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THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Discussions of conventional and alternative energy production technologies.

BigOil Looks To Renewables For Future Profit

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 13 Mar 2008, 02:37:42

Big Oil Looks To Renewables For Future Profit
As crude oil prices soar to new highs, big oil companies are looking beyond the windfall to place bets in the growing alternative energy market.

In addition to the allure of a new market, there are worries that record-high oil prices could lead to a backlash plunge in demand. But there are other reasons the petroleum industry wants to plan for a more alternative-energy future. Dwindling access to new oil reserves, which is seen constraining supplies and forcing prices ever skyward, and a global political push to both cut greenhouse gases and shift to cleaner-energy technologies, are driving oil firms to the alternative energy industry.

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Renewables 2010 Global Status Report

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 15 Jul 2010, 20:17:10

Renewables 2010 Global Status Report

In 2009, for the second year in a row, both the US and Europe added more power capacity from renewable sources such as wind and solar than conventional sources like coal, gas and nuclear, according to twin reports launched today by the United Nations Environment Programme and the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21).

• Global investments in renewables tops non-renewables for 2nd year

• Pro-renewable policies critical to sector’s continuing strength and growth

• Clean energy investments show resilience in recession

• Share of renewable energy continues to grow Growth of wind power in China a key feature of 2009

Renewables accounted for 60 per cent of newly installed capacity in Europe and more than 50 per cent in the USA in 2009. This year or next, experts predict, the world as a whole will add more capacity to the electricity supply from renewable than non-renewable sources.

The reports detail trends in the global green energy sector, including which sources attracted the greatest attention from investors and governments in different world regions.


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Opportunities and challenges for a sustainable energy future

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 31 Aug 2012, 21:02:58

Opportunities and challenges for a sustainable energy future

Steven Chu & Arun Majumdar

Access to clean, affordable and reliable energy has been a cornerstone of the world's increasing prosperity and economic growth since the beginning of the industrial revolution. Our use of energy in the twenty–first century must also be sustainable. Solar and water–based energy generation, and engineering of microbes to produce biofuels are a few examples of the alternatives. This Perspective puts these opportunities into a larger context by relating them to a number of aspects in the transportation and electricity generation sectors. It also provides a snapshot of the current energy landscape and discusses several research and development opportunities and pathways that could lead to a prosperous, sustainable and secure energy future for the world.


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P.S. Nature editors have allowed readers to view or download entire article for free online.
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Re: Renewables 2010 Global Status Report

Unread postby Graeme » Tue 29 Oct 2013, 18:48:26

Global renewable electricity generation capacity reached 1,500 GW in 2012

According to the latest report Renewables 2013 Global Status Report 2013 from the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) total global renewable power capacity reached 1,470 GW (480 GW non-hydro) in 2012, about 26% of total worldwide generating capacity. For comparison the entire generating capacity of the United States is about 1,000 GW. In 2012 about half of new generating capacity added was renewables. In 2012 renewables, mostly hydro, provided 21.7% of the world's electricity.

The EU had the most non-hydro renewable capacity by the end of 2012. Renewables, mostly solar PV and wind, accounted for almost 70% new electricty generation capacity in Europe in 2012. In 2011 (the latest year for which data are available), renewables were responsible for 20.6% of Europe’s electricity consumption. In Germany, renewables accounted for 22.9% of electricity consumption. In Denmark 30% of electric power consumption was generated by wind.

In the United States half of new generating capacity added during 2012 was renewables, mostly wind. New wind capacity exceeded new natural gas capacity in 2012.

The BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) represent 36% of total global renewable power capacity and almost 27% of non-hydro renewable capacity in 2012.


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Re: Opportunities and challenges for a sustainable energy fu

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 04 Nov 2013, 18:45:14

The Transition to Sustainable Energy Will Not Be Automatic or Painless

The production and consumption of energy cause serious problems -- such as global warming, pollution and geopolitical conflicts -- that make the current energy system unsustainable. Transformation into an alternative, sustainable energy system is essential. Jérôme Dangerman studied the world energy system and concluded that the system is locked into its current situation and no transformation will come about without intervention or a crisis.


