BMW and SOLARWATT Team on EV+PV Systems

bmw-solarwatt

Looking at BMW’s highly anticipated i line of flashy electric vehicles (EVs), you’d likely think to yourself that the future is now, or, “didn’t I see that vehicle in a sci-fi movie?” BMW hasn’t started selling the EVs yet, they’re expected to hit the market towards the end of 2013. But the company has been partnering with a number of companies to make the launch as convenient as possible. Most recently it partnered with SOLARWATT to provide photovoltaic rooftops and carports with EV chargers to the future owners of its all-electric i3 coupes and i8 sports cars. The company first unveiled the concept cars in 2011 after keeping the project in stealth mode for a number of years.

The German auto manufacturer previously partnered with Real Goods Solar to offer testers of its ActiveE EV—the predecessor to the i line of EVs—a discount on a PV array and charger. Likewise other car manufacturers have teamed up with solar companies to offer EV customers PV systems and EV chargers. For instance, Ford has partnered with SunPower, and earlier this year Honda partnered with SolarCity and created a $65 million fund to offer Honda customers a SolarCity PV array.

The new SOLARWATT carports will feature glass-mounted PV modules and a household microgeneration system, according to BMW, which could include a Schneider Electric charger for the EV. The partnership is being made through BMW’s 360° ELECTRIC project, which is bringing players together to support EVs. “This is the next step in the BMW i 360-degree package for customer-friendly electric mobility. With SOLARWATT, we are delighted to be working with a premium partner for customized solar solutions who will cater to our customers’ high standards of quality and style,” said Marcus Krieg, head of the 360° ELECTRIC project.

It’s other partners in the project include Naturstrom, Schneider Electric and The Mobility House. “These partnerships will support the overriding goal of ensuring that, by the launch date, the charging options for the BMW i3 and BMW i8 will include customer-friendly, sustainable and convenient solutions for home garage charging. All these partnerships are centered on the concept of sustainability,” BMW said.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

Berkshire East Ski Resort Goes 100% Renewable

berkshire-ski-solar

If there’s one industry that is quaking in its boots over climate change, it’s the ski industry, which is threatened by ever-shorter seasons and lessened snowfalls. That’s why it makes sense that they are increasingly turning to renewable energy instead of fossil-fuel based energy from the electric grid. But Berkshire East, the ski resort and mountain in Charlemont, Mass., has raced ahead of the pack, getting all of its electricity from onsite generation, including a new 500 kilowatt photovoltaic farm from AllEarth Renewables.

Climate change isn’t the main reason why the ski slope chose to add in the solar and wind. “We view on-site renewable as a hedge against the rising price of power,” said Jon Schaefer, assistant general manager at Berkshire East ski area. “Energy is our largest non-labor expense and it’s the one thing we are most dependent on beyond the snow.”

AllEarth Renewables, the Vermont-based renewable energy company, announced April 24 that the installation of 90 of its AllSun Series 24 trackers at Berkshire East was completed. The installation will produce 700,000 kilowatt hours of electricity for the year-round resort annually. The solar farm supplements Berkshire East’s 900 kilowatt Powerwind wind turbine that generates 1.4 million kilowatt hours annually. The turbine was installed in 2010. The two systems are working in concert to provide all the resort’s electric needs.

Both projects were developed by Sustainable Energy Development Inc. (SED) of Ontario, N.Y., which chose AllEarth Renewables’ trackers for the solar installation. “Berkshire East Ski Area is a prime example of how distributed energy projects like wind and solar can help small, family-owned businesses thrive,” said Kevin Schulte, CEO of SED. AllEarth Renewables owns the solar farm and has a long-term power-purchase agreement with Berkshire East to purchase the power the system produces.

While primarily a ski resort—and closed for the ski season—the resort also does zipline canopy tours in the summer and will open for the summer season in May. The resort also offers tours of the wind turbine and likely will offer tours of the solar array, as well and with over 100,000 skiers annually, that’s a lot of eyes that could get hands on with renewable energy.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

PV Manufacturers Ready for Good News

pv-manufacturer-chart

A new NPD Solarbuzz Marketbuzz report anticipates that photovoltaic manufacturers will start to see a rebound in profitability—if they can make it to 2017. By then the research company anticipates that the PV manufacturing market will reach $32 billion.

But that’s still a couple years away, and prior to that Solarbuzz anticipates that the market will see a downturn through 2014. “Solar photovoltaic (PV) industry module revenues are forecast to decline 20 percent in 2013 to $20.5 billion from $25.5 billion in 2012,” according to SolarBuzz. However, from 2015 onward, the company anticipates that sales will start to rebound, reaching the highest level ever in 2017.

