Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Trump to Urge Americans to Abandon ‘Small Thinking’ and Fights

Trump asks all Americans to abandon what he spends most of his time doing.

Trump to Urge Americans to Abandon 'Small Thinking' and Fights https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-02-28/trump-on-hook-to-deliver-policy-clarity-with-speech-to-congress

White House accused of blocking information on bank's Trump-Russia links | US news | The Guardian

Fwd: New York Green Bank 4Q16 Report Highlights Commitment to Solar in New York - Renewable Energy World

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "rebecca nichols" <rvan@tnag.net>
Date: Feb 28, 2017 2:09 AM
Subject: New York Green Bank 4Q16 Report Highlights Commitment to Solar in New York - Renewable Energy World
To: "Monty ​ Bannerman​" <mbannerman@arcstarenergy.com>

New York Green Bank 4Q16 Report Highlights Commitment to Solar in New York

February 24, 2017

On Feb. 15, the New York Green Bank (NYGB) released its 4Q16 report, which highlights the state's commitment to expanding solar in New York. NYGB's mission is to accelerate clean energy deployment in New York by working in collaboration with the private sector to transform financing markets. Since inception, the NYGB has received $1.8 billion in investment proposals and maintains an active pipeline of projects proceed to close of approximately $600 million as of December 2016.

New York Green Bank 4Q16 Solar Updates

The 4Q16 report included several important updates related to the state's progress in expanding solar:

  • The bank's active pipeline of $600 million consists of over 30 percent solar, more than energy efficiency, wind or bioenergy (see chart below)
  • The bank closed six transactions in 4Q16, including two with residential solar installer SolarCity:
    • Dec. 30 — $20 million commitment to SolarCity's existing Revolving Credit Facility to build new solar projects, of which a significant portion will be within New York
    • Dec. 9 — $30 million commitment to upsize a SolarCity senior secured term loan facility that was expanded to add new solar assets

The 4Q16 commitments add to the bank's existing commitments to residential solar including:

  • August 2016 — $37.5 million commitment to Vivint Solar
  • August 2016 — $25 million commitment to Sunrun
  • September 2015 — $25 million commitment to Level Solar
  • August 2016 — $50 million commitment to Mosaic Solar

The large commitment to Mosaic (vs. Vivint and Sunrun which generate most of their business through leases or PPAs), demonstrates the increasing trend of consumers choosing to buy versus lease solar panels.

Residential Solar in New York

The NYGB's commitment to solar provided a healthy boost to the residential solar market in 2016.  Based on our analysis of NYSERDA data, residential solar in New York continued to grow in 2016 (albeit at a slower rate than in 2015) and reached an estimated size of over $600 million. Large national solar companies continue to be active in the state, with Sunrun recently announcing a partnership with National Grid to expand solar in NY.

Solar Progress in All New York Regions

In late 2016, Mayor de Blasio announced that solar power in New York City has nearly quadrupled since he took office, increasing from 25 MW to 96 MW with cumulative solar installations reaching 8,000. New York City has increased the targets to 1,000 MW by 2030.  Our analysts mapped the over 6,000 solar building permits (2013 – 2017) from the NYC Buildings department to see what New York City illuminated by solar looks like:

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Fwd: NY-Sun Initiative Generated Nearly 800 Percent Growth in Solar in New York Since 2011 - Renewable Energy World

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "rebecca nichols" <rvan@tnag.net>
Date: Feb 28, 2017 2:00 AM
Subject: NY-Sun Initiative Generated Nearly 800 Percent Growth in Solar in New York Since 2011 - Renewable Energy World
To: "Monty ​ Bannerman​" <mbannerman@arcstarenergy.com>

NY-Sun Initiative Generated Nearly 800 Percent Growth in Solar in New York Since 2011

February 27, 2017

Governor Cuomo announced that state-supported solar increased nearly 800 percent in New York from December 2011 to December 2016, which is an important milestone to the state's goal of reaching 50 percent renewable energy generation by 2030. Nearly 65,000 projects have been installed through the end of 2016, compared with approximately 9,000 projects prior to the end of 2011. The 65,000 projects accounted for nearly 744 MW of solar capacity or enough to meet the needs of more than 121,000 homes. The growth in solar was driven by a decline in solar equipment prices, strong NY solar incentives and the growth of solar companies in NY. NY-Sun aims to add more then three gigawatts of installed solar capacity by 2030.

