Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Fwd: Statement from Minister of Transportation on Ombudsman's Report on Drivers with Uncontrolled Hypoglycemia

Critical problems needing ever increasing layers of government study, control and taxpayer expenditure. Soon there will be nothing left for individuals to worry their pretty little heads over:)

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646-402-5076

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Ontario News" <>
Date: Apr 30, 2014 1:17 PM
Subject: Statement from Minister of Transportation on Ombudsman's Report on Drivers with Uncontrolled Hypoglycemia
To: <>

Ontario Newsroom Ontario Newsroom


Statement from Minister of Transportation on Ombudsman's Report on Drivers with Uncontrolled Hypoglycemia

April 30, 2014

Glen Murray, Minister of Transportation, issued the following statement in response to recommendations on the monitoring of uncontrolled hypoglycemia among drivers in Ontario:

"I would like to thank André Marin, Ombudsman of Ontario, for his thoughtful advice and recommendations on mandatory medical reporting of uncontrolled hypoglycemia in Ontario.

We appreciate the Ombudsman's efforts to identify improvements to our medical reporting process and will carefully review his recommendations. I am pleased to report that many of these recommendations are part of our program review already underway, and others have already been acted on.

Our government is committed to the safety of all Ontarians, and we will continue to work with members of the medical profession and other stakeholders on our next steps."



Patrick Searle
Minister's Office

Ministry of Transportation

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Fwd: Ontario Investing in the Ring of Fire

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Ontario News" <>
Date: Apr 28, 2014 10:44 AM
Subject: Ontario Investing in the Ring of Fire
To: <>

Ontario Newsroom Ontario Newsroom

News Release

Ontario Investing in the Ring of Fire

April 28, 2014

Province Moving Forward with Support for Strategic Infrastructure

The Ontario government is prepared to commit up to $1 billion to develop strategic all-season industrial and community transportation infrastructure in the Ring of Fire.  

Ontario needs a partner and is calling on the Federal government to equally match this funding to build the infrastructure required for this important project in the north that will create jobs and boost the northern economy.

The approach and priorities with respect to this investment will be established in partnership with First Nations, governments and industry partners through the development corporation.

The province is currently facilitating the creation of a development corporation to accelerate strategic infrastructure development in the region. The corporation will bring together key mining companies, First Nations, and the provincial and federal governments to develop, construct, finance, operate and maintain infrastructure supporting access to strategic resources in the mineral rich Ring of Fire.

The Ring of Fire represents one of the most significant mineral regions in the province, and includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America. A multi-generational opportunity, the Ring of Fire will create thousands of jobs and enhance the economic prosperity of Ontario and Canada.

Investing in the development of the Ring of Fire is part of the government's economic plan that is creating jobs for today and tomorrow.  The comprehensive plan and its six priorities focus on Ontario's greatest strengths - its people and strategic partnerships.



  • In November 2013, Ontario announced that it would facilitate the creation of a development corporation to lead strategic infrastructure development for the Ring of Fire region.
  • On March 26, 2014, Ontario and Matawa member First Nations signed a Regional Framework agreement that will ensure First Nation communities benefit from the proposed Ring of Fire development.
  • The Ring of Fire has mineral potential known to be worth $60 billion and includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America. Chromite is a key ingredient of stainless steel.
  • The region also holds the potential for significant production of nickel, copper, gold and platinum.
  • The Ring of Fire, located 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, is one of the most significant mineral regions in the province.
  • Development in the Ring of Fire is subject to all necessary environmental assessment and regulatory processes, and fulfillment of the Crown's duty to consult.




"We are committed to driving progress and investing in infrastructure development in Northern Ontario's economy. We are looking to the federal government to match our commitment of $1 billion to unleash the Ring of Fire so that we can seize this tremendous economic opportunity of national importance."
 — Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance

"Our government is committed to making a significant investment to fund transportation infrastructure development in the Ring of Fire. We have made important progress over the past few months to bring partners and divergent interests together. Now we need the federal government to match this commitment so that we can move forward on realizing the Ring of Fire's potential and making important advancements on regional, environmental, and economic developments.""
 — Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines

"As a Northerner, I'm excited by the opportunity that the Ring of Fire brings to our communities and our province. We know the region is rich with mineral deposits and represents a multi-generational economic development opportunity. Our government is committed to this development and we need the federal government to match our investment so that we can open up access to the Ring of Fire in a smart, sustainable and collaborative way to create jobs and ensure that Northern Ontario prospers."
 — David Orazietti, Minister of Natural Resources

"This investment paves the way for partnerships with the federal government, industry, and communities in the region. Access to the Ring of Fire region will mean more jobs and more prosperity for cities and towns all over the province."
 — Bill Mauro, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing



For Media Inquiries only
Susie Heath - Minister's Office

For Media Inquiries only
Scott Blodgett - Ministry of Finance

Ministry of Finance

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

BBC News: 'New graft evidence' against Flores

'New graft evidence' against Flores

El Salvador President Mauricio Funes says there is new incriminating evidence against former President Francisco Flores, accused of misusing funds.

Read more:

** Disclaimer **
The BBC is not responsible for the content of this e-mail, and anything written in this e-mail does not necessarily reflect the BBC's views or opinions. Please note that neither the e-mail address nor name of the sender have been verified.

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Fwd: Managing renewable energy intelligently

The rise of the intelligent power network.

