Saturday, May 31, 2014

BBC News: US 'to take significant step' on climate

US 'to take significant step' on climate

President Barack Obama is set to unveil the most significant American attempt yet made to curb CO2 when he announces new restrictions on existing power plants on Monday.

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Friday, May 30, 2014


Total US energy consumption, trends and costs.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <>
Date: Friday, May 30, 2014
To: State Energy Data Products <>

Energy Information Administration (EIA) Logo - Need Help? 202-586-8800




State-level estimates for total energy consumption, prices, and expenditures for 2012


State-level estimates for total energy consumption, prices, and expenditures, for data year 2012, are available at SEDS Updates.  Total energy consumption and expenditures are computed by aggregating the consumption and expenditure estimates of all energy sources, and total energy prices are derived by dividing aggregate expenditures by aggregate end-use consumption for all energy sources that have costs associated with them.  Data highlights include the following:


  • U.S. total energy consumption equaled 95 quadrillion Btu in 2012, a 2-percent decrease from 2011.  The top consuming states were Texas, which consumed 13 percent of U.S. total energy, California, which consumed 8 percent, and Florida, which consumed 4 percent.


  • The U.S. average energy price was $22 per million Btu in 2012, which was virtually unchanged from 2011.  Average sector prices ranged from $12 per million Btu in the industrial sector to $28 per million Btu in the transportation sector. Transportation sector and residential sector energy prices each increased 3 percent from 2011 to 2012 and commercial sector energy prices decreased 1 percent.  Industrial sector energy prices decreased 10 percent, mainly due to lower natural gas and propane prices in 2012.


  • U.S. total energy expenditures totaled $1.4 trillion in 2012, a 3-percent decrease from 2011.  The states with the largest expenditures were Texas, which accounted for 12 percent of U.S. energy expenditures, California, which accounted for 10 percent, and Florida and New York, which each accounted for 5 percent.


The latest 2012 estimates are incorporated into the time-series data files in the Data Files  section of the SEDS Updates page.


SEDS provides annual state-level estimates of energy production, consumption, prices, and expenditures by sector and energy source.  The 2012 SEDS reports, which contain summary tables comparing estimates across states and time-series tables for each state, as well as a full set of SEDS data files, will be released at the end of June 2014.



Yvonne Taylor

(202) 586-1455


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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Panamanian comfort food

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Bloomberg: Technarians at the Gate: How Google Could Become Your Next Power Company

From Bloomberg, May 29, 2014, 2:18:12 PM
Power lines in Garland, Texas. Photographer: Mike Fuentes/Bloomberg

The corporate campus of Vivint Inc., among North America's largest home-automation companies, rises up on the outskirts of Provo, Utah, a handsome sprawl of glass and gleaming white metal set against the snow-capped Wasatch Mountains.

To read the entire article, go to
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Bloomberg: U.S. Solar Power Rises 79% as Home Panels Beat Warehouses

From Bloomberg, May 29, 2014, 12:01:00 AM

Homeowners and developers installed 1.33 gigawatts of solar panels in the first quarter, the second-largest total on record, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

To read the entire article, go to
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Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fwd: Ross Solar Group completes single largest rooftop solar installation in NYC 05/20/2014

Ross Solar Group completes single largest rooftop solar installation in NYC

The Ross Solar Group has completed the largest single SunPower rooftop solar installation in Queens, New York City. The 327-kW system was designed and constructed for Ovation In Store Inc.  
Comprised of 1,000 high-efficiency SunPower solar panels, the system is expected to generate in excess of 392,000-kWh annually and cover the store's electricity needs.
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the system will offset more than 260 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.
The installation was financed through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through Governor Cuomo's NY-Sun initiative.
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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646.402.5076

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Fwd: How Fossil Fuel Interests Attack Renewable Energy

How Fossil Fuel Interests Attack Renewable Energy

A new report details the extreme measure that the fossil-fuel industry has taken to attack clean energy.

Gabe Elsner, Energy and Policy Institute
May 22, 2014  | 

Fossil fuel-funded front groups repeatedly spread disinformation on renewable energy standard and net metering policies in an effort to overturn pro-clean energy laws in 2013 and 2014.

A new report details the efforts of these front groups to eliminate clean energy policies across the country. The fossil fuel lobby aggressively uses lobbying and propaganda to achieve their goals. Self-identified "free market think tanks" are among the most effective advocates for the fossil fuel industry to lobby for policy changes. Dozens of these so-called free market organizations, a majority of which are members of the State Policy Network (SPN), worked to influence state level energy policies and attack the clean energy industry.

These organizations are usually described in neutral, nondescript terms, such as "think tank," "institute," or "policy group," but publicized internal documents from the American Tradition Institute, Heartland Institute, and the Beacon Hill Institute suggest that these types of organizations embrace transactional relationships with the corporate lobbying interests that fund their operations.

The Beacon Hill Institute, a "think tank" based out of Suffolk University (and a Koch-funded member of SPN) submitted a controversial grant request to the Searle Freedom Trust, a prominent conservative foundation, in they expressly stated: "Success will take the form of media recognition, dissemination to stakeholders, and legislative activity that will pare back or repeal [the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (or RGGI)]." In other words, the Beacon Hill Institute proposed to pursue biased economic research to support the express goal to "pare back or repeal" a regional climate change accord — all before the institute performed any research determining the economic effect of the law.

Another example of the pay-to-play nature of these so-called "think tanks" comes from Heartland Institute's Internal fundraising documents which stated: "Contributions will be pursued for this work, especially from corporations whose interests are threatened by climate [change] policies."

Despite positioning themselves as ideologically-focused on smaller government, dozens of these organizations aggressively denounce policy investments in clean energy as market-distorting and unnecessary, while remaining silent on the far-larger, decades-old stream of taxpayer dollars and policies supporting oil, gas, and coal interests.

