Saturday, June 30, 2012

FW: Cisco Connected Grid Security for Field Area Network

Cisco Connected Grid Security for Field Area Network

Security is a top concern when implementing any smart grid solution. In this
white paper, you will learn about security for the field area network with
smart meters and distribution automation devices connecting back to utility
control centers through Cisco's Connected Grid solutions.

Sponsor:Cisco Systems, Inc.
Date:Jun 25, 2012

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FW: Subsea power cables to support renewable energy in Norway, Germany

Subsea power cables to support renewable energy in Norway, Germany

June 25, 2012
Authorities in Norway recently announced plans to construct two major new subsea power cables to help support the renewable energy sector in the region, according to Reuters.

One of the new power cables will stretch from Norway to the U.K., where the numerous hydroelectric plants in Norway will be able to sell renewable energy at higher prices than they can find domestically. At 425 miles long, the project will result in the single longest subsea power cable in the world.

The second power line will stretch to Germany, one of the largest producers of clean energy in the world. The Local reports that this cable will provide wind and solar energy from Germany to be diverted to Norway when demand is low to be stored in some of the country's pumped storage power plants.

While renewable energy has grown quickly with the support of subsidies in Germany, the country has faced difficulties because of the intermittent nature of wind and solar, which could be significantly improved by access to Norwegian pumped storage.

The German and British cables will each carry 1.4 gigawatts of power and are expected to be complete in 2018 and 2020, respectively.

Power market data for Norway is available at PennEnergy's Research area.

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Brazilian solar sector advises government to invest in solar

Brazilian solar sector advises government to invest in solar

29.06.2012: In a new in-depth report published by Brazil’s main solar association ABINEE, the association urges the Brazilian government to adopt new measures that would encourage the development of a solar industry in Brazil. ABINEE warns: “There is a risk that Brazil will lose the chance of obtaining a position in this highly strategic industry.... Some analysts consider that Brazil is already behind in this process.” According to the report, an established domestic solar industry and a successful solar market are inextricably linked. ABINEE therefore calls on the government to finally launch an auction for megawatt-size solar projects, a program the government has been considering for quite some time. The association also calls on the government to encourage deployment of distributed generation systems by developing a supportive regulatory environment and by introducing new solar programs. While ABINEE welcomes the recently approved net-metering regulation in Brazil, it says additional initiatives such as solar leasing programs and programs for community-owned solar projects are needed to help consumers embrace solar energy. ABINEE also asks the government to introduce tax incentives and financing facilities designed specifically for solar companies. ABINEE estimates that at the end of 2011, Brazil’s total installed PV capacity stood at 31.5 MW – 30 MW of which was off-grid. ABINEE represents over 140 solar companies. … Source: ABINEE; Summary: PHOTON



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


FW: LIPA Board of Trustees Approve First Feed-In Tariff Program in New York State



From: Michael Deering []
Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 4:12 PM
Subject: LIPA Board of Trustees Approve First Feed-In Tariff Program in New York State


Thanks to all of you who provided support for this initiative!


Michael J. Deering,

Vice President of Environmental Affairs

Long Island Power Authority

333 Earle Ovington Blvd.

Uniondale, New York 11553




LIPA Media Contact
Mark Gross
Office: 516-719-9892
Media Pager: 516-229-7248

For Immediate Release: June 28, 2012

LIPA Board of Trustees Approve First Feed-In Tariff Program in New York State

Furthers Governor Cuomo's NY-Sun Initiative by adding 50 MW of solar power in Long Island

Clean Solar Initiative supported by government leaders, environmental and renewable energy advocates, business representatives and solar industry professionals

Uniondale, NY—Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) Board of Trustees voted today to approve LIPA's new Clean Solar Initiative (CSI) that will provide Long Island with the next 50 megawatts (MW) of solar energy on Long Island. This initiative will further advance the development of solar energy and the growth of clean energy jobs on Long Island.

LIPA's CSI will be New York State's first feed-in tariff (aka: standard offer) program and is consistent with the clarion call by Governor Andrew Cuomo to quadruple customer-sited solar energy in New York State by 2013.

"The Clean Solar Initiative solidifies LIPA as a national leader in renewable energy," said LIPA chief operating officer Michael Hervey. "Our customer-sided residential and business solar programs as well as our large scale utility solar projects continue to act as a catalyst for promoting solar energy, diversifying our energy portfolio, leveraging private investment, and creating green jobs on Long Island."

Through the CSI, LIPA will purchase, through June 30, 2014, up to 50 MW of solar generation located on its customers' premises through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) whereby the owner of the solar system is paid a fixed rate by LIPA for every kilowatt hour (kWh) of renewable energy generated over a 20-year term. This type of standard offer, performance-based incentive to help grow mid-to-large solar installations across Long Island has been used successfully by other utilities in the United States, Canada and Europe. The CSI builds off the success of LIPA's Solar Pioneer and Entrepreneur Program and its first 50 MW utility-scale project, which was achieved through the issuance of a Request for Proposal.

LIPA's CSI has received overwhelming support by local industry leaders, business representatives, environmental and clean energy advocates, and governmental leaders at the state, county, and local level.

"The growth of solar energy and LIPA's Clean Solar Initiative is critically important for our future energy needs as well as helping to create jobs and grow our economy in the short term," said New York State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle.

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. today applauded the LIPA Board of Trustees for establishing a solar feed-in tariff as part of Governor Cuomo's NY-Sun proposal. "This proposal is similar to one I first proposed in 2009. If we are to be truly energy independent and reduce energy costs on Long Island, we must provide incentives to encourage the production of solar and other alternative sources of energy. The establishment of this program is a market-based strategy to do just that. Not only will it encourage the rapid and sustainable development of electricity from renewable sources, it will create green jobs on Long Island. In Gainesville, Florida, a surge of capital investment in community solar systems has occurred under their program. It will provide a means to earn reasonable and reliable returns, allowing capital to flow into clean and renewable energy systems."

