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Cheaper batteries will allow mainstream pricing of Tesla’s EVs in six years—and lots more.
Chet Lyons is the founder of Energy Strategies Group, an energy storage consulting firm that assists innovative manufacturers, utilities, project developers and investors in establishing an early, profitable and sustainable role in the rapidly growing energy storage industry. Chet has held key positions at DNV KEMA Energy & Sustainability, Beacon Power Corporation, American Superconductor, Evergreen Solar, Energy Resource Associates and Johnson Controls. He recently authored the GTM Research report, Grid-Scale Energy Storage in North America 2013: Applications, Technologies and Suppliers.
March 3, 2014
Tesla’s Giga factory aims to reduce the cost of lithium-ion batteries by 30 percent in three years and 50 percent by 2020. This big, bold move invites historical comparison.
Henry Ford’s massive factory scale and vertical integration cut the cost of internal combustion-based cars by more than half, made Ford Motor Company the (then) biggest car company in the world, and helped bolster the American middle class in the process. A hundred years later, China’s use of scale economies and vertical integration made it the global market leader in solar PV in less than a decade -- and reconfirmed the power of scale and vertical integration.
But what does Tesla’s Giga factory really mean? Let’s start with the obvious: cheaper batteries will allow mainstream pricing of Tesla’s EVs in six years. That’s consistent with Musk’s vision to put an EV in every garage. Mainstream pricing will turn Tesla into a massive company.
Sure, Tesla’s competitors are big and confident -- just like Apple’s competitors when Steve Jobs announced his vision to put a PC on every desktop. As was the case with Apple in 1976, Tesla won’t need to worry about cannibalizing sales of existing products. Competitors with smoke spewing from their corporate tailpipes face a far more complex transition. Just as Digital Equipment Corporation failed to make the turn from mini computers to PCs, some big and famous car companies might not make the curve in the road to EVs.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Teslas-Giga-Battery-Factory-Threatens-the-Auto-Utility-and-Building-Contr?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDailyShare This Post
Six important things to know about OPWR.
March 3, 2014
The cloud of secrecy around Opower's move to go public has finally lifted. The Virginia-based efficiency company filed its S-1 today -- and the document provides some valuable insight into how and where it plans to grow.
Here are some of the most important revelations about the company, which is seeking a $100 million raise through its IPO.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/opower-files-for-ipo-here-are-some-top-figures-from-the-firms-s-1?utm_source=Daily&utm_medium=Headline&utm_campaign=GTMDailyShare This Post
By Clare Foran March 4, 2014
President Obama doubled down in support of natural gas while at the same time casting himself as a climate defender with the release Tuesday of his fiscal year 2015 budget proposal.
The budget, which outlines presidential spending and policy priorities for the coming year, touts the administration's "all of the above" energy strategy, a political posture that has drawn the ire of environmental groups by promoting fossil-fuel energy development alongside renewables.
This line is nothing new. In his State of the Union address, Obama defended natural gas as a "bridge fuel" and stated: "The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working." The comments set off a firestorm of criticism from environmental activists who insist the president won't leave a legacy on climate change if he continues to promote natural gas.
The fiscal year 2015 budget shows that the president is unmoved.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/white-house-walks-line-between-energy-production-and-climate-issues-20140304Share This Post
By March 4 at 3:11 pm Ed O'Keefe
Congress has passed a two-year budget agreement that sets spending levels through the end of 2015, meaning that members of the House and Senate can justifiably dismiss the budget President Obama unveiled Tuesday as irrelevant.
But the White House is required by law to present a budget proposal each year, so Obama used the moment to release an ambitious proposal that relies on more than $1 trillion in new taxes and includes more than $55 billion in new spending. Next week, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) is expected to follow up with a proposal that will focus on welfare reform and an overhaul of social programs, including Head Start and Medicaid.
Neither proposal will go anywhere — and that's by design.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/03/04/why-the-obama-budget-is-already-dead/Share This Post
NEW ORLEANS — In a setback for BP as it deals with the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, a federal appeals court on Monday ruled that the company would have to stick to its agreement and pay some gulf businesses for economic damage without their having to prove it was caused by the spill.
BP had argued strenuously in court, and in newspaper advertisements, that the settlement had been unfairly misinterpreted and that it was being forced to pay for damage unrelated to the accident.
But in a strongly worded opinion, Judge Leslie H. Southwick ruled that the company was bound by the agreement it had signed. That deal said businesses in certain areas along the gulf that could demonstrate economic losses under an accounting formula were due payments without having to provide explicit evidence that their losses were caused by the oil spill.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/04/business/energy-environment/court-says-bps-spill-agreement-is-binding.html?ref=energy-environmentShare This Post
HOUSTON – BP is planning to split its U.S. onshore oil and gas segment into a separate business by next year, a bid to become more competitive with smaller rivals that dominate the region’s shale reservoirs, executives said Tuesday.
