Tag: storage

100 Percent Renewable Energy Charged EV Stations Allow Driving on Sunshine

Indian companies will be bidding on 750 megawatts of solar projects this week as part of a government- funded support program in the western states of Maharashtra and Gujarat.

“Tenders for setting up 500 megawatts of capacity in Maharashtra and 250 megawatts in Gujarat’s Charanka solar park will be out this week and awarded in three months,” Ashvini Kumar, managing director at Solar Energy Corp. of India, the implementing agency for central government’s grid-connected solar programs, said Tuesday in an interview.

The bids are part of the second phase of the National Solar Mission through which capacity of at least 2 gigawatts will be auctioned featuring 21 billion rupees ($322 million) of government-funded support.

LG Chem: Storage Battery Leader

The post “Energy Storage Restart,” which was published last week, discussed the efforts by General Electric (GE: NYSE) to get back into the market for utility-scale energy storage.  After some difficulties that required the partial closing of its battery manufacturing plant, GE has got back in the game with new contracts wins.  In April 2015, the company won a contract to supply Con Edison Development with an 8-megawatt-hour battery storage system at a solar project in California.  GE will be integrating lithium-ion batteries rather than its own battery technology into the project.

Where will GE source the lithium-ion batteries for the California project?  So far, spokespersons have been non-committal on the name.  Today’s post profiles a company that may not be a likely ‘bedfellow’ for GE, but it is a leader in lithium ion energy storage technology.

Hawaiian Home a Solar-Battery Storage Microgrid Showcase

Combining performance-enhanced PV panels, advanced battery storage and cloud-connected system monitoring, a residential microgrid now up and running on the ¨Big Island¨ of Hawaii’s Kona Coast shows how PV and clean tech innovators are bringing renewable energy self-sufficiency closer to commercial, mass-market reality. The smart solar-battery storage microgrid now up and running at Bakken Hale, the home of environmentalist, inventor and entrepreneur Earl Bakken, is one of the largest of its kind in the world.

Installed by Aloha State solar installer Renewable Energy Systems    (RES) and Silicon Valley-based Tigo Energy, a ground-mounted array of 176-kW PV panels is able to produce 356-MWh of emissions-free electricity per year over a projected 20-year lifecycle. That’s enough to meet all of Bakken Hale’s power needs, the two project partners stated in a press release.

States Already Seek To Delay Clean Power Plan

Fifteen states led by coal-rich West Virginia asked a federal court to stall Obama administration rules intended to cut the use of fossil fuel for power plants and slow climate change.

The request on Thursday is the first move by states to block President Barack Obama’s landmark initiative. It would freeze current regulations as they work to undo the new rules.

The Clean Power Plan aims to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants by 32 percent by 2030, based on 2005 emission levels, by requiring states and utilities to emit less carbon by using less coal and more solar power, wind power and natural gas.

Global Renewable Energy Roundup: China, Kenya, Turkey, India Seeking More Renewables

China is being encouraged by three industry groups to double the nation’s solar-power goal for 2020 to make up for shortfalls from nuclear and hydropower projects, while India’s installed capacity of solar power could reach 75 GW by 2020.  Meanwhile Kenya is installing 75 MW of wind and geothermal while Turkey looks to add 2 GW of wind power capacity ahead of schedule. Stories below.

China Advised to Double Solar Goal to Fill Nuclear, Hydro Gap

China is being encouraged by three industry groups to double the nation’s solar-power goal for 2020 to fill a gap forecast to emerge because nuclear and hydropower are due to fall short of targets.

The world’s biggest solar market needs 200 gigawatts of such capacity by then, according to a document seen by Bloomberg.

China Photovoltaic Industry Association, Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association and China Renewable Energy Society, which act as conduits between the government and industry, jointly wrote the document and advised the energy authority in the State Council.

Don’t Like Obama’s Clean Power Plan? Fine, Here’s Cap and Trade

Republican governors who boycott the Obama administration’s new power-plant regulations may instead get an offer they can’t refuse: a cap-and-trade system many of them also oppose.

Five years after Republicans in Congress shot down President Barack Obama’s plan for carbon trading, his administration unveiled rules to combat climate change. They include a provision for carbon trading, which Republicans had criticized as a government intrusion in the workings of the free market.

