Saturday, February 27, 2016

BBC News: Is the US undermining India's solar power programme?

I saw this on the BBC News App and thought you should see it:

Is the US undermining India's solar power programme?
Is a WTO ruling against India's National Solar Mission really as damaging as many commentators seem to think, asks Justin Rowlatt.
Disclaimer: The BBC is not responsible for the content of this email, and anything written in this email does not necessarily reflect the BBC's views or opinions. Please note that neither the email address nor name of the sender have been verified.

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Friday, February 26, 2016

Photo of the Day: Hubble's Blue Bubble

Costa Rica rejects proposal to introduce grid fee for net-metering customers


Costa Rica rejects proposal to introduce grid fee for net-metering customers

26.02.2016: Costa Rica's utility regulator Autoridad Reguladora de los Servicios Públicos (ARESEP) has rejected a proposal made by the country’s power distributors to introduce a grid fee for net-metering customers. According to local newspaper Republica, ARESEP has also said that net-metering clients that will eventually buy power from the grid will pay a lower rate and that this price will be announced in mid-March. Owners of PV systems installed under the scheme can sell their electricity surplus to Costa Rican utilities Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad (ICE) and Compañía Nacional de Fuerza y Luz (CNFL). In August, Costa Rica’s Ministry of Environment, Energy and Telecommunications (MINAE) introduced a reform to make it easier to install a PV system under the program. Under the new legislation, homeowners and enterprises interested in installing a PV system under the scheme don’t have to require an authorization to ARESEP. According to Costa Rica’s government, the new scheme will support the development of residential and commercial PV segments. Costa Rica introduced a net-metering scheme for PV in April 2015. © PHOTON



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy



Solar accounts for more than half of projects competing in Mexico's first-ever energy auction

Solar accounts for more than half of projects competing in Mexico's first-ever energy auction

© Ignacio Evangelista /

26.02.2016: Solar is accounting for over 52% of all power projects competing in Mexico's first-ever energy auction. This was reported by Chinese press agency Xinhua citing a statement from Erith Hernández, the vice-director of the Centro Nacional de Control de Energía (CENACE), which is the government agency managing the auction. The article reports that 46% of the projects are for wind power plants, while other renewable energy sources account for the remaining projects. The auction was started in November 2015 and is expected to be closed at the end of March. The Mexican government will allocate approximately 500 MW of renewable energy capacity in the auction. Selected projects will sell their power output to local energy authority Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) under a long-term PPA. © PHOTON




I must admit I want to own one of these

IBC Solar signs distribution agreement with Tesla

Tesla’s home battery Powerwall.
© IBC Solar AG

26.02.2016: German PV producer and project developer IBC Solar AG has entered into a partnership with US electric vehicle (EV) manufacturer Tesla Motors. Under the terms of the agreement, IBC Solar will distribute Powerwall, Tesla’s home battery, on the German market. IBC Solar said that it will offer Powerwall in combination with »Sunny Boy Storage,« a new high-voltage battery compatible inverter for private households developed by German manufacturer SMA Solar Technology AG. When it launched the inverter in January, SMA said that the device was designed especially for high-voltage batteries like the Tesla Powerwall. © PHOTON


Thursday, February 25, 2016

Bloomberg: Moody's Fate in Subprime Probe to Be Decided Soon by U.S.

Chickens heading home to roost?

From Bloomberg, Feb 25, 2016, 10:20:15 AM

The U.S. Justice Department will decide in the next few months whether it will sue Moody's Corp. for allegedly inflating ratings on mortgage bonds at the heart of the 2008 financial meltdown, according to people familiar with the matter.

To read the entire article, go to

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Bloomberg: Bond Vigilantes Slap Oil CEOs With Junk Tag on $258B Debt

From Bloomberg, Feb 25, 2016, 7:00:01 PM
A light trail from an automobile passes beneath overhead pipework near illuminated petroleum cracking towers at the Lukoil-Nizhegorodnefteorgsintez oil refinery, operated by OAO Lukoil, in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, on Thursday, Dec. 4, 2014. Crude slumped 18 percent last month as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries maintained its output quota, letting prices decrease to a level that may slow U.S. production.

They have sold off hundreds of oil fields, eliminated thousands of jobs and slashed millions of dollars from capital spending and dividends.