Over the years, government support for fossil fuels has come from a variety of sources: tax deductions, tax credits, direct subsidies, cheap access to public property, pollution remediation, research and development, and entire government agencies devoted to helping promote and assist fossil fuel industry growth. By all credible measurements, fossil fuel subsidies are massive and extremely unpopular, and are flowing to some of the most highly profitable industries on earth. Yet, fossil fuel subsidies go largely unmentioned by these "free market" groups, such as the Heartland Institute, despite their avowed opposition to wasteful government spending.

Fossil fuel-funded front groups operate in multiple areas to influence the policy-making process in their attempts to eliminate clean energy policies. First, groups like the Beacon Hill Institute provide flawed reports or analysis claiming clean energy policies have negative impacts. Next, allied front groups or "think tanks" use the flawed data in testimony, opinion columns, and in the media. Then, front groups, like Americans for Prosperity, spread disinformation through their grassroots networks, in postcards mailed to the public, and in television ads attacking the clean energy policy. Finally, lobbyists from front groups, utilities, and other fossil fuel companies use their influence from campaign contributions and meetings with decision makers to push for anti-clean energy efforts.

Instead of advocating for a fair and free market for electricity, over the past year and a half, fossil fuel front groups have advocated to repeal, freeze, and eliminate pro-clean energy policies across the country on behalf of allies and funders in the fossil fuel industry.

This is an exceprt from a new report, issued today by the Energy and Policy Institute entitled "Attacks on Renewable Energy Standards and Net Metering Policies by Fossil Fuel Interests and Front Groups 2013-2014."  You can download the 35-page report at this link.

Read More Solar Energy News Here

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646.402.5076

Fwd: Non-Hydro Renewables Outproduce Hydro for First Time Ever

Non-Hydro Renewables Outproduce Hydro for First Time Ever

Kenneth Bossong

For apparently the first time ever, during the first quarter of 2014, electricity generated by non-hydro renewables (i.e., biomass, geothermal, solar, wind) exceeded that provided by conventional hydropower. This is according to data in the latest issue of the U.S. Energy Information Administration's (EIA) "Electric Power Monthly," with preliminary data through to March 31, 2014.

Non-hydro renewables provided 53.16 percent of the net U.S. electrical generation from renewable energy sources for the period January 1 to March 31, 2014 while hydropower provided the balance of 46.84 percent.

This reflects an increase of 11.3 percent in electrical generation by non-hydro renewables compared to the first quarter to 2013 as well as a decline of 4.5 percent in hydropower's output — possibly contributed to by the worsening drought in California. Notably, electrical generation from solar photovoltaic and solar thermal grew by 103.8 percent while wind expanded by12.6 percent; biomass also increased by 2.2 percent, but geothermal dipped by 3.3 percent.

Electrical generation from all renewable energy sources combined, including hydropower, was 3.29 percent higher during the first quarter of 2014 compared to the first three months of 2013 and accounted for 13.09 percent of net U.S. electrical generation. Hydropower accounted for 6.13 percent of net U.S. electrical generation for the period, followed by wind (4.82 percent), biomass (1.46 percent), geothermal (0.39 percent), and solar (0.29 percent). According to the EIA, "these additions understate actual solar capacity gains. Unlike other energy sources, significant levels of solar capacity exist in smaller, non-utility-scale applications — e.g., rooftop solar photovoltaics."

For more than a decade, renewable energy sources — led by wind and solar — have been rapidly expanding their share of the nation's electrical generation. The most recent data affirm that the trend is continuing unabated.

Lead image: Wind turbines via Shutterstock

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646.402.5076

Fwd: Middle Eastern Money Oils Wheels of Solar Expansion

Middle Eastern Money Oils Wheels of Solar Expansion

Next time you fill your gas tank, be reassured that some of the profits, at least, are going towards developing and expanding renewables in the developing world.

Jeremy Bowden, International Correspondent
May 22, 2014  

LONDON -- The opportunity cost of oil exports is beginning to drive solar expansion in the Mideast Gulf and beyond, according to Mohamad Asad Khan, a senior investment manager at Kuwait's Enertech. As part of a state organization with access to $300-$400 billion per year, his opinion counts.

"The bottom line now is the opportunity cost of burning oil", said Khan. "That is the key driver of renewable development here, as countries see domestic consumption from power generation and industrial uses diverting oil production and eating into export earnings…For example, if the world's biggest oil exporter, Saudi Arabia, does not bring on alternatives — and that means renewables — it will be an oil importer by 2035."

"Every dollar spent on renewable generation here, means more oil is kept available for export, and we also plan to deliver this renewable technology to the wider developing world. Renewable energy has been ignored in Asia and Africa, now it is moving centre stage here, too. I expect the global share of renewables to rise more quickly in coming years."

Enertech is the branch of Kuwait's National Technology Enterprises Company, (NTEC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund), responsible for strategic investment in renewables and clean technology. Its mandate is to pick and introduce suitable renewable technologies to Kuwait, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region and wider developing world. Unsurprisingly, given the region's intense year-round sunshine, the company is especially active in solar energy.

Khan said Saudi Arabia had a three-pronged approach to introducing renewables, with 60 to 65 percent solar photovoltaics, 30 percent concentrated solar and a further 5-10 percent wind turbines on its east coast — to meet a renewables target of 41 GW by 2030. Most of the capacity is expected to be built on a Built-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis, as a commercial model for IPPS is not in place. He said Kuwait would have 2 GW of solar power online within 12-15 months, with an improved commercial framework for power producers in place in 1-2 years' time.

