Save on your hotel -

Archive for January, 2017

Eos Finds a Partner in Siemens to Scale an Unusual Battery

Save on your hotel -

It’s hard enough convincing investors to trust advanced battery technology when it’s the increasingly recognizable lithium-ion variety. New Jersey-based battery startup Eos has a different challenge: pitching a technology nobody has ever heard of, because they were the first to invent it.

The company’s major tool in overcoming that challenge is price. Eos team members say they are already selling their system at $160 per kilowatt-hour for high volume orders. That’s the DC system cost, so it doesn’t include inverters or installation, but it trounces the advanced battery competition and raises many an eyebrow.

A mind-blowing price captures customers’ attention, but doesn’t necessarily secure their trust. Eos has created a new energy storage technology the company calls zinc hybrid cathode. To build confidence in the product, the company has turned to established, recognizable companies to forge distribution partnerships. Eos announced two of these in the week leading up to the DistribuTECH Conference in San Diego.

The 165-year-old technology powerhouse Siemens will work with Eos to deploy the batteries, adding power conversion for the DC systems as well as project development expertise. Those Eos installations will carry the seal of approval from Siemens to back up their operations, greatly enhancing the bankability of the projects. Eos has also forged a power conversion and project development partnership with Northern Power Systems, an energy company specializing in wind power that has more than four decades of experience under its belt.

These two companies are now members of the Aegis program, Eos’ network of integrators. By leveraging the expertise and name recognition at the Aegis partners, Eos can punch above the weight of a small battery startup.

“Even the most excited customer cannot necessarily do something with a DC battery — they need a turnkey offering that integrates batteries with AC balance of plant, EPC and O&M services to guarantee its performance under certain use cases and for specified duration,” said Philippe Bouchard, Eos vice president of business development.

One battery, many partners

While attempting to crack the difficult zinc-air technology for long-duration, long-cycle-life applications, Eos hit upon the zinc hybrid cathode design. The details are still proprietary, but it involves stacking cells made with a minimalist six ingredients, including titanium, salt water and carbon. The company claims, based on accelerated cycle life testing, that the systems can last up to 20 years, depending on use.

Now the technology is coming to market as the Eos Aurora, packing 1 megawatt and 4 megawatt-hours into an outdoor rated enclosure. It’s modular and scalable to bigger sizes. The initial market is utilities and utility-scale project developers, but Eos can also break out the building blocks of the Aurora to offer 250 kilowatt, 1 megawatt-hour solutions for behind the meter.

What Eos doesn’t have is a bespoke inverter or an in-house distribution network, hence the need for partnering. It takes time to do the work of integrating the Aurora with each partner’s power electronics, and no doubt involves a certain degree of reinventing the wheel. Pursuing several partnerships, though, gives Eos access to more distribution channels and geographic markets and avoids the risks of gambling its success on the performance of any one other company.

Eos and Siemens first began the conversation five years ago, Bouchard said, and the two have been working on integration and system design for a year and a half. Siemens was “extremely rigorous and comprehensive in their due diligence,” he noted.

The partnership lets Eos focus on what it does best, said CEO Michael Oster.

“We have an Eos-Siemens system and our customers will be very confidant in that,” he said. “Siemens has a low cost offering where they can beat the competion on cost.”

As part of that relationship, Siemens is installing the first of the latest Eos technology at its headquarters Alpharetta, Georgia, to gain field experience before deploying it for customers.

In the first half of 2017, Eos will focus on demonstration projects with major utilities, the execs said, but by summer it will deliver multi-megawatt installations developed and financed by third parties. They added that ramping up production for large utility-scale systems, like a 10 megawatt, 40 megawatt-hour system awarded by Pacific Gas & Electric, will help them ride the cost curve down.

That points to the defining mystery swirling around this company: how on earth they can actually sell at that price point.

How low can they go?

For reference, current lithium-ion systems sell for an average of $350 per kilowatt-hour. By 2020, GTM Research expects average lithium-ion battery costs to hit $217 per kilowatt-hour. So for Eos to come out of nowhere and sell at $160 per kilowatt-hour has many in the industry understandably suspicious.

Of course, there is a difference between what a company sells its batteries for and what it costs to make them. Right now, Eos lacks the production volume to capitalize on economics of scale. Bouchard didn’t comment on the exact costs of manufacturing, but he did say this: “For the volumes we have contracted already for 2017, we’re profitably manufacturing and selling batteries.”

He added that they know what costs will be at volume, and expect to be a profitable company in 2018. Last October, Eos raised $23 million to scale its technology. Prior to that, the company raised $23 million in May 2015 and about $27 million in two previous funding rounds.

“Emerging technologies that cost more than lithium-ion today, we expect will have a tough time,” Oster said. “We think we have enough of a cost advantage that we’ll be able to sell a good volume this year.”