Seven Regions Experience Greater Than 1000 Percent Solar Growth

Long Island has installed the most megawatts at 214 MW from 24,428 installations. Long Island was the first region to meet New York's megawatt block target. The Capital Region and Mid-Hudson experience similarly strong growth in installations. Seven of the 10 regions experienced greater than 1,000 percent growth.

Maps of Solar Growth By Region


Key Supporters in the New York Solar Market

The governor's announcement included several statements from industry representatives, including leaders of top solar companies in NY:

  • "SUNation Solar Systems applauds the consistent and reliable support of Governor Cuomo's solar programs. The value of each solar panel installed goes far beyond just the value of its clean energy produced. Every panel installed also represents highly skilled jobs for our Island and revenue retained for our local economy. Solar on Long Island finally has unstoppable traction due to a strong advocate for renewable energy in Governor Cuomo." — Scott Maskin, Co-Founder and CEO of SUNation
  •  "We are lucky to have a strong climate for building the renewable energy future in New York State. Thanks to Governor Cuomo's bold REV strategy, Renovus Solar has begun developing community solar, creating access to affordable, clean, locally-generated solar power to everyone, including low and moderate income families. Solar development has become a vital economic driver in the State, as we create good, living-wage jobs while offering huge savings to our customers, all the while ensuring a sustainable planet." — Joe Silker, President and CEO of Renovus Solar

2016 New York Solar Market

The NY residential solar market continued to grow in 2016, albeit at a lower rate than 2015.  The state also has relatively low solar penetration compared to other solar markets, including California and Arizona, so growth should continue in 2017. Growth has also been driven by an increase in the availability of solar loans, which have changed the dynamic for consumers in the lease vs. buy solar decision.

This article was originally published by Sunvago and was republished with permission.

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Monday, February 27, 2017

Trump's EPA Budget Cuts May Unleash a Backlash as Risks Remain

In trump and family we trust

Candidates for the historical registry of climate deniers.

Fwd: Breaking News

Bank of Cypress is famed for being the known biggest conduit for dirty Russian money in the world.


---------- Forwarded message ---------
From: CNN Breaking News <CNNBreakingNews@mail.cnn.com>
Date: Mon, Feb 27, 2017 at 8:28 PM
Subject: Breaking News
To: <no-reply@siteservices.cnn.com>

The Senate confirmed billionaire Wilbur Ross as commerce secretary in a 72-27 vote on Monday evening.

Ross is expected to be a powerful figure in the Trump administration, leading the way on efforts to renegotiate NAFTA, the controversial trade agreement with Canada and Mexico. He will also be a key voice on Trump's efforts to slash taxes and ramp up infrastructure spending.

The green light came nearly three months after Trump first tapped the famed investor for his cabinet.

But the confirmation vote was not without controversy.

Democrats pushed for answers on Ross' role as vice chairman of the Bank of Cyprus, which has links to Russia. Minutes before the vote, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer protested the White House's refusal to release written answers from Ross about the bank. Ross has indicated he will step down from the Bank of Cyprus after he takes office.

Ross is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday prior to Trump's speech to a joint session of Congress.

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Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
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Elon Musk’s SpaceX plans to fly two private citizens around the moon by late next year - The Washington Post

Fwd: Breaking News

Military/industrial complex is always a big winner in any authoritarian's budget.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "CNN Breaking News" <CNNBreakingNews@mail.cnn.com>
Date: Feb 27, 2017 11:42 AM
Subject: Breaking News
To: <no-reply@siteservices.cnn.com>

President Donald Trump's first budget proposal will look to increase defense and security spending by $54 billion and cut roughly the same amount from non-defense programs, the White House said Monday.

"This budget will be a public safety and national security budget," Trump said at a bipartisan gathering of US governors at the White House, vowing substantial increases in defense, law enforcement and infrastructure spending.

The majority of "lower priority programs and most federal agencies" will see a reduction in their budget as a result of the proposal, according to an official at the Office of Budget Management speaking with reporters on background.

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Watch CNN live or On Demand from your computer or mobile device using CNNgo.

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What A 4 Million Solar Panel Park Looks Like from Space

Saturday, February 25, 2017

BBC News: 'Good vibration' hand pumps boost Africa's water security

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

'Good vibration' hand pumps boost Africa's water security
The simple up-and-down motion of hand pumps could help scientists secure a key water source for 200 million people in Africa.
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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A supermassive black hole awakes | Science

Monday, February 20, 2017

Utility Districts in FL showing thin edge of adoption?

