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From: Eric1/6/2012 8:37:37 AM
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Mongolia's Renewables Belittle World's Nuclear Supply

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To: brokenst0nes who wrote (12509)1/6/2012 8:39:57 AM
From: Alastair McIntosh
   of 16914
Does PbC have similar forces at play?

There is other ongoing research on PbC. However Axion has apparently bulletproof patents on their negative electrodes which are five-layer assemblies that consist of a carbon electrode, a corrosion barrier, a current collector, a second corrosion barrier and a second carbon electrode. These electrode assemblies are then sandwiched together with conventional separators and positive electrodes to make their battery.

Li-ion battery costs and cycle rates have a vey long way to go to match PbC. According to the Sandia report I referenced earlier large Li-ion storage costs $600/KWh for 4000 cycle life compared to a PbC cost of $330/KWh for 20,000 cycle life. However, BMW testing confirmed Axion's PbC battery for 40,000 cycles for a stop-start application. Subsequent testing showed a 100,000 cycle life.

However, until an automaker confirms use of PbC in a stop-start system Axion remains speculative.

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To: brokenst0nes who wrote (12510)1/6/2012 8:43:39 AM
From: Alastair McIntosh
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Re: Chinese Companies Prefer Dying to Being Bought, JinkoSolar Says

The weakest companies should “weed out” about 75 percent of output capacity so that China has a “reasonable” 20 gigawatts compared with 75 gigawatts estimated by the second quarter of 2013, Zhang Longgen, chief financial officer of the Shanghai-based solar module maker, said in a Jan. 4 telephone interview.

Sounds promising for the survivors, two of which I hope are JKS and YGE.

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To: Alastair McIntosh who wrote (12513)1/6/2012 9:25:22 AM
From: brokenst0nes
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Ah separators, an interesting area to research and invest in. Plays in most of the different battery technologies.

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To: brokenst0nes who wrote (12515)1/6/2012 11:43:25 AM
From: Alastair McIntosh
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Axion seems to be getting lots of press lately:

New lead-acid battery angles for micro hybrids

Modernizing 150-year-old battery technology may be one of the cheapest routes to hybrid autos.

Axion Power International has a developed an advanced lead-acid battery it hopes will attract automakers and grid storage providers. The basic chemistry and components are the same, but the company has an activated carbon negative electrode, a change that leads to better performance over time, according to the company.

In the auto industry, the company is targeting start-stop hybrids in particular. Also called microhybrids, start-stop systems feature a small battery to run a car's electronics when idle and to aid in accelerating.

Unlike an all-electric car, the fuel efficiency savings from start-stop technology are incremental. Ford, for example, estimates an efficiency gain between 4 and 10 percent for its system. But small lead-carbon batteries are far cheaper than more "exotic" alternatives, such as lithium ion batteries or ultracapacitors, and analysts project millions to be sold in Europe and the U.S. in the coming years, said Axion Power CEO Tom Granville.

"It's neater to write about exotic technologies," he said. "That's revolutionary. We're talking about an evolution. It's a step change, but it doesn't require building new plants."

Automakers are already using lead-acid batteries for start-stop systems. Granville said that Axion Power's electrode will not degrade as quickly when batteries are fully discharged and charged frequently, as a driver would do in stop-and-go traffic. In traditional lead-acid batteries, crystals form over time on the electrode that slow down the charge acceptance, he explained. BMW and Axion Power developed a system to test lead-acid batteries for start-stop that takes into account charging capacity over time, he said.

The company's batteries are also being tested for grid storage applications, where a range of competing technologies, including flow, lithium ion, and sodium sulfur batteries. On Wednesday, the company announced a project where it will store solar power generated electricity at the Washington, D.C., Naval Yard in a net-zero energy building project. In November, its PowerCube grid storage battery was also chosen to provide frequency regulation services in the grid.

One of the advantages of Axion Power's approach is that its technology can be fitted into existing manufacturing lines. "You just put a stack of active carbon instead of lead negative plates as the batteries come out," Granville said.

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From: brokenst0nes1/6/2012 4:04:29 PM
2 Recommendations   of 16914
Killer Battery Eludes Electric Car Makers

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To: brokenst0nes who wrote (12517)1/6/2012 4:07:07 PM
From: brokenst0nes
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More Hybrid Vehicle Technology on the Way

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From: Eric1/9/2012 12:09:27 PM
1 Recommendation   of 16914
Germany Installed More Than 2 GW of Solar in December

The annual year-end rush to install solar in Germany—at $2.80 per watt

The U.S. installed about 1.7 gigawatts of photovoltaic panels in 2011, according to Greentech Media Research.

