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December 2006

Cover of Trends in Utility Green Pricing Programs (2005)
Cover of Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report (Ninth Edition)

NREL Publishes Green Power Reports
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) recently published "Trends in Utility Green Pricing Programs (2005)" (PDF 812 KB). This annual update presents year-end 2005 data on utility green pricing programs, and examines trends in consumer response and program implementation over time. The data in this report, which were obtained via a questionnaire distributed to utility green pricing program managers, can be used by utilities to benchmark the success of their green power programs. The report also examines trends in consumer response and program implementation over time, including product pricing, program design, and marketing strategies.

NREL also recently published "Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report (Ninth Edition)" (PDF 1.5 MB), which presents aggregate green power sales data for all voluntary purchase markets across the United States. Two sections provide summary data on (1) utility green pricing programs offered in regulated electricity markets and (2) green power marketing activity in competitive electricity markets and green power sold to voluntary purchasers in the form of RECs. These are followed by a discussion of key market trends and issues. The final section offers conclusions and observations.

December 2006

PV Value Clearinghouse Provides Distributed Power Analyses Online
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and Clean Power Research have developed a Photovoltaics (PV) Value Clearinghouse, which provides a searchable database of analyses of distributed power applications with an emphasis on distributed power technology benefits and costs.

With a growing interest in customer-owned PV systems, the number of analytical studies aimed at determining their value has increased. This database helps users locate analysis methodologies and results of solar power cost/benefit analyses. Using an evaluation matrix, costs and benefits identified in the studies are categorized based on who receives the benefit (or pays the cost) and by the benefit/cost component, such as investment, tax effects, or utility cost savings. Users are able to point to the set of documents that highlight the combination of beneficiary and component, allowing for more targeted document searches.

We are constantly working to improve the PV Value Clearinghouse — and add to the information provided. If you would like to suggest a document for inclusion in the database, you can access the Submit New Document section of the site.

December 2006

Analysts Meet with Stakeholders
NREL analysts Blair Swezey, Lori Bird, and Karlynn Cory participated in the Eleventh National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference in San Francisco on December 3-6. Conference participants discussed renewable energy and green power market progress, successful marketing approaches, and strategies for market expansion. The annual Green Power Leadership Awards also were presented during the event. The U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Center for Resource Solutions organized the annual meeting, which was attended by more than 400 people.

Bird also gave an invited presentation on renewable energy markets at a workshop titled "The Rising Role of Renewables in Corporate Strategy" in Houston, Texas. Held on Nov. 2, the workshop was attended by a number of large companies including, Google, Dell, Wal-Mart, Siemens, United Technologies, Best Buy, and Nike.

Nate Blair and Thomas Jenkin, analysts with SEAC, were the lead organizers for a meeting of the Renewable Energy Modeling Analysis Partnership (REMAP). Twelve modeling groups (including NREL's Walter Short) from federal and state governments, national labs, private companies, nongovernmental organizations, and academia presented how they might model high renewable energy penetration. Managed by NREL — and cosponsored by DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the American Council on Renewable Energy — REMAP is a collaborative aimed at leveraging and sharing analytical insights.

SEAC Director Doug Arent was part of a panel discussion at the National Symposium on America's Energy Future in Washington, D.C. The event, held at the U.S. Capitol, provided policy makers — as well as government, business, and community leaders — with information on making smart energy decisions for the future.

Arent also chaired a session on biofuels at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington in early November. Speakers included representatives from Iowa State, Conoco-Phillips, BP Biofuels, and the Energy Futures Coalition. The event was attended by nearly 100 people, including Congressional staff members.

Arent will speak during an alternative fuels seminar on Dec. 12, which will focus on converting carbon to liquids. The event is hosted by NREL and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

November 2006

"Energy Sector Market Analysis"
NREL recently published "Energy Sector Market Analysis," (PDF 949 KB) which presents the results of energy market analysis sponsored by DOE's Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program (WIP) within EERE. The analysis was conducted by a team of DOE laboratory experts from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), with additional input from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). The analysis was structured to identify those markets and niches where government can create the biggest impact by informing management decisions in the private and public sectors. The analysis also identifies those areas where opportunities exist for increasing energy efficiency and renewable energy use.