The strategy, then, is to lure customers to a new technology with eye-popping prices, and back up the sale with the credibility of established players like Siemens and Northern Power. The competition will be scrutinizing whether those price quotes look as good in real life as they do on paper. As for whether the company can profitably sustain such prices, we’ll have to wait and see.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - January 31, 2017 at 6:02 am

Categories: Green Power   Tags:

Buying and Installing a Home Electric-Vehicle Charging Station

Most plug-in vehicles (both pure electric and plug-in hybrids) come with a Level 1 charging station which allows the vehicle to be charged from a standard household outlet. If your vehicle is a plug-in hybrid with limited electric range, or you don’t drive much, this is likely all you will need. Otherwise, you will want a Level 2 charging station. 

If you are a do-it-yourselfer and like to get into the nitty-gritty, you should read the whole article. If you just want some quick advice about the best charging station for you, skip to the last section, “Putting It All Together.”

What a home charging station does

Technically, a home charging station (also known as “electric vehicle supply equipment” or EVSE) does not charge your car. You car has an on-board charger which converts household alternating current to the direct current which is stored in its batteries. 

I just installed a charging station for my wife’s new Prius Prime plug-in hybrid, and concurrently applied for a grant from New York state on behalf of the Town of Marbletown to install a commercial charging station at my town’s community center. This article is based on that experience. The responses come from a poll of 20 charging-station owners I contacted through Facebook groups and PlugShare, an app that allows users to find and review charging stations, as well as connect with other plug-in owners.

Before you begin

Here is the information you’ll need to make your decision.

  1. Make/model of the plug-in vehicle you want to charge.
  2. Location of the closest electric panel to your parking spot.
  3. Your vehicle’s electric range (PHEVs) or the longest distance you expect to drive between charges on a regular basis (EVs).

The make and model of the plug-in let you know the capacity of the vehicle’s on-board charger and the size of its battery pack. You will need a charger powerful enough to fully recharge the battery between trips, and you will need an outlet or the charging station installed near the parking space that has the capacity to service that rate of charging.

How fast of a charger do you need?

If you will only need to charge your car up overnight, you have a plug-in hybrid with limited electric range, or you will not drive very far between charges, you probably don’t need a very fast charger. Quick charging may only be something you need on long trips, when you can take advantage of the higher charging speeds available at most public charging stations.

Most plug-in hybrids (with the notable exception of the Volt) have limited electric range, meaning they can charge completely in less than 5 hours using the included Level 1 (120 V) charger plugged in to a standard household outlet. Most owners of these vehicles will not need a Level 2 charging station.

My wife’s Prius Prime is a borderline example. It has 25 miles of electric range, and can be charged completely in 5 to 6 hours with a Level 1 charger. I elected to install a Level 2 charger for the convenience of being able to leave the factory Level 1 charger stowed in the car at all times, and because there are times when we take the car out more than once in a day. In this case, a quick charge between trips can make the difference between using gasoline and staying all-electric. Plus, I like gadgets.

The table below shows approximately how much electric range a typical EV that gets 3 to 4 miles per kilowatt-hour can recover for charging stations with different capacities. The number followed by the A is the rated current in amps, the number followed by V is the voltage. Level 1 charging stations use 120 V, while Level 2 charging stations use 240 V.

Charging Current

1 hour

2 hours

4 hours

6 hours

10 hours

Level 1 (12A 120V)

4-5 miles

9 miles

18 miles

27 miles

45 miles

Level 2 (16A 240V)

10 miles

20 miles

40 miles

60 miles

100 miles

Level 2 (30A 240V)

20 miles

40 miles

80 miles

120 miles

200 miles

Level 2 (40A 240V)

30 miles

60 miles

120 miles

180 miles

300 miles

The rate at which a plug-in can charge is also limited by its on-board charger. This charger’s capacity is rated in kilowatts (kW). The vehicle’s battery pack is rated in kilowatt-hours (kWh). A vehicle’s electric range is its efficiency (usually 3 to 4 miles/kWh times the size of its battery pack.) So a 2016 Nissan Leaf’s 30 kilowatt-hour battery pack and approximate efficiency of 3.5 miles per kilowatt-hour give it a range of about 105 miles. The Leaf has a 6.6-kilowatt-hour on-board charger, giving it a maximum rate of charge of about 10 miles of range per hour, for a complete charge in 4 to 5 hours using a 30A, 240V Level 2 charging station. 

Most plug-in hybrids have smaller on-board chargers to match their smaller battery packs, as do some pure electric vehicles with smaller battery packs and lower electric range. Much of the information available online says that the Leaf has a 3.3 kW on-board charger, but all eight Leaf owners who responded to my survey reported charging times that could only be achieved with a faster on-board charger.