Many oil rick countries in the Middle East still foot the bill for low energy prices through generous subsidies. But Khan said consumer price rises are inevitable across the region, as governments attempt to bring end-user prices more into line with 16-17 cent/KWh feed-in-tariffs (FITs). He said Jordan was the country leading the way on regulatory incentives, enabling IPPs to develop solar on a commercial basis. Early policy framework in 2006 to 2007 had attracted 200 MW of European financed PV at initial tariffs of 36 cents/KWh, with another 300 MW in the second phase. The tariff is now at 16 cents/KWh — attracting a further 400-500 MW this year — and is likely to drop further to 14 and then 10 cents, which would still be enough to attract solar developers to Jordan, he said.

Any development in Kuwait has an effective default sovereign debt guarantee, enabling cheap debt financing for the 2 GW of pending projects. He said the internal rate of return on such projects was much greater than could be expected in Europe or the U.S. Easy credit and a focus on innovative products means there is little involvement from Chinese manufacturers — who are able to provide financing if it helps shift their stock, as has happened in the U.K. recently. As a result much of the solar equipment is state-of-the-art and sourced in Europe or the US, and often backed by money from the Gulf region. Kuwaiti finance has also tried local developers, he added.

Khan said: "The extensive experience of renewables in The West means there is good liquidity in know-how, and we are keen to invest in and adapt that technology and transfer it to this region and the wider developing world. We are technology led — efficiency can be improved further and storage remains a key issue."

"One company we recently invested in was Morgan Solar, based in Canada. It specialises in concentrated solar and tracking, which we expect to be particularly applicable to conditions in the GCC and south Asia…I think there is a huge potential for this technology and product especially in the Middle East region". The company is currently producing just 30 MW per year, but this is expected to rise rapidly, he said.

"Their technology has meant efficiency rates up to 30 to 32 percent — compared to 15 to 16 percent typically — and our strategy is to invest in and transfer such promising technologies to Kuwait, the GCC and wider developing world," he said. Morgan Solar states that its' aim is provide clean energy solutions to South Asia and Africa, and also to "extend the company's manufacturing footprint in the region."

"India is a focus market for Morgan Solar given the country's high demand for efficient and low cost renewable energy solutions," said Morgan Solar's vice president of business development, Nicolas Morgan. A Morgan Solar spokesperson said his company had recently received a major delegation of senior Indian government and company representatives.

Mr Khan said Enertech had also recently looked at several western companies involved in energy storage, but that "none quite makes the grade yet." However, he expected a major storage break-through in the next two-to-three years. "It will be a game changer because it changes the economics of renewables, and whoever gets the technology right will become a $50-$60 billion company." 

Lead image: Middle east map via Shutterstock

Read More Solar Energy News Her

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646.402.5076

Friday, May 23, 2014

California takes a leap with solar energy | RenewablesBiz

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646-402-5076

Fwd: This Week at EIA - 05/22/2014

EIA Stats and Reports

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646-402-5076

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <>
Date: May 23, 2014 6:00 PM
Subject: This Week at EIA - 05/22/2014
To: "This Week at EIA" <>

Energy Information Administration (EIA) Logo - Need Help? 202-586-8800



(05/15/2014 - 05/22/2014)

This email list provides a summary and links for every U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) product released this week. You can sign up for many of these separately and receive instant notification of when the product was released at:


Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Update (5/19/2014)
Presents average weekly retail on-highway diesel fuel prices for the U.S., 8 regions, and the State of California and average weekly retail gasoline prices at the national and regional levels, and for selected cities and States.

The Coal News and Markets Report for week ended 5/16/2014 (5/19/2014)
Contains information for the week and spot prices:

This Week in Petroleum (5/21/2014)
Provides analysis, data, and charts of the latest weekly petroleum supply and price data.

Weekly Petroleum Status Report, Data for Week Ending 5/16/2014 (5/21/2014)
Contains timely information on supply and selected prices of crude oil and principal petroleum products in the context of historical data and forecasts.

Weekly Natural Gas Storage Report (5/22/2014)
Contains weekly estimates of natural gas in underground storage for the United States and three regions of the United States.

Natural Gas Weekly Update (5/22/2014)
Contains weekly updates of natural gas market prices, latest storage level estimates, recent lower 48 NOAA weather data, and other market activity or events.

Coal Production for Week Ended 5/17/2014 (5/22/2014)
Contains an overview of U.S. weekly coal production.


U.S. wood pellet exports double in 2013 in response to growing European demand (05/22/2014)
Wood pellet exports from the United States nearly doubled last year, from 1.6 million short tons (approximately 22 trillion Btu) in 2012 to 3.2 million short tons in 2013. More than 98% of these exports were delivered to Europe, and 99% originated from ports in the southeastern and lower Mid-Atlantic regions of the country.

Electric Power Monthly (05/21/2014)
Data in the May 2014 Electric Power Monthly (EPM) are for March 2014, during which net generation in the United States rose 1.9 percent from the March 2013 level. Consumption of coal for power generation rose 2.7 percent compared to March 2013. The average retail price of electricity for March 2014 was up 6.3 percent from what it had been in March 2013.

Prime Supplier Report (05/21/2014)
The latest Prime Supplier Report presents data collected through March 2014 on Form EIA-782C, "Monthly Report of Prime Supplier Sales of Petroleum Products Sold for Local Consumption." These data measure primary petroleum product deliveries into the states where they are locally marketed and consumed.

Electricity Monthly Update (05/21/2014)
This issue contains data for March 2014 as well as a feature article on how the electric sector's decline in coal stockpiles has slowed in March and is expected to be rebuilt throughout the spring.

U.S. consumers' energy spending rose this winter (05/21/2014)
U.S. consumer energy expenditures this past winter (fourth quarter of 2013 and first quarter of 2014) were $14.0 billion (4.4%) higher than the previous winter, as cold weather east of the Rocky Mountains led consumers to pay more to heat their homes but less to fuel their cars. Energy expenditures as a share of disposable income increased 0.1% from the winter of 2012-13 to last winter, with most of the growth occurring in the first quarter of 2014.

