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News Archive 2009



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December 2009

November 2009

October 2009

September 2009

August 2009

July 2009

June 2009

May 2009

April 2009

March 2009

February 2009

January 2009

December 2009

State Tax Incentives

Cover of the State Clean Energy Policies Analysis (SCEPA): State Tax Incentives report.

NREL analysts Eric Lantz and Elizabeth Doris recently published the report "State Clean Energy Policies Analysis (SCEPA): State Tax Incentives" (PDF 708 KB)
As a policy tool, state tax incentives can be structured to help states meet clean energy goals. Policymakers often use state tax incentives in concert with state and federal policies to support renewable energy deployment or reduce market barriers. This analysis uses case studies of four states to assess the contributions of state tax incentives to the development of renewable energy markets. State tax incentives that are appropriately paired with complementary state and federal policies generally provide viable mechanisms to support renewable energy deployment. However, challenges to successful implementation of state tax incentives include serving project owners with limited state tax liability, assessing appropriate incentive levels, and differentiating levels of incentives for technologies with different costs. This report highlights important policy design considerations for policymakers using state tax incentives to meet clean energy goals.

Cover of the Solar Deployment System (SolarDS) Model: Documentation and Sample Results report.

Documentation on Solar Model

SEAC analysts Paul Denholm, Easan Drury, and Robert Margolis recently published the report "Solar Deployment System (SolarDS) Model: Documentation and Sample Results" (PDF 973 KB)
The Solar Deployment System (SolarDS) model is a bottom-up, market-penetration model that simulates the potential adoption of photovoltaics (PV) on residential and commercial rooftops in the continental United States through 2030. NREL developed SolarDS to examine the market competitiveness of PV based on regional solar resources, capital costs, electricity prices, utility rate structures, and federal and local incentives. This report provides details on the model, which uses the projected financial performance of PV systems to simulate PV adoption for building types and regions then aggregates adoption to state and national levels.

Western Renewable Energy Zones

Cover from the Western Renewable Energy Zones, Phase 1: QRA Identification Technical Report report.

Ryan Pletka and Josh Finn, of Black and Veatch, worked with NREL analyst David Hurlbut to publish the report "Western Renewable Energy Zones, Phase 1: QRA Identification Technical Report" (PDF 8.0 MB)
This report describes the Western Renewable Energy Zones (WREZ) Initiative Phase 1 Qualified Resource Area identification process, including the identification and economic analysis of Qualified Resource Areas (QRAs) and "non-REZ" resources. These data and analyses will assist the Western United States in its renewable energy transmission planning goals. The economic analysis in this report produced the input data for the WREZ Generation and Transmission Model (GTM), which is a screening-level model to determine the optimal routing for and cost of delivering renewable energy from QRAs to load centers throughout the Western Interconnection. In June 2009, the Western Governors' Association accepted the WREZ Phase 1 Report, in which the QRAs were mapped and the entire WREZ Phase 1 process was explained in general. That same month, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released the WREZ GTM, which was developed by Black & Veatch. This report details the assumptions and methodologies that were used to produce the maps and resource analyses in the WGA report as well as the economic data used by the WREZ model. This report also provides the results of the non-REZ resource analysis for the first time.

Financing Renewable Energy Projects

Cover from the Power Purchase Agreement Checklist for State and Local Governments report.

NREL recently released the second in its series of fact sheets on financing renewable energy projects — this one discusses power purchase agreements. Upcoming topics include clean renewable energy bonds and property assessments. The analysis project is being led by SEAC analyst Karlynn Cory.

Power Purchase Agreement Checklist for State and Local Governments (PDF 1.0 MB)
The power purchase agreement (PPA) financing model is a "third-party" ownership model, which requires a separate, taxable entity ("system owner") to procure, install, and operate a solar photovoltaic (PV) system on a consumer's premises (i.e., the government agency). This fact sheet provides information and guidance on the third-party owned solar PV power purchase agreement, which can be used by state and local government entities to acquire clean, renewable energy. The government agency enters into a long-term contract (typically referred to as the PPA) to purchase 100% of the electricity generated by the system from the system owner. This fact sheet — which is written to support decision makers in U.S. state and local governments — addresses the financial, logistical, and legal questions relevant to implementing a PPA.

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders

SEAC analyst Jeff Logan hosted a group of 12 journalists from leading newspapers in the Asia Pacific region on November 5. The event was coordinated by the East West Center in Hawaii and included representatives from China, India, Australia, the United States, Japan, Sri Lanka, and a half-dozen other nations. The journalists came to NREL to learn about the role of renewable energy in addressing climate change.

NREL hosted wind analysts from the China Hydroelectric Engineering Consulting Company (HydroChina) on November 9-12. These technical partners from HydroChina are the Chinese government's primary analysts for wind policy, planning, and implementation. The meeting included updates on ongoing work and consultations with staff at the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). NREL and HydroChina are developing geospatial methods for assessing and planning gigawatt-scale wind areas in China.

On November 16, Karlynn Cory, analysis team lead for Renewable Energy Project Finance, presented a project update to the Committee on Energy Resources and Environment at the annual meeting of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC) in Chicago, Illinois. The presentation updated the NARUC Committee on a DOE-NARUC Solar Partnership, where commissioners asked NREL for technical assistance on a) feed-in tariff policies, b) solar resource and costs at seven locations, and c) integrating photovoltaics into urban secondary networks.

On November 18-19, NREL analyst Barry Friedman spoke at the 2009 New Ideas in Educating a Workforce in Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Conference in Albany, New York.

SEAC analysts Lori Bird, David Hurlbut, and Karlynn Cory presented at the National Summit on Renewable Portfolio Standards in Chicago, Illinois, on November 18-19. The summit is the annual gathering of the State-Federal Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) Collaborative, which is funded in part by DOE. The event allows state RPS administrators to share best practices, lessons learned, and potential federal and state RPS interaction issues, if a federal RPS were enacted.

Cover of the Wind Levelized Cost of Energy: A Comparison of Technical and Financing Input Variables report.

November 2009

Wind Energy Costs

SEAC analysts Karlynn Cory and Paul Schwabe recently published the report "Wind Levelized Cost of Energy: A Comparison of Technical and Financing Input Variables." (PDF 749 KB)
This report assesses the relative impact of numerous financing, technical, and operating variables on the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) associated with a wind project under various financing structures in the U.S. marketplace. Under this analysis, the impacts of several financial and technical variables on the cost of wind energy are first examined individually to better understand the relative importance of each. Then, analysts examine a low-cost and a high-cost financing scenario, where multiple variables are modified simultaneously. Lastly, the analysis also considers the impact of a suite of financial variables versus a suite of technical variables.

Geothermal Strategies

Cover of the Policy Overview and Options for Maximizing the Role of Policy in Geothermal Electricity Development report.

