Wednesday, November 16, 2016

STOP the “Natural Gas Smell” plaguing Huntington Beach Residents

Sometimes the issues literally come right to your doorstep. Huntington Beach residents have been subjected more and more often in the last several months to city sized fumes of a "natural gas odor" coming in with the ocean breeze. The smell and concentration is paralyzing, bring on headaches, respiratory issues and sending you running to close up all the windows.

After another one of these "gas attacks" yesterday (the third in two weeks), my neighbors and I were fed up.  And apparently I'm not alone.  Since early this AM, the change.org petition I created on the topic has received over 280 signatures, mostly from HB residents who are commenting about the effect the "attacks" has had on them and their families.

On social media some are commenting this is a natural phenomenon.  To that I say natural gas is an odorless, colorless substance until a vile sulfur based agent called mercaptan is added by gas processors, which is exactly what it smells like when one of these attacks come on.  So, if you still think it is a natural phenomenon, prove it.  My evidence suggests otherwise.

The goal of this petition is to get as many signatures and emails attached to it as possible over the next several weeks.  I will then present this to the Huntington Beach City Council, the HB Environmental Board and other stakeholders such as AQMD in an organized effort to (1) understand where these attacks are coming from (2) understand who is responsible and (3) stop them.

Please please please support this petition if you can.  There is power in numbers:

Friday, November 4, 2016

Monday, Nov 7th, 6 PM, Come voice support for an important Huntington Beach Energy Efficiency Project!!

If you live in the Huntington Beach, CA area, please come to the city council chambers at 6:00 PM Monday November 7, 2016 to hear comments and support for a very exciting energy efficiency project opportunity currently in front of the city.

Below is the full text of the opportunity, but let me summarize for those of us short on time.  The California Public Utilities Commission established a grant program in 2012 called EPIC.  HB neighborhood of Oak View has the opportunity to be a direct BENEFACTOR of this funding through a consortium team including UCI, NREL, SCE and So. Cal gas.  The grant will fund a two phase approach to turning the neighborhood into a "advanced energy community", trialing different approaches to zero net energy implementation, easier grid integration and perhaps most importantly serve as a model to provide affordable access to renewable energy generation, energy efficiency and water efficiency upgrades.

Long story short, this is a great opportunity for HB, so please come voice your support to convince the council to include HB in this project!!

Full Text:

The City of Huntington Beach has been a leader in energy efficiency, leading the way for many neighboring municipalities.  The City’s efficiency efforts have received awards from the Association of California Cities- Orange County, Sustain OC, Orange County Business Council, and Southern California Edison.  Additionally, these efforts have garnered attention from the Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and local universities.  The success of many of our efficiency initiatives is what led the team at UCI to contact the City and seek a partnership on the EPIC Challenge.

The EPIC program was established in 2012 by the California Public Utilities Commission and provides funding for applied research and development, technology, demonstration and deployment, and market facilitation for clean energy technologies.  The specific funding opportunity through the EPIC Program that the City was successful in obtaining was through the EPIC Challenge: Accelerating the Deployment of Advanced Energy Communities.  The purpose of the solicitation is to fund a competition that will challenge project teams to develop innovative and replicable approaches for accelerating the deployment of Advanced Energy Communities (AEC). The City was one of four communities chosen from Southern California.

The City is part of a diverse and well-respected team comprised of world renowned leading faculty from UCI, a built environment technology developer (Altura Associates, Inc.), the investor owned utilities (SCE and Southern California Gas Company), and a national laboratory (National Renewable Energy Laboratory) to address the EPIC Challenge to develop innovative and replicable approaches for accelerating the deployment of AEC in SCE and Southern California Gas Company service territories.  The project teams that develop the best approaches will then be eligible to compete for the second phase of additional funding to fully realize their vision of an AEC.

