Canal-top solar power impresses the UN’s Ban Ki Moon

Originally published at The Hindu, India’s national newspaper

UN chief Ban Ki Moon: India taking the lead in ending energy poverty

 Solar panels cover the Narmada canal at Chandrasan village, about 40 km from Ahmedabad. - The Hindu, India's national newspaper

Solar panels cover the Narmada canal at Chandrasan village, about 40 km from Ahmedabad. Image courtesy of The Hindu, India’s national newspaper

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday praised India’s ingenuity and cutting-edge technology while dedicating Gujarat’s second canal-top 10-MW solar power project to the nation.

The solar panels are arranged on top of the Vadodara branch of the Sardar Sarovar Project Canal, probably a first-of-its-kind project in the world to generate power.

In a brief address, Mr. Ban said he was honoured to inaugurate “this impressive project” and commended the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

I see more than the glittering panels — I see the future of India and the future of our world. This facility shows how one project can have multiple uses of conserving land and using renewables. — Ban Ki Moon

He called on India to dramatically scale-up solar power to more than 10 percent of energy mix by 2020.

For the February event on investment in renewable energy in New Delhi, he was sending his special envoy on climate change Michael Bloomberg.

He said access to energy was important to end energy poverty.

India is taking the lead in ending energy poverty and this project shows us how. — Ban Ki Moon

He praised Mr. Modi’s leadership saying this was the kind of leadership the world needed. Action and commitment can create a safer and prosperous world, he said.

S.S. Rathore, chairperson and managing director, Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, said Mr. Modi’s idea led to a one-MW pilot project being commissioned on the Sanand canal in April 2012.

The new 10-MW megawatt project is on 3.6 km of the Vadodara branch canal of the Sardar Sarovar Project Canal which passes through the city. It saves land and also prevents evaporation losses. There are nearly 35,000 solar panels and the power generated is fed into the State grid and also to operate pumping stations on the canal.

The total cost of this project is $18.3 million and is financed by the State government. It was commissioned in November 2014. The Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam is likely to expand this project and even encourage private entrepreneurs.

‘Emerging economies must help combat climate change’ — Ban Ki Moon

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said here on Sunday that while respecting the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, emerging economies such as India, China, South Africa and Brazil should take necessary action to combat climate change.

Interacting with the press after visiting a canal-top solar power project here, he said the developed countries had caused much more impact on climate than the developing nations and they had different capacities to tackle impacts.

India was taking necessary action by projects such as the canal-top power project, a creative and impressive one which all developing countries should emulate.

To questions, he said climate finance was the most important aspect to make combating climate change a success. India could play a vital role as one of the fastest growing economies.

He was catalysing funds into the Green Climate Fund, which had topped $10 billion last year. He was optimistic about arriving at a new, robust climate treaty in Paris.

Duke Energy Requests 300 MW Of New Solar Power

by Nathan.

Duke Energy, the biggest electric holding power company in America, just issued a new Request for Proposals for 300 MW worth of solar PV.

Renewable Energy. Duke Energy calls for 300MW of solar.
Renewable Energy. Duke Energy calls for 300MW of solar.

If approved, “bidders can offer power, renewables certificates or whole projects for Duke Energy to take ownership.” Duke Energy affiliates aren’t eligible.

Issued on February 14th, the request is for projects to be located in the company’s “Carolinas and Progress territories” — this includes North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida. Another stipulation is that all projects, in order to be accepted, will need to be operational by the year 2015, and need to be over 5 MW in capacity.

PV-Tech provides more:

North Carolina’s Renewable Energy, and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standards (REPS) and Duke Energy’s renewable targets will be assisted by the request. Any projects that can be connected to the Carolinas’ system are eligible, so proposals from South Carolina will also be considered.

The new proposals will nearly double current solar capacity for Duke Energy, according to Rob Caldwell, the vice president of renewable generation development at Duke Energy. “It gives developers the opportunity to pursue projects for the long term, or to negotiate for Duke Energy to acquire ownership of the new facilities once they are operational.”

“For bidders who wish for Duke Energy to assume ownership, it will allow us to better locate and integrate the new capacity into our energy mix,” Caldwell continued. “We are in the best position to manage the unique characteristics of intermittent solar generation into our existing system to assure cost-effective, reliable, dependable electricity for our customers.”

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This article, Duke Energy Issues Request For 300 MW Of New Solar PV Proposals, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Renewable Energy. Nathan.Nathan For the fate of the sons of men and the fate of beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts; for all is vanity. – Ecclesiastes 3:19

IKEA Report Says ‘Great Sustainability Progress’ in 2013

by Sandy Dechert.

We figured IKEA might be on the right track when we first saw its blue and yellow buildings adorned with solar rooftops. It turns out that the second-largest private commercial solar owner/user in the United States (and the largest per square meter of rooftop space) is on schedule with its ambitious sustainability strategy unveiled a little over a year ago, People & Planet Positive.

