15 August

Green Investments

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Solar and Renewable Energy investment is no longer just a way to save our world, but also a way for us to invest with very promising future. I’d  like to share the video below with you to help shed some light on Green Investment and Feed-In-Tariff. Keep in mind that this is an interview from a year ago (with Timothy Nash, President of Strategic Sustainable Investments) and that means the green investments is even closer to the mainstream now.

According to Timothy Nash’s research project under Green Transition Scoreboard, there were $2 trillion invested in Green Investments (excluding government investments) globally since 2007. These investments tend to focus on green buildings, smart grids, and various companies’ R & D. Mr. Nash feels that large companies have played a significant role in investing in innervation (i.e. IBM’s Solution For Smarter Planet, GE, green car investments by Toyota & Aldi). Some of the low hanging fruits mentioned by Mr. Nash are in areas of energy and material efficiency. An interesting observation: people are willing to work for lower wages if companies are doing positive things for our planet. Ontario’s Feed-In-Tariff is discussed: the cut in Feed-In-Tariff is viewed as being counter-productive to job creations and decreased opportunities.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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14 August

Hazel Henderson of World Future Society & Ethical Markets Media

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It is my pleasure to be able to get an interview  during World Future Society 2014 at Orlando, FL, with Hazel Henderson, a futurist and an economic iconoclast. Ms. Henderson, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Britain in 1961, has worked in television and had authored several books, including Building A Win-Win World, Beyond Globalization, Planetary Citizenship (with Daisaku Ideda), and Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy. She is now a producer for the public television series Ethical Markets.


Ms. Henderson believes that the various threats to peace, community security, and good environment have led us into a new era in which we are obliged to look for values, information, and know-how that we seemed to be able to do without until recent decades. She is the founder of World Future Society and advocates Green Transition Scoreboard (will be mentioned in our next post’s video). The charming Ms. Henderson had been an early environmentalist and advocate who searched for solutions for our environmental issues and challenges.

One of her famous aphorism compare the occidental economic model to a cake with three level, with glass on the top: the first level is the nature, the second level is the subsistence economy, the third level is the public and private economy and the last level is the finance. (Be sure to check into our next post’s video on Green Investment).

More about Hazel Henderson may be obtained from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hazel_Henderson

~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, uploaded, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker
Any of your comments or suggestions will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

Any of your questions/comments/suggestions will be welcomed at sunisthefuture@gmail.com

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12 August

Mayor Dyer’s Climate & Energy Summit on Wed., Aug. 13, 2014

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Mayor Dyer's Climate & Energy Summit 2014 (credit: Orlando Mayor Dyer's Office)

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Did you know that Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer will be joining global and national experts in climate action on Wed., Aug. 13, 2014, to discuss best practices and solutions to support economic growth and a sustainable energy future for the city of Orlando, the Central Florida region, and the state of Florida? This Mayor Dyer’s Climate & Energy Summit will take place at Amway Center between 8:00-11:00 A.M., Dex Imaging Room. More than 200 community, business, nonprofit and public sector leaders will also learn first hand how to join with businesses and governments across the U.S. in how to achieve positive results from employing the latest innovative technologies and strategies in climate action and sustainable energy. The event is part of the Community Initiative, Green Works Orlando Initiative. This is Orlando’s comprehensive vision to insure Orlando to become one of the most environmentally friendly, economically and socially vibrant communities in the nation. I’ll be there to learn what I can and will share it with you later.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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9 August

InterSolar North America Opening Ceremony

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I really need to share this “Standing Ovation at the InterSolar North America Open Ceremony” with you all, taking place in July of 2014, at Moscone Center of San Francisco, CA.:


 

California Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. was met with a standing ovation as he delivered the keynote remarks at Intersolar North America’s Opening Ceremony 2014. Following the Governor’s remarks, San Francisco’s Mayor Edwin M. Lee took the stage. New York State Senator Kevin S. Parker similarly championed local policies that have grown the solar energy industry significantly in New York. Franz Untersteller, minister of the environment, climate protection and the energy sector, Germany, discussed the major policy incentives implemented in Germany that have played a key role boosting the solar industry. Finally, CALSEIA’s executive director Bernadette Del Chiaro concluded the session with a discussion of California’s solar policies and an inspirational call to action, asking the audience to help quadruple the solar industry in the next six years.