For purposes of this solicitation, Advanced Energy Communities are communities that:

·         Minimize the need for new energy infrastructure costs such as transmission and distribution upgrades.
·         Provide energy savings by achieving and maintaining zero net energy community status (accounting for behavior and increasing loads from vehicle and appliance electrification).
·         Support grid reliability and resiliency by incorporating technologies such as energy storage.
·         Provide easier grid integration and alignment with the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) Long-Term Procurement Plan, and the California Independent System Operator’s local capacity requirements process.
·         Can be replicated and scaled-up to further drive down costs.
·         Are financially attractive from a market standpoint (developers, home buyers, renters).
·         Provide affordable access to renewable energy generation, energy efficiency upgrades, and water efficiency and reuse technologies that reduce electricity consumption for all electric ratepayers within the community.
·         Makes use of smart-grid technologies throughout the community.
·         Align with other state energy goals.

Projects will be funded in two phases. Phase I focuses on the development of innovative planning, permitting, and financing approaches for Advanced Energy Communities, as well as the development of a real world conceptual design of an Advanced Energy Community. Recipients of Phase I funding will be eligible to compete for Phase II funding, which will support the build-out of an Advanced Energy Community that was proposed during Phase I.

Together with funding and support from Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas Company the team will receive a total of $1.9 million to develop and apply master community design tools and to integrate innovative, high efficiency and sustainable energy technologies into Huntington Beach’s Oak View neighborhood.

The City will work closely with the Oak View Renewal Partnership (OVRP), the neighborhoods longstanding non-profit place based service organization and CIELO the business incubator based at Golden West College.  The City and the UCI team has received widespread support for this project from OVRP, CIELO, state and local legislators, non-profit providers (GRID Alternatives), and the non-profit housing partners.

The City will receive $90,000 to coordinate collaboration with community groups, residents, and will provide detailed information on existing community energy usage, provide information on energy infrastructure, and activities that occur in the community.

This project will enable the City to study community scale energy usage and test emerging technologies to determine the highest and best use of the City’s energy resources.  The research from this project will enable the City to take the findings and apply for Phase II of the Challenge but also seek funding from other federal, state, and local agencies like the South Coast Air Quality Management District to apply for projects throughout the City.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Watch "Before the Flood" 100% FREE on YouTube

In an effort to give the largest distribution of this film as possible, the producers, financiers, publishers and all involved are distributing for free. Free.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mr. Trump, if your going to lie about Renewable energy, at least make it realistic

On August 2, 2016 this happened, as reported by many outlets and reference here from The Hill.com,

"“It’s so expensive,” Trump said of alternative energy at a rally in Pennsylvania.
“And honestly, it’s not working so good. I know a lot about solar. I love solar. But the payback is what, 18 years? Oh great, let me do it. Eighteen years,” he said, turning to wind power. “The wind kills all your birds. All your birds, killed. You know, the environmentalists never talk about that.”"

Ladies and gentlemen, the Republican candidate for President.  The fact at a Republican candidate decides to tell lies about renewable energy is not a surprise.  The real surprise is how LAZY these lies are.  They are cartoon level lazy.  "Kill all the birds"?  As I sit here typing on this keyboard I see 3 birds out my window.  I can hear another 3-4 because the window is open.  I guess wind power hasn't got to them yet.

Billionare Mark Cuban, who once said a Trump presidency was a good idea, recently changed his tone drastically, saying that the opportunity Trump has was squandered because he was "lazy" and "didn't do the work".  I am a rabid support of renewable energy and action on climate change, but there are certainly criticisms.  He was just too lazy to find actual criticisms, so he gave caricatures of criticisms.

Well, a rebuke is not really needed, but in true Trump fashion I'll give it with as little work as possible.. here it is for the solar.. here it is for the wind.. you're welcome...enjoy.

Friday, June 10, 2016

Size of Energy Storage Market Explained

With ASES Solar 2016 / Intersolar Conference coming up fast (have you registered?  Are you going? You probably should!), much focus will be on the Intersolar exhibit floor.  Last year there were three floors, one for PV generation products (modules), one for Balance-of-System products (trackers, racking) and one for emerging energy storage products (batteries, PowerWall, ect).  With each floor taking up about the same amount of space and with hundreds of players, it makes sense to look at these three prongs of the renewable power industry from a market size point of view.   The results may surprise you!  For consistency we will focus on Q1 2016 results in the US.

