Vermont’s largest solar installation to be commissioned tomorrow in South Burlington

first_imgAllEarth Renewables, Inc.,Just four miles from where they were designed and manufactured, 382 solar trackers composed of more than 9,000 individual panels make up Vermont’s largest solar installation — which will be commissioned tomorrow, July 27 with the touch of an iPhone. The project is the largest solar farm of its kind in all of North America.Joined by Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, Lt. Governor Phil Scott, and House Speaker Shap Smith, the Williston-based AllEarth Renewables will host the businesses and partners that had a hand in building the 2.2 MW solar farm. The project, part of the state’s innovative Standard Offer program, uses the Vermont-made AllSun Tracker ‘ pole-mounted solar energy systems that use GPS and wireless technology to orient with the sun throughout the day to produce more energy than fixed solar.Featured guests include more than 75 suppliers, electricians, engineers, contractors and other workers that helped make the project happen.What: Commissioning of Vermont’s largest solar installation, a 2.2 MW solar tracker farmWhen: TOMORROW, Wednesday, July 27 at 2pmWhere: 350 Dubois Lane, South Burlington (just off of Route 116)last_img read more

Read more…

President Obama signs Leahy-Smith America Invents Act on patent reform

first_imgVermont Senator Patrick Leahy witnessed the signing of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act at an event in Alexandria, Virginia, today.  President Barack Obama signed the bill into law, capping a six-year bipartisan effort led by Leahy to enact the first comprehensive reforms to the nation’s patent system in nearly six decades. Vermont has the highest number of patents per capita in the nation.‘Vermonters have a long legacy of innovation and creativity.  With the improvements included in the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, that legacy is sure to continue. ‘Few efforts in Washington enjoy the broad, bipartisan support that this law has received.   I thank President Obama, former Secretary Locke and Director Kappos, for their leadership and their support of American innovation.  The America Invents Act is a bipartisan jobs initiative at a time when we need it the most.  It is an example of what Democrats and Republicans can do when we work together for the American people.  ‘The reforms included in this law will have a meaningful impact on American entrepreneurs and inventors for generations to come.  The America Invents Act will promote job creation and innovation, in the Green Mountains of Vermont and across the country, and I thank the President for signing it into law today.’ September 16, 2011last_img read more

Read more…

Court Ruling in Limbo, States Carry on Toward EPA Clean Power Plan Goals

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Annalee Grant for SNL:Several power utilities have expressed relief that they will have more time to consider the future of generation resources while the Clean Power Plan is on hold, but for the most part planning for a lower carbon future will continue regardless of the Supreme Court’s recent stay of the rule.The Clean Power Plan established statewide carbon dioxide emission standards for existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units with the goal of cutting CO2 emissions 32% as measured from a 2005 baseline by 2030. The Supreme Court on Feb. 9 stayed the rule in an unprecedented decision that surprised many in the industry because a lower court has yet to rule on the merits of the underlying appeal. The carbon rule could be unenforceable for several more years as the earliest the high court is likely to hear the case, if it decides to do so at all, is in 2017.Many utilities have pledged to work with the states in which they operate, regardless of whether those states choose to comply with the rule’s requirements voluntarily. Others touted emissions reductions and a transition to cleaner, more efficient resources that is already underway in the power sector.Moody’s believes the stay will provide additional “breathing room” for coal-fired generators to consider retirement or refueling decisions, but a survey of several large utilities suggests that few, if any, retirement decisions will be reconsidered in light of the recent court action.According to S&P Global Market Intelligence data, around 68 power plants so far are scheduled to retire between 2016 and 2019, but some are too small to be subject to the Clean Power Plan and many are closing for reasons other than the carbon rule.Full article ($): Utilities expect little change to coal fleet decisions with carbon rule on hold Court Ruling in Limbo, States Carry on Toward EPA Clean Power Plan Goalslast_img read more

