Extreme Energy, Extreme Implications

If oil and gas is a profoundly dynamic phenomenon, then so too must be environmental risk and conflicts over natural resources—and we are not getting the full picture from the mainstream media, according to Michael T. Klare, professor of peace and world security studies at Hampshire College

Biomass turns Devon farmer's £1,000-a-month bills into £900-a-month income

Alpaca Farm with five star holiday cottage reaps rewards of Renewable Heat Incentive and boosts green credentials

Marine energy technology leader Minesto develops world's first simulator for anchored flying underwater vehicles

Nordic marine energy technology leader Minesto has developed a simulator to aid the development of its Deep Green marine power plant.  The simulator has been developed in-house by Minesto’s own research and development department, and is in essence based on two existing open source programs: one for commercial flight simulation and one for marine vehicle simulation. The end result is an analysis and simulation tool called HAMoS, Hydrodynamic Analysis and Motion Simulation, believed to be the first in the world to simulate the movements of a flying tethered underwater vehicle. It will be used to predict how Minesto’s marine power plant, Deep Green, moves subsea in various ocean environments and depending on the plant’s design. Minesto’s research, development and testing staff can change a number of variables in the power plant’s design to simulate and optimize its performance. The simulator can be used to predict Deep Green’s behaviour and power performance in different real-life site conditions (i.e. the strength and direction of the currents). Deep Green resembles a sweeping underwater kite, comprised of a wing and a turbine, which is secured to the seabed with a tether and moves with high speed in an 8-shaped path in the tidal or ocean current. Deep Green produces 100% renewable tidal energy.

Obama calls for carbon cuts at power plants

Outlining a new climate change plan on a warm day in Washington, President Obama said Tuesday his State Department should not sign off on the Keystone XL oil pipeline if it increases greenhouse gas emissions. "The national interest will be served only if the project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution," Obama said in a speech at Georgetown University. Keystone is not part of the climate change plan that Obama said includes new rules to restrict "the relentless dumping" of carbon pollution from power plants, as well as the promotion of renewable energy sources and new energy-efficiency standards. Warning that climate change threatens future generations, Obama told his college audience that "the question is not whether we need to act" because "the overwhelming judgement of science ... has put all that to rest." The question is whether the nation has "the courage to act before it is too late," the president said. Almost all of the president's plan involves executive actions that do not require congressional approval. Obama would have a difficult time getting climate change legislation through Congress, given a U.S. House run by Republicans and a Senate in which the GOP has enough members to mount effective filibusters. Republicans and members of the energy industry criticized Obama's climate change plan, saying it will lead to higher utility bills and less development of reliable energy.

Solar Energy Spurs a Power Struggle

Disputes over the use of small-scale solar power are flaring across the nation, with utilities squaring off against solar-energy marketers over rules for the growing technology. Until now, the fights have been mainly before state regulators. In California, Louisiana and Virginia, utilities have sought to cut what they claim are unfairly high payments they are required to make to owners of homes or larger buildings with solar systems. At issue in an Iowa lawsuit is whether solar-system marketers can sell electricity in territories where local utilities have exclusive rights to customers. Such an arrangement isn't allowed or is under dispute in many states, limiting solar firms to sales of panels to homeowners and businesses. But if they win in Iowa, it could pave the way for fledgling solar industries to expand in other states. The case is being watched closely elsewhere in the Midwest, where policies granting utilities a monopoly on electricity service are one reason a solar-construction boom hasn't occurred, unlike in states such as California and New Jersey. Utilities "are proponents of renewable energy," said Barry Shear, president of Iowa's Eagle Point Solar LLC, but only "if they own the energy assets and the electrons flow through their grid and they can bill you." In March, an Iowa District Court judge said Mr. Shear's 18-employee company could sign power-purchase contracts in the Dubuque territory of Alliant Energy Corp., one of the state's largest utilities. Under the disputed deal, Eagle Point would own solar panels on the roof of a Dubuque municipal building and sell power to the city at a rate similar to Alliant's.

Small Wind Power Systems Will Surpass $700 Million in Annual Revenue by 2018

Although the market for small wind power systems has been in existence for 30 years, there are many signs that the industry is reaching a critical juncture. The past 18 months have seen a number of bankruptcies and acquisitions among small wind turbine manufacturers. Nevertheless, the overall opportunity for small wind power remains strong across a variety of applications in both developed and developing countries. According to a recent report from Navigant Research, the worldwide market for small wind systems will reach $723 million by 2018, with $3.3 billion in cumulative sales from 2013 through 2018. "Small wind is growing primarily as a result of state and national incentives, including a burgeoning market in the United Kingdom," says Dexter Gauntlett, research analyst with Navigant Research. "The question is: Can the small wind turbine industry grow to more than just a niche market, and attract the investment required to drive down costs? Given the precipitous price declines for solar photovoltaic modules, distributed solar PV is increasingly competitive with small wind."