November 2006

"Lessons Learned from the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Technology/PV Manufacturing R&D and Thin-Film PV Partnership Projects"
As DOE's Solar Energy Technologies Program initiates new cost-shared solar energy R&D under the Solar America Initiative (SAI), it is useful to analyze the experience gained from cost-shared R&D projects that have been funded through the program to date. This report "Lessons Learned from the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Technology/PV Manufacturing R&D and Thin-Film PV Partnership Projects," (PDF 510 KB) summarizes lessons learned from two DOE-sponsored photovoltaic (PV) projects: the Photovoltaic Manufacturing Technology/PV Manufacturing R&D (PVMaT/PVMR&D) project and the Thin-Film PV Partnership project. During the past 10-15 years, these two projects have invested roughly $330 million of government resources in cost-shared R&D and leveraged another $190 million in private-sector PV R&D investments. Following a description of key findings and brief descriptions of the PVMaT/PVMR&D and Thin-Film PV Partnership projects, this report presents lessons learned from the projects.

November 2006

"Nontechnical Barriers to Solar Energy Use: Review of Recent Literature"
This NREL report, "Nontechnical Barriers to Solar Energy Use: Review of Recent Literature," (PDF 515 KB) helps identify key barriers that must be addressed as part of the Technology Acceptance efforts under DOE's Solar America Initiative. A broad literature search yielded more than 400 references, which were narrowed to 19 recent documents on nontechnical barriers to the use of solar energy and other energy efficiency and renewable energy (EE/RE) technologies. Some of the most frequently identified barriers included lack of government policy supporting EE/RE, lack of information dissemination and consumer awareness about energy and EE/RE, high cost of solar and other EE/RE technologies compared with conventional energy, and inadequate financing options for EE/RE projects.

November 2006

Analysts Meet with Stakeholders
In October, Elizabeth Brown presented results of NREL's analysis on the impact of transportation reduction measures to the Burbank Transportation Management Organization Membership, which includes 120 participating businesses within the city of Burbank, California.

Also in October, NREL's Doug Arent spoke on renewable fuels at a national energy symposium conducted by the Communications Institute at the California State House.

Two Strategic Energy Analysis Center members discussed their analysis at recent EERE seminars. Paul Denholm discussed modeling the market penetration of solar photovoltaics on buildings; and Peter Lilienthal presented on the HOMER® model, a computer model that simplifies the task of evaluating design options for both off-grid and grid-connected power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation applications.

October 2006

October 2006

New Power Technologies Energy Data Book Available Online
SEAC has posted the fourth edition of EERE's Power Technologies Energy Data Book (PTEDB) to the Energy Analysis website. Edition 4 of the PTEDB contains a wide selection of data and statistics on renewable energy power technologies from a variety of sources, collected in one convenient document for policymakers, analysts, industry, and others. The PTEDB includes complete technology profiles, as well as charts on electricity restructuring, power technology forecasts, electricity supply, electricity capability, electricity generation, electricity demand, prices, economic indicators, environmental indicators, and conversion factors – as well as a new chapter on Geographic Information System (GIS) maps.

Readers are encouraged to suggest improvements to the PTEDB through the feedback form on the website. Please contact Jørn Aabakken for any additional information.

October 2006

NREL Seeks Participants for RE Potential Initiative
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is seeking partners for a Renewable Energy Potential Initiative, which will explore the long-term potential of renewable energy (RE) to meet a substantial share of U.S. energy needs. Estimates of the potential of renewable energy inform decisions regarding energy investments and energy policy. While some estimates exist, they are not detailed or comprehensive. Energy businesses, investors, and public policymakers are interested in using more renewable energy, but this would require more robust analysis of RE resource, technical, economic, and market potential. The initiative will be a multiyear, public-private collaborative analytic effort to advance the understanding of all aspects of RE potential through a systematic process.

Access the Energy Analysis website for more information and a timeline.

October 2006

Eleventh National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference
The U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Center for Resource Solutions are organizing the Eleventh National Renewable Energy Marketing Conference, which will be in San Francisco on December 3-5. The purpose of the conference is to review renewable energy and green power market progress, communicate successful marketing approaches, and explore strategies for market expansion.

