Not just for WholeFoods and Greenies – Toys R Us, Macy’s and Purdue Chicken are going solar with innovative, no money down leasing programs.

 

I’ll be covering the potential for the innovative Green building program known as Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) in an upcoming energy efficiency video. For now, here’s a quick outline –

PACE Programs provide a powerful tool for the number one approach to jumpstarting the economy and fighting climate change – energy efficiency in new buildings. A great example is the recent retrofit on the Empire State Building, which is expected to save 40 percent of energy costs, and payback the investment in 3 years.

PACE programs provide upfront money to make energy efficiency or renewable energy upgrades on existing plants or buildings. Those loans are repaid thru a property tax assessment, with the payback being smaller than the total savings that owners will be getting from the more efficient buildings. Result, huge numbers of jobs, lower costs for owners, lower emissions from buildings.

Because the economics are so favorable – building owners and developers are coming together to promote PACE – and the latest iteration of the model comes from a California startup called Ygrene –

NY Times:

As envisioned for Miami and Sacramento, the plans will work like this:

Ygrene and its partners will gain exclusive rights for five years to offer this type of energy upgrade to businesses in a particular community. They will market the plan aggressively, helping property owners figure out what kinds of upgrades make sense for them.Lockheed Martin is expected to do the engineering work on many larger projects.

The retrofits might include new windows and doors, insulation, and more efficient lights and mechanical systems. In some cases, solar panels or other renewable power might be included. For factories, the retrofits might include new motors or other gear.

Short-term loans provided by Barclays Capital will be used to pay for the upgrades. Contractors will offer a warranty that the utility savings they have promised will actually materialize, and an insurance underwriter, Energi, of Peabody, Mass., will back up that warranty. Those insurance contracts, in turn, will be backed by Hannover Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies.

As projects are completed, the upgrade loans, typically carrying interest rates of 7 percent, will be bundled into long-term bonds resembling those routinely issued by governmental taxing districts. Barclays will market the bonds. Retirement funds have expressed interest in buying these bonds, which will be repaid by tax surcharges on each property that undergoes a retrofit.

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It ain’t pretty.

Willis (“I have no scientific credentials”) Eschenbach at WUWT:

Me, I’ve had it up to here with being lied to by Muller, I’m fed up to my eye-teeth with his tricks and his whoring for the media. Sure, I could pretend Muller is an honest and honorable man like you recommend. But his actions have shown him to be a cunning snake. It is not my habit to address snakes as though they were honorable men.

Stephen (“not a scientist, not my real name”) Goddard:

“Newsweek from 1975 refutes you, you, you…bad graph maker man…”

Mark (“hey, wait a minute, I’m not a scientist either, is this a pattern?”) Morano:

The promoters of man-made climate fears are now reduced to claiming — as University of California, Berkeley, professor Richard Muller did last week — that any warming trend equals some sort of “proof” of man-made warming.

News (‘your baby’s rights end where the smoke from my cigarette begins..”)Busters

WaPo’s “skeptic” actually has backed global warming for 30 years

… physicist Richard Muller of Berkeley — embraced the theory of man-made global warming 30 years ago. An online search easily disproved his claim of skepticism. He co-authored a book, “Physics For Future Presidents,” that explained climate change among other things. Now he has re-branded himself a former skeptic — the better to sell global warming.

… Richard Muller is not who he says he is. He is an advocate of the theory of man-made global warming.

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The reactions continue to the much ballyhooed BEST global temperature results. How could I not weigh in?

Eugene Robinson at the WashPost:

For the clueless or cynical diehards who deny global warming, it’s getting awfully cold out there.

The latest icy blast of reality comes from an eminent scientist whom the climate-change skeptics once lauded as one of their own. Richard Muller, a respected physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, used to dismiss alarmist climate research as being “polluted by political and activist frenzy.” Frustrated at what he considered shoddy science, Muller launched his own comprehensive study to set the record straight. Instead, the record set him straight.

“Global warming is real,” Muller  wrote last week in The Wall Street Journal.

“When we began our study, we felt that skeptics had raised legitimate issues, and we didn’t know what we’d find,” Muller wrote. “Our results turned out to be close to those published by prior groups. We think that means that those groups had truly been careful in their work, despite their inability to convince some skeptics of that.”

In other words, the deniers’ claims about the alleged sloppiness or fraudulence of climate science are wrong. Muller’s team, theBerkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, rigorously explored the specific objections raised by skeptics — and found them groundless.

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Taking it to the skeptics on their home media turf, John Abraham does it again on the BEST results.

(note: in video above, contrast sound of passing traffic to “noise” of hundreds of wind turbines)

A few weeks ago I reported news of negative pricing for electricity in some parts of Germany, due to “a torrent” of renewable energy flooding the grid.

Is negative pricing coming to America? With the rapid buildout of wind energy, and transmission lines not keeping pace, maybe so.

CleanTechnica:

“For several 15-minute intravals [last Friday] morning, wholesale electricity cost nothing,” Elizabeth Souder of dallasnews.com reported last Friday. Interesting, eh? If you’re a regular CleanTechnica reader (or if you read the headline…), I think you can guess why. Yes, wind power being cheap as heck, the wind blowing strong at night, and less electricity demand is the mixture that caused this to happen.

