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News from around the State...
to work for green power sources
- The newly formed California
Power Authority gave a boost to environmentally friendly energy sources
Friday, deciding to begin negotiating with companies to build new solar
panels and windmills. The decision had been anticipated, but it was clear
Friday that the state government's newest agency plans to give a higher
profile to green energy sources. "We're actually ready to take renewables
seriously," said Linda Chou, the power authority's spokeswoman. The
power authority plans to line up an additional 1,000 megawatts of renewable
electricity by next summer. Today, California gets about 12 percent of
its electricity, or about 6,000 megawatts, from renewable energy sources,
with the bulk of that coming from small hydropower dams and geothermal
plants. Only 4 percent of the state's electricity comes from solar, wind
and biomass sources. But power authority Chairman S. David Freeman said
green energy will be at the front of the line as the state moves to increase
its electricity supply. "We are giving renewable energy the first
priority for a change," Freeman said. "And the renewable energy
communities are taking seriously the role of the power authority to find
a way to work in partnership to power California with renewable resources
for decades to come." Gov. Gray Davis has set a goal of boosting
renewable energy to 17 percent of the state's total electricity load.
A spokesman for several green electricity generators welcomed the authority's
action, saying statements Friday by the power authority "sound great."
"Green energy has been largely ignored," said Jack Raudy, who
represents 10 companies that together generate enough electricity for
more than 3 million homes. "We fully support what they are saying."
Mike Taugher in CONTRA COSTA TIMES 2001.09.08
Update - RPS bill detours, while Tax Credit eyes the finish line.-
17, the Solar Tax Credit Bill, made it out of the assembly
committee on Sept. 6th and is getting closer to the finish line. Read
analysis. The Bill will provide a state tax credit for both residential
and commercial customers for PV and Wind systems up to 200 kW in size.
Energy Portofolio Standard (RPS), would expand California renewable
energy contribution to 20% by 2010. SB 532 also contained the Renewable
Energy Plan, which authorizes continuing the Emerging Renewables Buydown
Program, and the PIER (Research) program,
for 5 years starting in 2002. Unfortunately, the RPS portion of the
bill wasn't well received and the whole bill didn't make it out of committee
(Sept. 6) [read
the analysis]. Efforts are now being made to transfer the REP and
PIER elements to other bills.
AstroPower Announces Agreement
With The Home Depot - World's Largest Home Improvement Retailer to Offer
AstroPower Solar Electric Home Power Systems - AstroPower, Inc. (Nasdaq:
APWR - news) today announced an agreement with The Home Depot® (NYSE:
HD - news) to sell residential solar electric power systems, beginning
in the greater San Diego area. The Home Depot agreement is a key
element of a broad AstroPower initiative aimed at moving solar electric
power technology into the mainstream market. AstroPower's SunUPS®
and SunLine(TM) solar electric home power systems are currently featured
at The Home Depot's Escondido, Carmel Mountain, and Sports Arena stores.
Customers visiting these stores can learn about AstroPower systems through
interactive displays that show how easy it is to generate their own electricity
with clean home solar electric power systems. The systems are being sold
and installed under The Home Depot's ``Installed Products'' initiative,
a full service program which provides product sales, financing, installation,
and service. The Home Depot offers consumers two convenient financing
options -- The Home Depot Consumer Credit Card and The Home Depot Home
Improvement Loan. Both programs provide customers an easy application
process, same day purchase power and competitive interest rates. ``We
are excited to be working with The Home Depot to bring solar electric
power to the mainstream consumer market,'' said Howard Wenger, AstroPower's
Vice President, Premium Power Business. ``Our pilot program with The Home
Depot makes getting solar power easy in an area that has been hit hard
by electricity rate increases. Now, San Diego residents can take direct
control of their energy future.''... more
Yahoo Bizwire Press Release 2001.09.04
Converting to Solar just
got Easier - San Diego - The Board of Supervisors has approved a proposal
by Supervisor Ron Roberts to eliminate the permit fee and streamline the
permitting process for those seeking to install solar panel systems at
their homes. "Sunshine is one of San Diego's most precious resources,"
said Supervisor Roberts. "Our sunny weather adds to our quality of
life, and makes our region a world-renowned tourist destination. Now our
famous sunshine may also help us do something more - enhance our energy
independence." Under the plan the County will abolish its $100 permit
fee, and call on each of the County's 18 cities to eliminate their fees,
some of which can run in excess of $1,000. The fee elimination by the
County applies only to residents who live in the unincorporated areas
of San Diego County...more. 2001.07.17
flock to get low-cost loans for new plants - Despite energy companies'
claims that California is a bad place to do business, dozens of electricity
generators want to cash in on low-cost state loans to build power plants.