“It’s clear that what they’re trying to do — without establishing a federal cap-and-trade program — is set up a plan that has a very strong likelihood of becoming a de facto federal cap-and-trade program,” said Andre Templeman, managing director of the carbon-markets consultancy Alpha Inception LLC.

Vehicle to Grid Energy Storage Experiment Underway in California

In a new pilot program, a California utility is paying drivers of BMW electric cars to delay charging their vehicles when the power grid is under pressure.

One hundred owners of BMW AG’s i3 hatchback receive $1,000 upfront to participate in Pacific Gas & Electric Co.’s 18-month trial, which starts this week and is confined to the San Francisco Bay Area. Peter Berman, a 70-year-old, semi-retired Los Altos psychologist, was selected from about 400 applicants.

GE’s Energy Storage Restart

A few years ago General Electric (GE:  NYSE) built out a manufacturing facility in Schenectady, New York for its sodium-ion batteries.  CEO Jeff Immelt declared the company a contender in the energy storage industry.  He projected that the company could ring up $500 million in annual sales by 2016, and build to $1 billion a year by 2020 by providing energy storage to utility-scale alternative energy projects.  Reality has been a bit different than Immelt’s vision.  GE ended up shuttering the plant in the Fall 2014, and all but fifty employees were finally laid-off or reassigned in early 2015.

GE’s foray into the energy storage market appeared to be over before it began.  Energy industry watchers began an autopsy on GE’s sodium-nickel-chloride battery chemistry that had been used in large train batteries.  Others focused on the poor economics of distributed solar and wind power compared to the persistently low prices for centralized natural gas powered power plants.

Then to my surprise, what did I see on GE’s web site in early July 2015  –  recruiting notices for forty-eight new jobs in Schenectady, New York!  Is this GE’s restart in the energy storage industry?

Indeed, GE is looking for a mix of new employees to work at its battery production facility in positions such as ‘senior electrical engineer’ and ‘energy storage engineer.’  There are some administrative job openings as well.

It appears GE never left the energy storage market.  Instead, it seems leadership took a ‘practical’ pill.  In April 2015, the company won a contract to supply Con Edison Development with an 8-megawatt-hour battery storage system at a solar project in California.  The system will incorporate GE’s Mark IVe control system, GE’s Brilliance MW inverters and GE’s performance guarantees (possibly the most important feature).  What the system will not include is GE’s Durathon sodium-ion batteries.  GE will be outsourcing or acquiring lithium-ion batteries for the projects.

On a roll with its new approach to the energy storage market, GE won an order in May 2015, to supply a 7 megawatt-hour battery storage system for the Independent Energy System Operator in Ontario, Canada.  Convergent Energy + Power is the system integrator.  The batteries will be lithium-ion technology.

GE’s spokespersons have been careful to support the company’s Durathon battery, maintaining it will still have a place in GE’s energy storage business.  Durathon batteries are installed at an operational wind farm in Mills Country, Texas. Southern California Edison is also incorporating Durathon batteries in a field demonstration of a permanent load shifting application.  Princeton Power Systems is the integrator of the project, which is located near Santa Anna, California.

Where will GE source the lithium-ion batteries for the California and Ontario projects?  So far, spokespersons have been non-committal on the name.  GE has had many bedfellows in the energy industry over the years  – some strange and a few obvious. 

In the next few posts, we will look at both the strange and the obvious in lithium-ion battery storage.

Debra Fiakas is the Managing Director of Crystal Equity Research, an alternative research resource on small capitalization companies in selected industries.

Neither the author of the Small Cap Strategist web log, Crystal Equity Research nor its affiliates have a beneficial interest in the companies mentioned herein.

This article was originally posted on AltEnergy Stocks and was reprinted with permission.

Renewable Energy Gains Greater Opportunity in US Clean Power Plan

After a year of being pummeled by opponents, Obama’s final carbon reduction plan emerged this week with an even stronger push for renewable energy.

Wind and solar energy are centerpieces of the Clean Power Plan, the United States’ first ever rule to reduce carbon dioxide from power plants.

The rule not only makes renewables one of the plan’s three central building blocks, but also creates special incentives to spur communities to build renewables more quickly than required.

