Friday, April 29, 2016

Fwd: Renewables Swamp Natural Gas in First Quarter 2016 - Renewable Energy World

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From: "Rebecca Nichols" <rvan@tnag.net>
Date: Apr 29, 2016 5:30 AM
Subject: Renewables Swamp Natural Gas in First Quarter 2016 - Renewable Energy World
To: "Monty Bannerman" <mbannerman@arcstarenergy.com>
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Renewables Swamp Natural Gas in First Quarter 2016

April 28, 2016
         
Sponsored By:

New Renewable Energy Generating Capacity — 1,291 MW
New Natural Gas Generating Capacity — 18 MW
Nothing at All from Coal, Oil or Nuclear

Washington DC — Setting a new lopsided quarterly record, renewable sources (i.e., windsolar,biomass, and hydropower) outpaced — in fact, swamped — natural gas by a factor of more than 70:1 for new electrical generating capacity placed in-service during the first three months of calendar year 2016.
 
According to the latest just-released monthly "Energy Infrastructure Update" report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's (FERC) Office of Energy Projects, nine new "units" of wind provided 707 MW, followed by 44 units of solar (522 MW), 9 units of biomass (33 MW), and one unit of hydropower (29 MW). By comparison, only two new units of natural gas (18 MW) came on line. There was no new capacity reported for the quarter from coal, oil, nuclear power, or geothermal steam.
 
Further, solar (75 MW), wind (72 MW), and biomass (33 MW) accounted for 100 percent of new generating capacity reported by FERC for just the month of March. Solar and wind were the only sources of new capacity in January as well.
 
Renewable energy sources now account for 18.11 percent of total available installed generating capacity in the U.S.: water — 8.58 percent; wind — 6.39 percent; biomass — 1.43 percent; solar — 1.38 percent; and geothermal steam — 0.33 percent. For perspective, when FERC issued its first "Energy Infrastructure Update" in December 2010, renewable sources accounted for just 13.71 percent.
 
Moreover, the share of total available installed generating capacity now provided by non-hydro renewables (9.53 percent) not only exceeds that of conventional hydropower (8.58 percent) but is also greater than that from either nuclear power (9.17 percent) or oil (3.83 percent).*
 
While often touted as being a 'bridge fuel,' natural gas is increasingly becoming an unnecessary bridge to nowhere. As renewables continue to rapidly expand their share of the nation's electrical generation, it's becoming clear that natural gas will eventually join coal, oil, and nuclear power as fuels of the past.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Fwd: Statement by Finance Minister Charles Sousa on Moody's Credit Rating Announcement





Ontario Newsroom Ontario Newsroom
 

Statement

Statement by Finance Minister Charles Sousa on Moody's Credit Rating Announcement

April 27, 2016

Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance has issued the following statement in response to Moody's improvement of Ontario's outlook to Aa2 stable:

"Following a thorough review of our government's economic and fiscal plan, Moody's has just announced an upgrade of the Province's outlook to Aa2 stable.

You can read Moody's press release by clicking here: https://www.moodys.com/research/Moodys-Affirms-Ontarios-Aa2-Ratings-Changes-Outlook-to-Stable--PR_347841.

Moody's outlook change reflects its confidence in our government's plan to grow Ontario's economy and create jobs for Ontarians.

In Moody's own words, "the stable outlook on the Province of Ontario's ratings reflects our opinion that the province has presented a budget plan with little risk that the debt burden will exceed recent levels." They also forecast Ontario's debt to "fall marginally across the medium-term and, as importantly, for interest expense to remain manageable as well."

Our government remains on track to eliminate the deficit by 2017-18, and remain balanced in 2018-19. Ontario is once again projected to beat its deficit target for the seventh year in a row. By continuing to beat our fiscal targets, Ontario's accumulated deficit is $30 billion lower than it otherwise would have been.

We will continue to reduce the deficit through a fair and balanced approach. The 2016 budget is focused on strategic investments that stimulate economic growth and job creation including investing over $160 billion in infrastructure projects across the province over the next 12 years. Even with these investments, our government has the lowest program spending per capita of any province in Canada.

Furthermore, between 2010-11 and 2014-15, our government has held program expense growth to an average annual rate of 1.4 per cent, while still supporting the vital public services that Ontarians rely on, like health care, education and social services. We have achieved this by finding new and more efficient ways to deliver the best value for Ontarians.   