 Below is the charger capacity for most plug-ins on the market today, along with the size of the charger needed to take full advantage of this capacity. Additional charging capacity is available as an option on some models. 

Table 2: Charging Capacity of Various Plug-in Vehicle Models

Charging station required for fastest possible charge

Minimum recommended circuit

On-board charger capacity

Vehicle models

40A — Level 2

50A 240V

10 kW

Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, Mercedes B-Class Electric

32A — Level 2

40A 240V

7.4 kW

BMW i3

30A — Level 2

40A 240V

6.6 kW to 7.2 kW

Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt,  Ford Focus Electric, VW e-Golf, Fiat 500e, Kia Soul EV, Hyundai Ioniq, Chrysler Pacifica Plug-in Hybrid

16A — Level 2

20A 240V

3 kW to 3.7 kW

Chevy Volt, Audi A3 eTron, BMW X5 xdrive40e, Chevrolet Spark EV, Ford C-Max/Fusion Energi, Hyundai Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Mercedes C350, S550, GLE550e Plug-in Hybrids, Mitsubishi i-MiEV, Porsche Cayenne/Panamera S E-Hybrid, Prius Prime, Smart Electic, Volvo XC90 T8, Porsche 918 Spyder, Nissan Leaf (some early models).

10A — Level 2

15A 240V

2 kW

Prius Plugin


Circuit size

The final factor which may limit the size of the charging station you need is the capacity of the electrical circuit you will be using. If you try to charge a car at a rate equal to or greater than the capacity of your wiring, you will flip the circuit breaker. Unless the circuit is rated for continuous use, you should limit the charging rate to 80 percent of the circuit’s capacity. 

A second reason for charging at slower rates is efficiency. The electricity lost (called line loss) is proportional to the square of the current (the amps number in the charging rate) and inversely proportional to the capacity of the wiring. Line losses also increase with temperature, and the lost energy becomes heat in the wiring, further reducing efficiency. Line losses become more significant the longer the wiring between your main electrical panel and your charging station. With properly sized wiring, these losses will usually be less than 2 percent of the electricity used.  But 2 percent can add up given the large electricity consumption of EVs. Thirty-five miles of driving a day in a typical EV uses 3,650 kilowatt-hours over a year. Two percent of that is 73 kilowatt-hours, or two to three days’ worth of a typical household’s electricity usage.

Most charging stations can be set to limit charging speed to less than their maximum capacity. Many plug-in vehicles also have the capacity to limit their charging rates and charging times. This feature can be used both to keep actual charging rates within the capacity of the circuit, as well as to reduce charging rates further in order to reduce line losses. Choosing specific charging times (either with your vehicle or some charging stations) can also save you money because of preferential rates from your utility.

If you have to install a new 240V circuit to service your charging station, I recommend installing at least a 50A, 240V circuit, or even a 100A, 240V subpanel for your garage if you can. Reasonably affordable EVs with large battery packs and powerful on-board chargers such as Tesla Model 3 are likely to be widely available in the next few years. You’ll want the charging capacity to accommodate your new long-range EV. If you have a two-car household, you may also want the ability to charge two cars at the same time.

Higher capacity wiring will cost you more today, but the extra cost will be a fraction of the cost of the electrical work. Upgrading your wiring at a later date would involve doing everything over again. Even if you never need a more powerful charging station, the reduced line losses will help defray the extra cost over time. 

Should you oversize your charging station?

You may find a charging station with the features you want but a higher capacity than you need. If the rated power of your charging station exceeds 80 percent of the capacity of your circuit, make sure that you are buying one that has the ability to limit the charging current.

One good reason to oversize your charging station is durability, which my poll respondents felt was the single most important feature. Since no brands have a long history, it’s hard to judge which brands are likely to be the most durable. However, it is a good bet that a charging station rated to supply 40 amps of current is likely to last a long time if it is only used to charge cars at 15 amps.


I included a question about features in my poll.  Here are the ones my respondents found most important.

Durability, a long charging cord, charging speed, cost, and being outdoor rated were among the most valued features. One I neglected to ask about was the charging station having a plug as opposed to being hardwired. Charging stations with plugs don’t cost much more than those without, but even if they are too large to be truly portable, it makes them easier to take with you if you move. 

Some features may have gotten lower ratings in my poll because they are only useful to some users, even if they are essential to the users who want them.

  • An outdoor rating will be essential if your parking space is outdoors, but it will be irrelevant if you park in a garage.
  • The ability to control charging times will be important if your car does not have this feature itself — but only if your electrical utility gives rewards or preferential rates for avoiding charging during peak demand. That said, utility rates for plug-ins are changing, and you may need this feature tomorrow even if it is superfluous today.