"The CSI builds upon LIPA's nationally recognized customer-sided Solar Pioneer and Solar Entrepreneur programs. Suffolk County has been a proud partner with LIPA on its utility-scale solar initiative demonstrated by solar carport projects throughout Suffolk County. Renewable energy is an increasingly significant source of clean energy for Long Island, and has a positive economic impact on the local workforce and our businesses," said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

Applications for participation in the CSI will be accepted starting July 16, 2012 with the rate of $0.22 per kWh of electricity delivered to LIPA's grid over a 20-year contract term subject to the PPA. The amount of electricity will be measured using a dedicated meter for each approved project.

"LIPA has shown national leadership by creating the Clean Solar Initiative, which will unleash the commercial-scale solar market in Long Island by giving customers a straightforward opportunity to sell solar energy to LIPA," said Craig Lewis, Executive Director of Clean Coalition. "Commercial-sized solar projects represent the most promising growth opportunity for solar because they can be deployed quickly and cost-effectively while delivering maximum benefits to the local economy. I expect that LIPA's Clean Solar Initiative will serve as a model for Clean Programs across the country."

"The Feed-in Tariff is a highly successful, cost-effective mechanism used around the world, and will offer an even greater opportunity for the growth of solar power as an energy source for Long Island," said Gordian Raacke, Executive Director of Renewable Energy Long Island, a regional not-for-profit organization. "With this new step in the evolution of solar energy initiatives, LIPA is making a quantum leap forward."

"The Long Island Solar Industries Association (LISEIA), a task force of NYSEIA applauds LIPA's leadership in developing and implementing a solar feed-in tariff. Such programs have been some of the most successful in accelerating solar energy adoption throughout the world, and we look forward to adding Long Island to that record of success," said R. Sail Van Nostrand, Chairman of Long Island Solar Energy Industries Association.

For further information on LIPA's Clean Solar Initiative visit the LIPA website at

LIPA, a non-profit municipal electric provider, owns the retail electric Transmission and Distribution System on Long Island and provides electric service to more than 1.1 million customers in Nassau and Suffolk counties and the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. LIPA is the 2nd largest municipal electric utility in the nation in terms of electric revenues, 3rd largest in terms of customers served and the 7th largest in terms of electricity delivered. In 2010, LIPA outperformed all other overhead electric utilities in New York State for frequency of service interruptions, and ranked second for duration of service interruptions. LIPA does not provide natural gas service or own any on-island generating assets. More information about LIPA can be found online at:



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Saturday, June 23, 2012

FW: (BN) Gazprom Biggest Loser as Shale Gas Upends World Markets: Energy


Bloomberg News, sent from my iPod touch.

Gazprom Biggest Loser as Shale Gas Upends World Markets

June 22 (Bloomberg) -- The natural-gas boom reshaping America is rocking Russia, where state producer OAO Gazprom is slow to react and at risk of becoming the world's biggest loser from the new technology to drill shale rock.

The U.S. no longer needs Russia's gas, leaving President Vladimir Putin fighting to salvage Gazprom's $20 billion Shtokman project in the Arctic. China, the biggest energy consumer, is exploring its own shale reserves and hesitating to accept a pipeline from Russia. Gazprom's shipments fell about 14 percent so far in 2012, and the stock has lost 9.6 percent.

Russia, with about $13 trillion of gas deposits, has the most at stake in the energy revolution that's blasting shale from Pennsylvania to China in rocks impossible to drill just a decade ago. While Gazprom remains the gas biggest producer, the export monopoly is set for its toughest market since the Soviet Union's fall in 1991 after letting rivals like Exxon Mobil Corp. take the lead in a technology that's eroding its sales.

"Gazprom is taking what seems to be a 'head in the sands' position on shale gas," said Andy Flower, a former BP Plc executive who's now a consultant on the global gas market based in Surrey, England.

Putin in April urged Russia's energy companies to "rise to the challenge" of shale. Afterward he coaxed partners in the Arctic Shtokman project to move forward, in comments before the start of this week's St. Petersburg Forum of global executives. Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller yesterday held talks there with chiefs of France's Total SA and Statoil ASA of Norway as the partners in the Shtokman project aim to reach a new shareholder accord and decide on its fate by month end. Total and Statoil hold 49 percent of the project.

Hits Growth

Gazprom "will take some pain to adjust" to the shale-gas revolution, said Ben Montalbano, a senior research analyst at the Energy Policy Research Foundation in Washington. "It hits production growth prospects, pricing power and revenues."

The Moscow-based company's earnings per share will drop 10 percent in 2012 to 56.9 rubles, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That contrasts with a 6.3 percent median gain among 63 oil and gas producers on the Bloomberg World Oil & Gas index. Gazprom shares have fallen 57 percent since reaching a record high in 2008, while the index lost 41 percent.

The stock dropped 0.7 percent today to close at 154.94 rubles in Moscow.

Gazprom downplays the threat from shale on global gas markets, saying European demand will hold up and the collapse in U.S. prices caused by a glut is temporary.

Shale Gift

"Shale gas is a gift for the entire gas industry, because it effectively removed a question of potential depletion of reserves," Sergei Komlev, head of pricing at Gazprom's export unit, said in an e-mail. "But a common view that shale gas is cheap is wrong."

Should Gazprom founder, Russia could follow. With most of its contract prices pegged to oil, which has fallen about 15 percent this year, its profit outlook weakened.

Last year, Russia's largest company boosted sales 29 percent to a record 4.6 trillion rubles ($141 billion), as benchmark Brent oil prices climbed 13 percent. It led oil and gas companies in providing about half of state revenue. This year, sales are forecast to climb 6 percent.

Forged from the Soviet Union's gas ministry after the collapse of the communist regime in 1991, Gazprom has been accused of carrying out government policy in using its supplies to assert Russian power. Shipments to neighboring Ukraine were repeatedly halted since 2006 in disputes over energy prices. Russia holds the world's biggest reserves, equal to 21 percent of all known deposits.