Moody's is the first of the rating agencies to release its rating. Ontario has always valued the input of third-party analysis as an important checkpoint in ensuring that our fiscal plan is credible, reliable and transparent. While the news from Moody's today is indeed positive, it is important to remember that it is just one assessment among many third-party analyses. Across the board, private-sector economists are forecasting Ontario's economy to be among the top two growth leaders in Canada. In fact, Ontario's most recent economic accounts for the fourth quarter of 2015 showed that Ontario's real GDP increased 2.6 per cent in 2015.  And, just yesterday, University of Toronto revised its real GDP forecast for Ontario up by 0.7 points in 2016 (+3.1 per cent) and 0.1 points in 2017 (+2.8 per cent) stating, "the near term outlook for the province looks very bright."

As we continue to implement our plan to balance the budget, grow the economy and create jobs, Ontarians will continue to see measurable results." 

 
 
 
 
 

CONTACTS




For Media Inquiries only:


Kelsey Ingram
Minister's Office416-326-1409kelsey.ingram@ontario.ca



Scott Blodgett
Ministry of Finance416-325-0324scott.blodgett@ontario.ca



Ministry of Financehttp://www.ontario.ca/finance

 
 

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Photos Of The Day: Solar Plane Completes Major Leg Of Historic Around-The-World Flight

Fed Will Likely Keep Rates Unchanged In Face Of Global Slump

San Francisco Law Requires Solar Panels On All New Buildings

US Air Force Shatters World Speed Record For Magnetic Levitation

Sunday, April 24, 2016

From NPR News

Reef Larger Than Delaware Found At The Mouth Of The Amazon River http://n.pr/1T5E9zE

From NPR News

Experimental Solar-Powered Plane Completes Journey Across The Pacific http://n.pr/1QvvGUp

Fwd: What Will Keep Microgrid Development Trending Upward in 2016? - Renewable Energy World





What Will Keep Microgrid Development Trending Upward in 2016?

January 20, 2016
 
Chief Editor, MicrogridKnowledge.com
         
Sponsored By:

Activity on Google indicates that interest in microgrid development is on the uptick. Google tracks how many people search on a term and charts the interest over time.

Below is a Google Trends graphic that shows an impressive rise in interest in the term 'microgrid' over the last several years.

What will keep the line trending upward in 2016? A lot of new microgrid development that is being planned worldwide, but particularly in the U.S., which Navigant Research says still leads the market.

Watch for news of these events, in particular.

The New York State Energy and Research Development Authority is expected to release its second solicitation in the $40 million NY Prizein the first quarter of 2016. This phase offers up to $1 million per community to help with detailed microgrid planning.

In last year's first phase, the NY Prize garnered an overwhelming response. The state chose 83 projects which each received $100,000 to conduct feasibility studies. Those projects and others may apply for additional funds offered through the second solicitation. As scheduled now, the second round of proposals will be due in the spring.

Meanwhile, Connecticut is offering $30 million in microgrid funding. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) issued the request for proposals (RFP) in November and started accepting proposals in December on a rolling basis. The state has already funded 11 microgrids from two earlier project solicitations.

Microgrid-related companies also might want to keep an eye on another solicitation that Connecticut's DEEP plans to issue this year. The RFP will seek energy storage, renewables and passive demand response projects. The state is seeking the resources to improve grid reliability, especially during the winter when New England tends to be heavily dependent on natural gas, which sometimes causes sharp spikes in electricity prices. Bid winners will be eligible for power purchase contracts that can run up to 20 years. DEEP issued a draft of the RFP in  late December and plans to release the final version January 28. Proposals will be due March 31, under the pending schedule.

On the federal level, we are tracking an energy bill being pushed by Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and another by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Michigan). The bills may be merged into one comprehensive energy bill that attempts to modernize the grid. Murkowski's version, in particular, does a lot to advance microgrid development.

Both New York and California have major energy regulatory proceedings underway to integrate distributed energy into the grid. These makeovers are likely to pave the way for more microgrids.

In Massachusetts, the Department of Public Utilities is considering utility grid modernization plans, which include a pilot microgrid proposed by National Grid.

