Future of U.S. Solar at Risk in Net-Metering Suppression

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Nichola Groom for Reuters:In California, regulators voted in January to preserve so-called net metering, which requires utilities to purchase surplus power generated by customers with rooftop solar panels. But neighboring Nevada scrapped the policy – prompting solar companies to flee the state.The decisions foreshadow an intensifying national debate over public support that the rooftop solar industry says it can’t live without.“Without net metering, it just doesn’t work,” said Lyndon Rive, chief executive of top U.S. residential solar installer SolarCity Corp.More than 25 of the 40 U.S. states with net metering policies are reconsidering them, according to the North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center at North Carolina State University.Opponents raise fairness concerns and argue that the industry no longer needs generous incentives, citing its rapid growth and solar panel prices that have fallen about 40 percent in five years.Net metering credits solar users – at full retail rates – for any surplus power their panels generate above household usage. That means many customers pay no monthly utility bill or even rack up excess credits, which they can redeem later in months when their systems produce less power than their home uses.For most customers, net metering and other incentives are essential to make solar power worth the steep upfront investment – between $17,000 and $24,000 for a typical system, according to data from research firm GTM Research. For systems that are leased, as most are, net metering creates a monthly savings over typical power costs.Solar providers understand those consumer economics, which explains why SolarCity last month shed more than 550 jobs in Nevada after the public utilities commission in December voted to end net metering at retail rates. The commission plans to reduce credits and raise service charges for solar customers gradually over 12 years.Future of U.S. solar threatened in nationwide fight over incentives Future of U.S. Solar at Risk in Net-Metering Suppressionlast_img read more

On the Blogs: Where Apple Energy Is Going Others Will Follow

first_imgOn the Blogs: Where Apple Energy Is Going Others Will Follow FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Tim Healy for Forbes.com:Apple has quietly dropped a bombshell in the energy industry, launching an entirely new subsidiary called Apple Energy that will manage the complexities of its renewable energy efforts.The only information available on Apple Energy is in the company’s filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, but what can be gleaned from that illustrates a foundational shift underway in the energy world.Essentially, Apple is seeking the ability to sell the renewable energy it generates to other businesses and consumers at retail prices. Without FERC’s approval, Apple will only be able to sell its energy to energy providers and utilities at wholesale prices. Apple Energy would more or less act as an energy provider itself, enabling the company to leverage its investments in renewable energy like wind and solar to generate new revenue from an entirely new market.Apple’s decision to go this route might be unique, but a close look at the path it took to get here reveals a broader shift in the way businesses think about energy. And whether you’re a bleeding-edge company with substantial financial resources like Apple, or a smaller-scale enterprise that’s just starting to dip your toes in the water, there are a few lessons to learn from Apple’s energy evolution.Apple was one of the early names to sign onto RE100, a group of the world’s biggest companies committed to 100% renewable power. In its 2016 Environmental Responsibility Report, Apple said it’s already well on its way, claiming 93% of its worldwide energy usage comes from renewables. Like most big companies that have made aggressive public commitments to renewables in the past decade, Apple has pursued these goals through a combination of strategies, including the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs).If a company is drawing any power from the grid, the original source of power is indistinguishable, a mix of coal, natural gas, nuclear, or renewable. By purchasing RECs, businesses essentially pay a premium to ensure that for every megawatt of energy they consume from the grid, the energy supplier is procuring at least the equivalent amount from renewable resources.While RECs have become an increasingly popular way for companies to hit their renewable targets, some have claimed businesses that use them are misleading consumers. Critics argue that a company cannot claim to be 100% renewable while relying entirely on grid power.But Apple critics—and critics of RECs at large—are missing a few key points: 1) RECs are more than an expensive way of buying positive PR—they play an important role in the economics of renewable energy development, which accelerates the integration of these resources into our nation’s resource mix; and 2) Apple’s claims are based on more than just purchasing RECs as financial instruments on the open market. Like other firms in the RE100, Apple has influenced the transformation of the electricity grid by agreeing to purchase renewable energy on a large scale.Full post: Why Apple Energy Is A Wake-Up Call For Businesseslast_img read more

