Sunday, November 29, 2009

Crews Begin Hanging Panels on Largest Solar Array in Martin County

Crews from Abundant Energy Inc. began hanging solar panels on the largest privately owned solar panel array in Martin County and quite possibly the largest to date in all of South Florida. The solar energy array will be used to power most of the privately owned office spaces in the Sawgrass Business Park on Indian Street in Stuart, FL in order to attract quality tenants who will benefit from working in a green office complex and potentially have zero a energy bill.

The solar array will consist of over 550 solar photovoltaic electricity generating panels, creating enough energy to power approximately 20 homes. 
The largest solar energy array in Martin County began construction a little over 4 weeks ago after the town was able to quickly issue permits to the solar energy contractor, Abundant Energy Inc. ( Though South Florida solar energy companies have been making little headway in the commercial energymarket with the exception of a few small projects, the first panels at the Sawgrass Business Park were installed this week. The Sawgrass Business Park is unlike anything Florida has seen before and is quite possibly the largest privately owned solar energy array in South Florida. “In Florida there is nothing like it, FPL just opened their Desoto Plant and Kennedy is coming online shortly, but as far as private investments this is definitely the biggest,” says Justin Hoysradt, VP of Sales at Abundant Energy, “This is just the tip of the iceberg, we are hiring and  have hired and trained six new full time installers for this project alone, not to mention we have a few more projects that are slightly smaller plus a healthy pipeline of residential projects, we have chosen not to participate in the recession.” The Sawgrass array will consist of over 550 solar photovoltaic electricity generating panels, offering enough clean energy to power 20 homes, and is specially designed for high wind speeds in South Florida.

Multiple investors which own the majority of the units in the Sawgrass Business Park made this project possible when they made the decision to install the array in late April of 2009. The project experienced slight delays with association approvals, securing some bank financing as well as additional guidance regarding the process for making application for a Federal Stimulus Grant. Fortunately Abundant Energy was able to leap each of these hurdles efficiently and professionally. The biggest issue was financing, “Even though this is a large project, the recovery was too quick for most banks to have an appetite for it, most banks are looking for projects over $20 Million in this industry, fortunately we were able to finance a portion of it ourselves to get the project moving.” says Hoysradt “it would have been a great opportunity for a bank to get its name out there in a positive way.” This project will fit the criteria for the investors to recuperate 30% of their initial investment within 90 days of completion with a grant issued by the Federal Government created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. In addition to Federal stimulus money, the project also qualifies for funds from the Florida Solar Energy Rebate program.

Aside from solar energy incentives and stimulus money the investors are also looking to attract tenants for their units of which many are currently vacant. The offer of discounted utility bills and being able to work in an all “green” office park should attract quality tenants looking to build a strong, sustainable business in the Stuart area. Commercial Real Estate Broker, Derrick Christenson who is the listing agent for the properties says, “We have been getting a lot interest, business leases are ending and owners are aggressively seeking better pricing as well as better benefits for their business. You don’t get a much better benefit than great prices and solar power, the office is perfect for Green businesses.”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Obama Pledges Decrease in Carbon Gasses

WASHINGTON — President Obama is pledging a provisional target for reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, the first time in more than a decade that an American administration has offered even a tentative promise to reduce production of climate-altering gases, the White House announced Wednesday.

At the international climate meetings in Copenhagen next month, Mr. Obama will tell the delegates that the United States intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions “in the range of” 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050, officials said.

The figures reflect targets specified by legislation that passed the House in June but is stalled in the Senate. Congress has never enacted legislation that includes firm emissions limits or ratified an international global warming agreement with binding targets.

Mr. Obama will travel to the United Nations talks to deliver the promise in hopes of spurring significant progress there. He will appear Dec. 9, near the beginning of the 12-day session, on his way to accept the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Dec. 10, officials said.

By making the pledge in an international forum, Mr. Obama is laying a bet that Congress will complete action on a climate bill next year and will be prepared to ratify an international agreement based on the commitment.