According to Dangerman, if we continue on the current path, it cannot be excluded that critical transitions (jargon for irreversible crises) will occur in the global energy system and global ecosystem. 'The cynic may say that the loss of an old system creates lots of room for change and innovation,' says Dangerman. 'That may be true, but what is the cost of allowing the entire system to crash? Moreover, only a few of the strongest and a couple of lucky ones can absorb the consequences of a crashing system. It will be less painful to take measures now.'


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13 major clean energy breakthroughs of 2013

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 30 Dec 2013, 16:05:23

13 major clean energy breakthroughs of 2013

1. Using salt to keep producing solar power even when the sun goes down. Helped along by the Department of Energy’s loan program, Solana’s massive 280 megawatt (MW) solar plant came online in Arizona this October, with one unique distinction: the plant will use a ‘salt battery’ that will allow it to keep generating electricity even when the sun isn’t shining. Not only is this a first for the United States in terms of thermal energy storage, the Solana plant is also the largest in the world to use to use parabolic trough mirrors to concentrate solar energy.

2. Electric vehicle batteries that can also power buildings. Nissan’s groundbreaking “Vehicle-To-Building” technology will enable companies to regulate their electricity needs by tapping into EVs plugged into their garages during times of peak demand. Then, when demand is low, electricity flows back to the vehicles, ensuring they’re charged for the drive home. With Nissan’s system, up to six electric vehicles can be plugged into a building at one time. As more forms renewable energy is added to the grid, storage innovations like this will help them all work together to provide reliable power.

3. The next generation of wind turbines is a gamechanger. May of 2013 brought the arrival of GE’s Brilliant line of wind turbines, which bring two technologies within the turbines to address storage and intermittency concerns. An “industrial internet” communicates with grid operators, to predict wind availability and power needs, and to optimally position the turbine. Grid-scale batteries built into the turbines store power when the wind is blowing but the electricity isn’t needed — then feed it into the grid as demand comes along, smoothing out fluctuations in electricity supply. It’s a more efficient solution to demand peaks than fossil fuel plants, making it attractive even from a purely business aspect. Fifty-nine of the turbines are headed for Michigan, and two more will arrive in Texas.

4. Solar electricity hits grid parity with coal. A single solar photovoltaic (PV) cell cost $76.67 per watt back in 1977, then fell off a cliff. Bloomberg Energy Finance forecast the price would reach $0.74 per watt in 2013 and as of the first quarter of this year, they were actually selling for $0.64 per watt. That cuts down on solar’s installation costs — and since the sunlight is free, lower installation costs mean lower electricity prices. And in 2013, they hit grid parity with coal: In February, a Southwestern utility agreed to purchase electricity from a New Mexico solar project for less than the going rate for a new coal plant. Unsubsidized solar power reached grid parity in countries such as Italy and India. And solar installations have boomed worldwide and here in America, as the lower module costs have drivendown installation prices.


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THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 01 Jan 2014, 16:18:50

17 Cleantech Champions

There are actually thousands of cleantech champions out there, and many of them are CleanTechnica readers. I was actually a bit hesitant to make this list because of that — there are going to be a lot of people not on this list that really could be. However, in honor of the tremendous work some of these people are doing, I felt compelled to write this up.

Importantly, beyond the main work they are doing, this piece is particularly focused on highlighting cleantech leaders who make their presence and views known in the public eye. We’re in the business in moving the public pendulum towards cleantech, and I greatly value the cleantech business and science leaders who also do so. Lack of awareness and lack of the strong citizen/political push that could come from greater awareness are perhaps now the largest barriers to the cleantech revolution. We need cleantech leaders and “business celebrities” or “political celebrities” who really know the story to get out there and help in informing the public.