Giants like Enron Corp. and Reliant Energy, along with a handful of small
companies that generate electricity through windmills and solar power,
have submitted proposals to the California Power Authority. The authority
has billions to spend on new power plants that would keep Californians'
homes from going dark when electricity is scarce. Generators have complained
that the state hasn't paid them in full for power deliveries, and they
say pending legislation could make it more difficult to do business in
California. But financing deals offered by the brand new power authority
are too good to pass up...more Mark
Martin & Lynda Gledhill in SF Chronicle 2001.09.07
issue put on back burner by California power regulators - State regulators
on Thursday delayed the repeal of a deregulation law that gives Californians
the right to choose their electricity supplier. Members of the Public
Utilities Commission put off the repeal so they can vote on it next week
with a number of other proposals that could affect electricity bills.
Critics of the delay said it might lead to the continuation of the consumer
choice program, called direct access. They suggested the program may leave
a dwindling number of local utility customers for the state to tap as
it pays off energy purchases that kept the lights on across California.
"I think we are being negligent in failing to respond to this threat,"
said PUC Commissioner Carl Wood. "What we are faced with, with the
likelihood of direct access continuing, is that the cost will be dumped
on small businesses and consumers." ...more.
KAREN GAUDETTE AP San Francisco Chronicle 2001.09.06
urge state to invest in renewable energy sources - Expanding California's
energy sources to include more solar, wind and other "green"
electricity sources will help stabilize the state's volatile wholesale
power market, several economists said Wednesday. The seven economists
were brought together for a panel discussion by the California
Public Interest Research Group and the League of Woman Voters of California.
They urged lawmakers to consider requiring utilities to get at least 20
percent of the electricity they sell from renewable energy by 2010. About
half the state's electricity comes from natural gas-fired plants. State
power traders, purchasing electricity for customers of three utilities,
recently locked in 10 years' worth of electricity, most from natural gas-fired
plants. Many of those contracts are tied to natural gas prices, and if
they rise, as they did earlier this year, so too will the price the state
pays for electricity. "We need a portfolio like a stock portfolio,
where we don't put all our eggs in one basket," said Mark Bernstein,
an energy analyst with RAND Corp., a think tank in Santa Monica.... more.
JENNIFER COLEMAN AP SF Chronicle 2001.09.05
Done in the Sun - Solar cooks swear by the power of Old Sol. - It's
a hot summer afternoon in energy-parched California, but that's not stopping
Eleanor Shimeall from baking a cake, even in Borrego Springs. Up north,
in sun-drenched Davis, Rick Palkovic is cooking sweet corn. And as the
Southland simmers, Doug Edwards coolly lifts a loaf of homemade beer bread
from his oven in Cerritos. These cooks aren't worried about heating up
their kitchens, nor does the threat of rolling blackouts faze them. They
are solar cooks, and although their numbers may be few, their ovens are
fired by a force mightier than the power company: Old Sol himself. Solar
cooking has been around since at least 1767, when Swiss naturalist Horace
de Saussure tapped the sun's rays to cook fruit in an experiment. Today
groups such as Rotary International tout its use in developing countries
where firewood and clean water are scarce. And, of course, science teachers
and environmentalists love it. While solar cooking has not exactly settled
into the mainstream, the hard-core insist that California's energy crunch
could change that... more. LYNN
O'DELL for LA Times 2001.09.05
Cooking Without Fuel?
- Solar cooking is so low-tech that it's hard to believe it really works.
There's no flame. No glow. No hum. The simple materials most solar ovens
are made from--cardboard, aluminum foil and glass--make it seem even more
unreal. Solar ovens are simply heat traps. They heat up much the same
way that the interior of a car does on a hot day, says Rick Palkovic,
electrical engineer, technical writer and co-author of a solar cookbook.
In a closed car, sunlight enters through the windows, is absorbed by dark
interior material and turns into heat, which radiates back from the material
as infrared energy. The longer wavelength of infrared keeps it from escaping
back through the windows, and the car gets hotter and hotter....more.