Indonesia’s Coal-Fired Electricity Generation Glut

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Jakarta Post:State electricity firm PLN has said its electricity sales have only grown 3.62 percent annually from January to November, raising further concerns over excess capacity that could choke the company with multi-billion US dollar costs.Through its electricity procurement business plan (RUPTL) for the 2017-2026 period, PLN has envisioned the development of new power plants with a total capacity of 77.9 gigawatts (GW) based on the assumption that electricity sales will grow 8.3 percent annually.“However, the assumption is different from the realization as our electricity sales had only climbed 3.62 percent as of November. We estimate that it will only reach 4.1 percent by the end of 2017,” PLN renewable energy division head Tohari Hadiat said Thursday.Throughout 2016, PLN’s electricity sales increased 6.5 percent year-on-year to 216 terawatt hours (TWh).With the current RUPTL, PLN has calculated that the reserve margin of its Java-Bali system will reach 55 percent in 2019 and 41 percent in 2026 from only 27 percent this year. The reserve margin is the difference between available capacity and peak demand.The situation might force PLN to pay US$16.2 billion for idle capacity between 2017 and 2026, according to the United States-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).More: PLN’s electricity sales still grow at snail’s pace Indonesia’s Coal-Fired Electricity Generation Glutlast_img read more

New York looking at battery storage to replace natural gas peaker plants

first_imgNew York looking at battery storage to replace natural gas peaker plants FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Utility Dive:New York’s Department of Public Service (DPS) [last week] issued two reports on energy storage development in the state — a unit-by-unit study of replacing or repowering peaking units in the state and a review of a DER Data Platform pilot.At least 275 MW of peaking units, or about 6% of the total rated capacity of New York’s peaking fleet, were identified as potential candidates for replacement with six‐hour energy storage sized to the maximum 2013 output of each peaking unit, according to study. This number increases to over 500 MW when using eight‐hour duration storage.Replacing New York’s fleet of less efficient peaking units with energy storage systems and renewables will be key to achieving the state’s clean energy goals. New York aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 40% by 2030 and shift to 100% clean electricity by 2040.Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo earlier this year announced proposed regulations to accelerate this plan. The governor’s proposal includes lower thresholds for nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions from simple cycle and regenerative combustion turbines, and would phase in control requirements from 2023 to 2025. Gas-fired peaker plants, which generate infrequently, can account for more than a third of the state’s daily power plant NOx emissions when they run.The DPS peaker replacement study showed that when considering the ability of storage to hybridize, which refers to installing energy storage at an existing conventional peaker unit, standalone four‐hour storage has the ability to bring 864 MW of peaking units into compliance with the daily NOx limit.Across the country, as much as 32% of new gas peaker capacity will be at risk from four-hour energy storage by 2027, GTM Research said in a March report. GTM said the costs of storage are dropping at a rate that will allow it to start being competitive with new peaking plants in about five years. But ten years from now, energy storage will “almost always” win out over the cost of a new peaking plant.More: New York regulators assess potential for storage to replace peaking units in the statelast_img read more

Asian Development Bank pledges $1 billion through 2021 for Pacific renewables projects

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Smart Energy International:The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will invest over $1 billion worth of energy projects in the Pacific from 2019 to 2021 to increase renewable energy generation and improve access to affordable and sustainable electricity in the subregion.ADB’s Pacific Energy Update 2019 details how the bank is helping its Pacific developing member countries undertake a structural shift away from fossil fuel-based energy sources and towards renewables. The report provides a country-by-country snapshot of energy needs and opportunities, and profiles how 29 ADB-supported projects are enabling governments, communities, and the private sector improve energy security, lower the cost of power, and reduce carbon emissions.“Between 2007 and 2018, ADB-financed projects in the Pacific installed 62 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy generation capacity, constructed or refurbished 1,600 kilometres of power lines, and connected 10,000 households to electricity grids,” said ADB Pacific Department Energy Division Director Mr. Olly Norojono. “Over 2019 to 2021, we are building on these achievements by helping install new sources of renewable power, improve supply-side efficiency, and integrate battery storage. We are also providing support to better manage and regulate countries’ energy sectors.”The report highlights that many Pacific countries are implementing plans to run on 100% renewables, with the transition to cleaner, more efficient power reducing dependency on imported fossil fuels, increasing access to affordable and reliable electricity, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.ADB is helping Pacific countries make this transition by providing finance and direct technical assistance. Projects financed by ADB are developing solar, wind, and hydropower facilities; installing battery storage technology; and improving or extending transmission lines. Technical assistance provided by ADB, meanwhile, is helping utilities operate more efficiently through legal, policy, regulatory, and institutional reforms, as well as improving financial management and corporate governance.[Nicholas Nhede]More: $1 billion ADB funding to accelerate energy transition in the Pacific Asian Development Bank pledges $1 billion through 2021 for Pacific renewables projectslast_img read more

Navajo Power links up with solar developer sPower to build PV projects on tribal land