Ciel et Terre implements a 31.5 kW floating solar system in Florida

© Ciel et Terre International

19.02.2017: Ciel et Terre International and D3 Energy, LLC completed their first full-fledged US project in partnership with the Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC). The inauguration ceremony announces the largest floating solar photovoltaic system in Florida to date. The 31.5 kW »Hydrelio« floating array is composed of 100 crystalline photovoltaic panels and will generate up to 51,000 kWh per year.
According to the company, Hydrelio was installed on a storm water storage reservoir located at OUC’s Gardenia facility. The electricity will serve some of OUC’s own electrical usage on-site, or put back up into the grid. A nearly 13 MW solar array is under construction now at OUC’s Stanton Energy Center where OUC also utilizes methane gas from the Orange County landfill to offset coal.



Monty Bannerman

ArcStar Energy




Friday, February 17, 2017

Scott Pruitt, oil industry schill, climate skeptic, longtime adversary of EPA, confirmed to lead the agency - The Washington Post

Ceres harbors homegrown organic compounds | Science News


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Fwd: Solar Power Industry Conditions ‘Remain Challenging,’ SunPower CEO Says - Renewable Energy World

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646.402.5076

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: rebecca nichols <rvan@tnag.net>
Date: Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 9:02 AM
Subject: Solar Power Industry Conditions 'Remain Challenging,' SunPower CEO Says - Renewable Energy World
To: Monty ​ Bannerman​ <mbannerman@arcstarenergy.com>

Solar Power Industry Conditions 'Remain Challenging,' SunPower CEO Says

February 16, 2017

Associate Editor

SunPower CEO Thomas Werner yesterday said that while long-term growth prospects for the solar power industry are compelling, the near-term conditions "remain challenging."

Speaking during SunPower's 4Q16 earnings conference call, Werner said that "energy policy is a key driver for the solar industry, and there is significant speculation related to the potential changes in the U.S. policy by the new administration."

He added that the company has based its 2017-2018 business plan on a few key assumptions.

SunPower does not expect a change in the current investment tax credit policy structure, and it does not believe that the Clean Power Plan will be implemented, Werner said. The company, however, does expect "some type of corporate tax reform over the next 12 to 18 months," he added.

"Given the number of different tax policies being discussed, it would be premature for us to speculate on specifics," he said, "However, we believe that our diversified market and application portfolio helps mitigate policy risk."

Werner also noted that the solar industry's track record of technical innovation and cost reduction likely will drive long-term demand dynamics regardless of near-term U.S. policy outcome.


According to Werner, residential demand is solid in SunPower's key markets, but overall market growth has slowed in California.

He said that time-of-use rates under California's net metering 2.0 policy has increased customer uncertainty.

Despite the current climate in the state, Werner said that SunPower is "encouraged to see an increasing commitment by schools and public agencies in California to invest in renewable energy, supported by state policy, which allocates over $40 billion in local bond funds towards modernization and new construction, including renewable energy infrastructure."

Werner also noted that SunPower's power plant business remains challenging, with power purchase agreement (PPA) pricing "under considerable near-term pressure."

He said that SunPower sold approximately 400 MW in projects, including majority stakes in the Stanford Turlock Irrigation and Boulder Solar I projects.

In Latin America, he added, the company continues to build out 850 MW of PPA projects.

"There are a number of risks in the region, including policy and foreign exchange," he said. "We are focused on mitigating these risks while bringing most of these projects to completion over the next 18 months."

Earnings and Guidance

SunPower yesterday reported 4Q16 revenue of $1.1 billion or $-0.64 per share, and reiterated 2017 guidance of $1.8 billion to $2.3 billion and deployments in the range of 1.3 GW to 1.6 GW. 

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Fwd: Solar Power: Big utilities try to tilt solar energy market in their favor

Duke makes moves to do what Allen and I proposed to them in 2008. The big shift for monopolies to fully embrace and dominate solar is already fully under way and will find lots of support from the lawmakers their lobbies fund at the state level in the current environment. 

Monty Bannerman
ArcStar Energy
+1 646.402.5076

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: rebecca nichols <rvan@tnag.net>
Date: Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 8:36 AM
Subject: Solar Power: Big utilities try to tilt solar energy market in their favor
To: Monty ​ Bannerman​ <mbannerman@arcstarenergy.com>

Big utilities try to tilt solar energy market in their favor

February 9, 2017

By Brian Slodysko, Associated Press

Indiana's energy utilities want state lawmakers to pass a law that critics say would muscle out smaller companies from the emerging solar energy market.

The solar farm at the Indianapolis International Airport is pictured, Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2017, in Indianapolis. Duke Energy and other utilities are backing measures in the Indiana Legislature and several other states that would eventually end the ability of small operators to produce solar power. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's energy utilities want state lawmakers to pass a law that critics say would muscle out smaller companies from the emerging solar energy market.