To read the entire article, go to

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Notes from the Solar Underground: The US Utility War against Net Metering - Renewable Energy World

Big spike in world oil prices could come after this year: IEA report - Costa Rica Star News

Efficient solar-to-fuels production from a hybrid microbial-water-splitting catalyst system

Deepwater Wind also banking on solar power In Rhode Island

Nevada's solar workers and customers reel as new rules 'shut down' industry | EnergyBiz

MENAT (Middle East, North Africa and Turkey) market updates 2012-2015: pv-magazine

First Solar reports record 2015 revenues, bookings: pv-magazine

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Fwd: Ontario Introduces New Climate Change Legislation

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "Ontario News" <>
Date: Feb 24, 2016 3:44 PM
Subject: Ontario Introduces New Climate Change Legislation
To: <>

Ontario Newsroom Ontario Newsroom

News Release

Ontario Introduces New Climate Change Legislation

February 24, 2016

Proposed Law to Ensure Transparency, Accountability for Use of Cap and Trade Auction Proceeds

To build on the work already underway to fight the effects of climate change, Ontario is laying a foundation to join the biggest carbon market in North America by introducing new legislation today that, if passed, would ensure that proceeds from the province's cap and trade system are transparently reinvested into green projects and actions that will reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

Under the proposed Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act, all proceeds from Ontario's cap and trade program would be deposited into a new Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account. In turn, this account would only fund projects and initiatives aimed at reducing emissions.

To ensure accountability to the public, the act would also:

  • Require an annual report on funds flowing in and out of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account, as well as a description of supported initiatives.
  • Enshrine the province's greenhouse gas reduction targets in law and require government to develop a climate change action plan detailing how the province plans to meet those targets at least every five years.
  • Allow for transitional allowances to large industrial emitters which would be phased out over a period of time.

The proposed Climate Change Mitigation and Low Carbon Economy Act builds on Ontario's recent actions to fight climate change, including ending coal-fired electricity generation, working with industry and other partners on the design of a cap and trade program, releasing a Climate Change Strategy and investing in projects that fight climate change through the $325 million Green Investment Fund.

Fighting climate change while supporting economic growth, efficiency and productivity is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up and deliver on its number-one priority to grow the economy and create jobs. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, supportive environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.



  • In May 2015, Ontario became the first province in Canada to set a mid-term greenhouse gas pollution reduction target of 37 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.
  • Ontario's $325 million Green Investment Fund commits money to projects that fight climate change while growing the economy and creating jobs. These investments will help transform the way we live, move, work and adapt to our environment by building strong and sustainable communities.




"Fighting climate change is one of the most important issues of our time. This proposed legislation ensures that all money raised by putting a price on carbon will be reinvested in a transparent way to the benefit all Ontarians. It will hold government accountable in the fight against climate change, support a prosperous low-carbon economy and build a better future for the planet, for the province and for generations to come."
 — Glen Murray, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change



Contact information for the general public

David Mullock
Minister's Office

Kate Jordan
Communications Branch

Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change


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© Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008 - 2016
99 Wellesley Street West 4th floor, Room 4620 Toronto ON M7A 1A1


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Enel Targets Peru With $400 Million of Wind, Solar Investments - Renewable Energy World

NREL researchers estimate impact of ITC extension on US renewable energy market

NREL researchers estimate impact of ITC extension on US renewable energy market

23.02.2016: Researchers from the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have used a scenario analysis approach to estimate the impacts of the extension of the federal 30% Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar and wind power projects under two distinct natural gas price futures. In the report »Impacts of Federal Tax Credit Extensions on Renewable Deployment and Power Sector Emissions,« the research team has estimated that incremental renewable energy capacity driven by the tax credit extension will peak at 53 GW in 2020. The authors of the report also noted that by the mid-2020s other drivers like reductions in the costs of renewable energy generation and assumed rising fossil fuel costs will propel continued growth in cumulative renewable energy capacity through 2030 under both extension and no-extension scenarios. © PHOTON



Monday, February 22, 2016

Fwd: Renewable Energy Finance Outlook 2016: The Year of the Green Dollar - Renewable Energy World

Renewable Energy Finance Outlook 2016: The Year of the Green Dollar

With the increased visibility of renewable energy, money is pouring into the sector.
February 10, 2016
Chief Editor

Last year was a record year for clean energy finance. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, investment in clean energy increased in China, Africa, the U.S., Latin America and India, driving the world total to its highest ever figure of $329.3B, up 4 percent from 2014 and beating the previous record set in 2011 by 3 percent. However, 2016 should give it a run for its money, so to speak.

Clean Energy Investment – Stocks

The global energy transition is underway and mainstream investors, particularly in the U.S., are starting to take notice. That was the message thatTom Konrad, financial analyst and CFA offered in an interview on the topic of clean energy investing in 2016. For the past six years, Konrad has put together a list of 10 clean energy stocks that he feels are worthy picks for the coming year.  He then tracks those stocks writing monthly updates on the portfolio, which has regularly outperformed the benchmark.

