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» July 2015
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Dave Schwartz, Jing Wei, Joe Blake, Peter Mckinlay, Reeta Sharma, Rob Beckers
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» The News
Biofuel Leaders Urge Congress to Reject Legislative Changes to the RFS
- by News Desk
A consortium of biofuel companies sent a letter to members of Congress, urging them to reject proposals that would repeal or “reform” the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The were particularly concerned with the amendment put forth by Barry Loudermilk, a Republican representative from Georgia that calls on Congress to defund the RFS.

US Solar Production Is Being Vastly Underreported
- by News Desk
Good news abounds in the solar energy industry. Recently, California became the first state to source more than five percent of its electricity from solar power. But according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) and kWh Analytics, U.S. solar is actually producing 50 percent more electricity than has been reported.

The Rapid Rise of Residential Energy Storage
- by News Desk
Energy storage is heralded as the critical technology that will make widespread adoption of renewable energy possible. Storage bottles sunlight, addressing a key drawback to solar energy — that it can’t provide electricity when the sun isn’t shining. Energy storage also cures additional utility ailments from grid resiliency to power smoothing.

Germany Gives Dirtiest Coal Plants Six Years for Phase Out
- by News Desk
German Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said 13 percent of power stations burning lignite, a cheap form of coal, would be phased out by 2021 under a program to cut power industry pollution. The government abandoned talks on proposals to impose a climate-change fee that the industry said would have forced mines and plants to close, threatening jobs.

California Power Bill Overhaul Threatens Home Solar Growth
- by News Desk
California is poised to overhaul the way consumers pay for power in a move that could slow the growth of solar in the state.

Wave Energy Week Will Mix Marine Energy Developers with Traditional Hydropower
- by News Desk
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, Democrat, has proclaimed “July 13-17, 2015 to be Oregon Wave Week in Oregon and encourages all Oregonians to join in this observance.”

Testing Heats Up at Sandia's Solar Tower
- by News Desk
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are working to lower the cost of solar energy systems and improve efficiencies in a big way, thanks to a system of small particles. This month, engineers lifted Sandia’s continuously recirculating falling particle receiver to the top of the tower at theNational Solar Thermal Test Facility,marking the start of first-of-its-kind testing that will continue through 2015. The Sandia-developed falling particle receiver works by dropping sand-like ceramic particles through a beam of concentrated sunlight, capturing and storing the heated particles in an insulated tank. The technology can capture and store heat at high temperatures without breaking down, unlike conventional molten salt systems.

Clean Energy Companies Beat the Stock Market
- by News Desk
Stocks of clean-energy companies are proving to be better investments than those of companies that produce most of the Western Hemisphere's power, and are outperforming the rest of the stock market as well.

The evidence is found in the New York Stock Exchange Bloomberg Americas Clean Energy Index. Its 141 companies, all based in North and South America, returned 32.62 percent in the past two years. In contrast, the 40 conventional-energy companies in the Standard and Poor's 500 Energy Index returned 1.02 percent over the same period, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Clean energy also is beating the rest of the stock market. The Clean Energy Index is up 6.02 percent so far this year. Lagging behind are both the S&P 500 and the Russell 3000 Index, which gained 3.12 percent and 3.86 percent respectively in 2015.

France Continues Exploring Energy Storage
- by News Desk
French electric utility EDF (Electricité de France) is evaluating use of an advanced Li-ion battery storage system for grid frequency regulation at its Concept Grid Lab. Located south of Paris at EDF’s R&D site in Les Renardières, Seine-et-Marne region, EDF's Concept Grid Lab is a live power distribution network designed to support, help design and test “bleeding” and cutting-edge smart grid technology.

EDF will be testing the 1-MW Li-ion smart power storage system's ability to maintain frequency levels on its Concept Grid Lab test grid over the course of about a year. Alstom and Saft supplied the system. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The R&D lab enables EDF to subject the storage system to extreme conditions – spikes and troughs in grid frequency well outside the bounds experienced on commercial grids for example, Saft marketing and business development manager Michael Lippert said in an interview.