It is important to point out/remind ourselves that:

1. There is much more solar that needs to be installed in the decades to come!

2. There is much more needing to be done. We’ve not yet met the turning point to Sustainability.

3.  The cost of PV modules has dropped 80% in the last five years.

4.  Solar Industry employs more than 142,000 people in USA (more than 50,000 in CA).

5.  We can look to and utilize much of the lessons learned from Germany.

6.  Solar is desperately NEEDED now, especially in light of climate change.

7.  16.5% of the electricity supply of CA on any given day is from Solar (without including the 2 GW on rooftops).

8.  CA Solar Industry now employs more people than the three investor-owned utility companies combined.

So, let those of us in the rest of the 49 states also align ourselves with this tremendous task of transitioning into the Renewable/Solar Energy Future!

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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7 August

“Solar Tsunami” Shared by the Effervescent Professor Jose Cordeiro of Singularity University during World Future Society 2014

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On July 12, 2014, during the World Future Society 2014 at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek, Orlando, FL, I caught up with the hopeful  Professor Jose Cordeiro (trained at MIT) of Singularity University, to share some of his optimism about the future of Solar and Renewable Energy. He even used the term, “Solar Tsunami” to demonstrate that our energy future will soon be  that of Solar Energy every where. There is no stopping it for Solar Energy is Clean, Healthy, Every Where, and Cheap. We’re facing an exciting future where there will be solar roadways, solar cars, solar planes, solar trains, solar boats, self-driving cars, and much much more wireless. We will see a future with far more distributed solar power rather than centralized power.

Professor Jose Luiz Cordeiro, the Venezuelen scientist, futurist, economist, engineer, and columnist, is extremely enthusiastic because he is excited about sharing information and being a proactive futurist. In the link below, you can find out the four potential types of attitudes toward the future described by Professor Cordeiro in his TED talk, “The Future Is Not What Is Used To Be: Jose Luis Cordeiro at TEDxRio+20“.  Professor Cordeiro literally effervesces for he is able to fully appreciate both the danger and opportunities our future is availing us. This is a common characteristics one finds in Solar Enthusiasts and Futurists; the thought of potential future free energy and transhumanism simply holds such incredible promises that one cannot help oneself but become effervescent!

~have a bright and sunny day~
Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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4 August

Solar Is Preferred For Water Conservation

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Solar PV is the major solution for avoiding water-related conflicts (credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

 

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In addition to our Aug. 2, 2014 post, there is another important reason that we prefer Solar Energy use: it is critical in avoiding water-related conflicts.

In a new CNA report, A Clash of Competing Necessities (Water Adequacy and Electric Reliability in China, India, France, and Texas), PV is being identified as the major solution for avoiding water-related conflicts. The first solution is energy efficiency, moving from coal to using PV, wind, and natural gas, according to this report. The Director of Energy, Water and Climate at the CNA Think Tank‘s Institute for Public Research, Paul Faeth, says he is very surprised that water conservation is not “part of the sales pitch” for PV. The dramatic drop in prices for solar is making it a cost effective solution to water scarcity, he added.

An estimated 40% of all freshwater withdrawal in the U.S. is being used for thermal cooling, in order for power generation to remain safe and stable. As energy demand, economic and population growth, and climate change  place more strain on water access, there have been/are/will be scrutinising water use in the power sector by competing necessities. Thermal power generation is heavily dependent on water use: Faeth describes the growing concern  of plants having to power down or completely shut down in drought and heat waves.