Industrial onsite electricity concentrated in chemicals, oil, and paper manufacturing (05/20/2014)
Onsite industrial generation represents approximately 3% of current U.S. generating capacity and approximately 4% of total MWh of electricity generated in 2012, the latest year for which final data are available. More than 90% of the industrial generation capacity is concentrated in five industries. Of these, the chemicals, paper, and petroleum and coal industries account for more than 80% of onsite industrial generation, with the primary metals and food industries representing the remaining 20%

Industrial facilities get most of their electricity from the grid (05/19/2014)
Many industrial electric facilities have the economic option of generating their own electricity or pulling directly from the electric grid to run their processes, though most electricity use at industrial facilities comes from purchases through the grid. Traditionally, an industrial onsite generation project is developed by a facility that intends to meet its electric and heat demands on its own.

Norway supplies more than 20% of Europe's natural gas needs (05/16/2014)
Norway is the world's third-largest natural gas exporter, after Russia and Qatar. In 2013, Norway supplied 21% of total European natural gas needs. Norway's natural gas reaches the Continent mainly via its extensive export pipeline infrastructure, while a small fraction is exported as liquefied natural gas by tanker. The largest recipients of Norway's natural gas exports in 2013 were the U.K., Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

State Energy Data System: Noncombustible Renewable Energy for 2012 (05/16/2014)
Annual state-level consumption estimates for hydroelectric power, as well as wind, geothermal, and solar energy.

Permian Basin drives first-quarter growth in oil-directed horizontal drilling rigs (05/15/2014)
The Permian Basin, a long time oil- and natural gas-producing region in West Texas and southeastern New Mexico, has seen a significant increase in horizontal oil-directed drilling activity over the past five months. This trend began at the start of 2013, and accelerated from the week ending on December 27, 2013, to the week ending on May 9, 2014.

Wholesale Market Data (05/15/2014)
Wholesale market data for natural gas -- in addition to electric power -- are now available and updated through May 12, 2014. Data contain peak prices, volumes, and the number of transactions at eight selected ICE (IntercontinentalExchange) electricity trading hubs and eight corresponding natural gas hubs covering most regions of the United States.

State Energy Profiles: New Data for February and March 2014, 2013, 2012, and Energy Indicators (05/15/2014)
New monthly data are available for electricity, natural gas, and coal series. New annual data are also available for seven series for the U.S. territories covering coal, crude oil, and net electricity generation.In addition, a new Energy Indicators section is featured on the State Energy Profile Data pages.

Upcoming reports & publications

2014 EIA Energy Conference

Energy conferences - North America and rest of world

NOTE: At times some of the URLs in this e-mail are quite long and can get broken by line breaks when displayed in your e-mail software. Cut and paste the entire URL into your browser rather than just clicking on the URL.


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BBC News: Nature inspires flying robot design

Coming to a neighborhood near you.

Nature inspires flying robot design

Engineers and biologists are working together to create the next generation of nature-inspired flying robots.

Read more:

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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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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Fwd: The Revolution will be Solarized

see petition below.

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646.402.5076

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rosalind Jackson <>
Date: Thu, May 22, 2014 at 3:53 PM
Subject: The Revolution will be Solarized
To: Monty Bannerman <>


We are in the middle of an energy revolution. Affordable solar power is putting Americans in control of their own energy generation like never before - and energy consumers are enthusiastically embracing that new role by going solar in record numbers. And we think that's awesome.
But this new approach to energy has many utilities – which have long enjoyed monopoly control over power production – decidedly nervous. From California to North Carolina, traditional utility interests are turning to regulation and law to dig in their heels against change and keep customers from going solar.
Every American should have the right to produce his or her own power from the sun without the utility standing in the way. Families, schools and businesses should be able to go solar without being charged unfair fees. And solar customers should recieve full, fair credit from our utilities for the valuable power they produce. Vote Solar is committed to protecting those solar rights. 
Luckily we have the will of people like you on solar's side and a growing track record of success. Despite about a dozen attempts by our well-resourced opposition to roll back solar rights like net metering, we haven't suffered any major losses. In fact net metering programs have been expanded in Vermont (with utility support for a change), New York and hopefully soon in Massachusetts. We are winning. And that's because in state after state, when utility interests have attacked, the public has responded in full force to defend their solar rights.
So, whichever state you call home, today we're asking you to show the power of the people and speak up for solar rights. Sign our petition urging leaders to stand for innovation, progress and customer choice by supporting solar - and ask two of your friends to do the same. 
Report after report shows that climate change impacts are already being felt in our communities and around the world. Relying on utilities to take action doesn't seem to be doing the trick. And that's where people come in – 90% of Americans want the U.S. to use more solar, and more and more of those Americans can now do it themselves instead of waiting for their utilities to get the memo. We think vesting power with consumers is the winning bet. Let's put people - not old power interests - in the driver's seat.
Rosalind + the Vote Solar team
P.S. Here's another easy way to speak up for solar:  The social change-focused mobile provider CREDO has selected Vote Solar as one of three worthy non-profits receiving donations this month. If you're a CREDO member, please take 5 seconds to vote for us – the more votes we get, the more donations go to our solar cause!
Vote Solar 
101 Montgomery, Suite 2600 
San Francisco, CA 94104 


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Fwd: OPIC's 2013 Annual Report

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646-402-5076

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Overseas Private Investment Corporation" <>
Date: May 22, 2014 12:11 PM
Subject: OPIC's 2013 Annual Report
To: <>

Read OPIC's 2013 Annual Report


The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is pleased to share our 2013 Annual Report which is now available online and features several key accomplishments of the Agency in a record-setting year. Other highlights include:

  • The Agency's support of President Obama's Power Africa initiative;
  • A look at the ways OPIC-supported projects advance development;
  • Descriptions of some key projects that helped OPIC achieve another record-setting year in renewable energy commitments;
  • A detailed explanation of OPIC's impact investing strategy and the measures it uses to consider the impact of different investments; and
  • A recap of the inaugural OPIC Impact Awards including client testimonials.

