Archive for Political

Donate to American Solar Energy Society and Make a Contribution Towards a Better Life for our Children

Dear ASES Member,

I ask you to join me in supporting ASES by becoming either a Life Member or Business Member of the organization.

ASES is working hard to promote the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies. Our work directly supports the growth of the renewable energy sector job market, which is on track to increase by 30 percent in 2014. We can only continue this work if people like you and me support the ASES programs:

The ASES National Solar Conference. The NSC is the longest-running educational event for solar professionals in North America, now preparing its 43st annual event, to be held in San Francisco, July 6-10.
SOLAR TODAY magazine. The award-winning magazine reaches an audience of more than 20,000 readers via its print and digital editions.
Solar@Work. The e-newsletter, published every two weeks to an audience of more than 10,000 professionals, is filled with business and market analysis, tech breakthroughs and career advice.
Solar Citizen. The e-newsletter, published every two weeks to an audience of more than 50,000, covers issues of concern to solar advocates, including developments in policy at the local, utility, state and federal levels. Right now we’re rallying support to defend net metering and renewable electricity standards at the state level.
Emerging Professionals. Our newest program has grown dramatically in its first full year, engaging graduate students and new professionals in ASES networking and career-development opportunities.
Chapters: Our 56 local chapters (including seven student chapters) bring advocates and businesses together to support state and municipal policy promoting renewable energy.
Divisions: Our nine Technical Divisions provide a forum for researchers to exchange and discuss data, accelerating progress in all fields of renewable energy and clean transportation.

For an annual donation of between $250 and $2000 (depending upon the size of your organization), your company can receive the following benefits of a Business Membership:
SOLAR TODAY magazine
ASES Professional membership benefits for your designated Primary Contact (this includes membership in the relevant Technical Division)
ISES Regular membership for the same person
Complimentary conference proceedings
Complimentary copies of all current white papers and reports
Annual recognition in SOLAR TODAY magazine and in the conference program
Listing on the ASES web site

Please help ASES by signing up for an ASES Business Membership today.

Another option to help ASES continue the important work that we do every day is to become an ASES Life Member. For a generous donation of $1,200, you can receive SOLAR TODAY magazine at your home (and digitally) and enjoy professional membership benefits for the rest of your life. But more important, you’ll demonstrate your commitment to improving the U.S. economy through more renewable energy jobs and reduced energy costs. You’ll help reduce dependence on imports of foreign fossil fuels, and mitigate climate change through the use of solar and other renewable energy technologies.

Please help ASES by signing up for an ASES Business Membership or Life Membership today. Upgrade online at www.ases.org/join, or call Nicole Gallegos at 303.443.3130.

Thanks in advance for your support.

Dave Panich
ASES Board Chair

Separate Delivery of Electricity from its Generation

distribution_linesThe distribution grids that deliver TVA electricity consist of a network of wires that carry the power around (to consumers). Distributors within the TVA system must agree to carry the power of all comers, at non-discriminatory rates too. And it can charge a fee sufficient to cover the cost of providing a reliable, responsive grid.

“Then you’ve two other parts of the system: those who own the power stations that feed electricity into the grid and those who run marketing organisations to bill for what consumers pull from the grid. And within such a system it’s simple enough to make sure that everyone who has a grid connection is charged for the use (even if that use is only insurance against cloudy days) of the grid in the appropriate manner and amount. Without having to worry about how much electricity they’re actually using.

This really is a real problem with solar power: and that really is the solution. Unbundle the utilities into a pure grid charging all for the use of it and keep that very separate from who is generating power by what means”, suggests Tim Worstall Forbes’ contributing author

Secretary of Energy, Dr. Ernest Moniz, here at U.T. Friday, April 25th to Deliver Baker Distinguished Lecture on Energy

moniz-240x300Secretary Moniz coming to Tennessee U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz will deliver the Baker Distinguished Lecture on Energy and the Environment on Friday, April 25 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the UT College of Law, Room 132, located at 1505 W. Cumberland Ave.

As energy secretary, Moniz leads the U.S. Department of Energy in support of President Barack Obama’s goals of growing the economy, enhancing security, and protecting the environment.

The event is free and open to the public. Paid public parking will be available in the Volunteer Hall Garage.

The lecture will also be streamed live online. More details are available here.

