Energy: A Citizen's Solutions Guide

"Energy: A Citizens' Solutions Guide" is one of a series of unbiased, nonpartisan guides that help the public wrestle with and work through difficult issues. These guides are especially useful in advance of the election, to help voters cut through campaign spin and media bias, so that they are able to reasonably judge the platforms put forth by candidates.

Energy through Hydrogen

In many ways, hydrogen is the perfect fuel. It's abundant, efficient and produces no emissions when used in a fuel cell. It can be produced from renewable resources and is not a greenhouse gas. Because hydrogen power is environmentally friendly and non-toxic to use, industry should accelerate research so that this renewable resource may be used in the near future.

Geothermal Manifold Installation with a Professional Touch

The GeoCal™ is a breeze to install and gives a lot of flexibility as the automatic air vents and supply and return temperature gauges are a couple of added plusses. With this first one up and running, and the customer satisfied, I'll be evaluating how it holds up.

Solar Shade Ideas - Pergola

This system looks great and makes the perfect shade spot for their patio barbecue (this is a system in the 2KW range).

Corruption and Mismanagement See Much of the US without Power

Americans are now being told that keeping utility bills down means keeping maintenance of the country's dismal electricity distribution system to a bare minimum. According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, the entire system could collapse by 2020 without an immediate investment of $673 billion. Furthermore, experts say that brownouts and blackouts will end up costing more in the end than re-hauling the entire system.

The Birth of After-Market Consumer Electric Drive

You climb in and start your car. Reverse out of your driveway using the gas-powered system. Putting the shift lever into neutral, the system switches over to the AED (Alternative Electric Drive) system, yet your engine is idling. This allows you to use your power brakes, power steering and air-conditioner on that hot muggy day.

Utility Dive - App for Energy Executives

We try to pull together everything that an energy and utility executive needs to know. This includes news, breaking commentary from twitter, jobs, market and commodity updates, jobs, white papers, market research, and more.

GENERATING BUSINESS AT SOLAR POWER INTERNATIONAL

SPI is presented by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). Unlike other solar conferences, all proceeds support the expansion of the U.S. solar energy market through SEIA's and SEPA's year-round research and education activities, as well as SEIA's advocacy.

U.S. Sets Duties on Chinese, Vietnamese Wind Towers

Proposed U.S. tariffs on wind-energytowers from China and Vietnam were welcomed by a trade group that had complained competitors were dumping products in the American market. The Commerce Department concluded in preliminary findings yesterday that producers in the nations, which exported $301 million in towers to the U.S. in 2011, sold the utility-scale goods below production costs. The department, which set duties as high as 73 percent for Chinese products and 60 percent for goods from Vietnam, acted on a complaint by U.S. companies such as Broadwind Energy Inc. (BWEN) of Naperville, Illinois. Broadwind rose 13 percent in trading yesterday. “Commerce has taken an important step to address the significant dumping that is taking place,” Alan Price, an attorney with Wiley Rein LLP in Washington who represents the U.S. group, said in a statement. Duties will help to “force the Chinese and Vietnamese producers to compete fairly.”

Beijing Denies Solar Panel Dumping Amid EU Row

Beijing on Friday denied accusations of solar panel dumping, saying it hoped Chinese and EU manufacturers could negotiate an end to a dispute that threatens a trade war. EU ProSun, a group of more than 20 European solar panel makers, suspects Beijing of providing their Chinese rivals with loans and other subsidies enabling them to sell their goods below cost. They have filed a complaint with the European Commission calling for it to impose tariffs, following a U.S. move in May to slap hefty anti-dumping duties on Chinese solar products which Beijing blasted as "protectionist." Beijing's commerce ministry backed the Chinese firms, saying falling export prices were due to the cost of polysilicon, a key panel ingredient, dropping from $300 a kilogram in 2008 to $30 now, new technology and economies of scale. "There is therefore no basis to consider that Chinese photovoltaic cells are being dumped," it said in a statement on its website. It said that Chinese firms themselves imported key components and technology needed for solar panel manufacturing from Europe and the U.S., adding that Chinese products helped create jobs among installers.