Germany installed more than 2 gigawatts of solar in the month of December alone.

That's good news and bad news. Good news because there is still demand for solar and Germany is amazingly efficient at deploying solar panels; bad news because it reveals the market distortions provoked by subsidies and fading subsidies.

December traditions in Germany involve Christmas, stollen, and a rush to install solar panels before the feed-in tariff subsidy drops. Installations for the full year will be nearly 7 gigawatts according to a =2012&tx_ttnews[month]=01&tx_ttnews[day]=04&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=14412&cHash=61f51bad3e486607cd4bdb1666a158d1]press release from the BSW (Bundesverband Solarwirtschaft, the German Solar Industry Association). Germany installed 7.4 gigawatts of solar panels in 2010.

The feed-in tariff was subjected to a 15 percent reduction on January 1, 2012 and will likely be cut another 15 percent on July 1.

According to the BSW, solar power contributes approximately three percent of the German electricity supply, with a goal of 10 percent by 2020.

Note the drop in pricing for solar installations in Germany: Q3 2011 pricing was $2.80 per watt. These are "average end-customer prices" for PV systems under 100 kilowatts. Compare that to the $5.20 per watt average price in the U.S.

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From: Eric1/9/2012 8:18:49 PM
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German Solar-Panel Installations Break Record in Rush to Beat Subsidy Cut

Germany added a record amount of solar panels last year as developers raced to beat a subsidy cut in the world’s biggest photovoltaic market.

December installations reached 3 gigawatts, the most that Germany ever added in a single month, the Bundesnetzagentur grid regulator said today. Volume for 2011 may be the country’s most ever, 7.5 gigawatts, according to preliminary estimates, a level that the BSW-Solar lobby group said will probably trigger an additional 15 percent subsidy cut starting in July.

The figures add to pressure on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to curtail subsidies that have supported a three-year boom, making Germany the top market for solar power. They also indicate strengthening demand may help offset the plunging price of panels that’s depressed the shares of such manufacturers as Q-Cells SE (QCE) and LDK Solar Co.

“Prices for solar systems are falling quicker than subsidies,” the grid regulator’s head, Matthias Kurth, said in an e-mailed statement.

German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen will invite the energy industry for talks about the installations, market developments and possible adjustments to solar subsidies next week, he said today in an e-mail.

The year-end rush was sparked in part by “massive” panel inventory from Chinese manufacturers for large-scale solar plants, said Frank Asbeck, chief executive officer of Solarworld AG (SWV), Germany’s largest panel maker.

‘Dumping’ Panels?

Solarworld is seeking to join forces with European peers to start proceedings against Chinese competitors for allegedly“dumping” panels on German markets at below-market costs in recent months, he said.

Renewable energy subsidies in Germany need to decline to be more in line with the realities of the current economic climate, Economy Minister Philipp Roesler has said.

A planned subsidy cut that took effect on Jan. 1 and Roesler’s proposal to cap yearly installations at 1,000 megawatts also helped cause the installation rush, Asbeck said. He suggested further cuts to subsidies for large solar plants.

“It’s right that we now adjust” above-market rates paid to operators of photovoltaic power plants, Roesler told his pro-business Free Democratic Party colleagues in Stuttgart last week. “Survivability means commercial viability.”

Cap Discussions

Roettgen criticized the discussion about a cap, saying it prompted the year-end rush as investors feared the support would eventually disappear. The so-called breathing cap currently in place, which reduces subsidies depending on new installation levels, is “adequate” to further drive down costs for solar power, he said.

Germany, which seeks to exit nuclear energy by 2022, added about 4,150 megawatts of panels in the fourth quarter of last year compared with about 3,400 megawatts in the first nine months. Installations of about 225 megawatts through April would trigger an automatic 15 percent cut in subsidies beginning in July, the regulator said. Germany installed about 7.4 gigawatts of panels in 2010 before Merkel’s government trimmed subsidies.

Industry Struggles

The country’s solar industry struggled with slowing demand in the first nine months of last year amid rising competition from manufacturers in China. Solon SE (SOO1), based in Berlin, and Solar Millennium AG (S2M) of Erlangen, Germany, filed for insolvency last month. Q-Cells, once the largest maker of solar cells, is looking for a buyer.

