Here’s some more cleantech pickins for your morning news breakfast. Enjoy!
Environmentally beneficial action is cool. Social service is cool. Environmentally beneficial action + social service? Hot!
Apparently, Motech Americas, Habitat for Humanity, and Sungevity know that. Motech Americas recently donated solar panels for a family with two disabled young sons so that they could significantly reduce their electricity bill. Sungevity provided the solar leasing arrangement. And the whole thing was part of a Habitat for Humanity project.
Germany has committed itself to an ambitious long-term policy agenda to decarbonise the energy sector. The Energiewende – or energy transformation – policies aren’t cheap, but the German government says it’s a price worth paying for long term energy security and a low carbon economy. Mat Hope takes a look at the real causes for recent price increases, the prospects for policy reforms and the crucial role of public support.
Matthias Willenbacher, head of one of Germany’s largest renewable development firms, says he will give away his shares in the company if Chancellor Merkel adopts a 100% renewable target for energy, not just electricity, by 2020. Today, the positive things about the book he wrote in German for this purpose.
A coalition of ten states and the City of New York just announced that the Department of Energy has committed to push forward four delayed energy efficiency standards that could save utility customers more than $3.8 billion annually once in full effect — and save enough electricity to power almost 4 million homes.
Due to effective state and federal policies encouraging its growth, wind power now provides over 11 percent of Colorado’s electricity needs and at several points, it has supplied more than half of the electricity on the main Colorado utility system. Across the country, American wind power now supplies over 10 percent of the electricity needs in nine states and over 20 percent in Iowa and South Dakota.
Wind power’s impressive growth has translated into an economic waterfall for workers, rural landowners and farmers, not just in Colorado, but across the country. Altogether, that economic waterfall has fed an ocean of economic investment averaging $17.9 billion per year in our national economy and $87 million annually in Colorado’s rural economies alone.
American wind power supports more than 80,000 well-paying manufacturing and construction jobs, including close to 4,000 jobs right here in Colorado. While some of those jobs are due to new utility-scale wind projects in Colorado, most of them exist because wind power parts manufacturers have chosen our state over others. Thanks to companies like Vestas, Hexcel and Aldridge Electric calling Colorado home, manufacturing facilities in Colorado represented over $1 billion of investment in the state.
American farmers, ranchers and other landowners also benefit from renewable energy. Across the country, farmers, ranchers and other landowners can receive lease payments of up to $120,000 over a 20-year period for each wind turbine installed on their property. In Colorado alone, landowners leasing their property to wind take home approximately $7 million annually.
Wind farms in Colorado pay over $2 million in property taxes annually in Weld, Logan, and Lincoln counties alone, in addition to wind lease payments to state land boards that support 17 school districts. Altogether wind power projects and supply chain facilities exist in over 25 percent of Colorado counties — Adam, Baca, Bent, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, Elbert, Huerfano, Jefferson, Kit Carson, Larimer, Lincoln, Logan, Prowers, Pueblo, Weld, and Yuma.
If the price of grid-scale energy storage fell to zero dollars per megawatt-hour, regulators and utilities would still be puzzled in how to deploy the boon of energy storage.
That’s because storage doesn’t fit neatly into the electrical utility’s regulatory universe of generation, distribution, and load — or into the utility rate recovery structure.
But that regulatory uncertainty is starting to clear.
It started with FERC Order 755, enacted in 2011, a ruling from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) that increased the pay for “fast” responding sources like batteries or flywheels that are bidding into frequency regulation service markets. Flywheel energy storage operator, Beacon, sells into this market.
That opportunity for storage got bigger recently with the issuance of Order 784. It pits fast batteries, flow batteries and flywheels against slower gas- or coal-fired plants in the ancillary services market.
We have written before about this sustainable counter product made from recycled waste paper. It is time now to revisit Hoquiam, WA-based PaperStone.
For recycling champions, PaperStone is an architectural composite material made from 100% post-consumer recycled paper. The product is certified to Forest Stewardship Council standards by the Smartwood program of The Rainforest Alliance. PaperStone also plays a role in enabling a building project to acquire Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points toward certification.