More information is available on the conference website.

For additional information on green power markets, see the Green Power Network.

October 2006

Analysts Meet with Stakeholders

CU Energy Initiative/NREL Symposium - Several analysts presented posters during a Research Symposium and Seed Grant Competition at the University of Colorado (CU). The event, sponsored by CU and NREL, encouraged innovative, collaborative research on Renewable and Sustainable Energy (R&SE). Individual faculty and scientists, together with members of their research groups, displayed their ongoing and proposed research projects related to R&SE. It also provided an opportunity for participants to learn what other types of research interests and expertise exist at NREL and on the CU campuses. Topics included natural sciences and engineering; business opportunities; technology transfer and commercialization; policy and legislative dimensions; social, cultural and/or philosophical dimensions; and economic aspects.

INTELEC 2006 Conference - NREL presented "Impact of Distributed Energy Resources on the Reliability of Critical Telecommunications Facilities" (PDF 947 KB) Download Acrobat Reader at INTELEC 2006 (the International Telecommunications Energy Conference).

USAEE/IAEE Conference - NREL presented "Modeling of Uncertainties in Major Drivers in U.S. Electricity Markets," (PDF 751 KB) Download Acrobat Reader at the 26th USAEE/IAEE North American Conference (sponsored by the U.S. Association for Energy Economics).

NREL analysts participated in a panel on biofuels in Washington, D.C., cohosted by NREL and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The panel included representatives from Dupont, Shell, UC Berkeley and addressed critical opportunities and challenges facing biofuels in the coming decade.

NREL's Doug Arent was a panelist at a Congressional briefing organized by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute in late September. He discussed the Clean and Diversified Energy Advisory Final Report to the Western Governors' Association, which NREL staff supported.

September 2006

NREL Sponsors HOMER® Webcast

NREL will host a HOMER® User Group Webcast on The Americas at 17:00 GMT; 13:00 EDT on October 12. The Webcast will feature the HOMER® model users selected to deliver presentations on their applications or analyses to a worldwide audience. The HOMER® model is a software that simplifies the task of evaluating design options for both off-grid and grid-connected power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation (DG) applications.

More than 140 users showed interest in the first HOMER® User Group Webcast in May 2006, which focused on Asia. It featured speakers from China, India, the Philippines, the Maldives, Australia, Canada, and the United States. You can download this entire Webcast and/or the presentations from the HOMER® model website.

September 2006

Analysts Meet with Stakeholders

INTELEC 2006 Conference - NREL analysts will present at INTELEC 2006 (the International Telecommunications Energy Conference), September 10-14, 2006, in Providence, Rhode Island.

USAEE/IAEE Conference - Analysts from NREL also will present at the 26th USAEE/IAEE North American Conference (sponsored by the U.S. Association for Energy Economics), September 24-27, 2006, in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

We will provide links in October's newsletter to papers presented at these conferences.

August 2006

"Incorporating Wind Generation in Cap and Trade Programs"
NREL recently published the report "Incorporating Wind Generation in Cap and Trade Programs." (PDF 1.0 MB) Coauthored by SEAC analysts Lori Bird and Laura Vimmerstedt, this report looks at how cap and trade programs are increasingly being used to reduce emissions from electricity generation in the United States. While cap and trade programs primarily target emitting generators, some states have included renewable generators to provide an incentive for non-emitting generation, to achieve emissions reductions in non-capped pollutants, and for their local economic benefits. This report explores state policies that have included wind in cap and trade programs, why there has been little participation among wind and other renewable energy generators in cap and trade programs to date, the mechanisms by which wind generators could benefit from participation, and how wind generation can most effectively be included in these programs.

