I came upon this article in Huffington Post and thought I would share it with you. This represents more out of the box thinking that could provide a viable energy alternative.

FUKUOKA, JP — Scientists in Japan are exploring the use of huge cleantech generators that would float at sea as a power source for the country, Japan’s leading daily newspaper reported.

The at-sea generators, dubbed eco-rigs, would be environmentally friendly, giant power plants that are a home to photovoltaic generators and turbines — and could generate as much power as a nuclear facility, said the Yomiuri Shimbun quoting scientists at Kyushu University.

The eco-rigs, which would be about 2 kilometers by 800 meters (1.2 miles by just under a half mile) and each would generate about 300 megawatts of electricity. The cost-to-power generation rate for a rig is estimated at 70,000 yen to 140,000 yen (about $656 to $1312 in U.S. dollars) per kilowatt compared with about 200,000 yen (about $1873 U.S.) per kilowatt for constructing a nuclear power plant.

The eco-rigs could be a solution to high energy costs, scant fossil fuel resources and diminishing fish stocks that have plagued Japan. In addition to generating power, the rigs would be outfitted with light-emitting diodes that would allow the at-sea generators to also serve as seaweed nurseries, stimulating the fish food chain. The LEDs would shine into the sea to promote seaweed growth, and the seaweed would absorb carbon dioxide and attract fish and plankton.

The research team at Kyushu University told the Yomiuri Shimbun that they began testing a floating base for a generator in July and that they plan to test a model of a generating plant. The group estimated it would take about three years to produce the real thing.

For more information about alternative energy options in Nj and PA email george@hbsadvantage.com . You may also visit us on the web www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com

 

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas, headquarters of America’s oil industry, is about to stake a fortune on wind power.

In what experts say is the biggest investment in the clean and renewable energy in U.S. history, utility officials in the Lone Star State gave preliminary approval Thursday to a $4.9 billion plan to build new transmission lines to carry wind-generated electricity from gusty West Texas to urban areas like Dallas.

“People think about oil wells and football in Texas, but in 10 years they’ll look back and say this was a brilliant thing to do,” said Patrick Woodson, vice president of E.On Climate & Renewables North America, which has about 1,200 megawatts of wind projects already in use or on the drawing board in Texas.

Texas is already the national leader in wind power, generating about 5,000 megawatts. But wind-energy advocates say the lack of transmission lines has kept a lot of that power from being put to use and has hindered the building of more turbines.

Supporters say Thursday’s 2-1 vote by the Texas Public Utility Commission is critical to getting that energy to more people.

“We will add more wind than the 14 states following Texas combined,” said PUC Commissioner Paul Hudson. “I think that’s a very extraordinary achievement. Some think we haven’t gone far enough, some think we’ve pushed too far.”

Most of Texas’ wind-energy production is in petroleum-producing West Texas, where nearly 4,000 wind turbines tower over oil pump jacks and capture the breeze that blows across the flat and largely barren landscape. The new plan would not directly build a slew of new turbines, but would add transmission lines capable of moving about 18,000 megawatts. One expert said that is enough to power more than 4 million Texas homes.

Supporters predict the plan will spur new wind power projects, create jobs, reduce pollution and lower energy costs. Texans pay some of the highest electric rates in the country, in part because of congested transmission lines.

Texas electric customers will bear the cost of construction over the next several years, paying about $3 or $4 more per month on their bills, according to Tom Smith, state director of the consumer group Public Citizen. But he predicted that increase would easily be offset by lower energy prices.

Smith called Texas’ current transmission lines a “two-lane dirt road” compared to the “renewable energy superhighway” the plan would build.

“We have all these wind plants up and operating. What we’re asking for is the superhighway to get the energy to the cities,” Smith said. “This will send signals to manufacturers all across the world Texas is ready to be a world-class player in renewable energy.”

The plan still needs to receive final approval later this year from the PUC. The transmission lines would not be up and running for three to five years. Who would build them and other details have yet to be worked out.

Environmentalists and landowners have launched protests against wind turbines from Cape Cod in Massachusetts to Idaho and Texas’ South Padre Island, complaining that wind turbines spoil the view and threaten migrating birds.

But the turbines are already in West Texas, a sparsely populated region already pockmarked with oil drilling and exploration equipment. And this project will build only transmission lines.