“Manufacturing overcapacity and declining revenues had a dramatic impact on the PV industry in 2012, and this trend will continue during 2013,” said NPD Senior Analyst Michael Barker. “Share values of several publicly listed PV companies have been falling close to delisting levels, operating losses have been reported in the hundreds of millions of dollars per quarter, and many manufacturers are continuing to file for insolvency,” he observed. Such filings include China’s PV giant Suntech, whose investors recently filed insolvency proceedings against the company when it was unable to pay on its due notes.

Suntech is joining an increasing number of companies that have filed for bankruptcy or have stopped manufacturing PV while the costs of PV modules have fallen below sustainable levels. Joining Suntech in 2013 Concentrator Optics has filed for bankruptcy, SoloPower out of Oregon announced it was shuttering manufacturing and Bosch said it was exiting the PV manufacturing business. Earlier this month Greentech Media issued an extensive list showing the bankruptcies and plant closures since solar really started heating up in 2009.

Part of the reason PV manufacturers continue to have problems is the continual oversupply in the market, which forced prices down further. “Confidence in the solar PV industry was severely damaged in 2012, as module average selling prices declined approximately 50 percent year-over-year, while end-market demand grew only 5 percent,” NPD said. “This mismatch placed extreme pressure on the solar PV manufacturing sector, which had expanded its capacity during 2010 and 2011 to potentially supply 45 GW to an end-market that reached only 29 GW in 2012.”

Now it looks like after a contracted period of oversupply, the market may rebound. The questions now is, when? “Predicting how and when the solar PV industry will rebound to profitability has now become essential for all industry participants,” Barker said. “Surviving the downturn phase of 2013 and 2014 remains the key objective for all solar PV manufacturers,” Barker noted.

Over that period, “Module suppliers with profitable business models will emerge as market leaders. In 2015, they can expect an industry that offers strong growth and revenue potential, which should restore confidence in the PV manufacturing sector and lead to further investments in new capacity and next-generation technologies.” This might include companies like First Solar, which reported higher-than-anticipated earnings projections for 2013 and beyond earlier this year.

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California Initiative End Won’t Stop Solar

california-panelAs the California Solar Initiative steps toward its end, at least one solar developer isn’t concerned about the impact fewer incentives could have on the industry.

“The program was very, very well designed,” said Alan Lee, founder of EcoSolargy, a full-service solar development firm. “And right now we’re closing in on the end of it.”

There’s just one or two more steps down before the statewide rebate program disappears, Lee said. And that’s OK.

“They saw the drastic drop in the cost of solar panels coming and I have to give them credit for that,” Lee said.

In the beginning the California rebates were more than $3 per installed watt. Now they’re down to 20 cents per watt.

Some of the steps along the way were painful with 40- to 45-cent drops in the rebates. But what’s left won’t change much, Lee said.

“The rebate, the incentive is very minimal right now,” he said. “The California solar industry is no longer dependent on that rebate.”

The rebate was essential to getting the industry off the ground and it has done its job. California is leading the country in installed solar and would be among one of the most solarized countries in the world if it were a nation unto itself.

If the state comes up with a program to replace the solar initiative, Lee said “that would be icing on the cake.”

But the California solar industry is mature enough now that it can make it without state incentives.

“I believe the growth is still going to be there and the momentum will continue,” Lee said. “We’re reaching grid parity.”

While the cost of solar panels themselves isn’t likely to continue falling at the exponential rate it has fallen over the last three years, the price for installing solar could still come down another $1 per watt, Lee said. And it’s already down to $2 to $3 per watt in most instances.

The additional room for the cost to fall comes from advances in installation technology that trims the time contractors have to spend doing the work. There are also advances making inverters more efficient and affordable. And cities and counties are working on creating streamlined approval and permitting processes for solar that could create cost savings, Lee said.

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Confimed Shrinkage: Solar Venture Capital Funding

solar-vc-funding-2013The amount of venture capital (VC)—early-stage funding with higher risks, but high potential returns—going to solar companies continues to shrink, according to a new report from Mercom Capital Group. The report found that solar venture capital in the first quarter of 2013 fell to $126 million, almost a third of the $324 million in the previous year’s first quarter.

The lowered venture capital funding means fewer new solar companies are being funded. But more than that, Mercom saw a shift in where venture capital funding is going from manufacturers of newer solar technologies, like thin-films, to downstream players, like installers.