The program dedicates over $2 billion–three times as much as originally planned–to clean energy investment through 2015. It’s designed to protect the company from price shocks related to energy and other costs and to tap into customers’ desire for a greener lifestyle.

On the program’s first anniversary, IKEA has released a 2013 Group Sustainability Report (FY 2013, covering the period between 9/1/2012 to 8/31/2013). As reported in Forbes, 34% of IKEA’s energy came from renewable sources last year. The company’s goals state:

“We want to have a positive impact on the environment, which is why by 2020 we’re going to be 100% renewable–producing as much renewable energy as we consume using renewable sources, such as the wind and sun. We’re also making our buildings more efficient, so we need less energy to run them.”

The world-class Swedish retailer of well-designed, functional home furnishing products, at prices low enough for most customers to afford them, has been in business for over 60 years. Almost half (47%) of its managers are women, compared to 17% on the American Fortune 500‘s boards. In FY 13, the IKEA Group had 135,000 co-workers, 684 million visitors to the stores, and 1.3 billion website visitors.

“Our mission has always been to give people with thin wallets a chance to furnish their homes in a beautiful and functional way. We call it “democratic design,” the 2012 sustainability report says.

IKEA’s 2013 analysis reveals the company’s overall progress in working with sustainability. Steve Howard, chief sustainability officer, leads these sweeping efforts at IKEA. Some details from the report:

• Since FY 2010, the company’s energy efficiency efforts in stores and warehouses have saved $54 million.

• 90% of IKEA’s locations in the US now use photovoltaic power. IKEA has also committed to own 137 wind turbines and has begun installing geothermal power at several locations as well. It now owns wind farms in six countries, has committed to provide electric vehicle chargers at all its 18 locations in the United Kingdom by January 2014, and will roll out home solar PV systems for sale there during the first months of this year.

• Following the company’s commitment to sell and use only LED lights in its products, IKEA has sold 12.3 million LED light bulbs and 12.1 other products that use LED technology. With this development, IKEA has saved each customer $9.45 in electricity costs per bulb, per year, compared with incandescent bulbs. In aggregate, lighting customers will save a combined total of $116.1 million per year from the company’s LED bulbs.

• Because furniture is one of IKEA’s signature products, the company is one of the world’s largest buyers of wood in the world. However, leading environmental organizations criticized the company in 2012 for its wholly owned subsidiary Swedwood logging and clear-cutting old-growth Russian forests with high conservation value. These boreal forests bind huge amounts of carbon dioxide and shelter many thousands of unique animal and plant species. IKEA’s new report says that almost 1/3 of IKEA’s wood in last year was either Forest Stewardship Council-certified or recycled–a start, at least.

• The share of cotton from sustainable sources that IKEA used in products last year more than doubled, increasing from 34% (FY12) to 72% (FY13).

“Everyone, including IKEA, has a part to play in tackling the expected shortages of resources and the impacts of climate change while providing people with a good quality of life. With our vision of creating ‘a better everyday life for the many people,’ I am convinced there is no other way of doing business than in a sustainable way,” said Peter Agnefjäll, President and CEO, IKEA Group.

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This article, IKEA Reports Great 2013 Sustainability Progress, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Sandy Dechert Sandy Dechert covers environmental, health, renewable and conventional energy, and climate change news. She’s worked for groundbreaking environmental consultants and a Fortune 100 health care firm, writes two top-level blogs on Examiner.com, ranked #2 on ONPP’s 2011 Top 50 blogs on Women’s Health, and attributes her modest success to an “indelible habit of poking around to satisfy my own curiosity.”

Former Duke Energy CEO calls Rooftop Solar the Next Big Thing

by Giles Parkinson.

Renewable energy in the form of distributed solar. Image by KCET.org
Renewable energy in the form of distributed solar power. Image by KCET.org

Originally published on RenewEconomy.

Former head of US largest utility says regulations and business models will not change quick enough to save traditional utilities in face of solar.

Jim Rogers, the recently retired head of Duke Energy, the biggest utility in the US, has had some interesting things to say about the fate of the traditional utility, particularly with the proliferation of rooftop solar.

In an interview with Energy Biz Magazine, Rogers says there is no doubt that utilities are under fire from new technologies such as rooftop solar, and are in danger of losing customers to new players.

Indeed, if he were entering the industry now, that’s where he would want to be – in rooftop solar, attacking the market rather than defending it.

“The utility industry has been like the proverbial frog that’s been put in a pot of cold water, and the heat’s been turned up,” he said in the interview.

“And it’s been turned up slowly. The many challenges ahead are going to fundamentally change this industry.”

“Leaders in this industry in the future are going to have to run to the problems that they see on the horizon, embrace the problems, and then try to convert the problems and challenges they see into opportunities to create value for their customers as well as their investors.”

This is not the first time he has said such a thing, though not quite as dramatically. Last year, Rogers warned that “the progress in solar and storage means that customers may simply use the grid as a back-up some time in the future.”