Solar Energy compared to the Affordable Care Act? Koch Brothers Think So

koch brotherSolar, once almost universally regarded as a virtuous, if perhaps over-hyped, energy alternative, has now grown big enough to have enemies.”
The Koch brothers, anti-tax activist Grover Norquist and some of the nation’s largest power companies have backed efforts in recent months to roll back state policies that favor green energy. The conservative luminaries have pushed campaigns in Kansas, North Carolina and Arizona, with the battle rapidly spreading to other states.

The power industry argues that net metering provides an unfair advantage to solar consumers, who don’t pay to maintain the power grid although they draw money from it and rely on it for backup on cloudy days. The more people produce their own electricity through solar, the fewer are left being billed for the transmission lines, substations and computer systems that make up the grid, industry officials say.
That’s the argument that worked in Oklahoma, which is why consumers who embrace renewables are facing new charges.

And there’s no reason to think Oklahoma will be the last – the American Legislative Exchange Council has already drafted model legislation on the issue, which is being touted by the Koch-financed Americans for Prosperity. Indeed, AFP has been especially aggressive in Kansas, hoping to eliminate the state policy that aims for 20% reliance on renewable energy sources.

To that end, AFP has begun equating green energy mandates with – what else? – the Affordable Care Act.

original article

TN Senate Passed Solar-Friendly Resolution

Tennessee Government

On March 20, the Tennessee Senate unanimously passed Resolution 93 which recognizes the need for TVA to support year-round access to renewable energy, including solar power.

The resolution states the Senate’s support for the right of Tennesseans to install renewable energy projects at their homes and businesses. The resolution calls on TVA and its local power companies to facilitate grid interconnections for small renewable energy projects throughout the state with simple, uniform and fair interconnection procedures.

Although the resolution only expresses the opinion of legislators, and is not a bill or law, it acknowledges the need for TVA and local electric distributors to make policy changes. We appreciate the Senate’s 30-0 vote.

Thanks to Lightwave Solar for the head’s up.

First Time in History that Solar Installations (36.5 GW) Greater than Wind Power Installations (35.5 GW)

Clean Edge predicting that solar PV will experience double-digit growth yearly and that by 2023 revenue growth in the PV industry will be $158.4 billion despite installed prices will continue to fall. The figure shows the projected gains in energy. Renewable Energy Trends 2013 to 2023

The Clean Edge report predicts an installed PV system price as low at $1.21 per watt by 2023. (maybe sooner) Clean Edge believes that in 2014 we will start to see “enlightened utilities begin to embrace distributed generation assets.” As rooftop solar continues its steady march towards adoption, utilities will continue to grapple with how to maintain healthy businesses in the face of declining electricity sales. “Some forward-looking utilities, if not fully embracing a distributed energy future, are making investments, forming partnerships, and acknowledging that the threat of DG might also be a business opportunity,” the report states. Clean Edge points to some examples of this that took place in 2013, such as Edison International’s purchase of SoCore Energy, a Chicago-based rooftop solar developer that does work in the commercial space. It also uses Duke Energy’s investment in Clean Power Finance as another example of utilities starting to think about profiting from distributed PV.

The full report can be found here.

The Red Faces of the Solar Skeptics

For years, these critics — of solar photovoltaics in particular — have called renewable energy a boutique fantasy. A recent Wall Street Journal blog post continues the trend, asserting that solar subsidies take money from the poor to benefit the rich. this year the total photovoltaic capacity in the United States is projected to reach 10 gigawatts, the energy equivalent of several nuclear power plants. (By one estimate, photovoltaic costs crossed over to become cheaper than electricity generated by new nuclear plants about four years ago.)

Solar subsidies are dwarfed by historical taxpayer support of both fossil-fuel and nuclear-generated electricity. The International Energy Agency warns that continuing fossil-fuel subsidies contribute significantly to global environmental problems. The President has suggested that the 30% tax benefit for solar PV be eliminated or severely reduced. My reply is sure, when you remove all the subsidies for electric power of any type. Especially nuclear and fossil fuels.

To answer the critics that solar will depend on energy storage for it to be considered a dispatchable resources for electricity. Then why did TVA build one of the largest pumped stores before solar was on the horizon? It is simple, it is to balance supply and demand of electricity. it is the same reasoning for coal and nuclear plants where the plant says on line and the extra energy is sent to the store for use later. It is the same deal for solar.

