support from Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL), which owns and maintains the canal network….
The pilot project will generate 16 lakh units of clean energy per annum and also prevent evaporation of 90 lakh litres of water annually from the canal….
The cost of per megawatt of solar power, in this case, is likely to be much less than the estimated Rs 10-11 crore, as the two banks of the canal will..
April 29, 2013
MidAmerican Solar and SunPower Corp. have just marked the start of the 579-Megawatt Antelope Valley Solar Projects with a community celebration.
The huge three-year construction project is expected to employ around 650 workers and generate more than $500 million in regional economic impact.
Split into two projects located in Kern and Los Angeles counties (California), the Antelope Valley Solar Projects will be the world’s largest solar power development under construction.
Once completed, the solar projects are expected to produce enough energy to power approximately 400,000 average California homes with clean, renewable solar power.
According to Paul Caudill, president of MidAmerican Solar:
The Antelope Valley Solar Projects are already creating needed jobs and economic opportunity in local communities, while at the same time, providing direct, long-term environmental benefits. We look forward to continuing our involvement in the Rosamond, Lancaster and Palmdale communities and, as we move forward, in the surrounding areas.
MidAmerican Solar owns the Antelope Valley Solar Projects, while SunPower is designing and developing the projects and is the engineering, procurement, and construction contractor.
SunPower will also provide operations and maintenance services for the plants via a multiyear services agreement.
SunPower president Howard Wenger had this to say about the projects:
The start of construction on the Antelope Valley Solar Projects underscores that solar is a reliable, cost-competitive energy source. SunPower is proud to partner with MidAmerican Solar and Southern California Edison on this historic project, which is bringing critically needed jobs and economic opportunity to California today and will generate abundant clean, renewable power to the state over the long-term.
When you think of Neil Young, I’m betting the environment isn't the first thing that pops into your mind. Maybe it should.
By Holly Jessen | April 29, 2013
More widely known for his decades-long musical career, Neil Young was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. According to his biography at that website, his style has run the gamut from folk, country, garage rock and even grunge. “While he’s avoided sticking to one style for very long, the unifying factors throughout Young’s peripatetic musical journey have been his unmistakable voice, his raw and expressive guitar playing, and his consummate songwriting skill,” it says. If you’d like to watch Young perform a well-known song in his youth, I recommend this You Tube video featuring “Heart of Gold.”
In recent weeks, Young has been traveling the U.S. in a 1959 Lincoln Continental powered by electricity and E85. Known as the LincVolt, it’s billed as the world’s first full-sized luxury series hybrid electric car powered by biomass. In other words, cellulosic ethanol.
When possible, the cellulosic ethanol is coming from Poet-DSM Advanced Biofuels, according to Matt Merritt, director of public relations for Poet LLC. On April 12, Young stopped by Poet’s headquarters in Sioux Falls, S.D., to fill up and talk about his mission. Last week, Poet sent more of its biofuel to Young in Colorado, Merritt told Ethanol Producer Magazine.
Young told the gathered crowd that there’s not a lot of media coverage of the climate situation because it’s such a slow moving story. And yet, it’s a big story for which nothing will change unless something is done. That’s why Young set out on his cross-country trip in the LincVolt—to spread the word about things that can be done. “We wanted to make a case that American-made fuel, something that was thought up and created
here at Poet by some forward thinking people, we’re...
Giles Parkinson on 29 April 2013
An exploratory study into 100% renewable energy scenarios for Australia has concluded that its impact on consumer electricity prices over the next few decades may be no more than the increases in the last few years to support much criticised network upgrades and the introduction of the carbon price.
The report by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) – you can access the executive summary here and the draft report here - canvasses the potential costs and practicality of transforming Australia’s coal-dependent electricity system to 100 per cent renewables, by either 2030 or 2050. It creates two scenarios – depending on the pace of falls in the cost of renewable and storage technologies – but both are considered conservative.
It concludes that the cost could range between $219 and $338 billion and would require wholesale electricity prices of $111-$133/MWh (more than double the current price). Unfortunately, and somewhat controversially, AEMO was not asked to compare these forecasts with “business as usual”, but it does provide one interesting set of data that does put it into some perspective.
The first is the impact on retail prices. See the table below (excuse the draft stamp):
It shows that the impact on consumer electricity costs from a 100% renewables scenario could be as little as 6.6c/kWh, assuming a reasonably optimistic view of technology costs. That compares to the forecast national average increases in retail costs made by the Australian Energy Market Commission from 2011/12 to 2014/15 of 5.4c/kWh.Taking in the two earlier years of increases, the jump in retail prices has been higher.
This should not come as a surprise. The AEMO study is almost unique in the world in not taking into account BAU. The International Energy Agency, for instance, last year estimated that the world needs to spend an
April 29, 2013 Andrew
Pioneering solar photovoltaic (PV) crowdfunding platform provider Mosaic has opened its largest solar project to date to investors in California. Mosaic is looking to raise nearly $700,000 to fund installation of 487-kilowatt (kW) solar PV array on the roof of New Jersey’s Wildwoods Convention Center.
Individual investors are snapping up opportunities to invest directly in solar PV projects via Mosaic’s online marketplace. Mosaic’s most recent solar PV project – a $152,700 loan to install a 114-kW solar PV array on top of the Ronald McDonald House in San Diego – sold out in less than six hours. In addition to helping the charitable foundation create clean energy and save money on electricity bills, the loan yields an estimated 4.5% return to investors.
Image Credit: Mosaic
Democratizing Solar PV Project Finance
Located on New Jersey’s southern shore and within a day’s drive of one-third of the US population, the Wildwoods Convention Center has hosted more than 1 million visitors since opening its doors in 2002, according to a Mosaic press release.
Open only to California investors, Mosaic’s solar rooftop investment opportunity coincides with Earth Week 2013 celebrations. The project to install a 487-kW solar array on top of the convention center is expected to provide 24% of the facility’s electricity and reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 179 tons annually, the equivalent of 387,500 vehicle-miles not traveled.
Commented Dan Rosen, Mosaic’s CEO and founder:
“We want to give people the opportunity to do good and do well at the same time. Investing in real, tangible, solar projects, that generate electricity, is a great way to do that.”
Investing In Solar Rooftops: Big Up From the Investing Public
Mosaic launched its first three crowdfunded solar PV projects in January. Public response was dramatic, and