As I’ve said many times on here, Wind.Is.Cheap. Additionally, as I covered earlier this year, wind power is making electricity cheaper.

More from Souder, explaining how cheap wind power can drive the wholesale price of electricity down to $0.00 (and occasionally does in Texas):

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Portland Press Herald:

ARUNDEL – On the lawn behind the Solar Market offices here, 144 solar-electric panels are mounted across a 100-foot-long run of wooden racks. No surprise, really, to see a photovoltaic system outside a company that sells the hardware

But this set-up is way larger than needed to run lights and appliances. And therein lies the surprise: These solar panels generated enough power last winter to supply nearly 70 percent of the building’s warmth — with electric heat.

The falling price of photovoltaic panels, along with the advent of special heat pumps and super insulation, is creating an opportunity in Maine that energy experts could hardly imagine a few years ago. Now some of the state’s leading solar installers, including Solar Market, have begun installing so-called PV panels on homes and businesses to harvest sunshine for baseboard heaters.

The new economics of PV panels also has some companies moving away from promoting solar-thermal collectors designed to heat water, a mainstay of the business in Maine for 30 years.

“We stopped selling solar hot water three years ago,” said Naoto Inoue, who owns Solar Market and has hot-water panels on his house. “I would never do it again. I would put up all PV.”

What’s starting to happen in Maine reflects an era of dizzying change taking place in the global solar industry.

PV module prices are down 50 percent in the past three years; they’ve fallen by roughly one-third in the past 12 months. Manufacturing growth in China, among other factors, has led to overcapacity and financial losses. Trade publications predict that competition will continue to drive down prices next year, as the industry struggles to consolidate and match supply with demand.

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Anthony Watts – March 2011:

“And, I’m prepared to accept whatever result they produce, even if it proves my premise wrong. I’m taking this bold step because the method has promise. So let’s not pay attention to the little yippers who want to tear it down before they even see the results.”

Anthony Watts, October 20, 2011:

“This is sad, because I had very high hopes for this project as the methodology is looked very promising to get a better handle on station discontinuity issues with their “scalpel” method. Now it looks just like another rush to judgement, peer review be damned.”

From Things Break:

Lastly, let’s talk for a moment about the furious backpedaling that’s happening in response to BEST. “Skeptics” over at Curry’s, WUWT, on social media sites like Reddit, etc. are falling all over themselves trying to claim that No True Skepticactually denies that the Earth is warming. They’re claiming the BEST results are meaningless because they don’t actually address attribution.

To which I reply, “Bullshit.” A staggeringly large number of climate “skeptics” do in fact deny that the Earth is warming. A survey less than a month ago found that less than half (49%) of self-identified Republicans and even fewer (41%) self-identified Tea Partiers agreed that the Earth is actually warming.

Apologies for the advertisements halfway thru. Good, warts and all update on electric vehicle development. It’s not about environmentalism or climate – it’s about economics and national security.  This is a half hour film, so if time is short, skip to the very  interesting discussion of lithium air batteries at 20:00.

Meanwhile, even as the IBM expert in the video above asserts, “most people in the world want to own a car..” –  there is evidence that the traditional auto-dependent lifestyle is losing its appeal. The personal auto as the primary means of transportation is sunsetting.

Have We Reached Peak Car?: 

Experts say our love affair with the automobile is ending, and that could change much more than how we get around – it presents both an opportunity and an imperative to rethink how we build cities, how governments budget and even the contours of the political landscape.

The most detailed picture of the trend comes from the United States, where the distance driven by Americans per capita each year flatlined at the turn of the century and has been dropping for six years. By last spring, Americans were driving the same distance as they had in 1998.

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Edward Markey in the Wall Street Journal:

Regarding your editorial “A Better Idea for Green Jobs” (op-ed, Oct. 15): Here are the facts. Employment in the U.S. solar industry has doubled in the last two years. Solar energy now employs more than 100,000 Americans, tens of thousands more than in coal mining. The wind industry employs 85,000. According to the Brookings Institution, the clean economy now employs 2.7 million Americans, more than the fossil-fuel industry.

By comparison, ExxonMobil, BP, Shell and Chevron, which made $546 billion in profits between 2005 and 2010, actually reduced their U.S. work forces by a combined 11,200 workers.

Despite rhetorical attacks, clean energy is winning. New wind projects are selling their power for as little as three cents per kilowatt-hour, cheaper than natural gas. America is currently a net exporter of solar technology. We have a renewable energy technology trade surplus with China. From 2007 to 2010, America constructed nearly 32,000 new megawatts of wind, solar and biomass electricity. That is more than three times the amount of new coal during that time. Yet the only clean-energy company that conservatives seem to be able to talk about is Solyndra.

Clean energy employs millions of Americans and provides power to millions more. Most Americans want to see their nation dominate a sector estimated to be worth $12 trillion over the next two decades.

Rep. Ed Markey (D., Mass.)

Ranking Member, Natural Resources Committee

Malden, Mass.