17. Paul Scott

16. Opower guys, Dan Yates & Alex Laskey

15. Nawal Al-Hosany

14. Al Gore

13. Bob Lutz

12. Adnan Z Amin

11. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber

10. Billy Parish

9. Lisa Jackson & Steven Chu

8. Hermann Scheer

7. Lynn Jurich

6. Danny Kennedy

5. Mark Z Jacobson

4. Denise Bode

3. Carlos Ghosn

2. Jigar Shah

1. Elon Musk


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Re: 13 major clean energy breakthroughs of 2013

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 01 Jan 2014, 16:53:54

7 Reasons to Celebrate Clean Energy Successes in 2013 (Op-Ed)

The last 12 months have brought a lot of change to the world — some good, some less so; some too fast, some too slow. But in the energy space, the essential transition to energy that is cleaner, healthier, lower-cost and more secure is definitely underway in the United States.

This year, the nation saw strong signals that we're moving in the right direction on energy, with renewables like wind and solar (going up), coal (going down), renewables integration (looking good) and energy storage (on its way). Here's a look at some of the year's highlights.

1. Wind is getting cheaper all the time

2. Solar's looking better all the time

3. Grid experts say more renewables are no problem

4. Storage is becoming available

5. Coal's economics continue to slide

6. Power-plant carbon standards are progressing

7. People get renewables


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Re: 13 major clean energy breakthroughs of 2013

Unread postby Surf » Thu 02 Jan 2014, 14:40:01

1. Using salt to keep producing solar power even when the sun goes down. Helped along by the Department of Energy’s loan program, Solana’s massive 280 megawatt (MW) solar plant came online in Arizona this October, with one unique distinction: the plant will use a ‘salt battery’ that will allow it to keep generating electricity even when the sun isn’t shining. Not only is this a first for the United States in terms of thermal energy storage, the Solana plant is also the largest in the world to use to use parabolic trough mirrors to concentrate solar energy.


The salt storage reakthrough happened in the 1990 and was demonstrated in the department of energy's Solar Two project and then refined in later projects. There are now about a dozzen solar thermal plants with salt thermal storage in operation today. A new large one should be almost finished in Navada.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_solar_thermal_power_stations
http://solarreserve.com/news/SolarReservePUCNApprovalAnnouncement072810.pdf
http://solarreserve.com/news/SolarReservePUCNApprovalAnnouncement072810.pdf
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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 05 Feb 2014, 17:38:14

Goldman Sachs Enthusiastically Decides To Invest $40 Billion In Renewables

Goldman Sachs sees a transformational moment in renewables and plans to invest in excess of $40 billion by 2021. The motivation for Goldman is to create a return on the capital they invest for their firm and clients, but where will it be invested and how can the capital be to your benefit?

Goldman and peer banks are not new to solar investment. The top banks all have been very active investing in solar, a recent sample includes: Goldman Sachs ($500mm to SolarCity), US Bank and JP Morgan ($630mm to Sunrun), Bank of America ($220mm to SunPower), and Morgan Stanley ($300mm to Clean Power Finance).

This sample of capital was announced for project funds, much of which is going to the large expansion of the residential solar leasing market but these and many other banks are also looking to deploy capital into solar in every market segment. Every day, new capital is entering the solar space, looking for the ‘elusive’ good projects in residential, commercial and utility market segments. With all of this new capital coming into solar, much of it looking to deploy money in large funds within a set timeframe, solar companies are pushing hard to satisfy. This requirement to deploy capital rapidly is spawning the rise of solar startups that make the solar development and financing processes cheaper and faster.


Just recently, SolarCity and Vivint have acquired solar companies to make their capital deployment processes more efficient. Since the start of the year, Mercatus has closed its Series A Venture round to make the deal sourcing and due diligence process faster while requiring less manpower. Making solar professionals more efficient is also the goal of startups like Folsom Labs, which launched a few weeks ago with their product Helioscope. This web-based software makes creating a solar layout an easy task which any business development professional can complete within minutes. Innovation in solar continues to center about increasing throughput to make the process more efficient in deployment capital.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Sun 09 Mar 2014, 15:48:11

Here's Why Warren Buffett Is Betting Big on Renewable Energy

"Someone's sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago." -- Warren Buffett

Maybe more than any other, this quote from Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A ) (NYSE: BRK-B ) CEO Warren Buffett exemplifies both how he invests and how he has built Berkshire. One need only look at two of the most important subsidiaries -- BNSF Railways and MidAmerican Energy -- to see this firsthand. Both of these two companies will provide significant and steady cash and profits to the company for many years to come -- and largely because of competitive advantages that were first established decades before Berkshire acquired either business.