While few people have more than a couple years experience using charging stations, my poll respondents had this to say about the following brands.

Top recommended brands

  • Clipper Creek: Recommended by more respondents than any other brand
  • JuiceBox: Probably the best options in terms of power and features for the price
  • ChargePoint Home
  • Bosch
  • Tesla
  • Siemens/Versicharge
  • GE Durastation

Mixed reviews

  • Aerovironment (some rebranded by Nissan): Expensive, but a good warranty. One (of four) had it break right before the warranty expired. Respondent was unimpressed with their customer service, but said he thought service had gotten better in recent years.
  • Audi: Expensive to install, but easy to use

My top picks

  • Duosida 16A: $289 on Amazon, a basic portable charging station with a long cord and a great price. Not designed for wall mounting.
  • Clipper Creek 16A: $402 on Amazon, a well-rated charging station with a long cord and a reputable brand.
  • GE DuraStation 30A: $397 on, a powerful, no-frills charging station from a recognized brand. Maximum current can be adjusted to 30A, 24A, 16A, or 12A using a jumper.
  • JuiceBox 40A: $499 at eMotorWerks, the least expensive 40A charging station available. Maximum current can be set by adjusting trim-pots inside the enclosure.
  • JuiceBox Pro 40A and Pro 75A: $599 and $899 at eMotorWerks, full-featured, high-power charging stations at a low price. Wi-Fi enabled. Can be adjusted with a smartphone app to charge at any lower current required. I have not listed any other full-featured charging stations because the JuiceBox Pro beats the other options on price, and provides enough current for any vehicle.

(Prices noted above include shipping)

I had personal experience with eMotorWerks (JuiceBox) support through eBay, where I bought a refurbished JuiceBox Pro 40. I found them very slow to respond, and the problem had not been resolved after a week. But given that mine was a cut-price refurbished unit (and their prices are amazing to begin with), I still give the brand my highest recommendation. 

I contacted eMotorWerks and asked them to respond to the previous paragraph.  Here is their response:

“We appreciate the endorsement of our products, and are working diligently to fully staff and train our support team. Our sales have nearly doubled at the end of 2016 due to accelerated growth in EV sales (record 25,000 EVs sold in December, nearly twice the previous year) and successful programs we recently launched with our utility and community-choice aggregation partners. We’re working to further grow our support team and deliver top-notch service to all our customers.”

If you want top-notch service, Clipper Creek and ChargePoint Home have good reputations according to my poll respondents. I do not know if growth is straining their customer service departments. You will pay $100 to $300 extra for similar models from these vendors compared to eMotorWerks.

Putting it all together

Although this is a rather technical article, choosing a home charging station does not have to be complex.  Here are the essential steps:

  1. If you do not drive much or your vehicle’s electric range is less than 20 miles, a Level 2 charging station is probably not worth the cost. Try using just the factory Level 1 charger for a while.
  2. Otherwise, use Table 2 above to determine the charging station capacity your vehicle can use.
  3. If you are doing your own electrical work, go back and read the whole article. 
  4. Otherwise, purchase a charging station from my top picks (above) with a rated capacity at least as high as given in Table 2.
  5. Have an electrician or three give you quotes to install a “240 volt(V) 50 amp(A)” circuit to your parking space and install your charging station. You can also ask them for a quote to install the minimum recommended circuit for your vehicle from Table 2, but the savings are not likely to be significant.  You will probably be better off with a 240V, 50A circuit in the long run.
  6. Have your electrician install the charging station, and adjust the charging station’s maximum current to not overload the circuit. The adjustment should not be needed unless you opted for the cheaper electrical circuit.
  7. Charge your car quickly at home.

The prices and specific models mentioned in this article are based on what was available at the start of 2017, and that will certainly change over time. The advice about charging station and circuit sizing should be more durable.

Giving back

After you install your charger, I encourage you to let the occasional plug-in driver charge at your home. You can do this with and the PlugShare app (Android, iTunes), which is a great resource for finding both public charging stations and plug-in owners like yourself who want to make electric driving as worry-free as possible by extending the network of public stations.

My own charger is available on PlugShare, and I’m looking forward to meeting the first plug-in driver I can help with a charge.


Tom Konrad is the manager of the Green Global Equity Income Portfolio. This piece was originally published at and was reprinted with permission.

Disclosure: Long HASI, MIXT, PEGI, NYLD/A, CAFD, CVA, ABY, NEP, SSW-PRG, ASPN, GLBL, TERP. Long puts on SSW (an effective short position held as a hedge on SSW-PRG).