Managing renewable energy intelligently
April 17, 2014
By PennEnergy Editorial Staff
Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Although more and more of our electrical energy is coming from sources where supply is variable – whether from wind turbines, solar parks or biomass facilities – grid structures, industry and private households alike are not yet prepared to deal with the inevitable fluctuations. Smart energy management systems are the way to put robust supply networks in place and to ensure that renewables are harnessed as efficiently as possible.
"Wind, solar and biogas are all energy sources with their own strengths and weaknesses. And it's by combining the strengths of each in a smart way that we'll be able to guarantee Germany's energy supply into the future," says Dr. Kurt Rohrig, deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology IWES in Kassel. But what happens when, instead of a big power plant, you have a host of individual small energy producers feeding in energy to the grid at varying times? Is reliable operation of the grid still technically feasible? In the "Combined Power Plant 2" research project, both science and industry have answered the question with a resounding yes. Their concept: to use a software platform to bring together a multitude of small energy providers within a "virtual power plant."

Software platform brings decentralized providers together

Experts have already conducted a test showing that this setup does indeed work reliably in practice, having combined numerous wind parks, biogas and photovoltaic facilities delivering a total output of over 80 MW in a virtual combined-cycle power plant. Because small providers work together, regional variations in wind and sun can be evened out via the grid or using biogas facilities that can be regulated according to requirement. Surplus energy is either stored or converted into heat. The result is a powerful network that remains decentralized but can still operate as a larger unit in energy trading markets. And it's not just the facilities brought together in the virtual power plant that can be managed and monitored via the software platform; the energy generated can be marketed, too.

"The results of the Combined Power Plant 2 project demonstrate that network reliability can be guaranteed even when relying purely on renewables," says Dr. Rohrig. Fraunhofer IWES offers the relevant control mechanisms and forecasting systems for a variety of applications, including the Wind Power Management System and Regional Virtual Power Plant for the energy industry.

Dynamic energy management systems

More and more companies are generating energy themselves, using solar installations or systems that recover energy from manufacturing waste, in an effort to cut costs. Now, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF in Magdeburg have developed dynamic energy management systems that manage distributed energy providers, storage and current energy consumption efficiently. Installed in a company, such a system determines whether enough renewable energy will still be available to charge the fleet of  electric company cars once power has been supplied to the HVAC system. So that the system can operate fully automatically, the amount of energy required and the amount of power expected to be produced on a given day are measured at first for general planning. In the detailed planning stage, data are supplied for the next fifteen minutes.  The researchers use neural networks trained specifically for the particular complex infrastructure to make a forecast, which the system then uses to optimize energy use in the next quarter of an hour automatically.

"We need to change our thinking from the now common generation of power geared toward consumption to consumption geared toward providers. Smart and dynamic management systems ensure that energy is used efficiently all the time," explains Dr. Przemyslaw Komarnicki from the Fraunhofer IFF.

Technologies for smart energy use in the home

With solar cells on the roof and small combined heat and power plants in the basement, homes are also generating energy. But the energy a household generates is seldom sufficient to meet its combined energy requirements throughout the year. The only option is to buy in energy – preferably when it is at its cheapest. "There are significant savings to be made if you can cleverly combine independently generated energy with variable energy tariffs and storage," says Jasmin Specht from the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS in Erlangen. In an effort to make this a reality, researchers from Fraunhofer IIS, Fraunhofer ISE and Fraunhofer IWES are working on an open software platform called OGEMA 2.0 that will allow modular energy management systems to be developed efficiently.

OGEMA 2.0 energy management systems can control energy producing, storing and consuming devices to achieve their optimal use. Not only do they facilitate the best possible use of independently generated energy in houses or apartments, they also allow users to store excess energy and to recall it when it is required. On top of providing key management functions, the system can also communicate with other participants in the smart energy network. This allows to actively contribute to supply stability and the inclusion into a virtual power plant.

Secure energy management via apps

The smart energy management system can be accessed via various interfaces, including smartphones, tablets and computers. For example, OGEMA 2.0 enables apps that tell users whether they would be better off using the energy generated by their solar cells themselves or whether they should feed it in to the grid. Such apps are also capable of tracking variable energy tariffs and automatically calculate when and how best to use connected devices such as heat pumps, storage systems, air conditioning systems and other smaller consumers of energy. OGEMA 2.0 even helps charge electric vehicles cost-effectively, with the E-Car Communication Manager (ECM) coordinating communication among various charge spots (direct and alternating current), the driver and the car's battery system. The system features the maximum security level in line with the protection profiles of the BSI (Federal Office for Information Security). This means smartphone users also have secure access to OGEMA 2.0 while on the move.




Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone.

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Fwd: Net Metering Florida - big news

This is the inevitable result when legislators give the administration of the incentive program to the monopoly.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: FARE - Florida Alliance for Renewable Energy <>
Date: Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 10:18 AM
Subject: Net Metering Florida - big news

Having trouble viewing this email? Click here
1000 consumers and businesses have now joined!!


If you haven't already, please take a look at 


1000 people have signed up so far to be part of the Net Metering Defense Network. There is not cost or obligation of any kind, the purpose of the Net Metering Defense Network is to be ready to defend against policies that will adversely affect current net metering rules.


Please sign up today! 


Businesses in the solar industry with clients who have a net-metered system, please ask your clients to sign up!



**Did you know - that legislative session still has plenty of room and time to pass or block energy related legislation?


The Florida Legislature over the past 8 years has been very much like a hungry sleeping alligator: Long stretches of doing nothing with occasional bursts of great harm. An example of this is a overlooked but important action found inside SB 1044, a piece of legislation put forth by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (DACS). Part of what the bill does is remove from statute the existing rebate program that hasn't been funded since 2009. As many of you remember, the legislature failed to fund the rebate program and left consumers holding the bag with $50 million worth of owed rebates. Using federal dollars they eventually paid down $0.50 cents on the dollar, with no additional funds on the horizon.


