News Article | April 18, 2017
The community solar program in California is off to a slow start. The program has significant potential to expand the state's solar market, but virtually no developers have shown up to participate. The reasons for this slow start were discussed at a solar developer’s forum held by the state’s major utilities and policymakers on April 5, 2017. In this article, we take a look at the issues raised and the need for program reform. California’s community solar program is formally known as the Enhanced Community Renewables program. The ECR program is part of the larger Green Tariff Shared Renewables program, which was signed into law in 2013; final program rules were adopted in May 2016. Together, these programs require the California investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to procure 600 megawatts of new renewable energy. Under the ECR component of the program, customers can enter into agreements directly with third-party project developers to purchase new clean energy generated by a project located in their community. ECR projects are limited to sizes between 500 kilowatts and 20 megawatts. As we recently reported, the IOUs held their first request for offer (RFO) last fall, which sought to award power-purchase agreements for 170 megawatts of new renewable energy from ECR projects. However, very few bids were submitted in the solicitation, and ultimately no PPAs were awarded. The developer forum was intended to discuss some of the reasons for this lackluster performance. Utility representatives gave a report on the RFO results. In summary, there were few bids overall, and those bids that were submitted failed to meet the eligibility criteria. Here is a summary of the results of the bidding provided by the utilities: The bids that were submitted but not shortlisted failed to meet one or more of the screening requirements intended to ensure that the projects are viable. These screening criteria include the submission of a Phase 2 interconnection study and documentation demonstrating site control over project real estate. Of the 15 bids, 11 failed to meet these eligibility requirements. The four bids that were shortlisted failed to meet the next two criteria. This is where the ECR-specific issues arise. These two criteria are: 1) a demonstration of “community interest” in the project; and 2) submission of a legal opinion from an “AmLaw 100” law firm stating that the community solar offering does constitute a “securities” offering under applicable securities laws. The demonstration of community interest requires that the bidder submit documentation within 60 days of being notified of a contract award that: 1) either customers have “committed to enroll” in 30 percent of the project’s capacity, or customers have submitted “expressions of interest” sufficient to cover 51 percent of the project’s capacity; and 2) at least three separate customers have subscribed to the project. This “community interest” requirement was a hotly discussed topic at the forum. In particular, developers are unhappy with the 60-day timeline that is required here. Developers are required to conduct their own outreach and marketing to potential customers in order to obtain the commitments or expressions of interest. However, under program rules, developers cannot begin marketing to customers until they have submitted their proposed marketing materials to the IOU for approval. This step can take a few weeks to a month or more. Once approved, it can take months for a developer to obtain enough customer commitments and expressions of interest to meet the thresholds required. As such, a developer needs to do this before the 60-day clock begins to run. In this first RFO, some developers came up a little short in meeting the thresholds before the 60 days expired. It appears the IOUs and the California Public Utilities Commission will consider extending this deadline. However, representatives from Southern California Edison mentioned that doing so might require pushing out future RFOs. Under program rules, the IOUs are required to hold two RFOs per year until the full 600 megawatts of capacity is contracted. If you extend the time for meeting community interest thresholds, the IOUs could be in a situation where they do not know how much energy they have finally procured during one solicitation by the time the next solicitation needs to go live. Additionally, all shortlisted bids failed to submit a legal opinion from an AmLaw 100 law firm. "AmLaw 100" refers to the law firm rankings published by American Lawyer magazine. The AmLaw 100 law firms are the top 100 firms in the U.S. in terms of total revenue. Developers at the forum expressed concern over the costs associated with this process. Obtaining a legal opinion like this would require a law firm to analyze the community solar subscription agreements and other materials surrounding the community solar program in light of legal principles governing securities. This can be costly, depending on the time involved and the law firm’s rates. We wrote a legal memorandum for the National Renewable Energy Laboratory a number of years ago addressing the issues involved here. At the forum, CPUC representatives mentioned that they are aware of the costs involved with this securities opinion and are working on a solution. The CPUC recently conducted a workshop to try to identify a more cost-effective way to address securities concerns. As a starting point, we expect that new program rules will allow smaller law firms, with lower billing rates, to provide these opinions. More fundamentally, developers at the forum expressed concern over the economics of the community solar program in California. A combination of low credits to customers and high costs for developers has led to a situation where community solar customers would need to pay a price premium over their existing energy in order to subscribe to a community solar project. Estimates of