DISCLAIMER: Past performance is not a guarantee or a reliable indicator of future results. This article contains the current opinions of the author and such opinions are subject to change without notice. This article has been distributed for informational purposes only. Forecasts, estimates, and certain information contained herein should not be considered as investment advice or a recommendation of any particular security, strategy or investment product. Information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but not guaranteed.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:02 am

Categories: Green Power   Tags:

Art Rosenfeld, ‘Godfather’ of Energy Efficiency, Dies at 90

Arthur H. Rosenfeld, an energy pioneer often referred to as the “Godfather of Energy Efficiency,” passed away at age 90 in Berkeley, California late last week.

Speaking on behalf of the California Public Utilities Commission, Commissioner Carla Peterman said, “Art was a true champion for energy efficiency, science, and improving the planet. He will be missed, but his legacy lives on.”

As GTM reported, “Back in the 1970s, Rosenfeld, a physicist at Lawrence Berkeley Lab (and Enrico Fermi’s last grad student), determined that the power consumption in California and the nation would soon outstrip our ability to produce it. He kicked off a massive effort to get the state to pass efficiency regulations. Appliance makers fought vigorously, but California passed appliance and building regulations (Title 20 and Title 24) anyway.”

“They all claimed it was the [expletive] end of civilization as we knew it,” Rosenfeld told GTM’s Michael Kanellos. “Autos were getting 14 miles a gallon. Energy efficiency wasn’t part of the American ethic whatsoever.”

The result? Per-capita power consumption has remained relatively flat in California but nearly doubled in the rest of the country in a phenomenon partially attributed to the “Rosenfeld Effect.” Modern refrigerators consume half or less the energy consumed by fridges back in the ’70s, hold more food and cost less when adjusted for inflation. His work has likely been responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars in energy savings.”

In 1974, Rosenfeld established the Center for Building Science at Berkeley Lab, which he led until 1994.

Rosenfeld served as a California Energy Commissioner and mentored former Energy Secretary Steve Chu and Arun Majumdar, the UC Berkeley professor who administered ARPA-E. Rosenfeld was still publishing papers well into his eighties.  

Julia Pyper just reported, “Last weekend, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus issued a government-wide freeze on new or pending regulations, including four nearly finished Energy Department energy efficiency standards, The Washington Post reports. The regulations deal with an array of products, including portable air conditioners and commercial boilers.”

A measurement unit, the “Rosenfeld,” has been suggested that would refer to yearly electricity savings of 3 billion kilowatt-hours — roughly the equivalent of one coal plant.

“Art Rosenfeld helped make California the world leader in energy efficiency,” California Governor Jerry Brown said in a statement. “His pathbreaking ideas transformed our energy sector from one of massive waste to increasingly elegant efficiency. I will miss him.”

May all of our lives be as long and as efficient


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:02 am

Categories: Green Power   Tags:

Beamreach Bankrupt Despite $250 Million Spent on Solar Hardware Development

After spending more than $250 million, Solexel (rechristened as Beamreach last year) has joined its brethren on the list of failed solar startups. This follows a late-in-corporate-life shift to low-weight modules and away from its original thin-silicon aspirations.

In 2008, no solar entrepreneur or investor envisioned photovoltaic module costs of 30 cents per watt — which is where we are today. A startup founded in 2008, like Solexel, based its business plan on module costs of about $4 per watt and falling.

The firm received $3 million in DOE funding in 2008 for a project with this description: “Solexel plans on commercializing a disruptive, 3-D, high-efficiency mono-crystalline silicon cell technology, while dramatically reducing manufacturing cost per watt. Solexel plans to deliver a 17%-19% efficient, 156 x 156 mm2, single-crystal cell that consumes substantially lower silicon per watt than conventionally sliced wafers. Solexel aspires to be a GW scale PV producer within five years.”

That last thing didn’t happen.

The first time the company unstealthed in 2012, it was focusing on its thin-silicon technology and looking to mass-produce 35-micron-thick high-performance, low-cost monocrystalline solar cells using a lift-off technology based on a reusable template and a porous silicon substrate. The startup hit an NREL-certified cell efficiency of 21.2 percent in 2014 with its back contact cell.

Solexel aimed to ship 20-percent-efficient photovoltaic modules at a cost of $0.42 per watt by 2014.

That didn’t happen.  

Last year, the rebranded Beamreach pivoted to go after the commercial and industrial rooftop market with a lightweight, easy-to-install module with the use of thinner front sheet glass, a composite material for the frame, an integrated mounting structure and an adhesion method for low-slope commercial rooftop surfaces.   

That product received a positive market reception.

But debt has come due and the company’s venture investors are walking away.

Beamreach raised its quarter billion from investors including Riyadh Valley Company, the VC investment arm of King Saud University of Saudi Arabia, and GAF (a large roofing materials manufacturer), along with SunPower, KPCB, Technology Partners, The Westly Group, DAG Ventures, Gentry Ventures, Northgate Capital, GSV Capital, Jasper Ridge Partners, and Spirox. The firm’s board of directors includes Jan van Dokkum of KPCB and, until recently, Ira Ehrenpreis.