Solar power provides only about 1 percent of the country's energy, but the industry is growing rapidly, with figures showing it employed 208,859 workers in 2015. That amounts to a 125 percent increase since 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

But much of the growth has come from homeowners or businesses taking advantage of its bill-lowering potential. That could eventually eat away at the business of the big utilities — in Indiana they are Duke Energy, Vectren and Indiana Michigan Power — which have a powerful voice and donate handsomely to the political campaigns of lawmakers.

On Thursday, Indiana legislators started debate on a proposed law that in five years would eliminate much of the financial benefit Indiana homeowners, businesses and even some churches reap harvesting the sun's rays. It would tilt the market in favor of the utilities, critics said.

Republican state Sen. Brandt Hershman's bill would overhaul a practice called "net metering," which allows solar panel owners to feed excess energy into the power grid in exchange for a credit on their bill.

Hershman's bill would lock in a substantially lower rate of reimbursement than what is currently guaranteed — a move that solar advocates say would make it difficult to break even during the useful life of a solar panel.

"I have nothing against solar. I'm simply trying to reset the marketplace," said Hershman, who says solar panel owners are reimbursed at too-generous of a rate. "In hard-dollar terms, there is a significant subsidy going on."

But the measure comes as investor-owned utilities across the U.S. are also looking to take advantage of the plunging costs of sun-generated power and carve out a share of the market for themselves. And critics say the bill amounts to an effort by the utilities to muscle out the small companies, potentially threatening the 1,500 jobs the Solar Foundation estimated in 2015 that the industry had created in Indiana alone.

Utilities are promoting an alternative to installing home solar panels called "community solar," a model that involves customers agreeing to buy or lease solar panels from the utilities on large panel farms.

"Utilities like solar if they can control those assets," said Ryan Zaricki, who owns Whole Sun Designs, a solar panel installation company headquartered in Evansville. Zaricki, who employs five workers during busy months, said that if the bill passes "it means that, in the long term, I won't have a business."

Duke Energy Corp., the largest electricity company in the United States, this year plans to launch a "community solar" program in South Carolina and seek regulatory permission to do the same in North Carolina, Florida, Kentucky and Ohio, as well as Indiana, utility vice president Melisa Johns said.

Indiana is not the first state to take up an overhaul of the solar industry. Michigan, Illinois and Iowa have adopted policies that would phase out net metering at a gentler pace, according to advocates. In Maine, Republican Gov. Paul LePage last year vetoed a bill that would have overhauled the state's approach. Montana is also considering a range of bills that would alter its policy, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Utilities say the current Indiana system of compensation is unfair because it requires them to pay solar panel owners for power at retail cost — which is more than it would cost them to produce the same amount of energy. They also stress that they own the infrastructure solar panel owners rely on to feed their excess power onto the grid and should be compensated for it.

"The simple logic for us is if you're using it, you should pay for it," said Mark Maassel, president of the Indiana Energy Association, which represents the state's largest power utilities.

Jeffrey R. S. Brownson, a solar expert and engineering professor at Penn State University, says he has not seen data that suggests the small amount of solar energy generated in the U.S. is unduly taxing on the power grid.

"This is very reactionary," he said of Hershman's bill. "It's definitely going to stymie innovation and slow down job growth."

In Indiana, it's just the latest measure pushed by Republicans, who dominate the Statehouse, which would corner a market, or benefit longtime political allies and campaign donors.

A bill last week that would have effectively blocked electric car maker Tesla from selling in Indiana was overhauled after an outpouring of opposition. And last year lawmakers passed vaping industry regulations that created a monopoly for one security firm that became the sole gatekeeper of who could manufacture the nicotine-laced liquid consumed through vaping. GOP leaders pledged to "fix" the law this year after the FBI launched a probe.

Over the past three years Duke energy and its affiliated political committees have funneled $76,000 to state Senate members of both parties.

Hershman has collected $9,000 from the company since 2010, according to state campaign finance records.

The utilities also donated more than $1 million to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which helped finance trade missions former Gov. Mike Pence led to Canada, Germany, London, Israel and China in 2014 and 2015, according to records obtained through a public records request. The IEDC is a quasi-governmental state that regularly uses private donations to fund trips VIP trips for state officials.

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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Fwd: Saudi Arabia Turning to Wind and Solar Power - Renewable Energy World

Saudi Arabia Turning to Wind and Solar Power

February 14, 2017

The nation most identified with its massive oil reserves is turning to wind and solar to generate power at home and help extend the life of its crucial crude franchise.