August 2006

"Evaluation of Utility System Impacts and Benefits of Optimally Dispatched Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles"
SEAC analysts Paul Denholm and Walter Short recently published the report "Evaluation of Utility System Impacts and Benefits of Optimally Dispatched Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles." (PDF 681 KB) Researchers have found that hybrid electric vehicles, which have the capability of being recharged from the grid, may provide a significant decrease in oil consumption. These "plug-in" hybrids (PHEVs) will affect utility operations, adding additional electricity demand. Because many individual vehicles may be charged in the extended overnight period, and because the cost of wireless communication has decreased, there is a unique opportunity for utilities to directly control the charging of these vehicles at the precise times when normal electricity demand is at a minimum. This report evaluates the effects of optimal PHEV charging, under the assumption that utilities will indirectly or directly control when charging takes place, providing consumers with the absolute lowest cost of driving energy.

August 2006

Analysts Meet with Stakeholders

Solar Conference - NREL analysts talked about their work during the American Solar Energy Society's (ASES) Solar 2006 Conference in Denver, Colorado, in July. Analysts presented papers on topics including grid-connected photovoltaics (PV), the load-carrying ability of PV, geothermal power expansion, the future of biofuels, the Concentrating Solar Deployment System (CSDS) model, and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). More than 1,700 people attended the ASES event, titled "Renewable Energy: Key to Climate Recovery," which highlighted the benefits of solar power and renewable energy.

For more on our staff, please visit the website.

July 2006

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders

Collaborative Workshop – On behalf of DOE/EERE, NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center organized a successful workshop for 62 people with an interest in energy analysis activities. Held on June 20-21 in Washington, D.C., the event focused on how these entities could increase collaboration and coordination in this area.

Participants represented federal government (Department of Energy, Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Department of Transportation, Environmental Protection Agency), state agencies (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, California Energy Commission, Clean Energy States Alliance, and governors associations) and research organizations (Electric Power Research Institute).

Western Governors' Meeting – NREL's Douglas Arent attended the Annual Western Governors' Association meeting June 10-12 in Sedona, Arizona. During the meeting, the governors adopted three resolutions: to accept the recommendations of the Clean and Diversified Energy Advisory Committee, which NREL has supported for the past 18 months; to begin an investigation of transportation fuels in the West; and to create a workgroup to investigate possible actions to abate climate change in the West. Resolutions are posted on the association's website.

For more on our staff, please visit the website.

June 2006

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
Several SEAC analysts presented their work during various meetings and conferences in May. Walter Short was in Washington, D.C., to discuss modeling at the National Wind Coordinating Committee (NWCC) meeting. He also talked about the Stochastic Energy Deployment System (SEDS) model during an EERE Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation (PAE) meeting.

Karlynn Cory discussed renewable portfolio standards (RPS) during a recent Electric Utility Consultants Inc. (EUCI) conference in Boston, Mass. She also attended the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) meeting in Madison, Wis., to talk about the upcoming U.S. Energy Collaborative Analysis Workshop, which NREL is helping organize.

Liz Brown and Doug Arent also met with the Burbank Transportation Management Organization (including the City Council and other stakeholders) in California to discuss her recent analysis of impacts resulting from the group's work.

Thomas Jenkin attended a project finance conference in New York, N.Y., highlighting innovative financing.

The following is a list of upcoming events where NREL analysts will present their work in June:

June 4-7 - American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) Windpower 2006 Conference (Pittsburgh, Penn.) - Walter Short and Nate Blair will present a paper and poster on their Wind Deployment System (WinDS) model.

June 21-22 - Renewable Energy Finance Forum (New York, N.Y.) - Robert Margolis will represent NREL's Solar Program.

For more on our staff, please visit the website.

May 2006

Logo of Homer

Webcast Features HOMER® Users and Applications
NREL will host its first HOMER® User Group Webcast at 10:30 p.m. EDT and 8:30 p.m. MDT on May 15 (2:30 GMT on May 16). The Webcast will feature about eight HOMER® model users selected to deliver presentations highlighting their applications or analyses to a worldwide audience. The HOMER® model is a software that simplifies the task of evaluating design options for both off-grid and grid-connected power systems for remote, stand-alone, and distributed generation (DG) applications. NREL also will publish these analyses on the HOMER® model website. If you are interested in viewing the Webcast, e-mail homer@nrel.gov to receive instructions for connecting prior to May 15.