But White House officials acknowledged that those outcomes were uncertain. They will depend in large measure on whether the Democratic sponsors of the legislation can win 60 votes for a measure that is at the moment unpopular and whether major developing nations, notably China and India, deliver credible emissions reduction pledges of their own.

Mr. Obama has met over the past two weeks with the leaders of China and India, the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gases, to discuss climate change and the Copenhagen conference. American officials said that both countries told the president they would be prepared to announce steps to reduce the rate of growth of emissions if the United States put a pledge on the table.

Neither has done so yet, although Chinese officials have hinted that they will announce a near-term target for reducing energy use relative to economic growth, or “carbon intensity,” before the Copenhagen conference opens.

“Obviously, we hope other major economies will put forth ambitious action plans of their own,” Carol M. Browner, the president’s senior adviser for energy and climate change, said at a White House briefing on Wednesday morning.

Mr. Obama, who had not previously committed either to emissions targets or to going to Copenhagen, has been under considerable pressure from other world leaders and environmental advocates to reassert American leadership on climate change.

Andreas Carlgren, the Swedish environment minister, said that Mr. Obama had now raised expectations for the Copenhagen talks, but he expressed a note of disappointment about the timing of his visit. He said he hoped Mr. Obama would come in the final days of negotiations, when dozens of other heads of government were planning to arrive.

A White House official said a return trip was “highly unlikely.”

It was unclear what effect Mr. Obama’s promise of domestic emissions reductions would have on the slow progress of climate legislation through Congress. Until now, the administration’s negotiators have said they will not get ahead of Congress in making promises in an international forum, but Mr. Obama has now essentially adopted the targets of a climate and energy bill that passed the House in June.

The House bill aims at greenhouse gas reductions of 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and sharper cuts in the following decades, through a cap-and-trade system that includes most of the nation’s major sources of carbon dioxide emissions. Last month, a Senate committee passed a measure calling for a 20 percent cut by 2020, but that is expected to be weakened as the legislation moves through other Senate committees and onto the floor, perhaps next spring.

“By putting a serious number for U.S. emission reductions on the table, the president has just called the world’s bet and then raised it for our negotiating partners,” said Representative Edward J. Markey , co-sponsor of the House legislation.

Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, co-sponsor of the Senate legislation, said he believed that the president’s actions would give a boost to the Copenhagen talks and help move the Senate bill. He called the decision to declare an American target a “game changer,” domestically and internationally.

“By announcing a provisional target, contingent on the support of Congress, the president has defined a path to an international agreement that challenges the developed and developing nations to fulfill their obligations,” he said. “It lays the groundwork for a broad political consensus at Copenhagen that will strip climate obstructionists here at home of their most persistent charge, that the United States shouldn’t act if other countries won’t join with us.”

But Senator James M. Inhofe, the Senate’s most outspoken skeptic on climate change, said that Mr. Obama’s public pledge would do little to speed an international agreement and foolishly prejudged the outcome of a Senate debate that had barely started. Mr. Inhofe, Republican of Oklahoma, said that Senate climate legislation was “dying on the vine” and that the Senate would never ratify a treaty that did not require strong emissions reductions from major developing countries.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Energy costs to soar if no carbon deal, agency says

