Archive for Tennessee

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

Factory taking shape: 1,000 workers building $2 billion Wacker plant

Wacker plant today CHARLESTON, Tenn. — Construction of Wacker’s $2 billion polysilicon production plant now has about 1,000 builders on site daily as the factory’s planned startup is a little more than a year away. Unlike the Hemlock plant, this plant will open as scheduled.

“We’re pushing the project forward,” he said about the factory’s current construction schedule. “It’s pretty exciting to us.”

Wacker has hired 180 employees of the 650 it will need when production starts next year, Bachhuber said. “The backbone of the future is on board,” he said about those employees who are doing about 30 different tasks for the company. Some of the rest of the hiring is slated for later this year, though most will be done in 2015, Bachhuber said. “Many of the new workers will go to Germany for on-the-job training,” he said. “It depends on the specific task.”

The first chunks of polysilicon are to come out of the plant in the second half of next year, the plant official said in a recent interview at the sprawling site off Lauderdale Memorial Highway.

USDA Grant Workshops in Morristown, Jackson and Woodbury

We have some good news for rural businesses, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development has received funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). The REAP program supports renewable energy production and energy efficiency projects.

ARiES Energy is hosting a workshop at the Morristown Area Chamber on April 14th at 5:30PM.

Sign up today!

Solar Energy Lunch & Learn Events for Farmers & Rural Businesses
LightWave Solar will host two events to explain the benefits of adding solar photovoltaics (PV) to farms and rural businesses. The presentations will cover the basics of solar energy including system components, costs, and a breakdown of the available incentives, including TVA’s solar buyback program, which still has limited capacity for 2014, and the USDA REAP grant which covers up to 25% of system cost. The USDA is now accepting grant applications, and USDA Rural Development representatives will be present. The events are free, and lunch will be provided! Please RSVP to Grace Robertson at 615-641-4050 x104 or grobertson@lightwavesolar.com.

Friday, April 25 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
UT Experiment Station
605 Airways Blvd
Jackson, TN 38301

Wednesday, April 30 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Art Center of Cannon County
1424 John Bragg Hwy
Woodbury, TN 37190

The USDA REAP is Currently Accepting Applications from Rural Farmers, Ranchers, and Small Businesses for Grants Supporting Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects. Applications are due in May of 2014.

The Program is designed to promote rural economic development by assisting rural businesses to become more energy efficient and even generate energy from their own renewable systems.

Grants may cover up to 25% of the cost for eligible projects. Grants may range from $1,500 to $250,000 for energy efficiency projects and $2,500 to $500,000 for renewable energy projects. The funding level this year is expected to match or exceed last year’s level.

First Home in Southeast with Dow Solar Shingles

Adam Hutserll home with dow shingles
This home owned by Adam Hutsell is the first home in this region with rooftop solar containing the latest version of Dow Shingles. This is a 3.8 kW system which was installed by RLI roofing with each section nailed to the roof.
Adam Hutsell is the developer of Twin Willows subdivision that will consist of half acre homes and townhouses. The entire complex will have Dow shingled roofs at no additional cost to the homeowner. For more information on this subdivision in Hardin Valley go to:http://www.twinwillowsconstruction.com/

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.

Electrochemical Energy Storage ASM Educational Symposium

Energy Storage is the key to large scale solar plants as well as the smart grid. Here is an opportunity to find out where we are in energy storage and what will the future bring. More importantly, when low cost energy storage will hit the Walmarts of this world.

WHAT: This educational symposium will bring together speakers from industry, academia, and national laboratories to review the state of the art of lithium ion batteries and the future of electrochemical energy storage within the materials and device level and advances in characterization techniques for these devices and materials. There will also be a tour of the DOE Battery Manufacturing R&D Facility at ORNL. Electrochemical energy storage has become more and more important. In the past, electrochemical energy storage has been limited in size and energy density. Associated with its high cost for higher energy density, consumer electronics was the sole market for electrochemical energy storage until recently. Now, electrochemical energy storage transforms power tool, automotive, and electricity grid markets. Power tools benefit from the tremendous power capabilities of newly developed lithium ion batteries, automotive and grid scale storage which has become more available with new manufacturing technologies for large format devices. This educational symposium will bring together speakers from industry, academia, and national laboratories to review the state of the art of lithium ion batteries and the future of electrochemical energy storage within the materials and device level and advances in characterization techniques for these devices and materials.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 16, 2014
TIME:
WHERE: National Transportation Research Center (NTRC) and Manufacturing Demonstration Facility
2360/2370 Cherahala Blvd.
Knoxville, TN 37932
COST: General – $100
Student – $30
Retirees – $50
REGISTER: Registration deadline is March 27
RSVP/
QUESTIONS: Claus Daniel
danielc@ornl.gov
Melanie Kirkham
kirkhammj@ornl.gov

Could Minnesota’s “Value of Solar” Make Everyone a Winner?

Until now, those under TVA Green Partners program have been producing on-site energy from a solar panel has been treated much like any other activity reducing electricity use. Effectively the energy produced from solar is subtracted from the amount of energy used each month, and the customer pays for the remaining amount of energy consumed. The nations utilities are fearful of the financial effects of a reduced distributor income from the energy produced by solar. Increasing evidence suggests that the overall economic benefits to the utility’s electric grid may outweigh the loss of revenue. Xcel Energy, the Minnesota’s largest electric utility, shared estimations for the value of solar in its comments (to reduce the value) to the Public Utilities Commission in mid-February.

Value of solar to electric power distributors


The solar market price includes eight separate factors, but the largest four account for the lion’s share of the value: 25 years of avoided natural gas purchases, avoided new power plant purchases, avoided transmission capacity, and avoided environmental costs.
The value of avoided fuel cost recognizes that utilities cannot buy natural gas on long-term contracts the way they can buy fixed-price solar energy, and it internalizes the risk of fuel variability that utilities have previously laid on ratepayers.
The avoided power plant generation capacity value recognizes that sufficient solar capacity allows utilities to defer peak energy investments (like Xcel’s recently requested three natural gas peaking power plants that an administrative law judge discarded in favor of distributed solar).
Avoided transmission capacity costs rewards solar for on-site energy production, saving on the cost of infrastructure and energy losses associated with long-range imports.
The environmental value may be the most precedent setting, because it means that when buying solar power under Minnesota’s value of solar tariff, a utility is for the first time paying for the environmental harm it had previously been socializing onto everyone else. This value is based on the federal “social cost of carbon” as well as non-carbon externality values adopted by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. The preliminary market value of solar estimate by Xcel Energy (14.5¢ per kilowatt-hour) for Minnesota. Here in Tennessee we have a better solar exposure and can expect the solar estimate will be larger. The cost of electricity for the homeowner is now 10 cents per kilowatt-hour. The estimated levelized cost of energy from rooftop solar presently is between 16 and 20 cents per kilowatt-hour.
Distributors with their buying power can reduce the levelized cost of energy from solar. Interestly Best Buy in partnership with SolarCity that’s now coming out of its pilot phase, roughly 65 Best Buy shops in the U.S. now offer solar arrays to their customers. The company’s solar-as-a-service offerings allow homeowners to go solar with little or no up-front costs.