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:Solar heavyweight sPower and local startup Navajo Power are chasing a 200-megawatt deal with Arizona utility Salt River Project, but that’s just the beginning.For decades, the massive coal-fired Navajo Generating Station powered the great cities of the Desert Southwest: Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas. Yet the Navajo Nation that hosted it contains 75 percent of all the households in the U.S. that lack electricity, according to the American Public Power Association.The 2,250-megawatt plant shut down in November, leaving job losses and underutilized electrical transmission infrastructure in its wake. Now, startup Navajo Power wants to fill the vacuum with massive solar power plants while channeling the proceeds into electrification and economic development for Navajo communities.On Wednesday, Navajo Power took a big step toward that ambition by signing a co-development deal with renewables powerhouse sPower, GTM has learned. Navajo Power also announced an initial close of $4.5 million out of a planned $10 million seed round of funding.Arizona utility Salt River Project, which operated and partially owned the coal plant, is seeking bids for 200 megawatts of solar on Navajo land by the end of 2023. Under the sPower deal, it will collaborate with Navajo Power on a project of that size, with a plan to expand up to 750 megawatts. SPower brings access to capital and a track record of developing gigawatts’ worth of renewable projects around the country, while Navajo Power specializes in the unique requirements of development in Navajo territory.The 200-megawatt project is first on the docket, but Navajo Power has grand ambitions for massive clean energy capacity in the region. Longer-term, the founders want to augment solar production with 5 gigawatts of long-duration storage, which would unlock clean energy on demand, instead of just when the sun is shining.[Julian Spector]More: Developer sPower teams up with Navajo Power to replace coal plant with solar Navajo Power links up with solar developer sPower to build PV projects on tribal landlast_img read more

Paddles with Purpose

first_imgJoe Mornini Helps Wounded Veterans Learn to KayakSix years ago, D.C.-area paddler Joe Mornini wanted to help wounded veterans coming home from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan rehabilitate their bodies and minds. In his free time, he started hosting kayaking clinics in pools at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Now Mornini’s nonprofit Team River Runner (teamriverrunner.org) has expanded across the country and includes taking disabled vets on paddling trips across North America. With minimal staff and a day job as a teacher, Mornini has focused on sustainable growth—letting vets in the program become instructors. Here are Mornini’s thoughts on the growth and inspiration of Team River Runner.My CauseThe main purpose is still to take wounded warriors out kayaking, but we’ve become more expansive. We have 25 chapters across the country. Now veterans who have gone through the program are taking leadership roles, becoming instructors, and starting their own chapters. One of our main missions is to get the veterans to own the programs themselves. We decided it was the best way for them to continue paddling when they leave Walter Reed. When they become leaders, this organization can grow on its own, and paddling remains part of their lifestyle.Paddling ProgressWe’ve learned so much about the therapeutic potential of kayaking over the past six years. Paddling is a state-of-the-art therapy for veterans with traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. There’s also now a huge amount of work being done to create adaptive boats and equipment, so more disabled veterans can get into kayaking. The Veterans Administration has now added kayaking to its summer sports clinic. We’ve also recently added a program that takes blind veterans whitewater kayaking.A Leveling ExperienceSpending time on the water offers a chance to break a negative cycle, especially for people having problems re-entering the world after multiple deployments. Paddling works because it is a leveling experience. The other day I was on the Potomac River with four disabled veterans. One was injured by an explosive device, another was blind, another was missing a leg, and the last one had to have her boat carried to the put-in because she walks with arm braces. We ran into another boater on the water, and when I told him he was just passed by four people in my program, he didn’t believe me. That speaks volumes to the power of paddling. These veterans are not as disabled as they were before they got in boats. They’re able to reconnect physically, socially, and emotionally.Man On The MoveAfter I finish teaching each day, I’m either on the water with the vets or somewhere giving a presentation on the program. This summer, I took 10 disabled vets down the Grand Canyon. While I was gone, the program was run by a vet from Walter Reed. That’s what it’s all about.last_img read more

Trauma Tuesday: Big Wave Edition

first_imgWe know it’s cold out there right now, but if you’re wishing away the winter weather, we’ve got a reminder for you about what could be a..err..downside of summer. This week’s Trauma Tuesday features some big wipeouts on big waves. Surfing is a high-octane balance of talent, elegance, and luck. When executed properly, riding a wave is a surge of sensory emotions and thrills. When you miss footing or cut too hard, though, you can be sent into a barreling, body-contorting wipeout. We’ll start off with a little inspiration, and a little reality check. Here, for your Tuesday entertainment, the big wave edition: when surfers thrive, and when they FAIL.last_img read more