The report indicated that for water being removed for the process of thermal cooling and being put back into the local environment, or “withdrawal”, the water use by different energy sources are as follow:

  • coal with carbon capture and storage (CSS) uses 4.3 cubic meters per MWh
  • nuclear uses 4.2 cubic meters per MWh
  • coal alone uses 2.3 cubic meters per MWh
  • natural gas uses 1 cubic meters per MWh
  • wind uses zero cubic meters per MWh
  • solar PV uses 0.1 cubic meters per MWh  (solar PV uses a small amount of water for washing the panels once in a while, but none for power generation)

For ‘consumption’ of water, whereby water is completely removed from the local environment,

  • coal with carbon capture and storage (CSS) uses 3.2 cubic meters per MWh
  • nuclear uses 2.5 cubic meters per MWh
  • coal alone uses 1.9 cubic meters per MWh
  • natural gas uses 0.7 cubic meters per MWh
  • wind uses zero cubic meters per MWh
  • solar PV uses 0.1 cubic meters per MWh

According to Faeth, policy for water conservation for the power sector and energy efficiency doesn’t exist at the moment. “Water concerns for policy makers and for many people are also a higher priority than climate change,” he said, “in drought it doesn’t matter what the cause of drought is you still have to respond, and if you can respond in a way that is cost effective and mitigates emissions, such as using wind and PV, then that is a real plus.”

The report uses figures from the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), focusing on China, India, France, and Texas as case studies, since there are already challenges in power generation and water scarcity in these regions. China has high agriculture demand (second only to U.S.) and relies heavily on coal, requiring water for cooling, is already experiencing blackouts from a lack of water for cooling. India already uses 1.3 billion cubic meters of water per year, with forecast of 7 billion by 2040. “You have to wonder if that is even possible,” said Faeth. Solar is inexpensive in India and is a cost effective way to reduce water conflicts. Faeth added, “If water is taken from agriculture, it would be politically untenable….India has to start doing something else to avoid water competition that is already happening and we expect to get worse.”

In India 52% of the population live in water scarce areas, with 73% of electricity generation located in water stressed areas, with frequent blackouts.  Currently 79% of newly built capacity is scheduled for construction where the water supply is under threat.

In 2003, a heat wave in France lost 4 GW of nuclear and hydro energy, causing France to restrict its electricity exports, definitely reflecting its energy insecurity for its European importers. In 2009, France used 64% of its (withdrawn) water for thermal cooling due to its 80% nuclear energy generation, this presents a unique threat to energy security during droughts. Energy demand in France is expected to grow by 28% by the 2040s. France’s reliance on nuclear energy means even modest growth is a concern for water scarcity.

Current drought in Texas has already taken water from farmers to avoid blackouts. The case is now in the U.S. court. The report indicated that Texas is likely to meet water and energy demand from new PV, wind, natrual gas, and energy efficiency, despite the challenges due to drought. But the state needs to avoid new coal generation. Texas is now “looking to do more wind and PV, not particularly for climate change mitigation but because these strategies can save water,” said Faeth.

Gathered, written, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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2 August

Why We Prefer Solar Energy!

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Quick sharing of a video of deadly explosion in Kaohsiung (a southern city of Taiwan), Taiwan, few days ago, triggered by a leaky underground gas pipe owned by a local chemical producer LCY Chemical Corp, below:


Around midnight Thursday, a series of explosions shook Kaohsiung, Taiwan’s second largest city by population and a major petrochemical hub. The blasts—which were followed by fires reaching as high as 10 stories according to some witnesses—destroyed homes, ripped off manhole covers and tore open several roads. Television footage showed cars and a firetruck collapsing into craters blown open by the explosions.

The latest tally shows the blasts killed at least 27 people, injured 286 and left two missing, making it Taiwan’s deadliest gas leak explosion. Four firefighters were among those who died. Many streets were still littered with rubble on Saturday and thousands of homes remained without water and electricity.

“Our inspection indicates that LCY’s pipeline showed irregularities around 8 p.m. (local time). The amount of flow in the pipe dropped from 22 tons per hour to 19 tons, and was even down to 1 ton at one point,” said Chen Chin-te, the head of the Kaohsiung Environmental Protection Bureau. He said the sudden drop in the flow of gas meant that either the pipe was broken or that there was a leakage.