“Downstream companies received the most VC funding of all categories. This is the first quarter we’ve seen this happen since we began tracking,” said Mercom CEO Raj Prabhu. In fact, the top venture capital investment in solar was $30 million, oddly enough from a Korean solar manufacturer, Hanwha Group, to a third-party ownership company OneRoof Energy, in California. Similarly, the next highest, according to Mercom, was the $28 million in funding raised by Sungevity. However, that was raised through a number of former investors, included Brightpath Capital Partners, Lowe’s, Vision Ridge Partners, Craton Equity Partners, and Eastern Sun Capital Partners.

Part of the issue is the continued lower prices of well-established silicon PV, which is making it harder for newer technologies to move from research and development stages to competitive commercial entities that can compete with silicon PV. It’s also making venture capitalists less likely to invest in new technologies, particularly after the failure of startup companies like Solyndra or Abound Solar. “After being burned by solar technology investments, especially thin film, we are finally seeing VC investments shift away from technologies and towards downstream or lease companies that are benefitting from record low panel prices,” Prabhu said.

Meanwhile the report also found that companies raised a lot of money to support third-party ownership, with three companies, SunPower, aleo solar and OneRoof Energy each raising $100 million to support such installations. “Mercom has tracked approximately $5 billion in disclosed solar lease funds to date,” the company said.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

Mosic Sells Out California Solar Crowdfunding Projects in Hours

mosaic-california-crowdfunding

Mosaic, which is using crowdfunding to develop solar and other clean energy projects, today (April 8) unveiled $100 million in solar projects that Californians can invest in directly. At the same time it launched its first offering in what it is calling the Golden State Series of solar projects in California, crowdfunding a 114 kilowatt array on the Ronald McDonald House in San Diego. The $157,750 project was funded within hours of its offering, signifying the public’s interest in supporting solar projects.

Mosaic is getting more U.S. citizens to invest directly in solar projects. This is occurring as companies are trying to figure out new financing mechanisms for solar, like creating bonds and securities. Such tools will help lower the cost of solar because they can offer long-term returns at lower interest rates than the short-term, higher interest rate loans that banks and some other institutional investors are looking for. Bonds and securities will also attract new types of investors to solar project financing, investors like insurance companies and retirement funds, which are looking for stable, long-term returns.

“California has always been a leader in solar energy. We’re thrilled that now any resident of California can invest directly into solar energy for as little as $25,” said Billy Parish, President & Co-founder of Mosaic.

The Ronald McDonald House project is anticipated to offer at 4.5 percent annual return on investment. It will have a 117-month term—nearly 10 years, according to Mosaic.

Thus far the company’s offerings to the public have received a lot of interest. When it made three offerings in California this January, all were completely funded within 24-hours. In all, people ponied up to invest $300,000 in the projects.

Now that Mosaic received approval from securities regulators, it can start offering its Golden State Series of projects to Californians for investment. However, it has not named all the projects it plans to offer to the public at this point.

To make sure that the industry and new investor interest in it is continuing to grow Mosaic is working with other companies as part of the truSolar working group. The companies, which include Standard & Poor’s, DuPont and Distributed Sun, are working on ways to efficiently evaluated projects to ensure quality while reducing the time it takes to bring solar projects to investors.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

The Solar Site Design App for Installers

site-design-appA new mobile app designed to guide solar installers through the sales process aims to help curb soft costs.

States and cities all over the country have been tackling issues with complicated and cumbersome permitting processes for rooftop solar projects the last two years.

“I believe that’s the next step,” said Jason Loyet, Managing Director for Solar Site Design. “Take care of the soft costs.”

His company, based in Tennessee, has developed a mobile app that should streamline and expedite the permitting process, he said.

“We want to save solar installers time on the most expensive part of the process,” he said.

The way the startup will do it is creative. The company launched its Solar Site Design app on the Google Play store for Android smartphones earlier this month and expects its iPhone application to be available for download in mid April.

The app is a big tool for solar installers and contractors in all kinds of related fields like roofing and electric who are beginning to install solar.

The free smartphone application guides installers through a data collection process at their initial sales visit with a home or business owner. They get all the information needed for an initial site design and take detailed high-resolution videos of the subject property.

Once they sync the data to Solar Site Design’s interface, the company has a team of solar engineers who prepare a complimentary feasibility study for the contractor.

Loyet, who has worked in the solar industry for several years, said that feasibility study can take time. When he was installing, he would visit several properties a day, take measurements and information and then have to go back and write it all up and plan out how the project would work.

