Seeking Consensus on the Internalized Costs of Coal

This article will gather some data about TEC community views on the global average internalized cost of coal. Please chip in with your opinion so that we can gather a statistically significant sample size and get a meaningful indication of the current consensus (or lack thereof).

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U.S. Clean Energy Struggling from Policy Uncertainty

According to research from The Pew Charitable Trusts, the U.S. clean energy sector continues to be buffeted by policy uncertainty with 2013 investment down 9 percent from 2012 to $36.7 billion. The annual report, “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? 2013,” found that steep declines in the installation of wind overshadowed a record annual deployment of 4.4 gigawatts of solar.

THE PEW CHARITABLE TRUSTS“Lower technology prices have made the small-distributed solar market very competitive, and the United States has been a leader in developing innovative financing models that are spurring steadily increasing deployment,” said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew’s clean energy program. “We also remain a world leader in venture capital, biofuels, and energy-smart technologies, like smart meters and LED lighting. Wind, however, has been subject to the vagaries of U.S. energy policy. As Congress debates tax extenders, it should aim to level the playing field, accelerate clean energy deployment, and provide long-term certainty to investors.”

The report found in the U.S. marketplace, solar technology prices have declined 60 percent since 2011, and new financing models have spurred more than $17 billion in investment, a 7 percent increase from 2012. The U.S. continued to garner world-leading financing in the biofuels and energy efficient/low-carbon technology subsectors. It also remained the dominant recipient of public market and venture capital/private equity investment, attracting $6.8 billion and $2.2 billion, respectively.

Although wind investment was relatively stable at $14 billion, U.S. wind installations in 2013 were down more than 90 percent—from more than 13 GW in 2012 to less than 1 GW last year found the report. When the production tax credit was renewed in early 2013, slight changes in the law precipitated deferrals in deployment of new wind capacity into 2014, when a strong rebound in capacity additions was forecast. By comparison, China deployed 12.1 GW of solar and 14.1 GW of wind capacity.

The regional and global market remains dominated by China, attracting $54.2 billion, with the U.S. in second place. Japan was third with $28.6 billion. Globally, clean energy investment fell 11 percent, to $254 billion, and renewable power generating capacity additions declined by 1 percent in 2013. Overall, installed clean energy capacity reached 735 GW.

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State Farm to Insure Hyundai Fuel Cell Vehicles

The rollout of the 2015 Hyundai ix35 Tucson Fuel Cell SUV in the U. S. has been delayed until late May 2014 and this will give the manufacturer extra times to find additional insurance carriers for their vehicle. At this moment, however, State Farm Insurance is the first carrier that has agreed to issue policies to cover the drivers of the Hyundai fuel cell vehicles.

This simplifies the process greatly as insurance companies, in general, are not required to cover all makes and models of vehicles and so customers won’t have to search dozens of carriers for the right coverage. Hyundai has stated that up to 100 ix35 fuel cell vehicles will roll out in Southern California by the end of 2014.

The ix35 Tucson Fuel Cell is being offered for a three year lease with a $2,999 down payment and $499 per month. This deal includes free hydrogen fuel and maintenance for the term of the lease.

According to Edmunds.com, “The transaction at the dealership will be handled similar to any other lease deal with two exceptions: Buyers will be selected and prescreened by Hyundai before they enter the dealership, and auto insurance will be limited to the companies approved by the automaker.

“Initially, sales will be limited to three Hyundai dealers in the Los Angeles area where six refueling stations are located. Next year sales will be expanded to the San Francisco area, followed by Sacramento and San Diego in 2016. Sales will not begin until the hydrogen-refueling network is completed in those geographic areas.”


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Report: Saleen hints at tuning Tesla Model S

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Saleen Tesla Model S

Saleen has been dropping breadcrumbs about its plans to develop a modified version of the Tesla Model S for a while now, and has finally released the first renderings that show off its changes to the electric sedan.

The four renderings indicate a comprehensive makeover for Saleen’s Tesla. The front bumper is completely different with the absence of a grille and new louvered air intakes at the corners. The turn signals on the quarter panel appear to be open now, and the hood has new creases angled toward the center. One of the renderings promises an additional carbon fiber rear diffuser, carbon-ceramic brakes and carbon fiber deckled trim. The rear also has a larger spoiler and more aggressive rear bumper with brake cooling ducts at the corners. The interior appears relatively untouched, but the seats and much of the upholstery has been covered in a mix of leather and Alcantara.