Using a smart Li-ion battery storage solution to maintain grid frequency levels within required bounds “is quite an innovative and forward-looking,” as well as critical, utility application of the technology in France, as well as in Europe more generally, Lippert pointed out.

Global Geothermal Alliance Concept One Step Further
- by News Desk
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) convened roughly 60 stakeholders in June in Nairobi to finalize the concept of the Global Geothermal Alliance (GGA) and exchange views on the best way forward. GEA's Executive Director Karl Gawell participated as a U.S. NGO representative with support from Power Africa and the U.S. – East Africa Geothermal Partnership. "The high-level policy involvement by the leadership and participants was impressive and a measure of success for IRENA's efforts," noted Gawell.

Prior to the Nairobi meeting, talk of an Energy Global Geothermal Alliance took the form of an Action Statement and Action Plan at the United Nations' September 2014 Climate Summit in New York, though that development did not have official U.S. participation. As a result of the June meeting, the Executive Directors of both GEA and the International Geothermal Association (IGA) expressed willingness and interest in supporting the effort.

The meeting was conducted by Joseph Njoroge, Principal Secretary of the Kenyan Ministry of Energy; Adnan Amin, Director General of IRENA and H.E. Simon D'Ujanga, Minister of Energy, Uganda. IRENA officials said, "The Alliance aims to identify and promote different models associated with geothermal development and generation to enable and encourage investments and to integrate geothermal facilities into energy markets."

Numerous participants reviewed the status of geothermal efforts in their countries:

· Kenya's Geothermal Development Corporation gave an impressive presentation on their effort to prioritize geothermal development, noting Kenya is now number 8 in geothermal worldwide. But Kenya made it clear that it intends to go further, with an estimated geothermal potential of 10,000 MW.

· Sahele Fekede of Ethiopia's Ministry presented the numerous developments underway in his country. He noted they are working with various multi-lateral and financial entities and also discussed a new Ethiopian geothermal resource assessment that estimates 2,114 MW to 10,791 MW potential with 4,200 MW as "most likely." He said they intend to have a new geothermal framework implemented by the end of the year.

· Rainer Halcon of the Philippines Department of Energy noted that geothermal energy now makes up more than 10 percent of energy capacity in the Philippines and 13 percent of the power mix. He said that since passage of a new renewable energy law the interest in geothermal has resurged and also gave a new installation target of 1,180 MW by 2020.

· Camilo Tautiva from Columbia presented a map showing ten energy projects, adding that his country is actively working on new policy and regulatory structure for geothermal.

· Peru's representative, Alcides Claros, presented details on 2,860 MW of potential in Peru. He said they had already granted 20 licenses for geothermal.

· About 15 percent of Costa Rica's energy is now geothermal. The country has a new 55-MW project under construction and 2 more scheduled to be on-line in 2021 and 2023, respectively.

· Representatives from El Salvador said that the country is now 24 percent geothermal powered and highlighted efforts to develop a regional geothermal center.

· The Secretariat of the Pacific Community pointed to Papua New Guinea, The Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji as potential geothermal strong spots.

There were afternoon presentations by GEA, IRENA, Enel Green Power, IFC, French Ministry of Ecology and the African Union. GEA's presentation centered on geothermal risk and risk mitigation points that were previously presented in a joint GEA-U.S. Department of State workshop in 2014 and was well received. Following these presentations an open discussion sought to clarify the concept of a Global Geothermal Alliance. In general there was strong support for moving forward with the IRENA effort.

The following day the group toured the Olkaria Geothermal Site. "The geothermal work at Olkaria is impressive," noted Gawell. "Olkaria development is something Kenyans are proud of and it should give other countries a sense of what is possible for their economy if they pursue geothermal power."

IRENA intends to make the presentations available on its Web site in the near future.

Lead image: Olkaria Geothermal Field in Kenya, June 2015. Credit: GEA.

A delegation of geothermal stakeholders visited Kenya for the Global Geothermal Alliance meeting and toured the control room of Olkaria 4 Power Plant on June 16, 2015. Credit: GEA.

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