NREL analysts Elizabeth Doris, Claire Kreycik, and Katherine Young recently published the report "Policy Overview and Options for Maximizing the Role of Policy in Geothermal Electricity Development" (PDF 858 KB)
Geothermal electricity production capacity has grown over time because of multiple factors, including its renewable, baseload, and domestic attributes; volatile and high prices for competing technologies; and policy intervention. Overarching federal policies, namely the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), provided certainty to project investors in the 1980s, leading to a boom in geothermal development. In addition to market expansion through PURPA, research and development policies provided an investment of public dollars toward developing technologies and reducing costs over time to increase the market competitiveness of geothermal electricity. Together, these efforts are cited in the report as the primary policy drivers for the currently installed capacity.

Photovoltaic Markets

Cover from the Effects of the Financial Crisis on Photovoltaics: An Analysis of Changes in Market Forecasts from 2008 to 2009 report.

NREL analyst Robert Margolis, along with coauthors John E. Bartlett of New West Technologies and Charles E. Jennings of Financial Analytics Consulting Corporation, recently published the report "Effects of the Financial Crisis on Photovoltaics: An Analysis of Changes in Market Forecasts from 2008 to 2009" (PDF 539 KB)
For the capital-intensive photovoltaic (PV) sector, the tightening of credit resulting from the global financial crisis has the potential to significantly inhibit the industry's growth. More expensive and less available financing diminishes both PV demand (by making photovoltaic installations less attractive and more difficult investments), as well as PV supply (by curtailing the expansion of photovoltaic manufacturing capacity). Indirect effects from the financial crisis, such as lower wealth and income, reduced natural gas prices and expansionary fiscal policies, are also likely to affect the PV sector. To better understand the effects of the financial crisis on the photovoltaic industry, the authors surveyed the market forecasts of industry analysts. In this paper, the authors analyze the median and range of the forecasts made in third quarter 2008 and first quarter 2009 as well as the median and range of changes in forecasts made by the same analyst. From this analysis, the authors infer how the financial crisis has impacted industry expectations of supply, demand, and pricing during the next several years.

Energy Models for Future Renewables

Cover from the Renewable Energy and Efficiency Modeling Analysis Partnership (REMAP): An Analysis of How Different Energy Models Addressed a Common High Renewable Energy Penetration Scenario in 2025 report.

NREL staff members Nate Blair, Thomas Jenkin, James Milford, Walter Short, and Patrick Sullivan partnered with David Evans and Elliot Lieberman of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gary Goldstein and Evelyn Wright of International Resources Group, Kamala R. Jayaraman and Boddu Venkatesh of ICF International, Gary Kleiman of Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management, Christopher Namovicz and Bob Smith of the Energy Information Administration, Karen Palmer of Resources for the Future, Ryan Wiser of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Frances Wood of OnLocation to publish "Renewable Energy and Efficiency Modeling Analysis Partnership (REMAP): An Analysis of How Different Energy Models Addressed a Common High Renewable Energy Penetration Scenario in 2025" (PDF 6.2 MB)
This paper shows the importance of using multiple models to provide results to a proposed policy or scenario, whenever possible. With only one model, the results would be similar to one of the Base Case runs (which had great variance in outputs between models), but any sense of this potential uncertainty due to underlying assumptions is difficult to determine. Second, some models are better than others for specific questions (e.g., a single-region model of the United States has a different focus than a model that focuses only on California) — and such potential limitations are not always made clear when relying on a single model. When evaluating modeled results, it is important to know what level of confidence is appropriate. This report shows that significant variation in forecast outcomes exists among models, and that input variations can amplify those differences.

State RE Development and Policy

Cover from the State of the States 2009: Renewable Energy Development and the Role of Policy report.

State RE Development and Policy NREL analysts Elizabeth Doris, Joyce McLaren, Victoria Healey, and Stephen Hockett recently published the report "State of the States 2009: Renewable Energy Development and the Role of Policy" (PDF 4.18 MB)
As U.S. states increasingly focus on developing renewable energy resources, there is a need to track the progress of development, as well as the policies and support mechanisms being implemented to encourage this development. Beyond tracking, the evaluation of policy measures is necessary to determine their effectiveness, guide future efforts, and efficiently allocate resources. This report addresses each of these needs. It provides a detailed picture of the status of renewable energy development in each of the U.S. states using a variety of metrics and discusses the policies being used to encourage this development. The report then explores the context in which renewable energy development occurs by discussing the factors that can affect the uptake of power generation technologies. The analysis offers suggestions on how policies can be used to address these variables, which leads to tailored policy support that considers the specific circumstances within each state.

For a condensed summary, you can also visit the new "State of the States" section on the NREL website.

Photovoltaic Installation Data

Screenshot of the Open PV Mapping Project website.

NREL and DOE recently announced the "beta" or prototype release of the Open PV Mapping Project. NREL and DOE recently launched a collaborative effort among government, industry, and the public that will develop a comprehensive database of photovoltaic (PV) installation data for the United States. The project is the largest installation database with more than 50,000 entries. The project will provide a Web-based resource for users to easily understand the current status and past progress of the PV industry from the data that show current and recent trends of the PV market. Additionally, users may add their own PV installation data, browse PV data entered by others, and view statistics. Moving forward, NREL will add additional data and use this information to drive further analysis of market growth.

October 2009

Land Use for Wind Energy

Cover of the Land-Use Requirements of Modern Wind Power Plants in the United States report.

NREL analysts Paul Denholm, Maureen Hand, Maddalena Jackson and Sean Ong recently published the report "Land-Use Requirements of Modern Wind Power Plants in the United States" (PDF 1.1 MB).
This report provides data and analysis of the land use associated with modern, large wind power plants (defined as greater than 20 megawatts and constructed after 2000). The analysis discusses standard land-use metrics as established in the life-cycle assessment literature, and then discusses their applicability to wind power plants. The report identifies two major "classes" of wind plant land use: 1) direct impact (i.e., disturbed land due to physical infrastructure development), and 2) total area (i.e., land associated with the complete wind plant project). The analysis — which identifies relationships among land use, wind plant configuration, and geography — evaluated 172 existing or proposed projects representing more than 26 GW of capacity. In addition to providing land-use data and summary statistics, they identify several limitations to the existing wind project area datasets, and suggest additional analysis that could aid in evaluating actual land use and impacts associated with deployment of wind energy.

State Bioenergy Primer

Cover of the State Bioenergy Primer: Information and Resources for States on Issues, Opportunities, and Options for Advancing Bioenergy report.

NREL staff members Laura Vimmerstedt, Elizabeth Doris, Anelia Milbrandt, and Robi Robichaud recently partnered with the Environmental Protection Agency to produce "State Bioenergy Primer: Information and Resources for States on Issues, Opportunities, and Options for Advancing Bioenergy" (PDF 5.3 MB).
Across the country, states are looking for ways to tackle their energy, environmental, and climate change challenges through a variety of approaches. One frequently discussed option is the use of biomass resources to develop bioenergy — bioheat, biopower, biofuels, and bioproducts. Many information resources are available that discuss biomass/bioenergy in a highly technical manner and/or that focus only on one feedstock (e.g., forest residues, agricultural crops) or product (e.g., biofuels). Alternately, some entities present bioenergy information that is relevant to the general public but is too simplified for decision makers. The "State Bioenergy Primer" is designed to bring many of these resources together and provide useful, targeted information that will help a state decision maker determine whether he/she wants or needs more details.