Read more…

Banks at Risk in Loans to Coal Companies

first_imgBanks at Risk in Loans to Coal Companies FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Michael Slezak for The Guardian:An announcement today that ANZ is absorbing a bigger than expected loss as a result of lending to the mining industry is likely to be the tip of the iceberg as coal and other fossil fuels go into structural decline, according to some financial analysts.Related: Australian coalmines are one of riskiest investments in the world – reportANZ announced to the Australian stock exchange on Thursday that over the past month, conditions have changed such that expected costs associated with lending to the mining and resources sector would increase from a projected $800m to more than $900m .The bank said the change was caused by the “evolving position with a small number of Australian and multi-national resources-related exposures”.“While the overall credit environment remains broadly stable, we are continuing to see pockets of weakness associated with low commodity prices in the resources sector and in related industries,” said ANZ’s acting chief financial officer, Graham Hodges .The bank did not disclose which companies or loans caused the writedown, but Tim Buckley , a former Citibank analyst who is now with the anti-fossil fuel Institute for Energy Economics & Financial Analysis , said there were two new developments that could be linked to the move.The first was the warning by coal giant Peabody Energy that it was on the brink of bankruptcy after finding itself unable to pay an interest payment of US$70m .Buckley said if ANZ had lent to Peabody – which would not be known unless the company filed for bankruptcy – that would have put a dent the bank’s balance sheet.And on Wednesday the Australian Financial Review reported the owners of a coal export facility in Queensland, WICET, was struggling with its loans because of falling coal prices, and may be seeking a debt-for-equity swap, where the company exchanges debt for a pre-determined amount of equity or stock. A report in the AFR said ANZ was set to lose money on a loan associated with WICET’s coal export facility.Full article: ANZ’s bad loans to miners are just ‘tip of the iceberg’, analysts saylast_img read more

Read more…

Norway, Seat of World’s Biggest Sovereign Wealth Fund, Urged to Modernize Its Investment Strategy, Including on Renewables

first_imgNorway, Seat of World’s Biggest Sovereign Wealth Fund, Urged to Modernize Its Investment Strategy, Including on Renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Reuters:Jobs, taxes and schools will be top of Norwegian voters’ minds when they go to the polls on Sept. 11, but it’s what to do about the nearly $1-trillion sovereign wealth fund that may be the next parliament’s biggest challenge.The world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, pooling Norway’s revenues from oil and gas production, has been managed for nearly two decades with a focus on avoiding risk and conflicts of interest.With prices of crude oil down by more than half in the past three years and returns below target, policymakers and critics agree the fund is due for an overhaul. For Norway, the difficulty is building a political consensus around what it should look like.“It is more an academic topic than a bread-and-butter issue for voters but … the coming months are absolutely crucial,” said Torstein Tvedt Solberg, an opposition Labour Party parliamentary candidate and its spokesman on the fund.Norway’s SWF has returned 3.79 percent per year on average since it opened in 1998. With the pot always growing – now at two-and-a-half times GDP – the fact that that’s short of the target four percent hasn’t been a big problem.Last year, however, the government had to make its first net withdrawal to supplement a state budget hit by the fall in oil prices and lower state revenues from oil and gas production, which accounted for half of Norway’s total exports in 2016. More net withdrawals are expected in the years ahead, economists say.Norway’s returns compare to 6.1 percent over the past 20 years at the world’s second-largest wealth fund, the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, and 4.76 percent at the third-largest, China Investment Corporation, since it began in 2007.Unlike those funds, Oslo’s SWF is managed by a unit of the central bank that must turn to the government to secure a majority in parliament to make strategic changes, no easy feat given that minority governments are common in Norway.Critics say the process of consensus-building among so many disparate interest groups is agonisingly slow and possibly even fiscally irresponsible, however.“They (Norwegian politicians) do not want to take any risk that will end up in headlines. That is why the fund underperforms,” said Sony Kapoor, managing director of the Re-Define think tank and author of several studies on the fund.The new parliament’s first opportunity to make changes will come in the spring of 2018 when the finance ministry presents its next annual white paper to parliament.The two main issues on the table are whether to make the fund independent of the central bank, as a government-appointed commission recommended in June, and whether to allow the fund into new asset classes, including unlisted shares and unlisted infrastructure projects.The inclusion of unlisted infrastructure projects, in particular, is supported by the current fund managers.Investing in such projects — airports, roads, bridges or wind farms — has been a hot topic in recent months. The opinions of politicians are mixed, however, and not necessarily along party lines.Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the U.S.-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, said the potential increase in returns is well worth the risk, and expressed frustration about the hesitation.“They seem to be walking away from a market that is a trillion dollar and that is growing exponentially in the coming years. This is not prudent,” said Sanzillo, who wrote a report on renewable energy infrastructure investment and the fund.More: Norway’s risk-averse wealth fund considers next moveslast_img read more

