2012 was the first year that renewables provided more NEW electricity than any other traditional energy resources, including natural gas. Globally, private sector investments in renewable energy topped $265 billion. Four concentrated solar plants with 11 hour storage are either on-line or about to come on line with over 1.3 GW worth of power and the first tidal project in the US was hooked to the electric grid in Maine. Wind and solar are growing at double digits, and geothermal and biopower are about to. The market shift has begun, it's undeniable and unstoppable. There will be fits and starts in some markets at certain times, but the investments are too high and the industries have scaled-up, including high-value energy efficiency. There is no turning back. Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, Ltd., and Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University.
As one who both teaches, is an analyst, and overseas some projects in all three of the military services, there are several levels of engaging with DOD. First, as the article aptly notes, is working through the "Initiative Offices" which have been putting out RFPs for larger projects. Second, is working with a particular military base or facility that is seeking to reduce or stabilize energy costs, increase electricity reliability, or enhance electric power quality (surges, sags, transients). Third, is to work regionally with surrounding local governments and the base usually to enhance local employment, addressing BRAC reviews, and enhancing the local distribution grid. - Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, Ltd. and Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University
Tony, a very good review and worth noting the historical perspective. Shows that the appropriate role of governments in energy is to remove barriers and provide incentives and education but not price controls and interfering with market pricing. Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, Ltd., and Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University
I disagree with the facts of the article.
First, the federal government cannot mandate feed-in tariffs because in the USA, electric tariffs are decided by State utility commissions, unlike most countries which do so under
their national government authority.
Second, MLP's are 'focussed investment partnerships' (not companies) organized around
distinct high capital investments - now pipelines. Since renewable energy is capital
intensive, this makes sense as a "public purpose" investment.
Scott Sklar, President
The Stella Group, Ltd.
Just a note in response to some of the comments. I have a zero energy home (pv, swh, smart battery bank, direct exchange geothermal heat pump, electrochromic glass, energy star++ appliances), and a 2-story office building (pv roofing shingles, smart battery bank, small wind turbine, and a hydrogen fuel cell, solar daylighting, LED lighting, and energy star ++ office equipment). My business, worldwide, blends high value energy efficiency and renewable energy - optimizing this portfolio primarily for commercial, mixed use developments, and critical infrastructure. Scott Sklar, President of The Stella Group, Ltd., and Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University.
Actually, two other billionaires vigorously support renewable energy - Warren Buffet who has invested in wind and solar projects recently. George Soros has a Green Fund supporting these kind of projects. Of course the right-wing Koch brothers are investing in non-profits who are campaigning against State RPS programs. Scott Sklar, President of The Stella Group, Ltd. and Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University.
EarthSpark which has offices in Washington, DC and a solar & clean energy store in Haiti. EarthSpark not only has developed Haiti's first clean energy retail store but now is installing the country's first microgrid. Focusing on one of the poorest countries in the world is worth acknowledgement.
S3dif Sustainable Development Infrastructure Fund with headquarters in Boston but affiliates in India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka which invest in clean energy businesses servicing the "poorest of the poor" from solar irrigation, wind electric power, biogas for agriculture, and micro/pico hydro for village power.
Scott Sklar, President
The Stella Group, Ltd.
E-mail: email@example.com www.thestellagroupltd.com
The Stella Group, Ltd.. is a technology optimization and strategic policy firm for clean distributed energy users and companies, and Scott Sklar, the Group's founder and president, lives in a solar home and also has a zero energy office building in Arlington, Virginia and he is Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the Boards of Directors of the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and The Solar Foundation., Scott Sklar is an Adjunct Professor at The George Washington University teaching a unique interdisciplinary sustainable energy course. and is an Adjunct at The American University co-teaching an international energy security course, and an Affiliated Professor at the international sustainable university 'CATIE 'in Costa Rica.
In response to anonymous #5, the response is that these on-site energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions are must less expensive than the alternatives. One third of this planet does not have electricity and clean water, and the trillions required for install a modern grid to service lower power poorest-of-the-poor makes no economic sense and frankly, won't happen for generations. Many studies show that providing on-site power for lighting, refrigeration and communication does raise wealth. These systems can be upgraded and integrated into community power systems, and ultimately to the new power grids when (if ever) they arrive. In fact, that's how the US began with President Franklin Roosevelt creating the power marketing administrations (TVA, BPA, WAPA) to begin grid development around hydropower (what many developing countries have done and are doing, wind turbines for rural areas (what these programs are doing with small wind and analogous technologies), and then integrating with the grid. The analysis to build multi-trillion dollar grid to service 500 watts households and 2 kW farm irrigation systems makes no sense, though many multilateral and bilateral programs have spent hundreds of billions of dollars in this direction with very mixed results - most are failures. And virtually all these newer technology approaches are less expensive than diesel generators which is what the developing world is totally reliant on today.
I have seen lots of mis-statements about Solyndra, and I am stunned that people in this industry are not better informed. Solyndra's technical review was approved by the Bush Administration. The financial review for the final loan guarantee was finalized during the Obama Administration. The White House did not approve this loan - sort of ridiculous. The job was a shared review by the Treasury Department, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the US Department of Energy (in the lead). The pressure to issue loan guarantees were really driven by the US Congress (Democrats and Republicans alike) who were furious that DOE through-rate for the program was at zero. I agree with the comments that both the company and technology were premature investments for such a large loan guarantee - I would not have approved it. But that is Sunday quarterbacking. The nuclear industry has $34 billion worth of loan guarantees, we'll see how they do. I strongly support SEIA and SEPA getting former Presidents from either party addressing the industry - we're worth it and deserve that respect and attention. Scott Sklar, President, The Stella Group, Ltd, and Adjunct Professor at both GWU and AU.
This is an important article, and storage is the holy grail of electricity. Companies such as AES (VA) and Axion Power (PA) are fielding large containerized battery banks tied to electric utility lines. Arbitraging lower cost electricity to meet electric loads at other times is critical. Storage can also relieve electric line congestion or constrictions and provide high electric power quality (less surges, sags, and transients. The cost issue for storage is totally reliant on scale of deployment. Just like energy efficiency, federal and state regulators need to build in ways to monetize storage if such technologies improve electric power rate stability, power quality, and overall electric grid reliability. Scott Sklar
The Stella Group, Ltd.
Web site: www.thestellagroupltd.com
The Stella Group, Ltd. is a strategic technology optimization and policy firm for clean distributed energy users and companies. Scott Sklar is Chair of the Steering Committee of the Sustainable Energy Coalition and serves on the (non-profit) Boards of Directors of, the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, and the Renewable Energy Policy Project, and The Solar Foundation. Sklar is an Adjunct Professor at the George Washington University teaching a unique multi-disciplinary sustainable energy course.
Joe, there is a big movement here for DC current, just like ib you car or an RV which would be very feasible, look at www.nextek.com which has a great video on it. Scott Sklar