The Embassy of Israel to South Africa explains the superiority of feed-in tariffs to a member of the South African parliament

Date: 11 Aug 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Israel dealt with a similar debate, whether to adopt the Feed-in-Tariff method or the bidding method to promote the generation of renewable energy into the grid. While the electricity Authority (the equivalent body in Israel for NERSA) supported the REFIT process and the Ministry of National Infrastructures (the equivalent to the Department of Energy) and the Ministry of Finance preferred the Bidding process. Israel decided to publish REFIT in 2008, while issuing few tenders in the bidding process.

While the bidding based projects are not making big progress the REFIT based projects generate 100 MW of small systems today, an approved accumulated capacity of 150 MW that will be implemented soon. Quota of 300 MW for medium size plants was published, projects with the accumulated capacity of 200MW where given licenses and other are awaiting approval – out of 1.3 GW of proposals.

Tenders in the bidding process published in 2008 and no one was awarded the contract yet. There is only one participant in each one of in two tenders for CSP plants (100MW each). There is also a tender for a PV plant (30MW) but bidders didn’t submit their final proposals yet.

Advantages of the REFIT process over the bidding process:

1.    Promotion of entrepreneurship and job creation: The Bidding process limits the game to few big players and excludes the small ones. The REFIT process allows to small and medium companies to participate. Israel developed an entire new renewable energy industry with close to a 100 active companies.

2.    Efficiency: In bidding process the government becomes very involved and often intervenes in engineering and technological issues that is not capable to deal with. That creates delays and complications in the process.

3.    Meeting the targets: Publishing tenders takes a lot of time, often much more than expected. That can result in not meeting the schedule targets. There is also a fear that companies that will lose the tenders will appeal to court and create more delays.

4.    Simple rules of the game: the REFIT process puts together very simple rules that make it more transparent and easy to deal with.

5.    The disadvantage of the REFIT process is that prices set at the beginning of the process do not reflect reduction in costs for the developers in the future. The solution is to publish quotas and a gradually decreasing REFIT.

All countries in Europe have decided to adopt the REFIT method. Israel found it as the most efficient way to promote renewable energy.

Dr. Ilan Suliman, former Vice chairman of the Israeli Electricity Authority has helped in putting these points together.

I received this information via email, but it’s also available here.

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Distributed solar has a speed edge

Date: 3 Aug 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Distributed solar has an edge in the speed with which it will respond to financial incentives, he says. The private sector will begin to install solar panels in response to a feed-in tariff much more quickly than developers of large solar projects can negotiate power-purchase agreements with utilities and win regulatory approval from the government.

J.R. DeShazo, director of UCLA’s Luskin Center for Innovation

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The Power of Comprehensive Energy Policy

Date: 13 Jul 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

If Germany’s 16 federal states had each enacted their own renewable energy legislation, we’d have far less solar energy usage. I often tell people that Germany has 400 types of beer and one renewables law, while the situation in the United States is the other way around.

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Doing Both Centralized and Decentralized Energy is Economically Nonsensical

Date: 12 May 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

From Dr. Norbert Rottgen, German Federal Minister for the Environment, in a discussion of baseload fossil fuels versus decentralized renewable energy:

It is economically nonsensical to pursue two strategies at the same time, for both a centralized and a decentralized energy supply system, since both strategies would involve enormous investment requirements. I am convinced that the investment in renewable energies is the economically more promising project. But we will have to make up our minds. We can’t go down both paths at the same time.

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High Penetration of PV No Issue for Kauian Grid

Date: 10 Mar 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

As long as the penetration of PV on the grid is low, the utility should have no trouble maintaining power quality as the output from PV systems fluctuate. However, even if overall PV penetration levels in a region are low, it is possible to have local “hot spots” where penetration on a single distribution circuit is very high. In this case utilities have concerns that power quality will suffer on that distribution circuit due to the high penetration of PV. [Kauai Island Utility Cooperative] KIUC is testing that hypothesis to the extreme with its 1.2 MW solar farm, by supplying 100% of a distribution circuit with PV during the day. [emphasis added]

Now for the good news: as the utility monitors the distribution circuit on sunny days and cloudy days, with the PV system turned on and the PV system turned off, they are seeing very little difference in the voltage levels, harmonics, and overall power quality between the different scenarios. These preliminary results suggest that utilities could go to very high levels of PV penetration in localized areas without causing problems for the grid. KIUC is continuing to monitor the system, but the initial results look very positive for the PV industry. [emphasis added]

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Distributed Generation Requires Standardized Contracts

Date: 1 Mar 2011 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

Twenty MW is also consistent with Commission decisions. We have established certain contract provisions for small sellers because we have found they are unable to bid into a utility request for proposal, and generally do not have the resources or expertise to negotiate and enter into a bilateral contract. We define the size of those small sellers as 20 MW and less.

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