The revised version of the rule comes after a year of review, hundreds of meetings and 4.3 million public comments delivered to EPA.  It requires that states come up with plans to cut carbon pollution from power plants by 870 million tons, or 32 percent below 2005 levels, in 2030.

World Moves Toward 100 Percent Renewable Energy – First Electricity, Then Heating/Cooling, and Finally Transportation

The exclusive use of energy from renewable resources in at least one sector has now become a feasible goal for 8 countries. Diane Moss, Founding Director of Renewables 100 Policy Institute, discussed this remarkable development at one of the conference sessions at Intersolar North America 2015.

Denmark, Scotland, and Aruba are among the nations with 100 percent renewable energy targets.  Besides the 8 nations, the Institute has so far mapped 55 cities, 60 regions and 9 utilities across the world that have officially established 100 percent RE goals, and Moss points out that there may be more and that those numbers are steadily increasing.

Image 1: RE100 percent Around the World, Credit: Renewables 100 Policy Institute

Recent advancements in renewable technologies and rapid cost reductions have accelerated deployment of renewable energy, such as wind and solar photovoltaics (PV).  Renewables have started becoming a mainstream energy source in many parts of the world.

According to the Global Status Report published by REN21, a Paris-based nonprofit group, the growth of renewable energy outpaced that of fossil fuels in the electricity sector in 2014, with a record 135 gigawatts (GW) of capacity added from wind, solar, hydropower, and other natural sources.

Renewable energy developments have been driven largely by government policies, which include the RE targets of cities, states, regions, and countries. Some governments or communities are driven to deploy more renewables to reduce dependency on imported fossil fuels (energy security), tackle climate change (environment), and/or stimulate local jobs (economy).

In recent years, many jurisdictions, in both developed and developing countries, mainland and island regions, and in urban and rural communities around the world, made their existing renewable targets more ambitious, and some have even raised their targets to 100 percent.

For example, this June the state of Hawaii in the U.S. raised its state Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) to 100 percent by 2045 from 40 percent by 2030. Having heavily depended on imported fossil fuels, the state is aiming to supply 100 percent of its electricity demand with renewable energy to become independent from imported fossil fuels.

The Fukushima prefecture in Japan pledged to transition to 100 percent RE by 2040 after the devastating Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant accident in 2011.The prefecture has made a strong commitment to become energy self-reliant by producing safe, clean energy locally for local consumption.

Energy use targets set by Hawaii, Fukushima, and many other entities are to meet 100 percent of their electric power demands with renewables.

Not Just Electric Power

Electricity, however, represents only part of the primary energy needs. According to Moss, the full definition of 100 percent renewable energy would have to cover all energy demands — electricity power, heating/cooling, and transportation — with sustainable renewable resources, including wind, solar, geothermal, wave, tidal, and sustainable hydro and bioenergy (primarily from waste). Moreover, all sectors of society should be covered, including residential, commercial, institutional, industrial, and agricultural sectors.

Moss also stated that it is most common that electricity is the energy sector to see 100 percent renewable targets because the electricity markets are the most mature and, at least to some degree, the transition to 100 percent renewable energy will involve greater reliance on the electricity sector.

“Starting with a 100 percent renewable energy target — not just for electricity but across sectors — and planning on a regional, system-wide basis could help avoid some inefficiencies,” Moss continued.

According to REN 21, by the end of 2014, renewable energy accounted for a 27.7 percent of the world power generating capacity installed, equivalent to supplying 22.8 percent of the global electricity demand, while renewable energy provided an estimated 19.1 percent of the global final energy consumption, combining electric power, heating/cooling, and transportation segments.

Image: Credit: REN21

Some regions are already striving to go beyond electricity and cover other energy sectors with RE also.

In 2013, the City of Sydney, the most populated city in Australia, developed a plan to transition to 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and heating/cooling by 2030.  According to the plan, about 30 percent of the total carbon and nuclear free mix would come from wind and solar, and 70 percent from waste to gas from sources such as garbage, sewage plants, landfill sites, livestock, agriculture, and forestry.