Somewhere along the line, the board saw fit to spend millions building a manufacturing facility in Milpitas, Calif.

The firm has few employees remaining after a series of recent and not-so-recent layoffs. Vendors are not getting paid. According to sources close to the firm, this is bankruptcy and liquidation — not a Chapter 11 reorganization. Beamreach picked up $25 million in senior debt financing from Opus Bank in 2015.

Commercial market potential, but too late in the game

When Beamreach was a thin-silicon or high-efficiency player, it might have been competing against SunPower, SolarCity, Panasonic, Samsung, Suniva or 1366 Technologies. After its shift, Beamreach looked a bit like tenKsolar, which offers high-efficiency photovoltaic systems for commercial rooftops and ground-mount projects, or even a bit like SunPower with its integrated solution.

Certainly, the commercial market is ready to grow. In the recently published report U.S. Commercial Solar Landscape 2016-2020, GTM Research forecasts the U.S. commercial solar market to “rebound and nearly triple in size by 2020.”

But, nine years of legacy misspending have left Beamreach with “loans due” and “a catastrophic cash flow situation,” despite what sources suggest is substantial demand and “sales traction” for the new commercial product. It’s a smart market niche to chase — but it’s too late for Beamreach.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:02 am

Categories: Green Power   Tags:

‘Energy Storage and Grid Modernization’ Is on Trump’s List of Top 50 Infrastructure Projects

Forbes: Green Energy Features Big Among Trump’s Top 50 Infrastructure Projects

Energy projects on Trump’s “Priority List” could add 9 gigawatts of clean power.

A list emerged this week; it appears to have been prepared for then President-elect Trump, and is titled: “Priority List: Emergency & National Security Projects.” It’s 50 pages for 50 infrastructure projects — quick facts on a host of highways, bridges, powerlines and airports, the construction of which would naturally make America greater, cost $140 billion, and require enough engineering and construction work to keep the equivalent of 24,000 people employed for 10 years.

Surprisingly, the list contains no mention of a Great Wall on the Mexico border, nor the Keystone XL or Dakota Access pipeline projects. The one pipeline project on the list is the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would move natural gas from Pennsylvania’s Marcellus shale down to the Southeast. Owned by Dominion Resources, Duke Energy and Southern Company, the pipeline would cost about $5 billion and provide 10,000 job years.

The Irish Times: World’s Largest Oil Company Considers Investing $5 Billion in Renewable Energy

Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil company, is considering as much as $5 billion of investments in renewable energy firms as part of plans to diversify from crude production, according to sources. Banks including HSBC, JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse have been invited to pitch for a role helping Aramco identify potential acquisition targets and advising on deals, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private.

The energy company was seeking to bring foreign expertise in renewable energy into the kingdom, sources said, adding that first investments under the plan could occur this year.

Saudi Arabia is planning to produce 10 gigawatts of power from renewable energy sources including solar, wind and nuclear by 2023 and transform Aramco into a diversified energy company. The kingdom also plans to develop a renewable energy research and manufacturing industry as part of an economic transformation plan announced by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in April. Saudi Aramco, HSBC, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan declined to comment.

The Marijuana Times: A Colorado Mayor’s Advice on Marijuana for Massachusetts Lawmakers

As lawmakers throughout Massachusetts deal with the creation of a legal recreational marijuana industry, they are getting some advice from someone who was in a similar position just a few years ago: the mayor of Boulder, Colorado.

Suzanne Jones was elected to the Boulder City Council in 2011 — before voters in Colorado approved adult use cannabis legalization in 2012 — and she currently serves as the city’s mayor. She was recently on a radio show in Massachusetts, and she had two big pieces of advice for lawmakers in the state.

The first was to make the initial regulations and restrictions as strict as possible. “Start out strict. You can always relax your regulations as the industry proves itself,” Jones said. From a government point of view that makes sense, but the opposite is true for the entrepreneurs trying to break into the industry. From a business standpoint — especially a small business — regulations and restrictions are rarely relaxed; if anything, more are just piled on top as time goes on.

Her second piece of advice was that lawmakers should make sure legal marijuana growers are using “green energy.” “It [marijuana growing legalization] will increase your energy output, so you might as well get some added community benefit from that by having it be green energy,” she said.

Forbes: Solar Employs More People In U.S. Electricity Generation Than Oil, Coal and Gas Combined

In the United States, more people were employed in solar power last year than in generating electricity through coal, gas and oil energy combined. According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy, solar power employed 43 percent of the electric power generation sector’s workforce in 2016, while fossil fuels combined accounted for just 22 percent. It’s a welcome statistic for those seeking to refute Donald Trump’s assertion that green energy projects are bad news for the American economy.