The world faces a surge in energy costs, as well as in planet-warming carbon emissions, unless it can swiftly agree a climate change deal, the International Energy Agency said Tuesday.
Arguing strongly for a global deal at the U.N. Climate Change summit in Copenhagen in December, the IEA said use of fossil fuels will increase quickly if policies remained unchanged.
Without an international agreement on climate change, the ratio of energy spending to gross domestic product for the largest consumer countries would double by 2030.
The world would have to spend an extra $500 billion to cut carbon emissions for each year it delayed implementing a deal on global warming, the IEA said in its annual World Energy Outlook.
"As the leading source of greenhouse-gas emissions, energy is at the heart of the problem and so must be integral to the solution. The time to act has arrived," it said.
IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol told Reuters in an interview the world needed to stabilize the concentration of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere at 450 parts per million of CO2 equivalent.
"The world needs to go to the 450 parts per million target, not only because of climate change but because of growing problems within our energy system and its possible implications again on the economy," Birol said.
Global energy demand would rise by an average of 2.5 percent per year over the next five years if governments made no changes to their existing policies and measures.
Under these circumstances, which the IEA called its reference scenario, world primary energy demand would rise by an average of 1.5 percent per year over the next two decades.
Oil demand, excluding biofuels, would increase by 1 percent per year to 105 million barrels per day by 2030 from 85 million barrels per day in 2008. This was a slight decrease in its demand forecast, reflecting the impact of the global economic downturn.
Last year the agency, which advises 28 industrialized nations, forecast oil use would reach 106 million barrels per day by 2030.
But the IEA stressed the trend toward heavier use of hydrocarbons would be unabated without a climate change deal.
"Fossil fuels remain the dominant sources of primary energy worldwide in the reference scenario, accounting for more than three-quarters of the overall increase in energy use," it said.
A key driver of energy demand would be inexorable growth in power generation, it said, forecasting in its reference scenario world electricity demand would grow 2.5 percent a year to 2030.
Stressing the need to move away from dependence on fossil fuels, Birol said that without a climate change deal, the European Union's annual energy bill would more than double to $500 billion by 2030, up from $160 billion in the last 30 years.
Oil prices soared to a record of nearly $150 a barrel in July 2008. They then collapsed to less than $33 last December, but have since recovered to around $80.
The price collapse, combined with the credit crisis, choked off investment and the Paris-based IEA has warned the oil market could surge back, damaging still fragile economic growth.
Birol said the oil price was likely to reach $100 per barrel by 2015 and $190 by 2030: "This means that if we don't do anything to our energy system, we will be in difficulty."
Bank of Ireland analyst Paul Harris said the IEA had taken a "rather cautious approach" in the report.
"There's an emerging consensus that the demand and supply balance is really going to start to tighten by 2015 which should sound the death knell for cheap oil."

Monday, November 9, 2009

November Workforce Education Conference in Albany NY Nearly Sold Out

The 2009 New Ideas in Educating a Workforce in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Conference will be responsive to the national transition to a green workforce. There will be three plenary and general sessions; 17 breakout sessions; 52 presentations; and over 70 speakers sharing their experiences and expertise.

The conference will be held at the Albany Marriott in Albany, New York on November 19-20, with pre-conference workshops on November 18th."We have an exceptional line up of plenary speakers," said IREC's Jane Weissman, one of the conference organizers. Included in that impressive list are Mary Spilde, President of Lane Community College and Chair of the American Association of Community Colleges, Dan Lance from GE Wind, Jeff Spies of AEE Solar, Debra Rowe from Oakland Community College, and Steve Nadel from the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. U.S. Congressman Paul Tonko and NYSERDA's President Frank Murray will be luncheon speakers.

The conference is approaching capacity. According to conference organizers, 34 states and four countries are represented, including a German delegation of vocational education experts.
"New this year are two different sessions on job forecasts and labor profiles which will report on expected workforce development needs and the corresponding training programs required to meet projected employer demand," said Weissman. "We'll also look at how career pathways are being developed for individuals with diverse backgrounds and with different levels of skills and work experience."

A number of sessions will look at curriculum development and the different approaches that are being taken. Hands-on training is a key part of building a strong workforce and speakers will address integrating practical experience into classroom instruction. There will be sessions covering programs and activities initiated by federal and state governments.

All through the conference, there will be discussion about meeting challenges that are emerging with the growing need for quality training services. - New Portal for solar data

Industry consortium, leading professional magazine, and software developer collaborate to produce the solar industry's centralized repository of product specification data.

SolarTech, SolarPro magazine, and SolarNexus today announced the launch of a new, free resource for solar professionals called SolarHub ( The site provides a one-stop shop, aggregating detailed product specifications and allowing users to search listed products by a variety of attributes specific to each product type. Data in the site is maintained directly by manufacturers and the SolarHub team.