August 28th, 2014

UGE Secures Order to Power Telecoms Sites With Distributed Renewable Energy Microgrids

August 28th, 2014

Remote Tower Locations Will Be Equipped With UGE’s Hybrid and Battery Storage Systems for Maximum Reliability and Efficiency

August 26, 2014 — New Yrok — UGE (TSX.V:UG), a leader in renewable energy solutions for global enterprise customers, has received a purchase order to deploy hybrid microgrid energy systems for remote telecommunications towers. The telecoms site operators will utilize UGE’s expertise and equipment to increase the reliability and security of their energy supply while dramatically lowering the costs of powering the sites.

The telecoms towers are powered by UGE’s modular technology platform, designed to capture the specific renewable energy resources available at each site. Each site location incorporates an optimized combination of solar panels, energy storage, and wind turbines for fully integrated off-grid hybrid systems. The telecom towers will also utilize UGE’s monitoring and control technology to ensure constant system uptime.

“Telecommunication tower operators in emerging markets often face severe challenges with grid reliability, site accessibility, and rising fuel costs,” said Henry Hatch, UGE’s business development manager for the telecoms market. “Renewable energy paired with UGE’s advanced site analysis and monitoring capabilities address these issues with a solution that lowers costs and facilitates uninterrupted communication.”

These microgrid systems have been purchased by a confidential government entity for use in the Middle East. The purchase order, valued at over $400,000 USD, is expected to be fulfilled throughout the remainder of 2014.

About UGE
UGE is a leading developer of distributed renewable energy solutions for enterprise clients with projects in over 90 countries, including several for Fortune 1,000 companies. Leveraging its proprietary technology platform, UGE deploys modular energy systems that solve clients’ challenges at the nexus of cost, resiliency and sustainability. From solar and wind systems, to microgrids and off-grid lighting, UGE is the solution provider of choice for enterprise energy challenges.

UGE Wind Turbine’s go up on the tallest building in Brooklyn

June 17th, 2014

Wind Turbines go up on tallest building in Brooklyn

The Big Wind LLC Vision Air GT Wind Turbine installed at the first totally green school in New York City-IS285 Highbridge Middle School the Bronx.

May 27th, 2014

Hilton Hotel in Ft Lauderdale goes green

March 7th, 2014

Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Beach Resort has distinguished itself as the destination for green lodging and events. Six UGE wind turbines now sit atop the hotel and Hilton couldn’t be more pleased!

“The turbines will help us visualize the hotel as a place to be conscious of energy use… it will help to highlight the importance of conserving electricity, and to start dialogue.”

Randy Gaines, VP of Engineering, Hilton Worldwide “The power generated by the wind turbines is enough to light this building year-round.”

Andreas Ioannou, General Manager, Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Resort

Even the Mayor is thrilled with the addition to Fort Lauderdale’s beach front:

“It’s a great night for the City of Fort Lauderdale. This is about a corporate culture and a company that believes in giving back to the community.”
John P. Seiler, Mayor of Fort Lauderdale

The Big Wind LLC will Install EDDY GT at Wayne Auto Spa NJ

February 25th, 2014

Wayne Auto Spa Owner and Wayne Township finally agree on installation of  Wind Turbine

Representatives for Wayne Auto Spa Owner and the township have come to an agreement regarding owner Rob Burke’s application to construct a wind turbine at his business.

The Planning Board is scheduled to vote Monday on a resolution amending Burke’s application.

The matter has dragged on for years after Burke applied to construct a turbine with 6-foot long blades on it in 2007. The turbine would generate power for Wayne Auto Spa. Several solar panels are operating on the property

The Planning Board denied Burke’s application in October of 2008 citing a lack of expert testimony and concerns about safety and noise.

State Superior Court Judge Donald Volkert overturned the denial in July 2010. In his decision, Volkert said that the board improperly denied the application due to the concerns.

“The board should have granted minor site plan approval and used its authority to place reasonable conditions to mitigate any noise or safety impacts,” Volkert said in his ruling. “The board did not have the authority to enforce noise or safety ordinances. That is the responsibility of administrative departments.”

The Planning Board unanimously at a meeting in November 2011. The approval is part of a settlement agreement with the town to have the 50-foot tall turbine installed on the property.

The council must approve the agreement before the turbine can be installed. According to Burke, the council has not approved the agreement.

Burke said that the case is not settled and “has no idea when” it will be.

Matthew Giacobbe, the town’s general counsel, could not be reached for comment.

As part of the agreement, the turbine will not have blades on it. Instead, a bladeless version, which is designed to be much quieter than ones with blades, will be installed.