Denmark, the first European country with such a far-reaching goal, wants to be off fossil fuels completely by 2050. As part of the country’s energy and climate strategy, its target is to meet 100 percent of its electricity and heating needs with renewable energy by 2035.  Furthermore, the country aims to phase out fossil fuel consumption in the transportation sector with electric vehicles (EVs) by 2050.

Insert table here

Various regions have been implementing a variety of technologies, applications, and ordinances to achieve 100 percent RE targets. Entities can deploy utility-scale renewable projects, small to medium, distributed generations or combination of both, depending on availability of land space and natural resources.

For example, the City of Lancaster, California, has embraced a combination of utility-scale and distributed generation to reach its goal of becoming the world’s first net zero energy city by 2020. To achieve the goal, the city has hosted a 5-MW Sierra SunTower solar thermal plant, created an affordable solar financing program with SolarCity, and established the first mandate in the U.S. to require all newly constructed single-family homes to include at least 1.0 kW solar system starting January 1, 2014.


To provide more renewables at affordable rates, the city launched a community choice aggregation (CCA) program called “Lancaster Choice Energy.” Under the program, it is authorized to procure power on behalf of all of the electrical accounts within the city.  “All energy (under the program) is currently procured from Direct Energy, with a current mix of biomass and wind.   Our goal is to procure as much locally generated energy as possible. In the very near future, we will supplement current energy supply agreements and support future renewable energy requirements with locally developed renewable energy projects,” stated Patti Garibay, Energy Manager of the Lancaster Choice Energy Program.

CCA’s, which are legally possible in 6 states in the U.S., have also been established in Sonoma and Marin Counties to forward ambitious renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction targets,  and are being seriously explored in several other cities in California for this purpose, including San Diego and San Francisco, which also have 100 percent RE goal at the city level.

So, is it possible that the vision of a100 percent renewable energy future will become a reality? What is the biggest challenge or roadblock toward 100 percent RE?

“Numerous experts agree that the biggest challenge is not technical or financial, but gathering political will. This requires leadership at every level of government and business governance, as well as building momentum at the grassroots level. While we still have far to go, we’ve come a long way in recent years with hundreds of cities and regions now formally committed to 100 percent renewable energy targets in at least one sector, along with 8 countries, dozens of major corporations and thousands of businesses and several non-profit and institutional campaigns for 100 percent renewable energy. We need to massively build on that, gleaning best practices along the way to avoid repeating mistakes and reinventing the wheel,” said Moss.

Lead image: Fukushima Transits to 100 percent RE, Credits: Fukushima Prefecture


US Clean Power Plan Could Include Carbon Trading

Some businesses that back President Barack Obama’s plan to curb greenhouse gases are making a late lobbying push to add an element similar to a cap-and-trade program.

With the administration set this week or next to unveil its final rules to cut emissions from coal and natural gas plants, groups for companies such as Johnson Controls Inc., Alstom SA and AES Corp. have pressed officials to include a carbon market so that costs don’t surge.

Those programs — a slimmed-down version of a plan Congress debated and failed to pass early in Obama’s tenure — would apply to states that balk at putting rules in place.

Listen Up: Vampires Sucking Power from your House

Here’s a nightmare for you: at night, when you’re asleep and you think things are quiet, there are vampires sucking power out of your house and increasing your electric bill. The fact of the matter is that every plugged in electrical device in your home uses a small amount of standby power — even if you think these devices are off.

Welspun Commissions 52-MW Solar Power Plant in India

Leading Indian solar developer Welspun Renewables has commissioned the construction of a massive solar plant in the state of Maharashtra. The planned 52-megawatt (MW) solar plant will be located in the city of Baramati.

The project was set up between Welspun and Maharashtra State Power Generation Co. under the public-private partnership (PPP) model. The partnership represents the latest in a series of steps being taken to ramp up the development of solar energy in India. Late last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced his administration would seek the development of 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity by the year 2022.

Vineet Mittal, Vice Chairman of Welspun Renewables, said the Maharashtra plant’s successful commissioning will “set a precedent for the other states and independent power producers” towards realizing Modi’s 100-GW goal.  “We are very confident and excited to see solar power becoming the next big contributor in India’s energy future,” Mittal said. “We clearly see a transition from solar playing a complimentary role in the energy mix to becoming a vital part of it.”