PV Modules:  Lets first focus on the bellwether: PV modules.  SEIA reports 1,665 MWdc of modules sold in the US in Q1.  Lets say average sale price of a module is $0.65 / W, this amounts to $1,082,250,000 in sales (a lil over $1 BILLION) in the first quarter of this year.

PV Balance of System:  IHS reported last year the 2014 annual global market size for balance of system product was ~$3.1 Billion, with the US accounting for ~36% of the total market.  Doing some rough math, this projects a quarterly US market size of $279,000,000, which is likely an underestimate because these numbers are already 1.5 years old.  Either way it is a line in the sand for the point of discussion at the moment.

Energy Storage: Now what you've all been waiting for.  Energy storage has been the hot new thing in renewables for awhile now, but just how big is the market today?  Just how much can your "batteries in a box" company make?  Greentech Media reported this month that a total of 18.3 MW, more aptly described as 21.1 MWh, of storage was deployed Q1, 2016 in the US.  With Tesla claiming prices of $300 / kWh, lets be generous and say these systems had a total value of about $800 / kWh.  With that, the total value of the market is $14,600,000.  The batteries alone (at $300 / kWh) is less than $6,000,000.  At a compound annual growth rate of 50% (which some claim is too low), it would take 12 years for storage to reach the same size as PV modules today, and 8 years to reach the same size as the US PV BOS market.  Meanwhile those markets are growing aggressively as well.

For a visual comparison of these three markets, click on the picture below.


So what are the reasons to be cautious about storage?  First, despite being a tiny market there are already hundreds of players, from big names like Tesla and Lockeed Martin, to dozens of smaller me-too players.  Second, there is already a fairly good, yet embattled in some areas, competitor to storage:  net metering.  If you have solar on the roof and an agreement with the utility to give you credit for energy you put back on the grid, then guess what, you already have a great (and free) storage system.  Third, there are really no reasons why this developing industry will be a "high margin" endeavor, much like PV modules.  

Reasons to be bullish on storage abound, but it is a good bet that storage will have more shakeout than opportunity for most players in the next 5 - 10 years.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

SunEdison is Bankrupt

Less than a year ago in July, 2015 SunEdison was a wall street darling.  Trading at $31 / share and worth $8 Billion, what a difference 9 months makes.  Today the embattled, deeply debt laden and deeply misguided solar developer / manufacturer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as covered by many major news outlets.

The stock sits as a market cap of $0.115 billion, an erosion of about $28 million / day since last July.  Just to put this in context, Solyndra lost (the tax payers albeit) $535 million, so the collapse of SunEdison is basically 16x Solyndras in size.

It seems that "work capital" was secured in order to keep operations moving during this period, but in all likelihood the "new" SunEdison will be a much smaller, less abitious enterprise after emerging from restructing, which could take a very long time.

All in all, this is another black eye for the solar business that it doesn't really need.  With the ITC extension in December, it seems to always be two steps forward, one step back for the solar business.  On the other hand, companies which relied less on Financial Engineering to pump their value are still doing quite well in solar for the foreseeable future.


Wednesday, April 20, 2016

OCR / ASES Participating in CSU Fullerton Earth Week Tomorrow!

Happy to announce (a little last minute, but better than never!) that OC Renewables and ASES will have a booth at tomorrow's Cal State University Fullerton campus as part of their Green Expo.  I will be there with the latest issue of Solar Today hoping to sign up many young and exciting students to the local OCR network of clean energy enthusiasts as well as the ASES national organization.

If you are in the area please stop by and say hi!  Event runs from 10 AM to 1 PM on the Cal Sate Fullerton Campus.  Check out a report on the school newspaper for more information at this link, or the school's earth week website at this link here.

See you there ~ Adam