Governors call for PTC extension

Governors from states with wind farms and manufacturing plants to serve the industry called on Congressional leaders for an immediate extension of the federal production tax credit (PTC) that is set to expire at year’s end. The Governors’ Wind Coalition (GWC) is seeking at least a one-year extension of the PTC. Wind farms must be put into service by Dec. 31 to qualify for the 10-year subsidy. In a letter to Congressional leadership today, Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber urged Congressional leadership “…to take swift action to extend the PTC before the end of this congressional session.” Gov. Branstad (R-Ia.) is the chairman of the coalition and Gov. Kitzhaber (D-Ore.) is the vice chairman. “Thousands of jobs in the wind industry have already been impacted by the credit’s looming expiration and thousands more are at risk,” the governors wrote. “We urge you to take swift action to extend the PTC before the end of this congressional session.”

Experts: China Solar Giants Likely to Get State Bailouts

China’s $20 billion solar industry is avoiding loan defaults and mergers by taking aid from local governments, preserving jobs at money-losing companies such as LDK Solar Co., the world’s second-biggest maker of solar cells. LDK agreed last month to sell a 19.9 percent stake to a renewable-energy investor part-owned by the city of Xinyu, home to its headquarters. Suntech Power Holdings Co. (STP), the world’s largest solar-panel maker, got a $32 million loan in September organized partly by Wuxi, the city where it’s based. The aid helps as the companies prepare to report combined 2012 losses of $987 million, analyst forecasts compiled by Bloomberg show. The moves counter efforts by the central government to engineer mergers that create a handful of larger solar companies, said Jeremy Haft, founder of BChinaB Inc., a New York-based consulting company that specializes in Chinese business practices. The country has previously pushed consolidation to strengthen industries such as steel and coal. Provincial governments mostly want solar manufacturers “to keep the lights on and not lay people off,” Haft said. “There are a lot of people unemployed” in China and local government officials don’t want to see solar factories close up, he said.

Europe Intensifies Chinese Solar Panel Investigation

European Union regulators ramped up their investigation of the Chinese solar panel industry on Thursday by accusing the Chinese government of unfairly subsidizing manufacturers of the panels. The latest step in an increasingly acrimonious battle engulfing the clean-energy sector came a day after the United States made a final decision to impose duties on billions of dollars of solar products from China over the next five years to shield producers against lower-priced imports. It also came after the government in Beijing said Monday that it had filed a case with the World Trade Organization accusing some E.U. countries of violating free trade rules with policies that favored the purchase of solar energy equipment produced in Europe.

SEIA Congratulates Obama on Re-Election, Praises Administration's Energy Policy

"To date, the Obama Administration has created and supported pro-solar policies that have been vital to the success of the industry. Solar installations and jobs have risen dramatically throughout the U.S, while costs have fallen. Today, the solar industry employs more than 119,000 Americans at 5,600 companies, mostly small businesses, across all 50 states – this is more than double the number of Americans working in solar in 2009. "Since President Obama took office, the amount of solar powering homes, businesses, and military bases has grown by 400 percent – from 1,100 megawatts in 2008 to more than 5,700 megawatts today. The Administration enacted a policy allowing solar installations for the first time on public lands and set a goal to permit 10 gigawatts of additional renewable energy projects on public lands by the end of 2012, which has been a great driver of this growth. The U.S. now has enough installed solar capacity to power nearly a million households, and 2012 will be another year of record growth for our industry. "Policy certainty is crucial to continue the growing role of solar in America's energy mix. Stable policy frameworks at the federal and state level, including maintaining and expanding commitments to renewable energy initiatives, spur and leverage private sector investments in the solar industry to meet our nation's future energy needs."  

China Approves 1.4 Gigawatt 'Three Gorges' Wind Farm

China has given the go-ahead for the wind energy counterpart of its massive Three Gorges dam, the world's largest. The 1.4 gigawatt (GW) wind farm in Inner Mongolia will be the largest in the country so far. Each of seven wind farms that comprise the project will be built by different developers - Huadian, Guodian, Huaneng, Longyuan, CPI, Beijing Jingneng New Energy and Xiehe Wind Power - at a total cost of $2.18 billion. Construction should be finished by the end of next year. As of 2011, Inner Mongolia had 17.6 GW of wind, providing 13.8% of the city of Baotou's electricity. Another 10 GW of wind is planned for the area. Baotou is the largest city in Inner Mongolia with about 2.3 million residents. The Chinese wind industry has been languishing waiting for the transmission infrastructure to connect projects already built.