Starting this year, Saudi Arabia plans to develop almost 10 GW of renewable energy by 2023, starting with wind and solar plants in its vast northwestern desert. The effort could replace the equivalent of 80,000 barrels of oil a day now burned for power. Add in natural gas projects set to start later this decade, and the Saudis could quadruple that number, according to Wood MacKenzie Ltd. That could supplant all the crude burned in the kingdom during its winter months.

The effort goes hand-in-hand with a drive by the royal family to broaden the economy following two years of budget deficits tied to low oil prices. More industry, though, means more energy, with the amount of power used at peak times growing by 10 percent in the last year alone.

"Renewable energy is not a luxury anymore," said Mario Maratheftis, chief economist at Standard Chartered Plc., in an interview. "If domestic use continues like this, eventually the Saudis won't have spare oil to export.''

In all, Saudi Arabia is seeking $30 billion to $50 billion worth of investment in renewables, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said this month. The ministry will set up a division to handle the tenders until the country establishes a new independent buyer for all power supplies.

"The terms on renewable contracts will be motivating so that the cost of generating power from these renewable sources will be the lowest in the world," Al-Falih said at a news conference in Riyadh. The kingdom will award its first tenders to build 700 MW of solar and wind energy in September, Al-Falih said.

Energy Pricing

The government has already raised domestic energy prices to slow demand growth and called for greater efficiency, according to the Riyadh-based King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center. Failing to tap more sources, including renewable energy, natural gas or even nuclear reactors could erode the oil exports still vital to the economy, the center wrote in an October report.

Improving the country's energy efficiency by just 4 percent a year could save the equivalent of 1 million barrels a day of crude by 2030, according to the report.

The cornerstone of an economic transformation plan championed by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a son of the king, is the sale of as much as 5 percent of Saudi Arabian Oil Co. With the company worth about $2 trillion, according to estimates from the prince, the share sale would be the worlds' largest initial public offering.

The kingdom, OPEC's biggest member, is the linchpin of the group's effort to prop up crude prices by cutting output to reduce a global supply glut. Saudi Arabia said it cut production by 717,600 barrels a day last month, its biggest cut in more than eight years, to 9.748 million a day, according to a monthly report from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Aramco Plants

Saudi Aramco, as the state energy producer is known, already earns most of the Persian Gulf kingdom's income by pumping 1 in every 10 barrels sold every day. It's also driving the country's first steps toward a renewable energy industry.

At its sprawling campus of office buildings, control rooms and suburban-style residential compounds in Dhahran in the country's east, Saudi Aramco runs the country's biggest solar plant, a 10-MW facility mounted on a parking lot roof. In January, it started the kingdom's first commercial wind turbine to power a facility in the northwest. The solar panels atop the parking facility cut the need for the equivalent of about 30,000 barrels of oil and the wind turbines will eliminate demand for about 19,000 barrels, according to Aramco.

As the kingdom strives to build industries and spread jobs, other state companies are expanding projects. The Saudi Arabian Mining Co. operates a phosphate plant and is building a new industrial city in the northwest. Power for sections of the vast area where those projects are located will partly come from renewables and new gas projects.

"Small projects are very important in helping diversify the country's energy sources," Stewart Williams, Wood Mackenzie's vice president for Middle East research, said in a telephone interview. "These are steps toward building up the country's energy base."

Without alternative power sources, including gas and renewables, the kingdom would be forced to increase its crude burn. That can reach as high as 900,000 barrels a day during the kingdom's summer months, according to data from the Joint Organizations Data Initiative.

Saudi Arabia has already taken steps to substitute natural gas for oil in power plants, a change that's had "immense" impact on the crude burn, OPEC said in its Monthly Oil Market Report released in January. The use of crude for domestic power has fallen by nearly a third since the Wasit gas plant began operations in March 2016, according to the OPEC report.

300,000 Barrels

Saudi Aramco will bring online the similar-sized Fadhili gas project in the country's east by the end of the decade. That gas project and the renewable projects planned for completion by 2023 could save about 300,000 barrels of oil from being burnt for power, according to estimates based on IEA and OPEC data.

Alternative energies are "a key factor in the economic transformation,'' Fabio Scacciavillani, chief economist of the Oman Investment Fund, said in an interview. "This region has a great competitive advantage in low-cost energy production and that will continue with renewables. That will create a big advantage particularly in energy intensive industries.''

©2017 Bloomberg News

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