Now, with a billion dollar surplus, the state has made no effort to pay down the other $0.50 cents on the dollar owed and worse yet they are actually trying to remove from statute the only hope those system owners and consumers have of ever getting paid.


A whole lotta nothing with occasional bursts of harm.


If you would like to hear more about this or be involved on this issue, please sign up and tell us your story at 




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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

BBC News: Fire ice: the energy of the future?

Hope not, but probably.
> Fire Ice
> Methane hydrate is the latest hydrocarbon to excite energy-hungry countries, but what is it and what could it do to the environment?
> Read more:
> ** Disclaimer **
> The BBC is not responsible for the content of this e-mail, and anything written in this e-mail does not necessarily reflect the BBC's views or opinions. Please note that neither the e-mail address nor name of the sender have been verified.
> Sent from a mobile device.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Fwd: Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2014 Re-Introduced in House

Could stimulate a big appetite.

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646-402-5076

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Rebecca Van Nichols" <>
Date: Apr 15, 2014 6:27 PM
Subject: Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2014 Re-Introduced in House
To: <>

04/09/2014 12:23 PM       ShareThis
Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2014 Re-Introduced in House News

Through the purchase of Victory Bonds after WWII, 85 million Americans spent over $185 billion ($2 trillion in today's dollars) to fund our nation's infrastructure. Imagine doing the same for clean energy infrastructure through Clean Energy Victory Bonds.

That's what Green America has long been promoting and legislation has been re-introduced in the House of Representatives - The Clean Energy Victory Bonds Act of 2014.

For as little as $25, American would be able to buy US-government backed bonds - a new form of Treasury Bond - that directly supports US solar, wind and other renewable energy sources, advanced biofuels, electric vehicles, residential and commercial energy efficiency programs. 

First introduced in 2012, the legislation didn't make it to the floor for a vote. Will it this time? It's worth your time to help.

The bill is officially sub-titled, "To promote the domestic  development and deployment of clean energy technologies required for  the 21st century."

Green America calculates $50 billion in bonds would be leveraged to finance $150 billion for efficiency and clean energy, while creating a million jobs. It would provide a steady, long-term flow of money for these vital industries, enabling them to plan for growth without having to worry about whether or when tax breaks are eliminated.  

Americans want to support a strong clean energy industry and this would provide us with the reciprocal benefits of a secure, government-backed investment vehicle.

Please thank your representative if they are on this list of initial sponsors:

Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Doris Matsui (D-CA) introduced the bill with 14 co-sponsors: 

Mike Honda (D-CA), Judy Chu (D-CA), Tony Cárdenas (D-CA),  Lois Capps (D-CA), George Miller (D-CA), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), Mike Quigley (D-IL), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Niki Tsongas (D-MA), Chellie Pingree (D-ME), William Clay (D-MO), Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH), Rush Holt (D-NJ), Steve Israel (D-NY) and Matt Cartwright (D-PA).

"Now is the time to create a clean energy investment option backed by the full faith and credit of the U.S. government, one that millions of Americans can buy," says Fran Teplitz of Green America.

We couldn't agree more. 

Visit the Clean Energy Victory Bonds website where you can pledge to buy the bonds and contact your representative asking her/him to co-sponsor (or thank them for doing so):


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Fwd: Southeastern US Shows Hints of Progress on Clean Energy

Florida takes top marks again.

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646-402-5076

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Rebecca Van Nichols" <>
Date: Apr 15, 2014 6:35 PM
Subject: Southeastern US Shows Hints of Progress on Clean Energy
To: <>

04/07/2014 04:27 PM       ShareThis
Southeastern US Shows Hints of Progress on Clean Energy News

While much of the US has embraced efficiency and renewable energy, the southeast has resisted it, but that could finally be changing.

In South Carolina, utility SCE&G plans to build five solar farms across the state that add up to 20 megawatts (MW), a small step forward from the pathetic 4 MW installed state-wide.

Half of the solar currently installed is on one roof - 2.6 MW covering the Boeing factory that assembles the 787 Dreamliner airplane. Back in 2011, it was one of the larger rooftop projects in the US:

"We now have three of the major energy providers in South Carolina recognizing the benefits of solar energy, which is a huge shift from just five years ago,'' Andrew Streit, a former board member of the South Carolina Solar Council, told The State. 

In a series of stories last year, the newspaper outlined how restrictive state laws, a lack of tax incentives or any encouragement, and opposition from utilities have made South Carolina one of the least friendly states for solar, despite having lots of sunshine and interested residents. Other newspapers also have begun reporting on the issue, bringing it into the spotlight.

"I'd say the tide has turned and they are more receptive,'' Grant Reeves, president of the South Carolina Solar Business Alliance, told The State.  "The proof will be how they advocate with the General Assembly in January. If they quit blocking things and become more cooperative, it will be a good day in South Carolina. I'm optimistic.''

After many months of crafting a bill that included the solar industry, supportive policy passed almost unanimously out of  committee, but it gives local utilities including powerful Duke Energy a monopoly over installations, says the solar industry.

North Carolina has broken through in the South, so much so that even ALEC couldn't get the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS)repealed. West Virginia is the only other state with a RPS - Virginia's is voluntary. Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee have no supportive policies - no RPS, no net metering, or even interconnection standards, says ACORE in a report on the region. Georgia recently made moves on solar.

If you wonder why there isn't more solar in Florida, it's because  "utilities exert power over state politics at a level surpassed only by their monopoly control over electricity itself," concludes "Power Play: Political influence of Florida's top energy corporations." 