The report also includes a snapshot of key agency facts and figures. This "By the Numbers" includes financial results, support for key initiatives and the impact of OPIC's work around the world and here at home.


To learn more about OPIC's innovative work over the past year, download our 2013 Annual Report.

This email was sent to by |  
Overseas Private Investment Corporation | 1100 New York Avenue Northwest | Washington | DC | 20527

Important milestone: solar competitive in ERCOT wholesale market

Austin Energy, Recurrent Energy sign contract for utility-scale solar projects

North American solar project developer, Recurrent Energy, has signed a contract with Austin Energy for 150-MW of solar capacity in West Texas.
"With our largest utility scale solar award, we are taking an important step towards meeting our goal of acquiring 200-MW of solar energy by 2020," said Larry Weis, Austin Energy General Manager. "Solar power has reached a price that is competitive in the ERCOT market, allowing us to further diversify our energy portfolio with renewable resources."
The solar facility is expected to be completed in 2016. Upon completion, the site will be Texas' largest single solar power plant.
The power will be delivered to Austin Energy under a 20-year Power Purchase Agreement.
Read more project news

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646.402.5076

Fwd: Renewable Energy Wins In Colorado, Iowa, Loses in Ohio

Renewable Energy Wins In Colorado, Iowa, Loses in Ohio News

As conservatives continue their quest to dismantle renewable energy in the US, a court ruling in Colorado should make it easier to fight off those attempts.

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Colorado's Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) has been dismissed by US District judge, William Martinez.

The "Energy and Environment Legal Institute" alleged that requiring utilities to source a percentage of renewable energy violates the dormant commerce clause - unlawfully regulating fossil fuels from out-of-state.

If the judge had ruled in their favor, it would have rippled across all 29 states that have a RPS. Whew!!

Judge Martinez's ruling states, "Out-of-state companies are free to generate electricity using whatever method they choose, can sell that electricity to whomever they choose - inside or outside of Colorado - and can do so at whatever price they choose. The RPS does not control any aspect of a transaction between two out-of-state entities; it governs only whether electricity purchased by a Colorado utility counts towards that utility's renewables quota." 

Plaintiffs, of course, will repeal.

Even if renewable energy wins the day, these constant threats may prevent states from expanding their RPS or implementing it all if they don't yet have one. 

Solar at Denver Airport:

Saga Continues State to State

So far, legislative challenges to state RPSs lost in Kansas - even where Koch Industries is headquartered - but they diluted net metering. A solar surcharge passed in Oklahoma and Arizona, while Vermont strengthened net metering; and Indiana ended its popular energy efficiency program. 

Last week, at 1AM and after 20 hours of debate, Ohio's Senate voted to freeze the RPS and Energy Efficiency standard for the next two years, while a committee decides its fate. Bill 310 passed along party lines after being voted in almost unanimously in 2008. It's expected to pass easily in the House.

Ohio's RPS requires 12.5% renewable energy by 2025, along with energy efficiency programs. Since 2008, it's brought $1 billion in private investment to the state, saved $1 billion on electric bills and created 25,000 jobs, says the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Governor Kasich is up for re-election this year and could veto the bill; his Democrat opponent is campaigning in favor of strong clean energy standards. 

Missouri is deciding whether to renew the fund that gives rebates for solar, after its $175 million fund is fully tapped out in the popular program. When it started, the state had just 39 MW, now it has 110 MW, and the solar industry has been expanding there.  

In contrast, Iowa voted to triple its tax credit fund for solar - almost unanimously - to $4.5 million a year, while raising the rebate cap for residential projects (from $3,000 to $5,000) and for commercial projects (from $15,000 to $20,000).

"With the possibility of a $20,000 credit for each location with a solar installation, the day is coming when it will be the norm to put solar into a business project. I think we're getting very close to that point," State Senator Rob Hogg told Midwest Energy News. The state is now pushing solar forward the same way it so successfully became a wind leader.

Read the full story about Colorado:


« previous news st

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646.402.5076

Fwd: NY State Leads: Radical Changes Toward Distributed Energy

NY State Leads: Radical Changes Toward Distributed Energy News

One of the hot topics over the past year is that, with the advent of significant renewable energy, utilities must change how they conduct business and charge for services - but that's been theoretical until now - NY state is putting it into action.

New York is embarking on an initiative that radically transforms the function of utilities in exactly the ways we've been talking about.  It's exciting!!!!

Rather than selling energy that's under centralized control, utilities will buy electricity from thousands of small generators that have, for example, solar on their roof. Utilities will make money by linking them together and integrating the energy into the grid. 

No longer would utilities be power providers that make money by selling more energy. Rather, they make money by helping customers use less energy, while "directing traffic" and "coordinating" thousands of small inputs to the grid. 

To get more solar on NY's grid, Governor Cuomo also announced the extension of NY-Sun through 2023, setting aside $1 billion for an impressive 3 gigawatts of solar, employing 10,000 people in the process. 

Reforming Energy Vision

Calling it an "energy modernization initiative," Governor Cuomo says the Reforming Energy Vision program will fundamentally transform the way electricity is distributed and used in New York State. This unprecedented effort will create the power grid of the future and forever change the way consumers buy and use energy."

