Archive for February 11th, 2011

Idaho Taps into Rich Geothermal Energy Potential

If Idaho has the potential to power 650,000 homes with geothermal energy by 2025, why do they only have one operating geothermal plant? Because outdated laws and unwelcoming restrictions have developers running scared.

idaho geothermal energy potential

In an effort to make the state more attractive for potential developers, four bills have recently been introduced to the state Legislature under Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

The bills would get rid of restrictions on the size of geothermal leases, while also reducing the 10-percent royalty fees that developers have been forced to pay in the past.

There is currently 2 million acres of land available for use by geothermal plants—all of which are endowment acres given to the state in 1890.

The majority of that land is in the southeast part of the state, which has an impressive amount of geothermal energy potential. In fact, if the state were to use the land, they would be ranked third in geothermal production—behind only California and Nevada.

While geothermal energy currently contributes less than 1 percent of domestic energy nationwide, it has the capacity for much, much more.

How much? According to the Interior Department, by 2025 geothermal energy on federal lands could power 10 million homes across the country.

If outdated laws can be remedied to support this potential, geothermal could actually become competitive with solar and wind energy. Here’s to hoping that happens.

Photo Credit: ThinkGeoEnergy via Flickr CC


Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Idaho Taps into Rich Geothermal Energy Potential

If Idaho has the potential to power 650,000 homes with geothermal energy by 2025, why do they only have one operating geothermal plant? Because outdated laws and unwelcoming restrictions have developers running scared.

idaho geothermal energy potential

In an effort to make the state more attractive for potential developers, four bills have recently been introduced to the state Legislature under Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

The bills would get rid of restrictions on the size of geothermal leases, while also reducing the 10-percent royalty fees that developers have been forced to pay in the past.

There is currently 2 million acres of land available for use by geothermal plants—all of which are endowment acres given to the state in 1890.

The majority of that land is in the southeast part of the state, which has an impressive amount of geothermal energy potential. In fact, if the state were to use the land, they would be ranked third in geothermal production—behind only California and Nevada.

While geothermal energy currently contributes less than 1 percent of domestic energy nationwide, it has the capacity for much, much more.

How much? According to the Interior Department, by 2025 geothermal energy on federal lands could power 10 million homes across the country.

If outdated laws can be remedied to support this potential, geothermal could actually become competitive with solar and wind energy. Here’s to hoping that happens.

Photo Credit: ThinkGeoEnergy via Flickr CC


Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Idaho Taps into Rich Geothermal Energy Potential

If Idaho has the potential to power 650,000 homes with geothermal energy by 2025, why do they only have one operating geothermal plant? Because outdated laws and unwelcoming restrictions have developers running scared.

idaho geothermal energy potential

In an effort to make the state more attractive for potential developers, four bills have recently been introduced to the state Legislature under Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

The bills would get rid of restrictions on the size of geothermal leases, while also reducing the 10-percent royalty fees that developers have been forced to pay in the past.

There is currently 2 million acres of land available for use by geothermal plants—all of which are endowment acres given to the state in 1890.

The majority of that land is in the southeast part of the state, which has an impressive amount of geothermal energy potential. In fact, if the state were to use the land, they would be ranked third in geothermal production—behind only California and Nevada.

While geothermal energy currently contributes less than 1 percent of domestic energy nationwide, it has the capacity for much, much more.

How much? According to the Interior Department, by 2025 geothermal energy on federal lands could power 10 million homes across the country.

If outdated laws can be remedied to support this potential, geothermal could actually become competitive with solar and wind energy. Here’s to hoping that happens.

Photo Credit: ThinkGeoEnergy via Flickr CC


Visit the original post at: Solar Power News

Jobs In Solar: Regional Director (Newark )
Date: 2011-02-08, 5:56PM EST
Reply to: see below

Job Description

The Regional Director of Operations will manage operations as we expand into in the North East. This position reports to the Vice President of Operations and requires managing a network of sub-contractors as well as employees that include field engineers and project managers. SolarCity will provide full marketing and sales support, operations and back office support and installation materials—freeing the Regional Director to focus solely on managing a steady supply of solar installations in the region.

Responsibilities

• Manage commercial and residential solar installations in the state.
• Oversee network of local Authorized SolarCity Installers sub-contracted to install solar systems.
• Ensure all solar systems are installed according to SolarCity quality standards.
• Ensure the company maintains a positive customer relationship, resolving concerns and complaints while providing excellent customer service.
• Administrate contractor payments and coordinate material deliveries.
• Serve as a liaison between customers and California-based support departments and evaluate customer needs, product and services recommendations.
• A good balance of entrepreneurship and ability to follow established processes.

