AWEA: Prez Candidates Must Back Wind

During WINDPOWER 2015 this week, new American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Board Chair Mike Garland declared that it is time for the wind industry to start flexing its muscle.

“From the smallest companies to the largest, we have a shared responsibility to make this vision a reality,” said Garland, president and CEO of Pattern Energy. “Everyone in this industry needs to demand a five-year PTC.” The Production Tax Credit (PTC) is the primary federal incentive for building more new wind farms.

windpower-2015-logoAccording to AWEA, the cost of wind power has declined over 58 percent in just five years, but to meet the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Wind Vision will require a long-term stable policy environment that allows for a continued downward trajectory of wind’s costs.

Garland noted that Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida and potential presidential candidate, has already come out in favor of a multi-year extension of the PTC, and that “it’s the industry’s job to make sure other candidates do the same”.

“What we do now will determine our success for years to come,” said Garland. “Let’s do our part and remind everyone that wind energy helps everyone, that wind is American’s clean, domestic and cheap fuel.”

Garland called on companies big and small to help the industry stay on track to meet the scenarios laid out in the DOE Wind Vision report released earlier this year. That starts with American wind power doubling from where it is today to 10 percent of the U.S. electricity mix by 2020, 20 percent by 2030 and become one of the leading sources of electricity by 2050.

Expanding on Garland’s comments were six other leading wind industry executives, including Chris Brown, president of Vestas. “For us, it’s pretty simple. We want to be the undisputed global wind leader. Full stop. It’s about one thing. Least cost of energy. We’re economic against a lot of forms of energy in most of the parts of the country. If we continue to drive that, we don’t become a political story, we become an economic story.”

GEA Tells Senate: Geothermal Yes

The Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) is vocally supporting a bi-partisan legislation package that they say “would help expand geothermal power by addressing some of the most important barriers to geothermal development in the U.S.” according to Karl Gawell, Executive Director of the Geothermal Energy Association, GEA. The association singled out 562, S. 1057. (Note S. 822 is included as a provision of S. 1057.)

GEA logoS.562, Sponsored by Senator Heller (R-NV) and co-sponsored by Senator Risch (R-ID) would provide help for new geothermal projects to shorten delays at one of the most critical and risky phases of development – exploration, GEA explained. “Given the multiple NEPA processes required for geothermal development, and the inclusion of a restriction for lands involving extraordinary circumstances, we believe this process improvement can be made without risk to the environment,” GEA said. This legislation would provide geothermal exploration the same treatment afforded oil and gas exploration under the 2005 Energy Policy Act – a limited categorical exclusion — with the additional restriction for lands or resources viewed as involving extraordinary circumstance.

S. 1057, Sponsored by Senator Wyden (D-OR) and co-sponsored by Senator ester (D-MT) proposes several initiatives that GEA supported. It would:

  • set a 50,000MW National Geothermal Goal;
  • direct federal agencies to identify priority areas for development;
  • allow federal oil and gas lease holders to obtain a non-competitive geothermal lease to facilitate coproduction of geothermal from their wells — today 25 billion barrels of hot water is produced annually from oil and gas wells within the United States that is wasted;
  • authorize cost shared exploration of geothermal energy resources;
  • re-authorize the use of geothermal lease revenues to support the expansion of our knowledge of the resource base; and
  • facilitate new discoveries, by allowing the limited non-competitive leasing of adjacent lands where a new discovery has been made.

According to GEA, the Wyden bill would “help spur the discovery and development of the substantial untapped geothermal energy resources here in the U.S. The clean baseload geothermal energy produced as a result of these important measures will help the nation achieve a more diverse and reliable electricity supply, even as it reduces emissions, helps state and local economies, and creates jobs in both the oil and gas, and the renewable sectors.”

Advanced Wind Turbines to Soar Higher

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Ernest Moniz gave an engaging presentation during the WINDPOWER 2015 Conference and Exhibition taking place in Orlando, Florida. He noted that new wind resource maps are showing the ability for advanced wind turbines to reach stronger winds higher above the ground, unlocking a previously untapped wind resource area that the DOE believes could eventually bring wind energy development to every state in America.

Moniz delivered highlights from the new report “Enabling Wind Power NationwideEnabling-Wind-Power-Nationwide-Cover,” which explains how new wind turbine designs are putting one of America’s largest domestic energy resources to use – the strong, consistent winds that can be found high above the ground in nearly all parts of the country.

