America's wind installations grew six-fold in 2014

America's wind installations grew six-fold in 2014, making the United States the world's second-largest wind market behind China, according to new figures out today from research firm Bloomberg New Energy Finance.  US installations reached 4.7GW, thanks to the extension of the Production Tax Credit in January 2013. The extension allowed projects to qualify by starting construction before the deadline.  While the US returned to growth, China continued its pattern of record-setting installations up 38% from 2013. In 2014, China installed 20.7GW – over four times more than the US – and more than 40% of all new capacity worldwide. For perspective, China has been the world's largest wind market for six years, since overtaking the US. China now has 96GW of grid-connected wind energy capacity, or more capacity than the entire power fleet of the United Kingdom. Wind energy is the country's third-largest power source behind coal and hydropower, and ahead of nuclear.  China's banner year was the result of a policy-driven rush to build, as onshore tariffs are expected to lower this year. The top five Chinese turbine manufacturers Goldwind, Guodian United Power, Envision, Ming Yang, and Sewind led the market with a combined 12.4GW, or 60% of total installed capacity. 

Amazon Invests In 150MW Indiana Wind Farm To Power Its Data Centers

From TechCrunch:    Amazon today announced that it is working with the Pattern Energy Group to construct and operate a 150 megawatt wind farm in Benton County, Indiana. The new wind farm will go online in about a year and the expectation is that it will supply at least 500,000 megawatt hours of wind power annually. That’s enough to power about 46,000 U.S. homes, but the “Amazon Web Services Wind Farm (Fowler Ridge)” — that’s the full name of what was previously called the “Fowler Ridge IV Wind Project” — will only be used to power Amazon’s AWS data centers. Amazon is not disclosing the financial details of this project, but Pattern Energy notes that this is a 13-year agreement.   As Amazon announced last November, its long-term goal is “to achieve 100 percent renewable energy usage for the global AWS infrastructure footprint.” That’s a noble goal, but given that there is no date associated with these plans, it’s a bit hard to hold Amazon accountable for it. For now, Amazon offers its users three carbon-neutral regions: US West (Oregon), EU (Frankfurt) and its AWS GovCloud.

How the Oil Price Slump Helps Renewable Energy

Geoffery Styles, The Energy Collective - Intuition suggests that the current sharp correction in oil prices must be bad for the deployment of renewable and other alternative energy technologies. As the Wall Street Journal's Heard on the Street column noted Wednesday, EV makers like Tesla face a wall of cheap gasoline. Meanwhile, ethanol producers are squeezed between falling oil and rising corn prices. Yet although individual projects and companies may struggle in a low-oil-price environment, the sector as a whole should benefit from the economic stimulus cheap oil provides.   The biggest threat to the kind of large-scale investment in low-carbon energy foreseen by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and others is not cheaper oil, but a global recession and/or financial crisis that would also threaten the emerging consensus on a new UN climate deal. We have already seen renewable energy subsidies cut or revoked in Europe as the EU has sought to address unsustainable deficits and shaky member countries on its periphery.    Earlier this week the World Bank reduced its forecast of economic growth in 2015 by 0.4% as the so-called BRICs slow and the Eurozone flirts with recession and deflation. The Bank's view apparently factors in the stimulus from global oil prices, without which things would look worse. The US Energy Information Administration's latest short-term forecast cut the expected average price of Brent crude oil for this year to $58 per barrel. That's a drop of $41 compared to the average for 2014, which was already $10/bbl below 2013. Across the 93 million bbl/day of global demand the IEA expects this year, that works out to a $1.4 trillion savings for the countries that are net importers of oil--including the US. This equates to just under 2% of global GDP.   Cont'd...

Recycling firm unveils city's first commercial wind turbine

As the wind whipped off the East River Wednesday morning, Sims Municipal Recycling officially launched the city's tallest and only commercial-scale wind turbine, at its recycling center in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.   The 160-foot-tall turbine has the capacity to produce 100 kilowatts, or 4 percent of Sims' power needs. Built by Northern Power Systems, the turbine cost roughly $750,000.   Tom Outerbridge, Sims' general manager for recycling, said he hoped the turbine would be the first of many for the city.   "On a practical level, it's offsetting our electricity costs," he said during an event to christen the turbine. "For the city, I like to think it's important that it's trying to break new ground and start to carve a path for wind projects to take off."   The project took roughly four years to complete, mainly because of permitting. New York State Energy and Research Development kicked in about $130,000 as part of a statewide incentive program.