PUC Commissioner Julie Caruthers Parsley was the lone dissenter, arguing the plan may add too much power for the electric grid to handle. She also worried it could delay other projects, such as construction of nuclear reactors.

The conservative Texas Public Policy Foundation said companies that build wind and solar farms should bear more of the cost of the new lines, and it warned that those power sources cannot be expected to consistently produce abundant energy.

Even with the run-up in natural gas prices, more gas plants would be a good backup “because the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow all the time,” said Drew Thornley, a policy analyst for the organization.

The wind energy industry has benefited from the support of billionaire oilman T. Boone Pickens, who is planning to build the world’s largest wind farm on about 200,000 acres in the Texas Panhandle. When completed, Pickens’ 2,700 turbines will be capable of producing enough electricity to power 1.3 million homes.

Pickens has become an evangelist for wind power as a way to break the nation’s dependence on foreign oil, launching an advertising blitz in which he warned: “I’ve been an oilman all my life, but this is one emergency we can’t drill our way out of.”

“It’s a good decision,” Pickens spokesman Jay Rosser said of Thursday’s PUC vote. “It recognizes the important role wind in Texas will play in meeting the state’s growing energy and energy stability needs.”

To learn more about alternative energy sources in NJ and Phila surrounding area email george@hbsadvantage.com .  Call HBS Solar 856-857-1230

July 11, 2008

 

New Jersey’s Experiment With Solar Energy Is Watched by the Nation

Source:  Copyright 2008, New York Times
Date:  June 25, 2008
Byline:  Anthony DePALMA
Original URL


With oil prices skyrocketing, demand for solar power is booming. And New Jersey, which has used a rebate program to help install more solar panels than any other state but California, is getting burned by its own success.

There is a backlog of more than 700 applications for the rebates, and property owners have to wait months, even years, to get solar panels installed. The program, which is paid for by surcharges on all utility bills, has been shut down several times over the last three years because applications far outpaced rebate money. Some solar installation companies have had to lay off workers while they waited for rebate checks to be sent.

All this has convinced New Jersey regulators that it is time to wean solar energy from public subsidies altogether. The state plans to replace rebates with energy credits that can be bought and sold on the open market.

As it works out the details of the transition, New Jersey — not the place most people associate with solar innovations — finds itself at the forefront of a growing national debate about the role of government in helping stimulate this sector of the energy economy.

New York, Colorado, Maryland and several other states with incentive programs are considering whether to scale back public subsidies so solar power can compete more extensively in an open market. And they are confronting another difficult question: Is that best done by turning to a few large companies, or sticking with smaller businesses that can create more local jobs?

“Obviously, big systems get us to our goals much faster, but we want everybody to participate,” said Jeanne M. Fox, president of New Jersey’s Board of Public Utilities, which proposed the changes and is expected to give them final approval next month.

Ms. Fox said she believes it will be possible to phase out rebates, create a secure market for trading energy credits, welcome large solar system operators and still protect many — if not all — small installers.

But some of those smaller operators think the proposed transition will replace a proven success with an untested experiment from which they — the entrepreneurs who started the solar boom with the help of rebates — will be excluded.

“The state wants to build a market to suit big companies that have access to huge sources of capital,” said Bill Hoey, managing member of N.J. Solar Power L.L.C., a $10 million company. “They could just crush the mid- and small-size market.”

At SunEdison, one of the largest installers in the state and the nation, Mark R. Culpepper, the vice president for strategic marketing, enthusiastically supports New Jersey’s transition. He called it “a pretty normal market evolution” in which “very small players will probably go away, while small to mid-sized companies will be acquired by others or go into specific niche markets where they can specialize.”

Similar conflicts are arising all over the country, but the battle is most clearly drawn in New Jersey, where state officials feel compelled to act decisively.

Under a state energy master plan, solar power should account for 2.12 percent of New Jersey’s electricity by 2020. But even though more than 3,100 residential and commercial solar systems have been installed during the six years the state has offered rebates, they generate only 0.07 percent of current energy needs.

To reach even that, New Jersey has handed out more than $170 million in rebates. The Board of Public Utilities has estimated that if rebate rates remained unchanged, it would cost nearly $11 billion to get to the 2020 goal. According to state calculations, that would add about 7.5 percent to New Jersey electricity rates, which are already among the highest in the country.