the amount of the premium vary, but can reach upward of 3 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is considered outside the range many consumers will tolerate. We do not expect a solution to this problem in the immediate future. The IOU representatives at the forum seemed to suggest that low RFO participation was more due to the “newness” of the program than to its poor economic fundamentals. Staff members from the state legislature indicated they were not concerned with this problem because the state’s program was intended for community groups, not professional solar developers. This view reflects one of the political realities that will need to be addressed in any program reform. This is significant because increasing the credits provided under the program will require amendments to the statute underlying this program by the state legislature, not merely action by the CPUC. The IOUs have opened up the second RFO for community solar in California. SDG&E launched its solicitation on March 22, 2017, with a deadline of May 5, 2017 for developers to submit bids. SCE launched its new solicitation on April 7, 2017. PG&E has submitted its request to the CPUC for approval of its next solicitation, which is expected soon. Significantly, there will be approximately 340 megawatts available in this second round of RFOs, since the IOUs are required to include the 170 megawatts that went uncontracted during the last solicitation with the additional 170 megawatts now available. Many people will be watching this solicitation to see how it performs. We expect that some PPAs will be awarded in this new solicitation, particularly from developers that only just missed the community interest requirement in the last RFO. However, absent changes in the program, we expect continued lackluster developer participation in the current RFO. If that occurs, we expect that some changes to the community solar program will be implemented. These changes are likely to simplify and streamline some of the program requirements. Any such changes would require CPUC approval. That is not possible in time for the second RFO that is open now. At best, changes would be implemented in time for the third solicitation, which will be held in the fall of 2017. Furthermore, we do not expect fundamental changes to be put in place in 2017. Major changes to the underlying program economics will likely not take place until 2018, if they occur at all. It remains to be seen whether and how the results of the second RFO will impact the political appetite for these reforms. Brian Orion, of counsel at Stoel Rives, provides project development and transactional and regulatory counseling to clients in the solar, electric vehicle, energy efficiency, energy storage and climate change arenas. He also serves as strategic adviser to the Smart Energy Enterprise Development Zone (SEEDZ) Initiative, a project of Joint Venture Silicon Valley.
News Article | April 17, 2017
U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2016 totaled 5,170 million metric tons (MMmt), 1.7% below their 2015 levels, after dropping 2.7% between 2014 and 2015. These recent decreases are consistent with a decade-long trend, with energy-related CO2 emissions 14% below the 2005 level in 2016. As noted in a recent article on energy use, both oil and natural gas consumption were higher in 2016 than in 2015, while coal consumption was significantly lower. Consistent with changes in fuel consumption, energy-related CO2 emissions in 2016 from petroleum and natural gas increased 1.1% and 0.9%, respectively, while coal-related emissions decreased 8.6%. There are several ways to assess CO2 emissions trends within the context of measures of economic activity. Carbon intensity is a measure that relates CO2 emissions to economic output. Early estimates indicate that gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a rate of 1.6% in 2016, down from 2.6% in 2015. Taken together with a 1.7% decline in energy-related CO2, the 1.6% estimate of economic growth implies a 3.3% decline in the carbon intensity of the U.S. economy. In 2015, carbon intensity of the economy had decreased by 5.3%. The U.S. transportation sector was the only consumption sector where CO2 emissions increased in 2016. CO2 emissions from the transportation sector increased by 1.9%, largely reflecting emissions from motor gasoline, which increased 1.8% in 2016. Emissions from the transportation sector surpassed those from the power sector during 2016—a trend that persists through at least 2040 in the Reference case projections in EIA’s 2017 Annual Energy Outlook. CO2 emissions from the electric power sector fell by 4.9% in 2016. A significant reduction in coal use for electricity generation was offset by increased generation from natural gas and renewable sources. Renewables do not emit CO2, and a shift towards natural gas from coal lowers CO2 because natural gas has lower emissions per unit of energy than coal and because natural gas generators typically use less energy than coal plants to generate each kilowatthour of electricity. Overall, the data indicate about a 5% decline in the carbon intensity of the power sector, a rate that was also realized in 2015. Since 1973, no two consecutive years have seen a decline of this magnitude, and only one other year (2009) has seen a similar decline. Weather also affected the level of energy use and CO2 emissions in 2016. Because more energy is used for heating than for cooling, warm years can translate to less energy consumption if increased cooling needs during warm summers are less than the reduced heating needs during warm winters. Based on preliminary data, 2016 is expected to have had 10% fewer heating degree days (indicating lower heating demand) and 13% more cooling degree days (indicating more cooling demand) than normal. Heating degree days in 2016 were the second fewest of any year since at least 1949, consistent with relatively warmer winter months.