The figures leave Germany on course to surpass the 52 gigawatts that it’s targeting to install by 2020, based on its National Renewable Energy Action Plan, London-based researcher Bloomberg New Energy Finance said.

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From: Eric1/9/2012 8:32:26 PM
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The Wind Beat: 1603 and the PTC for Keystone XL?

Congress is killing the renewables’ lifelines, but the president could trade them for the tar sands pipeline.

The Daily Show
’s Jon Stewart once said he does not like political jokes because they too often get elected. Yet this is an election year. Vital federal support of renewables depends on some of those jokes.

The failure of Congress to extend the Section 1603 Treasury Program when it expired on the last day of 2011 will not help solar be more competitive. The 1603 program allowed commercial solar system purchasers to take an upfront grant for 30 percent of the system's value instead waiting a year for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC). It imposes no greater federal budget burden, but is much more attractive to investors. The Solar Energy Industries Association bemoaned the loss of 1603.

Congress also appears ready to let the wind industry’s production tax credit (PTC) expire at the end of 2012. The American Wind Energy Association said expiration will cost 37,000 domestic wind industry jobs and prompt a two-thirds drop-off of private investment in the $15 billion industry.

The political games being played with the solar and wind sectors are already creating near-term booms and long-term busts. But some energy industry insiders who regularly work Capitol Hill and the halls of power see a potential path through the morass.

It is hard to find congressional advocates for the 1603 program on the right side of the political spectrum right now, because moderates who might otherwise support renewables are terrified of an attack from the right, spiked with the clarion call, “ Remember Solyndra.”

Wind has a wider bipartisan base, as evidenced by strong calls for support of it in 2012 kickoff speeches from both Republican Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and Democratic New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Neither the PTC nor 1603 came up in the Iowa Republican primary campaign and they are unlikely to be discussed in other primaries, because renewables support comes from the moderate part of the Republican party and the candidates are preaching to their fervent base. If renewables come up at all, they will be disdained as something the president supports.

Hope lives, however, in a deal that could be made.

Headlines watchers will remember that 2011 closed with an attempt by congressional conservatives to get approval of the proposed but delayed Keystone XL pipeline that would deliver Canadian tar sands oil to refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

An announced review of the pipeline by the State Department is not expected to be complete until after the November election. Last month, House Republicans seeking to force President Obama to betray either labor supporters who want the pipeline’s jobs or environmental supporters who abhor the pipeline demanded the president approve the pipeline in return for their extending of the payroll tax holiday.

The tactic backfired when the president called their bluff and invited them to earn national disdain for ending the popular tax holiday.

The issues will be revisited early in 2012. Renewables advocates want to attach the PTC and 1603 to that debate as part of a large tax extenders package. A Congress interested in compromise might welcome the idea. But this congress, as one insider said, “is probably more polarized than at any time since that one congressman beat another with his cane before the Civil War.”

Another line of reasoning would convince conservatives who are driving primary politics to the extreme right and blocking conciliatory efforts on the Hill that cancelling the PTC and 1603 is tantamount to raising taxes on the renewables industries. Raising taxes is theoretically anathema to them, especially those who have taken the Grover Norquist pledge never to do it.

But during the December fight over the payroll tax holiday extension, those fiscal conservatives found convoluted reasoning that convinced them -- led by that “ Remember Solyndra” clarion call -- that the pledge does not apply to renewables incentives.

The deal: It is just possible, after the Republican nominee is chosen and the party begins courting moderates, that conservatives might agree to a broad tax extenders package with strong support for renewables, including lengthy extensions for the PTC and 1603, in return for approval of the pipeline. And it is just possible those on the far left might buy in.

Such a deal might win support for Republicans in crucial swing states with renewables constituencies like Colorado, Iowa, Florida, Virginia, and Nevada. It might win support for the president in crucial swing states with labor constituencies like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Ohio.

Emerging bipartisan softening on the pipeline and on renewables incentives would signal the deal is on.

The problem: The deal works for the president. That is, an insider pointed out, exactly why Republicans committed to seeing him defeated in November would not make it, even though it works for their side, too.

If the deal fails to win over the parties' extremists, the president will simply announce he cannot decide on the pipeline until the State Department review is completed. Republicans will then spend the election season accusing him of blocking it, but he will legitimately tell both labor and environmentalists they might still get their way.

If the deal fails and the renewables incentives are lost, it would demonstrate what Will Rogers’ meant when he observed that Congress in session “is like a baby getting hold of a hammer.”

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