Overtake Russia

Shale production allowed the U.S. to overtake Russia as the largest gas-producing nation in 2009 after explorers began employing hydraulic fracturing, a technique using pressurized water with chemicals and sand to open cracks in rock for freeing gas.

The subsequent collapse in prices, which touched a 10-year low in New York in April, killed the U.S. as an export market for Shtokman and other liquefied natural gas projects. The U.S. will even become a gas exporter as early as 2015.

Gazprom can't look to Europe for relief. It supplies about 25 percent of gas demand by pipeline, though the market is shrinking as the economic crisis undermines demand. Shipments are down 14 percent this year.

Nations dependent on Russian gas, such as Ukraine and Poland, are starting to assess their own shale gas potential.

"There is always the possibility that the shale gas revolution may, in the long run, produce less gas than some are now forecasting, but I think the probability is very low," Flower said.

Strategic Challenges

Shale gas output in China and the U.S., and to a lesser extent Europe, "creates strategic challenges for existing gas exporters," the International Energy Agency said in a report on May 29. The share of Russian and Middle Eastern producers in the international gas trade may decline to 35 percent in 2035 from about 45 percent in 2010, the IEA said in a report on unconventional gas.

Gazprom's weakening position undermines its ability to link gas-export prices to oil, a device that's kept prices in Europe above U.S. levels. Under pressure, the company agreed to offer discounts to some customers, such as GDF Suez SA and Eni SpA, while pursuing arbitration and talks with EON AG and RWE AG's units and Poland's PGNiG earlier this year.

"It will take several years before we know the full potential of European and Chinese shale, but if either one even partially pans out, it will significantly reduce demand for Gazprom gas, particularly at oil-linked prices," Montalbano said.

More Sanguine

The company still expects volumes to Europe to remain unchanged this year and revenue supported by higher oil prices. Gazprom estimates export revenue from sales to Europe will rise this year to $61 billion from $57 billion last year, approaching the record $64 billion in 2008, Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev said on June 20.

Still, the transformation of the global gas market has already pushed Gazprom to delay the Shtokman project in the Arctic, which was expected to ship 90 percent of fuel to the U.S. Meanwhile, rival exporters Qatar and Australia have expanded capacity to allow them to ship fuel to Asia, which has the highest gas prices in the world.

While Russia is expected to maintain its role as the "Saudi Arabia of gas," the country will increasingly have to compete with the U.S., according to Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the IEA.

"It's not only shale gas itself, but shale gas technology," she said yesterday. "Several countries that are import-dependent have recognized their unconventional gas potential and promising developments are taking place in China and Poland."

To contact the reporter on this story: Anna Shiryaevskaya in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at

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Friday, June 22, 2012

New type of photovoltaic device harnesses heat radiation that most solar cells ignore

New type of photovoltaic device harnesses heat radiation that most solar
cells ignore

June 21, 2012
Source: David Chandler, MIT News Office 

About 40 percent of the solar energy reaching Earth's surface lies in the
near-infrared region of the spectrum — energy that conventional
silicon-based solar cells are unable to harness. But a new kind of
all-carbon solar cell developed by MIT researchers could tap into that
unused energy, opening up the possibility of combination solar cells —
incorporating both traditional silicon-based cells and the new all-carbon
cells — that could make use of almost the entire range of sunlight's energy.

"It's a fundamentally new kind of photovoltaic cell," says Michael Strano,
the Charles and Hilda Roddey Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and
senior author of a paper describing the new device that was published this
week in the journal Advanced Materials.

The new cell is made of two exotic forms of carbon: carbon nanotubes and
C60, otherwise known as buckyballs. "This is the first all-carbon
photovoltaic cell," Strano says — a feat made possible by new developments
in the large-scale production of purified carbon nanotubes. "It has only
been within the last few years or so that it has been possible to hand
someone a vial of just one type of carbon nanotube," he says. In order for
the new solar cells to work, the nanotubes have to be very pure, and of a
uniform type: single-walled, and all of just one of nanotubes' two possible
symmetrical configurations.

Other groups have made photovoltaic (PV) cells using carbon nanotubes, but
only by using a layer of polymer to hold the nanotubes in position and
collect the electrons knocked loose when they absorb sunlight. But that
combination adds extra steps to the production process, and requires extra
coatings to prevent degradation with exposure to air. The new all-carbon PV
cell appears to be stable in air, Strano says.

The carbon-based cell is most effective at capturing sunlight in the
near-infrared region. Because the material is transparent to visible light,
such cells could be overlaid on conventional solar cells, creating a tandem
device that could harness most of the energy of sunlight. The carbon cells
will need refining, Strano and his colleagues say: So far, the early
proof-of-concept devices have an energy-conversion efficiency of only about
0.1 percent. 

For the most up to date and in-depth news on the global solar industry visit
PennEnergy's comprehensive Renewable Generation topic center to access
industry focused articles and reports.

But while the system requires further research and fine-tuning, "we are very
much on the path to making very high efficiency near-infrared solar cells,"
says Rishabh Jain, a graduate student who was lead author of the paper.

Because the new system uses layers of nanoscale materials, producing the
cells would require relatively small amounts of highly purified carbon, and
the resulting cells would be very lightweight, the team says. "One of the
really nice things about carbon nanotubes is that their light absorption is
very high, so you don't need a lot of material to absorb a lot of light,"
Jain says.

Typically, when a new solar-cell material is studied, there are large
inefficiencies, which researchers gradually find ways to reduce. In this
case, postdoc and co-author Kevin Tvrdy says, some of these sources of
inefficiency have already been identified and addressed: For instance,
scientists already know that heterogeneous mixtures of carbon nanotubes are
much less efficient than homogeneous formulations, and material that
contains a mix of single-walled and multiwalled nanotubes are so much less
efficient that sometimes they don't work at all, he says.

"It's pretty clear to us the kinds of things that need to happen to increase
the efficiency," Jain says. One area the MIT researchers are now exploring
is more precise control over the exact shape and thickness of the layers of
material they produce, he says.