“Wind generation has more than tripled in the United States in just six years, exceeding 4.5 percent of total generation, and we are focused on expanding its clean power potential to every state in the country,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. “By producing the next generation of larger and more efficient wind turbines, we can create thousands of new jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as we fully unlock wind power as a critical national resource.”

The Enabling Wind Power Nationwide report builds upon the DOE’s Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power report released this past March, which shows wind energy can become one of America’s top electricity sources, and save consumers money while doing so.

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) CEO Tom Kiernan was quick to applaud the Secretary’s remarks, pointing out just a few of the ways Americans stand to benefit. “This report is great news for consumers, job-seekers, rural communities and many others in these states that have yet to fully benefit from American wind power,” said Kiernan. “Wind turbine technology has advanced in just a few decades from the Model T era to more like that of a Tesla Model S. Advanced towers, blades and improved electronics to operate and maintain the turbines are all part of this revolution.” Continue reading

Ecuador Rolls Out Ethanol Program

Gasolina EcopaisPresident Rafael Correa of Ecuador has issued a decree that orders the gradual national roll out of a 10pc ethanol blend in gasoline, using a price index published by Argus Americas Biofuels. The country is branding the ethanol-blend “Ecopais” and the goal is aimed at reducing the country’s growing high-octane gas imports that are blended with locally produced low-octane gas to make 87 octane and 92 octane.

“We are delighted that Ecuador has chosen to base its new ethanol mandate on Argus price assessments, in recognition of our clear methodology and benchmark status in global biofuels markets,” Argus Media Chairman and Chief Executive Adrian Binks said.

A number of Latin American countries have adopted Argus-related pricing in oil and energy markets. The Ecopais announcement follows last year’s decision by state-owned oil company PetroEcuador to price its crude exports against the ASCI benchmark — Argus’ volume-weighted average of US deepwater sour crude deals.

Pricing will be calculated based on the Argus ethanol price plus delivery costs from the U.S. Gulf coast to Ecuador plus a K factor of 18 cents per liter.

What’s the GHG Performance of Polluters?

Next 10 has released, “Green Innovation Index, International Edition,” a report that analyzes and ranks the economic and energy performance of the world’s 50 largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting countries. The reports reviews country gross domestic product (GDP), emissions, energy productivity, renewable energy generation, clean tech investments and other key metrics. The report find the European Union collectively, and its individual nations, leads the world on several critical indicators.

Green Innovation Index“Some of the world’s largest economies are now decoupling economic growth and energy use, actually growing their GDPs while shrinking their carbon footprints. Last year marked the first time we’ve been able to say conclusively that a drop in global carbon emissions was caused by something other than an economic downtown,” said F. Noel Perry, businessman and founder of the nonpartisan nonprofit group Next 10.

Perry will be presenting the results as part of the events leading up to the Business & Climate Summit taking place at the UNESCO headquarters. The event is also part of Climate Week Paris.

The report finds the European Union ranks as the: #1 producer of renewable energy; #2 in global electric vehicle sales (2014), accounting for 30 percent of sales worldwide; #1 in clean tech IPOs (2014); #2 in clean tech venture capital, attracting just over $1 billion in 2014; #1 in wind energy patents; and #2 in clean tech patents, with 11,000 registered in 2014.

The Green Innovation Index also found that among these nations, plus California:

  • Spain, Germany, Italy, California, Philippines, the EU, Belgium, Netherlands, U.K. andGreece have the greatest share of electricity from renewable sources among top emitters (in order).
  • France leads the world in lowest carbon intensity; Uzbekistan is highest (GHG per GDP).
  • U.S. (with California), the EU, Japan, South Korea, Germany, California, China, Taiwan,France and U.K. (in order) are top ten in clean technology patents (2014).
  • Clean tech venture capital investment declined in the EU (-10 percent), France (-43 percent), Canada (-19 percent), India (-4 percent) and Israel (-11 percent) from 2013-14.
  • U.S. clean tech venture capital investment grew 74 percent (2013-14), California 153 percent.

“This year’s Green Innovation Index, International Edition tracks a clear shift to clean energy around the world. Although fossil fuels still represent a significant portion of our overall energy use, many analysts believe we have reached an important tipping point—globally, we are now adding more capacity for renewable power annually than fossil fuels,” added Doug Henton, chairman and CEO of Collaborative Economics, which developed the Index for Next 10.