Wind and Solar Resources in Bhutan

Cover from the Potential for Development of Solar and Wind Resource in Bhutan report.

NREL analysts Shannon Cowlin and Donna Heimiller, along with contractor Paul Gilman, recently published the report "Potential for Development of Solar and Wind Resource in Bhutan" (PDF 2.2 MB).
With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), NREL recently produced maps and data of the wind and solar resources in Bhutan. These were used to explore how wind and solar power could potentially contribute to Bhutan's electricity mix, which is currently dominated by hydropower. This report explores the electricity generation potential of wind farms and flat-plate solar collectors under various scenarios developed in consultation with the Royal Government of Bhutan. The information provided in this report will be of use to energy planners in Bhutan involved in developing energy policy or planning wind and solar projects, and to energy analysts around the world interested in gaining an understanding of Bhutan's wind and solar energy potential.

Renewable Energy Markets

The following reports were presented during the Renewable Energy Markets 2009 conference in Atlanta on September 13-16.

Cover from the Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report (2008 Data) report.

Status of Green Power Marketing
SEAC analysts Lori Bird, Claire Kreycik, and Barry Friedman recently published "Green Power Marketing in the United States: A Status Report (2008 Data)" (PDF 880 KB).
Voluntary consumer decisions to buy electricity supplied from renewable energy sources represent a powerful market support mechanism for renewable energy development. In the early 1990s, a small number of U.S. utilities began offering "green power" options to their customers. Since then, these products have become more prevalent, both from traditional utilities and from renewable energy marketers operating in states that have introduced competition into their retail electricity markets or offering renewable energy certificates (RECs) online. This report documents green power marketing activities and trends in the United States including utility green pricing programs offered in regulated electricity markets; green power marketing activity in competitive electricity markets, as well as green power sold to voluntary purchasers in the form of RECs; and renewable energy sold as greenhouse gas offsets in the United States.

Cover from the Green Pricing Program Marketing Expenditures: Finding the Right Balance report.

Expenditures for Green Power Marketing
NREL analysts Barry Friedman and Mackay Miller recently published the report "Green Pricing Program Marketing Expenditures: Finding the Right Balance" (PDF 1.1 MB).
In practice, it is difficult to determine the optimal amount to spend on marketing and administering a green pricing program. Budgets for marketing and administration of green pricing programs are a function of several factors: the region of the country; the size of the utility service area; the customer base and media markets encompassed within that service area; the point or stage in the lifespan of the program; and certainly, not least, the utility's commitment to and goals for the program. All of these factors vary significantly among programs — this report presents data on programs that have funded both marketing and program administration. This report also addresses the role of renewable energy credit (REC) marketers and start-up costs — and the role of marketing, in general, for achieving program objectives such as expansion of renewable energy.

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders

On September 2, NREL staff members Gail Mosey and Otto VanGeet hosted visitors from the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) headquarters and regional offices. The group included EPA revitalization coordinators interested in renewable energy technology applications on formerly or presently environmentally contaminated lands — these areas are often candidates for remediation, monitoring, and revitalization. Their visit included a tour of NREL's Solar Energy Research Facility, Science and Technology Facility, and the National Wind Technology Center.

NREL Director Dan Arvizu, SEAC Director Doug Arent, and SEAC analyst Maureen Hand recently attended the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) expert meeting on renewable energy in Oslo, Norway. Participants discussed assessing the mitigation potential of renewable energy technology solutions and other issues. NREL researcher Walt Musial also attended the author meetings for the special report on renewable energy.

SEAC analysts Maureen Hand and Karlynn Cory attended a working meeting on the cost of wind energy in Stockholm, Sweden, on Sept 10-11. Topics included preliminary results of cost of wind energy analysis between countries and an examination of how these costs change over time (bottom-up engineering estimates and top-down experience/learning curves).

September

TAP Web Seminar: Feed-In Tariff Policies
The Technical Assistance Project (TAP) for state and local officials will sponsor a Web seminar on October 28 that discusses feed-in tariffs. The presentation, which will be 3-4:15 p.m. (EDT), is titled "Feed-In Tariffs: Best Practices and Application in the United States." During this presentation, speaker Karlynn Cory of NREL will discuss feed-in tariff (FIT) policies and explore the different FIT policies implemented in the United States. She will also highlight a few proposed policies as well as the best practices in FIT policy design, and examine how FITs can be used to target state policy goals.

Technology and Program Market Data
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is leading an effort to provide market data for renewable energy technologies and programs, presented in individual reports for each topic area. Data includes market penetration; industry trends; cost, price, and performance trends; policy and market drivers; as well as future outlook.

Cover from the Geothermal Technologies report. Cover from the Industrial Technologies report.

Initiated by the Strategic Planning and Analysis (SPA) group of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), these 10 technology and program market reports represent each of the renewable energy areas managed by EERE. Five of the reports have been published, and we'll keep you posted regarding completion of the other technology and program reports. New reports for this month include:

Previous Published

Screenshot of 2008 Renewable Energy Data Book website.

Renewable Energy Data Book
The Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) has released the updated version of the 2008 Renewable Energy Data Book, which was produced by NREL. It can be accessed from the Maps and Data section of the EERE website (PDF 11.5 MB). This data book contains valuable information on U.S. energy statistics, renewable electricity in the United States, global renewable energy (RE) development, clean energy investments, and data on specific RE technologies, all presented in a graphical format.

Cover from the NREL Response to the Report Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources from King Juan Carlos University (Spain) report.
Cover from the Renewable Electricity Benefits Quantification Methodology: A Request for Technical Assistance from the California Public Utilities Commission report.

Federal Solar Photovoltaic Financing
NREL analysts Karlynn Cory, Charles Coggeshall, Jason Coughlin, and Claire Kreycik recently published the report "Solar Photovoltaic Financing: Deployment by Federal Government Agencies" (PDF 3.3 MB)
This report examines how federal agencies can finance on-site solar photovoltaic (PV) projects. It explains availability of state-level cash incentives, the importance of solar renewable energy certificate revenues (in certain markets), and existing financing structures. It also discusses innovative financing structures being used by federal agencies to deploy on-site PV. The report also includes specific examples from the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, and other federal agencies, which help explain federal project financing in detail.

Response to Jobs Analysis
SEAC analysts Suzanne Tegen and Eric Lantz recently published "NREL Response to the Report Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources from King Juan Carlos University (Spain)" (PDF 404 KB)
Job generation has been a part of the national dialogue surrounding energy policy and renewable energy (RE) for many years. RE advocates tout the ability of renewable energy to support new job opportunities in rural locations and the manufacturing sector. Others argue that spending on renewable energy is an inefficient allocation of resources and can result in job losses in the broader economy. The report Study of the Effects on Employment of Public Aid to Renewable Energy Sources, from King Juan Carlos University in Spain, is one recent addition to this debate. This white paper discusses fundamental and technical limitations of the analysis conducted by King Juan Carlos University and notes critical shortcomings in assumptions implicit in the conclusions. The white paper also includes a review of traditional employment impact analyses that rely on accepted, peer-reviewed methodologies, and it highlights specific variables that can significantly influence the results of employment impact analysis.