Asked later in the interview what approach he would take if he were entering the industry now, Rogers initially replied that he would like to come back as David Crane, the CEO of NRG – the largest privately owned generator in the US – who has been extolling the virtue of solar and the transition that would likely create, and warning that customers were likely to disconnect from the grid if utilities did not evolve quickly enough

“Maybe I should take that back,” Rogers added. “I would come into the industry as someone who is an attacker, not a defender. I’d want the solar on the rooftop. I’d want to run that.”

“I’d want the ability to deploy new technologies that lead to productivity gains to the use of electricity in homes and businesses. I would go after the monopoly that I see weakened over the last 25 years.”

“My goal would be to take customers away from utilities as fast as I could, because I think they’re vulnerable. Regulations will not be changed fast enough to protect them. The business model will not be changed fast enough.”

Rogers said all utilities should be making decisions based on the assumption that there will – some day – be a price on carbon.

“Our industry needs to lead on environmental issues. We need to lead on productivity gains in the use of electricity. That’s a critical way for us to continue to reinvent ourselves as an industry.”

Nuclear supporters may be cheered by his outlook for nuclear, which he said would be centred almost entirely around China, and the development of Chinese technology, including modular reactors.

“They will lead the world in the building and operating of new nuclear plants over the next 30 years.”

“They will develop the supply chain and build nuclear plants in a modular fashion. We will have to change our rules and regulations and how we think about the Chinese. They’re going to bring us the nuclear technology to replace our existing plants at a lower cost and build new ones faster than we can.”

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This article, Why Traditional Utility Companies’ Days Are Numbered, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Renewable Energy by Giles Parkinson.Giles Parkinson is the founding editor of RenewEconomy.com.au, an Australian-based website that provides news and analysis on cleantech, carbon, and climate issues. Giles is based in Sydney and is watching the (slow, but quickening) transformation of Australia’s energy grid with great interest.

MyEnergi Lifestyle® includes EV, solar panels, lower energy costs

by Tina Casey.

Ford is showing off its new home solar power energy storage system at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, and if you’re wondering what an auto maker is doing in the home energy business, now’s your chance to find out. The new storage system, by Sharp, is part of Ford’s seamless home-auto MyEnergi Lifestyle® package, which basically treats your house like a microgrid that embraces every appliance, including your electric vehicle.

We’ve noted before that by shaking off the petroleum ball-and-chain and transitioning to EV technology, auto manufacturers have opened the door to a startling array of new marketing opportunities.

That’s a critical shift for US auto manufacturers, which are looking at a market in which car ownership is no longer a priority for many young people. The MyEnergi package makes the financials of car ownership look a lot more attractive.

Ford MyEnergi Lifestyle
Sharp Electronics and Ford MyEnergi Lifestyle team up to help you save money, have backup power during emergencies, and dramatically lower your carbon footprint.

MyEnergi LifeStyle

When Ford introduced the first version of MyEnergi Lifestyle in December 2012, its home-car programmability and remote communications reminded us of the Jetsons. Sure enough, by mid year Ford had announced a partnership with leading developer KB Home to integrate the package into KB’s new ZeroHouse 2.0 model.

The initial MyEnergi package is based around Ford’s new C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid EV. It consists of a partnership between Ford and power management company Eaton, the solar industry’s SunPower, home appliance company Whirlpool, and semiconductor innovator Infineon, along with smart thermostat pioneer Nest Labs.

The basic idea is to combine an onsite solar array with the energy storage potential of the EV battery to enable home owners to shift as much of their load as possible onto solar power and low, off-peak electricity rates, with the help of the latest energy-efficient appliances.

MyEnergi Lifestyle 2.0

This year’s version, MyEnergi Lifestyle 2.0, draws Sharp into the partnership to add a stationary battery component, enabling homeowners to store more solar power.

They’re pitching it from three angles: you save money, you have backup power during emergencies, and you help keep the planet from melting.

There’s also the potential for home owners to make some extra bucks on the side by selling energy from their stationary battery back to the grid.

In terms of saving the Earth, Ford has some big numbers in mind. Last year, Ford ran the MyEnergi package through a computer model developed by the Georgia Institute of Technology and came up with a 55 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from electricity used by the typical home.

For what it’s worth, if every single family home in the US adopted the same efficiencies, it would be like taking 32 million homes off the grid.

You can also check out a couple of case histories from 2013 at Ford’s MyEnergi website.

See Ford’s MyEnergi Lifestyle video.

For you Ford truck fans out there who want to save the Earth, too, our sister site Gas2.org has been following the company’s next-generation F-150, which among other efficiencies, has shed a good 700 pounds.

And for you Jetsons fans, keep an eye on Ford’s experimental LiDAR-enabled Fusion plug-in hybrid

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This article, Ford Packs More Solar Power Storage Punch Into MyEnergi Lifestyle, is syndicated from Clean Technica and is posted here with permission.

About the Author

Tina CaseyTina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.