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Sun Towards High Noon: How Solar Energy Is Transforming Our Future

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May 212017
 

Originally posted on the ECOreport. Peter F. Varadi’s first book described the birth of the solar industry and its growth up until 2013. He recruited an team of internationally recognized contributors for the sequel. SUN TOWARDS HIGH NOON: SOLAR POWER TRANSFORMING OUR ENERGY FUTURE guides us through the industry today. Readability In terms of readability, I found this [&hellip

Sun Towards High Noon: How Solar Energy Is Transforming Our Future was originally published on CleanTechnica.

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Modelling The Fourth Industrial Revolution

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Oct 012016
 

Containerhafen / Windkrafträder / container terminal / wind turb

Originally published on the ECOreport. Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein have achieved Germany’s renewable target for 2025. They already obtain 40% of their energy from renewables on an annual basis. A technological breakthrough, the digitization of industry, will be required to go further. This region of 4.5 million people expects to obtain 70% of its energy from renewables by 2025 and 100% [&hellip

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One Company’s Explosive Residential Solar Success

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Aug 112016
 

Suniva-Still-1038x576

Originally published on the ECOreport. PetersenDean’s business grew 400% last year. It expects to double its total number of installations next year. Owens Corning Roofing and Asphalt LLC selected PetersenDean to join their Platinum Preferred Contractor Network of top tier roofing professionals. As a result of its soon to be announced partnership with JLM Energy, PetersenDean’s [&hellip

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130 Scientists Condemn Flawed Review Process For LNG Project

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Mar 112016
 

Screen-Shot-2016-03-09-at-7.43.57-AM

Originally published on the ECOreport They come from the West Coast, as far south as California, as north as Alaska, and as east as the Atlantic coast. Their joint letter refers to “Misrepresentation,”  “lack of information,” and “Disregard for science that was not funded by the proponent.” Scientists condemn the flawed review process for Lelu Island, at the mouth [&hellip

130 Scientists Condemn Flawed Review Process For LNG Project was originally published on CleanTechnica.

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Poll Confirms Solar Revolution May Be Unstoppable

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Apr 162015
 

install-roof-1038x576

Originally published on the ECOreport A new poll confirms that the solar revolution may be unstoppable. The respondents of the poll were all parents, 81% of whom said they want to live in a solar-powered home. The majority (67%) also wants solar to be the world’s primary energy source when their children grow up. More than 10

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How SDG&E’s Smart Grid Devices Helped Restore the Grid

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Oct 012014
 

Originally published on the ECOreport San Diego’s grid has endured an onslaught from a record-breaking 5-day-long heat wave, which produced back to back peak demand records of 4,781 megawatts (MW) and 4,890 MW. There were also high winds, with microbursts followed by sudden downpours and flooding. A lot of trees fell, there were several outages,

How SDG&E’s Smart Grid Devices Helped Restore the Grid was originally published on CleanTechnica.

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PACE Has Returned To Berkeley, Birthplace Of The PACE Program

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Sep 172014
 

Originally published in the ECOreport HERO Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) is now available in 186 Californian cities and counties. The County of San Mateo and Woodside have opted in and the number of communities in the Bay area is approaching two dozen. PACE has returned to Berkeley, the birthplace of the program. Back in

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Projects Borrego Solar Deemed Doable

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Aug 012014
 

Originally Published in the ECOreport

Desert Hot Springs solar project  – Courtesy Borrego Solar

Desert Hot Springs solar project – Courtesy Borrego Solar

Borrego Solar acquires utility-scale projects like the Seneca Solar Projects every year. The projects’ previous developers reached the mid to late developmental stage, but then decided to sell. A large number of utility-scale projects stall every year, and that’s the end of the story for most of them. Some get a second chance, and Seneca Solar’s portfolio is one of the projects Borrego Solar deemed doable and has taken on.

They broke ground earlier this month.

Seneca Solar Project as it is right now  - Courtesy Borrego Solar

“There is a misconception out there about what it takes to get this type of project done,” said Aaron Halimi, senior project developer at Borrego Solar. “That’s why so many projects fail. There are many, many challenges along the way.”