News Article | May 3, 2017
More than dust in the wind: Kansas a first quarter leader Here’s some encouraging news to start your month: the U.S. wind industry just had its best first quarter in eight years. That’s one of the top takeaways from AWEA’s 2017 First Quarter Market Report, and it’s far from the only highlight. The report contains a lot of good news, so let’s get right to it. During the year’s first three months, 2,000 megawatts (MW) of new capacity came online, more than the first three quarters of 2016 combined. The U.S. now has enough installed wind capacity to power 25 million American homes. U.S. workers built 908 turbines during the first quarter, and that means a lot of business. Each turbines supports 44 years of full-time employment over its lifespan, so American wind power just supported nearly 40,000 job years. We’re about to build a Texas-sized amount of new wind power Nearly 21,000 MW of new wind capacity is currently under construction or in advanced development, about the same amount online in Texas today. As the country’s wind leader, Texas already has enough installed wind capacity to power over 5 million American homes, and wind jobs in the state top 22,000. So the amount of new wind in the pipeline is clearly a big deal. Kansas finished behind only Texas in new wind installations during the quarter. Nearly 500 MW of new in-state capacity came online, and the state will soon top 5,000 MW. As Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has said, ““Building a world-class wind industry in Kansas has demonstrated that a market-driven approach to renewable energy can and will benefit industry and consumers alike.” Here’s a look at some of the ways wind power already strengthens Kansas communities: North Carolina became the 41st state with a utility-scale wind project when Avangrid Renewables’ Amazon Wind Farm US East started generating electricity earlier this year. The project was the first built in the Southeast in 12 years, and offers clear evidence that improved turbine technology can help bring low-cost wind energy to more parts of the U.S. Texas stays at the head of the pack Although wind power grew from coast-to-coast during the first quarter, Texas kept its tight grip on the leader spot with 724 MW coming online. The corporate buyer trend continued facing front and center in the Lone Star State too, with Home Depot buying enough output from a Texas wind farm to power 100 stores. The Southwest Power Pool (SPP), grid operator for 14 states across the Midwest, set a new high water mark by surpassing 50 percent wind penetration. “Ten years ago we thought hitting even a 25 percent wind-penetration level would be extremely challenging, and any more than that would pose serious threats to reliability,” said Bruce Rew, Southwest Power Pool’s vice president of operations. “Now we have the ability to reliably manage greater than 50 percent. It’s not even our ceiling.” SPP’s new record offers further proof that wind power helps keep the lights on for America’s families and businesses.
News Article | April 29, 2017
Perhaps you are looking for a more ethical home for your current account cash. Or maybe you are a Co-operative Bank customer who is considering closing your account following its well-publicised troubles. If either of those sound like you – or perhaps you simply don’t want to give your money to one of the “big four” banks – then as of this week there’s a new option. Triodos, which bills itself as “Europe’s leading sustainable bank”, has taken the wraps off its first-ever British personal current account. The bank is allowing people to register their interest, and in June it will begin sending out invitations to those who have registered to apply for an account. Founded in the Netherlands in 1980, Triodos set up an office in the UK in 1995 and has been offering savings and investments here for some years. It now has almost 50,000 UK customers, and more than half a million across Europe. It offers current accounts in the Netherlands, Spain and Germany, and says it is now finally ready to launch a full banking service in Britain. Triodos’s USP is that it only lends money to organisations and projects that are “making a positive difference to society”, whether’s that’s socially, culturally or environmentally. It publishes details of every loan it makes via its website, and its borrowers have included chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage HQ, and Worthy Farm, home to the Glastonbury festival. “We want people to really think about what their bank is doing with their money. Money doesn’t have to be invested in the arms trade, fossil fuels and tobacco – it can be used to do good things that help build the society we want to live in,” says the bank. Triodos’s green credentials are impeccable, but there is a stumbling block: all customers have to pay a £3 monthly fee (ie £36 a year) for the current account service. That may well prove to be a deal-breaker for some, particularly as the bank isn’t offering any upfront financial incentives to tempt people to sign up. Triodos is entering a hugely competitive market. Just two days ago M&S Bank announced that new customers who switch to one of its current accounts – there is one with no monthly fee, and one costing £10 a month – will now get up to £185 to spend in M&S. They initially receive a £125 gift card, which will then be topped up with £5 each month they deposit £1,000-plus in their account during the first year. Meanwhile, Halifax has a no-monthly-fee Reward account, where you get a £3 payment each month you pay in £750 or more, plus a £75 