The move would install a new management team to oversee about 7.6 billion barrels of BP’s oil and gas resources across 5.5 million acres in the Eagle Ford Shale in South Texas, natural gas-rich regions in Oklahoma and Arkansas and elsewhere.
“With the rapidly evolving environment, our business has become less competitive,” BP CEO Bob Dudley told investors in a conference call early Tuesday. The new business “will have separate governance, processes and systems designed to improve the competitiveness of its portfolio.”
To read the entire article go to: http://fuelfix.com/blog/2014/03/04/bp-to-splinter-off-u-s-onshore-business-as-it-cuts-assets/Share This Post
By Morgan Lee2:08 p.m.March 4, 2014
The Environmental Protection Agency has awarded a pollution permit to a new power plant southeast of San Diego, clearing the way for construction.
The permit for the Pio Pico Energy Center is designed to ensure the plant's natural gas turbines do not significantly degrade air quality in the area. The plant will be located in an industrial zone, though not far from a juvenile detention center and residential neighborhoods in Mexico flanking the U.S. border.
Environmental groups objected to the plant location, asserting that the area's air already is fouled by a busy cross-border trucking route and the adjacent Otay Mesa Energy Center, an even larger gas-fired plant owned and operated by Houston-based Calpine.
The amount of pollution generated by Pio Pico will depend upon the region's evolving energy needs. Its quick-start generators can fill in sudden gaps in solar and wind energy production, but are far less efficient that the adjacent "combined cycle" plant that uses excess heat to drive steam turbines and generate additional power.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/mar/04/epa-allows-power-plant/Share This Post
By Ben Geman March 4, 2014
HOUSTON—The Energy Department is preparing new analyses of the potential effects of lifting U.S. restrictions on crude oil exports as political pressure on the Obama administration to ease the decades-old limits increases.
Adam Sieminski, head of the Energy Information Administration, said he envisions a "series of reports that begin to lay the foundations to allow policymakers to understand the issue."
Sieminski said the reports will explore how crude exports would affect refining, infrastructure, transportation, whether continuing the heavy restrictions could stymie production, and other topics.
"EIA is going to be investigating a number of these things and we will come out from time to time with reports that should help policymakers understand the issues," Sieminski at the IHS CERAWeek conference here.
"There are a number of factors that go into trying to understand the role of exports in the energy area," he added, noting that he has been thinking of the topic since his tenure at EIA, the Energy Department's independent statistical analysis arm, began.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/energy-department-prepares-for-deeper-look-at-crude-oil-exports-20140304Share This Post
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on March 04, 2014 at 4:48 PM, updated March 04, 2014 at 7:03 PM
Developers see opportunity for oil trains to start unloading large volumes of crude from Canada and the United States in Portland. The Port of Portland is interested, too.
But the port, which owns four industrial terminals on the Columbia and Willamette rivers, said Tuesday it won’t allow any oil train projects to be built until numerous safety concerns are addressed, something the agency doesn’t expect for a year or more.
With worries about unsafe tank cars, lagging oil spill preparedness and the unusually high volatility of the crude being hauled, a top port official said too many questions existed for his agency to allow oil train projects yet.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2014/03/port_of_portland_says_oil_trai.htmlShare This Post
Trains carrying volatile crude oil from North Dakota started passing through downtown Rainier in late 2012 without the public knowing they were coming. (Courtesy of Sloan Nelson)
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on March 04, 2014 at 12:33 PM, updated March 04, 2014 at 12:34 PM
Two plans to move different fossil fuels by rail in Oregon have had two different public debates.
There’s coal. A proposal to move it by train has become a high-profile fight between industry and environmental groups, with each trying to sway public opinion in their favor. If coal terminals start operating, residents will have known for years that coal trains might be coming.
And then there’s oil. A proposal to move it by train was approved without the public ever knowing. There was no debate, no public hearing. Mile-long trains carrying volatile crude oil from North Dakota just showed up in communities including Scappoose, St. Helens and Rainier.
“We didn’t know. No one knew,” Steven Massey, a Rainier city councilman, told me Monday. “We knew they had over 100 cars. People were alarmed at the blockage at intersections, but we didn’t have any idea they were hauling volatile crude.”
To read the entire article go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2014/03/how_oil_trains_showed_up_in_or.htmlShare This Post
Elizabeth Patterson is the mayor of Benicia, a refinery town.
March 3, 2014 | Updated: March 3, 2014 4:48pm
There isn't a moment to lose. Gov. Jerry Brown should issue an executive order to ensure that the state is prepared to deal with the highly flammable and explosive Bakken crude oil from North Dakota coming by rail and water into California.