This year could also bring pro-microgrid legislation in Illinois, where Commonwealth Edison hopes to win funding for six microgrids. Regulators in Pennsylvania have approved approved a $50 to $100 million in spending by PECO Energy on microgrids. In Maryland, Baltimore Gas & Electric has launched a plan that could bring public purpose microgrids across the central part of the state.  Hawaii and Alaska continue to be meccas for microgrid development. Our sources tell us microgrids are in the works in just about every state now.

This is just a sampling of the microgrid development we'll be watching in 2016. We encourage you to check back with Microgrid Knowledge daily to keep up on the news. And let us know what microgrid developments you're watching — please post in the comments below or on the Microgrid Knowledge Linkedin Group.

On a final note, not all 'hot' energy industries are seeing this same uptick in interest on Google. I leave you to ponder two final charts that show search activity trends for the terms 'smart grid' and 'solar,' which appear to be going the wrong way.

This article was originally published by Microgrid Knowledge and was republished with permission.



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Fwd: The 2016 Global PV Outlook: US, Asian Markets Strengthened by Policies to Reduce CO2 - Renewable Energy World

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Rebecca Van Nichols" <rvan@tnag.net>
Date: Apr 24, 2016 1:21 AM
Subject: The 2016 Global PV Outlook: US, Asian Markets Strengthened by Policies to Reduce CO2 - Renewable Energy World
To: <mbannerman@arcstarenergy.com>
Cc:


The 2016 Global PV Outlook: US, Asian Markets Strengthened by Policies to Reduce CO2

Solar PV continues to grow worldwide and there is no slowdown in sight for 2016.
January 25, 2016
         
Sponsored By:

Global solar installations will reach 64.7 GW in 2016 according to Mercom Capital Group, a clean energy communications and research firm based in Texas. "The top 3 countries will be China, U.S., and Japan and they will account for about two thirds of the global market," said Raj Prabhu, CEO and co-founder of Mercom.

solar

Although China is expected to continue leading the global PV market, the U.S. will show the most robust growth in 2016, due to the anticipation of the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) expiration, which developers and EPC had already factored into their business plans for 2016, prior to the five-year extension received at the end of 2015.

In 2016, the U.S. is set to overtake Japan as the second largest solar market, exceeding the much-anticipated 10-GW mark. Another notable shift will see India move up to the No. 4 position, pushing down the former European leaders, U.K. and Germany.

China: Remains No. 1 Market with Some Trouble Ahead

China is expected to install approximately 19.5 GW in 2016, a rise of 14.7 percent over 2015, Mercom predicts. "The country is strongly committed [to solar] because of the pollution problems. Air pollution continues to drive China's environmental policies, of which clean power generation is a big part," said Prabhu.

Officials from China's National Energy Administration (NEA) are considering raising the 2020 target from 100 GW to 150 GW, which will bring about 21 GW of annual installation between 2016 through 2020. China also has pledged to reach an 'emissions peak' around 2030 with non-fossil fuels making up 20 percent of the nation's energy generation mix. "All of these factors have made renewable forms of energy a vital component of the Chinese economy for years to come," stated Prabhu.

solarThe rapid PV deployment, however, has caused growing grid congestion problems. In addition, the nation's economic conditions also deteriorated in 2015. "Production curtailment and subsidies continue to be the biggest challenges facing the Chinese solar industry.  Subsidy payment delays up to 18 months have been reported by solar project developers causing cash flow problems.  Some companies have reported selling out projects and stopping further project development activities as they are unable to sustain without timely subsidy payments," said Prabhu.

Overall though, the Chinese government recognizes pollution as a much bigger and broader problem. "The government has shown no signs to indicate that its support for renewable energy will waive. There are pending proposals to increase the renewable surcharge and cut coal tariff payments to help improve the renewable subsidy payment situation," he added.

Robust Growth Brings U.S. to No. 2 Global Market

"PV deployment in the US is currently trending on an accelerated track and the extension of the ITC for five years indicates that this will continue through 2020," said Paula Mints, founder and chief analyst of SPV Market Research.  For 2016, Mints forecasts that the US PV market to be 10.8 GW under the accelerated scenario, compared to 8.5 GW under the low scenario and 9.6 GW under the conservative scenario.

"Given the Clean Power Plan (CPP) and planning for it, extension of net metering in California, the extension of the ITC and business models that allow electricity consumers to continue renting electricity, the accelerated scenario is expected through at least 2019." Mints said.

solar
Low, conservative and accelerated U.S. solar demand forecast 2015-2020. With the extension of the ITC in late 2015, the accelerated forecast is more likely. Credit: SPV Market Research.