It was time-consuming, but essential.

“You’re not going to sell a solar project until you model what is the solar potential for the customer,” he said.

All of that is free. And it’s a lot. So, Loyet has had countless people ask him how Solar Site Design is going to make any money.

“The next step is where we make our money,” he said.

Armed with all the information the contractor gathered at the site, Loyet’s team of engineers can get all the necessary permits, saving the contractor time and money. That’s the service contractors will pay for, Loyet said.

Outsourcing that part of the process will streamline it and reduce soft costs in the long run, he said.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

PV from Trees

pv-from-trees

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University have developed organic photovoltaic cells that are based on natural substrates from plant materials like trees. The new devices are not only made of natural substances, they’re also water soluble, so at the end of their life cycle, the devices can be recycled in water.

Organic photovoltaics or OPV generally have much lower operating efficiencies than their silicon or even thin-film counterparts. The top silicon PV cells are about 24 percent efficient while the most efficient OPV cells as of August 2012, made by Solarmer, were just over 9 percent efficient. OPVs also often have much shorter lifespans of years rather than decades. But they can be much cheaper to produce, and can by built without any hazardous materials.

“The development and performance of organic substrates in solar technology continues to improve, providing engineers with a good indication of future applications,” said Georgia Tech College of Engineering Professor Bernard Kippelen, who is also the director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics (COPE). Purdue School of Materials Engineering’s Associate Professor Jeffrey Youngblood worked with Kippelen on the project.

The device that Kippelen’s team produced are already 2.7 percent efficient. An “unprecedented figure for cells on substrates derived from renewable raw materials,” according to Georgia Tech. The cells are fabricated from cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) substrates. The substrates the PV cells are fabricated on are optically transparent and paired with a thin layer of an organic semiconductor.

Most OPVs are fabricated on glass or plastic, which aren’t as easily as recyclable as the cellulose-based OPV substrates the team assembled. These OPVs can be recycled simply by immersing them in room-temperature water, allowing the CNC substrate and major components to be easily separated. “Organic solar cells must be recyclable. Otherwise we are simply solving one problem, less dependence on fossil fuels, while creating another, a technology that produces energy from renewable sources but is not disposable at the end of its lifecycle,” Kippelen said.

Moving forward the group intends to produce cellulose-based OPVs with efficiencies over 10 percent. “Levels similar to solar cells fabricated on glass or petroleum-based substrates,” said Kippelen.

The technology is published in the journal Scientific Reports, an open-access journal from the Nature Publishing Group. The team also filed for a provisional patent on the technology.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

NASA’s 13,000 Foot Solar Sail

nasa-solar-sail

NASA is preparing to test a massive solar sail called the Sunjammer in space.

The sail, developed by California company L’Garde, will be launched into space folded up into a square the size of a dishwasher before unfurling to 13,000 square feet.

“NASA has experimented with smaller solar sails in the past,” said spokesman David Steitz. “But the Sunjammer Mission is without question the most ambitious solar sail NASA, or anyone, has ever attempted to fly in space.”

Solar sails work a lot like wind sails on ships in the sea, Steitz said.

“A solar sail receives a ‘push’ from solar photons and uses that push to create momentum to propel the sail – and the spacecraft or instruments it’s attached to – in space,” he said. “Solar sails have the potential for use in a number of practical applications near Earth as well as for deep space travel.  For example, a solar sail could be used to manage the station keeping of a spacecraft placed between the Earth and the Sun.”

A spacecraft like that could be used to monitor solar flares and send advanced warning to Earth about potential electrical interuptions.

NASA is conducting the Sunjammer Mission under its Technology Demonstration Mission program, which is designed to test advanced-stage new technologies that are “ready for the real thing,” Steitz said.

Flying new technologies in harsh space environments can prove them and demonstrate they’re mature enough to be incorporated into NASA missions and the new commercial aerospace industry.

L’Garde’s technology is exciting and advanced. While solar sails and the concept of solar sails are not new, the Sunjammer takes the technology to a new level that has enabled scientists to imagine some pretty amazing space explorations.

“Solar sails also could be used for long duration deep space missions where you wouldn’t want a spacecraft to be dependent on a limited traditional liquid or solid-state fuel source,” Steitz said. “Thanks to Newton’s laws of motion, once a solar sail is moving, even a small amount of solar photons could help propel a spacecraft to the very edge of our solar system, or even into a neighboring star’s photon emission field.  A solar sail could surf the universe without ever giving off any emissions.”