The team hopes that other researchers will join the search for ways to
improve their system, Jain says. "It's very much a model system," he says,
"and other groups will help to increase the efficiency."

But Strano points out that since the near-infrared part of the solar
spectrum is currently entirely unused by typical solar cells, even a
low-efficiency cell that works in that region could be worthwhile as long as
its cost is low. "If you could harness even a portion of the near-infrared
spectrum, it adds value," he says.

Strano adds that one of the paper's anonymous peer reviewers commented that
the achievement of an infrared-absorbing carbon-based photovoltaic cell
without polymer layers is the realization of "a dream for the field."

The work also involved MIT graduate students Rachel Howden, Steven Shimizu
and Andrew Hilmer; postdoc Thomas McNicholas; and professor of chemical
engineering Karen Gleason. It was supported by the Italian company Eni
through the MIT Energy Initiative, as well as the National Science
Foundation and the Department of Defense through graduate fellowships to
Jain and Howden, respectively.
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NREL: U.S. GRID COULD BE 80% RENEWABLES BY 2050 - Power Engineering

Canadian Solar and SkyPower close project purchase and joint venture agreement

Canadian Solar and SkyPower close project purchase and joint venture agreement

22.06.2012: Chinese-Canadian module manufacturer Canadian Solar Inc. said it has closed a purchase and international joint venture agreement with Canadian solar project developer SkyPower Ltd. Under the agreement, Canadian Solar will acquire a majority interest in 16 SkyPower solar projects being developed in Ontario. The 16 projects, all scheduled to be completed in 2014, have a combined capacity of between 190 and 200 MW (DC). Canadian Solar said it expects to receive $785 million in income from these projects. Under the second part of the agreement, the two companies will create a 50:50 international joint venture called CSI SkyPower focused on developing solar power plants in Africa, the Middle East and South America. The total value of the transaction is approximately $185 million. The initial signing of the agreement was announced last April. … Source: Canadian Solar Inc.; Summary: PHOTON

The complete press release can be viewed in PHOTON's archive using the following link:



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

(BN) Pacific-Rim Trade Deal May Add $3 Trillion in Output With Canada, Mexico


Bloomberg News

Pacific Trade Talks Extend Invites to Canada, Mexico

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- A proposed Pacific trade region may capture an additional $3 trillion in economic output after Canada and Mexico were invited to take part in talks with nine other nations.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership deal "will enhance trade in the Asia-Pacific region and will provide greater economic opportunity for Canadians and Canadian businesses," Prime Minister Stephen Harper said yesterday in a statement issued at the Group of 20 summit in the Mexican resort city of Los Cabos. Canada will enter the talks "at the earliest opportunity," the government said in the statement.

A final deal that includes Canada and Mexico would create the U.S.'s largest trade accord, linking its North American Free Trade Agreement partners with eight Pacific-region nations. The negotiations would cover trading among economies with an estimated $20.5 trillion in output, up from $17.6 trillion among the nine partners, according to the Canadian statement.

Canada, the primary U.S. trading partner, hasn't made any concessions as part of the agreement, though it will have to accept progress the negotiating nations have already made, Harper told reporters yesterday in Los Cabos.

"We're obviously not going to try and undo what's been done but these negotiations in our judgment are at fairly preliminary phases right now," he said.

'Unique Opportunity'

Inviting Canada to join "presents a unique opportunity for the United States to build upon this already dynamic trading relationship," U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said in a statement. The Pacific agreement is a top trade priority for U.S. President Barack Obama's administration.

Adding the two nations to the Pacific deal would create the largest export market for the U.S., according to the agency. The current parties in the talks represent the fourth-largest goods and services market for U.S. exporters, according to an agency fact sheet.

For now, the U.S. along with participating nations Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam haven't taken action on Japan's interest in joining. Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co. and Chrysler LLC oppose Japan's participation, saying the nation's auto market needs to be more open to international competition.

The Pacific agreement will embrace traditional issues including agriculture and intellectual property, as well investment and protections for businesses that compete against state-owned enterprises, according to the U.S. Trade Representative's office.

'Sticking Points'

Those issues also may be "sticking points" as the talks progress, Jeffrey Schott, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, said at a conference in Washington yesterday. Because topics such as protecting copyrights and patents and challenging state-owned companies have evolved since Nafta took effect in 1994, the Pacific accord "will be a way of upgrading the Nafta without having to renegotiate it in North America," he said.

New entrants to the talks "must not lower the ambition of the Trans-Pacific Partnership or delay its conclusion," Representative Kevin Brady, a Texas Republican and chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee trade panel, who spoke earlier at the conference, said. By setting high standards, the agreement may give its participants leverage when dealing with countries including India and China and encourage them to abide by similar rules, he said.

Fast Track

Brady called on Congress to grant the White House so-called fast-track authority to negotiate agreements subject to an up- or-down vote by lawmakers. If the Pacific accord "is to be completed quickly, we have to be prepared to consider it in Congress when that time comes," he said.

Trade in merchandise among Canada, Mexico and the U.S. reached $1 trillion in 2011 for the first time, Obama said at an April 2 press conference. Total U.S. trade in goods with Canada reached $596.2 billion, resulting in a $34.5 billion U.S. trade deficit with its northern neighbor, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Goods trade with Mexico, the second largest market for U.S. exporters, was $461.2 billion.

"Companies and workers in our three countries literally make things together, with supply chains that cross our borders and make North America more competitive on the global stage," Thomas Donohue, chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a Washington-based industry group, said yesterday in a statement.

The Obama administration must notify Congress of its intent to include any additional countries in the talks, followed by a 90-day consultation period with Congress.