New Investment in Clean Energy 2004-2015. Credit: Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Konard is certain that a shift has occurred regarding mainstream investments. He believes that the greater attention that was focused on clean energy — through the clean power plan in the U.S., the Paris Framework, and the late-2015 extension of tax credits for clean energy in the U.S. — will lead U.S. investors to jump into the clean energy investment market, bringing with them significantly more dollars into the sector. "I'm optimistic that 2016 could be a year where clean energy starts being more and more part of major portfolios," he said.

Konrad believes that more money will be invested in the sector in 2016 even if the general market goes down. "2016 could be the first year that we see renewable energy do a lot better than the overall market," he said.

"And then if we have a flat to positive year in the general market, this could be another one of those plus 50 percent years," he said.

While renewables have also experienced those minus 50 percent years, Konrad doesn't see that as a likely scenario for 2016. He offered First Solar as an example.

"It's trading at a P/E [price to earnings] ratio of 12, which is appealing to non-green investors." Konrad explained that this means First Solar is "a reasonably valued company that just got this giant benefit from the ITC extension. When you have a value company that suddenly has more drivers behind it, it's really hard to see why it could possibly go down much."

While globally investors have already "woken up" to the potential of clean energy, according to Konrad, that fact that 2016 could see more U.S. investors entering the market is huge. That's because the U.S. has the largest equity market in the world and U.S. investors make up a healthy portion of it.  "The U.S. making a shift is a big deal. It is the most widely followed market," said Konrad.

While Yielcos had a rocky 2015, they did rally a bit in December, said Konrad, who thinks they ought to do pretty well in 2016.

"It is very likely we will never again see as good of a time to buy clean energy stocks as we did in December 2015," said Konrad explaining that clean energy companies were very much undervalued in December because not enough investors were paying attention to the sector. "I don't think that will ever happen again," he said.

Company and Project Finance

Undervalued companies may make for a great buying opportunity for clean energy investors, but for the companies themselves it's a problem. "There is a little bit of correlation between solar companies and oil stocks," said Raj Prabhu, CEO and co-founder of Mercom Capital. "Even though there is no relation between the two," Prabhu said "unsophisticated investors" avoid solar stocks when oil is down. "It's always been like this," he said, "this isn't the first time that when oil is down, solar stocks go down."

A low stock price makes it difficult for public companies to raise money, said Prabhu. "For example SunEdison is at $3, it used to be $33 just six months ago," he said.

"That is a difficult position to be in, because if you try to raise money now, it's going to be expensive," he said.

Prabhu acknowledged that it is difficult to predict what is going to happen with stocks but he does believe that the current low valuations will have "a significant effect" on the sector.  He also brought up the "yieldco disaster" explaining that SunEdison over-leveraged itself and when its stock price started to drop, it brought the rest of the sector down with it. "Everyone got scared off by this one company, because they were the bellwether," he said. Yieldcos could come back if the overall stock market comes back. "I don't know about SunEdison but at least the rest," he added.

On the other hand, solar leasing companies should do well in 2016. Not just because of the ITC extension but also because with it, they can raise tax-equity funds, said Prabhu. "Even though there is a slight movement from lease toward loans, these companies generally are going to do well."

Prabhu said that we could also see more securitization in the market. That is when companies bundle solar leases and sell them on the stock market. So far there is about $600 million that has been securitized and Prabhu thinks there will be more in 2016 because of the mature market and policy stability. For companies, the interest rate to borrow against securitized assets is cheaper, said Prabhu.

"In our industry, whether you go from lease to loan to yieldco to securitization, [companies] are always chasing the lowest cost of capital," said Prabhu. And with a market that is always evolving, who knows what the next instrument will be, he added.

Clean Energy Banks: More Competition = Better Rates?

The cost of capital for renewable energy companies was the topic of a Chadbourne and Park webcast in which all five panelists (representing major banks that are active in the renewable energy space) said that 2016 should be a very busy year.

While most of the bankers on the panel were reluctant to give numbers, Chadbourne's Keith Martin, panel moderator, said he had seen deals in the wind market "drop below 8 percent on an unleveraged basis for larger projects." He said solar PV deals were even lower, at just under 7 percent for utility-scale projects and for residential rooftop PV, he has seen deals just under 9 percent unlevered.