In February, Welspun pledged to develop 11 GW of solar and wind projects throughout the country. The leading generator of solar power in India, Welspun has an established presence spanning 10 states and has plans to commission projects totaling 1 GW of capacity this year alone. “Welspun Renewables has already commissioned a significant percentage of its 2015-2016 target,” Mittal said, adding that current and future projects will be set up with 25-year PPAs.

Mittal stated he expects to see a transitioning where solar energy will go from “playing a complementary role in the energy mix to becoming a vital part of it.”

India’s total installed energy capacity is currently 35.77 GW. Of that, nearly 27 GW are comprised of “clean sources.” Mittal said he foresees strong growth in the renewables sector in the coming year – especially in solar power.

“Various state governments have already tendered out over 6 GW of solar installation capacities,” Mittal said. “Due to enormous support from central and state governments, several new power producers and vendors have entered the sector. The sector is expanding like never before.”

Mittal added that breakthrough technological innovations in the sector, especially in battery technology, will play a crucial role in the future of India’s renewable power infrastructure. “We are at the cusp of a huge technological innovation in the renewable energy sector,” Mittal said. “We believe that within the next decade, the current major sources of energy would be overtaken by battery storage, smart meters, cognitive computing and other clean energy technologies.”

On the financing front, Mittal said a growing number of banks and international investors have expressed considerable interest in funding clean energy projects in India. “We are seeing an unprecedented appetite among investors who are keen to fund solar projects and we foresee substantial inflow of funds in the coming years into the sector,” Mittal said. 

Major US Corporations Pledge To Increase Renewable Energy Usage, Decrease Carbon Footprint

Executives from 13 major U.S. corporations are announcing at least $140 billion in new investments to decrease their carbon footprints as part of a White House initiative to recruit private commitments ahead of a United Nations climate-change summit later this year in Paris.

Companies including Apple Inc., Berkshire Hathaway Energy Co., and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will join Secretary of State John Kerry and top administration officials at the White House for the announcement. In addition to pledges to cut emissions, provide financing to environmentally-focused companies, and reduce water consumption, the companies have said they will procure at least 1,600 MW of new, renewable energy. The White House said in a statement that it expects to announce a second round of similar pledges later this fall from additional companies.

The commitments are being announced as President Barack Obama is looking to build momentum toward a legacy-defining global climate accord in Paris. In addition to company-specific commitments, the corporate leaders on Monday will signal their support for a strong climate agreement out of the United Nations talks. They administration is using the pledges to set an example for companies to find ways to eliminate their carbon emissions.

Climate Talks

“As the world looks toward global climate negotiations in Paris this December, American leadership at all levels will be essential,” the White House said in a fact sheet detailing the announcement.

The administration’s actions are pushing the issue into the 2016 presidential debate. Hillary Clinton, the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, released an energy strategy saying she would both defend and go beyond Obama’s efforts. Republican candidates have criticized the administration’s initiatives as costly to the economy and unnecessary.

Among the pledges, aluminum manufacturer Alcoa Inc. has agreed to reduce emissions by 50 percent from its 2005 levels, while agricultural giant Cargill Inc. says 18 percent of its total energy use will come from renewable sources.

Coca-Cola Co. said it would drive down the carbon footprint of its beverage production by 25 percent over the next five years, while Google says it plans to triple its purchases of renewable energy over the next decade. Berkshire Hathaway says it plans to invest up to an additional $15 billion in the construction and operation of renewable energy generators, while Bank of America Corp says it will increase its environmental business initiative by $75 billion over the next decade, according to the White House

Other participating firms include Wal-Mart, United Parcel Service Inc., PepsiCo Inc., Microsoft Corp., General Motors Inc.

The corporate commitments won’t be the administration’s only major climate announcement in the next few weeks. The Environmental Protection Agency is set to present final regulations that aim to reduce carbon emissions from power plants by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030 later this week.

While visiting Kenya over the weekend, Obama repeatedly praised the country for its efforts to address climate change, saying its efforts tor educe emissions “has put it in the position of being a leader on the continent.” And next month, the president will travel to Alaska for an international summit on Arctic climate issues.

©2015 Bloomberg News

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