Buffett's success is also his ability to acknowledge that sometimes things do change and that new competitive advantages can and must be built. MidAmerican Energy has been doing just that for the past nine years, working with companies like Siemens (NYSE: SI ) , SunPower (NASDAQ: SPWR ) , and Vestas (NASDAQOTH: VWDRY ) to add renewable energy to its mix in a big way. Renewables are becoming a huge -- and growing -- part of Berkshire's competitive advantage at MidAmerican. Let's take a closer look at how these companies are all expanding in the surge of demand for renewable energy with Berkshire and beyond.

Nine years in and just getting started

Buffett had this to say about renewables in his latest annual letter to shareholders:

From a standing start nine years ago, MidAmerican now accounts for 7% of the country's wind generation capacity, with more on the way. Our share in solar -- most of which is still in construction -- is even larger... When our current projects are completed, MidAmerican's renewables portfolio will have cost $15 billion. We relish making such commitments as long as they promise reasonable returns. And, on that front, we put a large amount of trust in future regulation.

Buffett's team at MidAmerican aren't making these investments in renewables just because they are good for the planet -- though I'm sure that does play some role -- these investments are being made because they are profitable, and offer durable advantages and reasonable returns. MidAmerican's contribution to Berkshire's 2013 earnings was $1.47 billion, up 11% from 2012.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 10 Mar 2014, 15:46:27

Green Bank Academy Provides Lessons Learned, Direction For States Looking To Help Finance Clean Energy

The clean energy sector, backed by innovative entrepreneurs, investors, and government policymakers, has seen enormous growth over the past 6 years. US solar power capacity recently surpassed 10 gigawatts as the price of solar panels has fallen some 75% during the past 5 years. Every 4 minutes, US installers put a new solar system on a rooftop according to GTM Research. Wind installations have surged past 60 gigawatts and non-hydro renewable energy sources accounted for more than 99% of all new US electrical generating capacity installed during January. These numbers are spurring new investment from the private sector, but this investment is not enough to close the gap and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Ceres, a coalition of investors, industries, and environmental groups that advocates for sustainable business development, recently completed an analysis looking at closing this gap, identified as the Clean Trillion. In order to limit global warming to 2°C and avoid the worst effects of climate change, the world needs to invest an additional $36 trillion in clean energy, an average of $1 trillion per year for the next 36 years. Likewise, groups such as the World Economic Forum (WEF), the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the International Energy Association (IEA) have produced studies of the shortfall of current clean energy investment. Everyone agrees that closing this gap will be an enormous challenge, and will only be possible if businesses, investors, and policymakers join forces.

One solution to the investment gap are public-private entities known as “green banks.” Federal support for clean energy has dropped sharply, declining to a projected $11 billion in 2014 compared with $44 billion in 2009 (the year of the stimulus package) according to a recent analysis by the Brookings Institution. As partisan bickering currently paralyzes Congress, the government funds that remain need to be leveraged to maximize the private sector role in offering investment opportunities for clean energy.


Clean energy growth has been hampered by the lack of low-cost capital available to projects and new technologies. Affordable capital is vital to advance ideas and technology from the research and prototype phase to commercialization. Clean energy competes for investment capital with well-established and politically protected and subsidized conventional energy sources such as oil, gas, and coal. The clean energy industry also faces what is known as the ‘valley of death,’ where investment needs are too high for typical venture capital firms and the perceived technology risks remain too large for institutional investors and bond markets to finance the commercialization of technology advances and projects at scale. This is where a green bank can step in and help solve the issues surrounding low-cost capital and help the clean energy industry survive the valley of death.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Mon 10 Mar 2014, 19:56:16

Cybersecurity is Key to our Clean Energy Future

Noting that experts generally agree the risk of a large-scale cyber attack on America’s electricity transmission grid “is significant and must be addressed,” a new report by the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC)’s Electric Grid Cybersecurity Initiative recommends that government and industry work together to put strong protections in place. This week, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Moniz underscored the need to make more progress on this issue by boosting funding in DOE’s proposed budget for cybersecurity work.