switching inducement. This week the Halifax said official figures showed it was “the most switched-to bank on the high street”. So what is Triodos offering? This is a current account that will work in all the ways you would expect, and can be opened by any UK resident aged 18 or over who meets the eligibility criteria. The account is operated online and via a mobile app. Triodos is not providing a telephone banking service, though it will offer phone-based support, and while it has offices, there are no high street branches. The account comes with a contactless Mastercard debit card made from PLA, a “natural plastic”, which can be used to make payments, cashpoint withdrawals etc. You can request a chequebook and apply for an overdraft, though the £2,000 maximum is lower than that offered by many other banks. The authorised overdraft rate is 18% EAR, which is competitive but not top of the market. Triodos won’t charge anything extra for setting up and using an overdraft. Someone banking with Triodos with an authorised overdraft of £600 used for seven days each month would incur charges of £23.06 a year, compared with £84 at Santander and Halifax, and £97.24 with NatWest/Royal Bank of Scotland. The bank will not allow unauthorised overdrafts – it will simply not pay items when there are insufficient funds. Unpaid items will incur a £5 charge, with a maximum monthly charge of £50. Triodos claims that for many years people have been able to make positive choices about things such as food, energy and transport, but not banking. The Co-operative Bank might have something to say about that – it is the only high street bank with a customer-led ethical policy covering a range of issues from the environment to animal welfare. However, Co-op Bank put itself up for sale in February, four years after it nearly collapsed and had to be bailed out by hedge funds, and there has been speculation that it may have to be broken up. So Triodos is likely to pick up at least a few Co-op Bank leavers. Nevertheless, the Co-op is still very much open to new customers: it is offering £110 to people who move to its no-monthly-fee current account via the industry’s switching service. So how does Triodos justify that £3 monthly fee? Huw Davies, its head of retail banking, says it believes it is fairer that everyone should pay a “modest” monthly charge to cover the cost of providing a banking service. “There is no such thing as free banking because someone else always pays. ‘Free’ accounts are usually subsidised with high penalty charges and hidden fees, so the most vulnerable customers, or those making a rare miscalculation with the household finances, end up paying an exorbitant price.” Some people may feel uneasy about signing up with a bank headquartered in the Netherlands when Britain is poised to leave the EU. While most banks offering products to consumers have a UK banking licence and £85,000 Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) protection, European banks are allowed to operate here under their home country’s regulations in a system known as passporting. This means that consumers banking with a such a bank are covered by its home country’s compensation scheme and not the UK’s. Triodos Bank in the UK is part of Triodos Bank NV, based in the Netherlands. That means it is covered by the Dutch deposit-guarantee scheme, which guarantees up to €100,000 (£84,450) per person. For joint accounts held in the names of two people it is €200,000. As an extra safeguard, if a credit balance is directly related to a house purchase or sale, the maximum guaranteed is €500,000. This applies for three months after the money is paid into the account. Data provider Moneyfacts has previously said that while consumers can be reassured that under European law, money held with European banks is covered by the compensation scheme of the bank’s home country, “they should bear in mind that in the event of a crisis they face language and exchange rate issues”. Incidentally, Triodos says: “We are absolutely committed to remaining in the UK.” Sally Murrall-Smith is one of those planning to sign up for Triodos’s current account. The 38-year-old who lives in Totnes, Devon, says she has always been interested in the environment. She has been a NatWest customer for decades but intends to jump ship as soon as she is able. “I want my money to be used to drive positive change,” says Murrall-Smith, who is the mother of two boys aged three and one. “Triodos funds infrastructure projects such as renewable energy and low-carbon social housing, which I see as paramount. Moreover, I love the fact it’s so transparent – I can easily find out where my money is going.” Murrall-Smith works for Totnes Renewable Energy Society (Tresoc), a member-owned community organisation, and first came across Triodos two years ago when she invested in a bond issue to finance a hydropower scheme on the Totnes weir. This was developed by a company called Dart Renewables and financed through the bank. “I was thrilled to be able to invest in such a fantastic renewable energy project on my doorstep, a project that made social, economic and environmental sense,” she says. Shortly after that she got a job with Tresoc, which is developing a community-owned hydro power plant in nearby Staverton. She likes the fact that Triodos supports organisations looking to develop local green energy supplies, enabling them to raise capital and finance projects that ordinarily wouldn’t get built. Murrall-Smith says that in the past she could have done more to find a bank suited to her values, but that banks haven’t been transparent.