St. Louis Re-Use Dev Features Solar

I love the concept of re-use in terms of living spaces. I live in a former tea manufacturing facility dating back to the mid-1800s and integrating original features of the building give my loft a unique and cool character. While this is an ongoing trend, not many of the refurb buildings in the Midwest are featuring renewable energy. (I wish mine did.) But this one has it all – the Laclede Lofts based in St. Louis, Missouri.

The adaptive-resue project has a cool aura and uses various green features including high-efficiency appliances and light fixtures, but it also features a 250 kilowatt solar array on the roof that generates more than half of the electricity used in the building’s common areas. This project is a joint venture between Universatile Development and Rothschild Development redeveloped the former pharmaceutical factory, located near St. Louis University.

Laclede Lofts Solar ArrayJeff Winzerling, president of Universatile Development, said, “We estimated, for the course of a year, the total electrical usage for everything in the common areas: parking lot lights, lobby and hallway air-conditioning, elevator, gate opener, and security system. Even by the more conservative production projection, the array is producing 62% of our usage needs.”

Microgrid Solar engineers worked with the developer to explore a few different options for deploying solar power at the art deco building, which the Pfeiffer Pharmaceutical Company constructed in 1946 to house its offices, laboratories, manufacturing, and warehouse. In the end, the developer settled upon the simplest solution: a single 25kW array consisting of 98 solar panels with microinverters connected to the building’s common area meter. Winzerling added, “It would have been really cool to have some solar-powered apartments, but the complexity and expense would have been much greater, so we opted for a solar-powered building instead.”

Microgrid CEO, Rick Hunter, added, “This is a unique project, utilizing solar on a historic renovation project and an apartment building – you just don’t see this sort of thing very often, due to the challenges involved. We are thrilled to have been a part of the project.”

Another cool feature – a link was added to the building’s website that allows building residents and others to monitor the panels’ production over time, as well as to see the electrical output converted into reduced carbon dioxide emissions, either in trees planted or miles not driven.

Vaisala Launches Nomad 3 for Wind Data

Vaisala has launched the Nomad 3 Data Logger, a flexible and highly portable data management device that makes wind measurement easier and more economical for developers and operators around the globe says the company. With intermittent issues around wind energy, early siting and ongoing investment and operational decisions are based on wind resource data and have a direct link to success of a wind project.

Vaisala wind data loggerAccording to Vaisala, current data loggers on the market are difficult to install and operate. They also cite current data technologies often fall short when it comes to performance in rough, remote locations and cross-compatibility with broad range wind measurement sensors employed throughout the renewable energy industry.

The Nomad 3 Data logger has been widely tested and the company’s first data logger was developed back in 1981. The new device, however, has been completely re-engineered with the current challenges of developers and operators in mind. According to the company, the Nomad 3 offers a Linux operating system, and a smaller, lighter design while remaining incredibly flexible and straightforward to use. It is compatible with all market-leading wind sensors, and is ideally suited for hard to reach regions of emerging markets like South America, Asia, and Africa, since it can be conveniently carried in a backpack to sites without road access.

The Nomad 3 Data logger also features wireless connectivity and Vaisala’s SkyServe wind data management service – a secure web portal that offers a range of fleet management tools. Online operating systems also make it accessible to any web-enabled device, such as a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

A number of partners and government laboratories have already started using the Nomad 3 as beta clients at locations around the world. These include: NIWE (India’s National Institute of Wind Energy formerly known as C-WET), Saiwind, and WISE Information Sentinel.

SheerWind Licenses Wind Tech in Denmark

SheerWind Inc. has signed a licensing agreement that will allow its technology to be marketed and deployed in Denmark. The agreement will allow wind-power developer E-Venturi to introduce SheerWind’s INVELOX wind delivery system. The first pilot project is expected to be built in Denmark before the end of the year.

INVELOX the New Face of Wind Power (PRNewsFoto/SheerWind)

INVELOX the New Face of Wind Power (PRNewsFoto/SheerWind)

E-Venturi, based in Slagelse, Denmark, will be the first company to market SheerWind’s technology in Europe. Denmark leads the world in wind energy penetration, with 39.1 percent of its electrical consumption coming from wind power. The Danish government plans to quadruple wind power production by 2050 and is pursuing a goal of complete independence from fossil fuels.

“We are thrilled to have the world’s wind leader distributing our technology. This is incredible validation of our technology and we look forward to a prosperous relationship that benefits both our countries for years to come,” said George Manos, the president of SheerWind.