Just under 374,000 people were employed in solar energy, according to the report, while coal, gas and oil power generation combined had a workforce of slightly more than 187,000. The boom in the country’s solar workforce can be attributed to construction work associated with expanding generation capacity. The gulf in employment is growing with net generation from coal falling 53 percent over the last decade. During the same period, electricity generation from natural gas increased 33 percent while solar expanded 5,000 percent.

Bloomberg: Japan’s ‘Unresolved’ Disaster Sways Former Advocate of Nuclear Power

The man blocking the world’s largest nuclear plant says he grew opposed to atomic energy the same way some people fall in love.

Previously an advocate for nuclear power in Japan, Ryuichi Yoneyama campaigned against the restart of the facility as part of his successful gubernatorial race last year in Niigata. He attributes his political U-turn to the “unresolved” 2011 Fukushima Daiichi disaster and the lack of preparedness at the larger facility in his own prefecture, both owned by Tokyo Electric Power Co. Holdings Inc.

“Changing my opinion wasn’t an instant realization,” Yoneyama said in an interview. “It was gradual. As people say, you don’t know the exact moment you’ve fallen in love.”


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:01 am

Categories: Green Power   Tags:

100 Days of Climate: Week 2

Addressing climate change using sound science is crucial not just for the U.S., but for the world. Unfortunately, that appears unlikely over the next four years under the Trump administration, which has shown signs of being apathetic if not outright hostile to climate science and science-based policies to rein in carbon pollution.

Trump has promised to rid the country of Obama’s climate policies while simultaneously propping up coal and oil, the two biggest energy sources of carbon pollution. That’s despite the fact that climate science indicates now is the time when more urgent action is needed to address climate change.

With an anti-climate agenda likely in Trump’s first 100 days, Climate Central is going  to underscore the value of science and rational approaches to policy making over that span. We’ll be tweeting facts, stories and videos that provide key scientific context of the choices humanity faces and what policy actions (or inactions) mean. We’ll be chronicling them all right here, so check back every day to see what science tells us about our warming world and what we should be doing about it.

Jan. 27-Feb. 2

Credit: NOAA

Day 8, Jan. 27: The group @500womensci brought together women researchers advocating for equality #climate100    
Day 9, Jan. 28: New research shows we’re even closer to the 1.5°C warming threshold #climate100    
Day 10, Jan. 29: This new NOAA satellite will dramatically improve weather forecasts #climate100    
Day 11, Jan. 30: Syria’s worst drought in 900 years helped spark a refugee crisis #climate100    

Jan. 20-26

Credit: Anthony Quintano/flickr

Day 1, Jan. 20: Data is the bedrock for all we know about climate change. Here’s why we need to save it #climate100    
Day 2, Jan. 21: Women are the true face of climate change #climate100 #womensmarch    
Day 3, Jan. 22: Outbreaks with more tornadoes are becoming more extreme #climate100    
Day 4, Jan. 23: NASA & NOAA have declared 2016 to be the hottest year in 137 years of record keeping #climate100    
Day 5, Jan. 24: Trump has frozen EPA funds at a time when climate research is more important than ever #climate100    
Day 6, Jan. 25: The EPA has reportedly been told to kill their climate change webpage via @Reuters #climate100    
Day 7, Jan. 26: Scientists have proposed a #ScienceMarch to advocate for evidence-based policies #climate100    

Climate Central’s science programs (hover to learn more): 


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:01 am

Categories: Green Power   Tags:

Record Judge Vacancies Could See Trump Recast Courts

With President Trump preparing to nominate a ninth justice for the Supreme Court this week, tumult over the crucial vacancy is overshadowing his unprecedented potential to fill the benches of lower federal courts.

A broad refusal by Senate Republicans to approve judicial nominees during the last two years of Obama’s second term means Trump could move quickly to fill 114 vacant federal judge positions. U.S. Courts data shows that to be the most vacancies in at least 20 years.

Missouri River Federal Courthouse.
Credit: U.S. Courts

Trump is a foe of environmental regulations who is working quickly to undo rules, programs and agreements backed by President Obama to slow global warming. By appointing federal judges with similar views, Trump could make it harder for future administrations to secure courtroom approvals for new climate rules for decades to come.

“It’s a very serious problem,” said Glenn Sugameli, an attorney for the nonprofit Defenders of Wildlife who tracks federal judge vacancies and nominations. “It does create more opportunities for bad judges to get confirmed, for bad decisions to be issued, and for courts to tilt.”