Previously, Saleen promised to amp up the Model S’ performance even farther, but it still hasn’t gone into detail about what it’s changing or how much it is going to cost. “I fully intend to produce one of the most compelling Tesla’s to ever hit the roadway,” said Steve Saleen, company founder and CEO in an earlier statement. We have contacted Saleen for more details about its plans for the Model S, and we’ll update this story when we hear back.

Saleen hints at tuning Tesla Model S originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 15 Apr 2014 09:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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CEO of German Utility RWE Says It Should Have Invested in Renewable Energy Sooner

What’s a beleaguered utility to do when forced by the government to close its profitable nuclear power plants?

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Distributed Generation Shines in Thailand

Electricity generation today is moving towards a more decentralised model where generation is close to demand. Possible benefits are diminished transmission and distribution losses and investments, improved energy efficiency, and increased security of supply. Implementing a large central power plant is extremely challenging in terms of site availability, as well as public concern about environmental issues.

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USDA Rural Development Supports Biofuel Investment

USDA Rural Business-Cooperative Service Administrator Lillian Salerno went on a three-state Midwest tour last week to highlight USDA investments that are helping expand business opportunities in the bio-economy, including biofuels.

usda-salerno“Creating jobs and expanding economic opportunity for rural small businesses are top priorities for the Obama Administration,” said Salerno, who visited companies in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. “The new Farm Bill expands the potential for economic growth in rural America by maintaining momentum for the emerging bio-based industry and the more than 3,000 bio-based companies across the country.”

Salerno’s tour started with a visit to Quad County Corn Processors near Galva, Iowa where they are working on a process to turn corn kernel fibers into cellulosic ethanol and as a result boost the plant’s ethanol production. “It’s a co-op, so all the farmers around there have a vested interest in making this processing unit work,” she said. The company has received nearly $22 million in USDA Rural Development loan guarantees since it opened 13 years ago.

Salerno noted that the United States has the capacity to provide one billion tons of biomass per year by 2030. “This has a possibility of hundreds of thousands of jobs – actually 1.7 million estimated,” she said.

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FEV says new PHEV transmission ready for ‘sports car performance’

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FEV PHEV transmission

At the SAE World Congress in Detroit last week, FEV showed off what it calls an “innovative” new plug-in hybrid transmission. The reason for that moniker is that the system does away with the need for a torque converter while offering two speeds, which makes it particularly good during launch. If the electric motor is used to get going, once up to speed, the engine kicks in for “efficient highway driving” and the system is capable of both electronic boost as well as capturing regenerative braking energy.

FEV’s Jochen Wolschendorf, executive vp and and chief sales officer for FEV, told AutoblogGreen that this parallel hybrid system was developed for an unnamed customer and is running in test vehicles today, but he couldn’t tell us who is interested in this technology. He did say that the two main benefits are that this transmission is “much more compact and less costly.” These benefits were made possible because FEV started the design process by using a “clean sheet approach” that did away with any unnecessary complexity, according to the official announcement. It’s also ten percent lighter than “a similar dual-clutch transmission” and FEV is hinting that it could be perfect for a higher-end vehicle since it was put through “FEV’s extreme dynamic ‘Nurburgring’ test cycle for sports car performance.” Anyone want to try and guess which company is behind this tech?

Continue reading FEV says new PHEV transmission ready for ‘sports car performance’

FEV says new PHEV transmission ready for ‘sports car performance’ originally appeared on Autoblog Green on Tue, 15 Apr 2014 08:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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A Rising Tension: ‘Value-of-Solar’ Tariff Versus Net Metering

The Alliance for Solar Choice, a group made up of leading solar service providers, is a staunch defender of net energy metering. And that has brought it into conflict with solar advocates calling for a more precise "value of solar" calculation.

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Biodiesel Maker Holding Small-Scale Webinar

springboardbiodieselJust a week from today is Earth Day, and a biodiesel maker is celebrating the occasion with a free webinar on how to make the green fuel yourself. Biodiesel Magazine reports California-based Springboard Biodiesel is offering the webinar titled, “The Many Benefits of Small-Scale Biodiesel Production,” on April 22.

“Increasingly, biodiesel is being incorporated into the U.S. (and global) transportation fleet, and individuals and organizations are realizing both the environmental and economic benefits of biodiesel,” stated Springboard Biodiesel. “Still, information on the topic is limited and misinformation continues to get passed on. This webinar will strive to clearly present factual information on relevant topics.” The webinar will include information on what biodiesel is and how it’s made; identifying myths and popular misinformation; cost analysis for biodiesel production and usage; case studies; emissions comparisons; equipment options; and strategies for production.

More information and registration is available here.

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