Although I usually focus on the role the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) can play in the transformation to a low-carbon future and clean energy economy, I think it’s worth stepping away from my standard fare to highlight the critical importance of cybersecurity, since we cannot achieve a clean and resilient grid without addressing the cyber threat head on.

First, what is a cyber attack?

I don’t think you’d be surprised by the definition of a cyber attack. The BPC Report released last week defines a cyber attack on the transmission grid as an attempt by any of a “variety of malicious actors” (for example, terrorist organizations, external hackers, foreign nations) to disrupt grid operations, damage infrastructure, or steal information via grid systems. The BPC reports the FBI’s view that cyber attacks are eclipsing terrorism as the primary threat facing the United States.

Electric grid regulators like FERC, NERC and the states already have subjected transmission grid owners to strong reliability protections to address unexpected increases in customer demand for electricity, unexpected generation and transmission line outages and, increasingly, to ensure resilience in the face of bad weather. However, a cyber attack represents an entirely different threat to grid reliability; it’s unpredictable in a number of different ways, and it could create massive power disruptions across widespread areas of the country. In short, existing reliability protections probably aren’t sufficient defense against a well-executed cyber attack.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 12 Mar 2014, 16:32:37

Is Clean Energy Technology Booming? Five Reasons Why It Is.

You may have heard about the recent 60 Minutes segment that inexplicably reported the cleantech sector was in steep decline. There are quite a few reports out there breaking down the many fallacies of that segment, with most correctly concluding the sector is not dead, it is in fact booming and evidence of that surging momentum is everywhere you look. Consider these five examples that show just how good things are for cleantech these days:

1. The solar industry is booming.

2. Federal grants are leading to incredibly successful startups.

3. States are paving the way for more cleantech success, too.

4. More people are embracing cleantech.

5. Cleantech costs are falling.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 20 Mar 2014, 18:17:33

Renewable energy: Back the renewables boom

A new battery is rarely greeted with as much excitement as the latest smartphone or a new drug. The energy industry is widely perceived as sluggish, a provider of basic services and lacking creativity. In fact, a brighter reality is emerging — government support for energy-technology development is paying off.

Public policies to encourage the development and adoption of renewable-energy technologies are essential, because low-carbon performance is not visible to most consumers and carbon is not priced in the global market. Yet there is a widespread lack of confidence in public-sector efforts to spur innovation, as a result of the mixed record of governments in picking winners and losers among technologies1.

Some governments are considering reducing their support for renewable-energy projects. The future of the US tax credit for new wind energy is uncertain; the United Kingdom is debating scaling down subsidies for some renewables and relaxing its targets for carbon-emissions reductions, and Spain has abandoned its incentives programme and electricity-price commitments for renewable-energy power plants. The countries of the European Union disagree on a common binding target for the adoption of renewable energy by 2030.

But now is not the time to cut government support for renewables. Each day that we delay implementing low-carbon energy technologies we increase the likelihood of damage from climate change — from storms and floods to forest fires.

The response of the global energy industry to even modest policy interventions has been remarkable. Led by China, Europe, the United States and Japan, the alternative-energy sector is booming worldwide2–4. Solar and wind technologies have improved most rapidly in the past three decades, with photovoltaics a hundred times cheaper today than in 1975.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 27 Mar 2014, 16:54:20

CITI: 'The Age Of Renewables Is Beginning '

The age of renewables is upon us, Citi says.

In a new note titled “The Age of Renewables is Beginning — A Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE),” Perspective, Citi’s alternative energy team led by Shar Pourreza, writes that we can expect across-the-board price decreases in solar and wind, which will continue to fuel the renewable energy generation boom.

Renewables energy, primarily solar and wind, costs continue to decline and are increasingly competitive with natural gas peakers (natgas plants that turn on during periods of high demand — ed.) and CCGT (combined cycle gas turbine) plants on an LCOE (the lifecycle cost of an electricity generation system — ed.) basis.