U.S. solar plan creates energy zones, excludes sensitive lands

The Obama administration unveiled plans Tuesday to ramp up solar energy production, offering incentives for solar developers to cluster projects on 285,000 acres of federal land in the western U.S and opening an additional 19 million acres of the Mojave Desert for new power plants. The long-awaited plan also appears to rewind previous land-use decisions by the federal government. The pending policy rules out a long list of environmentally sensitive lands where the government — seeking to fast-track construction — had allowed solar development over the objections of environmentalists. The plan places 445 square miles of public land in play for utility-scale solar facilities. The plan establishes 17 solar energy zones in six Western states, including 154,000 acres in California. The zones were chosen because they avoided major environmental, cultural or other conflicts. The policy encourages developers to select sites within zones by promising minimal environmental reviews and expedited permitting.

NRG and GenOn to Merge; Creating Largest Competitive Power Generation Company in the United States

NRG Energy, Inc. NRG and GenOn Energy, Inc. GEN announced they have signed a definitive agreement to combine the two companies in a stock-for-stock tax-free transaction, creating the largest competitive generator in the United States with a diverse fleet of approximately 47,000 megawatts (MW) with asset concentrations in the East, Gulf Coast and West and a combined enterprise value of $18 billion. "This combination ushers in a new era of scale, scope, and market and fuel diversification in the competitive power industry," said NRG President and CEO David Crane, who will continue his present positions with the combined company. "The greater depth and breadth gained through the combination with GenOn will put NRG in a uniquely strong position to fulfill the needs of American energy consumers in the 21st century."

Researchers create transparent solar cell

Researchers at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara have created the first highly transparent, plastic solar cells. The new solar cell is almost 70% transparent to visible light.  There are two key breakthroughs here: First, as far as I can tell, this is one of highest efficiency (4%) polymer solar cells (PSC) yet created; and, perhaps more importantly, researchers have historically struggled to get get past 10 or 20% transparency, let alone 70%. You are probably wondering how something can be both transparent and absorb light — well, in this case, the PSC only absorbs infrared light, but lets visible light pass through it. In both cases, the secret sauce is silver nanowires within the polymer. These nanowire electrodes are conductive and flexible, and after being coated with titanium dioxide nanoparticles they are also photovoltaic. Most importantly, though, these nanowires can be laid down using a solution process — basically, to turn a big roll of polymer into a solar cell, all you have to do is immerse it in a vat of titanium dioxide-coated silver nanowires, cure it, and voila.

Germany mulls solar panel anti-dumping suit vs China

Germany's environment ministry is considering launching anti-dumping proceedings against China over its financial support for solar power firms amid a bitter price war in the industry that has left many German panel producers fighting for survival.  Environment Minister Peter Altmaier told German broadcaster ZDF late on Thursday that there had to be fair competition in the global market and anti-dumping proceedings might be one way of ensuring this. Altmaier recently suggested higher import duties as another way to prevent price dumping. "It is also being looked into whether anti-dumping procedures can be launched against China," he said. The ministry was not immediately available for comment on Friday. Germany's once-booming solar panel makers are struggling to digest steep cuts in state support and increasing competition. German firm Solarworld recently brought a suit with American firms in the United States against cheap Chinese imports, with a degree of success.

Amonix Closes U.S.-Backed Solar-Panel Facility in Nevada

Amonix Inc., a closely held maker of solar panels that qualified for $21.5 million in federal subsidies, closed its 214,000-square-foot plant in Nevada. The company, based in Seal Beach, California, plans to restructure its operations and will vacate the factory by early August, according to an e-mailed statement today. It also has a research lab in Torrance, California, and an office in Singapore, according to its website. Amonix said the decision to close the plant was based on“challenging” pricing for solar panels and low demand for its concentrated photovoltaic systems, according to the statement. “We looked at several options and were really hoping that we could keep the North Las Vegas manufacturing facility, but it is not economically possible,” the company said.

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