May 2006

Cover of the Report

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles and Wind Energy
Walter Short and Paul Denholm of NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center recently published "A Preliminary Assessment of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles on Wind Energy Markets." (PDF 873 KB) This report examines a measure that may potentially reduce oil use and also more than proportionately reduce carbon emissions from vehicles. The authors present a very preliminary analysis of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs) that can be charged from or discharged to the grid. These vehicles have the potential to reduce gasoline consumption and carbon emissions from vehicles, as well as improve the viability of renewable energy technologies with variable resource availability. This paper is an assessment of the synergisms between plug-in hybrid electric vehicles and wind energy. The authors examine two bounding cases that illuminate this potential synergism.

May 2006

Cover of the Report

Using Partnerships to Market Green Power
NREL analysts Lori Bird and Liz Brown recently published "Utility-Marketer Partnerships: An Effective Strategy for Marketing Green Power?" (PDF 766 KB). This paper explores whether partnerships between utilities and independent marketers are an effective strategy for marketing green power. The authors present case studies of voluntary and mandatory partnerships covering green power program design and implementation in both regulated and restructured electricity markets. They also include perspectives (based on interviews) from utilities, marketers, and regulators involved in developing and implementing these partnerships. From these case studies and interviews, the paper outlines lessons learned about developing effective partnerships, including such issues as respective roles in marketing and administration, product branding, and contract and incentive structures. Based on experience to date, strategic partnerships between utilities and marketers can be an effective approach to marketing green power. Partnerships leverage the sales and resource procurement experience of marketers and the utility's reputation and access to customers. Further, partnerships can create greater incentives for success, because marketers have a vested financial interest in maximizing customer participation and green power sales.

May 2006

Cover of the Report
Cover of the Report

Solar 2006 Conference Papers
NREL staff have been selected to present papers during the Solar 2006 Conference, "Renewable Energy – Key to Climate Recovery," July 8-13 in Denver, Colorado. Preprints of their papers are accessible below.

Concentrating Solar Deployment System (CSDS) — A New Model for Estimating U.S. Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) Market Potential: Preprint (PDF 580 KB)

This paper by Nate Blair, Mark Mehos, Walter Short, and Donna Heimiller presents the Concentrating Solar Deployment System Model (CSDS). CSDS is designed to address the principal market and policy issues related to the penetration of concentrating solar power (CSP) electric-sector technologies. This paper discusses the current structure, capabilities, and assumptions of the model. Additionally, results are presented for the impact of continued research and development (R&D) spending, an extension to the investment tax credit (ITC), and use of a production tax credit (PTC). CSDS is an extension of the Wind Deployment System (WinDS) model created at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Very Large-Scale Deployment of Grid-Connected Solar Photovoltaics in the United States: Challenges and Opportunities: Preprint (PDF 423 KB)

This paper by Paul Denholm and Robert Margolis analyzes the potential for solar photovoltaics (PV) to be deployed on a very large scale and provide a large fraction of a system's electricity. It explicitly examines how the hourly availability of PV interacts with the limited flexibility of traditional electricity generation plants. The authors found that, under high penetration levels and existing grid-operation procedures and rules, the system will have excess PV generation during certain periods of the year. This excess PV generation results in increased costs, which can increase dramatically when PV provides on the order of 10%-15% of total electricity demand in systems that are heavily dependent on inflexible baseload steam plants. Measures to increase penetration of PV are also discussed, including increased system flexibility, increased dispatchable load, and energy storage.

April 2006

Cover of the Report

Impact of Distributed Energy Resources on the Reliability of a Critical Telecommunications Facility
Doug Arent of NREL's Strategic Analysis Office (SAO) recently coauthored "Impact of Distributed Energy Resources on the Reliability of a Critical Telecommunications Facility," (PDF 3.1 MB) with David Robinson, Christopher Atcitty, and Jason Zuffranieri of Sandia National Laboratories. Telecommunications has been identified by the Department of Homeland Security as a critical infrastructure to the United States. Failures in the power systems supporting major telecommunications service nodes are a main contributor to major telecommunications outages. There are two major issues that are having increasing impact on the sensitivity of the power distribution to telecommunication facilities: deregulation of the power industry, and changing weather patterns. Distributed energy resources such as fuel cells and gas turbines could provide one more onsite electric power source to provide backup power, if batteries and diesel generators fail. But does the diversity in power sources actually increase the reliability of offered power to the office equipment, or does the complexity of installing and managing the extended power system induce more potential faults and higher failure rates? This report analyzes a system involving a telecommunications facility consisting of two switch-bays and a satellite reception system.