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
In partnership with the Santa Fe Institute, NREL's SEAC planned and conducted a summer study on sustainability. Participants, who were selected through a competitive process, included mid-career professionals as well as graduate students from leading programs throughout the United States. World-class speakers from the fields of integrated climate assessment modeling, economics, ecology, and complexity science hosted discussions on the concept of sustainability. Final projects will include several research products, many of which touch on the role of renewable energy in responding to climate change internationally and the imperative for speed and scale in the global deployment of clean energy technology.

SEAC Director Doug Arent participated in a workshop "Fossil Fuels to Green Energy: Policy Schemes in Transition for the North Pacific" hosted by the East-West Center and Korea Energy Economics Institute on August 19-20. Delegates from China, Korea, Japan, Norway, Russia, and the United States met to discuss the status of energy policy in their respective countries. They identified possible areas for collaborative policy analysis to evaluate policy effectiveness for renewable energies, energy efficiency, and other low-carbon technologies.

August

TAP Web Seminar: Revolving Loan Funds
The Technical Assistance Project (TAP) for state and local officials will sponsor a Web seminar on August 26 that discusses revolving loan funds. The presentation, which will be 3-4:15 p.m. (EDT), is titled "Revolving Loan Funds: Basics and Best Practices." During this presentation, speakers Samuel Booth of NREL and Theresa Sifuentes of the Texas LoanSTAR program, will discuss how to set up a revolving loan fund to increase the impact of funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Many states are using this funding to set up revolving loan funds for energy programs because, once established, these funds are not subject to the three-year expiration of funding under the Recovery Act.

You can register to attend the seminar, read about the presenter, and find links to background materials and reports on the TAP Section of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program website.

Technology and Program Market Data
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is leading an effort to provide market data for renewable energy technologies and programs, presented in individual reports for each topic area. Data includes market penetration; industry trends; cost, price, and performance trends; policy and market drivers; as well as future outlook.

Cover from the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) report. Cover from the Vehicle Technologies report. Cover from the Wind Technologies report.

Initiated by the Strategic Planning and Analysis (SPA) group of the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), these 10 technology and program market reports represent each of the renewable energy areas managed by EERE. Three of the reports have been published, and we'll keep you posted regarding completion of the other technology and program reports. Available reports include:

Cover from the Renewable Energy Project Financing: Impacts of the Financial Crisis and Federal Legislation report.
Cover from the Renewable Energy Project Financing: Impacts of the Financial Crisis and Federal Legislation report.

Renewable Energy Project Financing
NREL analysts Paul Schwabe, Karlynn Cory, and James Newcomb recently published the report "Renewable Energy Project Financing: Impacts of the Financial Crisis and Federal Legislation" (PDF 920 KB)

Extraordinary financial market conditions have disrupted the flows of equity and debt investment into U.S. renewable energy projects since the fourth quarter of 2008. The pace and structure of renewable energy project finance has been reshaped by a combination of forces, including the financial crisis, global economic recession, and major changes in federal legislation affecting renewable energy finance. This report explores the impacts of these key market events on renewable energy project financing and development.

Renewable Electricity Benefits in California
SEAC analysts Gail Mosey and Laura Vimmerstedt recently published "Renewable Electricity Benefits Quantification Methodology: A Request for Technical Assistance from the California Public Utilities Commission" (PDF 887 KB)

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) requested assistance from NREL to identify methodological alternatives for quantifying the benefits of renewable electricity. This study was part of its analysis of a 33% renewable portfolio standard (RPS) in California—one element of California's Climate Change Scoping Plan. NREL developed a high-level survey of renewable electricity effects, quantification alternatives, and considerations for selection of analytic methods. This report addresses economic effects and health and environmental effects, and provides an overview of related analytic tools.

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
On July 6-10, SEAC analyst David Kline met with officials in China to work on economic analysis and planning for large wind prospect areas ("wind bases") in the country. NREL is partnering with the key wind analysis group at HydroChina, which directly supports government plans and implementation of China's ambitious wind effort. Chinese officials recently estimated 120 GW as the potential from the wind bases. Kline also held informational meetings on national-scale energy modeling, which is being explored as a way to increase focus on U.S.-China climate cooperation.

NREL analyst Karlynn Cory, lead of SEAC's Finance Team, was a panelist at a July 30 congressional briefing on feed-in tariff (FIT) policies, which was sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee of Washington State. Cory discussed best practices for FIT policy design and implementation to achieve a variety of policy objectives, and answered questions about current U.S. FIT policy implementation.

July

Law Conference: Renewable Energy and Transmission
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), along with the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming, is sponsoring a law conference discussing "Multistate Decision Making for Renewable Energy and Transmission: Spotlight on Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming." The event will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. August 11 at the Doubletree Hotel (3203 Quebec Street) in Denver, Colorado.

This law conference seeks to enhance multistate collaboration and decision making on renewable energy development. Invited papers will identify legal and regulatory issues that affect the ability of states to engage in joint decision making. The day's discussions will provide a forum for state officials and stakeholders to explore institutional options for multistate collaboration. The issues addressed in this conference will parallel issues that have been raised in proposed congressional legislation, but will focus on actions initiated and directed jointly by the states.

TAP Web Seminar: Estimating Economic Impacts of Renewables
The Technical Assistance Project (TAP) for state and local officials will sponsor a Web seminar on July 29 that discusses the economic impacts of renewables. The presentation, which will be 3-4:15 p.m. (EDT), is titled "How to Estimate Economic Impacts from Renewable Energy." During this presentation, speakers Gail Mosey and Eric Lantz (both of NREL) will demonstrate the Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) model, an online tool developed by the laboratory. They will show how to use JEDI to design and run an economic impacts analysis and interpret the results for an individual state.

You can register to attend the seminar, read about the presenter, and find links to background materials and reports on the TAP Section of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program website.

Cover of A Comparative Analysis of Three Proposed Federal Renewable Electricity Standards report.

Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariffs
SEAC analyst Karlynn Cory and Toby Couture, of E3 Analytics, recently published the report "State Clean Energy Policies Analysis (SCEPA) Project: An Analysis of Renewable Energy Feed-in Tariffs in the United States." (PDF 1.1 MB) This report, which was produced as part of the State Clean Energy Policies Analysis (SCEPA) Project, analyzes renewable energy feed-in tariff (FIT) policies and explores the different FIT policies currently implemented in the United States. It also discusses a few proposed policies, the best practices in FIT policy design, and examines how FITs can be used to target state policy goals. The report covers current and potential future interactions between FITs and other state and federal energy policies while also providing an overview of the impacts FIT policies have in terms of renewable energy deployment, job creation, and economic development.

For additional information on analysis being done on FITs, access a related feature story on the NREL website. For more about SCEPA, access the project website.