The idea is to make the electric system much more energy efficient and reliable, empower customer choice, encourage deeper penetration of renewable energy and wider deployment of microgrids, on-site power and energy storage. 

"The existing ratemaking structure falls far short of the pace of technology development that defines many parts of our economy. By fundamentally restructuring the way utilities and energy companies sell electricity, New York can maximize the utilization of resources, and reduce the need for new infrastructure through expanded demand management, energy efficiency, renewable energy, distributed generation, and energy storage programs," says Audrey Zibelman, Chair of the New York State Public Service Commission, which is charged with leading the initiative.    

How it Works

The best example of the value of modernizing the electric grid is the current inefficiency of peak demand, Cuomo says. Demand for electricity skyrockets during the hottest summer days and to make sure enough electricity is always available, customers have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to maintain a system that's hardly used.

In the not-too-distant future, this will change as residential, commercial and industrial customers install energy demand systems. For residential customers that means "smart appliances" smart refrigerators, air conditioners and hot water heaters that automatically share information with the utility. During those few peak demand days, the utility would signal tens of thousands of appliances in a particular region to slightly cut electrical consumption to lower demand. 

Meanwhile, rooftop solar systems would feed their excess power into the grid, providing more energy when it's needed. At other times, the energy would go into batteries instead to reduce power demand. 

Several factors are converging to make this vision a reality: renewable energy has reached cost-competitiveness; smart grid technological innovation; and an aging infrastructure that is no longer reliable given the increasing frequency of severe weather events.

That's the structure we need for the 21st Century, and it is the change that utilities, ALEC and Koch Bros groups are fighting against across the country.

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
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Fwd: Important Legislation Introduced: Green Bank Act of 2014

Important Legislation Introduced: Green Bank Act of 2014 News

Wouldn't it be great if this legislation passed? The Green Bank Act of 2014 has been introduced in the House and Senate again.

In 2009, it passed in the House, but not the Senate, and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) has introduced it once more, this time with a companion Senate bill sponsored by Chris Murphy (D-CT).

It would create permanent, reliable, low-cost financing for clean energy and energy efficiency projects across the US and provide seed funding for state Green Banks.  

One would think it would have bipartisan support because it would eliminate the need for subsidies. President Obama included it in one of this budgets, and the UK has a national Green Investment Bank.

In the absence of federal legislation, four states have since launched Green Banks: Connecticut, New York - capitalized at $1 billion - Vermont and Hawaii, and 10 others are actively considering it, recently attending the first Green Bank Academy.

The federal legislation is modeled on Connecticut's Green Bank, called the Clean Energy Finance and Investment Authority (CEFIA) - the first state to pass a bill.  

Like state green banks, it would focus on "financing gaps" - creditworthy projects that can't get to scale for lack of reasonably priced financing in private capital markets. Not only would it spur private sector investment, it would cut the cost of clean energy and accelerate deployment. It would also catalyze development of more state green banks by offering low-interest loans of up to $500 million.

Mission: advance vital national objectives of achieving energy independence, abating climate change, reducing the delivered cost of clean energy to consumers, and stimulating job creation through the manufacture, construction, and operation of credit-worthy clean energy and energy efficiency projects.
Initially capitalized with $10 billion in Green Bonds issued by the Treasury, it could acquire another $40 billion in Green Bonds

Fully paid for by eliminating a tax loophole that encourages companies to invest borrowed money abroad rather than in the US.
Authorized to engage in a comprehensive range of financing support - loans, loan guarantees, debt securitization, insurance, and other forms of risk management.
Explicitly permitted to partner with, and be a source of low-cost capital for, the growing number of state clean energy financing entities being established across the US.
Chartered for 20 years under independent governance by a Board of Directors comprised of five Cabinet Secretaries and six presidentially appointed members with relevant expertise.
Robust spending safeguards and public disclosure requirements to ensure the highest levels of efficacy, accountability, and transparency.
"Through public-private partnerships, Connecticut's Green Bank supports important clean energy efforts such as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loans to help businesses improve their energy efficiency and competitiveness; crowdsources residential solar projects,  and clean energy initiatives for schools, YMCAs, Boys and Girls Clubs such as the Campus Efficiency Now (CEN) program. We have a great opportunity to share the innovative model that's working here in Connecticut to help people around the country improve our economy and our environment," says Cosponsor Rep. Elizabeth Esty.

Connecticut's Green Bank has attracted private capital by leveraging public funds by 10 to 1, says Governor Malloy. If it passed on the national level, Connecticut would receive up to $500 million of federal funds which could be leveraged to attract about $5 billion of private capital for our growing clean energy economy, he says.

The legislation is co-sponsored by: Jim Himes (D-CT); Elizabeth Esty (D-CT); Jim Langevin (D-RI); Louise Slaughter (D-NY); Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); Gerry Connolly (D-VA); and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

New Jersey's Energy Resilience Bank

Governor Christie wants to use $210 million in Sandy relief funds to set up the New Jersey Energy Resiliency Bank that would bolster infrastructure to withstand extreme weather events. Like the Green Bank, it would attract private investment by leveraging public funds.

Low-cost loans and other kinds of financing would be used to build-out on-site, distributed energy for critical facilities such as hospitals, schools, water and wastewater plants, communications and transportation. The application says energy sources would fuel cells, combined heat and power, and solar with energy storage to form microgrids.

More than 800 requests for energy resiliency projects have been submitted by 425 towns, counties and other government entities.

These initiatives have long been recommended and money has been allocated in the state's Clean Energy Fund. But Christie raided the fund to the tune of $1 billion to close the state budget. 

Interestingly, to receive federal assistance the federal government now requires acknowledgment of climate change and sea level rise, Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, told NJ Spotlight. 