The End of Bats?

first_imgWhen native Rockingham County caver and biologist Pete Barlow first went to Breathing Cave in Bath County, Va., as a youth, the one thing he remembered, more than the elaborate passageways and 40-foot canyon walls and vaulted chambers, was the thousands of bats looking on from above.“There were so many, we’d sometimes put a few bats in a Cheez-It box and release them in the gym to freak the girls out,” Barlow recalls.Today, of course, Barlow would never dream of plucking a bat from her roost, let alone shoving her in a box and releasing her into a gym full of equally mischievous teens. But now, he says, even if he wanted to catch a bat in Breathing Cave, he’d be hard-pressed to find one.“The extent of white-nose devastation on bats is really obvious when you go there now,” he says. “You just don’t see the numbers that you used to.”Since WNS was first discovered in New York during the winter of 2006, it has now spread to 29 states and five Canadian provinces. Some estimate more than seven million bats, primarily Indiana, northern long-eared, little brown, and tri colored bats, have perished due to the fungus. In many caves throughout the East, mortality rates are up to 95 percent.Take Black Diamond Tunnel in Rabun County, Ga., for example. In 2013, the tunnel served as the hibernacula, or winter hibernation grounds, for 5,517 tri-colored bats. The colony was thought to be the largest in the state. Now, only 220 tri-colored bats remain.“In Georgia, we’re nearing complete loss of these populations in a timeframe that is really impressive in wildlife disease,” says Dr. Chris Cornelison, a senior scientist at Georgia State University in Atlanta. “It’s hard to find any hope. We try to use that as motivation to continue to work and develop tools that can curve this loss of organisms.”tricolored3Cornelison is hoping his research on the bacteria Rhodococcus rhodochrous will be one of those tools. The bacteria originally proved useful in its ability to delay the ripening of fruit. But when Cornelison learned that the fruit responded without ever coming into direct contact with the bacteria, they need only share the same air-space, and that exposed fruit showed significantly fewer amounts of mold, the lightbulb went off. Could this same bacteria save our bats?“It’s still very much in the developmental phase, but we have several field trials planned for this coming winter,” he says.In effect, Cornelison and his team will be installing bacteria misters in caves, small devices not unlike those time-release air fresheners you see at the store. The idea is that hibernating bats exposed to mists of the mold-resistant bacteria will be spared the fatal effects of Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the fungus responsible for white-nose. If bats can remain fungus-free during hibernation, when their immune systems are down, they may stand a chance of enduring and, eventually, recovering their numbers.Sounds easy, and in a lab, where every variable can be controlled, it certainly has the appearances of being a successful treatment. But what is the effectiveness of Rhodococcus rhodochrous on a larger scale? Will it damage other characteristics of caves or species that reside in them? The answers to those questions, Cornelison says, will only come with time.Caving for a PurposeConsidering bats normally produce just one pup per year, and that WNS has now spread as far west as Washington state, time is something these mammals can’t afford. With increasing disturbances from timber harvesting and wind turbines, too, bats have a lot working against them.“It’ll take a lot more time than we actually have,” says Joy O’Keefe, Director of Indiana State University’s Center for Bat Research, Outreach, and Conservation. “This fungus moves and doesn’t wait for research projects to be completed or permits to be approved.”Bats are important in pollination, sure, and eat what many say equates to their body weight in insects every night. By some reports, the loss of seven million bats could equate to one billion dollars lost on, essentially, free predation of pests, which means farmers will need to start spending more on pesticide, and consumers more at the grocery store.“We can’t afford to lose all of the bats out of the ecosystem,” says Dennis Krusac, Endangered Species Specialist for the Forest Service’s Southern Region.More importantly, adds Krusac, we can’t afford to be part of the problem. WNS is proving to be one of the deadliest wildlife diseases in history. Once scientific evidence showed humans, specifically cavers, were capable of transporting the fungal spores responsible for WNS, the Forest Service had to act. In 2009, select caves and underground mines on Forest Service property were gated. Five years later, the Forest Service signed a blanket memo that restricted recreational access to all of its caves in the South. The closure, which will remain in effect until 2019, was controversial, exacting, and according to Krusac, 100 percent necessary.“The first couple of discoveries were long-distance jumps,” says Krusac. “[WNS] went from New York to West Virginia, and then from West Virginia to central Tennessee and where it was going were popular caves in the caving community with small bat populations.”Bats are social animals and migrate between their winter hibernacula and summer maternity sites, says Krusac, so bats will inherently spread WNS amongst themselves. But leaps of 450 miles, and most recently 1,800 miles from Minnesota to Washington state?