Produced by Integrity Florida, it accuses Florida Power & Light, Duke Energy, TECO, and Gulf Power of deploying hundreds of lobbyists ($12 million from 2007-2013) and millions of dollars ($18 million in 2004-2012 elections) to influence state political and regulatory bodies to protect monopoly utility interests. Their goal is to suppress growing public demand for rooftop solar, consumer choice and market competition.

Florida doesn't have a RPS and doesn't allow power purchase agreements.

What About Wind Energy?

The same situation is true for wind energy - the Southeast lags the rest of the country. One reason is that much of the region doesn't have high winds, but the bigger problem goes back to a general hostility toward renewable energy (coal country), spurred by the likes of ALEC. There's no installed wind capacity there at all.

Although a few states are accessing wind energy by signing power purchase with out-of-state developers, there's a general lack of "market signals attractive to renewable energy developers and investors - including appropriate incentives and government initiatives," says ACORE.

Last month, the US Department of Energy (DOE), announced it is setting Wind Energy Resource Centers in every region of the country, including the southeast.

And Energy Efficiency?

And yes, the same is true for energy efficiency - no incentives or positive signals.

Indeed, the South is so inefficient that retrofits in 16 cities resulted in a 387% return on investment, says the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance.

Seeded with $20.2 million from the DOE, they led a program which audited 10,000 buildings, resulting in 6000 residential and commercial retrofits.

According to an analysis of the program, it produced wide-ranging benefits, creating hundreds of jobs and $78.3 million in economic output. 

Read ACORE's report:  


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Fwd: Two Solar Developer IPOs Coming

Yieldco model.

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646-402-5076

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Rebecca Van Nichols" <>
Date: Apr 15, 2014 6:38 PM
Subject: Two Solar Developer IPOs Coming
To: <>

04/04/2014 12:04 PM       ShareThis
Two Solar Developer IPOs Coming News

Two of the world's biggest solar developers will go public this year on Nasdaq, giving people another way to invest and gain long-term benefits from the delivery of clean electricity.

Spain's Abengoa, which recently began trading on Nasdaq (ABGB),
 is spinning off Abengoa Yield and SunEdison (SUNE) is spinning off SunEdison Yield, probably during this quarter.

They join about six other "yieldcos" - a new, popular model for financing renewable energy projects. They draw a line between the side of a company that develops projects and the Yield Co, which owns and operates them long-term. Investors benefit from long-term, stable dividends that come from selling electricity to utilities under 20-25-year power purchase agreements. For income investors, they offer one of the few ways to make reliable dividends from high quality, very low risk projects. Any cash that's not paid out in dividends is reinvested in new projects.  

SunEdison actually invented the solar leasing model that's used so widely today. Among its many customers are Staples, New York City, and it built India's largest solar project to date.

Abengoa, which built the world's first concentrating solar plant (parabolic trough) that has energy storage (Solana), is spinning off Abengoa Yield, under the ticker ABY. The company hopes to raise about $620 million in the IPO. Last year's sales were $211 million with a loss of $1.8 million.

Abengoa Yield will own, operate and acquire renewable energy plants and transmission lines, focused on low carbon projects. It will start with projects in North and South America, and in Spain, with a longer term goal of branching out to certain countries in Africa and the Middle East. 

30% of Abengoa's revenues are in the US and 18% are in Spain. It has projects in the US, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and Spain. They expect to pay out 90% of cash in dividends, raising them over time through organic growth as they acquire more assets.

Abengoa has 11 assets:

710 megawatts (MW) of renewable energy generation: two US concentrating solar plants, Solana and Mojave (280 MW each) and two in Spain, Solaben 2 and Solaben 3 (50 MW each); and a 50 MW wind farm in Uruguay (50 MW)
300 MW cogeneration plant in Mexico
1,018 miles of electric transmission lines in Peru and Chile
Solana, which is about 70 miles south of Phoenix, is the world's largest parabolic solar plant, producing energy since late last year. Abengoa is also building the Mojave Solar Project (250 MW), another parabolic trough plant, in California.

They won a $1 billion contract to build the first concentrating solar plant in Latin America, a 110 MW solar tower plant in Chile's desert. And they are building the biggest solar complex in Africa - two, 100 MW concentrating plants. 

Read our article, Clean Energy IPO Boom For Investors Seeking Predictable Dividends and another since then, Pattern Energy Group for wind energy.

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Fwd: 500 Climate Laws Passed, US is Exception

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Rebecca Van Nichols" <>
Date: Apr 15, 2014 6:53 PM
Subject: 500 Climate Laws Passed, US is Exception
To: <>

04/02/2014 04:17 PM       ShareThis
500 Climate Laws Passed, US is Exception News

Believe or not, out of the world's top polluting countries, only five haven't passed legislation to address climate change, and the US is one of them. 

That's according to the Global Legislators Organization (GLOBE), which released its fourth Climate Legislation Study of the 66 countries that produce 88% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

Almost 500 climate laws have been passed in the 66 countries and developing countries are moving the fastest, the report says. Still, all the laws combined don't meet the goal of keeping global average temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius. But nations are now creating a strong foundation, which can be built on as they benefit from greater efficiency and clean energy.

In Chile, the recently elected progressive government will begin taxing carbon emissions and introduce measures for coal-fired  thermoelectric power plants to cut emissions. The country is the world's top copper producer and coal-fired power plants provide energy for most of the mines.

To transition away from coal, the government released a National Energy Strategy 2012-2030, which targets 12% lower energy consumption through efficiency by 2020, and doubles the renewable energy target to 20% by 2024.

The Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2012 - 2020 creates an energy efficiency inter-ministry commission and provides support to upgrade homes and businesses. On renewable energy, the government plans to subsidize projects through a competitive process, and increase support for financing feasibility studies and insurance.