Burke is also looking to recoup between $250,000 and $300,000 in legal fees he claims he is owed.

Burke said he has never met with township officials regarding the application.

The council approved an ordinance in December 2009 permitting wind turbines to be installed in industrial areas in the township but not at the Wayne Auto Spa.

Tax-equity investment for renewables to increase in 2014, firms say

January 24th, 2014

Tuesday, January 21, 2014 5:44 PM ET
Ample debt, tax equity available for wind, solar projects, lenders say

By Michael Copley

Some of the country’s biggest financiers of renewable energy say there is ample debt and equity in the market for qualifying projects.

In 2013, about 25 tax-equity investors completed an estimated $6.5 billion in deals with wind and solar project developers, according to John Eber, managing director of energy investments at J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc., a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Keith Martin, a partner at the law firm Chadbourne & Parke LLP. During the same period, between 50 and 60 commercial banks committed roughly $29 billion in debt for project finance, said Thomas Emmons, managing director of Rabobank Group’s renewable energy finance Americas division.

Those numbers appear to be trending upward, at least on the equity side. Tax-equity lending increased by about $1 billion in 2013, and Eber forecast “a sizeable pipeline” of wind and solar projects seeking equity lending from a growing number of investors in 2014.

On the debt side, project finance rebounded after falling to between $24 billion and $25 billion in 2012 from $40 billion in 2011, Emmons said. However, financing for oil, gas and conventional power projects appears to have been up in 2013, while investment in renewables was flat or down slightly, Emmons said during a Jan. 21 webinar hosted by Chadbourne & Parke.

Still, about 10 new commercial banks entered the project debt space in 2013, and more are expected in 2014, including regional U.S. banks, smaller banks in Canada and some in Northern Europe, Emmons said.

Transaction quality

Tax equity was the subject of considerable debate within the U.S. solar industry in 2013. Some industry advocates, such as Jigar Shah, the founder and former CEO of SunEdison LLC, have argued that tax incentives like the investment tax credit drive up the cost of capital by limiting the pool of potential investors.

Others, though, have hesitated to turn their backs on the ITC, saying the subsidy is cumbersome but workable and a decent tool to help level the energy playing field.

In 2013, roughly 20 tax-equity investors completed 27 solar deals totaling nearly 1,800 MW, Eber said. According to SNL data, 4,114 MW of solar are under construction, with 2,234 MW expected in service in 2014 and 1,561 MW expected in service in 2015.

Meanwhile, 13 tax-equity lenders completed 21 wind deals totaling more than 3,000 MW, Eber said. There are 5,727 MW of wind projects under construction, according to SNL data, with 3,024 MW expected in service in 2014 and 1,759 MW expected in service by 2015.

“Let’s just say we see a sizeable pipeline of opportunities in both solar and wind tax equity that we expect to be in the market in 2014,” Eber said. “The market continues to expand in terms of the number of investors, and the active investors continue to increase the amount of dollars they’re making available,” he added. “So we expect the market to be able to serve the needs.”

Asked what their biggest concerns are moving forward, the speakers cited “transaction quality.”

“We’re seeing in this a wide variety of transactions, some of which are … similar to just a very easy project to get completed and then we’ve seen merchant and all sorts of stuff that people are kind of pushing the envelope” with, said Lance Markowitz, Union Bank’s senior vice president of leasing and asset finance.

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US fossil fuels losing out to Wind and Solar

December 10th, 2013

The price of new power purchase agreements for wind farms and new solar projects in the US continue to defy all expectations, making some energy experts wonder why anyone would contemplate a new fossil-fuel plant. A new report by UBS analysts in the US has crossed our desk. It is basically a write-up from a webinar hosted by UBS and Declan Flanagan, head of local renewable energy group Lincoln Energy, but it provides some fascinating insight into what is happening in that market.

The first notable conclusion is the declining cost of wind energy. Contracts in Texas, which accounts for around one quarter of all US installations, are regularly below $30/MWh, and some are at $25/MWh. Even with a tax incentive, this still put wind well below $50/MWh.

Why is this happening? New equipment is lifting capacity factors by 5 percentage points, and Texas’ excellent wind conditions mean that wind farms are getting capacity factors in the high 40s or low 50’s (per cent). Nearly half of this occurs during peak load, defying most characterizations of wind as essentially an off-peak power source.

What does this mean? Greentech Media recently quoted Stephen Byrd, Morgan Stanley’s Head of North American Equity Research for Power & Utilities and Clean Energy, speaking at the Columbia Energy Symposium in late November: “Compare that to the variable cost of a gas plant at $30 per megawatt-hour. The all-in cost to justify the construction of a new gas plant would be above $60 per megawatt-hour.” So who would build gas?