Keep up with these developments:


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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646.402.5076

Fwd: Battle Between Fossil Fuels & Solar Intensifies

Battle Between Fossil Fuels & Solar Intensifies News

Last month we reported that Kansas managed to evade ALEC's solar-killing bills that are now under consideration in numerous states.

Kansas ended up diluting the net-metering law and rejected attempts to purge the Renewable Portfolio Standard. Koch-backed groups funded the attack, claiming that renewable energy is expensive and destroys local economies.

That's because they never expected solar to be a threat and are  rocked by the fact that since 2010, US solar has skyrocketed 418%, from 2.3 gigawatts (GW) to 12 GW as of February, according to the US Energy Information Agency.

Oklahoma, the deepest of the red states, passed the legislation handily though, by 83-5 in the House without any debate. Going forward, anyone who installs solar or small wind will pay a monthly surcharge, discouraging more people to install solar systems. 

"We knew nothing about it and all of a sudden it's attached to some other bill," Ctaci Gary, owner of Sun City Oklahoma, told ThinkProgress. "It just appeared out of nowhere."

The amount of the surcharge has yet to be determined, but people are already rushing to get their systems up before the law takes effect, Gary told ThinkProgress.

The Governor signed the bill with one important caveat: the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, which will set the price, must consider that distributed energy is essential to the state's energy policy. 

All stakeholders, including the wind and solar industry, must be  considered in deciding on the surcharge, the Governor's Executive Order says.  

Now all eyes are on Ohio, where Senate Bill 310 would freeze the Renewable Portfolio Standard at current levels and eliminate its successful Energy Efficiency Resource Standard.

Businesses are lined up for and against the bill: Utility FirstEnergy, steelmaker Timken Co. and Marathon Petroleum favor it and Honda, Whirlpool and Owens Corning oppose it, reports The Columbus Dispatch. Proponents view renewable energy as a drag on the economy while opponents believe efficiency and renewable energy attract economic investment and encourage growth.

Since Arizona's utility added a monthly surcharge of $5 (down from their $50-$100 per month proposal), the number of new solar systems have plummeted.

115,000 Solar Systems for PG&E 

California utility Pacific Gas & Electric announced that its customers are now producing just over 1 gigawatt of solar electricity across 115,000 installations - the most of any US utility.

That's half of all solar systems in California and a quarter of those in the US. All three California utilities now get 20% of their electricity from renewables.

Since 2011, the number of solar systems in PG&E's territory has doubled and the pace continues as 2500 new solar systems are added every month - thanks to a streamlined permitting system that gets peoples' applications approved in 5 days. An additional 4.5 GW of solar comes from utility-scale projects.

While PG&E says it strongly favors community solar, they too are pushing for changes to net-metering. AB 327, passed last year, calls for the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to design a "successor tariff," which hearings are about to be held on.

And the big California utilities have been fighting for surcharges on solar systems that have batteries - $800 for an interconnection application fee plus other charges totaling $1,400 to $3,700. Further, such systems would have to be extensively reviewed for "safety purposes" and to make sure customers wouldn't cheat by claiming net-metering credits when they simply storing energy from the grid.

CPUC responded with an alternative proposal: batteries can't store more energy than the solar array at 10 kilowatts or more, and a separate meter would track the relationship between electricity generation and battery charging. A decision is expected next month.

As in every state where such bills are introduced, ALEC (70 bills in 37 states last year) and utilities - whose business is threatened by small, independent power producers - call people with solar "free-loaders." A surcharge is necessary, they say, because everyone must pay for maintaining the grid. 

But utilities ignore the benefits of small solar and net-metering - producing the most energy during peak demand electricity is most expensive; alleviating pressure on transmission infrastructure and avoiding the expense of building new power plants.

These battles are just getting underway, say utilities, ALEC and the various Koch Brother-backed front groups like Americans for Prosperity. Duke Energy is targeting North Carolina, for example.

"The intention of these proposals is to eliminate the rooftop solar industry," Bryan Miller, president of Alliance for Solar Choice, told the LA Times. The group formed to fight these attacks.

Their other targets for 2014: prevent EPA power plant regulations, get the Keystone XL pipeline approved as well as industry-friendly fracking rules.

ALEC is tracking 131 bills on this front, here are the highlights!:


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Date Posted:
04/24/14 03:

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646.402.5076

Monday, May 19, 2014

BBC News: New design to turn light into matter

New design to turn light into matter

Physicists design a new photon collider from existing technology, paving a way to show that light can be converted into matter in the lab.

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Bloomberg: Musk Joins Designer Westwood Taking Crowdfunding to Clean Energy

From Bloomberg, Mar 27, 2014, 6:30:19 AM
Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood attends a protest march at the Fracked Future Carnival in London, on March 19. Photographer: Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images

E-commerce visionary Elon Musk and British punk-fashionista Vivienne Westwood see eye-to-eye on a new wave in clean energy: You need to find investors online.

To read the entire article, go to
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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Fwd: Vestas installs next generation low wind turbine prototype

Vestas installs next generation low wind turbine prototype
May 13, 2014
By PennEnergy Editorial Staff
Source: Vestas

Vestas has installed the first V110-2.0 MW prototype turbine at a test site in Høvsøre, on the west coast of Jutland, Denmark. The turbine has produced the first kilowatt hour of electricity and will undergo an extensive test and verification programme to ensure reliability before full scale production commences prior to the first deliveries at the end of the year.
The V110-2.0 MW is built from the proven technology of Vestas' 2 MW platform and features a larger rotor using 55m blades. The turbine is optimised for production on low wind sites, and increases annual energy production by up to 13.6% compared to the V100-1.8 MW on low wind sites.
"Vestas' product development strategy is to optimise our products and services to continue to lower the cost of energy for customers," says CTO Anders Vedel. "The V110-2.0 MW is an extremely competitive product for maximising energy production at low wind speeds, and over 400 turbines sold demonstrate customers are responding positively to Vestas' strategy."
Chris Brown, President of Vestas' sales and service division in the United States and Canada adds, "The turbine has been very well received by the market since being launched in 2013, particularly in the United States, with firm orders approaching 800 MW."  