A 110 MW solar tower plant with energy storage will be built this year in Chile's Atacama Desert, which has the highest solar radiation concentration in the world. It will be the first in Latin America.

Turkey is on course to meet its target of getting a third of its power from renewable energy by 2023, says energy minister, Taner Yildiz.

Turkey has 25 gigawatts (GW) of renewables, mostly wind, but also solar and geothermal, which will grow to 40 GW by then, he says. Wind will grow to 20 GW, solar to 3 GW, and geothermal to 600 megawatts (MW).

Pakistan, which says it faces an acute electricity shortage, has set rates for the country's new solar PV feed-in tariff. Though rates vary based on geography they are around $0.20 per kilowatt hour, and are reduced to about $0.083 after 10 years. It is limited to PV plants between 1-100 MW.

The country is considered one of the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because its environment is already so degraded. Just 2-5% of forest cover remains and with 166 square miles cleared each year, it has the highest deforestation rate in Asia, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. It has only a one month supply of water available, and with temperatures projected to rise 3 degrees Celsius over the next 50 years, growing food will be extremely challenging. People are already migrating elsewhere, says a study in the journal Nature Climate Change.  

Read the full study or this summary of climate legislation passed in 2013: 


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Reader Com

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Fwd: Crowdfunding for Solar, Wind Reaching Fevered Pitch

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Rebecca Van Nichols" <>
Date: Apr 15, 2014 6:54 PM
Subject: Crowdfunding for Solar, Wind Reaching Fevered Pitch
To: <>

03/27/2014 05:01 PM       ShareThis
Crowdfunding for Solar, Wind Reaching Fevered Pitch News

"We can't leave this kind of clean investment up to governments, which are cutting their own debts and are only worried about winning the next election," British fashion designer Vivienne Westwood told Bloomberg. "Nor can we leave it up to investment banks, with their short-term profit motivations."

She's referring to people investing directly in wind and solar through crowdfunding on the web.

In the US, Mosaic is making a hit, but interest is just as strong in Europe. In the UK, such projects raised 51.2 million pounds last year, almost 7% of all crowdfunding projects, according to the UK Crowd Funding Association, reports Bloomberg.

UK clean energy crowdfunding platforms Trillion and Abundance Generation started up last year and are projecting returns of 6-9% for investors. 

Solar and wind are ideal crowdfunding targets because once they are installed they produce reliable, long term returns.

Last year, 1,700 Dutch households raised $1.8 million in 13 hours to buy shares in a wind turbine.

SolarCity made news when it recently announced it will launch an online marketplace where everyone can invest in its solar portfolio.  

While banks now lend to big solar projects, they still aren't much interested in the small ones - which are the vast majority.  

Even the ocean energy industry has launched its own crowdfunding platform, Clean Reach. 

Here's a list of relevant crowdfunding sites in the US:

Read our article, What Happened to the JOBS Act? Leaves Crowdfunding Investors Unprotected.


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Fwd: Vertex leading partner on 30 MW solar power project in Mexico

Vertex leading partner on 30 MW solar power project in Mexico
April 8, 2014
By PennEnergy Editorial Staff
Source: Vertex, Solectria Renewables

The Vertex Companies, Inc. (VERTEX), headquartered in Weymouth, Massachusetts, is a leading partner in the development of a 30-megawatt solar power plant located in Zacatecas, Mexico.

The project was announced during a reception held late last month as part of the Massachusetts – Mexico Innovation Partnership Mission. Massachusetts Governor Duval Patrick and Zacatecas Governor Miguel Alejandro Alonso Reyes joined representatives from three Massachusetts companies, VERTEX, Solectria Renewables, and Panel Claw, to announce ZacSol, a 30-megawatt solar project that will be among the largest in Latin America.
VERTEX has operated for over a decade in the Mexican market as Vertex Ingenieros Consultores, S. de R.L. de C.V., completing dozens of energy and environmental projects in a variety of industries. VERTEX has consulted for both US and Mexican businesses including Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico's government-owned utility.
The 30 MW ZacSol 1 project is the first phase of up to 90 MW that will be installed near the municipality of Guadalupe over the next several years. With an estimated $92 million investment in Zacatecas that will create approximately 400 construction and operational jobs, this first phase represents a significant step forward for Mexico in realizing their solar potential.
Mexico has progressive renewable energy policies, high fossil-based electricity prices, and the third highest solar insolation in the world. According to the Inter-American Development Bank, Mexico has a potential for 45 GW of solar energy. SENER, Mexico's Energy Department, recently reported that solar PV projects are profitable without government subsidies with Northern and Central Mexican projects typically breaking even after only two years.
Massachusetts and Mexico have the potential to develop more bi-national partnerships such as ZacSol. In 2013, Mexico was Massachusetts' third ranked import partner, with Massachusetts importing approximately $3.37 billion worth of goods and services.
Mexico was Massachusetts' third ranked export partner, with Massachusetts exporting approximately $1.86 billion worth of goods and services. Similar to the Patrick Administration, the Administration of Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has pursued a growth strategy that invests in education, innovation, and infrastructure.

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy

Fwd: Wind power continues strong growth in the U.S.