News Article | April 27, 2017
Global energy demand will keep rising through 2035, but the nature of the mix and the key players will change significantly. That's the takeaway from the analysts at Wood Mackenzie, who surveyed global energy markets from the ground up and compiled their findings in a new comprehensive report. The maturation of China's economy has slowed growth in conventional energy demand, but India and South Asia are picking up the slack. Renewables continue to register more on the global energy share, stealing thunder from coal. Natural gas has a particularly rosy path ahead of it, seeing substantial growth throughout the world. Here are five key charts to help breakdown the changing face of international energy consumption. China has led global energy demand for the last 15 years as it fueled massive economic development. That process reoriented the economy around the service sector, which requires less energy than heavy industry. As a result, demand growth there has fallen faster than previously expected. China will remain the number one energy consumer in 2035. The transport sector will sustain oil demand growth and China will still be the world's second largest consumer of oil, after the US, in 2035. Its rate of demand growth, though, is slowing, while others speed up. India has the fastest growing energy demand, increasing at an annual average of 3 percent from now to 2035, by which time the country's population will outpace even China's. Renewables will surge from 22 percent to 54 percent of total installed capacity, while oil consumption rises 80 percent. Coal's role in China's fuel mix peaked in 2013 and will continue to decline as the government pursues efforts to clean up the air and reduce contributions to climate change. India, though, will increase coal consumption as a way to power more economic activity, while mitigating exposure to oil price shocks. The award for most improved market share in absolute terms goes to gas. While oil and coal will see a small bump, global gas gas demand will grow 41 percent and claim coal's trophy for second most popular energy source. Much of that success derives from the expanding role for gas in the power sector. In the U.S., gas in the power generation mix will grow 60 percent for that period, working alongside renewables to outcompete coal. Chinese gas demand for power is expected to grow 366 percent by 2035, and India's by 156 percent. The Middle East will also be turning more to gas for electricity in an effort to conserve oil for exports. On home soil, the American fracking boom will lead to some striking geopolitical implications. For one thing, Wood Mackenzie expects the U.S. will ride the wave of cheap gas to become a net energy exporter by 2021, achieving the elusive dream of energy independence pursued by many a president. "Although vocal, the effect of the Trump administration on the markets may be negligible. The markets are ultimately controlled by demand and price," the analysts note. The interconnectedness of global energy markets nullifies much of what it means to be "independent," but the reduced reliance on overseas imports and the enhanced ability to export could change the way America conducts foreign policy. More than half of U.S. LNG exports will go to Europe, supplying a fifth of Europe's gas need by 2035. Currently, Russia supplies 35 percent of Europe's gas. Russia is unlikely to sit idly by as the U.S. challenges a key source of leverage over its neighbors. Wind and solar are beating all of the other fuels on speed of entry into the energy mix, but starting from a much smaller base. Wind will grow 7 percent a year on average, and solar will rise 11 percent. That still only gets them to 13 percent of electricity generation in 2035, up from 4.5 percent in 2015, according to Wood Mackenzie's analytics. The authors note that clean energy technology has already beat expectations several times, though, and this trend could continue. "Technology is continually improving and is tending to push renewables from their previous role of more expensive green options requiring important government subsidies, to one of serious competitors," the report states. "Renewables are in a strong position to force the market to reshape." The report also identifies grid-scale energy storage as a "significant risk to our outlook." If the storage industry delivers on its promise of cheap, widely deployed storage in the next few decades, it could boost the renewables market share by making wind and solar power dispatchable and by displacing natural gas for peaking capacity. That's salient, because 13 percent market share for wind and solar would make achieving the carbon reduction goals of the Paris treaty nearly impossible. A recent report from the Energy Transitions Commission called for wind and solar to power 45 percent of the world's electricity by 2040 to avoid catastrophic temperature rise. The electrification of transport is also relevant to decarbonization. The report predicts a cumulative electric vehicle deployment of almost 100 million by 2035, displacing 1 to 2 million barrels a day of oil demand. Faster-than-anticipated battery improvements have helped EV sales grow exponentially, outpacing expectations. "But given the average lifespan of a car is over 10 years, it will take decades for EVs to significantly penetrate the global car fleet," the report states. EVs currently account for 1 percent of the worldwide vehicle fleet. By 2035, Wood Mackenzie projects EVs could grow to 9 percent of all vehicles. The level of EV penetration will ultimately depend on additional technology advancements and government policies, since vehicle sales and infrastructure still rely heavily on subsidies. Overall, these changing dynamics in the global energy landscape show carbon emissions on the decline. "Globally, carbon and energy intensity have peaked and will trend downwards towards 2035," the Wood Mackenzie report states. "Even fast-developing, emerging economies such as India show a reduction of greater than 30 percent in both energy and carbon intensity over the forecast." The trends are moving in the right direction for the international climate change goals. But given the relatively modest pace of clean energy adoption, the current trajectory may not be sufficient to meet them.
News Article | April 20, 2017
NEW HAVEN, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE:AGR) announced that its Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.432 per share on its shares of common stock. This dividend is payable July 3, 2017 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 9, 2017. Avangrid, Inc. (NYSE: AGR) is a diversified energy and utility company with more than $31 billion in assets and operations in 27 states. The company owns regulated utilities and electricity generation assets through two primary lines of business, Avangrid Networks and Avangrid Renewables. Avangrid Networks is comprised of eight electric and natural gas utilities, serving approximately 3.2 million customers in New York and New England. Avangrid Renewables operates 6.5 gigawatts of electricity capacity, primarily through wind power, in states across the United States. Avangrid employs approximately 6,800 people. Iberdrola S.A. (Madrid: IBE), a worldwide leader in the energy industry, owns 81.5% of the outstanding shares of Avangrid common stock. For more information, visit www.avangrid.com.