The next round of Pacific-accord negotiations is scheduled for July 2-10 in San Diego.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Wingfield in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jon Morgan at

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Solar Winter Output Assessment: Measuring Snow-related Losses | Large Scale Solar Magazine Article

Canadian Solar provides 17 MW to Potentia in Ontario

North America

Canadian Solar provides 17 MW in Ontario

19.06.2012: Chinese-Canadian module manufacturer Canadian Solar Inc. has agreed to provide Ontario-based independent power producer Potentia Solar Inc. with 17 MW of photovoltaic (PV) modules over the next year and a half. The Canadian Solar modules will be incorporated into more than one hundred rooftop PV projects being developed throughout Ontario. Canadian Solar will deliver the modules on a per project basis, with all projects due to be completed in 2013. Canadian Solar did not disclose the financial terms of the agreement. … Source: Canadian Solar Inc.; Summary: PHOTON

The complete press release can be viewed in PHOTON's archive using the following link:



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Our colleagues at Recurrent got in early and now finance out. See buyers

Recurrent Energy to sell 100 MW to Mitsubishi and Osaka Gas

15.06.2012: Solar power project developer Recurrent Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Sharp Corp., announced that Japanese companies Mitsubishi Corp. and Osaka Gas Chemicals Co. Ltd. are ready to acquire 100 MW of PV plants installed in the Canadian region of Ontario. They are set to acquire the installations as soon as the projects are completed. According to Recurrent, the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) has signed 20-year power purchase agreements (PPAs) for each of the projects in its portfolio. All the projects are scheduled to be in operation by 2013. The company has not released any information about the financial terms of the transaction nor in regard to the projects' locations. … Source: Recurrent Energy Inc.; summary: PHOTON

The complete press release can be viewed in PHOTON's archive using the following link:



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


Pricing Set for Japan's Feed-In Tariff, Goes Into Force July 1

IEA Urges Governments to Speed Up Green Technology Deployment

Global Renewable Energy Investment Must Double by 2020, Says IEA

The IEA used to be the biggest friend that Nukes ever had when it comes to international agencies. See where they are now.

Solar Surpasses Wind as Top Renewable Energy Investment

FW: Ontario's Largest Transmission Project Producing Power



From: Ontario News []
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 10:17 AM
Subject: Ontario's Largest Transmission Project Producing Power


Ontario's Largest Transmission Project Producing Power

June 19, 2012

McGuinty Government Brings More Clean, Reliable Power Online, Creates 500 Jobs

Ontario's largest transmission infrastructure project in 20 years is now transmitting electricity. The Bruce to Milton transmission expansion project will connect more than 3,000 megawatts of clean, renewable energy to Ontario's grid - enough power for Milton, London, Guelph, Chatham, Mississauga, Brampton, Hamilton and St. Catharines, combined.

Hydro One completed the transmission line six months ahead of schedule and employed approximately 500 workers at the peak of construction activity. The project involved constructing more than 700 transmission towers, and stringing more than 180 kilometres of transmission wire from the Bruce Peninsula to Milton.

Strengthening Ontario's electricity infrastructure is an important part of the McGuinty government's plan to build a modern, clean, reliable electricity system -- ensuring the province has the electricity it needs to power homes, schools, hospitals and the economy.


"Today marks a major milestone in Ontario's electricity infrastructure and we are paving the way for a future that offers new technologies while delivering clean, renewable power for growing communities and generations to come."

 – Chris Bentley
Minister of Energy

"We are proud to celebrate the partnerships built and strengthened as a result of the construction of this line. The project was made possible through a shared commitment from the residents, businesses, municipalities, conservation groups and First Nations and Métis groups along the corridor."

 – Laura Formusa
President and CEO of Hydro One


  • Ontario is modernizing 80 per cent of its energy infrastructure.
  • The Bruce to Milton transmission line will enable more renewable energy to come online from the refurbished units at the Bruce Power nuclear facility and 25 large solar and wind projects announced last summer.
  • The province invested $9 billion to upgrade 5,000 kilometres of transmission lines - the equivalent distance between Toronto and Whitehorse, Yukon to ensure a reliable electricity system.


Ministry of Energy


Monday, June 18, 2012

Utilities are Bailing on Coal | EnergyBiz

We are past the tipping point for coal. At least until gas inevitably resumes its history of rising prices  and volatility.

Friday, June 15, 2012

FW: Statement By Premier McGuinty On The 2012 Budget

Real threat of new election or brinksmanship?


Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


From: Ontario News []
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2012 5:45 PM
Subject: Statement By Premier McGuinty On The 2012 Budget


Statement By Premier McGuinty On The 2012 Budget

June 14, 2012

Today Premier Dalton McGuinty released the following statement:

"For months, Ontario's MPPs have had before them a budget that will keep our economy on track. And keep our deficit going down.

The government, throughout these months, has made real efforts to be fair and reasonable.

The budget includes ideas proposed by both the PCs and the NDP. It is a plan that will ensure that our province keeps moving forward. But after being fair and reasonable, it is time to be firm.

Earlier today, the NDP turned their backs -- yet again -- on an agreement to pass our budget.

They joined forces with the PCs to gut the government's budget bill.

The consequences of the NDP's latest backtrack would hurt our economy when what it needs most is stability and certainty. Andrea Horwath and her party have, for the second time, broken their word about passing this budget.

This is about Ontario's economic livelihood and our ability to continue steering the province in the right direction in these challenging times.

It's absolutely imperative that we pass this budget. And if we cannot pass this budget, we will take it to the people in a general election.

If Tim Hudak and his caucus want to support the budget, we'd welcome their support to avoid an election Ontarians don't want.

If any member of either opposition party wants to put the provincial interest ahead of their party's own interest, we'd be happy to work with them.

Otherwise, Andrea Horwath breaking her word a second time at this late stage has left us with absolutely no choice -- we will be forced to take this to the people."

Office of the Premier


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Cuba to build its first megawatt-scale plant this year. Caribbean on fire for solar

Cuba to build its first megawatt-scale plant this year

11.06.2012: Cuba plans to start to building megawatt-scale parks. The first such installation is expected to be completed by the end of this year, according to local news website Solar parks totaling 10 MW are expected in 2013. Moreover, the country wants to increase the share of renewables in the electricity mix over the next 8 years from 3.8 percent to 16.5 percent. Currently there are a large number of off-grid solar installations in Cuba and several small-scale on-grid systems. Cuba has a crystalline silicon module factory in the Pinar del Río region, in the western part of the country.... Source: Cubadebate; summary: PHOTON



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy


FW: Ontario Minister of Energy awards smart grid funding

Ontario Minister of Energy awards smart grid funding

June 8, 2012
Source: dTechs epm Ltd.