“If I was a betting person, I would bet that [the discovery of WNS in Washington] was a human-caused transmission,” says Krusac.Cavers in the community balked at the closure. Caves, they said, needed the protection of the caving community. In 2009, five years before the official Forest Service blanket closure, the National Speleological Society (NSS) had enacted a voluntary moratorium on caving only to see instances of cave graffiti and littering increase. If anyone should be allowed underground, they argued, it should be cavers. In some ways, Krusac agrees.“They’re basically the eyes and ears underground,” he says. “We rely on the caving community. [The Forest Service] doesn’t have a lot of people trained in caving, particularly in these technically difficult caves. We know there are members of these national cave conservation organizations that are cave conservationists. They understand the importance of conservation and decontamination.”That’s why, he says, legitimate cavers weren’t altogether banned from entering caves. In fact, in all of the closures since 2009, the Forest Service has explicitly stated that “persons with written authorization by a Forest Service Officer” could enter caves, so long as the cavers were assisting in “cave resources management”—activities such as cave mapping, white-nose syndrome surveys, bat monitoring, water quality monitoring, and biological inventories.Still, says Krusac, it’s impossible to limit access to caves altogether—the Forest Service ban only addresses caves and underground mines on Forest Service property which, in the Southeast especially, amounts to a very small percentage. Most caves are still on private property, which means access is left up to the landowner. Krusac doesn’t encourage newcomers to the sport, especially during this extremely sensitive time, but he suggests getting involved with cave conservation grottos if people are genuinely interested in protecting and advocating for these resources.“It’s not a total ban but it’s not recreational caving anymore,” adds Krusac. “It’s caving for a purpose.”Passing the TorchJames River Grotto’s Education Coordinator Ken Mays, or “Gizmo,” as most people in the caving community know him, recognizes the need for this citizen science research. A number of his fellow cavers became part of a Smithsonian research team back in 2009, the year when Gizmo and many others throughout the region simply quit caving out of respect of the NSS voluntary moratorium.Gizmo started recreationally caving again in 2011. He doesn’t take WNS lightly and follows all of the necessary steps in decontamination, but says that there’s another problem the caving community should be addressing, and it has nothing and everything to do with bats.“When I joined the James River Grotto in 2008, I was the youngest member at 42,” says Gizmo. “A lot of the grottos are getting older.” Gizmo worries that if the older generation of cavers dies off without a younger group to step in, who will be the voice for caves and the species therein?“The education of people about caves and bats by introducing them to caving is, in my opinion, crucial to saving [them],” he says.There is still a lot to learn. As climate change continues to alter the environment, caves that once might not have supported any bat populations may be deemed suitable sites for hibernation in the future, which makes protecting them now from WNS and any other invasive more important than ever.  Back in Rockingham County, Pete Barlow believes protecting endangered bats deserves priority over recreation needs.“The loss of any species from my point of view is devastating in its own right,” Barlow says, “and caves are the underground capillaries and blood vessels that feed our region with water.”Still, he recognizes that responsible caving can help with scientific research and public awareness. “We need an experiential appreciation of caves in order to know what we are protecting,” he says.last_img read more

U.S. Hospital Ship Begins Medical and Humanitarian Mission in Peru

first_imgBy Dialogo May 09, 2011 This kind of aid is what people from different parts of the world need, with low economic resources, I congratulate you for this great community work, thank you on behalf of all those people that are going to cared for, I’m Dominican but I wish they give aid to Haiti, there is much need again, God bless you always, move forward, that is what Jesus Christ would do. The USNS Comfort, a U.S. Navy hospital ship, began a mission in northern Peru to provide medical care and humanitarian assistance to thousands of inhabitants with few economic resources, the Ministry of Defense announced. The Comfort has arrived at the port of Paita, in the region of Piura (in northern Peru), and will remain until 10 May as part of a voyage to nine Latin American countries, providing health care to five thousand individuals. Its work includes primary care for children and adults, dental care, optometry, and cleft-lip operations, the note indicated. The Comfort carries orthopedists, pediatricians, gynecologists, optometrists, dentists, general surgeons, and plastic surgeons. The ship has ten decks equipped with more than one thousand patient beds and six modern operating rooms. The operation “Continuing Promise 2011,” in which the hospital ship is participating, is promoted by the U.S. government. The vessel successfully provided this humanitarian assistance in Jamaica and will do the same in other countries in the region.last_img read more