The project finance market doubled in North America in the past two years said Thomas Emmons, Managing Director, Head of Renewable Energy Finance, Americas for Rabobank, New York Branch one of the webcast panelists. "In 2015, renewables were up 70 percent to $17B from last year, and that big growth occurred in both wind and solar," he said. Compared to the other energy sectors including oil and gas, renewables were the big winner. "In some ways, 2015 was the year that renewables moved into first place in power generation volume," he said.

Emmons said that about 104 banks were active in the sector in 2015, up 50 percent from 2013. He added that the big news was the size of the loans.  In 2015, 20 banks lent more than $1B compared to 12 banks lending over $1B in 2014. "The big players are doing more and more," he said. While there are plenty of banks in the sector, Emmons said that he believes even more will enter the space in 2016.

In terms of rates increases at least for long-term projects, Emmons said the forecast is good news for the industry: "For term project financing…the rate increases have, and are expected to have, a very moderate effect on the effective cost of long-term borrowing."

Emerging Market Funding On the Rise

Another way to finance renewable energy is throughgreen bonds. These are pools of money created to fund renewable energy development activities in a particular region or municipality. "2016 will be a significant year for Green Bonds," said Christopher Flensborg, Head of Sustainable Products and Product Development, Fixed Income and DCM at SEB, a Nordic corporate bank in a press release.

Green Bond Issuance by Type 2007-2015. Credit: Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

SEB estimated that the Green Bond market would reach $80-100B in 2016, which would be double the 2015 market. Europe and the U.S. will lead but the two Asian giants — China and India — could also be important. In December 2015, the People's Bank of China released a directive on the use of Green Bonds for project financing.

Mercom's Raj Prabhu has also seen innovative financial instruments created for the African market. "We also saw last year that a little more than $100 million went into companies that are selling distributed products such as solar lanterns and pay-as-you-go solar to markets in Africa and India," he said. "That's a first."

This isn't a huge market in terms of dollars, said Prabhu but it's one filled with billions of potential customers.  Most recent figures estimate that more than 2 billion people do not have access to electricity.

"To really reach this poorer population and make it work with the money they have, that hadn't really happened in a larger scale," said Prabhu, adding "these companies are doing amazing things." They will have to make money, though, he said, so if they get returns to their VC's then we should see growth in this sector as well.

Jenny Chase of Bloomberg New Energy Finance agrees. "Although this is a small part of total investment, we expect that there will be many more venture capital deals and debt for working capital for companies extending for-profit solar energy access to Africa, South America and South-east Asia," she said in an email.

In addition, Chase expects the North Africa and Middle East market to grow. "Despite the low price of oil [that market is] discovering that solar and wind can be a cost-effective part of their energy supply. For example, last year's auction in Dubai agreed to buy solar at a price of >$58.5/MWh, which is more than gas but not by much," she added.

Working on a solar project that you can't get to pencil? Learn about Financial Modeling for Solar PV Projects in's upcoming course. Check it out here.Sent from my BlackBerry - the most secure mobile device - via the T-Mobile Network

Fwd: You Can’t Stop the Growth of Renewables, Technology - Renewable Energy World

You Can't Stop the Growth of Renewables, Technology

At DTECH, renewable energy analyst Michael Liebreich and technology expert David Pogue agreed that the future is now, and it's unstoppable.
February 9, 2016
Chief Editor

At the pace that renewable energy is growing, by 2040 the U.S. will be deriving 24 percent of its electricity from renewable energy sources, an increase from 4 percent today. Germany, which uses 16 percent renewables today, will be up to 77 percent renewable energy in 25 years. This is according to Michael Liebreich, founder and chairman ofBloomberg New Energy Finance, who spoke to attendees at the Distributech (DTECH) Conference and Expo Keynote session on February 9.

"This is a very different electrical grid that you'll be managing in 2040," he said.

The driver behind the rise of renewable energy is price, he said.

"What you are talking about now are wind and solar prices prior to subsidies that are in the zone of 3, 4, 5, 6 cents per kilowatt-hour [kWh] unsubsidized," he said, adding "wind in Morocco has been bought at 3 cents per kWh."

This is happening all over the globe.

"We are seeing solar being bought in India at 6 cents, in Dubai at 6 cents," he explained. "Now it's not easy to manage because the sun doesn't shine at night and the wind doesn't always blow but when it's that cheap utility after utility, consumer after consumer, company after company has to buy some at least and figure out how to integrate it."