Halimi described the problems projects encounter as coming from four main “food groups” of a utility-scale project:

  • There could be problems with site control, from some aspect of the lease or purchase agreement
  • issues with the underlying real estate, in the form of site specific issues, land use approvals, or entitlements
  • interconnection issues
  • a problem with the power purchase agreement

Additionally, a developer’s lack of finances is often coupled with one of the aforementioned issues.

“We look at plenty of projects, but we do not always go so far as taking them on,” Halimi said.

Borrego has developed a streamlined process of determining if it is fixable.

“We invest into the project, leverage our in-house developmental expertise to take those projects across the finish line by getting them financed and getting them built,” said Halimi.

Roughly 35% of Borrego’s utility-scale projects are fix-ups taken over from other companies. Some of these were started by mom-and-pop operations; others come from companies whose names are known in the industry.

“In the case of the Seneca Solar Project portfolio, the land use approvals were still outstanding, there were some other utility-related items, and it needed capital. Many times it is a capital need that is tied to another ‘food group’ item being outstanding. We need to come in, identify what needs to be done to get those issues resolved, and put our own money into the project to take it through that process.”

This portfolio of projects is the second portfolio that Borrego has undertaken from Southern California Edison (SCE)’s California Renewable Energy Small Tariff (CREST) program.

The success rate of this program has been low. Only 25% of the program is online, another 40% has been ‘terminated,’ and the remainder is in development.

“Not all of those in development will make it through,” Halimi said.

He added that CREST is a feed-in-tariff (FIT) program, and that it can be challenging to build small FIT projects.

“A lot of people underestimate the difference between a small utility project (1.5 – 8.5 MW) and larger utility project (20 MW),” Halimi explained.

This is the second CREST portfolio that Borrego has taken over. The first, at Desert Hot Springs, went online last year.

Desert Hot Springs solar project – Courtesy Borrego Solar

Desert Hot Springs solar project – Courtesy Borrego Solar

The Seneca Solar Projects consist of a total of 8.3 MW of fixed-tilt ground-mounted solar projects in the desert near Victorville, Calif. The project will be built in two phases, the first of which occupies 40 acres of private land. They have approval to expand another 20 acres.

Once the developmental problems were resolved, Salt Lake City-based sPower (Sustainable Power Group) purchased the project and have become Borrego’s financial partner. They have a contract to sell solar power to SCE at a fixed price for the next twenty years.

The project is expected to produce 15,257 megawatt hours of electricity per year.

Borrego Solar Systems is one of the nation’s leading financiers, developers and installers of utility-scale power systems. They have completed over 1,000 installations. For more information, visit www.borregosolar.com

Projects Borrego Solar Deemed Doable was originally published on CleanTechnica. To read more from CleanTechnica, join over 50,000 other subscribers: Google+ | Email | Facebook | RSS | Twitter.


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Offshore Wind Farms Provide Seals With A Buffet

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Jul 242014
 

Originally published in the ECOreport.

Seal – Courtesy Marieke IJsendoorn-Kuijpers, CC by SA, 2.0

Seal by Marieke IJsendoorn-Kuijpers (CC BY-SA 2.0 license)

Offshore wind farms provide seals with a Buffet. The turbines are essentially an artificial reef. They became home to marine invertebrates, fish, crabs, lobsters, fouling animals, and plants. They have also caught the attention of at least 11 seals to forage around two facilities: Alpha Ventus in Germany and Sheringham Shoal off the southeast coast of Norfolk in the UK. It is not yet known whether this is a good thing.

There have been concerns about the possible damages that the turbines may cause the seals’ hearing.

Some have also questioned the wisdom of attracting too  many creatures into a relatively small area.

 Havvindparken Sheringham Shoal – Courtesy Harald Pettersen/Statoil, CC by SA, 2.0

Havvindparken Sheringham Shoal by Harald Pettersen/Statoil (CC BY-SA 2.0 license)

A study from the University of St. Andrews found that some of the seals being studied prefer staying close to turbines.

Dan Wilhelmsson of the Department of Zoology, Stockholm University, suggested wind turbines could be beneficial overall.