Read more…

Indiana utility plans to be coal-free by 2028

first_imgIndiana utility plans to be coal-free by 2028 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Northwest Indiana Times:NIPSCO sent its new strategy for electricity generation and transmission to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission on Wednesday, formally submitting a plan to retire its coal-fired R.M. Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield and the Michigan City coal plant.The utility intends to replace coal with renewable sources, including solar and wind. NIPSCO President Violet Sistovaris said the decision to retire the four coal-fired generators at Schahfer by 2023 and one at Michigan City by 2028 was a result of the utility’s investigation of the most cost-effective, reliable and environmentally sustainable means to deliver power to its customers.Ultimately, the company expects the transition to renewable sources to save money — estimating total customer savings of $4 billion over 20 years. And, it will reduce its carbon emissions by 90 percent by 2028.“We see an opportunity to really invest in a balance of energy options and make energy more affordable and cleaner,” Sistovaris said. NIPSCO projects that, by 2023, 53 percent of its electricity will come from renewable sources, 24 percent from natural gas and 17 percent from coal. By 2028, renewable sources will constitute 65 percent of supply, with natural gas at 25 percent. The rest will come from purchases on the open market.More: NIPSCO submits blueprint for shift from coal to renewableslast_img read more

Read more…

Australian energy provider plans big switch from coal to renewables

first_imgAustralian energy provider plans big switch from coal to renewables FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:The Australian government-owned energy provider Snowy Hydro this month announced a major switch to renewables in a series of “game-changing deals.”The company said in a press release that it had signed eight wind and solar contracts, totaling 888 megawatts of peak power and around 2.8 terawatt-hours of energy a year, that would provider cheaper electricity to 500,000 households. The capacity is due to come online between now and 2020 and will replace the mainly coal-based energy that Snowy Hydro sources from Australia’s National Electricity Market to power pumped hydro storage and resell directly to customers at times of high demand.Snowy Hydro — which owns energy retailers Red Energy and Lumo Energy that serve more than 1 million customers — is one of the largest energy buyers on the National Electricity Market. It purchases around 3 terawatt-hours of electricity a year to supplement the 4 terawatt-hours produced from its own generating assets. “Just like households, we are exposed to high wholesale prices,” said the company.“The new renewable energy generation, ‘firmed’ by existing Snowy Hydro assets, is a game-changer and will push down future energy prices,” said Snowy Hydro in announcing the deal. “This will bring on significant new energy supply and therefore much-needed competition to the market, and will enable Snowy Hydro to pass on lower wholesale prices to our customers.”As a result of the switch from the National Electricity Market to renewable power, Snowy Hydro will offer energy to customers at a flat rate of less than AUD $70 (USD $51) per megawatt-hour, for up to 15 years starting in 2020. This compares to a first-quarter 2020 electricity price of AUD $98.50 (roughly USD $72) a megawatt-hour in New South Wales and AUD $108 (roughly USD $79) per megawatt-hour in Victoria, according to ASX energy market trading data cited by The Sydney Morning Herald.Snowy Hydro said the move to renewables was prompted by “rapid changes” in the National Electricity Market over the last 12 months, along with an ongoing drop in the price of renewable energy.More: Australia’s Snowy Hydro makes ‘game-changing’ leap from coal to renewableslast_img read more

Read more…

Kansas State University will save $200,000 annually with new wind power deal

first_imgKansas State University will save $200,000 annually with new wind power deal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享KSAL.com:Kansas State University is saving energy costs and becoming greener by using one of Kansas’ most abundant resources: wind. A new university agreement with Westar Energy will provide approximately 50 percent of the energy needs for the university’s main Manhattan campus from a wind farm in Nemaha County and save the university nearly $200,000 annually.The agreement is part of Westar Energy’s new Renewables Direct program, which provides large customers access to renewable energy at set long-term prices. The program involves the 300-megawatt Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center, which is a wind farm that will be built in Nemaha County and is estimated to be on line in 2020. Kansas State University is one of 14 Kansas organizations that will receive electricity from the wind farm.As part of a 20-year agreement, the wind farm will provide Kansas State University with 14 megawatts of power, which is approximately 50 percent of the current load of the university’s Manhattan campus, said Gary Weishaar, university manager of energy and controls. The anticipated savings for the university will be approximately $180,000 to $200,000 annually.The savings will come from a reduction in the retail energy cost adjustment, also known as fuel factor costs, Weishaar said. Under the Renewables Direct program, the price of electricity provided from Soldier Creek Wind Energy Center will be fixed for 20 years at 1.8 cents per kilowatt-hour and replaces the fuel factor cost, which is currently 2.3 cents per kilowatt-hour. The university’s average annual consumption for the Manhattan campus for the last five years has been 113 million kilowatt-hours per year. The university also will receive renewable energy credits associated with the agreement.Westar Energy’s Renewables Direct program is designed to provide large customers a path toward their sustainability goals with Kansas’ abundant, affordable renewable energy. Participating customers are able to claim a portion of the energy generated by the wind farm as their own, retain all of the renewable attributes and lock in a portion of their electricity prices for 20 years. The program is structured to add projects in the future to keep up with the demand for renewable sources.More: Green energy: Wind will generate big savings at KSUlast_img read more