According to SheerWind, the INVELOX technology is a cost-effective, high-performance alternative to conventional wind technology. The system uses no above-ground propellers. Rather, it employs a funnel-driven system that captures the wind and brings it to ground-level power turbines and rotors for safer, easier and cheaper operation and maintenance. The technology is safe for humans and wildlife, requires less maintenance than conventional wind systems, and produces more electricity per dollar invested than conventional systems, adds SheerWind.

“Denmark has a long history of introducing ground-breaking wind technology, and we are pleased to continue that tradition by making available within our company SheerWind’s better way to harvest wind energy,” added Lars Lindebjerg Peterson, the CEO of E-Venturi. “We plan to market this innovative solution to some of the world’s leaders in renewable and environmental advancements, and expect it to aid Denmark in reaching its renewable energy goals.”

Powerhive Begins Operating MicroGrids in Kenya

Powerhive East Africa has achieved something no other private company has done – been given permission to generate, distribute and sell electricity to the Kenyan public beginning in Kisii and Nymaira counties in Western Kenya. Using microgrids, the company, a subsidiary of Powerhive, Inc., will directly deliver electricity to hundreds of rural communities that are beyond the reach of the national grid.

For more than two years, Powerhive has been operating microgrid pilot projects utilizing 100 percent renewable energy in four villages in Kisii, Kenya. The pilot projects serve approximately 1,500 people and have played a critical role in creating new businesses, enabling the use of productive appliances, powering schools, and displacing kerosene and diesel, which emit toxic pollutants.

According to Powerfhive, the Kenya Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) decision to provide a concession to an off-grid utility company reflects the beginning of a global transformation in the energy sector. “The Powerhive permit was granted in recognition of the fact that grid expansion is not always the most economical choice to expand energy access; off-grid alternatives have a role to play,” wrote Dr. Frederick Nyang, director of economic regulation for the Kenya ERC, in a letter. “[Powerhive has demonstrated] that its microgrids are capable of operating in compliance with the prescribed standards for residential and commercial electricity service provision.”

Powerhive microgrid in KenyaHistorically, explains Powerhive, governments have pursued rural electrification almost exclusively through major public investments in grid expansion. Through its distributed energy delivery solutions, Powerhive aims to complement such government and utility efforts by focusing on areas that are too costly for grid extension. Powerhive East Africa’s concession, and the resulting deployment of microgrid projects, will set the stage for rapid global expansion and support Kenya’s goal of electrifying 100 percent of the population by 2030.

“The government of Kenya recognizes that the fastest and least expensive approach to reach 100% electricity access is to allow private investment in distributed generation infrastructure,” said Powerhive East Africa’s Managing Director Zachary Ayieko. “Other national governments aggressively pursuing rural electrification targets can also benefit greatly by using Powerhive’s energy access solution.”

MN Ethanol Industry Contributed $2.3B in 2014

According to a new study, “Contribution of the Ethanol Industry to the Economy of Minnesota,” found that Minnesota’s ethanol industry accounted for $2.34 billion of the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) during 2014. The report was published by ABF Economics and found that the industry generated $7 billion in gross sales for state businesses and supported 18,630 full-time jobs. This in turn, cites the report, generated $1.74 billion in household income in Minnesota in 2014 as well as $132 million to state and local government tax rolls.

“This study by ABF Economics clearly shows how significant the ethanol industry is to Minnesota’s economy, especially in rural areas where it supports other industries,” said Tim Rudnicki, executive director of the Minnesota Bio-Fuels Association who commissioned the study.

Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 4.19.05 PMFor the study, ABF Economics estimated the impact of the ethanol industry on Minnesota’s economy by applying expenditures by the relevant supplying industry to the final demand multipliers for value added output, earnings and employment.

“In this study, ABF used the IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planning) economic model to construct a model of the Minnesota economy including the sectors that support the ethanol industry, the links between them, and the level of economic activity,” noted John Urbanchuk, managing partner for ABF Economics, in the study.

The IMPLAN model evaluated the gross output, value added (GDP), household earnings and employment generated by the ethanol industry in 2014.

In 2014, the study notes, Minnesota’s ethanol industry spent $2.7 billion to produce 1.1 billion gallons of ethanol, 3.3 million tons of dried distiller’s grains (DDGs) and 184 million pounds of corn oil.The ethanol industry’s expenditure included corn, industrial chemicals, electricity, natural gas, water, labor and services such as maintenance, insurance and general overheads. Spending for these goods and services represented the purchase of output of other industries that operate in Minnesota, ABF Economics said. Continue reading