Screenshot of TransAtlas website

Tool on Alternative Fuels and Transportation
NREL has launched TransAtlas, a comprehensive mapping tool to help industry and government planners implement alternative fuels and advanced vehicles. Using Google Maps, the new tool combines several types of geographic data to identify areas with potential for developing advanced transportation projects. Users can easily find alternative fueling stations, vehicle concentrations, and production plants. TransAtlas is sponsored by DOE's Clean Cities, an initiative which aims to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector by promoting advanced vehicle technologies and alternative fuels.

For additional information on the tool, access a related news release on the NREL website.

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
SEAC analyst Suzanne Tegen presented "Jobs and Economic Impacts from Wind in Your State" to the Great Lakes Wind Collaborative on June 4. Her presentation focused on analysis done using NREL's Job and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) model.

On June 8, SEAC analyst Claire Kreycik presented NREL research on renewable energy feed-in tariff (FIT) policy at a New York Senate Roundtable. Her presentation focused on best practices and jobs impacts resulting from European FIT policies. The roundtable experts discussed draft bill S2715, the Renewable Energy Stimulus Act, a bill that would establish a New York State FIT policy.

SEAC Center Director Doug Arent presented at the Deutsche Bank's Alternative Energy/Clean Tech Conference on June 10-11 in Washington, D.C. The event, attended by more than 175 investment and industry professionals, focused on alternative energy technology, market, policy, and financing.

Six high-level managers from the Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) participated in a workshop on June 22-23 with lead NREL analysts and researchers. Along with Dan Arvizu (NREL director) and Bobi Garrett (vice president for Outreach, Planning, and Analysis), the group discussed collaborations on renewable energy research and technology transfer.

June

Cover of A Comparative Analysis of Three Proposed Federal Renewable Electricity Standards report

Analyzing Proposed Renewable Electricity Standards
SEAC analysts Patrick Sullivan, Jeffrey Logan, Lori Bird, and Walter Short recently published the report "A Comparative Analysis of Three Proposed Federal Renewable Electricity Standards." (PDF 740 KB) This paper compares three proposed national renewable electricity standards (also known as renewable portfolio standards), which are under consideration by committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. To assess the potential impacts of the three proposed standards on the U.S. electricity sector, a team of senior NREL energy analysts used the laboratory's Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) model, a detailed least-cost optimization tool capable of simulating the special attributes of variable sources such as wind and solar power. Lawmakers in at least 28 states and the District of Columbia have established schedules that mandate minimum uses of renewable energy, typically within the next two decades. The three proposals were compared against a baseline in which only currently enacted laws are considered.

Screenshot of Energy Technology Cost and Performance Data website
Title slide from U.S. Renewable Energy Technology Resource Maps Web presentation

Energy Technology Cost and Performance Data
NREL has developed a page on its Energy Analysis website, which provides information on cost and performance data for energy technologies. The costs chart indicates the range of recent cost estimates for renewable energy as well as other technologies. This chart is a compilation of available national-level cost data from a variety of sources. The capacity factor chart indicates the range of recent estimates for energy technologies — this information is also taken from a variety of sources.

U.S. Renewable Energy Technology Resource Maps
NREL also has developed a complete set of renewable energy technology resource maps for the United States, which are provided in PowerPoint format. The maps include information on solar (photovoltaic and concentrating), wind, and biomass resources. For a quick snapshot of U.S. resource maps for various renewable energy technologies, access the Renewable Energy Technology Resource Maps for the United States (PowerPoint 6.7 MB) presentation on the Dynamic Maps, GIS Data and Analysis Tools website. For more information, contact Pamela Gray-Hann.

Screenshot of The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) website

Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency
The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE) has launched a new solar-specific website. The main DSIRE site — which is managed by the North Carolina (N.C.) Solar Center and Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC), and administered by NREL — also has been redesigned to include an improved tool for searching the general database. DSIRE, which is considered one of the most comprehensive sources of information on financial incentives and policies that promote renewable energy and energy efficiency, offers the new solar information at DSIRE Solar. It includes features such as an interactive solar map, solar policy comparison tables, solar policy summary maps, and a solar policy guide.

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
SEAC analyst Lori Bird discussed the economic development impacts of long-term renewable energy policies during the Business of Clean Energy in Alaska Conference on May 18 in Anchorage.

On May 20, analysts Jeffrey Logan and Lori Bird briefed U.S. Senate staff on NREL's recent report that compares three renewable electricity standard bills (see item titled Analyzing Proposed Renewable Electricity Standards above). Senators Robert Menendez (NJ) and Mark Udall (CO) invited NREL to present the findings at the Senate Visitor's Center.

In early May, NREL staff members William Wallace and Min Zhang joined staff members from Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, the Department of Energy's Biomass Program, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a biofuels cooperation mission to Beijing, China. The group met with the National Energy Administration under the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), with five of the leading biofuels industrial development and investment companies in China (PetroChina, SinoPec, COFCO, CNOOC, and ZTE). The meetings also included U.S. companies Honeywell/UOP, DuPont, and GM, as well as leading research groups at Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Engineering. The mission identified mutual research and development opportunities in the fields of feedstock analysis, cellulosic and sweet sorghum conversion technologies, thermochemical conversion, and biodiesel/green diesel research.

May

Photo of Jason Coughlin

   Jason Coughlin

TAP Web Seminar: Financing for Public-Sector PV Projects
The Technical Assistance Project (TAP) for state and local officials will sponsor a Web seminar on May 27 that explores financing for public-sector photovoltaics (PV) projects. The presentation, which will be 3-4:15 p.m. (EDT), is titled "Third-Party Financing and Power Purchase Agreements for Public-Sector PV Projects." The speaker will be Jason Coughlin of NREL. Coughlin's work focuses on the financial aspects of installing PV systems such as third-party financing models, municipal financing mechanisms, and tax incentives.

You can register to attend the seminar, read about the presenter, and find links to background materials and reports on the TAP Section of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Weatherization and Intergovernmental Program website.

Screenshot of Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) Model website

Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) Model
NREL has developed a website to provide information on its Regional Energy Deployment System (ReEDS) model (formerly known as the Wind Deployment System or WinDS model). ReEDS is a computer model that optimizes the regional expansion of electric generation and transmission capacity in the continental United States over the next 50 years. The ReEDS website presents an overview of this NREL-developed tool, as well as relevant data and related publications. Site users will find background on the model, including a detailed model description. Along with several independent analyses, ReEDS was used prominently for the 20% Wind Energy by 2030 report and is currently being applied to the Renewable Energy Futures Study—an analysis of how the United States might provide 80% of its electricity from renewable sources. For more information, contact Patrick Sullivan at NREL.

Screenshot of Solar Resources in Northwest India website

Solar Resources in Northwest India
NREL has developed a CD and Web page providing high-resolution solar resource maps and data products for northwest India. The information was developed by NREL in cooperation with India's Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, through funding from the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. Department of State. The data are provided in a geographic information system (GIS) format, as static maps, and incorporated into a Geospatial Toolkit (GsT). The GsT allows the user to examine the resource data in a geospatial context along with other key information relevant to renewable energy development, such as transportation networks, transmission corridors, existing power facilities, load centers, terrain conditions, and land use. NREL also has developed similar resource information for Afghanistan, Bhutan, and Pakistan. Toolkits for other countries can be found on the main Geospatial Toolkit page. For more information, contact Ted Quinby.