News Article | May 2, 2017
CORVALLIS, Ore. - New research from Oregon State University will aim to make eagles less likely to collide with wind-turbine blades. The U.S. Department of Energy Wind Technology Office has awarded Roberto Albertani of the OSU College of Engineering a 27-month, $625,000 grant to develop technology for detecting and deterring approaching eagles and for determining if a blade strike has occurred. A growing energy source in the U.S., wind power uses towers up to 300 feet tall typically equipped with three blades with wingspans double that of a Boeing 747. At their tips, the blades are moving close to 200 miles per hour. Wind power is generally regarded as green energy, but danger to birds - particularly bald eagles and golden eagles - is a concern. Albertani's team, which includes OSU computer scientist Sinisa Todorovic and electrical and computer engineer Matthew Johnston, will work on a three-part system for protecting the eagles. "We're the only team in the world doing this kind of work," said Albertani, an associate professor of mechanical engineering. If successful, he said, the system will be a major breakthrough in a safer-for-wildlife expansion of wind energy worldwide. The system will feature a tower-mounted, computer-connected camera able to determine if an approaching bird is an eagle and whether it's flying toward the blades. If both those answers are yes, the computer triggers a ground-level deterrent: randomly moving, brightly colored facsimiles of people, designed to play into eagles' apparent aversion to humans. "There's no research available, but hopefully those will deter the eagles from coming closer to the turbines," Albertani said. "We want the deterrent to be simple and affordable." At the root of each turbine blade will be a vibration sensor able to detect the kind of thump produced by a bird hitting a blade. Whenever such a thump is detected, recorded video data from a blade-mounted micro-camera can be examined to tell if the impact was caused by an eagle or something else. "If we strike a generic bird, sad as that is, it's not as critical as striking a protected golden eagle, which would cause the shutdown of a wind farm for a period of time, a fine to the operator, big losses in revenue, and most important the loss of a member of a protected species," Albertani said. Albertani's team includes two collaborators from the U.S. Geological Survey, biological statistician Manuela Huso and wildlife biologist and eagle expert Todd Katzner. An external advisory board includes Siemens Wind Power and Avangrid Renewables. Primary field testing will take place at the North American Wind Research and Training Center in Tucumcari, N.M., and the NREL National Wind Technology Center in Boulder, Colo. Field work will also be done in Oregon and California. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates there are roughly 143,000 bald eagles and 40,000 golden eagles in the United States.
News Article | April 13, 2017
Ministers are believed to be on the verge of a U-turn on their manifesto pledge to halt the spread of subsidised onshore windfarms – on remote Scottish islands, at least. The business secretary, Greg Clark, visited the Isle of Lewis in the Western Isles on Monday to discuss the possibility of government support for turbines off the mainland. Iain Maciver, estate manager at Stornoway Trust, said his conversations with Clark had convinced him the minister was preparing to offer financial support for non-mainland windfarms. The minister had “seemed very positive” about the idea of allowing them to compete for subsidies, he said. “He said he could’ve said no, but he felt that because of the unique island factors – the benefits not just for Lewis and Scotland but for the UK deriving from island renewables – he was wanting to study the consultation,” said Maciver. The business department launched a consultation last November on whether it should make an exemption to its 2015 manifesto commitment to “end any new public subsidy” for windfarms. The Guardian understands the government will decide whether to make a special case for the islands later this month. The Scottish government warned this week that if Westminster ruled out allowing onshore windfarms in the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland to compete for subsidies, £2.5bn of investment would be put at risk. The islands are also heavily dependent on expensive diesel imports for power. Paul Wheelhouse, Scotland’s energy minister, said: “Our position on island wind is both consistent and very clear – we must do all we can to enable our island communities to benefit from this substantial resource, large enough to meet 5% of total UK electricity demand, provide a significant boost to decarbonising our electricity supply, and would be worth up to £725m to local economies.” SSE and EDF are among the companies hoping to build windfarms on the islands. In a letter to Clark earlier this year, they claimed the islands had some of the best conditions in the world due to their high wind speeds. “The resources on the islands are underused and this is our opportunity to tap into them and bring jobs, low-carbon energy and a sustainable supply chain to remote parts of the UK,” they said. Viking Energy, a joint venture between SSE and the Shetland community, said it welcomed the constructive engagement between the UK and Scottish governments this week, and was hopeful of a positive outcome on the consultation. An EDF-commissioned ICM poll of 1,000 Isle of Lewis adults in January found that seven in 10 supported windfarms on the islands. Income from the windfarms would be vital for crofters and farmers, and the projects were key to keeping young people on the islands, Maciver said. “What’s at risk? Our community basically, particularly the rural community ... If this is not allowed to happen, where would the next developer for the islands come from?” Matthieu Hue, chief executive of EDF Energy Renewables, said: “Island wind projects would provide substantial benefits for remote communities in Scotland and offer good value for consumers – especially due to the abundant wind conditions of the Western Isles. “The benefits for local people come in direct payments from the windfarm and opportunities for communities to invest in the projects. The effect of these large-scale investments would provide a tremendous boost to the local economy and significantly contribute to the UK government’s industrial strategy by providing work for the UK supply chain and island businesses.”