Alternative Energy ETFs Battle For Inflows: PBW vs. TAN

Alternative energy has been a hot button issue for the last 50 year's and investors have always found a way to play this heated market. In the last decade, there has been the launch of a number of ETFs that offer a specialized basket of products for alternative energy exposure, with 12 of these funds still in operation today. Below we outline two green energy ETFs that have been battling for investor attention since inception: Powershares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio ( PBW,  A ) and Guggenheim Solar ETF  ( TAN,  C+ ). Holding between $172 million and $107 million in total assets under management each, these funds are easily the largest green energy funds currently on the market. PBW holds a mix of companies that are focused on greener and generally renewable sources of energy, as well as technologies that facilitate cleaner energy. TAN, on the other hand, is aimed specifically at the solar power industry, investing in companies that produce equipment, fabricate solar panels, or provide a direct service to this market. Newer to the market, TAN started trading in spring 2008, while PBW was already three years into the market. Both funds were hammered in the years following the financial crash, with record outflows in PBW while TAN saw its first few years since inception with negative returns. A number of funds closed during this three-year window, but it is a testament to these funds that they were able to remain in operation. While alternative energy ETFs have had a difficult few years, with the markets coming out of their long-term lull, these ETFs have seen a massive influx of funding and returns. Alternative energy is moving back into the spotlight as economies around the world stabilize, and investors should see this strong trend continue as long as the market remains on track.   Full Article and images:

InterSolar 2013 Special News Report

News Releases and Announcements from the Show in Europe.

Fuel Pellets from Renewable Sources

All of our customers have been able to utilize our fuel with no, or only minor, modifications to their fuel feed and combustion systems.

How to Make the Most of Your Pellet Stove Investment

Typical savings are in excess of 60 percent. However, if you even reach a 15-30 percent return on your investment, you're going to save money.

AWEA WindPower 2013 - Special News Report

News Releases and Annoucements from AWEA WindPower 2013

Siemens pulls plug on last solar energy business

German industrial conglomerate Siemens (SIEGn.DE) is shutting down the last of its solar energy businesses after it failed to find a buyer, the company said on Monday. Confirming a report in German newspaper Handelsblatt, a spokesman for Siemens said the group would close Solel by early next year. The Israeli business has accumulated losses of around 1 billion euros ($1.33 billion) since Siemens bought it in 2009, including a write-off of the entire purchase price. Siemens has spent seven months trying to sell Solel, which makes components used in solar-thermal power stations. Some 280 employees will be affected by the closure, most of them in Israel. The cost will run into the mid-double digit millions of euros, according to Siemens. Once a promising new field with strong growth rates, the solar energy industry is in sharp decline in Germany as Chinese manufacturers flood the global market with cheaper panels and components.

Ask Bill Clinton: How Can We Encourage Homeowners to Adopt Solar Energy?

David Crane, CEO and president, NRG Energy (NRG) “With the cost of solar panels now just 10 percent of what they were five years ago, how do we streamline the local approval process and reduce the friction costs so that U.S. homeowners can realize the solar value of their property while paying less for their electricity?” We need to develop in every state a network of cooperation in which contractors, utilities, building and home owners, tenants, and government agencies understand the shared benefits of solar energy and work together to accelerate its deployment. Our outdated energy grid’s outages cost the U.S. economy $25 billion or more every year, according to a recent Morgan Stanley study using Department of Energy data. Recent extreme weather events have had devastating effects on our aging infrastructure and make a stronger case than ever to build a more resilient and reliable energy system. Distributed solar energy will help us to build that resilience and reliability, both for the nation and for individual owners of homes and buildings. Full Article:

Japan: The world's new star in solar power

Until recently less than 1% of Japan's electrical power output came from renewables. But following the catastrophe of Fukushima and the power blackouts that followed, Japan has seen an explosion in investment in alternatives. Solar, in particular, in this averagely photon-blessed country, has seen a seismic rise of late and is this year poised to become the world's largest solar market in volume after China. According to a report by energy analyst IHS on Japan's energy mix, Japan's solar installations jumped by "a stunning 270% (in gigawatts) in the first quarter of 2013." That means by the end of 2013 there will be enough new solar panels equal to the capacity of seven nuclear reactors. Such massive growth will allow Japan to surpass Germany and become the world's largest photovoltaics (PV) market in terms of revenue this year. "Japan is forecast to install $20 billion worth of PV systems in 2013, up 82% from $11 billion in 2012," IHS said. "In contrast, the global market is set for tepid 4% growth. The strong revenue performance for Japan this year is partly driven by the high solar prices in the country." Germany still leads with the total number of units and capacity, however, with its 32,192 megawatts. Japan is now closer to the U.S.'s 8,069 megawatts at 7,429 megawatts, according to London-based BNEF.

California Solar power generation hits record levels

With Southern California’s largest electric generating station broken and scheduled for removal, solar generation levels have reached a record level in California, state officials said Sunday. Solar power generation on California’s grid set a new all-time high output of 2,071 megawatts at 12:59 p.m. Friday, said officials at the California ISO, the state agency that balances customer demand on regulated power utilities with power generation from commercial vendors. That nearly equals the 2,250 megawatts of nuclear-powered generation that was lost in January, 2012, when small amounts of radiation began leaking from Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, at Camp Pendleton. San Diego Gas & Electric owns 20 percent of San Onofre, and has historically received one fifth of its power from the iconic nuclear plant, 65 miles north of San Diego. SDG&E has reassured its customers it can import sufficient replacement power from natural gas, wind and geothermal plants in the Imperial Valley via its new Sunrise Powerlink transmission line. The amount of solar energy generated on Friday was enough to power more than 1.5 million homes across California, Cal ISO officials said.

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