Mr. Roger Morrison, Chief Executive Officer of dTechs, (dTechs epm Ltd.) is
pleased to announce that dTechs has been awarded Smart Grid Funding for its
project with Oakville Hydro, a mid-sized Ontario electric distribution

The Oakville Hydro project consists of the installation of 225 high
resolution wireless meters on the medium voltage supply monitoring
approximately 16,000 customer endpoints in Oakville, Ontario. dTechs
monitoring allows for full system monitoring of power usage.

The dTechs MeterSuite is an advanced wireless metering system created to
help electric distribution utilities directly address grid management,
outage management, line-loss reduction and power theft. The dTechs
MeterSuite finds, immediately notifies and directs Utilities to the location
of system outages and atypical consumption. This includes electricity theft,
unsafe high consumption and poor infrastructure areas (e.g. aged transformer
equipment and poor distribution lines). The dTechs metering hardware
installs quickly and seamlessly in the grid, measuring flow in real time at
the most efficient location (medium voltage).

The Smart Grid Fund provides targeted financial support to Ontario-based
demonstration projects that test, develop and bring to market the next
generation of smart grid solutions. The Ministry of Energy ran a thorough
competition for the funds over the past year, and after significant due
diligence on dTechs, its technology and its proposed project, the Minister
of Energy, the Honourable Chris Bentley, announced the decision today at

"Oakville Hydro is one of the industry leaders in grid visibility, and we
are excited to enhance that visibility and provide what will be the new
expected norm of real time performance of the distribution grid," commented
Mr. Morrison. "The significant due diligence performed by the province and
their auditors provides tremendous credibility to dTechs customers and
investors for the growth of dTechs going forward."

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FW: Plans for 270 MW wind farm in Ontario complete - Samsung to use Siemens turbines

Don't know how Samsung is going to create the promised manufacturing in
Ontario using Siemens turbines.

Jun 4, 2012

The Ontario Clean Technology Alliance announced it has completed plants for
a C$600 million ($575.5 million), 270 MW South Kent wind joint venture
between Pattern Energy Group LP and Samsung Renewable Energy Inc.
The plans are subject to final approval from the Ontario Ministry of the
Environment and construction is scheduled to begin in 3Q 2012. The plant
will use 124 Siemens (NYSE: SI) wind turbines and is expected to be complete
by early 2014.
The Ontario Clean Technology Alliance is a group of 11 regional and
municipal partners teamed with federal and provincial trade and innovation
ministries. The group aims to attract more wind industry players to the
Read more new renewable energy project news

Recommend this article

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FW: Renewable Energy Master Limited Partnerships: NY Times Editorial

We recently posted an article on the concept of using REITs to create
long-term financial investment vehicles for renewable energy, ones that
everyone could invest in.

Last week, the NY Times ran an Op-Ed that speaks to this subject, "How to
Make Renewable Energy Competitive." It's by Felix Mormann and Dan Reicher at
Stanford's Steyer-Taylor Center for Energy Policy and Finance.

Here's an excerpt:

Renewable energy needs help. Technological innovation has significantly
reduced the cost of solar panels, wind turbines and other equipment, but
renewable energy still needs serious subsidies to compete with conventional
energy. Today, help comes mostly in the form of federal tax breaks.

These tax incentives, and the Congressional battle over extending them for
wind projects beyond the end of this year, mean that other, more powerful
policies to promote renewables are not getting the attention they deserve.
If renewable energy is going to become fully competitive and a significant
source of energy in the United States, then further technological innovation
must be accompanied by financial innovation so that clean energy sources
gain access to the same low-cost capital that traditional energy sources
like coal and natural gas enjoy.

Two financial mechanisms that have driven investment in traditional energy
projects - real estate investment trusts and master limited partnerships -
could, with some help from Washington, be extended to renewable energy
projects to lower their cost and make America's energy future cleaner,
cheaper - and more democratic.

Federal support for renewable energy today consists primarily of two tax
breaks: tax credits and accelerated depreciation rates. But both tools have
a very limited reach. Only investors with hefty tax bills, typically big
banks or corporations, can exploit them to reduce their tax burden. Most
potential investors, including tax-exempt pension funds and, importantly,
retail investors trading stocks, don't have big enough tax bills to exploit
the break.

There are better options. They may sound wonky, but they could prove

Real estate investment trusts, or REITs, which are traded publicly like
stocks, could tap far broader pools of capital to vastly lower the cost of
financing renewable energy. REITs have a market capitalization of over $440
billion while paying shareholders average dividends below 10 percent -
roughly a third of the cost of tax equity investments for renewable energy.

Master limited partnerships carry the fund-raising advantages of a
corporation: ownership interests are publicly traded and offer investors the
liquidity, limited liability and dividends of classic corporations. Their
market capitalization exceeds $350 billion. With average dividends of just 6
percent, these investment vehicles could substantially reduce the cost of
financing renewables.

But current law makes using both of these investment vehicles for renewable
energy difficult if not impossible. Washington could help in two ways.
First, the Internal Revenue Service needs to clarify the eligibility of
renewable power generation for REIT financing.

Second, Congress needs to fix a bizarre distinction in the tax code that
bars master limited partnerships from investing in "inexhaustible" natural
resources like the sun and wind, while allowing investments in exhaustible
resources like coal and natural gas. In 2008, as surging gasoline prices
were infuriating American voters, Congress amended the tax code to enable
master limited partnerships to invest in alternative transportation fuels
like ethanol. We should treat power sources, like wind and solar farms,

There is hope. Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, plans to introduce
a bill to allow master limited partnership investment in renewable energy.
This approach is preferable to a recent proposal by Senator Bernard Sanders,
independent of Vermont, and Representative Keith Ellison, Democrat of
Minnesota, to eliminate this investment option for fossil-fuel projects.
Both moves would level the playing field between conventional and renewable
energy, but the Coons bill does so by promoting, rather than limiting,
economic growth across the energy industry.