Report: Forget Stocks, Invest In Solar Panels

From ThinkProgress:   A new study by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center finds that in all but 4 of the 50 largest cities in the U.S., installing a fully-financed 5 kilowatt solar panel system makes more financial sense than investing in a popular stock market index fund. Further, the same system would beat the costs of buying energy from local utilities in 42 of those 50 cities.   “(S)olar is now not just an option for the rich, but a real opportunity for anyone looking to take greater control over their monthly utility bills and make a long-term, relatively low-risk investment,” concludes the study which was done under funding by the U.S. Department of Energy.   A key qualifier in this good news study is that the benefits of installing residential solar photovoltaic systems are greatest when homeowners finance the systems (at an assumed annual interest rate of 5 percent) rather than buying them upfront. And the study does not investigate the availability of such loans. The study finds that in upfront purchases of solar, residents in just 14 out of the 50 largest U.S. cities would pay less for electricity than if they buy from their local utility. That upfront investment would be a better investment than the broad stock market index fund in 20 of the 50 cities.   Cont'd....

Reflections from Breakthrough Marine Energy Trials

The marine power plant Deep Green has now been producing electricity for more than a year, and Minesto's founder and CEO Anders Jansson shares his experiences from the trials in this article.

Solar Market Predictions for 2015

IHS Technology analysts top 10 predictions for the 2015 global photovoltaic (PV) market

Training Program for Military Veterans to Maintain Growing Solar and EV Infrastructure

Rather than focus on any one particular technology, the EFST training course educates the participants about the common technologies and service requirements that touch multiple markets, most notably the solar and electric vehicle charging equipment infrastructure.

Case Study - 28kW Custom Carport in Frederick, MD

The PV Racking clamp-free rail was a great solution for this carport, as it helped to eliminate rain water leaking through the arrays in comparison to a traditional clamp-based system.

Upcoming Tradeshow, Conference & Exhibition Summary
March, April, May 2015

2015 promises to be another banner year for the Renewable Energy Industry. Solar and Wind will continue to grow and Energy Storage will continue to dominate the conversation. April offers up some great Energy Storage events here in North America and Europe.

Gov. Brown's renewable energy plan could boost solar, wind industries

Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal this week to significantly boost the amount of energy California derives from renewable sources could reinvigorate the state's utility-scale solar and wind industries, as well as launch another land rush in the Mojave Desert.   In his inaugural address, Brown didn't say how the state's Renewables Portfolio Standard could be raised to 50% by 2030 — the previous benchmark was 33% by 2020 — but his commitment was clear:   "This is exciting, it is bold, and it is absolutely necessary if we are to have any chance of stopping potentially catastrophic changes to our climate system," the governor said.   He also outlined a plan to reduce petroleum use in cars and trucks by 50% and double the energy efficiency of new buildings in the state.   The reverberation was instantaneous.   "Is it significant? Absolutely. Will it stimulate the market? Absolutely," said Jerry R. Bloom of the Los Angeles law firm Winston & Strawn, who guides renewable energy developers through the financing and permitting processes.

REBOUND IN CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENT IN 2014 BEATS EXPECTATIONS

World clean energy investment rebounded strongly in 2014, boosted by demand for large-scale and rooftop solar photovoltaics on the back of its greatly improved competitiveness, and by the financing of a record $19.4bn of offshore wind projects.  Authoritative annual data, published today by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, show that global investment in clean energy was $310bn last year. This was up 16% from a revised $268.1bn in 2013, and more than five times the figure of $60.2bn attained a decade earlier, in 2004, albeit still 2% below the all-time record of $317.5bn reached in 2011[1].    The jump in investment in 2014 reflected strong performances in many of the main centres for clean energy deployment, with China up 32% to a record $89.5bn, the US up 8% to $51.8bn (its highest figure since 2012), Japan up 12% to $41.3bn, Canada up 26% at $9bn, Brazil up 88% at $7.9bn, India up 14% to $7.9bn, and South Africa up 5% at $5.5bn. Europe, despite the flurry in offshore wind, was a relative dull spot overall, investment there edging 1% higher to $66bn.   

U.K. And Germany Smash Wind Power Records

The United Kingdom blew past previous wind power records in 2014 while Germany generated a record amount of electricity from wind in December, setting the stage for 2015 to bring more industry growth across Europe. Exactly how quickly it grows, however, is contingent upon several political and regulatory decisions to come.   Using statistics from the U.K.’s National Grid, the trade association RenewableUK found that wind generated enough electricity to power just over 25 percent of U.K. homes in 2014 — a 15 percent increase from 2013. Wind turbines provided 9.3 percent of the U.K’s total electricity supply last year, a 1.5 percent boost from 2013.   “It’s great to start 2015 with some good news about the massive quantities of clean electricity we’re now generating from wind,” said RenewableUK’s Deputy Chief Executive Maf Smith.   In December, Germany generated more wind power, 8.9 terawatt-hours, than in any previous month. According to the IWR renewable energy research institute, this record will be overtaken in 2015 as more offshore wind farms come online.

Renewable Energy Roundup

The world will need as much capacity as it can get from all fuel sources to satisfy the demand of growing populations.

Maintaining Optimum Battery Power Levels During the Winter Months

Knowing how your batteries operate in cold weather conditions can greatly help you keep track of your battery packs' health, and more importantly allow you to maintain your power needs when you need it most.

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