Not as many people. Citigroup recently reported that some peaking gas plants were already being replaced by solar PV plants.

Why is this so? The UBS research note says that in Colorado, local utility Xcel has just announced new contracts for solar PV plants below 6c/kWh ($60/MWh). This, UBS said, was the lowest reported solar pricing it had seen in the US, although it confirms a recent survey by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, which found pricing in that range and with no inflation kicker, meaning that the solar plants would be producing for an effective $40/MWh by the end of their contracts.

That would match even depreciated fossil fuel plants. The variable costs of gas fired plants are likely to be at least $30/MWh, and that does not include their capital costs.

UGE Launches the New Boardwalk Hybrid/Solar/Wind turbine

November 21st, 2013
We just launched our newest outdoor lighting model. Check it out here!

The Big Wind LLC benefits from the Twp of Wayne NJ law suit settelment

November 7th, 2013

The Big Wind LLC benefits from the Twp of Wayne NJ settelment, and will install an EDDY windturbine at the Wayne Auto Spa.

The Twp of Wayne will pay $220,000 to settle a zoning and discrimination lawsuit.
On August 23, 2013, the Township of Wayne (Passaic County) agreed to pay $220,000 to a local car wash/quick lube center and its owner. In its lawsuit, the car wash, Wayne Auto Spa, which advertises itself as being “environmentally responsible” claimed that the Township “unlawfully targeted [its] efforts to install a wind powered electric system on its premises. The Auto Spa’s owner, Robert Burke of Morristown, alleged that Wayne officials subjected him to “invidious discrimination” because of “his outspoken advocacy for the wind energy system.”

Burke alleged that he was the campaign manager for William Brennan, who challenged Council incumbent and Planning Board member Paul Margiotta in an election. He claimed that his support of Brennan resulted in the Council and Planning Board taking action to “impede, frustrate and prohibit the Wayne Auto Spa application for approval of a proposed wind energy system.”

Burke claimed that Joseph Connolly of Wayne, who is a retired Bergen County Sheriff’s Officer, opposed his wind energy proposal and threatened him. Specifically, Burke claimed that Connolly e-mailed him that “I will come back and see you about this. I expect you to get the point this time around.”

Burke also claimed that Connolly came to the Auto Spa, flashed his Sheriff’s badge and told him “I will kick your ass” unless he stopped pursuing his wind energy application. The threats, he claimed, were not investigated by the Wayne Police Department or the Passaic County Prosecutors’s Office despite his repeated requests.

Burke further claimed that the Wayne Police Department “began stopping patrons of Wayne Auto Spa who were making or attempting to make left turns,” which Burke said are legal, into his business. This, according to Burke, was the police department’s attempt to intimidate and harass his customers.

During an October 20, 2011, “sealed settlement conference” before U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Joseph A. Dickson, Burke and Wayne Auto Spa agreed to a) accept $220,000 as a settlement amount, b) not disclose the amount of the settlement to anyone, c) not disparage Wayne or its officials and d) to not file any more Open Public Records Act (OPRA) requests regarding any matters relating to his lawsuit. The settlement was made contingent upon the failure of a legal challenge to Burke’s application to the Planning Board for permission to install his wind turbine system. The transcript from the October 20, 2011 conference, together with a transcript of another conference held on October 24, 2011, are on-line here.

Fortunately, however, confidentiality provisions, such as the one agreed to in this case, do not trump the public’s right to obtain copies of settlement agreements that arise out of lawsuits in which a government agency or official is a defendant.

The case is captioned Burke v. Wayne, Federal Case No. 11-cv-1066 and Burke’s attorney was, at least initially, R. William Potter of Princeton. The lawsuit is on-line here and the settlement agreement is here. The resolution under which the Township Council accepted the settlement is on-line here.

None of Burke’s or Wayne Auto Spa’s allegations have been proven or disproven in court. The settlement agreement resolution expressly states that the $220,000 payment does not constitute an admission of wrongdoing by Wayne or any of its officials. All that is known for sure is that Wayne or its insurer, for whatever reason, decided that it would rather pay Burke and Wayne Auto Spa $220,000 than take the matter to trial. Perhaps the defendants’ decision to settle was done to save further legal expense and the costs of trying what were in fact exaggerated or meritless claims. Or, perhaps the claims were true and the defendants wanted to avoid being embarrassed at trial. This is the problem when cases settle before trial–it is impossible to know the truth of what really happened.