These approaches could help renewable energy projects reduce their financing
costs up to fivefold. These cost improvements could significantly reduce the
price of renewable electricity and, over time, erase the need for costlier

Read the full editorial:
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FW: A Renewable Energy REIT?

One idea that's been put forward to finance renewable energy projects over
the long term, in addition to green bonds, is using a REIT structure.

REITS, which are commonly used to finance real estate development, could
similarly be used to finance renewable energy infrastructure. Everyone would
then be able to invest and get a direct stake in solar, wind and other

"Solar real estate investment trusts (S-REITs) are particularly applicable
because of the nature of the technology, particularly its dependable output
independent of most market risks (e.g, fuel price increases and risks
related to new greenhouse gas regulation) and its long useful life," says
Joshua Sturtevant in a paper on the subject.

Currently, the IRS limits REITs to specific types of real estate assets, so
the tax code would have to be broadened as well as clarified to allow
proceeds from power purchase agreements to qualify as revenue. Either the
IRS could directly rule on this or Congress could amend the tax code through

Although there is no pure renewable energy REIT now, the Power REIT
(AMEX:PW) aims to fill the hole until the rule changes are made.

Money manager, Tom Konrad, writes in Forbes:

It's possible to strip out the real estate assets from a wind or solar farm,
and put them into the REIT. Renewable energy developers are already familiar
with complex ownership structures (thanks to our tax laws), so stripping out
real estate assets should not be a big leap.

In order to implement his vision, Lesser and his team began buying the
shares of what was then known as the Pittsburgh & West Virginia Railroad, an
infrastructure REIT holding 112 miles of main line railroad real estate that
is triple-net leased to Norfolk Southern Railroad (NYSE:NSC) for 99 years.
The renamed PW still holds the railroad asset, and has no debt.

Based on the income from the railroad lease, PW pays a $0.40 annual
dividend, for a 5.5% yield at the current stock price of $7.24. Lesser
believes he can invest in renewable energy assets at yields in the 8.5% to
9% range. These will be financed with debt at around 6.5% and potentially
additional equity. Any such transaction would bring an immediate increase in
income per share.

Acquisitions have an added advantage of increased scale. Power REIT needs to
grow in order to better manage the expenses of being public. Income from the
existing railroad asset is insufficient to support these expenses.

Read Konrad's article.

Read the paper:
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FW: Bank of America Commits to $50 Billion in Financing for Green Economy

After meeting its previous goal of providing $20 billion in financing for
the green economy four years early, Bank of America (BOA) says it will
finance $50 billion over the next decade.

The financing is intended to address climate change, reduce demands on
natural resources and advance low-carbon economic solutions. It begins in

"Environmental business delivers value to our clients, return for our
shareholders, and helps strengthen the economy," says CEO Brian Moynihan.
"We met our prior goal in about half the time we set for ourselves, so more
than doubling our target is ambitious but achievable."

As we said when Wells Fargo announced it would finance $30 billion in
renewable energy projects through 2020, BOA's financing is important and
positive. Goldman Sachs also announced last month it would finance $40
billion over the next decade and reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2020.

Yet, like Wells Fargo and Goldman, BOA continues to finance coal plants and
mountaintop removal and ranks #1 on the Filthy Five.   BOA is also a member
of ALEC. 

In 2011, however, Bank of America was the fourth biggest asset-finance
lender for renewable energy companies.

"Facing bad publicity on practically every front, the big banks are
highlighting what has quietly become a hot growth area in recent years -
backing projects and companies in sectors like renewable energy, emissions
reduction and reduced-carbon transportation," says the NY Times.

Here are the areas BOA plans to focus on through lending, equipment
finance, carbon finance, and advice and investment solutions for clients:

Energy efficiency - in residential, commercial, and public properties, as
well as supporting the full supply chain that drives energy efficiency.
Renewable energy and energy infrastructure - including wind, solar, hydro,
biomass and waste-to-energy solutions and their upstream and downstream
supply chains, as well as smart grid, large-scale energy storage and other
important infrastructures.
Transportation - electric and hybrid vehicles, batteries/fuel cells and
sustainable bio-fuels, and developing local and regional charging
infrastructure to support the growth of new hybrid vehicle technologies.
Water and waste - innovative new technologies and infrastructure development
in water purification and waste disposal and recycling.
BOA says it will give out $100 million in grants and program-related
investments to nonprofits, community development financial institutions and
other non-governmental organizations that promote low-carbon and resource
conservation solutions. 

Since 2007, BOA has financed $17.9 billion in:

$8.4 billion (47%) for energy efficiency activities ranging from its $55
million Energy Efficiency Finance Program to provide low-cost loans and
grants to support energy efficiency retrofits in low-income neighborhoods,
to financing lighting, heating and cooling equipment upgrades in public
housing developments, commercial and government buildings.
$5 billion (28%) for renewable energy projects that range from financing San
Jose's Unified School District in California, one of the largest
solar systems in the world, to working with CleanStar Mozambique to replace
thousands of charcoal-burning cook stoves with cleaner biofuel stoves.

In 2011, the bank helped arrange and finance the world's two largest rooftop
solar projects - with clients Prologis and NRG Energy, and SolarCity - a
combined 1000 MW of solar.
Nearly $1 billion for consumer financing of hybrid vehicle purchases.
Internal Goals

In 2004, Bank of America was the first financial institution to publicly
commit to greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets and in 2009, it exceeded
them, cutting emissions 18% during those five years. 

The Bank of America skyscraper in New York City was the world's first
LEED-Platinum high-rise office building under the LEED Core and Shell rating

Targets for 2015:

Cut GHG 30% globally from 2004 levels.
20% LEED certification in its corporate workplace portfolio.
Reduce energy consumption 25% from 2004 levels

Reduce paper consumption 20% from 2010 levels. All paper will contain 20%
post-consumer recycled content and will be sourced entirely from certified

Reduce global water use 20% from 2010 levels Divert 70% of global waste from
landfills. Dispose of all electronic waste using certified, responsible
The bank's CEO will attend the upcoming Rio+20 Conference and is co-chair of
a United Nations panel on sustainable energy. .

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FW: NYC Solar Hub to Bring Solar to Cities Worldwide

In an innovative project to bring solar to cities across the world and
reduce the costs of solar, New York City is creating a Solar Energy Hub. 

Using IBM's intelligent software platform for Smarter Cities, the output of
every solar system in the city can be seen in real time, giving crucial
information on whether that's enough energy to offset costly upgrades to the
grid or use fossil fuel  generators during peak usage periods.

CUNY Ventures, a City University of New York (CUNY) Economic Development
Corporation, will be able to monitor and analyze solar production and
capacity through the NYC Solar Portal on the web.

They'll be able to fine-tune current resource use, quickly identify
barriers, foster inter-agency permitting and tracking, solar empowerment
zones, and a NYC Solar Map - which shows existing solar PV and solar thermal
installations in the city and estimates the solar PV potential for every,
single rooftop (1 million in NYC). 

Included in the individual calculations for every building is how much solar
can be installed, how much power that will generate, how much can be saved
on an annual electricity bill, how many pounds of carbon emissions can be
reduced each year, and what the equivalent would be in planting trees.

A built-in financial calculator provides a cost break down and payback time-
a surprising 5-7 years for most installations with the current incentives in
place. The Map also provides practical information and steps for installing

For starters, five state and city organizations will use the tools:  NY
State Energy Research and Development Authority, Mayor's Office of Long Term
Planning and Sustainability, NYC Department of Buildings, NYC Economic
Development Corporation and the local utility, Con Ed. 

After the first year, it will be expanded to other major jurisdictions in NY
State with a goal of creating standards and streamlining the permitting

CUNY Ventures also plans to extend the model to apply to other kinds of
renewable energy and to other city services, such as water, energy
management and transportation.

"As people migrate to urban centers in greater numbers, demand increases on
city infrastructure and resources," says Craig Hayman, general manager for
IBM Industry Solutions. "Intelligent automation of key services such as
energy, water, transportation and public safety is the solution to help meet
these new challenges. Developing leadership in sustainable resources, as New
York is doing with solar energy, serves as a model for meeting citizens'
needs while achieving the operational goals of the city."

The Department of Energy's Rooftop Solar Challenge, which is part of its
Sunshot Initiative, is partially funding the effort as part of its goal to
streamline solar installations to make solar cost-competitive with
traditional energy sources by the end of the decade.

IBM is also adapting its Smarter Buildings software for the US
Airforce to maximize energy efficiency across its entire infrastructure in
170 locations around the world.

And IBM is working with Ireland's Sustainable Energy Authority to develop
software that measures how much noise wave energy makes in the ocean to
minimize environmental impacts.

NYC is launchng an Energy App this summer that lets residents control their
air conditioners remotely.  

Here's the NYC Solar Map:


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Community Renewable Energy Sparks in California

Legislation introduced in the California Senate would enable community
renewable energy systems for customers of the state's major utilities: PG&E,
SCE and SDG&E.

Customers - homes, businesses, schools and public agencies - that choose to
participate would receive credit on their utility bills for their portion of
the clean power generated, much as if those systems were located on site.

The Wolk Community Shared Solar Bill (SB 843), sponsored by Senator Lois
Wolk (D-Davis), would create 12,000 local jobs, and $7.5 billion in economic
activity by expanding access to the state's renewable energy market, says
Vote Solar, which analyzed the plan.

Clean energy is one of the fastest growing sectors of California's economy,
yet three out of four energy customers - including the state's millions of
renters - can't generate their own on-site power from solar, wind and other

Without requiring any public funding, the bill is expected to deploy 2
gigawatts (GW) of new renewable energy capacity, equivalent to 4
conventional fossil fuel power plants and about double the amount of rooftop
solar currently installed in the state.

"In very real terms, SB 843 would be the job creation equivalent of one of
California's largest employers, putting more people to work in the state
than Cisco or Applied Materials," says Hannah Masterjohn, Policy Advocate at
Vote Solar. "By simply enabling more Californians to invest in and receive
the benefits of renewable energy systems, the state can unleash tremendous
economic activity without using any precious state funds."

Specifically, SB 843 would deliver:

-- At least 12,000 direct and induced local jobs. It would create thousands
of construction-related jobs each year, in addition to long term operations
and maintenance jobs. These are high quality local employment opportunities
across a broad range of education requirements, salary levels and fields.

-- $230 million in state tax revenues through sales taxes on renewable
energy systems.

-- $7.5 billion in total economic output. This includes wages, salaries and
revenues that can be reinvested into the state economy.

Download the report.

Here's the SB 843 campaign website.

San Diego Forming Electricity Coop

Another community effort in California is a possible energy coop in San

The San Diego Energy District Foundation would create a local energy coop,
enabling people to choose whether to purchase local green energy through
Community Choice Aggregation or to continue receiving it from the utility.

Under Community Choice Aggregation, energy demand is pooled under a
non-profit structure, giving members the ability to get bulk rates an an
opportunity to accelerate local energy development.

San Diego's plan is to prioritize electricity from customer-owned rooftop
solar arrays to make sure members are the primary beneficiaries of increased
renewable energy production.

"CCA is an off-the-shelf alternative to the status quo, which creates a
structure open to innovation and local involvement in electricity
generation," says Bill Powers, a co-founder of the San Diego Energy District

Six states have authorized municipalities to use coops, and the option is in
play in five of them.

If you're in the area, The San Diego Energy District is hosting a conference
on the subject, June 21, 8:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Here's a guide to Community Solar and read Investing in Solar as a Community

Read more about Community Choice Aggregation in the US:


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