> Wind power continues strong growth in the U.S.
> April 10, 2014
> By PennEnergy Editorial Staff
> U.S. wind power continues its strong upward trend accounting for 4.8 percent of America's electricity used in January, reports Bloomberg.
> January's total represents a new year over year record for the month, as wind technologies continue to be installed and improve on output.  Helping to produce more effective electricity generation from wind are taller towers and longer and lighter blades on the turbines, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
> AWEA analysis reveals that American wind energy generation has outpaced the growth in new wind power capacity thanks to these innovative technological advancements. Over the past five years, U.S. wind energy capacity grew from 25,000 MW to over 61,000 MW, a 140 percent growth rate. Yet, electricity generated from these wind turbines grew at a rate of 200 percent, exceeding capacity growth and making wind energy cheaper than ever.
> The cost of wind energy has decreased by 43 percent in the past four years. The average cost of onshore wind power is now the same as the price of gas worldwide at $84 per megawatt hour, according to Bloomberg. In some areas, creating energy with wind is becoming cheaper than traditional resources such as coal or natural gas.
> More information on wind power can be found at PennEnergy Research

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Fwd: Tax Code of Honor: US Congress Must Choose a Clean Energy Future

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Wyden has officially begun consideration of legislation to reinstate a suite of tax credits that big polluters and their allies succeeded in getting Congress to let expire, including vital, commonsense policies that promote clean energy.

These tax credits grow the economy by cutting pollution and their absence in the committee’s initial bill draft belies the broad, bipartisan support renewable and energy efficiency continue to attract.  As final legislation takes shape, Congress should remain clear just what is at stake: clean energy is central to meeting our obligation to defend the next generation from the dangerous pollution that threatens our climate, health, and economy. The nation’s tax code is an important tool and it should be used to promote progress, not turn back the clock on our children’s future.

Continued support of America’s critical renewable and energy efficient tax policies – and for a period longer than what unfortunately has been traditionally limited to a one-year extension-- also will provide the market signals  and stability necessary for significant job creation and technological advances to further advance a clean energy future. It’s time to stop permanently subsidizing big polluters and instead double down on using our tax code to support clean energy.

Below is a list of the clean energy credits that Congress must ensure are included in any final package:

Support for Wind and other Renewable Energy:

The Renewable Electricity Production Tax Credit (PTC) offers a per-kilowatt-hour tax credit for electricity generated by qualified energy resources, including wind and geothermal. It has played a valuable role in advancing wind power and nurturing an industry that now provides jobs to more than 80,000 Americans. In 2012 alone, the tax credit helped the wind industry catalyze $25 billion in private investment in our economy. Over 70 percent of U.S. congressional districts have either a wind project or wind-related manufacturing facility, bringing local economic development to the region.

The Business Energy Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is a crucial strategy to launch the U.S. offshore wind industry, although it also applies to other resources like solar and geothermal. Considering that the Atlantic coast in particular has strong winds with an estimated potential of more than 1,300 gigawatts of energy generation, harnessing just 52 gigawatts offshore could power about 14 million U.S. homes and create more than $200 billion in new economic activity along the coast.  Solar projects and other technologies supported through the ITC should also be eligible if they begin construction prior to the end of the credit period.
Key credits for Energy Efficiency, our cleanest, cheapest energy resource, should be refined and extended:

The Deduction for Commercial Buildings (179D) allows private building owners and public building designers who cut energy use by 50 percent, compared with what would be consumed if the building were constructed under the 2001 building code, to take a tax deduction of up to $1.80 per square foot. The savings are accomplished through changes in the lighting, heating, cooling, and ventilation systems, or in the building envelope – insulation, external windows and doors and/or roofing material. With more than 4.8 million commercial and other nonresidential buildings in the United States, the energy-saving potential is huge.
The Credit for the Construction of Energy Efficient Homes (45L) provides a $2,000 tax credit to builders who achieve a 50 percent reduction in heating and cooling energy use compared with a home built to the 2006 code. Studies since the 1980s have shown energy efficiency can increase a home’s value by roughly 9 percent. 

The Credit for Residential Energy Efficiency Improvements (25C) offers homeowners a tax credit for 10 percent of the cost of energy efficient building envelope improvements and replacement equipment that meet certain criteria, with a $500 maximum over the life of the credit.
Credit for the Manufacture of Energy Efficient Appliances (45M) offers a per-unit credit to builders of high-efficiency dishwashers, refrigerators, and clothes washers, according to energy savings. Enacted with industry support, this incentive boosts U.S. manufacturing as well as energy efficiency. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers says 40,000 jobs are affected by this incentive: at least 17,000 direct manufacturing jobs and 23,000 support jobs.  
Incentives to help grow the alternative-fuels sector:

The Second-Generation Biofuel Producer Credit (Section 40) provides a $1.01 tax credit per gallon of cellulosic or algal biofuel production. Although it could benefit from several changes, the credit is the bedrock tax incentive for potentially sustainable alternatives to petroleum. 

The Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Tax Credit (Section 30C) helps individuals and businesses invest in recharging infrastructure that supports electric vehicles. Ideally, a multi-year extension would provide the necessary certainty to reinforce private investment across the electric and fuel cell vehicle markets.

The Incentive for Fuel Cell Vehicles (26 USC 30B), which expires this year,provides a substantial tax credit to defray the cost of new fuel cell vehicles. Because it is performance-based, it provides a greater incentive for light duty fuel cell vehicles that achieve greater mileage performance. These vehicles represent an opportunity to shift the transportation sector from petroleum to hydrogen.
Commuter Transit and Parking Benefits

Monthly commuting costs are reduced by excluding them from federal taxation. Drivers benefit from this provision via cheaper parking at their sites of employment. Providing this benefit for transit and vanpool users as well puts them on par with drivers and delivers an effective incentive for choosing these cleaner and more energy-efficient means of transportation, benefiting communities and the environment as well as workers.
In short, we need every wind turbine, solar panel, electric vehicle, and energy-efficient heater if we’re going to cut the carbon pollution driving climate change and to move America closer to a more stable and prosperous future. Both chambers of Congress should follow Chairman Wyden's lead and waste no time reinstating the full suite of clean energy credits.