Read more…

Arkansas co-op announces plan to cut rates because of savings from solar power projects

first_imgArkansas co-op announces plan to cut rates because of savings from solar power projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Arkansas Business:The Arkansas Advanced Energy Association examined utility trends, heard from industry leaders and bestowed awards for energy efficiency and renewable innovations Tuesday in Little Rock. But the annual conference’s “mic-drop moment” came when an award winner announced that he’ll be seeking the state’s first utility-wide electricity rate decrease tied to savings from solar power.Mark Cayce, CEO of Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corp. of Camden, drew a standing ovation from the energy efficiency and solar crowd at Heifer International headquarters when he made the rate announcement after receiving the association’s initial Advanced Energy Pioneer Award.“I made some pretty bold statements in support of solar power when the Legislature was considering solar policy, predicting that solar could actually bring rates down,” Cayce told the gathered renewable energy entrepreneurs, contractors and utility representatives. “Today I can announce that after our most recent rate study, on Oct. 17 we’re going to be seeking a 4 and 1/2-percent rate decrease at Ouachita Electric Cooperative Corp.”OECC, which serves about 7,000 members in south Arkansas and north Louisiana, was an early solar adopter as a partner with Aerojet Rocketdyne Inc. in a 12-megawatt array to power defense plant operations in East Camden in 2016. At the time, the array was the state’s largest solar project. OECC later built its own community solar station outside its Camden headquarters, and partnered with Today’s Power Inc. on an array for Southern Arkansas University Tech in Camden.Cayce has said that solar power saves the cooperative’s members by significantly reducing the amount of power the utility has to buy at premium prices during peak summer usage.“That was the mic-drop moment,” said Josh Davenport, CEO of Seal Solar Solutions of North Little Rock, describing Cayce’s rate-cut announcement. “We hear about cost-shifting from solar, but this is savings-shifting,” he said, referring to the common utility argument that solar adoption shifts infrastructure costs to utility customers who don’t have solar power. “This is the opposite,” Davenport said.More: At advanced energy event, solar power fuels a surprise rate-cut planlast_img read more

Read more…

HSBC backs out of planned 1,980MW coal plant in Vietnam

first_imgHSBC backs out of planned 1,980MW coal plant in Vietnam FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Eco-Business:One of the world’s largest finance groups, HSBC, has pulled out of a major coal project in Vietnam, marking the latest move by an international bank to go cold on funding the biggest source of climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions.HSBC was appointed financial adviser to the US$2 billion, 1,980-megawatt Vinh Tan 3 coal-fired power station in southeastern Vietnam in 2014, but the bank declared this week that it is not involved in the project.Vinh Tan 3 is a planned part of a huge coal power complex in the Vinh Tan, Bình Thuan province of Vietnam, which is projected to produce 12 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, and generate 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.The news emerged via a response from the bank to an opinion editorial headlined “HSBC lags as finance cleans up on Asian energy,” written for Asia Times by Munira Chowdhury, an analyst for Australia-based finance pressure group Market Forces, and published on Wednesday. The story was updated, with the footnote from Asia Times stating that HSBC had told the publication that it has “no involvement at all in the Vinh Tan 3 project – including as financial adviser, funding arranger or prospective lender.”Standard Chartered Bank, a major British rival of HSBC’s with a significant presence in Asia, announced in December that it had quit funding deals for a number of coal plants in Southeast Asia, which Eco-Business understands to be Vinh Tan 3, as well as Vung Ang 2 in Vietnam and Java 9 and 10 in Indonesia.StanChart’s announcement came six months after all three of Singapore’s and Southeast Asia’s largest banks said they would end funding for new coal development.[Robin Hicks]More: HSBC exits Vinh Tan 3 coal power project in Vietnamlast_img read more

Read more…