News Article | April 20, 2017
Solar + Energy Storage Congress & Expo 2017 brings together government, leading utilities, power producers, project developers, investors, and solution providers to allow new business opportunities and valuable connections to be made. Africa is among the strongest solar resources in the world. It brings tremendous opportunities to the solar and energy storage industry in African developing countries. Solar is also being promoted to replace fuel-based lighting and off-grid electrical needs. The great market potential has encouraged Leader Group to launch the Africa Solar + Energy Storage Congress & Expo 2017 to be held in Nairobi, Kenya on June 27-28, 2017. Participants include governments, utilities, project developers, investors, energy storage product manufacturers, consulting firms, in addition to other related sectors invited to discuss opportunities, challenges, and solutions for solar and energy storage development in the African market. Alberto Rodríguez TTA’s Head of Projects - Africa region will present “Regulatory Framework for mini-grids; technical requirements, service levels, interconnection of MG to the mini-grid." Trama TecnoAmbiental, S.L TTA's new mini-grids in Kenya (3), Tanzania (1) and Burundi (5) aim to offer access to clean and affordable energy to more than 10.000 people. TTA announce that it successfully presented it findings from the pre-feasibility study of 30 hybrid PV mini-grids in rural Kenya to the main stakeholders of Kenya's power sector and donors on 10th March. The results will be soon available to private developers and operators, as well as interested parties in rural electrification. Rural electrification expertise · Capacity Building · Consultancy · Product sales · Project Developer · Service Provider Off-grid system used · Micro/Mini-grid · Stand-alone RE-technology used · (Bio-)Diesel Back-up · Battery / Energy Storage · Bioenergy · Hybrid · Hydro · Inverters / Power Components · Solar PV · Wind Mr. Paul Keurinck Urbasolar's Vice President International and New Markets just confirmed to join the event; Will share an off grid case study: Red Land Roses solar power plant in Riuru, Kenya. Urbasolar Leading French solar company Urbasolar is a French group specializing in the development, construction, financing, and operation of industrial photovoltaic power plants. Through its capital investment in Sillia VL, Urbasolar already has operations in Kenya. It recently moved to deepen its activities in the country by launching another solar plant in Ruiru. Urbasolar just partnered with Kenyatta University, in one of its skills-transfer programmes to set up 10MW solar power plant (Kenya). Through the project, Kenyatta University will consume the power and sell the surplus to Kenya Power. Mr. Vahid Fotuhi Managing Director Access Power MEA Access Power MEA Access Power is a developer, owner and operator of power assets in emerging and frontier markets. Access is today one of the fastest growing independent power producers in emerging markets, and is currently developing power projects worth more than US$1 billion in 23 countries across Africa and Asia. Access is developing a portfolio of power assets in Africa through its subsidiary Access Infra Africa (AIA). Today, AIA is actively seeking the development of a portfolio of renewable energy projects in 15 Africa countries. AIA is technology agnostic and focuses on developing affordable and sustainable power assets. John Okoro Business Development Manager Vergnet's Topic: 100% Renewables is Possible! Exploring technical and economic solutions for off grid solar + storage in Africa. Vergnet For over 25 years, Vergnet has been designing, manufacturing, installing and maintaining renewable energy plants in isolated and remote areas with limited infrastructure or extreme climate conditions. Vergnet is also a recognized provider and installer of turnkey PV power plants with extensive value addition in difficult locations, and extreme conditions. Vergnet, via its several references, and extensive experience, has been able to prove that 100% renewables is possible by harnessing the power of storage and via the intelligent real-time management of these hybrid solutions. As the economics of storage technologies continues to improve, storage will increasingly offer competitive edges to renewable energy technologies hence allowing user to benefit from the power of clean energy. Mr. Laurent Van Houcke Chief Operations Officer BBOXX BBOXX is a venture backed company developing solutions to provide affordable, clean energy to off-grid communities in the developing world. BBOXX is fully vertically integrated, controlling every part of the customer experience. BBOXX market leading products and appliances coupled with SMART Solar platform bring machine-learning and customer experience optimization to rural Africa. The BBOXX ground-breaking financing structure has brought off-grid solar into the World’s financial markets. With over 80,000 systems deployed so far; 300 staff across 5 offices in China, UK and East Africa are waking up every morning to work with BBOXX to electrify 20M people by 2020. Join Us For speaking opportunities, please contact: Coco Fu via email@example.com For sponsorship enquiries, please contact: Oscar Yeung via firstname.lastname@example.org For delegates enquiries, please contact:Wendy Huang via email@example.com For more information, please click official website: http://www.africaenergystorage.com/ Naples, FL, April 20, 2017 --( PR.com )-- With thousands of off grid projects springing up across Africa, solar project owners and developers require huge amounts of financing.Solar + Energy Storage Congress & Expo 2017 brings together government, leading utilities, power producers, project