Cover of Assessment of Biomass Resources in Liberia report

Biomass Resources in Liberia
SEAC analyst Anelia Milbrandt recently published the report "Assessment of Biomass Resources in Liberia" (PDF 3.5 MB) for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Liberia Energy Assistance Program (LEAP). Biomass resources meet about 99.5% of the Liberian population's energy needs, so they are vital to basic welfare and economic activity. Already, traditional biomass products such as firewood and charcoal are the primary energy source used for domestic cooking and heating. However, other more-efficient biomass technologies are available that could open opportunities for agriculture and rural development, and provide other socio-economic and environmental benefits. This study estimates the biomass resources currently and potentially available in the country and evaluates their contribution for power generation and the production of transportation fuels. It intends to inform policy makers and industry developers of the biomass resource availability in Liberia, identify areas with high potential, and serve as a base for more detailed site-specific assessments.

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
SEAC analyst Lori Bird discussed the role of renewables and renewable energy credits (RECs) in offset markets during a "Carbon Offsets Symposium" on April 10-11 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The event was part of the Duke University Environmental Markets Symposium Series.

On April 14, SEAC Director Doug Arent presented "Transforming Our Energy Economy: The Role of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency" (PDF 28.7 MB) Download Adobe Reader during the Holme Roberts and Owen's Rocky Mountain New Energy Markets Summit in Denver. About 250 people attended the all-day event, which featured a keynote speech from Colorado Governor Bill Ritter and a series of panel discussions hosted by a variety of "energy industry experts" from across the Rocky Mountain Region.

SEAC analyst David Kline traveled to Beijing, China, the week of April 13-17 to discuss projects for new wind capacity with the Chinese Hydropower Engineering Consulting Company (HydroChina). NREL is supporting HydroChina, the leading wind energy consultancy to the Chinese government, in a "100-GW Scenario" project sponsored by the Energy Foundation. NREL and HydroChina are also continuing work on geographic-economic analysis of China's major prospects for "wind bases." HydroChina is expected to use the results as part of China's official efforts to assess and plan major resource areas.

April

Cover of Comparative Review of a Dozen National Energy Plans: Focus on Renewable and Efficient Energy report

Analyzing Energy Plans
SEAC analysts Jeff Logan and Ted James recently published the report "A Comparative Review of a Dozen National Energy Plans: Focus on Renewable and Efficient Energy." (PDF 598 KB) Dozens of groups have submitted energy, environmental, and economic recovery plans for consideration by the Obama administration and the 111th Congress. This report provides a comparative analysis of 12 national proposals, focusing especially on energy efficiency (EE) and renewable energy (RE) market and policy issues. Many of the plans considered here call for transformative change, citing decades of inconsistent, inattentive, or otherwise failed national energy policy. Almost universally, plans call for an expansion of clean energy research and development, EE and RE deployment, and climate change preparedness. But sharp differences also exist regarding domestic drilling, nuclear power, carbon mitigation, and the role of government.

Cover of An Examination of the Regional Supply and Demand Balance for Renewable Electricity in the United States through 2015 report

Regional Supply and Demand
SEAC analysts Lori Bird, David Hurlbut, Pearl Donohoo, Karlynn Cory, and Claire Kreycik recently published the report "An Examination of the Regional Supply and Demand Balance for Renewable Electricity in the United States through 2015." (PDF 889 KB) This report examines the balance between the demand and supply of new renewable electricity in the United States on a regional basis through 2015. This analysis relies on estimates of renewable energy supplies compared to demand for renewable energy generation needed to meet existing state renewable portfolio standard (RPS) policies in 28 states, as well as demand by consumers who voluntarily purchase renewable energy. Given current policies and demand for renewables, this analysis found an overall national surplus of renewable energy generation to meet existing RPS policy targets and voluntary market demand. However, some regional shortages are projected, while other regions are projected to have excess renewable energy supplies.

Cover of Solar Photovoltaic Financing: Residential Sector Deployment report
Cover of PTC, ITC, or Cash Grant? An Analysis of the Choice Facing Renewable Power Projects in the United States report
Cover of Hydrogen Resource Assessment: Hydrogen Potential from Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear, and Hydro Power report
Cover of State Clean Energy Practices: Renewable Energy Rebates report
Cover of Feed-in Tariff Policy: Design, Implementation and RPS Policy Interactions report

Residential Solar PV Financing
NREL analysts Jason Coughlin and Karlynn Cory recently published the report "Solar Photovoltaic Financing: Residential Sector Deployment." (PDF 2.7 MB) This report presents the information that homeowners and policy makers need to facilitate PV financing at the residential level. The full range of cash payments, bill savings, and tax incentives is covered, as well as potentially available solar attribute payments. Traditional financing is also compared to innovative solutions, many of which are borrowed from the commercial sector. Unfortunately, these programs are limited to select locations around the country. By calling attention to these innovative initiatives, this report aims to help policy makers consider greater adoption of these models to benefit homeowners interested in installing a residential PV system.

Renewable Energy Tax Credits
NREL analysts Karlynn Cory and Ted James, along with Mark Bolinger and Ryan Wiser of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL), recently published the report "PTC, ITC, or Cash Grant? An Analysis of the Choice Facing Renewable Power Projects in the United States." (PDF 680 KB) Renewable power technologies are inherently capital-intensive, often (but not always) with relatively high construction costs and low operating costs. For this reason, renewable power technologies are typically more sensitive to the availability and cost of financing than are natural gas power plants, for example. This report analyzes, from the project developer/owner perspective, the choice between the production tax credit (PTC) and the investment tax credit (ITC) or equivalent cash grant for different renewable power technologies.

Hydrogen Assessment
SEAC analysts Anelia Milbrandt and Margaret Mann recently published the report "Hydrogen Resource Assessment: Hydrogen Potential from Coal, Natural Gas, Nuclear, and Hydro Power." (PDF 5.0 MB) This report estimates the quantity of hydrogen that could be produced from coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric power by county in the United States. The study estimates that more than 72 million tonnes of hydrogen can be produced from coal, natural gas, nuclear, and hydroelectric power per year in the country (considering only 30% of their total annual production). The United States consumed about 396 million tonnes of gasoline in 2007; therefore, the report suggests the amount of hydrogen from these sources could displace about 80% of this consumption.

Renewable Energy Rebates
SEAC analysts Eric Lantz and Elizabeth Doris recently published the report "State Clean Energy Practices: Renewable Energy Rebates." (PDF 524 KB) This report highlights the impacts of specific renewable energy rebate programs on renewable energy markets around the country, as well as rebate program impacts on overarching energy policy drivers. It also discusses lessons learned, challenges, ideal applications, keys to success, and complementary and alternative policies. Results indicate that rebate programs can have a strong deployment impact on emerging renewable energy markets. This report focuses on renewable energy rebate programs, which are being analyzed as part of the State Clean Energy Policies Analysis (SCEPA) project. SCEPA looks at the impacts of existing state policies and identifies crucial policy attributes and their potential applicability to other states.