Two years ago, 43 federal judge positions were vacant. The figure has nearly tripled since then, with one out of every eight judge posts now empty as Republicans refused to hold Senate votes on the openings. That gives Trump an extraordinary opportunity to influence the slant of federal courts for decades to come.

The marquee vacancy is on the Supreme Court, and Trump said Monday he would announce his nomination of a justice to fill that spot on Tuesday. Republican senators would not consider Obama’s nomination of U.S. Circuit Judge Merrick Garland following the death of Justice Antonin Scalia, who was an ardent opponent of environmental regulations.

Three quarters of the vacancies are on district courts. These lower courts do much of the federal judicial system’s grunt work, holding criminal and civil trials, and hearing challenges to the use of federal rules covering everything from greenhouse gas pollution to immigration.

At direct stake for the climate is the balance in how the federal justice system views federal regulations. While laws and regulations are needed to prevent corporations from wantonly polluting, such rules can reduce personal liberties.

Legal battles over air and water quality and climate pollution tend to boil down to a persistent debate: The fossil fuel industry promotes personal liberties over regulations, because it can be cheaper to pollute than to abide by anti-pollution rules, while environmental groups support regulations.

Some judges favor strong regulations, while others favor personal liberties. Supreme Court justices picked by Republican presidents have tended to favor personal liberties while judges chosen by Democrats tend to favor stronger regulations.

The influence of party politics in federal judge appointments continues to escalate. “Presidents have long appointed judges of their own party,” Columbia Law School professor Michael Gerrard said. “But the confirmation process wasn’t always political.”

The candidates on Trump’s list of potential candidates for the Supreme Court have been backed by conservative think tanks and opposed by liberal groups.

Democrats may be able to filibuster a Supreme Court nominee, but, due to filibuster rule changes they made in 2013 to force through Obama nominees, they would have little to power to block Trump’s picks for the lower courts.

“If many judges go on the bench who take a narrow viewing of federal agency powers under the statutes, that could have long-term consequences,” Gerrard said. “Many of these judges will stay on the bench for decades.”

Conservative think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, have also backed Trump’s quick moves to undermine federal environmental protections affecting fossil fuel projects. His opposition to government rules is likely to manifest in a preference for anti-regulatory federal judges.

“Trump has said that he wants to appoint a Supreme Court justice whose philosophy is similar to Scalia,” Gerrard said. “One might expect that to be not only for the Supreme Court but also for the lower courts.”

When states and environmentalists claim that plans for new or expanded oil pipelines, power plants and chemical refineries violate federal environmental laws, it is federal judges who rule on those lawsuits.

Issues affecting everything from pollution to abortion access to gun rights come before the federal courts. It was district court judges who on Saturday froze some of the immigration restrictions that Trump had imposed one day earlier on people from seven Muslim countries.

Federal courts also hold trials for companies accused of violating clean air and other environmental laws. While the outcomes of these trials are less likely to be influenced by a judge’s regulatory bent, they can be shaped by whether the judge tends to rule in favor of prosecutors or defense attorneys.

Senate protocol dictates that Trump secure approval from both senators from a state before nominating a judge to a federal court. With dozens of states being represented by at least one Democratic senator, if that custom is followed, most federal judge appointments would enjoy bipartisan support, but not all of them.

“I can only conclude that Trump’s appointments to the judiciary will be hostile to environmental regulation,” said Ann Carlson, an environmental law professor at UCLA Law.

With Trump claiming he will eliminate 75 percent of regulations, environmental groups and Democratic-led states are likely to sue the EPA to try to force it to create replacements for eliminated environmental rules.

If such cases are assigned to judges who oppose regulations, including judges nominated by Trump, the outcomes would be more likely to fall in favor of polluters, leaving the climate and environment vulnerable.

“Anti-regulatory judges could dismiss these suits, and allow an anti-regulatory EPA to run roughshod over the law,” Carlson said.



Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:01 am

Categories: Green Power   Tags:

New Bioenergy Roadmap Guide Released Jointly by IEA and FAO

Monday, January 30, 2017

Recognizing the importance of taking a crosscutting approach to bioenergy strategies that rely on sustainable biomass use, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have jointly prepared a How2Guide for Bioenergy. The guide is designed to provide policymakers with the methodology and tools required to successfully plan and implement a roadmap for bioenergy at the national or regional level.


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:01 am

Categories: Green Power   Tags:

Wabash Valley Power picks Omnetric Group to implement demand response

Wabash Valley Power uses demand response to manage load for lower member energy costs


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:01 am

Categories: Green Power   Tags:

ConEdison buys key assets of Juhl Energy

Renewable energy company purchases interest in three operating wind facilities, O&M business and nearly 500 MW pipeline of wind projects in the Midwest


Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by Editor - at 6:01 am

Categories: Green Power   Tags:

Next Page »