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

Will Area 51 Go Solar?

area-51

Next time someone sees something shiny gleaming the desert sunlight near Roswell, N.M., it might not be an alien spaceship or experimental vehicle on Area 51. It’s more likely it will be one of the solar arrays being built in the region by Green States Energy.

The company has at least two projects in the region underway, GSE NM-1 and GSE NM-2. The first consists of 2.9 megawatts of arrays on 16 sites in and around Roswell and Dexter, N.M. The latter is a larger, 2.5 megawatt array in Roswell which will use U.S.-made Solectria Renewables inverters. The latter is being built this year and is one of the larger arrays in New Mexico at this point. Both projects are under contract to provide electricity to Xcel Energy.

The largest solar array in the state is likely the 30-megawatt Cimarron Solar Facility owned by Ted Turner and Southern Co. But the state’s largest PV facility under construction, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association, is a 300 megawatt plant being developed by Spanish company Gestamp Solar and will dwarf all the other installations in the state.

“This installation will be one of the largest in New Mexico and provide power to the surrounding communities. As part of a retail program, power from our projects are used right in the local community we are proud to be a part of,” said Stephen Clevett, CEO of Green States Energy. The company is an independent power producer that acquires, develops, and operates clean energy facilities in the Americas and Europe. It currently owns nine operating PV power plants in the U.S. that have a capacity of more than 8 megawatts and has 2.5 more megawatts under construction. It’s project pipeline is much larger at more than 100 megawatts and includes solar, biomass, and cogeneration/CHP projects.

The new project will use Solectria’s PVI 95KW line of central inverters. “We evaluated many inverter manufacturers for this project. Solectria Renewables’ central inverters proved to be the most robust, reliable and efficient.”

Solar is just starting to take hold in New Mexico state. Earlier this year, for instance, the U.S. Army completed its largest array in the country, a 4.1 megawatt system at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. That system was also the world’s largest low-concentrating photovoltaic array when it was completed.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

Alta Devices Hits 30.8% PV Cell Efficiency

alta-devices-efficiency-record

Alta Devices reached 30.8 percent solar cell conversion efficiency earlier this month. The company developed a dual-junction thin-film PV device that builds on its previous single junction cell. The company said its a new world record for the dual junction cells.

The results were verified by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). And while this is a record for the technology, apparently its just a (positive) speed bump in Alta Device’s PV cell evolution. “Alta Devices has been setting efficiency records since 2010,” said Chris Norris, Alta Devices’ president and CEO. While he admits that this is an important in showing the technology is ready for commercialization, he wants to see more out of the technology. “It’s also an important step toward our target of 38 percent efficient cells,” said Norris.

The new dual junction technology adds a second layer to the GaAs layer. In this case, using an Indium Gallium Phosphide (InGaP) layer as an absorber on top of the base cell. The company said InGaP uses high-energy photons (higher light bandwidth) more efficiently, the new cell can generate more electricity from the same amount of light.

The company’s thin-film Gallium Arsenide (GaAs) cells are also somewhat unique in that they are flexible, so they can be integrated with a smartphone or other device, for instance. An application the company is interested in exploring. “We are changing the way solar technology is used,” Norris said. “With our technology, enough energy can be generated from sunlight to effectively power devices in ways not previously possible. We are working with a number of customers who are designing their mobile products to increase battery life; and in some cases, we can provide enough energy to eliminate the need to plug into the electric grid,” he said.

The company also has devised a calculator to help device manufacturers understand how Alta’s cells will work for their product. The company said it’s devices could increase the battery life of an outdoor worker’s mobile device by 80 percent, or it could boost a tablet’s battery by about 60 percent.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

The Potential of DIY Solar

diy-solar

As permitting gets easier and cities start streamlining the process, the market for simplified Do-It-Yourself solar array kits could grow.

That’s a market Florida-based Peak Solar is fully prepared to take advantage of. The company has been selling integrated solar and inverter kits for three years.

While they’re marketed on the company’s website as DIY solar kits, John Bucher, Peak Solar vice president, said that hasn’t been the primary audience for the solar kits up to now.

“We’re not suggesting people don’t use an installer,” Bucher said.

Peak Solar’s primary market for the kits has been solar installation companies. While installers might have all the expertise they need to design a system from scratch and collect all the pieces and parts from different sources, Peak Solar has made it easier for them. All of the components come together, matched and with instructions for easy installation.

“It’s a turnkey system that can go up in a weekend,” Bucher said.

