BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/Ecotech Institute has announced that Patrick Longstreth has been named the school’s new academic dean. Longstreth is responsible for implementing the vision and strategic direction of Ecotech Institute; ensuring student, graduate and employer satisfaction; and making sure all staff at Ecotech Institute meet the high expectations of the school’s students and Ecotech Institute’s parent company, Education Corporation of America. Longstreth has been with Ecotech Institute since October 2012, serving as the school’s program director for both the Electrical Engineering Technology Program and Power Utility Technician Program.
  • REsource is a new online knowledge platform launched this week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA),. The source enables users to easily find country-specific data, create customized charts and graphs, and compare countries on metrics like renewable energy use and deployment. It also provides information on renewable energy market statistics, potentials, policies, finance, costs, benefits, innovations, education and other topics.
  • Abengoa has announced the appointment of Co-CFO responsible for Investor Relations & Capital Markets, effective February 1st, 2015. Ignacio Garcia Alvear, current CFO of Abengoa Bioenergy, will replace Barbara Zubiria, who has decided to take on a new professional opportunity as CFO of a company in an unrelated sector. Mr. Garcia Alvear joined Abengoa in 1995 and has been in his current position since January 2004.
  • Parker Ranch has announced that Parker Ranch Foundation Trust (PRFT) has entered into an agreement with an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC. This agreement provides NextEra Energy Resources with long-term access rights to PRFT lands to develop renewable energy derived from PRFT’s wind resources.

Wind Turbines to be Certified by IRS

Small wind turbines will now have to be certified by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) who has issued Notice 2015-4 providing new performance and quality standards that require certification of small wind turbines. “Small” turbines are classified as those having a nameplate capacity of up to 100 KW and must fit into this category in order to qualify for the 30 percent federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

“Distributed wind power for homes, farms, and small business is generating clean, affordable and homegrown electricity across all 50 states and as the market grows, it’s of critical importance to ensure high quality products make it to market,” said Jennifer Jenkins, executive director of the Distributed Wind Energy Association. “These certification requirements provide performance and quality assurance for consumers, government agencies and the industry, and help to ensure the successful implementation of distributed wind projects domestically.”

Small wind turbine in Winter Harbor, MaineThe IRS certification goes into effect for small wind turbines acquired or placed in service after January 26, 2015. The guidance requires that qualifying small wind manufacturers provide certification to either: (1) American Wind Energy Association Small Wind Turbine Performance and Safety Standard 9.1-2009 (AWEA); or (2) International Electrotechnical Commission 61400-1, 61400-12, and 61400-11 (IEC). The certification must be issued by an eligible certifier, which is defined as a third party, that is accredited by the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation or other similar accreditation body. Documentation establishing that the turbine meets the new requirements must be provided to taxpayers in order to claim the credit.

Jenkins continued, “The new certification requirement addresses the small, but persistent segment at the fringe of the industry that make wild assertions on efficiency, performance, and the their special ability to work on buildings or very short towers. Now, in order to qualify for the federal tax credits, they will have to prove these claims to third-party experts. That will be very challenging or impossible for unproven designs with exaggerated performance, but will not pose a major barrier for the industry leaders.”

“As an industry, we have been working for many years to strengthen the credibility and reliability of our products,” added Jenkins. “I’m proud to note that our membership has been leading the way on this front, actively pursuing certification since 2010 and poised to comply with these new standards.”

Wind Investments to Top $101B by 2020

Global wind power investments are predicted to rise from $70 billion in 2013 to $101 billion by the end of 2020. The new report, “Global Wind Turbine Value Chain – Production, Market Share, Competitive Landscape and Market Size to 2020,” also finds that installed capacity should rise from around 364.9 GW in 2014 to 650.8 GW by 2020. © Ximinez | Dreamstime.com - Wind Turbine PhotoAlthough demand is on the rise, says Global Data who authored the report,” there may be a low growth rate for wind turbine components over the forecast period.

Wind turbine manufacturers produced approximately 11 percent of wind turbine gearboxes, 48 percent of rotor blades and 43 percent of generators in-house in 2013. Meanwhile, 10 percent, 62 percent and 37 percent of gearboxes, rotor blades and generators, respectively, were manufactured in-house in 2006.

Prasad Tanikella, GlobalData’s Senior Analyst covering Power, said, “Depending on wind power component supplies, turbine manufacturers make strategic decisions over whether or not to produce the equipment in-house. Some of the major manufacturers, such as Enercon and Vestas, prefer to develop components within their business structure, to avoid issues with quality control and design confidentiality.”

Tanikella cautions that constant growth in the global wind power market is forcing turbine manufacturers to seek multiple component suppliers to ensure smooth production. Indeed, several long-term agreements are currently being drawn up between turbine manufacturers and their suppliers. As such, component prices are decreasing thus the predicted low growth rate for component manufacturers.

Are Solar Investments Better Than Stocks?

Investing in a 5 kilowatt solar system may be a better investment than investing in a stock market index fund according to a new report, “Going Solar in America: A Guide for Homeowners Considering Solar PV in America’s 50 Largest Cities,” released by the NC Clean Energy Technology Center. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)-funded study finds that solar is a “real opportunity for anyone looking to take greater control over their monthly utility bills and make a long-term, relatively low-risk investment.”

The first Going Solar in America report ranked America’s 50 largest cities by the financial value rooftop solar offers residential customers. According to the authors’ calculations, a financed solar PV system can be a better investment than Going Solar in America reportthe S&P 500 in 46 of the 50 cities. The report fins that many homeowners are unaware of solar PV’s value because they don’t have a personal point of reference of understanding how much it will cost them.

The second report provides actionable information to homeowners as a follow-up to these rankings. The guide includes descriptions of the policy and incentive options available to homeowners considering solar and information on how to get started. Among topics addressed are solar PV technology, financing options (loans, leases and power purchase agreements), and net metering and “value of solar” tariffs.

“We wanted to first draw attention to the financial value that solar offers today and then have a resource available to assist homeowners who are interested in taking the next step,” said Autumn Proudlove, co-author of the Going Solar in America reports.

Jim Kennerly, lead author and project manager of the Going solar reports notes that the upfront costs of a typical size solar PV system, not factoring into tax credits and other financing options, is about the same as the upfront cost of buying a 2015 Toyota Corolla. “Given that a car’s upfront cost does not include ongoing gas and maintenance costs, it really shows that going solar right now is a great financial value, no matter who you are, or where you live.”

Clean Energy Investments Jump

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), clean energy investment rose for the first time in three years in 2014. New funds for wind, solar, biofuels and other low-carbon energy technologies gained 16 percent to $310 billion last year. It was the first growth since 2011, erasing the impact of lower solar-panel prices and falling subsides in the U.S. and Europe that hurt the industry in previous years.

The study reported that clean energy benefited from a number of trends that will be difficult to replicate in 2015. For example, with China’s commitment to renewables, funding increased 32 percent. In addition, a record $19.4 billion was committed to offshore wind projects during the year.

BNEF Trends in Renewable Energy ReportThe industry benefited from a number of trends that will be challenging to replicate this year. Funding surged because of a 32 percent expansion in China’s commitment to renewables, as well as a record $19.4 billion committed to offshore wind projects that were years in the making. And prior to the major drop in gas prices, investments were on the rise for electric vehicle development.

“Healthy investment in clean energy may surprise some commentators, who have been predicting trouble for renewables as a result of the oil price collapse,” said Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board of the London-based researcher. “Our answer is that 2014 was too early to see any noticeable effect on investment. The impact of cheaper crude will be felt much more in road transport than in electricity generation.”

However, the BNEF, there may be trouble on the horizon for electric cars and offshore wind but even with lower oil prices, they predict installations for solar and wind power to grow about 10 percent in 2015. BNEF says the findings ease concerns that the oil price rout that began in the middle of last year would lead to a sharp reduction in funds for low-carbon energy, which is more costly than fossil fuels.

“This increase in renewable energy investment demonstrates the resilience of the sector in the face of tumbling oil prices,” said Ben Warren, head of environmental finance at the consulting firm EY. “This trend is set to continue as technology around renewables becomes more affordable. The increasing role that renewable energy plays in emerging markets will also help ensure sustainable growth for the sector.”

 

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/In a move designed to reflect their specialized expertise with solar racks and installations, Daetwyler Clean Energy has shifted its solar brand to DCE Solar. “We believe in all renewable forms of energy,” said CEO Bill Taylor. “Our name shift is about emphasizing our focus on solar instead of the much broader spectrum of different kinds of clean energy which Daetwyler also supports.”
  • Ecolab Inc. is the first major corporate participant in Minnesota’s newest alternative energy program, which uses community solar gardens — shared solar panel sites with grid-connected subscribers — to offset electricity use. SunEdison will develop the solar gardens under the Xcel Energy Solar*Rewards Community Program, which launched in December 2014 in Minnesota. The solar gardens will deliver electricity to Minnesota’s local grid, and as a subscriber, Ecolab will offset the electricity it purchases for its corporate and research, development and engineering campuses in Minnesota.
  • ReportsnReports.com has added the report, “Global Wind Turbine Value Chain – Production, Market Share, Competitive Landscape and Market Size to 2020″. According to this wind power market and wind turbine industry report, more blades are being outsourced than are being produced in-house, Asian tower manufacturers pose threat to American counterparts and Europe as well as Asia-Pacific combined generate more than 90% of global wind power generators. This research provides global data and information analysis for wind power market, wind turbine, wind turbine rotor blade market, wind turbine gearbox industry, the wind turbine tower as well as generator markets.
  • Transparency Market Research has released a new market report titled “Waste to Energy Market: Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2013 – 2019,” that defines and segments the global waste to energy market with analysis and forecast of the global revenues. This report observes that the annual revenue of the waste to energy market was USD 18,472.3 million in 2012 and is expected to reach USD 31,892.9 million by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 8.1% from 2013 to 2019.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/The Advanced Ethanol Council (AEC) is pleased to welcome Quad County Corn Processors (QCCP) and Syngenta as new members. Syngenta and QCCP are engaged in a joint venture to develop, license and deploy Cellerate™ — a “bolt on” cellulosic ethanol process technology easily integrated into existing corn ethanol production processes.
  • New orders of clean diesel and diesel-electric hybrid buses by transit agencies in major communities like San Francisco, Chicago, Detroit, and New York over the past year are a strong indication that clean diesel technology is still the all-around best choice for public transportation according to Allen Schaeffer, executive director of the Diesel Technology Forum. “These new clean diesel powered buses offer the most modern and advanced technology to transit fleets in a much more cost-efficient manner than other fuel sources,” Schaeffer said. “It’s because of the safety, reliability and efficiency now coupled with new environmental performance that makes diesel the predominant power source for public transit, as well as school and intercity bus services nationwide.”
  • Rémi Gruet has been appointed CEO of Ocean Energy Europe – the trade association for ocean renewable energy. Gruet joined Ocean Energy Europe as Policy & Operations Director last year and succeeds Dr. Sian George, who was appointed to oversee the reinvention of the association as Ocean Energy Europe in 2012. Gruet will be tasked with shaping the policy context that will help Europe’s ocean energy sector reach commercialisation over the coming decade.
  • Henry Ford’s 20th-century vision of a bioeconomy rich with fuels developed from vegetable matter is far from a reality. What will it take to shift the fossil-fuel-based energy of the present into a future sustainable, modern bioeconomy? Bioenergy Connection, the magazine produced by the Energy Biosciences Institute (EBI), confronts that question in its latest issue. The article looks at the state of advanced biofuels and technologies today, as well as offering closer examinations of two biofuels, bio-butanol and biodiesel. Other features address the promise of aviation biofuels, flex fuels in the United States, and the history of sugarcane ethanol in Brazil. In a series of articles, experts also examine the dramatic debut of commercial cellulosic ethanol, the process of separating sugars from biomass, and bioprospecting for potential microbes to aid in biofuels production.

Groups Petition Hawai’ian Utility for Solar Support

A coalition of community groups have petitioned the Hawai’i Public Utilities Commission in support of renewable energy such as solar. The group is calling for a completion of the state’s renewable energy goals before it considers approving the purchase of Hawaiian Electric Industries by Florida-based NextEra Energy. The coalition includes Sierra Club, represented by Earthjustice, Blue Planet Foundation, Hawai‘i PV Coalition, Hawai‘i Solar Energy Association and The Alliance for Solar Choice.

Solar panels dot the rooftops of homes in Salt Lake on Oahu, Hawaiʻi. Photo Credit: MATT MALLAMS / EARTHJUSTICE

Solar panels dot the rooftops of homes in Salt Lake on Oahu, Hawaiʻi. Photo Credit: MATT MALLAMS / EARTHJUSTICE

NextEra’s proposal to buy Hawaiian Electric for $4.3 billion was announced in early December and will require various approvals, including by the PUC. The merger application to the PUC has not yet been filed.

“Our purpose is to make sure the horse is in front of the cart,” said Jeff Mikulina, executive director of Blue Planet Foundation. “As clean energy stakeholders, we share the joint interest in making sure we complete planning for Hawai‘i’s energy future now. We don’t want to put the discussions on the back-burner and then have to start over after the merger proceeding is finished.”

“Hawai‘i customers deserve an energy roadmap to ensure we’re acting in the best interest of the public, like having access to cheaper and cleaner power, before engaging in a long and complicated merger process,” said Leslie Cole-Brooks, executive director of the Hawai‘i Solar Association.

Over the past several years, the Commission has demanded that Hawaiian Electric focus on establishing a roadmap for a sustainable, customer-focused electric grid that serves the best interests of the state and people of Hawai‘i.

The petition states that the Commission’s numerous orders, together with enactments by the state legislature, have identified specific issues and mandated specific next steps necessary to articulate “the vision, business strategies, and regulatory policy changes required to align the [Hawaiian Electric]’s business model with customers’ interests and the state’s public policy goals.” Continue reading

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/IKEA has announced solar energy plans for its St. Louis, Missouri store opening Fall 2015.  Panel installation will begin this spring, with completion before the store’s opening, making the project the largest rooftop solar array in the State of Missouri. The store is under construction on 21 acres along Interstate-64 at Vandeventer Avenue, The store’s 259,000-square-foot solar array will consist of a 1.28-MW system, built with 4,085 panels, and will produce approximately 1,780,000 kWh of electricity annually for the store.
  • Canadian Solar Inc. has contributed $400,000 to the University of Toronto’s TalentEdge program to support scientific development, cutting-edge research, and hands-on learning. Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Solar, graduated from the University of Toronto with a PhD in Material Sciences in 1995.
  • High school students are invited to apply for a $1,000 scholarship from the CHS Foundation, the major giving entity of CHS Inc. The CHS Foundation will award more than 300 scholarships, 100 of which will be given to high school students pursuing agricultural-related degrees at colleges and universities across the country. Students pursuing a STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) field of study with an interest in agriculture will also be considered. The high school scholarship application deadline is April 1, 2015. For eligibility information and application forms, visit www.chsinc.com/stewardship.
  • Yingli Green Energy has announced that it completed grid connection for a 10 MW solar power plant in China’s Hebei Province in late December 2014. The solar power plant is located in Fuping, a mountainous region in western Hebei Province. It will produce more than 12,000 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity per year.

Geothermal Data System Steams Into New Entity

The National Geothermal Data System (NDGS) has been spun off into a new non-profit company: USGIN Foundation, Inc. The company will commercialize the technology and infrastructure at the national and international level. The project was launched through funding from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) with the grant period ending December 31, 2014. The project was developed by Arizona State Geologist (AZGS) on behalf of the Association of American State Geologists.

NGDSLogoBigAccording to AZGS, the NDGS system is intended to increase geothermal exploration and development across the country by providing free, open source access to any digital data that can help, not just limited to traditional geothermal data.

The project was officially launched by DOE Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz at the White House Datapalooza earlier this year. To date the database has more than 65 sources located in the 50 US states serving more than 10 million data records including information on 3 million oil and gas wells, over 700,000 well logs, up to a million water wells, and tens of thousands of maps, documents, and reports. In Arizona specifically, every oil, gas, geothermal, and CO2 well is online in the NGDS, along with numerous other datasets.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) will be streaming NGDS data into their online Global Renewable Energy Atlas with contributions from AZDS’ content models and interchange formats to the National Data Repositories coalition that has created a new online Business Rules Library for data management in the global upstream petroleum industry. Anyone can set up their own node in the network using free, open source software at the NGDS website as well as stream data to their own portal.

Chevy Premiers Bolt EV Concept

Chevrolet has premiered its Bolt EV concept car, a long-range all-electric vehicle designed to offer more than 200 miles of range starting around $30,000. Leveraging the electrification prowess established by Volt and Spark EV, the Bolt EV concept is designed to offer long-range performance.

“The Bolt EV concept is a game-changing electric vehicle designed for attainability, not exclusivity,” said General Motors CEO Mary Barra. “Chevrolet believes electrification is a 2015 Chevy Bolt EV Concept Carpillar of future transportation and needs to be affordable for a wider segment of customers.”

According to Chevy, drivers will be able to select operating modes designed around preferred driving styles such as daily commuting and spirited weekend cruising. The modes adjust accelerator pedal mapping, vehicle ride height and suspension tuning. The Bolt EV concept is also designed to support DC fast charging.

“We have made tremendous strides in technologies that make it easier and more affordable for Chevrolet customers to integrate an all-electric vehicle in their daily lives,” continued Barra. “The Bolt EV concept demonstrates General Motors’ commitment to electrification and the capabilities of our advanced EV technology.”

Click here to learn more about the Bolt EV.

DOE Offers $2.5M to Improve Wind Forecasting

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has allocated $2.5 million to help improve wind forecasting. Louisville, Colorado-based Vaisala will research the atmospheric processes that generate wind in mountain valley regions and the data will be used to improve wind weather models for short-term wind forecasts. Better forecasts will allow energy plant operators to operate wind turbines closer to maximum capacity.

Screen Shot 2015-01-15 at 11.51.02 AMThe industry has found that mountain-valley areas bring additional challenges including varying degress of soil moisture and surface temperatures making it more difficult to forecast wind energy output. Vaisala and its partners will use advanced meteorological equipment to analyze specific environmental characteristics that affect wind flow patterns in the Columbia River Gorge region of Washington and Oregon.

Data collected during the project will be shared in near real-time with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Energy Department’s national laboratories, and will be used to develop improved atmospheric simulations for the Weather Research and Forecasting model, a widely used weather prediction system. These new wind measurements and simulations will also be incorporated into NOAA’s Numerical Weather Prediction models to improve short-term wind forecasts in complex terrain.

This important research builds on the Energy Department’s Wind Forecast Improvement Project, which previously explored wind energy resources in the northern Great Plains and western Texas. For the first time ever, NOAA assimilated wind data from tall turbines and nacelle anemometers into meteorological models for use by the wind industry and other sectors. Integrating these new data into existing models produced forecasts that were up to 15% more accurate at predicting future wind conditions in nearly flat terrain.