Mr. Chen said the company failed to notify the proper authority when it detected the irregularities.  (report from the Kaohsiung city government)

~With Great Sadness~

~This is one of the many reasons why we promote Solar Energy at Sun Is The Future…to avoid incidents such as this~

Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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29 July

Bravo! IKEA, in Being Florida’s Largest Non-Utility Solar Owner!

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Some wonderful solar news closer to home, in Florida: the Swedish company and the world’s largest furniture retailer, IKEA, had completed the installation of South Florida’s largest solar array in June of this year. This solar array will be atop the future Miami-Dade IKEA store opening this summer in Sweetwater, FL. Combined with rooftop arrays in Orlando, Tampa, and Sunrise, this fourth solar project will keep IKEA as Florida’s largest non-utility solar owner.  The 416,000 square-feet future IKEA Miami, with 1,500 parking spaces, is being built on 14.6 acres adjacent to the Dolphin Mall, at the intersection of the Dolphin Expressway (SR 836) and Florida’s turnpike, in the city of Sweetwater, FL.

The 178,000 square foot solar array at Sweetwater consists of a 1,178 kW system, built with 4,620 panels, and will produce about 1,738,876 kWh of electricity annually for the store,  equivalent to reducing 1,227 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2)-equal to the emissions of 256 cars or providing electricity for 169 homes annually (calculation for clean energy equivalents).  IKEA contracted with REC Solar (a national leader in solar electric system design with installations of more than 350 systems across U.S.). Let’s take a look at the video about IKEA’s Clean Energy/Solar Installations, below:


This installation will represent the 40th solar project for IKEA in the U.S., contributing to the IKEA solar presence atop nearly 92% (35 out of 38) of its locations in U.S. and a total generation of 38 MW (translating to powering 90,000 homes). IKEA owns and operates these solar PV systems, rather than through solar lease or PPA (power purchase agreement), and has allocated $1.8 billion to invest in renewable energy through 2015 globally.  This investment demonstrates IKEA’s long term commitment to sustainability and confidence in PV technology and industry.  Due to IKEA’s goal of becoming completely energy independent by 2020 (“We want to get to 70% by 2015, and by 2020, we actually want to produce more energy from renewable sources than we/IKEA consume in the total operation“, commented the President of IKEA USA, Mike Ward), IKEA has installed more than 550,000 solar panels on buildings across the world and owns/operated about 157 wind turbines in Europe and Canada, with 49 more being build in the U.S.

IKEA evaluates locations regularly for conservation opportunities, integrates innovative materials into product design, works to maintain sustainable resources, and flat-packs goods for efficient distribution. Specific U.S. sustainable efforts include: recycling waste material;incorporating energy-efficient HVAC and lighting systems, recycled construction materials, skylights in warehouse areas, and water-conserving restrooms.  IKEA has also eliminated plastic bags from the check-out process, phased out the sale of incandescent bulbs, facilitates recycling of customers’ compact fluorescent bulbs, and by 2016 will sell only LED.  IKEA has also installed EV charging stations at 13 stores, with plans for more locations in the future.

Besides helping to improve our environment, these conservation efforts and  solar investments have enabled IKEA to spend less on energy. This would also mean lower cost and lower prices that will be passed down to consumers. IKEA’s Swedish heritage and respect of nature is not only good for the environment, but also great for business. Bravo! IKEA! We hope more businesses will try to emulate what IKEA has done.

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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27 July

Anti-Dumping Tariffs Hurt Americans More Than It Helps! Please Let The SunShine In For American Solar Workers & American Consumers- Drop the Anti-Dumping Tariffs!

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Please let the SunShine In For American Solar Workers & Consumers by ridding the Anti-Dumping Tariffs! The Anti-Dumping Tariffs Hurts Americans More Than It Helps!(credit: sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker)

Please allow me to share with you the reaction from American companies (and American Consumers, yours truly included!) toward the new anti-dumping tariffs, below, recently released from CASE (Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy).

