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Big comeback for renewable energy stocks in 2013

Public market investors bullish on wind and solar

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Renewable sources accounted for 43 percent of all newly installed energy capacity in 2013, according to a new report from UN economists.

Staff Report

FRISCO — Renewable energy stocks made a big global comeback in 2013, gaining 54 percent after a 4.5 year slide during which they lost 78 percent in value, according to a new report released by economists in Frankfurt, Germany.

The improvement happened as many companies in the solar and wind manufacturing chains moved back towards profitability after a painful period of over-capacity and corporate distress, according to experts with the United Nations Environmental Program.

The 2013 improvements came despite a significant dip in investments in the renewable energy sector — the investment drop of $US35.1 billion was partly down to the falling cost of solar photovoltaic systems. The other main cause was policy uncertainty in many countries, an issue that also depressed investment in fossil fuel generation in 2013. Continue reading

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Renewable energy in the West on track to be cost-competitive with fossil fuels — without subsidies

Smart placement needed to match production with demand

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An NREL map shows the potential for solar power production.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A new study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory tries a mix-and-match approach to help plan future solar, wind and geothermal power development in the West.

By 2025, renewable energy generation could become cost-competitive without federal subsidies — if new renewable energy development occurs in the most productive areas, smartly located to meet the demand from regional population and industrial centers.

The report compares the cost of renewable electricity generation (without federal subsidies) with the cost of energy from a new natural gas-fired generator built near the customers it serves. Wind power produced in Wyoming and New Mexico could meet demand from California and the Southwest. Wyoming could probably produce the power at a lower cost, but New Mexico has the advantage of being closer to the areas with high demand, the report found. Continue reading

Germany: Full speed ahead on renewables

Germany forges ahead with ambitious renewable energy plans

Germany’s rail corridors are lined with medium-size photovoltaic installations.

A cluster of wind turbines is barely visible in the lower righthand corner of the image.

By Bob Berwyn

MUNICH, GERMANY — It’s been a whirlwind week of travels here in the ‘old country’ where I grew up, but as I scan the news from back home in the USA and Colorado about the politics of renewable energy, I’m still thinking about what I saw as we flew into Frankfurt a little more than a week ago.

The U.S. Senate is playing politics with wind power, and presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he would do away with even the most harmless way to promote renewable power, the so-called wind energy production tax credits.

Meanwhile, even from 30,000 feet, the change in the German landscape is striking — hundreds, and even thousands, of power-generating wind turbines dot the countryside, in small clusters near villages, in lines along ridge tops, and in seemingly random clumps around some of the larger cities.

It all adds up to about 29,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to supply 8 percent of the industrial country’s needs, and Germany has been adding new wind capacity at a healthy rate. Continue reading

2011: ‘Swift and steady’ progress on renewable energy

Obama administration continues unprecedented push to shift energy paradigm away from fossil fuels

Wind power infrastructure growing along East Coast.

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY —The Obama administration may have stumbled in a few areas in 2011, but stayed on a roll in the energy sector by approving several new large-scale renewable projects and laying the planning groundwork for many more.

The renewable energy developments are not without some detractors and controversy, but the administration — led by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar —  is making good on promises to drag the country, kicking and screaming if need be, into a renewable energy future.

Last week the Interior Department announced approval of two more utility scale projects — one wind and one solar — that, when built, will generate nearly 500 megawatts of power, or enough to power 150,000 homes, and create 700 jobs during peak construction. Continue reading

Feds OK another large solar project in Nevada

Innovative Energy underwrites coverage of energy issues.

More solar power will be coming online in Nevada with federal approval of a new 500 megawatt facility near Las Vegas, Nevada.

New facility will generate 500 megawatts of power, enough for 150,000 homes

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — Continuing on a roll with permitting solar energy developments on federal lands, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar this week announced the OK for a second large-scale project about 80 miles north of Las Vegas. Project developer Solar Millennium is eligible for about $1 billion in investment tax credits through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act’s incentives for specified energy programs.

Since early October, Salazar has approved eight large-scale solar energy projects, including the first to be built on U.S. public lands in California and Nevada. Combined, they will generate 3,500 megawatts to power more than 1 million homes and generate 6,000 construction jobs and 700 permanent plant operations jobs. The project is in negotiations to sell electricity to NV Energy under the terms of a power purchase agreement. The power will be supplied to the grid through Valley Electric Association, Inc.’s transmission lines. Continue reading

Summit County eco-events: Blue stain and home brews

Beetle-killed wood is piling up in Summit County. What to do? Find out at the Oct. 14 Eco Forum.

Local eco-events, with useful info and a good time at the Blue Knight forum (Oct. 14) and the Brew Ha Ha fundraiser for the High Country Conservation Center, Oct. 15 at Alpine Earth Center in Silverthorne

SUMMIT COUNTY — The question of commercial uses for beetle-killed, blue-stain timber is once again the topic of discussion locally, as the nonprofit Blue Knight Group hosts a meeting tonight (Oct. 14) at Copper Mountain to discuss business strategies revolving around supply chain management. The hope is to create a combined business entity with multiple stakeholders develop channels for the promotion, sales and use of beetle-kill timber from a six-county area in Colorado. Continue reading

San Luis Valley solar project still stirring controversy

Coalition of community, environmental groups aiming for energy awareness

A large-scale solar power facility and associated transmission lines will be discussed at an upcoming series of meetings in the San Luis Valley.

By Summit Voice

Citing “narrowly focused” information coming from proponents of a new transmission line across the San Luis Valley, a group of concerned citizens and independent member organizations have united to form a coalition to educate  Southern Colorado residents on possible energy alternatives.

Dubbed the Transmission Line Coalition (TLC), the group will coordinate efforts of various groups that support the implementation of micro-grid and distributive energy alternatives in Southern Colorado.

“Our mission is to support alternatives that rely on upgrades of existing transmission structures which will provide renewable and reliable electricity,” said TLC spokesperson Sally Keller, “but we do not support the proposed Tri-State/Xcel San Luis Valley-Calumet-Comanche transmission line project.” Continue reading

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