“We need to do things differently because ratepayers can’t keep paying for rebates indefinitely,” Ms. Fox said.

Rebates, which have averaged $20,000 for residential projects and more than $1 million for large commercial installations, would virtually end this year under the state’s plan. A limited number for small residential projects producing less than 10 kilowatts would be phased out over the next four years.

In their place, the state would turn to a program it started several years ago that issues energy credits. The concept is simple: Solar projects generate energy credits every year, and the state requires utility companies like PSE&G to buy them to offset carbon emissions from their power plants and to help meet renewable-energy targets. By purchasing credits, the utilities do not actually generate solar power, but they offset the cost of installing and operating solar equipment.

New Jersey plans to greatly expand the program by allowing the credits to be bought and sold like commodities, with long-term contracts and prices set by the open market.

Regulators say that will be fairer to ratepayers and help the state reach its renewable-energy goals faster. They also say the plan provides safeguards for small installers and ensures competition by prohibiting any company from capturing more than 20 percent of a utility’s yearly credits.

But the small companies fear that large businesses are poised to take particular advantage of the credit system. Being bigger, they can handle more credits, cover more long-term commitments and secure more advantageous financing than mom-and-pop operations.

SunEdison, based in Maryland, has already made inroads in New Jersey using a new approach — called power purchase agreements — that smaller companies do not have the capital to duplicate.

Under those agreements, which the state first allowed in 2004, property owners do not have to buy or operate their solar projects, or handle the sale of energy credits. Instead, they avoid all up-front costs by contracting with SunEdison or other large companies, and bill property owners at fixed rates that are lower than utility company rates.

SunEdison has put up more than 22 solar systems in New Jersey, along with dozens in others states, mostly for large retail companies like Kohl’s.

Experts say these purchase agreements can promote the move to solar power. And regulators hope that a vibrant market for energy credits will speed that growth to the point where solar power can compete with conventionally generated electricity.

But Lyle K. Rawlings, president of Advanced Solar Products, in Hopewell N.J., and vice president of the Mid-Atlantic Solar Energy Industries Association, a trade group, said those attempts to make the solar market more competitive could backfire, actually hindering competition by squeezing out smaller companies.

He said that the state’s proposed safeguards did not go nearly far enough. While a portion of new projects would be subject for a few years to caps on how many credits one company can control, he said, those caps would not apply to existing solar installations.

“The model they’re creating is overcomplicated, fraught with uncertainty and really doesn’t protect the small installers who’ve created this industry,” Mr. Rawlings said. He said his own company had laid off 4 of its 15 workers in the last few months, and several New Jersey solar companies had gone out of business. “This is going to lead to a kind of unhealthy market concentration and chaos, like what’s already happened in other states.”

Blake Jones, president of Namaste Solar Electric, in Boulder, Colo., and a board member of the Colorado Solar Energy Industries Association, said his state was considering changes similar to New Jersey’s.

He said a major goal of solar incentive programs is creating green jobs. “On a per-kilowatt basis, more jobs, more local business and more rural economic development is created by small projects and small businesses than medium or large ones,” he said.

In Maryland, installers hope to persuade regulators to raise the value of energy credits in order to provide more income for small companies.

New York is several steps behind the other states in developing its solar market because of regulations that have limited solar installations to small-scale residential projects. Installers there are watching what happens in New Jersey because they expect to enter a similar debate in the next few years.

To learn more about solar opportunities in NJ email george@hbsadvantage.com . Ask about our free proforma.

Merck wants to go solar

June 23, 2008

 

As reported in NJ.com

 

Thursday, June 12, 2008

 

By Veronica Slaght

 

READINGTON TWP. — By the end of this year, Merck & Co. could start growing an unusual crop — clean energy — from a seven-acre field of solar panels. The drug corporation hopes to install the solar panels out of sight of the road on the north end of its 1,003-acre headquarters off Route 523, pending approval by the township Planning Board.

 

The board responded favorably to their concept proposal Monday night, and unanimously decided that a variance isn’t needed for the project, at the recommendation of board attorney Valerie Kimson. SunPower Corp., which would install the system for Merck, said they will return to the board with a formal site plan in the coming weeks.