Innovative improvements in technology

In order to continue to optimise the technology while maintaining high quality and reliability of the 2MW platform customers have come to expect, some innovative improvements have been made to several parts of the turbine. 

In addition to the larger rotor, the V110-2.0 MW (and the V100-2.0 MW- also launched in 2013) has a strengthened gearbox compared to previous 2 MW turbines, to withstand the increase force from the wind on the larger rotor. Furthermore new control features have enabled strengthening of the hub and other parts of the structure without increasing the overall weight.

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
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Fwd: Duke Energy proposes new gas power projects for Florida

One loads up on nukes and the other, fossil. 

Duke Energy Florida (NYSE: DUK) has announced plans for three major construction projects to continue meeting the needs of its customers. If the plans are approved by the Florida Public Service Commission, the company will construct a state-of-the-art, highly efficient combined-cycle natural gas power plant in Citrus County and two simple-cycle combustion turbine generators at the Suwannee Plant near Live Oak.
Additionally, it will install new equipment at the Hines Energy Complex near Bartow to increase efficiency and power output.
Officials also announced the retirement timeline for two coal-fired units at the Crystal River Energy Complex.
If approved by regulators, the projects will benefit customers by increasing systemwide reliability and efficiency while reducing emissions.
"We are making these investments to continue providing our customers with the most cost-effective energy solutions and highest level of reliability with limited environmental impact," said Alex Glenn, Duke Energy state president – Florida. "We are committed to ensuring our customers' energy needs are met 24 hours a day, seven days a week now and in the future."
Today, Duke Energy Florida will provide the Florida Public Service Commission an update in Tallahassee on these projects. On May 27, 2014, the company will formally submit the plans to the commission for approval. A commission ruling is expected later this year.
New combined-cycle natural gas plant in Citrus County
After a months-long request for proposals process, Duke Energy Florida has selected its self-build option to construct a 1,640-megawatt combined-cycle natural gas plant to help serve Florida's approximately 1.7 million customers starting in 2018. The anticipated cost to build the new plant is approximately $1.5 billion, including financing costs.
"Our proposal is the most cost-effective option for customers that provides systemwide reliability, ensures regulatory compliance and meets our needed 2018 in-service construction timeline," said Glenn.
The new plant will be located on 400 acres adjacent to the existing Crystal River Energy Complex. Construction and related activities are expected to add several million dollars to the local tax base. During the height of construction, 600 to 700 jobs are expected to be created.
If all regulatory approvals are received, construction is expected to start in early 2016. The plant's first 820 megawatts are expected to come online in spring 2018, and the second 820 megawatts are expected to be available by December 2018.
The plant will receive natural gas through a new pipeline Sabal Trail Transmission is constructing. The pipeline will start in Alabama, extend through Georgia and end in Central Florida. Sabal Trail Transmission will license, construct and operate the natural gas pipeline.
Duke Energy Florida also announced its intent to retire Crystal River coal-fired units 1 and 2 due to changing federal environmental regulations. The retirements will take place when the Citrus County combined-cycle plant becomes operational.
New simple-cycle combustion turbine generators at Suwannee Plant near Live Oak
To meet customers' energy needs starting in 2016 as identified in Duke Energy Florida's 10-year site plan, the company also plans to build two simple-cycle combustion turbine generators on 68 acres at the Suwannee Plant. The 320 megawatts of generation will accommodate peak electricity demand and serve customers beginning in 2016. The anticipated cost to build the units is approximately $197 million, including financing costs.
The three steam plants built in the 1950s are slated to be retired in 2016 when the combustion turbine generators become operational.
Duke Energy will help employees through the plant retirements and redeploy as many as possible to other positions within the company.
Equipment additions at Hines Energy Complex near Bartow
At the Hines Energy Complex in Polk County, which has four combined-cycle power blocks, Duke Energy Florida plans to install inlet air chilling units to increase efficiency and power output during the hot summer months. Chillers are like air conditioning units, cooling the outside air that is used during the combustion process.

By 2017, these upgrades will add about 220 megawatts to the plant's existing 1,912 megawatts of generation. The anticipated cost to install the chillers is approximately $160 million, including financing costs.
Duke Energy Florida owns coal-fired and natural gas generation providing about 9,000 megawatts of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.7 million customers in a 20,000-square-mile service area.

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646.402.5076

BBC News: Tropical storms migrate toward poles

Tropical storms migrate toward poles

Tropical storms have been migrating northwards and southwards towards the poles for the past 30 years, a study suggests.

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FPL and State legislators hell-bent for Nuclear

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

BBC News: Government pulls plug on solar farms

Broken promises for those not first through the gauntlet.

Government pulls plug on solar farms

The government proposes to limit the subsidies paid to large scale solar farms and boost community schemes from next April.

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Powerful earthquake strikes off Panama's Pacific coast - Inside Costa Rica | Inside Costa Rica

Investors look to combine PV and wind assets

Monday, May 12, 2014

BBC News: UN: Indigenous Canadians 'in crisis'

UN: Indigenous Canadians 'in crisis'

Canada faces a "crisis" over the living conditions of its aboriginal residents, the UN special rapporteur for the rights of indigenous peoples says.

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BBC News: 'Nothing can stop glaciers' retreat'

'Nothing can stop glaciers' retreat'

Key glaciers in West Antarctica are in an irreversible retreat over the next few centuries, adding at least 1.2m to sea level rise, scientists at Nasa say.

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fwd: Solar Citizen: Defend Renewable Energy Progress

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy