ChargePoint Home Debuts in the New Year

The new year has brought drivers of plug in electric vehicles (EV) a new way to charge at home. ChargePoint Home is now available and according to the company some notable features include its size as well as at its ultra-sleek, durable design – about the size of an average tablet.

ChargePoint Home“ChargePoint has spent years perfecting commercial charging stations, and with over 20,000 charging spots, we have built the largest EV charging network in the world. With our entrance into the single family home market, we are giving even more people the most advanced tools needed to confidently and conveniently drive an EV,” said ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano. “Smart homes, smart phones and smart cars. It makes sense to connect them to create a user-friendly, efficient and complete charging system at home.”

With ChargePoint Home, drivers can charge up to 25 miles per hour and easily manage the charger from their smartphone. Some of the key features include:

  • Scheduling through the ChargePoint app to minimize energy costs and work around your life
  • Remote start and stop charging
  • Set reminders to ensure you never forget to plug in
  • Different cord lengths available to fit any garage
  • Integration with your ChargePoint account to track all your charging information
  • Works with Nest Learning Thermostat

ChargePoint Home plugs into a standard 240V outlet and has a universal J1772 connector that is compatible with all cars and can be installed either indoors or outdoors. ChargePoint Home will be on the market this summer.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) has announced that Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds will discuss Iowa’s leadership in the production of biofuels, such as ethanol and biodiesel, at the 9th Annual Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit and Trade Show on January 27, 2015 at The Meadows Conference Center in Altoona, Iowa.
  • Gevo, Inc. has announced that they have received a positive determination from the Listing Qualifications department of The Nasdaq Stock Market December 30, 2014, granting approval of the company’s request to transfer its listing to The Nasdaq Capital Market from The Nasdaq Global Market. The company’s securities will begin trading on the Nasdaq Capital Market effective at the start of trading on Monday, January 5, 2015.
  • TransCanada Corporation has announced that it has acquired the eighth Ontario solar facility from Canadian Solar Solutions Inc. (Canadian Solar). The newly built Liskeard 1 facility has a generating capacity of 10 MW and is located in northeastern Ontario in the New Liskeard region. The new facility has now started generating electricity under a 20-year power purchase agreement with the Ontario Power Authority.
  • The Board of Trustees of Kit Carson Electric unanimously approved a build out of an additional 1.5 Megawatts of Community Solar projects to be located on Taos, New Mexico, into Kit Carson Cooperative Electric’s power supply mix. The approval comes following a decision by the Board of Trustees to begin negotiations of opting out of the current contract with Tri-State Generation and Transmission Cooperative. The total 1.5 Megawatt Community Solar Projects will allow Kit Carson Electric to fully reach its contract limits set by Tri-State of 5% energy to 10% capacity.

Enel Green Power Starts Geothermal Plant

The Bagnore 4 geothermal power plant located in the municipalities of Santa Fiora and Arcidosso, near Grosseto, in the Italian region of Tuscany is online and grid connected. The project was completed by Enel Green Power and has an installed capacity of 40 MW and will generate up to 310 million kWh per year. Bagnore 4 joins the 20 MW Bagnore 3 plant and is composed of two 20 MW turbines.

Enel Green Power logoThe construction of the new plant involved a total investment of around 120 million euros, partly financed with funds from the European Investment Bank (EIB). The project is in line with the growth targets set out in Enel Green Power’s 2014-2018 business plan, which calls for around 600 million euros of investment in geothermal power in Tuscany.

The company says its new plant was designed to meet the highest international standards and to employ the most environmentally friendly technology available. Bagnore 4 also features a sophisticated monitoring and remote diagnostics system to ensure high reliability and efficiency.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • http://domesticfuel.com/category/bioenergy-bytes/Hanwha SolarOne has announced they have signed a deal with a leading photovoltaic (PV) developer for the supply of 80 megawatts (MW) of solar PV modules to a project in the Antofagasta Region. The solar installations will be powered by Hanwha SolarOne’s new polycrystalline module generation, the HSL S Series.
  • China Sunergy has announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, CEEG (Nanjing) Renewable Energy Co., Ltd., has won a 30 MW contract from Enrich Energy Pvt. Ltd, an integrated solar energy solutions provider and a pioneer in India focused on developing large scale private solar parks across India.
  • Aquatherm Industries, Inc. congratulates Mr. Reed Wilson in having been elected President of the Florida Solar Energy Industries Association (FlaSEIA). Wilson is owner of Aquatherm’s long-time Florida Distribution Center Aquatherm Solar Supply as well as Fort Myers-based HVAC and solar contracting firm FL Green Team.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has announced the extension of the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Rebate program, which will continue to provide $2,000 rebates for large-battery system plug-in hybrid electric and battery-electric vehicles until June 30, 2015, or until the 500 vehicle benchmark is reached. To date, DEP has more than 150 rebates remaining at this amount. DEP has invested $4.35 million toward the deployment of electric vehicles in Pennsylvania since 2011.

2014 Energy Legislation in Review

As 2015 kicks off the Center for the New Energy Economy (CNEE) has released an Advanced Energy Legislation 2014 Year in Review. During 2014, the report found that 430 advanced energy bills became law. While the total number of enacted bills decreased from 713 in 2013, CNEE found that percentages of energy legislation by policy category remained stable. This leads the company to predict that interest in energy policy should remain somewhat constant over the next year.

Screen Shot 2014-12-29 at 9.44.48 PM

Figure 1. 2014 Enacted Legislation by Policy Category (430 bills)

There were several notable pieces of legislation passed last year including energy legislation in California, Hawaii, Nevada, Maine, Minnesota and Rhode Island. In 2014, South Carolina became the latest state to enact a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) focused on distributed generation while Ohio and Indiana suffered setbacks. Other key actions during the year included state responses to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Power Plan proposed rule, along with concerns over revenue shortfalls in the federal Highway Trust Fund due to increased fuel economy and new pipeline safety rules.

A few other key wins for renewable energy included Maine’s new solar standard that will grow the state’s use of solar energy from an estimated 40 MW in 2016 to 500 MW n 2030. Massachusetts added a renewable thermal energy storage standard.

The report was based on CNEE’s Advanced Energy Legislation Tracker, a tool for finding and tracking energy legislation by state (and federal). Click here to read.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFTerraForm Power has completed its acquisition of 77.6 MW of distributed generation solar power plants from the Capital Dynamics U.S. Solar Energy Fund, L.P. The transaction is expected to provide approximately $21 million in unlevered Cash Available for Distribution (CAFD) in the next year and will be immediately accretive to CAFD per share. The power purchase agreements in the acquired portfolio have a weighted average remaining contract life of 19 years with a weighted average credit rating of A3/A-.
  • San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) has announced that more than 1,000 MW of renewable power is being delivered to the San Diego region made possible by the new $1.9 billion Sunrise Powerlink transmission line project. The addition of the 150-MW Solar Gen 2 Imperial Valley solar project now brings to more than 1,000 MW the total amount of solar and wind power being transmitted to SDG&E customers from the Imperial Valley.
  • Renewable Energy Systems Americas has announced the completion of a portion of the 267 MW Tucannon River Wind Farm in Washington State. The company served as the Balance of Plant (BOP) construction contractor for the project’s owner, Portland General Electric (PGE). The project consists of 116 2.3 MW Siemens turbines and is expected to produce enough clean, renewable energy to power the homes of approximately 84,000 average residential customers.
  • Solar-Tectic LLC has been issued a patent for their technology that allows for the growth of single crystal semiconductor films on inexpensive substrates such as glass, from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The technology was invented by the late Dr. Praveen Chaudhari, winner of the 1995 US Medal of Technology and Innovation, and has applications in various industries in addition to solar, such as displays and LEDs. U.S. patent 8,916,455 titled “Method of Growing Heteroepitaxial Single Crystal of Large Grained Semiconductor Films on Glass Substrates and Devices Thereon” promises to solve a long standing challenge in materials science, namely, the growth of single crystal semiconductor films directly on amorphous substrates, such as glass.

Geothermal Energy Outlook 2015

According to the Geothermal Energy Association (GEA), the U.S. and global geothermal markets are expected to grow in 2015. The U.S. market may grow slowly while state and federal policies are adjusted, but with continued pressure to address climate change and a growing recognition of the important values of geothermal power to grid reliability, that is expected to improve. However, global markets are expected to see stronger growth with continued expansion while U.S. is expected to make forward progress.

The forecast for geothermal energy growth comes on the heels of a strong 2014. GEA reports that the world market reached upwards of 12.7 GW of operational geothermal power in 24 countries, reflecting about 700 MW of combined added growth. By Geothermal Energy Plantcomparison, the global industry added about 600 MW in 2013. As of the end of 2014, there are also 11.7 GW of capacity additions in development and 1.8 GW of power under construction in 80 countries.

The World Bank is aiding in global growth through its focus on early risk mitigation. In tandem to this work, governments continue to develop and adopt policies to meet electricity demand. GEA forecasts the forward-moving trajectory will continue for at least another decade and globally, geothermal energy production should reach at least 20 GW by 2024.

2014 highlights include:

  • This year emerging economies in East Africa, Central America, and the South Pacific experienced the fastest growth, and each of these regions had some notable developments:
  • In the East Africa region, a new 280-MW addition at the Olkaria field in Kenya now has the world’s largest flash plant, and Kenya added 300 MW of capacity overall. In Ethiopia, a partnership between the government and the World Bank expects to expand electricity access where it is most needed by adding four million more people to the grid in the next five years. Geothermal would be the second largest source of power supply in East Africa by 2040.
  • In Central America, Costa Rica received a $550 million loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency toward planned capacity of three geothermal plants each totaling 55 MW. El Salvador reached the milestone of producing 25% of its electricity from geothermal energy with an aim to achieve 40% in the near future.
  • In the South Pacific, Indonesia is leading in developing capacity and could surpass the U.S in installed capacity in the future. Financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency with equipment from Ormat, construction began in Indonesia on what will be the largest geothermal plant ever built, the 330MW Sarulla project. In the Philippines, the Energy department announced plans to increase installed capacity of geothermal power to 3.3 GW by 2030.

The 2015 geothermal outlook will be discussed in more detail, including the roles global companies and governments will play during the State of the Geothermal Industry Briefing taking place Tuesday, February 24, 2015 Washington, DC.

 

 

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFThe history, changes and recent state of solar power systems will be covered by James Earl Jones in an upcoming “In America” segment. The segment will examine how solar power systems are saving people money, creating ‘green’ energy, and how it’s changing the landscape of the energy industry.
  • Sunpin Solar Development and Suntuity, a Global Project Developer have begun commercial operation of their 3.97 MWp DC ground mounted distributed generation facility located in Tolland, Massachusetts. The utility scale solar system is interconnected to Western Massachusetts Electric Company’s distribution system powering the municipalities of Agawam and Longmeadow. All electricity produced by the project (net of 1.75% parasitic load) will be sold (50% to the Town of Longmeadow, 50% to the Town of Agawam) through Solar Net Metering Power Purchase Agreements with both townships.
  • Pattern Energy Group has acquired the 200 megawatt Logan’s Gap Wind project in Texas, which is currently under construction. Upon completion of the project, the company will have an owned interest of 164 MW and three institutional tax equity investors will acquire the balance. Pattern Energy acquired the Logan’s Gap Wind project for a total cash funding commitment of approximately $113 million.
  • Martifer Solar has completed development of a 4.27 MW PV plant in the UK for Smartenergy Renewables AG. The 4.27 MW PV Francis Court solar plant is located near Exeter. Martifer Solar has sold the project rights and will complete the engineering, procurement and construction) and subsequent operation & maintenance services.

Vertimass Secures $2M BioJet Fuel Grant

Vertimass is in negotiations with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to receive a $2 million grant to aid them in commercilizing the conversion of their “green” catalyst technology that converts ethanol into gasoline, diesel and jet fuel blend stocks. The resultant fuel is compatible with current transportation fuVertimassel infrastructure.

The company has a world-wide exclusive license for the technology from Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Vertimass hopes to expand the ethanol market and believes that its fuel will be certified under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). According to the company, benefits of their technology include:

  • A single step conversion of ethanol into a hydrocarbon blend stock without the addition of hydrogen.
  • The ability to process between 5 percent and 100 percent of ethanol concentrations.
  • Production of minimal amounts of light gases.
  • Operation at relatively low temperature and atmospheric pressure.
  • The ability to shift product distributions in response to changing market demands. The technology, which dilutes ethanol streams, will result in higher yields to gasoline, jet fuel and diesel products and is expected to prolong the life of vehicles.

“This green catalyst technology can be rapidly added to an existing ethanol plant with low capital and operating costs while providing fuel flexibility and essentially replacing dehydration operations,” said Charles Wyman, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of Vertimass. “With the ability to add operations to existing plants at a rapid pace and low cost, the new product will help meet the goals of Renewable Standard Fuel production and also help the Federal Aviation Administration achieve their target of 1 billion gallons of renewable aviation fuel by 2018.”

The new Vertimass technology has an estimated yearly production potential of 140 billion gallons. The technology would also expand opportunities to use more ethanol from corn in the U.S., sugarcane in Brazil and cellulosic biomass worldwide.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFThe Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) has announced that Iowa’s 43 ethanol plants produced 3.9 billion gallons during 2014, up from 3.7 billion gallons the previous three years. Iowa continues to be the number one ethanol producing state, and is estimated to account for roughly 27 percent of national ethanol production in 2014. For the first time, a small amount of the ethanol production came from cellulosic feedstocks such as corn stover and corn kernel fiber.
  • The Toyota Research Institute of North America (TRINA), in partnership with The Electrochemical Society (ECS), is requesting proposals from young professors and scholars pursuing innovative electrochemical research in green energy technology. The purpose of the ECS Toyota Young Investigator Fellowship is to encourage young professors and scholars to pursue research in green energy technology that may promote the development of next-generation vehicles capable of utilizing alternative fuels.
  • According to the latest report from GTM Research, “The Future of Solar-Plus-Storage in the U.S.,” the nation will install 318 cumulative megawatts of behind-the-meter solar-plus-storage capacity through 2018. Between California’s recent mandate for the state to procure 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage for its grid and the announcement of Tesla’s Gigafactory, the energy storage market is nearing a tipping point.
  • BBI International has announced that Heating the Midwest, a regional conference focusing on biomass derived thermal energy, will be co-located with the 2015 International Biomass Conference and Expo. Heating the Midwest will be held on Monday, April 20, 2015 at the Minneapolis Convention Center and will bring together leaders of the woody and agricultural biomass industry interested in supporting and expanding the use of biomass for heat and combined heat and power in the Midwest.

Solar Tariff Ups Solar Costs, Hurts Consumers

A final decision has been made by the U.S. Department of Commerce regarding solar tariffs on solar parts assembled in China using components from a third country. The decision created a Separate Rates Group that will be subject to an AD tariff of 52.13 percent and a CVD tariff of 38.72 percent. For example, Yingli will be subject to a combined AD/CVD rate of 29.18 percent.

CASE-logo“We are deeply disappointed in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s decision to accept such a broadly defined scope for this ruling, and to levy harsh, protectionist tariffs,” said Robert Petrina, managing director of Yingli Green Energy Americas. “It’s well known that our customers, partners, and other stakeholders represent the majority of the solar industry and U.S. jobs. We will continue our vigorous defense on their behalf with the hope that national efforts to increase solar power’s cost-competiveness are not derailed further.”

According to the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) this ruling will not only increase the cost of solar imports but will also adversely affect U.S. solar manufacturers. For example, following the announcement Hemlock Semiconductor announced it will close down its plant in Clarksville, Tennessee where the company produced silicon for solar panels. The company cited the ruling as a factor in its decision to close down U.S. production. CASE also says the decision will affect Georgia-based Suniva company.

“Imposing unilateral tariffs on all solar modules assembled in China, including those with solar cells produced in the U.S., Taiwan or any third country, will undercut the growth of American solar jobs and hurt our domestic solar industry,” said Jigar Shah, CASE president.

“Suniva, based in Norcross, Georgia, is America’s leading solar manufacturer. But the Department of Commerce’s decision to broaden the scope of the case may put American companies like Suniva in the bizarre position of paying severe import duties on a product (PV cells) they manufactured in America when those cells are assembled into modules in China,” continued Jigar. “More drastically, Hemlock Semiconductor announced that it plans to close its Clarksville, Tennessee manufacturing plant due to ‘ongoing challenges presented by global trade disputes.’ Over $1.2 billion of investment and 50 jobs will be lost, in addition to the 400 jobs already lost to layoffs in 2013 as a result of the initial 2012 tariffs.”

Jigar said that due to the global threat of climate change and the need to reduce carbon emission, it makes no sense to impose tariffs on solar imports. He urges the U.S and Chinese governments to negotiate free and fair trade in the global solar industry.

MPM Technologies Signs Waste to Energy Deal

MPM Technologies, a subsidiary Carbon Cycle Power (CCP) has signed a lease agreement with an affiliate of Spokane Valley manufacturer Wheeler Industries, Inc., to house the demonstration unit of CCP’s waste-to-value solution. The patent-pending photon-induced, electric-arc gasification technology can procCarbon Cycle Power gasification technologyess biomass or municipal solid waste to produce heat and power.

“After reviewing several viable options, the one that made the most fiscal sense was to manufacture and demonstrate in the same location,” said Brian Burrow, interim CFO for CCI/MPM. “We’re literally building the unit on one side of the street and deploying the demo on the other side of the street. It really is an ideal scenario.”

Carbon Cycle Investments acquired a controlling interest in MPM following a stock purchase agreement in April 2013. The company already has an agreement with Wheeler Industries as the manufacturer of the reaction chamber of its gasification technology. Manufacturing will begin immediately.

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFEnogen corn enzyme technology from Syngenta has been selected as the winner of Agri Marketing magazine’s prestigious Product of the Year award for 2014. Enogen is the industry’s first and only biotech output trait designed specifically to enhance ethanol production.
  • H&S Bakery has unveiled its fleet of propane autogas-fueled vehicles. The conversion funds came in part form Maryland Clean Cities Coalition grant from the Maryland Energy Administration. Over the next two years, H&S aims to operate about 10 percent of their current 600-vehicle fleet with propane autogas. The company has also installed a private refueling station that includes an 18,000-gallon underground propane tank.
  • China WindPower Group Limited has announced that two new PV power plants have commenced power generation on 23 December at Nedong County, Tibet and Indiana, USA. The Nedong County, Tibet project has an installed capacity of 20 MW and the project in Indiana has an installed capacity of 11.1MW. It is the largest distributed PV power plant in the state.
  • Infocast has announced the annual Wind Power Finance and Investment Summit will return February 10-12, 2015 at the luxurious Rancho Bernardo Inn, in San Diego, CA. The Summit wil explore the latest issues and challenges and opportunities within the industry. Speakers from Duke Energy Renewables, EDF Renewable Energy, First Wind, Bank of Merrill Lynch, Capital Dynamics, Energy Capital Partners, California ISO, ERCOT, along with many more, will be on-hand to discuss a variety of topics and relay the latest insights for 2015.

Nebraska Seeks to Export Wind Energy

Nebraska Renewable Energy Exports ReportThe Nebraska Power Review Board (PRB) has commissioned a study that identifies the factors that impact the desirability of developing between 5,000 -10,000 MW of renewable energy for the state. Performed by the Brattle Group, the study also presents options available to policy makers to meet the state’s economic development objectives. The report has been submitted to the Nebraska Legislature for review.

Based upon a review of state, regional, and national renewable energy and transmission policies, The study, “Nebraska Renewable Energy Exports: Challenges and Opportunities,” identifies the following challenges to wind generation developments in Nebraska:

1. Transmission Constraints: Transmission projects currently in development will provide transmission infrastructure sufficient to integrate at least another 2,000 MW of wind projects. However, achieving the considerably higher target of renewable generation in Nebraska would require a substantial expansion of the state, regional, and interregional transmission systems.

2. Limited and Uncertain Demand for Renewable Energy: The regional market for renewable generation is currently saturated. However, demand for additional renewable generation will likely emerge as costs decline relative to conventional resources, wholesale electricity prices increase, coal plants retire, and new environmental policies are implemented. Nebraska will need to better position itself to be prepared to take advantage of emerging new demand for renewable generation.

3. Less Attractive Economics Compared to Neighboring States: Renewable generation developers in Nebraska face competitive disadvantages relative to some other states in the wind-rich Great Plains region, including lower financial incentives and lower wholesale power prices.

4. Greater Perceived Risks: Due to the requirements of the Certified Renewable Export Facility (CREF) process and limited experience in developing renewable generation under that standard, there is a perception among developers that wind projects in the state are more risky and more difficult to pursue than in neighboring states.

The study discusses both the costs and benefits of supporting renewable generation development in Nebraska. If, after considering these tradeoffs, the Nebraska Legislature chooses to promote the development of renewable resources in the state, the authors identify a number of options available to meet these goals.

“Nebraska has some of the best wind in the country but a surprisingly low amount of wind generation installed and under development,” said Brattle principal Judy Chang, a co-author of the study. “Nebraska policy makers and legislators have been working to increase the attractiveness of the state to renewable energy developers. They have already reduced some barriers, including those related to limiting public power condemnation rights. We anticipate that Nebraska policy makers will consider the options laid out in our report to make decisions about further improving the economics and regulatory setting for renewable development.”

 

BioEnergy Bytes

  • BioEnergyBytesDFGovernor Dannel P. Malloy has announced Connecticut has once again been recognized as a fuel cell leader, ranking as one of the top five states by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in its recent report State of the States: Fuel Cells in America 2014. The report showcases Connecticut as one of the successful Top 5 Fuel Cell States, along with California, New York, Ohio and South Carolina. Partially funded by the DOE Fuel Cell Technologies Office and produced by Breakthrough Technologies Institute, State of the States provides in-depth profiles of fuel cell and hydrogen policies, initiatives and installations across the country.
  • The Canadian Wind Energy Association is calling on the Government of British Columbia to send a clear signal on future market opportunities for wind energy in British Columbia in the wake of its decision to approve the $8.77 billion Site C hydroelectric dam project. While Premier Clark indicated that there will be an important role for independent power producers in meeting future power needs in British Columbia, the announcement failed to provide any signals about either the scale or timing of future market opportunities for wind energy in the province.
  • Canadian Solar Solutions has completed the sale of the 10 MW AC RayLight solar power plant valued at over C$65 million (USD$56 million) to One West Holdings Ltd., an affiliate of Concord Green Energy. The RayLight 10 MW AC solar power plant is located in the Township of Tay, Ontario and uses Canadian Solar’s MaxPower CS6X-300/305P panels made in Canada. BowMont Capital and Advisory acted as financial advisor to Concord on the transaction.
  • S&C Electric Company has announced that Europe’s largest battery-storage project has been officially opened by Amber Rudd, minister at the Department for Energy and Climate Change at Leighton Buzzard in Bedfordshire, England. S&C Electric Europe, Samsung SDI and Younicos collaborated to deploy the technology onto a United Kingdom Power Networks substation. The fully automated 6MW/10MWh Smarter Network Storage (SNS) project will assess the role of energy storage in cost-effectively supporting the UK’s Carbon Plan, and will save more than £6 million ($9.4 million) on traditional network-reinforcement methods.