An investment analysis by the financial services company UBS contends that an “unsubsidized solar revolution” has begun that could eventually supply as much as 18 percent of electricity demand in Germany, Spain and Italy. The report goes on to suggest that electric utility companies serving these markets may see their profits take a hit. The UBS analysts say that consumer-supplied solar electricity tends to reduce the spikes in electricity demand on the power grid (so-called peak load) from which these utilities have traditionally derived much of their revenue.

see the original article that led to this blog item at: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/10/the-red-faces-of-the-solar-skeptics/?_php=true&_type=blogs&src=rechp&_r=0

Apply now for 2014 Rural Energy for America Funding

solar farming2Farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses can apply now for grants and loan guarantees for clean energy projects under the Rural Energy for America Program – or REAP. REAP was renewed in the 2014 Farm Bill and supports a wide range of energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, including wind, solar, biogas, biomass, small hydroelectric, geothermal, tidal, wave, and hydroelectric technologies.

An official notice of funding availability is expected in early April, with an application deadline 60 days later. This notice would be for funds from the 2014 appropriation plus funds carried over from previous years (total about $28 million). When the final REAP rule is announced, possibly in June or July, a second funding announcement will be issued for the 2014 mandatory funding ($50 million) from the new Farm Bill. Applications submitted but not funded in the first round will be considered in the second round.

Applicants should also be sure to check in early with the state staff of USDA rural development. They can answer questions, provide useful advice and may need to visit the project during the application process.

For more information go to: http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/TN-Home.html

Renewables Account For 99% Of New U.S. Generation In January

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-photography-electricity-power-generation-illustration-image9274887
Non-hydro renewable energy sources accounted for more than 99% of all new U.S. electrical generating capacity installed during January for a total of 324 MW, according to the latest Energy Infrastructure Update report from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). According to the FERC statistics, renewable energy sources, including hydropower, now account for 16.03% of total installed U.S. operating generating capacity: hydro – 8.44%, wind – 5.20%, biomass – 1.36%, solar – 0.70%, and geothermal steam – 0.33%. This is more than nuclear (9.26%) and oil (4.04%) combined.

“The trends are unmistakable,” concludes Ken Bossong, executive director of the SUN DAY Campaign. “Renewables are the energy growth market of the future, with solar – for the moment, at least – the leader of the pack.”

Citing the FERC statistics, renewable energy advocacy group SUN DAY Campaign explains solar led the way in January with 13 new “units” totaling 287 MW, followed by geothermal steam with three new units totaling 30 MW. Biomass added three new units totaling 3 MW, while wind had one new unit with an installed capacity of 4 MW. In addition, there was 1 MW added that FERC defined as “other.”

Natural Resources Defense Council calls for compensation for customers with solar PV

NRDC

The Natural Resources Defense Council and the U.S. utility industry’s trade group are jointly calling for a new rate structure to account for customers that generate their own power with rooftop solar systems. “We need the grid and need to improve it in ways that support clean energy and distributed resources,” says Nathanael Greene, director of renewable energy policy at the NRDC in New York. Owners of rooftop solar panels “must provide reasonable cost-based compensation for the utility services they use,” says both groups. In exchange, utilities must simplify the process of connecting systems to the grid and compensate owners “fairly for the services they provide.”

Under the current policy, known as net metering, utilities must purchase excess electricity generated by customers’ solar panels. Both groups want that policy to continue, with a new mechanism that would cover utilities’ fixed costs. Still, they agree that changes to utility rate structures would improve energy-efficiency programs and expand rooftop solar. They recommend allowing utilities to recover the costs of maintaining and improving the grid in a way that’s not tied to the amount of electricity they deliver to consumers.

“We want regulators to decouple grid charges from volumetric consumption,” Greene said. “Then the utilities can’t use net metering as an excuse for the high fixed-cost charges they want.”

Comment from S. Levy:
It is my personal belief that ratepayers are going to be supplied by smart metering in the near future. As a result of smart metering, the electric utility industry will begin setting different rates based on their peak loads during the day and evening hours. The purpose being to lower the peak demand that occurs between the hours of 5 pm and 9 pm. So, they will charge the consumer more during the peak hours to reduce the peak load and with it, the resources to produce and deliver that higher power level.

It’s all about demand charge management and that demand charge management can result in a 10 percent to 20 percent bill savings. That is if the homeowner controls the use of high wattage appliances and home electric heating and cooling of the home and their water heater. Automation is available today that can control these energy users.

******DO NOT INSTALL SOLAR PV ON YOUR SIDE OF THE ELECTRIC METER WITHOUT CONTACTING YOUR DISTRIBUTOR**************