All-carbon solar cell developed by scientists could lead to cheaper solar panels

A solar cell made entirely from carbon, one of the most abundant elements on earth, has been developed for the first time by a research team from Stanford University. The discovery opens the door to much cheaper energy generation capabilities in the future. The results are published in the Oct. 31 online edition of the journal ACS Nano. Stanford Professor Zhenan Bao says: "Photovoltaics will definitely be a very important source of power that we will tap into in the future," said study senior author Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford University . "We have a lot of available sunlight. We've got to figure out some way to use this natural resource that is given to us." Stanford University scientists have developed the first solar cell made entirely of carbon. This new solar cell promises a cheaper alternative to the expensive, silicon-based photovoltaic solar panels available today.

World's biggest offshore wind farm powers up

The world's largest offshore wind farm produced its first electricity on Monday around 20 kilometres off the east coast of Britain, boosting the country's position as the world's top offshore wind market. The first 151 wind turbines of the London Array project generated electricity for the first time and the remaining 24 will power up by the end of the year, owners DONG Energy (50 percent), E.ON (30 percent) and Masdar (20 percent) said. Britain aims to build around 30 gigawatts (GW) of wind capacity at sea by 2020 to make use of high wind speeds for electricity generation to help meet the governments legally binding emissions reduction targets. Once the London Array project is fully operational at the end of the year, Britain will have nearly 3 GW of offshore wind capacity in operation. The London Array wind farm could be expanded to 870 MW if a second phase receives required permits, the owners said.

Antireflection Coatings for Solar Photovoltaic Cell Efficiency

Photovoltaic cell efficiency may soon get a big boost, thanks to next-generation antireflection coatings crafted from nanomaterials capable of cutting down on the amount of light reflected away from a cell's surface. Materials boasting a "tunable" refractive index have been developed within the past few years, and they show tremendous potential for photovoltaic applications. Professor E. Fred Schubert, of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Department of Electrical, Computer, and Systems Engineering, is investigating ways to exploit this newly gained controllability and will present his findings at the upcoming AVS 59th International Symposium and Exhibition, held Oct. 28 - Nov. 2, in Tampa, Fla. The refractive index is the property of a material that changes the speed of light, and is computed as the ratio of the speed of light in a vacuum to the speed of light through the material. Among the most fundamental properties of optical materials, the refractive index determines important optical characteristics such as Fresnel reflection, Bragg reflection, Snell refraction, diffraction, and the phase and group velocity of light. Air and other gases have a refractive index very close to 1.0, but unfortunately aren't viable for thin-film optoelectronic applications. Among transparent dense materials suitable for use in thin-film optoelectronic applications, magnesium fluoride (MgF2) has the lowest refractive index (n=1.39); no dense materials with a lower refractive index are known to exist.

Fuel Cell Basics for Communications Industry Professionals

Fuel cells are a viable, commercial product addressing needs to a number of site issues. Using them to address your network needs increases reliability, decreases maintenance costs and promotes a healthy environment.

Commerce Dept. Issues Final Determination Regarding Tariffs on Chinese PV Cells

In its final determination, the Dept. of Commerce found dumping margins ranging from 18.32% to 249.96% and countervailable subsidies ranging from 14.78% to 15.97%.

Energy Monitoring Boosts Bottom Line for Small Businesses

Commercial buildings account for 19% of the energy consumed in the United States. Office buildings make up the largest sector of building type within the commercial sector, comprising 17% of all commercial buildings in the U.S, as well as 17% of the energy.

Are Green Energy Co-ops in Our Future?

One success story is Ecopower, a Belgian cooperative that funds renewable energy projects. Funds are collected from members (the cooperative currently has 40,000), and invested in self-developed projects, like power plants running on vegetable oil or wind turbines. Shareholders can buy shares for $325 each, and each shareholder receives a vote in the cooperative's general meeting with profits for individual shareholders limited to 6%, because of its cooperative standing.

EV Charging Station Test System

There are three primary areas where testing EV charging stations is critical - development, installation and maintenance.

Myths and Realities of Solar Photovoltaic Systems in Pakistan

Solar Energy Systems commonly used in Pakistan are Solar PV systems, Solar Water Heating systems, Solar Lighting Systems and Solar Pumping Systems. Generally the users do not appear to be satisfied with the solar system in use. Here we discuss what are the myths and realities causing dissatisfaction to users in Pakistan.

Jatropha 2.0 - Biofuel Breakthrough

SGB's crop improvement platform is highlighted by aggressive breeding and selection via the largest, most diverse library of Jatropha genetic material in the world, and supported by the application of sophisticated genotyping and molecular breeding tools designed to shorten breeding cycles.

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