Here are the projected cost decreases for solar:

Solar PV module cost declines thanks to Moore’s law — “Our outlook is for module costs to decline approximately 11% per year over the next five years driven primarily by lower cost of production,” Citi says.
Balance of System — components of a photovoltaic system other than the photovoltaic panels — price declines thanks to streamlining and standardising the installation process. ” We apply an annual discount of 6% to residential scale BoS costs, and an annual reduction of 8% to utility-scale BoS costs, which we think are very conservative given recent rapid cost reductions,” Citi says.
Polysilicon price declines, which should track reduction rates in other parts of the panels.
Lower conversion factors and higher efficiencies (fewer grams/watts needed to produce panels).
Longer module life spans.
Citi adds the caveat that the rates of price declines vary among residential, commercial, and utility-scale projects, but that the overall downward trend holds.

Price declines will also be seen in wind, thanks to:

Larger and therefore more efficient turbines (turbines that are over 100MW are ~11% cheaper on a $US/MW basis than turbines that are less than 100MW).
More investment, thanks to cheaper financing.
Here’s Citi’s wind outlook:


Meanwhile, natural gas prices are going to keep going up — Citi’s “long-term” (exact dates aren’t specified) gas price forecast is $US5.50/mmbtu. And the cost of running coal and nuclear plants is slowly becoming prohibitive.

In conclusion:

In peak power generation, solar is increasingly attractive vs. gas peakers from an LCOE and fuel diversity perspective. In baseload generation, wind, biomass, geothermal, and hydro are becoming more attractive vs. CCGT plants but other considerations influence adoption of renewables.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 02 Apr 2014, 20:58:24

Green bonds hit record $9bn mark in first quarter of 2014

A record $9bn of green bonds were issued in the first quarter of 2014, almost as much as the whole of 2013.

The figures, compiled by the Climate Bonds Initiative, cover fixed-income securities that raise capital for a project with specific environmental benefits, where the proceeds go to climate mitigation or adaptation efforts. Last year, $10bn worth of green bonds were issued as part of a wider $346bn climate-themed bond market.

The figures show corporate issuers accounted for $4.03bn of the total, just behind the $4.9bn issued by development banks. The first corporate bond was only issued in Nov 2013, which shows the growth of the market.

New corporate issuers included Toyota, Unilever, SCA, TD Bank, with the Japanese corporation's $1.75bn second only to the European Investment Bank's $2.9bn of issuances during the quarter, while both Unilever and SCA's bonds were significantly oversubscribed.

The EIB issued the first green bonds in pounds sterling and Swiss Francs among six issues in five currencies, including Euros, South African Rand, and Swedish kronor.

This quarter also saw the launch of the first index dedicated to green bonds by Germany company Solactive.

Bridget Boulle of the Climate Bonds Initiative said the body's initial forecast of $20bn of green bond issuances for the year looked likely to be significantly surpassed, and doubled the estimate to $40bn..


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Thu 03 Apr 2014, 17:09:17

Report: Global Clean Energy Investment Reached $254 Billion In 2013

Though it declined 11 percent from the previous year, global clean energy investment reached $254 billion in 2013, according to a new report released Thursday by the Pew Charitable Trusts. And for the second straight year, China has outpaced the United States in annual clean energy investment, attracting $54.2 billion compared to the United States’ $36.7 billion. As other emerging economies seek to realize the economic and environmental benefits of the growing clean energy industry, the analysis makes clear the U.S. will have to do more to remain a leader in clean energy.

The literal bright spot in the developing U.S. clean energy sector is the booming solar industry, which installed a record 4.7 gigawatts of solar energy in 2013 — a 30 percent increase from 2012. Ninety percent of states added solar jobs in 2013 and rooftop solar has become so popular in the U.S. that a new system is now installed every four minutes.

Total U.S. clean energy investment declined by nine percent from 2012 to $36.7 billion, however, and construction of U.S. wind installations, undercut by Congress’ failure to extend the production tax credit (PTC), declined over 90 percent from 2012 to 2013.

In order to reverse the current trend and attract new investments to the clean energy sector, a report released Thursday by the Center for American Progress details four strategies the Obama administration can employ.