Feed-in Tariff Policies
SEAC analysts Karlynn Cory, Toby Couture, and Claire Kreycik recently published the report "Feed-in Tariff Policy: Design, Implementation and RPS Policy Interactions." (PDF 466 KB) Feed-in tariff (FIT) policies are implemented in more than 40 countries around the world and are cited as the primary reason for the success of the German and Spanish renewable energy markets. As a result of that success, FIT policy proposals are starting to gain traction in several U.S. states and municipalities. Experience from Europe is also beginning to demonstrate that properly designed FITs may be more cost-effective than renewable portfolio standards (RPS), which make use of competitive solicitations. This report explores the design and operation of feed-in tariff policies, including a FIT policy definition, payment-structure options, and payment differentiation. It also touches on the potential interactions between FIT policies and RPS policies at the state level.

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
SEAC Director Doug Arent attended the New Energy Finance Annual Summit, a gathering of top investors and clean energy companies, in London on March 4-6. Participants discussed the state of clean energy markets, noting both challenging conditions for raising capital in the short term, and optimism relative to new stimulus packages across the globe and supportive policy environments.

On March 16, SEAC analyst David Kline and government relations representative Bob Noun met with a delegation from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office, which is part of the Taiwan Consulate in the United States. Noun provided an overview of NREL and its programs, and Kline discussed NREL's international programs with the delegation, who expressed strong interest in cooperation between the laboratory and Taiwan.

SEAC analyst Eric Lantz represented NREL in a kickoff meeting for the International Energy Agency (IEA) working group on "Social Acceptance of Wind Energy" in mid-March. Lantz gave a presentation on the status of the U.S. wind industry and discussed the potential implications of recently passed (and proposed) federal legislation that affects the technology. In addition, he detailed current U.S. social acceptance-related research along with ongoing NREL research in this area. The working group's first white paper will provide an international conception of social acceptance as it relates to wind energy, and summarize the breadth of international experience and knowledge on this topic. The meeting (which took place in Magdeburg, Germany) included international experts on wind energy and social acceptance from 10 different countries.

In mid-March, NREL analyst William Wallace attended the Biomass 2009 Conference in Washington, D.C. He also met with various government representatives regarding the status of biofuels activities with China. In April, Wallace and other NREL staff will meet with the National Energy Administration in China and other working groups to consolidate work plans for FY09 and begin discussions for FY10.

March

Cover of Solar Leasing for Residential Photovoltaic Systems report

Solar Leasing for Residential PV
SEAC analysts Jason Coughlin and Karlynn Cory recently published a fact sheet on "Solar Leasing for Residential Photovoltaic Systems." (PDF 566 KB) In the past year, the residential solar lease has received significant attention in the solar marketplace, primarily for its ability to leverage two key commercial tax credits for the individual homeowner. However, on January 1, 2009, the $2,000 cap on the residential investment tax credit (ITC) was lifted. As a result, the expansion of the solar lease model across the United States may be slower than anticipated. Homeowners may revisit the comparison between the solar lease and home-equity financing in light of the change to the ITC. Market conditions have changed, however, and the solar lease provides some distinct advantages. This publication examines the solar lease option for residential PV systems and describes two solar lease programs already in place.

Cover of Economic Development Impacts of Colorado's First 1,000 Megawatts of Wind Energy report

Wind Energy Economic Development Impacts in Colorado
SEAC analysts Sandra Reategui and Suzanne Tegen recently published a fact sheet on "Economic Development Impacts of Colorado's First 1,000 Megawatts of Wind Energy." (PDF 281 KB) This fact sheet summarizes their NREL report with the same title (PDF 672 KB), which was prompted by the soaring growth in the number of Colorado's wind power installations in recent years, from 291 megawatts (MW) of capacity in 2006 to 1,067 MW in 2007. Analyzing the economic impact of Colorado's first 1,000 MW of wind energy development not only provides a summary of jobs, land-lease payments, and other revenue, but it also provides a sense of the economic development opportunities associated with other new wind project scenarios. The analysis can be used by interested parties in other states as an example of the potential economic impacts if they were to adopt 1,000 MW of wind power development. To quantify these impacts to Colorado, analysts used NREL's Jobs and Economic Development Impact (JEDI) model.

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
SEAC analysts Lori Bird and Karlynn Cory presented during the EUEC Energy and Environment Conference held February 2 in Phoenix, Arizona. Bird discussed renewable energy certificate (REC) markets and Cory spoke on feed-in tariff (FIT) policies.

Lori Bird discussed renewable energy and electricity disclosure issues at a workshop titled "Transparency and Accountability: The Role of Information Disclosure" at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on February 6. The event was organized by faculty of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy, and the Harvard Business School.

On February 13, NREL participated in meetings with city officials representing the Denver-Chongqing Eco-City cooperation, which is developing an electric-vehicle pilot program. The program involves Ford Motor Company in the United States and Chang'an Motors in China. NREL participated in the four-party talks and also provided laboratory overviews/tours of the facilities for vehicle testing and simulation, solar charging, battery materials research, and battery testing. The meetings resulted in the identification of mutual interests for further development and next steps for advancing the cooperation projects.

On February 14-17, NREL participated in the U.S.-China Clean Energy Forum in the San Francisco Bay Area. The event included meetings with U.S. clean energy companies; a tour of facilities at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington; and formal meetings and workshops in Seattle, Washington. The Clean Energy Forum has a high-level steering committee led by local Seattle businessmen, Senator Maria Cantwell from Washington, several U.S. trade negotiators and ambassadors, and Chinese government participants and research institutes/universities. The group also has visibility with the U.S. Congress, the Department of State, and the White House. Organizers have structured three working groups around the topics of energy efficiency and conservation, environmental protection, and renewable energy, which have produced preliminary recommendations for enhanced cooperation and clean energy development between the U.S. and China. These recommendations will be further developed and presented to the respective governments.

NREL research associate Sandra Reategui attended the Governor's Forum on Colorado Agriculture on February 19 to talk about the economic impact of wind energy on Colorado. She also presented at the Great Plains and Southwest Summit in Sweetwater, Texas, in February where she discussed "Perspectives and Case Studies from Wind Power Development and Operation throughout the Great Plains and the Southwest." On February 24, she participated in the Climate Change and Utah Water Supply Symposium in Salt Lake City.

SEAC analysts Robert Margolis and Karlynn Cory joined John Lushetsky (solar program manager for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy) and Mark Bolinger (Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory research scientist) for meetings with analysts on Wall Street in New York City on February 19-20. The laboratory representatives shared solar analysis capabilities, learned about Wall Street analysis capabilities, and discussed the potential for developing ways to share data and analysis.