That simplifies things for installers and clients. While installers have historically made up Peak Solar’s customer base for the last three years, that’s starting to change.

Most states still require a licensed installer, Bucher said. But some states, like California, have loosened the regulations. And it’s a good thing, Bucher said.

“We have a lot of customers, especially in hot markets like California, who are being price gauged by the installers,” Bucher said. “They’re frustrated and want to be able to negotiate with the installers.”

Having the option to install an easy-to-assemble kit yourself and maybe have an electrician put the finishing touches on the work gives customers new options and more leverage.

“I’ve heard of California installers quoting customer $6 a watt,” Bucher said. “That’s price gouging.”

Peak Solar sells kits starting at $1,39 per watt and he said even with professional installation, it shouldn’t cost the customer more than $3 per watt, especially in communities with streamlined permitting.

As the market evolves and more states allow DIY solar, Peak Solar expects its kits could become increasingly popular.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

Indianapolis International Airport Goes Solar

indianapolis-airport
The new 75-acre solar farm at the Indianapolis International Airport that broke ground last week is one among about 30 new solar projects in development in Indianapolis Power and Light’s portfolio.

“This has been two years in the making,” said IPL spokeswoman Brandi Davis-Handy. “We’re very excited about it.”

She said the airport project, which will come in just under 10 megawatts, is expected to be the largest airport solar array in the country.

Construction started Friday and should be finished by early fall when it will come online and begin contributing significantly to IPL’s energy generation portfolio.

The project represents a strong public, private partnership between the investor-owned utility, the airport authority and city government, Davis-Handy said.

She said the growth in solar development has been helped along by strong leadership within the city.

“It’s important to get buy-in from those government leaders,” Davis-Handy said. “The leaders in Indianapolis have really encouraged the development and use of renewable energy.”

Indiana does not have a renewable energy portfolio standard requiring major utility companies like IPL to incorporate solar, wind, biomass and other renewable sources into its mix. But IPL took the lead on doing it anyway, Davis-Handy said.

“As a company, we’ve always really strived to be a leader in terms of environmental leadership,” she said. “And it’s important to us to have a diverse resources portfolio.”

With more than 30 new solar projects in the pipeline, IPL is in shape to have more solar energy in its portfolio than any other Midwestern utility, Davis-Handy said.

The surge of new projects resulted from a generous feed in tariff introduced about two years ago. IPL discontinued the program over the summer.

Even without the generous program, IPL expects to see continuing solar development.

“We’re always looking to find the best, most efficient and cleanest options available that will contribute to a diverse energy portfolio,” Davis-Handy said.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority

Energy Security Trust Gameplan Announced

energy-security-trust

During his State of the Union address earlier this year President Barak Obama called on Congress to create an Energy Security Trust Fund to fund research into biofuels, batteries and more, to help wean the U.S. from its oil habit. On Friday the Administration elaborated on how such a system would work.

“The Energy Security Trust will invest in research that will make future technologies cheaper and better—it will fund the advances that will allow us to run cars and trucks on electricity or homegrown fuels, and on the technology that will enable us to drive from coast-to-coast without a drop of oil,” the Administration said. The 10 year project would create a $2 billion research and innovation fund to invest in a range of technologies like advanced vehicles that run on electricity, homegrown biofuels, and domestically produced natural gas. What’s more is that the funding will come from federal oil and gas development, without adding costs to the federal budget. according to the Administration.

The approach drew praise from the Advanced Energy Economy. “We applaud the president for supporting development of advanced energy technologies,” said AEE CEO Graham Richard. “AEE believes that federal resources should drive innovation and commercialization of new energy technologies rather than subsidize mature technologies. We look forward to working with the Administration and Congress on efforts to stimulate the development of secure, clean and affordable energy sources,” he said.

AEE Senior Vice President for Policy and Government Affairs Malcolm Woolf recently testified before Congress about developing such a trust. “New energy technologies face a series of structural market barriers to entry. As such, the federal government needs to continue to play a vital role in supporting new energy technologies, products and services,” he told the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy Science, Space and Technology. “Just as the Internet economy transformed society in ways we did not expect, the advanced energy economy is creating dramatic new opportunities for economic growth in the United States and around the world.”

In his testimony, Woolf said the fund must be targeted, limiting federal funds to where innovation is needed; set up to sunset or automatically update when market-based objectives are achieved; provide stability and certainty for businesses and investors; and be technology agnostic, supporting all forms of advanced technology.

Original Article on Cleanenergyauthority