He said in a press release: “With wind and wave energy farms, it should be possible to create large areas with biologically productive reef structures, which would moreover be protected from bottom trawling. By carefully designing the foundations it would be possible to favour and protect important species or, conversely, to reduce the reef effects in order minimize the impact on an area.”

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Germany is #1 in the World for Energy Efficiency

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Jul 212014
 

Originally Published in the ECOreport

Courtesy 2014 International Energy efficiency Scorecard

Map showing ranking for Energy Efficiency – Courtesy 2014 International Energy efficiency Scorecard

Germany is #1 in the World for Energy Efficiency, according to the 2014 scorecard released by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) today. Sixteen nations were studied. Six of the top 10 were from Europe. Canada was the only North American nation to make the cut, placing 9th.

Table 6 : Final Scores and ranking by country – International Energy  Efficiency Scorecard

Germany is #1 in the World for Energy Efficiency, According to Table 6 : Final Scores and ranking by country – International Energy Efficiency Scorecard

“Germany is a prime example of a nation that has made energy efficiency a top priority,” ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel said in a press release. “The United States, long considered an innovative and competitive world leader, has progressed slowly and has made limited progress since our last report, even as Germany, Italy, China, and other nations surge ahead.”

German Trade and Invest issued a press release noting that:

The study praised Germany’s comprehensive energy strategy and awarded the country maximum points for its building codes, retrofit policies, and tax credit and loan programs.

“Germany’s commitment to creating a framework that encourages investment in energy efficiency has made it a world-leading market in the field,” says Henning Ellermann, energy efficiency industry expert at Germany Trade & Invest.

For example, Germany’s state development bank’s building renovation loan program stimulated private investments of over EUR 34 billion (USD 46 billion) in 2013, government figures show. Germany also offers SMEs subsidies of up to 30% for improvements to the efficiency of their manufacturing processes made by upgrading technology and equipment

The ACEEE report lauded Germany’s target of a 20% reduction in primary energy consumption by 2020 and 50% by 2050, compared to 2008 levels, and awarded the country first place for energy efficiency in the industrial sector.

“We are doing well but there are still a lot of untapped business opportunities in the German energy efficiency sector that make great economic sense even without subsidies,” says Ellermann, who assists companies looking to establish a presence in Germany.

Table 19: Buildings sector scores by country  – Courtesy 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard

Table 19: Buildings sector scores by country – Courtesy 2014 International Energy Efficiency Scorecard

The EU intends to establish a near zero energy standard for all new buildings by 2012.

“For Germany’s construction sector — the largest in the EU — the Energy Saving Ordinance will have a major impact,” Ellermann said.  “The regulations call for a 25 percent reduction in energy use for all new residential and non-residential buildings built from January 1, 2016. As of 2021, the EU’s nearly zero energy standard will apply to all new buildings.”

Italy was only one point behind Germany and was given the highest marks for transportation.

Table 3. Total final energy consumption per capita – Courtesy International Energy Efficiency ScorecardThe 28 member European Union was evaluated as one country and placed third overall, behind two of its members.  The EU, France and Italy tied on their scores for national energy efficiency efforts.

Canada’s relative strong standing, in North America, came about because it has “energy-savings targets in place and (is) offering incentives and loans for efficiency improvements.” The marks for buildings were also good: Canada, Australia and Spain tied for 6th in this category.

We never-the less “scored low in industrial efficiency and would benefit from establishing a mandate for plant energy managers and mandatory energy audits.”

Canada was among the worst nations in terms of the “number of vehicle miles traveled per person,” only exceeded by the US and Australia and scored lowest in terms of total energy consumption.

The report’s evaluation of the US was scathing, using terms like “inefficiency,” “a tremendous waste of energy resources and money” and “limited progress.”

“How can the United States compete in a global economy if it continues to waste money and energy that other industrialized nations save and can reinvest?” the authors ask.

U.S. Congressman Peter Welch (Vermont) said: “There’s really no excuse for the U.S. lagging behind other nations on energy efficiency.

Figure 2: Country Scores by Sector – Courtesy 2014 International Energy efficiency Scorecard

Figure 2: Country Scores by Sector – Courtesy 2014 International Energy efficiency Scorecard

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