New Anti-Dumping Tariffs Will Slow the Growth of U.S. Solar Industry
American companies demand negotiated solution to trade litigation to avoid further damage

Washington, DC – The U.S. Department of Commerce today imposed new anti-dumping tariffs as high as 165.04% on imports of solar products from China and 44.18% on imports from Taiwan. In response to the announcement, Jigar Shah, president of the Coalition for Affordable Solar Energy (CASE) released the following statement:

“Today’s determination is another unnecessary obstacle for the U.S. solar industry that will hinder the deployment of clean energy by raising the prices of solar products. Due to these tariffs, previously viable projects will go unbuilt, American workers will go unhired and consumers that could have saved money through solar energy may not be able to benefit.

“CASE members are particularly disappointed that SolarWorld’s request to expand the scope of products affected by the solar dispute remains under consideration by the Department of Commerce. Accepting a broader scope would disregard decades of legal precedent that define scope using the ‘single country of origin’ and ‘substantial transformation’ trade rules. The proposed new scope is also fundamentally inconsistent with the Department’s own previous determination in the 2012 solar cell dispute.

“We urge SolarWorld AG to work with the U.S. solar industry and choose to end their continued litigation in favor of a win-win solution like the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) settlement proposal. CASE members, which represent the industry majority, demand a solution that ends uncertainty in the marketplace by preventing further trade litigation and that allows solar power to compete cost-effectively with traditional energy sources, thus enabling the market’s further growth. To aid in this process, we ask President Obama to make resolving the solar trade dispute a priority on his clean energy agenda and convene the parties for negotiations.”

Reactions from the U.S. Solar Industry

Thanks to lower product costs spurred by thriving global trade and technology innovations, the U.S. solar industry grew at a record 20 percent clip in 2013 and added over 23,000 new jobs, according to the 2013 National Solar Jobs Census. Across the country, the solar industry now employs over 142,000 Americans, seventy percent of which are employed downstream in the system installation, sales, distribution and project development sectors. Solar product manufacturing remains robust, employing over 29,000 Americans, but the narrow solar cell manufacturing industry that would benefit from these tariffs represents less than 2 percent of overall U.S. solar employment.

Ron Corio, President of Array Technologies, based in Albuquerque, NM and representing over 100 jobs said, “As a U.S. solar manufacturing company, we’re very disappointed in today’s anti-dumping determination. By increasing the price of solar power through tariffs, SolarWorld is shrinking the market for our products here in the United States and punishing successful U.S. solar businesses. Our company is proof that American solar manufacturing jobs will decrease under these special trade protections.”

John Morrison, COO of Strata Solar, based in Chapel Hill, NC and representing over 1,000 jobs said, “Due to their scale, the utility and large commercial solar sectors are particularly sensitive to the uncertainty and price increases caused by these tariffs. Until this dispute is resolved, our industry will build fewer projects and install less solar. It’s time to end the litigation, negotiate a solution and put more Americans back to work.”

Ocean Yuan, Founder and CEO of Grape Solar, based in Eugene, OR said, “My company assembles and sells complete solar energy kits directly to customers and in major retail stores across the country. The number one reason customers cite when switching to solar energy is cost savings, but these misguided tariffs are inflating prices. A negotiated solution to this dispute will ensure the continued growth of our industry and small businesses like mine.”

For more information about CASE or to join the majority of the U.S. industry in opposition to these tariffs, please visit us at www.affordablesolarusa.org.

###

Contact:

Steven Kirsch
skirsch@podesta.com
202.879.9320

About the Coalition for Affordable Energy (CASE):

CASE is a 501(c)4 organization whose purpose is to educate the Administration, Congress, the American solar industry and the public about the impact of protectionism on the affordability of solar energy and the American workforce.  Its primary focus is to show decision, policy, and opinion-makers that the majority of pro-solar Americans opposes the SolarWorld petition, as it will result in the denial of affordable solar energy to a nation whose demand for clean and renewable energy is higher than ever before.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Heavy Anti-Dumping Tariffs violate the Unites States’ commitments to WTO (World Trade Organization) rules, hurt American solar workers, and slows the deployment of clean energy.