Low-cost clean energy plus cheap coal, cheap natural gas, and cheap nuclear power (if your regulators will still let you use it) means that we are coming into an age of plenty in terms of energy, according to Liebreich. All of this cheap energy needs to be managed and that is where we are seeing a lot of competition, he said. This increasing competition is coming from organizations that have typically not been in energy, such as home security companies and a multitude of others.

David Pogue, host of NOVA ScienceNow and a tech columnist, also made the point during the keynote that technology is unstoppable. He said that Airbnb, the organization that allows everyone to become a hotel by renting out a room in their home is on track to rent more than 100 million nights in the next four years, which is more than the hotel industry. Uber is changing the game for the taxi industry in the exact same way.

During his presentation, Pogue showed attendees some of the cool new technology that is coming down the pike, such as internet-enabled forks that tell their users when they are eating too fast, and a new port called the USB C, which will allow any device to connect to any other device or charge itself using a power cord from any manufacturer.

"One cord to rule them all!" he said.

When you couple a world where technology is changing at such a rapid pace with the cheap, abundant energy supply that Liebreich showcased, it's clear that disruption in the utility industry is the new normal, something many utilities are not comfortable with. Liebreich offered some advice.

"You have only one clear strategy that is guaranteed to win," he said, which is selling real products and real services to real customers.

"Hiding behind regulators is not that strategy," he said, in reference to the attempt by utilities to throttle the growth of distributed renewable energy by urging utility commissions to pass regulationsthat jack up rates for solar customers or otherwise impede distributed renewable energy growth.

Indeed Pogue reminded attendees that the class entering college right now has not been alive in a world without the Internet.  

"You can't put this genie back in the bottle," he said.

With low-cost clean energy, increased competition on the energy management side and unstoppable technology advancements, the 500 exhibitors and almost 12,000 attendees at DTECH will have a lot to explore this week.

Lead image: Business graphic. Credit: Shutterstock.

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Fwd: Renewables by Far the Largest New Power Source in U.S.


Renewables by Far the Largest New Power Source in U.S.

Thu, 02/11/2016 - 1:47pm4 Commentsby Tomas Kellner, GE Reports
GE acquired with Alstom's energy and grid business the Haliade offshore wind turbine. "With a rotor diameter spanning one and a half football fields (150 meters), the turbine can generate 6 megawatts. (Image credit: GE Power)

New solar and wind energy farms added a whopping 68 percent of new power generation capacity in the United States last year, according to a report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

When combined with hydropower, renewables now make up a fifth of America's electricity generation capacity, more than double what it was in 2008. "The power sector continued to de-carbonize and add near-record amounts of clean energy as policy activity at the global, national and state levels set the country on track for further emissions abatement," the study found.

This is good news for the environment and consumers but also for companies like GE and their shareholders and customers. GE greatly expanded its renewables portfolio with hydropower, offshore wind systems and power distribution technologies when it acquired Alstom's energy and grid business last year.

Americans will get their first taste of the combination later this year, when Deepwater Wind turns on the country's first offshore wind farm in the Atlantic Ocean near Block Island, Rhode Island. But the United States is just one market for the technologies. Take a look at a some of the recent projects.

America's first offshore wind farm will open later this year near Block Island. We completed installation of the five jacket foundations in November," says Deepwater Wind's Stacy Tingley. "Our focus this winter and spring now turns to turbine assembly and submarine cable installation work." (Image credit: Deepwater Wind)
A partially assembled Haliade rotor is motoring to its installation site in the North Sea. (Image credit: GE Power)
GE is testing its latest wind turbine design, the Ecorotr, in the Mojave Desert in California. The shield attached to the nose of the turbine is designed to push wind on the blades and make the turbine more efficient. (Image credit: GE Reports)
The Alstom acquisition gave GE access to hydropower technology, including systems working inside the Itaipu Dam on the Parana River in Brazil. The dam supplies Brazil with a quarter of its power and Paraguay with 90 percent of its electricity. (Image credit: GE Power)
A worker is finishing the rotor of a Francis water turbine.(Image credit: GE Power)
The Francis turbine bears the name of its inventor, James Francis. It's the most common water turbine today. One of them can generate as much as 800 megawatts. The turbine, which is immersed in water, spins the generator, which is the silver wheel near the top. (Image credit: GE Power)
The Kaplan turbine was developed by Czech engineer Viktor Kaplan. Unlike the Francis turbine, it has movable blades that allow it to remain efficient if the flow of water changes. (Image credit: GE Power)
GE also has solar technology in its portfolio. It recently built the world's first smart solar grid near Nice on the French Riviera. (Image credit: GE Power)Sent from my BlackBerry - the most secure mobile device - via the T-Mobile Network