This article was originally published on NRDC and was republished with permission.

Lead image: US Capitol via Shutterstock

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy

Fwd: Enabling more Democratic Energy

One of the great myths perpetrated by the monopolies.


From outdated technical rules to local permitting to incentive policies, there are opportunities to increase the potential for local solar power.

This is the fourth of five parts of ILSR's Rooftop Revolution report being published in serial.  Read Part 1 or Part 2 or Part 3. Download the entire report and see our other resources here.

Removing Technical Barriers

A prominent "technical" barrier is the so-called "15% rule." It's a rule adopted in many states that says that distributed renewable energy systems can only make up 15% of the peak energy demand on the portion of the electricity system that serves residential areas (called the distribution system). To go beyond the 15% limit, proposed solar power projects would have to complete complex and costly engineering reviews to connect to the grid, making more solar cost-prohibitive.1

The 15% rule was first adopted in California's "Rule 21" for interconnecting distributed generation in the year 2000. The 15% rule comes from an assumption and a simple calculation. It's assumed that the daytime minimum load on a distribution

circuit (one strand of the local electric grid) is approximately 30% of the peak demand. This 30% represents the most solar capacity that could be installed on a distribution circuit without potentially producing more than the circuit's load. The 30% was divided in half as a safety margin, making the threshold 15% of peak load.

The 15% rule now governs most state distributed generation policies (and is part of FERC's Small Generator Interconnection Procedures) and has started to create problems in states with the most local solar power development, including Hawaii and California.

However, the 15% rule may be too conservative. Research from the federal Department of Energy suggests that daytime minimum loads are likely closer to 50% of peak load, rather than 30%. This means that a more appropriate (and still very conservative) threshold for unintentional islanding is closer to 25% of peak load, rather than 15%.

Raising the threshold seems reasonable because potential impacts of high distributed generation penetration (such as maintaining a constant voltage on the grid) have not proven out.2 In particular, there are several illustrations of the ability of the distribution grid to handle very high portions of solar PV generation, much more than the 15% rule.3

 Kona, HI, has a 700 kW solar array that is 35% of the capacity of its distribution circuit, with no reported issues.
 Las Vegas, NV, has over 10,000 kW of commercial solar PV on a distribution circuit (50% of capacity, 100% during low load) with no reported issues.
 Atlantic City, NJ, has 1,900 kW of commercial solar PV on a distribution circuit (24% of capacity, 63% during low load) with no reported issues.
Las Vegas, NV, has over 10,000 kW of commercial solar PV on a distribution circuit (50% of capacity, 100% during low load) with no reported issues

Energy storage is among other potential technical solutions to the 15% (or 25%) rule. Electric vehicle batteries or other storage connected to the distribution system could absorb some portion of solar electricity at periods of high production and low demand, and push the power back into the grid when it's needed. Research at the Department of Energy and many private companies continues to search for ways to maximize the penetration of distributed solar power with storage and electric vehicles.

Simplifying Local Permitting

Local permitting rules significantly increase the cost of installing solar projects, especially on residential property. In a study released in early 2011 by solar installer SunRun, permitting costs represented 8-10% of the total
project cost ($6.40 per Watt) of typical residential solar projects (3-4 kW). At $4.00 per Watt (our estimate for the best possible residential solar installed cost today), these permit costs would be 16% of project costs for a 4 kW array. If nothing changes by 2018, when solar installed costs could fall to $2.41 per Watt, unchanged permitting policies would represent 26% of the price of a 4 kW solar array.4

Fortunately, the Solar America Board of Codes and Standards has already developed a set of best practices that may significantly reduce the cost of permitting for solar projects. Their exhaustive list of strategies (such as expedited review based on a checklist, email rather than in-person permit submission, etc) can reduce permitting costs by 75%, giving a very different picture.

Expanding Net Metering

Another potential barrier to fulfilling the potential of solar grid parity are limits on and limitations of net metering. Net metering laws in 43 states allow for on-site solar power producers to rollback their electricity consumption. For every kilowatt-hour (kWh) offset by on-site solar, the customer saves the retail charge for electricity, e.g. $0.10 per kWh. The following chart provides a simplified example, where the customer uses 100 kWh in a month, but because their solar array produces 60 kWh, they only pay for the "net" consumption, 40 kWh.

In general, customers using net metering get paid the retail rate for solar electricity so long as production does not exceed on-site consumption (by very much). The advantage of net metering is that people generally find a combination of energy efficiency and solar power that minimizes their electric bill, and the accounting is all handled by the utility using a single meter.

Net metering has political advantages as well. Since it doesn't require any public money (but instead requires the utility to provide the accounting measure), it feels free.

One drawback of net metering is that a person must own a suitable, sunny rooftop or open space to install solar. Since only two-thirds of residential properties are owner occupied, and scarcely 25% of residential rooftop space is suitable for solar,5 that significantly shrinks the potential universe for solar power. Additionally, net metering can encourage sub-optimal economies of scale for distributed solar. Since people who regularly produce more solar electricity than they use on-site get paid a very low rate for that power (rather than the retail electricity rate), it discourages people from maximizing the size of their solar project. And with steep economies of scale at small project sizes, this means the social cost of solar power is higher with policies that cap project sizes (net metering) than with those that do not.

One policy solution to this net metering limitation is generically called community solar. At its simplest, community solar policy means "community net metering." This policy, adopted by seven states and a number of individual utilities as of 2010, allows customers to build a common solar panel array and share the output via net metering on their individual bill. For example, the electricity from a 30 kW solar array on a nearby church could be shared among ten local owners, each receiving a share of the electricity output in proportion to their ownership share. The accounting is identical to net metering, minus the on-site solar. Customers still cannot get credit for significantly more solar electricity than they consume, but they do not need to have a sunny rooftop.

Community net metering is simply an accounting measure, but it can provide a way for many people to share the electricity output from a single solar array in their community, and make centrally located community solar projects possible. In addition to opening the door to solar for folks without  suitable rooftops, by allowing people to share larger solar arrays it can also modestly reduce the cost of going solar. The following chart illustrates the economies of scale of solar power installed in the U.S. To use the example of a church roof-top array, it's possible to see the cost savings from sharing a 30 kW array with a typical cost of $6.50 per Watt compared to 10 individual 3 kW arrays at $7.30 per Watt.6

In one state, Colorado, a new state law has established a legal framework for community solar projects called community solar gardens. These gardens are solar projects 2 MW or smaller with 10 or more "subscribers" sharing the solar output. Utilities must buy the output from up to 6 MW worth of community solar projects by 2013.7

Another drawback of net metering is that it is often limited on a system-wide basis in many states, to a certain percentage of a utility's load or peak load. California, for example, requires utilities to accept up to 5% of their peak demand from net metering, but no more.8 Most states limit net metering to 1% of a utility's peak demand or less. The following map shows states with an aggregate net metering limit.9 States in dark red have limits 1% or less and states in light red have limits that are higher. States with no color have no statutory limit on net metered systems.

Fortunately, states can change their aggregate limits, as California did in 2006 (to 2.5%) and 2010 (to 5%).10 However, there's no guarantee of a sufficiently favorable political environment in other states.


Gallucci, Maria. Hawaii, California Removing Barrier Limiting Rooftop Solar Projects. (InsideClimate News, 12/23/11). Accessed 1/9/12 at http://
Beyond the 15% Rule. (Department of Energy High Penetration Solar Portal, 9/2/11). Accessed 1/9/12 at 2↑
Lenox, Carl. Successful Integration Of Distributed PV. (SunPower, comments for the California Energy Commission Committee Workshop on Renewable, Localized Generation, 5/20/11). Accessed 5/26/11 at
Farrell, John. Poor Solar Permitting Rules Increase Residential Solar Prices by Up To 20 Percent. (Institute for Local Self-Reliance Energy Self-Reliant States blog, 2/10/11). Accessed 2/1/12 at http://
Paidipati, Jay, et al.↑
Barbose, G., et al.↑
Farrell, John. Community Solar Power: Obstacles and Opportunities, 2nd edition. (Institute for Local Self-Reliance, October 2011). Accessed 2/3/12 at
California – Net Metering. (DSIRE, 10/13/11). Accessed 12/14/11 at
State and Utility Net Metering Rules for Distributed Generation. (DSIRE, 12/16/11). Accessed
12/16/11 at
California – Net Metering.↑
Lead image: Human hand open red velvet rope, via Shutterstock

The information and views expressed in this blog post are solely those of the author and not necessarily those of or the companies that advertise on this Web site and other publications. This blog was posted directly by the author and was not reviewed for accuracy, spelling or grammar.

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy

Fwd: Danish Pension Fund To Invest in Renewable Energy Projects in Developing Nations

Danish Pension Fund To Invest in Renewable Energy Projects in Developing Nations

Sally Bakewell and Mathew Carr, Bloomberg
January 13, 2014  |  0 Comments


LONDON -- PensionDanmark A/S and other Danish pension investors backed a state fund to finance emission-reduction projects in developing countries as the Scandinavian nation seeks to export its climate know-how abroad.

The Danish Climate Investment Fund received 1.2 billion kroner ($220 million) in commitments from private investors and the government, according to PensionDanmark, which contributed 200 million kroner. The fund will invest on commercial terms in projects that tackle climate change in emerging economies from Africa to Asia, PensionDanmark said in an e-mailed statement.

The initiative follows a United Nations pledge in 2009 to raise capital in richer countries for environmental projects in developing nations. Delegates at UN talks that year agreed to ramp up climate aid to an annual $100 billion by 2020, including private-sector cash. Danish companies have long invested in clean-power projects at home, where the share of wind power in the energy mix is set to almost double by the end of the decade.

“The Climate Investment Fund is a brand new type of public-private partnership in which government funding and private pension investments are allied in making the most of the expertise of Danish companies in the climate and energy sector,” PensionDanmark Chief Executive Officer Torben Moger Pedersen said in today’s statement.

Fund Yield

The fund must invest in emission-reduction projects with a Danish financial interest such as a co-investor or technology supplier, according to PensionDanmark, which has 642,000 members. It will yield a return of about 12 percent a year and may spur total investments of as much as 9 billion kroner, based on experience from similar funding arrangements, it said.

PensionDanmark expects the four-year fund to raise a further 200 million kroner in a second round. The fund, which will also consider investment in Latin America and Europe, will finance part of the projects, with additional cash required from other public and non-state investors such as local banks.

Pension administrator PKA A/S contributed 200 million kroner, retirement fund Paedagogernes Pensionskasse supplied 125 million kroner and private-equity investor Dansk Vaekstkapital 150 million kroner, the statement shows. The Danish state and its Investment Fund for Developing Countries, which co-invests with Danish companies, together provided 525 million kroner.

The UN’s Green Climate Fund, which opened in December, will be a route to channel finance to emerging economies. Developing nations from India to China have said the GCF should compensate them for climate-related damage.

Copyright 2014 Bloomberg.

Lead image: Wind Farm in Denmark via Shutterstock

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy