Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FW: Costs for Renewable Energy Down Significantly in California

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Subject: Costs for Renewable Energy Down Significantly in California

03/18/2013 12:42 PM      ShareThis
Costs for Renewable Energy Down Significantly in California News

Thanks to technology advances, competition and state Renewable Portfolio
Standards (RPS), the average price utilities spend for renewable energy has
come way down.

In California, for example, when utilities first signed contracts to comply
with the state's RPS, they had to spend 21 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Now, the average price is down to just 9.6 cents per kWh for projects
approved in 2012, a big drop from the previous year of 12.6 cents per kWh.

California's utilities reached the goal of 20% renewables last year - way
ahead of the 2020 deadline - so the state raised the target to an impressive
33% by 2020, which they are on track to meet. Carbon emissions are also down
for the third consecutive year.

Last year, 1.9 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy came online and 3.7 GW is
scheduled for this year. Almost 5 GW has been added since 2003, when the RPS
went into effect.

Unfortunately, as most states get close to meeting their RPS, they haven't
raised the target,  causing utilities to back off from buying more renewable
energy. But bills have been introduced in more than 20 states to expand or
strengthen standards.

30 states including Washington DC have RPS laws.

As you know if you read our news, ALEC is pushing legislation in the states
that would roll back or eliminate their RPSs. 42 laws are moving through
state legislatures and courts in over 24 states, according to the North
Carolina Solar Center, which tracks state renewable energy policies.

Republicans have introduced a bill in North Carolina to do just that. In
addition to repealing the requirement that utilities buy  renewable energy
(passed in 2007), they would no longer have to promote energy efficiency
through free energy audits and rebates for solar systems and efficient

North Carolina's RPS requires utilities to get 12.5% of energy
from renewables and efficiency programs by 2021. If the new bill passes that
would be reduced to just 3%.

The policy has created a fledgling renewable energy industry there that's
gaining momentum, spawning a surge in big solar farms, reports NewsObserver.
A planned 100 megawatt solar plant will be one of the biggest in the US.

Since 1998, the US has installed 53 GW of non-hydro renewable energy and the
majority (63%) is in states that have RPSs.
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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

FW: Flush With Oil, Abu Dhabi Opens World's Largest Solar Plant

If you check the cost per installed MW you will see why PV wins hands down against concentrating solar.

Flush With Oil, Abu Dhabi Opens World's Largest Solar Plant
by Scott Neuman

NPR - March 19, 2013

Abu Dhabi, the most oil-rich of the United Arab Emirates, is now home to the world's single-largest concentrated solar power plant.

The 100-megawatt Shams 1 plant cost an estimated $750 million and is expected to provide electricity to 20,000 homes, according to the BBC.

Why, you might ask?

Bloomberg says the less oil Abu Dhabi uses for local consumption, the more it can export.

Sultan Ahmed al Jaber, head of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co., speaking at a news conference for the plant's opening over the weekend, said it is part of a "strategic plan to diversify energy sources in Abu Dhabi."

"Together, with clean energy and nuclear energy, it will make up 7 percent of Abu Dhabi's energy sources from renewable energy sources," he said.

Shams 1 uses 768 adjustable parabolic "trough mirrors" to focus sunlight onto a water boiler that produces steam, activates turbines and finally generates electricity, reports the website Clean Technica. The middle step in the process, it says, is to use natural gas to superheat the water.

The plant, located about 75 miles southwest of Abu Dhabi, is similar in design to Solar Energy Generating Systems (SEGS) located in California's Mojave Desert. Although Shams 1 claims to be the single-largest plant, the nine SEGS plants taken together generate more than three times as much energy and serve more than 10 times as many households at peak output.

Officials in Abu Dhabi hope Shams 1 will save 175,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually, the equivalent of taking 15,000 cars off the road. The plant is the first of several more on the drawing board.

The UAE's neighbor, Saudi Arabia, is on a similar tack with the most extensive renewable-energy program in the Middle East, Bloomberg reports:

"The country is seeking about $100 billion in investments to generate about 41,000 megawatts, or a third of its power, from solar by 2032. That compares with about 3 megawatts now, which puts it behind Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and the United Arab Emirates in capacity, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance."

[Copyright 2013 NPR]

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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Nuclear Industry Withers in U.S. as Wind Pummels Prices | Renewable Energy News Article

Wind is becoming a truly disruptive technology. This is probably the last round for a Production Tax Credit for them, but by then they won’t need it.