Saturday, October 11, 2014

Cow Power for Energy Independence in New York

New York State leads the nation in yogurt production which depends on milk production. We are in top 3 milk producing states and farm businesses are key to our rural economy. With higher number of cows comes a lot of manure waste production and environmental concerns within the watershed. Urban population and neighbors complaint about odors created when manure is applied to farm land. The farm businesses also face high energy costs and wish to manage and control this expense. These problems were recognized and became the basis for NYS funding programs to help solve these problems and help in the economic development.

Climate change requires reduction in green house gas emissions to atmosphere and Methane from farms is know to be a problem that will soon require compliance with upcoming US EPA requirements. Similarly surface runoff from the farms is containing pollution in the form of organics and nutrients. Anaerobic digesters are ideal solution but costly to implement based on the price quotes from International companies and many German and Dutch companies are active in USA and have built the digesters at significantly high cost for those large farms that can afford it. Most studies have shown that small medium size farms are not in a position to afford it. This condition can be changed by adopting simple processes and using locally procured labor and materials.

We are happy to announce that this dream of an affordable digester has come true recently at Spruce Haven Dairy Farm in Cayuga county NY, where a 1.5 million gallon "lagoon based in- ground" digester and 500 KW co-generation system has been constructed within the NYSERDA grant budget of $2 Million Dollars. The system was started up in July 2014 and by September it was making more Bio gas than projected and the engine generator is consistently operating above 95% design capacity. This farm has over 2500 cows feeding the manure to the digester at a flow rate of about 100,000 GPD, including the flushing wash water from sand removal system.

A high efficiency digester built and operating successfully at a capital cost of under $800 per cow is great example for many dairy farms that in New York State it is now possible to solve your problems and become net energy producer by supplying excess power to the Grid.

The Farm in Cayuga County NY is open for field trips for other farmer to see the system and its operation. Energy and Environmental issues can be addressed with the financial help from NYSERDA and USDA as these businesses seek affordable solutions. Spruce Haven farm has achieved Energy Independence for their electric consumption by producing more energy than what they use. They look forward to making RNG- bio-fuel for the trucks by cleaning and compressing the bio gas as renewable transportation fuel in near future.

New Projects like this can help us meet the climate change goals for renewable energy and also help in economic development in rural America.

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

UN Climate Change week in NY City- Time to Act is Now!

As we watch the natural disasters around the world and scramble to help the victims, the question arises about what to do to avoid this in future? Are our leaders ready to act and show the path?
The first step obviously is for people to accept that it is happening and worse scenarios may occur if we do not act now.

The world leaders are gathering in N Y City to discuss this next week. Let us hope that common sense prevails and the investments to cut Greenhouse Gas emissions are adopted by all participants. The impact of solar PV power development should not be ignored. Get the word out that solar PV costs have drastically come down and now you can make electrical power for the same cost as you spend with non-renewable energy. Availability of low interest financing over 10 years can make it happen for everyone. This is where the Green Revolving Loan funds offered through local banks can change the economics. The dream of Net-Zero energy can be realized by those who invests in the Solar PV systems in New York State.

New York State is trying to lead the way. This week it is possible that the Governor may announce grant awards under NY State solar initiatives to install Large Scale solar power systems. It will be a good example to see for international politicians coming to New York City for the UN Summit.

GO SOLAR New York!

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Small Communities need solar power to come out of economic difficulties and become energy independent

Who need to reduce cost of government operations most? These are small communities at their debt limit and are not in a position or permitted by State laws to borrow capital dollars to build solar PV systems.

They have the opportunity to make their own power and pay off the debt from energy savings.
Their challenge is to raise the construction loan to build the system and long term low interest financing to pay ti back. The State and Federal Govt. has significant amount of pension funds that could be used to create a green funding mechanism to help such communities.

The federal USDA rural utility program may be able to help. Only time will tell as we watch the policies for Green project support.  Private capital looks for higher rate of return and larger dollar value projects which does not match with small community needs.

If this can be achieved then these communities can control their energy future and make solar power for the same price as they pay now. After 20 years the systems could be all paid and only O&M costs will remain for next 20 years when the power cost would be less that 6 cents per kWh as compared to Utility cost of over 20 cents /kWh. Energy independence by making same amount of power as they consume they will not be affected by future cost of energy. Fortunately this is possible as Government policy empowers the consumer to become solar power producer.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Green Construction Loans are Essential for Building Green Energy Projects

Imagine getting a Reimbursable grant of  93% of the Capital cost and still unable to build the farm Anaerobic Digester system to treat waste and make green power. Unfortunately this is a reality in New York State.