Required Skills/Experience

• Must have a BS or BA degree.
• Must have at least 5 years of management experience with 4 years in the construction industry.
• Extensive experience supervising, motivating, and managing subcontractors.
• Strong leadership skills – ability to organize, utilize and motivate team members to meet goals.
• World class communication skills.
• Must have strong computer skills and be proficient in Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint).
• Must be able to work with business partners through the design, engineering and final installation of residential and commercial solar electric systems.
• Must be willing to travel within the state to train and develop the team and oversee operations.
• Must be a strong leader, creative, possessing strategic planning skills.
• Confident personality with excellent interpersonal skills.
• Knowledge of NEC Code, Universal Building Code and building materials.
• Experience working with city/county permitting offices and inspectors.
• Experience in solar or clean energy company is a big plus.
• Must have CURRENT AND ACTIVE CONTRACTOR’S LICENSE and willingness to transfer the contractor’s license to SolarCity (as RME) for the duration of employment.

About SolarCity:

Are you interested in entering the clean tech/green energy space? It’s immensely rewarding, because we’re changing the world one rooftop at a time! SolarCity® is one of the fastest growing and exciting consumer brands in the nation. We’re a national leader in solar power system and energy efficiency design, financing, installation, monitoring and related services. SolarCity was founded with the mission to help millions of homeowners and businesses adopt solar power, protect themselves from rising electricity costs and protect their environment from polluting power sources. The company’s first-of-its-kind SolarLease® offering makes it possible for homeowners to switch to clean, solar power for typically less money than they currently pay for electricity. SolarCity recently launched a portfolio of energy efficiency offerings alongside of its solar products. SolarCity’s employees currently serve more than 10,000 customers in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Oregon, Texas and Washington D.C.

SolarCity is an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity in the workplace. As a condition of employment, candidates must successfully pass a background check and drug screen.

TO APPLY: Please apply via our website at: http://solarcity.com/hr/displayjob.aspx?id=319&location=31

  • Location: Newark


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Fond du Lac County, host of 168 wind turbines, supports PSC siting rules

Testimony of Sam Tobias
Director of Planning and Parks
Fond du Lac County

Before the Joint Committee for Review of Administrative Rules
February 9, 2011

(starts at 3:45:30 pm on Wisconsin Eye)

Thank you for the opportunity to speak before you today — chairs and committee members as well.

I’ve been with Fond du Lac County for 25 years in a couple of different roles but at this point I’m with the county planning and parks director. You have to know just a bit about Fond du Lac County to understand where I’m coming from and what’s been happening in Fond du Lac. In our county we do not have county zoning, every town in our county, all 21, each has their own individual zoning ordinance. They administer their zoning ordinances. At times, with wind siting issues especially, they depend heavily on their attorney, and they all pretty much use the same attorney. They’ve come up with pretty much the model that’s being used in the PSC rule. And it’s worked very well, and that’s my point here today is we’ve been a test-bed so to speak in Fond du Lac.

The program has worked in Fond du Lac County. Why do I say that? The six town boards in Fond du Lac County that are the six towns that are host to wind turbine projects are all still in place. If this were truly a monumental issue, and truly had widespread health effects, and hazards, nature hazards, those types of things, I don’t think those six town boards would be in place today, but they are.

We’re home to three major utility scale wind turbine projects — 168 turbines, 268 MW of electricity capacity. Again, the towns, the 8,000 to almost 9,000 town residents, that are involved in these facilities. We don’t have 8,000 to 9,000 people here today protesting against the rules. There are people with concerns, but it’s not the majority by any stretch of the imagination.

Town government took the lead, as I said previously. In permitting, in regulating wind farms in Fond du Lac County and I think they’ve done a very great job. Again, our setbacks are very similar in our towns as to what’s in our state rule. Utility-scale wind farm in Wisconsin mean a lot to local businesses — from the sandwich supply lunch truck, that comes out to construction sites, to Michels Corporation in Brownsville that’s got 200 people that have been involved in developing wind projects in our county and elsewhere around the state. By their estimations, there are probably four projects out there that are being discussed and are in the works, 100 MW or more each, so there’s projects queued up that need some predictability in outcome, and that’s what this rule does.

I’ll go back to creating a level playing field. This is the same kind of thing that the Wisconsin Realtors Association asked for in ’99 and 2000 – the Wisconsin Smart Growth law. I’m a planner so I supported them in those efforts and that was a big thing that they really wanted. They wanted a level playing field. And I think in this situation, the same rule applies, the same situation applies. Let’s provide a level playing field. We’re not going to have turbines in every corner of the state of Wisconsin. These companies are going to go where the resource is. The resource is fairly limited in our area. . . .