Please Let The SunShine In For the American Solar Workers & American Consumers! Please Help To Rid of Anti-Dumping Tariffs! Please talk/write to your Senators, Representatives, Congress-person(s), Any/Every One! Don’t Let Them Take Our Sunshine Away!

The sentiment is best expressed by this nostalgic tune, video below:


______________________________________________________________________________________

~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered, editorialized, and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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26 July

Enhancing the Investor Appeal of Renewable Energy [with FITs in the USA]-A Review

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Thanks to our friend Paul Gipe of the wind persuasion, I’d like to share his update/review on feed-in-tariff with you, below:

Enhancing the Investor Appeal of Renewable Energy [with FITs in the USA]—A review

by Paul Gipe


In one surprisingly bold critique, Felix Mormann has incisively slaughtered two sacred cows of US renewable energy policy in the journal Environmental Law: Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and tax credits.

Make no mistake, the innocuous sounding title of this academic paper harbors an intellectual assault on public policy created by long-held beliefs in neoliberal ideology. Mormann certainly will not endear himself to AWEA, SEIA, SEPA and the alphabet soup of K Street lobbyists with his unambiguous call to end tax credits: “In light of the conceptual superiority of a feed-in tariff over the current tax credit regime, tax incentive support for US renewables should be phased out as the feed-in tariff goes online.”

Mormann, an associate professor of Law at the University of Miami and fellow at the Center for Energy Policy and Finance at Stanford University, isn’t content to antagonize only industry lobbyists, he takes aim at the principle policies favored by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF-US), two En-NGOs influential in US energy policy.

Using IEA deployment data, Mormann explains the superior performance of feed-in tariffs in mitigating market and investment risk relative to RPS and tax credit policies in the US. Feed-in tariffs are the clear winner. They are the superior market instrument.

Though Mormann is not the first to explore the inequality of using tax credits to subsidize renewable energy in the US, his analysis is one of the few in a law journal. He notes for example, that tax credits have created the reasonable perception that they are a “rich man’s” policies by enabling the wealthy—those with a tax liability–to enrich themselves at the taxpayer’s expense.

Mormann skewers both tendering and RPS programs that are sold to Americans—and their politicians–as more “market-oriented” than feed-in tariffs.  Under closer scrutiny, however, RPS and tendering programs–because they rely on trading of renewable energy certificates—entail “considerable transaction costs,” earning them the reputation of policies designed by and for big corporations. These policies, charges Mormann, provide little opportunity for local investors to profit from renewable energy. The lack of transparency in tendering awards and in trading of renewable energy certificates further fuels suspicion that renewable energy in the US was never intended to benefit common citizens.

FITs in contrast, because of their transparency, can improve public perception of renewable energy by enabling greater participation than tendering, RPS policies, or tax credits. Mormann cites Danish and German success with feed-in tariffs at eliciting investment from community groups and local citizens to make his point. Both countries have a much higher percentage of their electricity generated by new renewables than the US.

Mormann doesn’t waffle or go soft in the knees as he reaches his conclusion with an unusually strong recommendation for an academic paper on public policy.

“It is time, indeed, that the United States make the same commitment and adopt the very policy that has propelled its competitors to become leaders in the Race to Renewables. It is time to adopt a feed-in tariff that has the ability to cost-effectively enhance the investor appeal of renewable energy in the United States.”

Now only if President Obama would call Mormann for advice on renewable energy policy–or better yet–a conference call from President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner maybe something concrete would come of Mormann’s research. . .

Enhancing the Investor Appeal of Renewable Energy [with FITs in the USA by Felix Mormann, Environmental Law, August 8, 2012.


This feed-in tariff news update is made in cooperation with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. The views expressed are those of Paul Gipe and are not necessarily those of ILSR.


~have a bright and sunny day~

Gathered and posted by sunisthefuture-Susan Sun Nunamaker

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