 

According to Igor Saulsky, senior project development manager for SunPower, the panels would generate from 6 to 10% of the electricity used by Merck. None of the power would be exported off the property. The system will be installed near the existing electric substations.

 

Mr. Saulsky, a Tewksbury resident, said the panels would harness about two million kilowatt hours of energy a year. The average American household consumes around 10,000 kilowatt hours a year, according to the federal Department of Energy, so these panels could run about 200 homes per year.

 

They would be attached to long axles and set up in rows, with a small motor rotating them so that they’re always facing the sun. They’d be stored in a tilted position at night, so any rainwater could run off. According to Mr. Saulsky, the panels won’t prevent rainwater from getting to the soil. They’re installed by drilling very small holes in the ground. Grass will be able to grow around and underneath the installation. He’s even seen sheep grazing between the panels of a similar system they set up in Europe. The panels aren’t very reflective because they’re designed to absorb light, “like a roach motel for photons,” said Mr. Saulsky.

 

Township Committeewoman Julia Allen, a board member, when this technology will become obsolete. Mr. Saulsky said solar panels are “very mature” — they’ve been around since 1954 — so the technology doesn’t change that much, and the life projection for this system is 30 years or more. Board member Cheryl Filler wanted to know whether any trees would be cut down. Some other board concerns are whether the system will increase impervious coverage and whether it will meet setback requirements.

Merck would like to put in the panels by the end of the year because the company wants to make use of federal tax credits that will expire.

 

The field of panels would be constructed by SunPower, under contract with Merck, but United Technologies would finance, own and maintain the system. SunPower is a 3,000-employee company that’s built 450 large-scale solar installations like this one all over the world.

 

Note:

 

Although our company is not providing the solar installation, we wanted to keep you informed of the growing interest in solar energy. NJ has taken the lead nationally to provide incentives to raise the level of interest in alternative energy.

 

Would you like to know more about the solar evolution? Email george@hbsadvantage.com  

 

The state of New Jersey has found they are in a dilemma.:

Demand for electricity is projected to grow at 1.5% a year for the next 8 to 10 years.

Electric prices are treanding at a 10% increase.

NJ current facilities are not designed to handle the increased demand. As a result, NJ may be faced with rolling brown outs in the next 8 – 10 years.

To address this issue the state has drafted an Enegy Master Plan.

It is designed to incentize the public to invest in clean or green energy alternatives that will help reduce energy demand 22.5% by 2020.

Click on the link provided below to read the draft and feel free to contact george@hbsadvantage.com to learn more about solar incentives available for your business.

http://www.state.nj.us/emp/home/docs/pdf/summary.pdf

Visit www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com to learn more about opportunities available to create savings and increase profitability.

Recently a client contacted us and was questioning if there were opportunities to save money in the electric deregulated market. They had multiple accounts and were paying very high monthly bills for LPLP rated accounts.

 Below is an overview we provided to help our client understand the market and where the opportunities for savings are found.

David, we understand your question about the size of these two accounts. Both accounts are on the PSE&G rate class LPLP. This means they have primary service (higher voltage accounts). 

LPLS accounts have secondary service (lower voltage accounts).  

Customers with primary power services are automatically part of the CIEP group (Commercial and Industrial Energy Pricing). CIEP customers are paying an hourly floating PJM index rate plus a $0.05 per KW retail adder. 

LPLS customers must have a peak load share at or above 1000KW to be considered a CIEP and qualify. 

The savings is found in being able to discount the $.05 per KW retail added.

This discount can provide substantial savings.

 Look at your bill! 

If you are not sure if your company qualifies, take a look at your bill.  

For PSEG customers see if you are listed as a LPLS or LPLP account?      If the answer is yes, contact us and we can discuss the options available. 

For Atlantic Electric customers see if you are listed as an AGS Primary account? If the answer is yes, contact us and we can discuss the options available. 

Would you like to know more electric deregulation?

Do you have a question?

You may email george@hbsadvantage.com

 Hutchinson Business Solutions ……Your CFO on the Go.  

Creating Opportunities Today,…Defining Savings for Tomorrow.

Visit http://www.hutchinsonbusinesssolutions.com/ to learn more about saving opportunities available for your company. 

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