(Q) Thank you for your testimony. You said that the standards that were in place when the wind turbines were put up in Fond du Lac were similar to what were in the PSC. So like a 1,250 foot setback? We’re dealing with something like that?

A) Yes, yes. Setbacks for municipal and civil structures are three times the maximum height of a wind turbine. Setbacks from participating residences can be 600 feet or 1.1 times the turbine height is allowable with written permission from the land owner. The setback from nonparticipating residences is three times the maximum height of the turbine. Setbacks from property lines are 1.1 times the height of the turbine. And setbacks from communications and utility lines is 1.1 times, so it’s similar. If there are some additional consideration to be given, look at what towns in Fond du Lac County have done.

Q) (Senator Leibham) I just want to clarify, are you here on behalf of the County or yourself as an individual?

A) I’m here on behalf of Fond du Lac County. This is an issue we’ve talked over, I’ve talked over with the boss, the county executive Allen Buechel and I’m here with his permission. So I’m speaking on behalf of myself and behalf of Fond du Lac County.


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Toronto needs to take a serious look at turning its hard-to-recycle trash into energy

My Clean Break column today in the Toronto Star talks about why the city, which under previous Mayor David Miller practically banned discussion of energy-from-waste, should open its mind and have an honest dialogue about options for turning the city’s hard-to-recycle solid waste into useful products, such as electricity, ethanol or green chemicals.

They’re doing it in Edmonton with Enerkem, which is turning sorted municipal solid waste into ethanol. They’re doing it in Ottawa with Plasco Energy, which is turning residual municipal waste into syngas that’s used for generating electricity. Trash giant Waste Management, an investor in Enerkem, has been investing heavily in technologies that can cleanly convert waste into useful chemicals and fuels in a safe way that releases virtually no emissions into the atmosphere — at least not, obviously, until any end fuel product is burned. But this fuel product would be displacing a fossil fuel using materials that might otherwise degrade in a landfill and release methane or contaminate groundwater.

This is an area where I part with many of my friends in the environmental community, and believe me, I’ve had my share of debates over a beer. But the landfill option is not better, in my view, and while I fully support waste diversion programs I don’t believe we can ever get to 100 per cent diversion. There’s a lot of wood waste, clothing, unrecyclable plastics, and even certain paper and plastic products can only be recycled so many times. What happens with this garbage? Advanced energy-from-waste technologies, like those being built by Enerkem and Plasco, can help municipalities manage their waste in their own back yard and get a source of energy in return.

I’m not saying we should drink the Kool-Aid, no questions asked. But at the same time, I’m a believer that the technology has changed over the years, the economics have improved, and some systems being piloted and built for commercial use today are dramatically different than the dirty incinerators built in the 1970s. Skepticism is fine, and encouraged, but not when it’s accompanied by outright dismissal or repeated attempts to compare today’s technology with what stirred up controversy 20 years ago.

It’s a conversation Toronto needs to have.

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Students Make Renewable Ethanol Fuel from Soda Pop

Oklahoma State University make renewable ethanol fuel from soda popWe all know that the U.S. is awash in soda pop, but it took a group of students and scientists from Oklahoma State University to figure out that soda pop could be a cheap, renewable resource for making ethanol fuel. Their timing is perfect, since the U.S. EPA has just declared that more cars and light trucks can use a blended fuel that includes a higher concentration of ethanol, in order to help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Come to think of it, with First Lady Michelle Obama spearheading a campaign to help reduce excessive consumption of sugary foods and drinks, all that bubbly sweet goodness is going to have to go somewhere.

Soda Pop as a Renewable Resource

Actually, the students don’t envision burning perfectly good soda pop in your gas tank. Their research is designed as a waste disposal solution. As reported by OSU writer Kylee Willard, there are about 500 bottlers in the U.S., producing 2,000 drinks a minute. Even if a small fraction is unfit for distribution that adds up to a lot of sugar-laden liquid waste (a typical soft drink contains about ten teaspoons of sugar), and in theory at least, that sugar can be converted to ethanol.

Ethanol from Soda Pop

The basic operation is pretty simple. The students used samples of Pepsi, Coke, Sprite and Mountain Dew, to which they added a standard distiller’s yeast along with extra nutrients. With hungry microbes chewing away on the sugar, the brew quickly fermented, and after seven days it yielded a fairly respectable ethanol content. The only hitch was the use of the preservative sodium benzoate in some brands, which inhibits fermentation. However, that can be resolved by adjusting the pH.