April 2006

Cover of the Report

Spatial Statistical Procedures to Validate Input Data in Energy Models
Liz Brady Sabeff, Ray George, Donna Heimiller, and Anelia Milbrandt (all of NREL) recently worked with Gardar Johannesson, Jeffrey Stewart, and Chris Barr of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to produce "Spatial Statistical Procedures to Validate Input Data in Energy Models," (PDF 1.4 MB). Energy modeling and analysis often relies on data collected for other purposes such as census counts, atmospheric and air quality observations, economic trends, and other primarily non-energy-related uses. Systematic collection of empirical data solely for regional, national, and global energy modeling has not been established as in the above-mentioned fields. Empirical and modeled data relevant to energy modeling is reported and available at various spatial and temporal scales that might or might not be those needed and used by the energy modeling community. This paper presents exploratory and modeling techniques in spatial statistics that can improve the usefulness of empirical and modeled data sets that do not initially meet the spatial and/or temporal requirements of energy models.

April 2006

Cover of the Report

Regional Differences in the Price-Elasticity of Demand for Energy
NREL's Strategic Analysis Office (SAO) worked with RAND Corporation to publish "Regional Differences in the Price-Elasticity of Demand for Energy," (PDF 3.3 MB). At the request of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), the RAND Corporation examined the relationship between energy demand and energy prices with the focus on whether the relationships between demand and price differ if these are examined at different levels of data resolution. In this case, RAND compares national, regional, state, and electric utility levels of data resolution. This study is intended as a first step in helping NREL understand the impact that spatial disaggregation of data can have on estimating the impacts of their programs. This report should be useful to analysts in NREL and other national laboratories, as well as to policy nationals at the national level. It may help them understand the complex relationships between demand and price and how these might vary across different locations in the United States.

March 2006

Cover of the Report

A Review of PV Inverter Technology Cost and Performance Projections
The Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC), in conjunction with Navigant Consulting Inc. (NCI), recently published "A Review of PV Inverter Technology Cost and Performance Projections" (PDF 968 KB). Robert Margolis of NREL's SEAC was the technical monitor. This report is the result of an NREL request to have NCI conduct a review of historical and projected cost and performance improvements for PV inverters, including identification of critical barriers identified and the approaches government might use to address them. The Solar Energy Technologies Program recently published a Multiyear Technical Plan, which establishes a goal of reducing the Levelized Energy Cost (LEC) for photovoltaic (PV) systems to $0.06/kWh by 2020. The Multiyear Technical Plan estimates that, in order to meet the PV system goal, PV inverter prices will need to decline to $0.25-0.30 Wp by 2020. DOE determined the need to conduct a rigorous review of the PV Program's technical and economic targets, including the target set for PV inverters.

March 2006

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A Framework for Evaluating the Total Value Proposition of Clean Energy Technologies
NREL recently published "A Framework for Evaluating the Total Value Proposition of Clean Energy Technologies" (PDF 1 MB) This publication, which was authored by Jane Pater of NREL, was produced as part of an internship with the Lab's Enterprise Development Program and SEAC. In this report, the author examines how conventional valuation techniques fail to include many of the financial advantages of clean energy technologies. By omitting benefits associated with risk management, emissions reductions, policy incentives, resource use, corporate social responsibility, and societal economic benefits, investors and firms sacrifice opportunities for new revenue streams and avoided costs. In an effort to identify some of these externalities, this analysis develops a total value proposition for clean energy technologies. It incorporates a series of values under each of the above categories, describing the opportunities for recapturing investments throughout the value chain. The framework may be used to create comparable value propositions for clean energy technologies supporting investment decisions, project siting, and marketing strategies. It can also be useful in policy-making decisions.