While the ITC has been a major market driver at the national level, Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) continue playing a significant role at the state level. Last year, Hawaii became the first state to enact a 100 percent renewable energy policy to reduce its dependency on imported fossil fuels. California, the biggest solar market in the U.S, also increased its renewable goal to 50 percent by 2030 and the state of New York followed the suit. These will continue boosting the industry in the long-term.

At the local level, Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) is expected to deploy more widely in 2016. "There is a lot of CCA growth planned for 2016 in California, and also some growth expected in New York," said Dawn Weisz, CEO of Marine Clean Energy (MCE), a not-for-profit electricity provider, which launched California's first CCA program. "In California, San Francisco will be launching a CCA program in April, 2016.  San Mateo county, and many of the cities in their region will be launching a CCA program called, "Peninsula Clean Energy" in August of 2016.  There are also CCA efforts in the Los Angeles regions, the Monterey Bay regions, the North Coast, and in Alameda County where Oakland and Berkeley are located."

Like China, the U.S agreed to reduce or limit emissions at COP21 in Paris. "The biggest driver (for CCAs) is climate change," explained Weisz.  "Local governments want a tool that redirects an existing funding stream that exists in each community, and use it to get more renewable energy onto the grid to reduce GHG emissions," he added.

Japan Slows Down after 2015 Peak with Uncertainty Ahead

RTS Corporation, a leading Japanese PV consultancy, projected that Japanese PV market in 2016 to be 8 GW, down from 10.6 GW, the company's 2015 market projection. "We foresee the year 2015 to be the market peak. However, when upcoming changes for the nation's Feed-in tariff (FIT) program start to become clear, it may trigger an installation rush to be grandfathered in the current FIT terms.  For that, there is a possibility for the 2016 market size to be the same as that of 2015," said Izumi Kaizuka, the manager of research at RTS.


Approved but uninstalled solar PV capacity by system size in Japan at of Sept 1, 2015. In sum, about 60 GW of solar capacity has been approved but has not been installed and is at risk of being canceled. Credit: Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

Kaizuka pointed out that the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) is discussing a revision of the current FIT policy and the introduction of an auction process to promote lower cost operation. The FIT program resulted in more than 22 GW of PV capacity being installed in just over 3 years. However, the program failed to diversify into other renewables and was criticized for being heavily skewed toward PV. The program also currently holds about 60 GW of approved, but not yet developed PV projects.

"METI has intensions to cancel the pipeline projects, which have a lower probability to be materialized. The details of the new changes are unknown at this point, but we expect to know them in 2016," said Kaizuka.

In addition, Japan will face another major policy change in 2016. The government will end the Green Investment Tax Credit, which has contributed to the growth of the non-residential PV projects.

PV Rising in India but Industry Could Prove To Be Unsustainable

Mercom is forecasting that India will install approximately 3.6 GW of new solar capacity in 2016, up by about 70 percent from 2015. "We are seeing increased activity in the Indian solar sector over the last quarter (third quarter in 2015) with tenders and auctions beginning to occur more frequently along with some important policy announcement," said Prabhu.

In fact last August the Indian government raised the national solar installation target from 22 GW to 100 GW by 2022. India, despite having the fourth largest coal reserves in the world, has suffered from shortage issues, and its coal power plants have been increasingly dependent on imports. "These coal supply shortages have pushed the current government, even more aggressively toward solar and wind as a solution to overcome power shortage problems and to reduce dependence on imported coal."

In spite of the expected high growth, sustainability of the solar market is in question. "Bids are falling much faster than component prices and interest rates," said Prabhu.  "Developers are competing aggressively for market share and tend to sacrifice higher profit margins for market share. It remains to be seen as to how many will survive this trend."

Chile: The Star of Latin America?

During 2015, Chile became the largest PV market in Latin America and reached the 1 GW milestone.  The country's market, specifically very large (50 MW plus) solar projects, has been driven by a Renewable Energy Law (Ley 20.257), which set a target of 20 percent renewables by 2025 and by very high spot market electricity prices driven by the mining industry.

Robert Muhn, Managing Director of Yingli Chile shared his market insights: "2016 will start out strong as the last of these (large) projects get completed, then the market will drop. Some smaller utility-scale projects, ~3 MW to 9 MW in size, will still get built under slightly less constrained conditions as the large plants that will mainly serve the Santiago Metro demand. 2016 will also have a large public tender (currently scheduled for April) for projects to be interconnected in 2021, so there will be lots of development activity around this."