Most of the lenders do not understand Digesters and have no risk tolerance for such technology when the grant is offered as collateral. So how do you get a construction loan? Where to go? These are the challenges why so many farmers who have the manure disposal problems can not take advantage of the Grants.

It looks like the Federal USDA is listening to these issues and establishing a large loan fund that can be used for building the system with 70% loan amount against 30% local loan and equity. This potential "USDA - REAP renewable energy funding assistance program"  could be extremely beneficial and capable of creating a wave of economic development across Rural America.

Let us hope this succeeds and soon rural communities and small businesses will be able to gain Energy Independence by building their own Green power generation systems.

Infrastructure investments by the federal Govt. in our communities are essential to replace war funding and create jobs back home so returning Vets can have a job making green energy.

Better days may be ahead for energy Independence at the rural Farms and communities.

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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Climate Change Adaptation by Sustainable Green Communities

Finally the President is talking about the importance of taking action to deal with Climate Change. By now we must realize that some people are simply not going to accept the truth and trying to convince them may be a waste of time. The best strategy would be to shine the spotlight on communities that are doing energy conservation,building green energy generation systems to go Green and save money at the same time.
Real examples of such communities need to be shared, so the residents of other communities can ask their Leaders why are we not doing the same?
The myth that it will cost money should be removed with real examples of transformation to more efficient buildings and shift to renewable energy sources.
Action speaks for itself. We hope that everyone that is taking Leadership in this area is pointed out.
Walmart is no exception in this area even when some union supporting people may not like their wage policies. It is time that news media reports cover such success stories to inform their viewers and readers.
More Jobs Clean environment and reduction of green house gases will be the outcome as we save money to invest in future. Hopefully the energy independent developments and communities will share their stories with their neighbors and encourage them to do the same. County and State governments must support such actions and help others with green financing to achieve similar results.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Our Leaders should not be afraid to promote Sustainability & Climate Change initiatives that save Money

Recent news conveys that some Leaders of Countries pushed the Scientists to soften the reality about what Climate change could do to our planet. Final released version of Global Climate change report is only what they wanted to be published.

Unfortunately this type of action only shows how ignorant they are about money savings aspects of many climate change initiatives. Energy Conservation when seriously taken and financed from the operating cost can generate fantastic results for the existing users. Our demand for conventional fuels automatically goes down and help climate change.

United Nations and other Country's Leaders should consider Energy Conservation as the new "Weapon of Mass Benefit". Let us call it "WMB" in contrast with "WMD",  where money is spent to destroy and not create. Why  not help invest in technologies that can save money and create Jobs?

Reality of how Corporate Executives think.. is that top managers are not ready to take risks and push changes that can save money due to perceived risk. What happens if it does not work? We know several industrial waste treatment system that can save them several hundred thousand dollars per year, but they are unable to decide because change is difficult to get Corporate approvals, when it competes with other Capital investments. These same projects may get quick "Yes" if we could offer financing the capital to pay for the change and Client only pays from the annual savings.  Thus they are relieved from taking the financial risk and need not request capital funds from the Corporate HQ. This " shared saving agreement "SSA" is performance based and could be good model to accelerate the adoption of Green Energy Saving technologies.

What is lacking now ,  is the financial institutions that can lend money to Technology providers so they can offer the shared savings agreement (SSA)  to potential customers.  NYS has recently created the Green bank which may be able to play a role to implement such concepts.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Strategy for Faster Implementation of Solar PV projects in Sustainable Green Communities

An Year has gone by as we tried to find a way to help our small communities to find Energy Independence with Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a Private Developer who would finance, build and operate the solar PV system. 

This is a great  idea but with no risk comes the delays and uncertainties. Some of the host communities found out that Developer was unable to complete the projects in time due to weak financial support where the investor just backed off from the deal. What should the community do to assure faster and more assured implementation?

We are now following a two step procurement approach that can save money and get better outcome for all parties. It all starts with community education to first build the buy in and desire to go green and make your own power at a suitable site. Study of all of the municipality owned facilities energy consumption is necessary to estimate the current energy use and size the Solar PV system and a site with adequate electrical service to be able to supply excess power to the grid.

The second step is to present the opportunity to financing Companies and get a commitment from them as Proforma PPA based on a projected capital cost of the system. Once the terms of the power purchase agreements are executed then we issue a Request for Proposal to design and build the system from local developer -solar installers. These proposals are evaluated to select the contractor to submit the bid proposal to NYSERDA and get the grant commitment.The final PPA is executed after modifications to take into account the actual capital cost and grant amount. This approach takes away the need for solar PV installers to search for financing partner since the Owner makes this choice at the beginning of the project.

This market needs fast track and simpler process to cut costs and get best value for the communities. 

Go Solar Now. The process is now better and many communities now realize that this is the right thing to do.


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