Lynn O'Dell in LA TIMES 2001.09.05
to solar energy to reduce costs - TROY, Mich. - Texaco Inc. burns
a barrel of oil for every three it brings out of the ground from its Bakersfield,
Calif., oil field, the companys technology chief says. But a project
to begin this fall will use technology developed by a Michigan company
to reduce that ratio by harnessing the power of the sun. A 4- to 5-acre
array of thin solar panels is being erected at Texacos Kern River
oil field near Bakersfield. The panels, developed by Troy-based Energy
Conversion Devices Inc., convert sunlight into electricity. Their use
will allow the oil company to use electricity instead of fossil fuels
to power steam generators necessary for drilling operations... more.
ED GARSTEN Associated Press 2001.09.05
Solar Energy Could Be the
Next Big Provider of Green Power -The following is an advisory by
Industrialinfo.com (Industrial Information Resources, Inc.; Houston, Texas).
Larger demand for environmentally friendly green power is creating an
interest in solar/photovoltaic power sources. Currently only about 300
mega-watts (MW) per year are being developed, primarily in 100 kilowatt
or smaller increments. Industrial Energy Producers (IEP) are playing a
leading role in the development of solar power and consuming the energy
internally to satisfy electrical needs. Arizona Public Service Company
(APS), a subsidiary of Pinnacle West Capital (NYSE:PNW - news; Phoenix,
Arizona), has 1MW that is being sold to the gridand plans to double this
by the second quarter of 2002. Composite Power Corporation (Nasdaq: CPWW
- news; Las Vegas, Nevada) is considering a large solar power generation
plant in Nevada that could produce in excess of 100MW. ...more.
Press Release 2001.09.05
Negotiations With Merger Candidate- VS2 Inc. (OTC:VSII) announced
commencement of negotiations with a California corporation for
a merger with VS2 Inc. The merger candidate is a joint venture partner
with a U.S. solar energy generator systems manufacturer that owns the
most advanced High Concentration Photovoltaic (HCPV) technology in the
world. The merger objective is to enable the company to deliver electrical
and thermal solar energy generators to residential, commercial, industrial
and utility scale end-users on an economic basis superior to all other
forms of renewable energy generators and more than competitive with fossil
fuel generators. ...more Bizwire
SDREO Issues Request for
Proposal (8/15/01) - San Diego Region Energy Infrastructure Study
to Support Regional Energy Plan -The San Diego Regional Energy Office
(SDREO) has issued a Request
for Proposal (RFP) to conduct a study of the electricity and natural
gas infrastructure needs for the San Diego region through 2030 to support
development of the San Diego Regional Energy Strategy.
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2001 includes presentations and panel discussions on: The growth surges
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on the World - Solar Power Is Reaching Where Wires Can't - Two
hours outside Durban, South Africa, deep in the Valley of a Thousand Hills,
Myeka High School had no electricity. Students struggled to read by candlelight,
and few textbooks and newspapers were available. The school was clearly
having a hard time doing its job: only 30 percent of the students graduated,
and even those had little hope of going beyond their isolated village.
[photo: Solar Electric Light Fund - Solar power is opening doors to the
Internet for many people with no access to traditional energy sources.]
Then, in the spring of last year, solar energy came to town. Photovoltaic
solar panels, firing up 2.4 kilowatts of power, were brought into the
school by the Solar Electric Light Fund, a nonprofit group based in Washington.
SELF also persuaded Dell Computer and Infosat Telecommunications to donate
computers and a satellite uplink so that the students could haveInternet
access. Now that the students can download materials from the Internet
and have access to the Learning Channel, the graduation rate has shot
up to 70 percent. Some students have won science awards, and many are
applying for college. "I never thought the sun could do all this,"
said Melusi Zwane, the school's principal. Myeka is a vivid example of
the impact of computers on society. But what makes this tale stand out
is the arrival of solar power. "It's the reason for all that we have
now," Mr. Zwane said. "Everything comes from power." ...more.
DAVID LIPSCHULTZ in New York Times 2001.09.09
ABOUT THIS NEWSLETTER
ABOUT THE EDITOR
Tor Allen is the President of The Rahus
Institute, a non-profit organization. Tor has 10 years experience
in the renewable energy field including: design, research, marketing,
program and policy development, and installation work. He is currently
the coordinator of the California PV Alliance,
a collaborative group working to accelerate the market for photovoltaics
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