"But project financing and permitting remain as obstacles." Muhn explained that "the biggest issue has become the capability of the grid (primarily in the north) to interconnect and accept the output of these large PV (and wind and CSP) projects, so much so that the spot market prices have collapsed in some areas to zero or very low. Also the access to project financing has been challenging, particularly without a PPA."

In Summary

Moving forward in 2016, Mints is concerned that the solar industry needs to maintain high standards. "The solar industry will need to focus on quality now [in 2016] as well as the incremental improvements over time that are hallmark of technology development." Further, she said the solar industry should "avoid mythologizing the technologies of the future (that are not here now)." Solar PV is ready to realize its role on the world's stage and needs to begin to think about how it fits in with other energy technologies. Mints would like to see the industry "take the practice steps necessary to compete with other renewables, nuclear and natural gas as the world moves to change its energy infrastructure."

Lead image: Topaz solar farm. Credit: First Solar.

         
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Marian Fartadi
Marian Fartadi from FacebookJan 28, 2016

¿So. in your opinion Mr Raj Prabhu, the population of these countries will be happy to find out that their products will be less competitive on the markets due to the high cost of the electricity, and also of the electric bills, when there are other Renewable tech. that can increase the value of the PV with more than 500%: the Captors of Sun and Wind ( CSW ) and bring the prices bellow 1 cent for kWh....

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Fwd: Renewable Energy To Solve 2030 Emission Reduction Targets - Renewable Energy World

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From: "Rebecca Van Nichols" <rvan@tnag.net>
Date: Apr 24, 2016 1:25 AM
Subject: Renewable Energy To Solve 2030 Emission Reduction Targets - Renewable Energy World
To: <mbannerman@arcstarenergy.com>
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Renewable Energy To Solve 2030 Emission Reduction Targets

Jan 24, 2016

The International Renewable Energy Agency has revealed that increasing renewables to 36 percent of the global energy mix by 2030 would generate about half the emissions reductions needed to prevent global warming rising above 2 degrees celsius.

Following the UN Climate Change Summit in Paris last year, ambitious targets were set by the international community in efforts to combat climate change on a global scale.

Irena Pushes for Renewable Solution to Emission Reduction

At a meeting in Abu Dhabi last week, the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) revealed that increasing wind and solar powersources to 36 percent would bring the goal of reducing greenhouse gases significantly closer.

The meeting was the first major global gathering since Paris in December last year, with the main purpose to maintain the momentum of global climate action agreed upon by more than 200 countries late last year.

Of the 187 countries who put forward carbon reduction plans during the Paris summit, the consensus reached has been met with skepticism from many around the world.

With the UN's tumultuous history setting precedent for the Paris Climate Conference, many believe that countries will try to avoid meeting individual commitments.

Irena, however, has taken a more optimistic outlook suggesting goals such as their 36 percent carbon emission reduction is still within reach.

General Director of Irena, Adnan Amin, said in a statement: "The Paris agreement set a long-term vision for the deep reduction of global emissions and the need to decarbonise the energy sector."

"After the Paris climate conference in December, global focus is shifting from negotiation to action," he added.

While taking on great responsibility themselves for progressing climate action as much as possible following the Paris Climate Conference, Irena is increasing its pressure on global leaders and stakeholders around the world, emphasizing that collective action is the only solution.

"Leadership at all levels is key to achieve and surpass the emission reduction targets set forth in the Paris Agreement. Tonight's even provided a platform to engage in dialogue, build momentum, and chart a course for a renewable energy future" said Amin.

Climate Action Could Boost Global GDP by $1.3 Trillion

Irena's report also found that increasing renewables two fold by 2030 would increase global GDP by up to 1.1 percent - about $1.3 trillion - providing jobs for over 24 million people worldwide.

Irena's study Renewable Energy To Solve 2030 Emission Reduction Targets revealed last week that increasing renewable energy worldwide doesn't just have positive environmental impacts.

Adnan Amin said Irena's study "provided compelling evidence that achieving the needed energy transition would not only mitigate climate change, but also stimulate the economy, improve human welfare and boost employment worldwide."

Photo courtesy of Ed Suominen
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