For four out of the past five years, the U.S. ranked second behind China in total investment in clean energy. In order to counter this balance, the report suggests the Obama administration can maximize foreign direct investment in clean energy through “a clean energy investment track within the SelectUSA initiative” under the Department of Commerce in order to attract increased investment from both domestic and foreign firms. This track could help foreign businesses navigate a maze of local, state, and federal government incentives and regulations all unique to different sectors within the industries and invest in domestic clean energy markets.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Wed 16 Apr 2014, 18:47:19

U.S. Energy Dept offers $4 bln loan aid plan for renewable energy

The U.S. Energy Department on Wednesday unveiled a plan to offer up to $4 billion in loan aid to renewable energy projects, opening up another round of funding for a program that faced harsh political attacks over past government-backed failures.

The draft plan would provide loan guarantees for innovative projects that limit or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.

It will specifically focus on advanced electric grid technology and storage, biofuels that can be used in conventional vehicles, energy from waste products and energy efficiency improvements.

This latest loan offering follows a round of funding from the 2009 economic stimulus that backed solar, wind and geothermal projects, including now bankrupt solar panel manufacturer Solyndra.

Despite the high-profile collapse of Solyndra, the Obama administration has stressed that most of its energy investments have done well and it credits the program with helping the U.S. solar industry go from panels on the roof of a house to industrial-scale power plants.

"We want to replicate that success by focusing on technologies that are on the edge of commercial-scale deployment today," Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement.


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Re: THE Alternative Energy (general) Thread pt 3(merged)

Unread postby Graeme » Fri 18 Apr 2014, 22:40:12

Worldwide Global Clean Energy Investment Stronger

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has reported that clean energy investment rallied 10% in the first quarter of 2014 (Q1’14) compared to the same period a year earlier, reaching a total of $47.7 billion.

Earlier this month that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released the seventh edition of its Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment based on data provided by BNEF, showing that 2013 renewable energy investment had dropped by $35.1 billion. However, the prime factor behind the drop in 2013 investment wasn’t necessarily lack of interest, but rather placed at the feet of falling solar photovoltaic production costs. Stepping forward to Q1’14, Bloomberg highlighted small-scale solar in Japan and the US as accounting for 42% of the jump in investment, “as households and businesses … took advantage of the big falls that have taken place in the cost of photovoltaic systems over recent years”, complimenting 2013′s investment drop.

Michael Liebreich, chairman of the advisory board for Bloomberg New Energy Finance, commented: “It is too early to say definitively that 2013 was the low point for clean energy investment worldwide and that 2014 will show a rebound, but the first-quarter numbers are encouraging. “Two trends, in particular, are worth picking out,” Liebreich continued, noting that “the increasing share of small-scale solar in overall investment, following a 50%-plus improvement in PV’s levelised cost of electricity per MW over the last four years; and the geographical expansion of investment to more and more emerging economies. In Q1, we saw two of the top four asset finance deals happening in Indonesia and Kenya.”


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CO2-Free Study Finds Wind/Solar Power Cheaper Than Nuclear Or CCS

Agora Energiewende this week released the results of a cost analysis of four different CO2-free power scenarios in Europe. Says Patrick Graichen, executive director of Agora:

Wind and solar systems will dominate the power system in increasingly more countries. The battle for the cheapest CO2-free power mix is decided. In the future wind and solar will play an ever greater role in countries across the world as a source of power.

The German “think-&-do-tank,” funded by the Mercator Foundation and European Climate Foundation, came to two conclusions:

New wind and solar can provide carbon-free power at up to 50% lower generation costs than new nuclear or carbon capture and storage.

A reliable power system based on wind and solar with natural gas backup is 20% cheaper than a system of new nuclear power stations combined with gas.

Considering two decades of plummeting costs for wind and photovoltaic power, Agora looked at how wind and solar systems now compare to other decarbonization technologies (nuclear power and carbon capture and storage). The company based its “conservative” conclusions on a look at current feed-in tariffs in Germany; the agreed Hinkley Point C (UK) strike price; and the latest cost estimates for CCS (likely low) from studies commissioned by the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change in relation to the White Rose (coal) and Peterhead (gas) CCS plants, planned to be operational by 2020.


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