March 2006

Cover of the Report

Improving the Technical, Environmental, and Social Performance of Wind Energy Systems Using Biomass-based Energy Storage
Renewable Energy recently published a paper by SEAC analyst Paul Denholm – "Improving the Technical, Environmental, and Social Performance of Wind Energy Systems Using Biomass-based Energy Storage," (PDF 461 KB) which is currently available online and will appear in the July 2006 issue (Volume 31, Issue 9). In this journal article, a completely renewable baseload electricity generation system is proposed by combining wind energy, compressed air energy storage, and biomass gasification. This system can eliminate any issues associated with wind-resource variability and provide a source of electrical energy functionally equivalent to a large fossil or nuclear power plant. Compressed air energy storage (CAES) can be economically deployed in the Midwestern United States, an area with significant low-cost wind resources. CAES systems require a combustible fuel, typically natural gas, which results in fuel price risk and greenhouse gas emissions. Replacing natural gas with synfuel derived from biomass gasification eliminates the use of fossil fuels, virtually eliminating net CO2 emissions from the system. In addition, by deriving energy completely from farm sources, this type of system may reduce some opposition to long-distance transmission lines in rural areas, which may be an obstacle to large-scale wind deployment.

March 2006

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Consumer Views on Transportation and Energy (Third Edition)
The Lab recently published its third edition of "Consumer Views on Transportation and Energy" (PDF 1.3 MB) This publication, which was compiled by Michelle Kubik for NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center, was produced for the Office of Planning, Budget, and Analysis (PBA). The report is assembled annually to provide DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) with an idea of how the American public views various transportation, energy, and environmental issues. The data presented in this report have been drawn from multiple sources – surveys conducted by the Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) for NREL that are commissioned and funded by EERE, Gallup polls, news organization polls, surveys conducted by independent groups and academic institutions, and other sources.

February 2006

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Report Examines Photovoltaic Cost Trends in California
Ryan Wiser and Mark Bolinger, both of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL); Peter Cappers of Neenan Associates; and Robert Margolis of NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center (SEAC) recently completed a report published by LBNL, "Letting the Sun Shine on Solar Costs: An Empirical Investigation of Photovoltaic Cost Trends in California." This report provides a comprehensive analysis of grid-connected solar photovoltaic (PV) cost trends in California, which is by far the largest PV market in the United States. The findings of this work may help stakeholders to understand important trends in the California PV market, and policymakers to design more effective solar incentive programs — a particularly important objective given the recent announcement from the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to establish an 11-year, $3.2 billion incentive program for customer-sited solar. The study statistically analyzes the installed cost of grid-connected PV systems funded by the state's two largest solar rebate programs, overseen by the California Energy Commission (CEC) and the CPUC. For more on this analysis and its results, access the report (PDF 1.7 MB) from the NREL publications database.

February 2006

Snapshot of the International Maps

Fact Sheet Outlines NREL's Capabilities in Integrated Resource Assessment
NREL's International team recently produced a new fact sheet, "How Do I Use Renewable Energy in My Region: NREL Maps the Answer," which outlines NREL's work in integrated resource assessment, both in the United States and abroad. Energy planners, project developers, and policy makers around the world use NREL's assessments to make decisions about the feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and risks of developing renewables projects in specific locations, and for regional energy planning efforts. NREL not only creates resource maps of wind and solar potential, but also combines this information with geographic and infrastructure information to answer more challenging questions. The fact sheet gives examples of assessments and explains how people are using them. In addition, NREL has developed a new product for many countries — a downloadable Geospatial Toolkit (GsT). The GsT allows planners to visualize many layers of data relevant to decision-making. To download the GsT, please visit NREL's International website. You may download an electronic copy of the new fact sheet on integrated resource assessment from NREL's publications database (PDF 593 KB). For a hard copy, please contact Marguerite Kelly.

February 2006

New Draft for Renewable Energy Technical Potential Posted
Thanks to those of you who responded to NREL's request for input on SEAC's table of technical potential for renewables. The updated draft was posted on the Energy Analysis website. This analysis represents near-term and ultimate technical potential for renewable energy resources (economic and market considerations are not taken into account). For more background on this analysis, access the Renewable Energy Technical Potential page.