February

Cover of Conceptual Soundness, Metric Development, Benchmarking, and Targeting for PATH Subprogram Evaluation report

Advancing Technology in Housing
SEAC analysts Gail Mosey, Elizabeth Doris, and Charles Coggeshall — along with Matt Antes, Jennifer Ruch, and John Mortensen of Energetics — recently published the report "Conceptual Soundness, Metric Development, Benchmarking, and Targeting for PATH Subprogram Evaluation" (PDF 1.1 MB). This study evaluates the conceptual soundness of the revised goals for the Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH), a program established by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It also establishes and applies a framework to identify and recommend metrics that are the most useful for measuring PATH's progress. This report provides an evaluative review of PATH's revised goals, outlines a structured method for identifying and selecting metrics, proposes metrics and benchmarks for a sampling of individual PATH programs, and discusses other metrics that potentially could be developed that may add value to the evaluation process. The framework and individual program metrics can be used for ongoing management improvement efforts and to inform broader program-level metrics for government reporting requirements.

Cover of Vehicle Testing and Analysis Group report

Vehicle Testing and Analysis
NREL's Center for Transportation Technologies and Systems recently published a fact sheet on its "Vehicle Testing and Analysis Group" (PDF 866 KB). This publication outlines the capabilities of NREL's Vehicle Testing and Analysis Group, which provides expert vehicle and fleet evaluations, data, and systems analyses to government and industry partners as well as the R&D community. Vehicle test engineers use the latest equipment and techniques to evaluate vehicle performance in the ReFUEL Laboratory, NREL's controlled laboratory setting. Fleet testing and evaluation engineers employ the latest hardware, software, and analysis techniques needed to capture, process, and analyze data from in-service vehicles. This fact sheet also provides information on how this analysis can help boost fuel economy and reduce U.S. petroleum imports and exhaust emissions.

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
SEAC analysts Karlynn Cory and Maureen Hand served as U.S. representatives to a meeting on the International Energy Agency Implementing Agreement for Cooperation in the Research, Development, and Deployment of Wind Energy Systems (IEA Wind). On January 12-13, Hand and Cory participated in a group focusing on the development of an international methodology for estimating the cost of wind energy as well as the market price. Hand is leading this task, which will analyze the variation of costs among the participating countries. Presentations were given by each participating country with Cory focusing on U.S. policy and markets.

NREL Director Dan Arvizu, along with analysts Maureen Hand and Walt Musial, attended the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meeting on January 26-30, which discussed the IPCC's Special Report on Renewables and Climate Change Mitigation. Attendees, who are lead authors for the report, discussed outlines and writing assignments for chapters dealing with various renewable technologies and climate change mitigation considerations. Hand contributed to the wind energy chapter, Musial contributed to the ocean energy chapter, and Arvizu is one of the two coordinating authors for the direct solar energy chapter.

NREL Senior Vice President for Outreach, Planning, and Analysis Bobi Garrett and SEAC Center Director Doug Arent visited Germany's DLR (its national center for aerospace, energy, and transportation research) on January 21. The visit focused on the potential for collaboration on analysis topics, including concentrating solar power (CSP) and solar resource assessment. Garrett and Arent also toured the DLR facilities during the visit.

Bobi Garrett and Doug Arent also attended the Global Energy Assessment Council meeting January 19-20 in Austria. The Global Energy Assessment (GEA) is a major initiative established by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in late 2005. The GEA helps decision makers address the challenges of providing energy services for sustainable development, while reducing existing and emerging threats associated with security of supply; improving access to modern forms of energy for development and poverty alleviation; reducing local, regional, and global environmental impacts; and securing sufficient investment. NREL also is contributing a chapter on "Key Market Trends in Renewable Energy Development and Deployment" to an upcoming GEA book.

SEAC analyst Lori Bird presented on "Renewable Energy Opportunities" to the 2009 International Economic Development Council Leadership Summit – "Turning Today's Economic Challenges into Tomorrow's Successes." The event was held January 25 in Tempe, Arizona.

January

Cover of Strengthening U.S. Leadership of International Clean Energy Cooperation report

International Clean Energy Cooperation
NREL, along with a group of key stakeholders, recently released the report "Strengthening U.S. Leadership of International Clean Energy Cooperation" (PDF 1.4 MB). Pressing economic, energy security, and environmental concerns are driving rapid growth in global investments in renewable energy (RE), energy efficiency (EE), and other clean energy technologies. The U.S. government has an unparalleled opportunity to join forces with the private sector, international institutions, and other countries to accelerate this global clean energy market transformation and capture vital domestic benefits. The global financial crisis creates an even more urgent need for government programs to stimulate private investment in RE and EE, which will foster U.S. and international job creation and economic vitality. This report presents proceedings of consultations with U.S. stakeholders that identified four overarching strategies for enhanced U.S. international clean energy cooperation — 1) establish government-wide goals, an action plan, and strengthened international leadership; 2) revitalize U.S. investment-facilitation programs; 3) accelerate clean energy technology cooperation; and 4) pursue market reform partnerships with key developing countries. These strategies and actions in support of each are presented in this report.

Cover of Life Cycle Assessment of the Use of Jatropha Biodiesel in Indian Locomotives report

Assessment of Jatropha Biodiesel
NREL analyst Garvin Heath and Michael Whitaker (Symbiotic Engineering) recently published the report "Life Cycle Assessment of the Use of Jatropha Biodiesel in Indian Locomotives" (PDF 1.8 MB). With India's transportation sector relying heavily on imported petroleum-based fuels, the Planning Commission of India and the Indian government recommended the increased use of blended biodiesel in transportation fleets, identifying Jatropha as a potentially important biomass feedstock. The Indian Oil Corporation and Indian Railways are collaborating to increase the use of biodiesel blends in Indian locomotives with blends of up to B20, aiming to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and decrease petroleum consumption. To help evaluate the potential for Jatropha-based biodiesel in achieving sustainability and energy security goals, this study examines the life cycle, net GHG emission, net energy ratio, and petroleum displacement impacts of integrating Jatropha-based biodiesel into locomotive operations in India. In addition, this study identifies the parameters that have the greatest impact on the sustainability of the system.

Cover of Historical Analysis of Investment in Solar Energy Technologies (2000-2007) report

Investment in Solar Energy
SEAC analyst Robert Margolis, along with Charles Jennings (Financial Analytics Consulting Corporation) and John E. Bartlett (New West Technologies), recently published the report "Historical Analysis of Investment in Solar Energy Technologies (2000-2007)" (PDF 960 KB). The solar energy industry experienced unprecedented growth from 2000 to 2007, with explosive growth occurring in the latter half of this period. From 2004 to 2007, global private-sector investment in solar energy increased almost twenty-fold, marking a dramatic increase in the short span of four years. This paper examines the timing, magnitude, focus, and location of various forms of investment in the solar energy sector. It analyzes the trends, which provide an understanding of the growth of the solar industry during the past eight years and help identify emerging themes in this rapidly evolving industry.

Analysts Meet With Stakeholders
SEAC analyst Gail Mosey attended the annual conference for the U.S. Association for Energy Economics (USAEE) held in New Orleans on December 3-5. Mosey presided over the session "Economics of Energy Efficiency and Low Carbon Fuel Standards (LCFS)." The session discussed analysis of willingness to pay for emissions reduction under uncertainty, residential energy efficiency opportunities in New England, and the economics of a low-carbon fuel standard.