There should be no hesitancy in taking this step, and no excuse. The exponential increase in the shipment of this "peculiar" crude is documented and has the attention of my community, and my sister communities in Solano, Contra Costa, Yolo and Sacramento counties. Citizens have organized to ask local and state officials to address their concerns about the safety of the increased rail transport of crude in what many experts - and the National Transportation Safety Board - say are the notorious DOT-111A tank cars, whose design makes them prone to puncture in accidents.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.sfchronicle.com/opinion/openforum/article/Governor-must-ensure-rail-tanker-safety-5285755.phpShare This Post
March 3, 2014
California has long led the way in the electric car market. The Northwest and Hawaii have also consistently topped the tables. However, the top metropolitan region for electric car sales growth in the 4th quarter wasn't in any of those states — it was in the Southeast!
The new #1 metro area for electric cars is apparently Atlanta. Notably, the ranking, which comes from electric vehicle charging company ChargePoint, is based on sales growth compared to the previous quarter, not total sales. Still, coming out on top by as big of a margin as it did is pretty big news for Atlanta. Additionally, this comes right on top of news that Atlanta is now #1 in Nissan LEAF sales.
From ChargePoint, which used electric car registrations to come up with its numbers, here's the top 10 list for the 4th quarter of 2013:
To read the entire article go to: http://www.treehugger.com/cars/1-metro-area-us-electric-car-growth-no-longer-california.htmlShare This Post
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on March 04, 2014 at 12:36 PM, updated March 04, 2014 at 5:41 PM
By its pedal-loving reputation alone, Portland would seem to be the one U.S. city where a bike-sharing system is a sure thing.
A no-brainer. Obligatory. Sooner, not later.
But, as City Hall made clear on Monday, Portland is now in a holding pattern with a $4 million proposal to bring bicycle sharing to Bike City U.S.A.
With the launch already a year behind schedule, the roll out still might be this summer. But because of concerns over the bankruptcy of a high-tech rental bike supplier used by the contractor, it may have to wait until sometime in 2015.
The reservations don’t stop there. There are varying opinions on just how successful a bike-rental program can be in a city where about 6 percent of residents already commute by bicycle.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/index.ssf/2014/03/portland_bike_share_is_it_a_go.htmlShare This Post
Ukraine's dependence on Russia for natural gas has long created friction between the two countries. The US could offer Ukraine and Europe an alternative supply, but exporting oil and gas has proved technically and politically difficult in a country scarred by energy shortages of its own.
By David J. Unger, Staff writer / March 4, 2014
It's a question many in Washington and the energy industry are asking as Russia leverages its own energy largesse to keep Ukraine in its orbit. But the US has long banned oil exports to maintain its own energy security, and has only recently begun to approve large, expensive terminals that would export liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Even with all the permitting in place, boosting energy exports is not an overnight solution – at least not in the case of LNG. Those terminals can take years to build and ramp up exports, and producers may be more interested in shipping to the higher-price markets in Asia and Latin America. Exporting oil could technically happen much more quickly, but it is a delicate political debate that has only begun to evolve after decades as a nonstarter.
A North American oil and gas production boom has sparked a push to loosen restrictions on US energy exports put in place after the 1970s Arab oil crises. The unfolding crisis in Ukraine is shifting that debate into high gear.
To read the entire article go to: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2014/0304/Ukraine-crisis-Could-US-energy-save-UkraineShare This Post
Ukraine crisis escalates as Russian and Ukrainian troops mobilize for a possible war in Crimea. The US and EU threaten sanctions as Russia uses its natural gas dominance as leverage over Ukraine and the West.
By David J. Unger, Staff writer / March 3, 2014
As it has done in the past, Russia is using its role as Europe's dominant natural gas supplier to hold sway over Ukraine and the West. Over the weekend, Russia's gas-export monopoly Gazprom warned it may boost prices to Ukraine if the former Soviet republic doesn't pay the $1.55 billion it reportedly owes for the heating fuel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has a history of shutting off the gas to Ukraine when it falls behind on its bills, and there's some concern Mr. Putin might make such a move again. But a lot has changed since the Russia-Ukraine gas disputes of 2006 and 2009. Europe has diversified its natural gas sources to some extent, and Ukraine has long-term options for boosting its own production.
"Russia is in a much weaker situation now than in 2006 and 2009 because they have overplayed their hand," says Anders Åslund, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics who has advised Russia and Ukraine. "Given that they’ve managed this so badly before, I would not exclude that they would be foolish once again, but the cost would be for Russia, not Europe or Ukraine."
To read the entire article go to: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2014/0303/Ukraine-crisis-Would-Putin-shut-off-gas-againShare This Post