Cost-Effective Ethanol Production

One big hurdle that biofuels have to clear is getting the cost of production down to where they can compete with fossil fuels. One solution would be to make an ethanol plant do double duty as a waste disposal operation. Bottlers currently have to pay to have their waste soda pop disposed of properly, so a pop-to-ethanol system at bottling plant could do the trick. A similar move is afoot for producing ethanol from other kinds of manufacturing, food processing and agricultural waste.  Just a couple of examples are a researcher in Florida who is looking into using orange peels for ethanol production, and in New Zealand they’ve even come up with a way to make ethanol from steel mill waste gas.

Image: Soda pop by Mustafa Sayed on flickr.com.



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Polls: Anti-Wind NIMBYs Are Small Minority

From an article by Brian Keene on The Huffington Post:

I’ve written before about the pseudo-controversy that NIMBYs kick up over wind projects. And it’s too bad that the media indulge them. It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease — and news stories about overzealous anti-turbine activists feed on unfounded fears that wind energy does not have the support it needs to get off the ground.

In fact, the media frenzy over unhappy wind-turbine neighbors is downright irresponsible — mainly because multiple studies show that wind turbine critics fall squarely in the minority.

Wind turbine critics tend to make general claims that, within their communities, a silent majority opposes wind farms in the area, and this should be reason enough to pull the plug on such projects . . . .

Look no further than a poll of 1,200 urban and rural residents across Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, which measured public opinion on wind energy in residents’ backyards. According to one pollster, “An overwhelming percentage — 80 percent actually of residents of rural areas of the Northwest — support wind farms being developed within sight of their homes. What’s more interesting is that 50 percent strongly — not just somewhat — but strongly support this.”

The study, a collaboration between the Northwest Health Foundation, a polling firm, and several public radio stations, hit the news at the same time as “nagging opposition to some new wind farms from some neighbors.” Perhaps not surprisingly, the numbers of wind project supporters were even higher in urban areas.

Wind energy will be critical to building America’s clean energy economy in the long term. In the short term, it represents one of the best options for communities hoping to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels while still meeting electricity demand. Momentum is gathering behind the movement toward clean energy, including wind. It would be foolish to let this motivation fall victim to anti-wind rhetoric and NIMBYs who keep wishing for the old days.


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ODAC Newsletter – Feb 11

ODAC Newsletter – Feb 11

Saudi Arabia’s recoverable oil reserves may have been overstated by 40%. That was the warning sent to Washington from its embassy in Riyadh in 2007, according to a cable released by Wikileaks this week. The source was Sadad al-Husseini, former head of E&P at Saudi Aramco, who allegedly told US diplomats in Riyadh that Saudi’s claimed reserves of some 700bn bbls were overinflated by 300 billion barrels of ‘speculative resources’, and that output would peak once the kingdom had produced half of its original proven reserves of 360bn barrels. With 116bn produced so far, the diplomats concluded that on this basis Saudi’s peak could come in the early 2020s.

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Wind Stocks News; Manitoulin Island wind farm project moves forward
SUDBURY – February 11, 2011 (investorideas.com renewable energy/green news) Mnidoo Mnising Power (MMP), a company formed by the United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mnising First Nations (UCCMM)


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Electric Car Stocks Trading Alert; EVCARCO (OTCBB: EVCA) up 31.03% in morning trading
February 11, 2011 (Investorideas.com renewable energy/green newswire) Investorideas.com a leading global investor and industry portal covering the green and renewable energy sector reports on electric car stocks and battery stocks news and trading.


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Homeland Security Requires New Wind Turbine Fields to Be Radar-Friendly
You just can’t mess with Homeland Security and their radars, even if you’re a state-of-the-art renewable energy entrepreneur who builds huge wind turbine fields for a living. It looks like national security can be affected by badly-posted wind turbines, since they can interfere with radars through the doppler effect they create.


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Schiller Automation Expands Internationally
Schiller Automation GmbH & Co. KG, a world leading provider of production solutions to the solar production industry, announced today an expansion of its international activities with a new location in the United States.
Visit the original post at: Renewable Energy News – RenewableEnergyWorld.com

UK FIT Fires Up Solar, But Also Creates Uncertainty
The introduction of the Feed-in Tariff in the UK in April 2010 has sparked an explosive reaction in the UK renewable energy market, with the solar PV market seeing the largest growth
Visit the original post at: Renewable Energy News – RenewableEnergyWorld.com