developers, investors, and solution providers to allow new business opportunities and valuable connections to be made.Africa is among the strongest solar resources in the world. It brings tremendous opportunities to the solar and energy storage industry in African developing countries. Solar is also being promoted to replace fuel-based lighting and off-grid electrical needs. The great market potential has encouraged Leader Group to launch the Africa Solar + Energy Storage Congress & Expo 2017 to be held in Nairobi, Kenya on June 27-28, 2017. Participants include governments, utilities, project developers, investors, energy storage product manufacturers, consulting firms, in addition to other related sectors invited to discuss opportunities, challenges, and solutions for solar and energy storage development in the African market.Alberto RodríguezTTA’s Head of Projects - Africa region will present “Regulatory Framework for mini-grids; technical requirements, service levels, interconnection of MG to the mini-grid."Trama TecnoAmbiental, S.LTTA's new mini-grids in Kenya (3), Tanzania (1) and Burundi (5) aim to offer access to clean and affordable energy to more than 10.000 people.TTA announce that it successfully presented it findings from the pre-feasibility study of 30 hybrid PV mini-grids in rural Kenya to the main stakeholders of Kenya's power sector and donors on 10th March. The results will be soon available to private developers and operators, as well as interested parties in rural electrification.Rural electrification expertise· Capacity Building· Consultancy· Product sales· Project Developer· Service ProviderOff-grid system used· Micro/Mini-grid· Stand-aloneRE-technology used· (Bio-)Diesel Back-up· Battery / Energy Storage· Bioenergy· Hybrid· Hydro· Inverters / Power Components· Solar PV· WindMr. Paul KeurinckUrbasolar's Vice President International and New Markets just confirmed to join the event; Will share an off grid case study: Red Land Roses solar power plant in Riuru, Kenya.UrbasolarLeading French solar company Urbasolar is a French group specializing in the development, construction, financing, and operation of industrial photovoltaic power plants. Through its capital investment in Sillia VL, Urbasolar already has operations in Kenya. It recently moved to deepen its activities in the country by launching another solar plant in Ruiru. Urbasolar just partnered with Kenyatta University, in one of its skills-transfer programmes to set up 10MW solar power plant (Kenya). Through the project, Kenyatta University will consume the power and sell the surplus to Kenya Power.Mr. Vahid FotuhiManaging Director Access Power MEAAccess Power MEAAccess Power is a developer, owner and operator of power assets in emerging and frontier markets. Access is today one of the fastest growing independent power producers in emerging markets, and is currently developing power projects worth more than US$1 billion in 23 countries across Africa and Asia.Access is developing a portfolio of power assets in Africa through its subsidiary Access Infra Africa (AIA). Today, AIA is actively seeking the development of a portfolio of renewable energy projects in 15 Africa countries. AIA is technology agnostic and focuses on developing affordable and sustainable power assets.John OkoroBusiness Development ManagerVergnet's Topic: 100% Renewables is Possible! Exploring technical and economic solutions for off grid solar + storage in Africa.VergnetFor over 25 years, Vergnet has been designing, manufacturing, installing and maintaining renewable energy plants in isolated and remote areas with limited infrastructure or extreme climate conditions. Vergnet is also a recognized provider and installer of turnkey PV power plants with extensive value addition in difficult locations, and extreme conditions.Vergnet, via its several references, and extensive experience, has been able to prove that 100% renewables is possible by harnessing the power of storage and via the intelligent real-time management of these hybrid solutions. As the economics of storage technologies continues to improve, storage will increasingly offer competitive edges to renewable energy technologies hence allowing user to benefit from the power of clean energy.Mr. Laurent Van HouckeChief Operations OfficerBBOXXBBOXX is a venture backed company developing solutions to provide affordable, clean energy to off-grid communities in the developing world.BBOXX is fully vertically integrated, controlling every part of the customer experience. BBOXX market leading products and appliances coupled with SMART Solar platform bring machine-learning and customer experience optimization to rural Africa. The BBOXX ground-breaking financing structure has brought off-grid solar into the World’s financial markets. With over 80,000 systems deployed so far; 300 staff across 5 offices in China, UK and East Africa are waking up every morning to work with BBOXX to electrify 20M people by 2020.Join UsFor speaking opportunities, please contact: Coco Fu via firstname.lastname@example.orgFor sponsorship enquiries, please contact: Oscar Yeung via email@example.comFor delegates enquiries, please contact:Wendy Huang via firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more information, please click official website: http://www.africaenergystorage.com/ Click here to view the company profile of topseos.com Click here to view the list of recent Press Releases from topseos.com
News Article | April 17, 2017
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Acting Director Walter Cruickshank yesterday said that a wind energy area of 122,405 acres offshore Kitty Hawk, N.C. received the high bid of $9 million from Avangrid Renewables, the provisional winner in a competitive lease sale in federal waters.