Wave Energy Costs Favorable

According to a new analysis published in the journal Renewable Energy, large-scale wave energy systems developed in the Pacific Northwest should be comparatively steady, dependable and able to be integrated into the overall energy grid at competitive costs to other forms of renewable energy including wind power. The study finds that wave energy has less variability than some other energy sources and that by balancing wave energy production over a large geographic area variability can be further reduced.

Variability of renewable energy production from sources such as solar or wind have been a concern and often require back-up energy sources leading to extra costs. Wave energy may be a more reliable and ultimately less expense option when the technology is future developed.

Ocean Sentinel“Whenever any new form of energy is added, a challenge is to integrate it into the system along with the other sources,” said Ted Brekken, an associate professor and renewable energy expert in the College of Engineering at Oregon State University.

“By producing wave energy from a range of different sites, possibly with different types of technology, and taking advantage of the comparative consistency of the wave resource itself, it appears that wave energy integration should be easier than that of wind energy,” he continued. “The reserve, or backup generation, necessary for wave energy integration should be minimal.”

Today, wave energy is not being commercially produced in the Pacific Northwest, but the researchers expert its future potential is significant, and costs should come down as technologies improve and more systems are developed.  In addition, the study suggested, that its short-term generation capacity can be predicted with a high degree of accuracy over a time scale ranging from minutes to hours, and with some accuracy even seasonally or annually.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/Algae.Tec Limited has announced it has executed an agreement with China Finance Strategies Investment Holdings Ltd (CFS) under which Algae.Tec will issue an initial US $0.5m convertible bond and, subject to the achievement of certain milestones, will issue US $5m conditional options to CFS, and CFS will introduce Algae.Tec’s unique technology into the greater China region.
  • Survalent Technology’s Advanced Distrubution Management System (ADMS) took home the award for the Best Smart Grid Solution at the 2014 Rural Smart Grid Summit (RSGS), held at the Arizona Grand Resort & Spa in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • The report “Global Wind Turbine Value Chain – Production, Market Share, Competitive Landscape and Market Size to 2020,” provides an overview of the global wind power market, examining major drivers and restraints, global wind power capacity and generation data broken down by region, country, and segment (onshore/offshore). It also looks at the wind turbine market, covering global average turbine size, price, market size, and manufacturer share in terms of installations. The report discusses the global wind turbine value chain, examining the key components of a wind turbine: the rotor blade, gearbox, tower, and generator. It analyzes the production, cost, market size and major trends for each component, as well as major companies’ competitive landscapes.
  • TerraForm Power, Inc. has announced that it has commenced a $350 million underwritten public offering of shares of its Class A common stock. TerraForm Power has also granted the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase additional shares of its Class A common stock. TerraForm Power intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to fund a portion of the previously announced acquisition of certain power generation assets from First Wind.

Brazilian Ethanol Summit Planned for June

Sugarcane harvest in Brazil photo unicaThe 5th annual Ethanol Summit 2015 will take place in the Golden Hall of the World Trade Center (WTC) in São Paulo on June 29-30, 2015. The event supported by the Brazilian Sugarcane Industry Association (UNICA) and will focus on renewable energy, especially ethanol, biomaterials and biochemicals that can be produced from sugarcane. There are more than 100 speakers in four major plenary sessions, 15 thematic panels and opening and closing ceremonies, as well as side events. Ethanol Summit 2015 will be organized by one of the world congress companies, MCI.
 
“We have a year ahead in which key decisions for the future of the sugarcane industry will be taken, both in Brazil and on the world stage, increasing the importance of the Summit as the main forum for discussions on the most relevant topics for the energy and renewable products coming of cane sugar,” said the president of UNICA, Elizabeth Farina.
 
For the CEO of MCI Brazil, Juliano Lissoni, completion of the Ethanol Summit is an important and highly visible challenge. “It is a high-level event, worldwide established as a major meetings focused on renewable energy. We want to contribute to the Summit grow and go further, contributing directly to the present and the future of this activity increasingly essential for Brazil and the world.”

Registration for the event will be opened in February, with the launch of the official website of the Ethanol Summit 2015.