The Issue
Federal RPS
Renewable Portfolio Standard
Support for the Federal RPS is universal !

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Yet there are 3 plans of how this best be done:
  1. Austin Energy's one 30MW order to Gemini, llc
  2. SEMITEXAS.org 5-10-15MW plan in 3 phases.
  3. PIAC Group's 10-10-10MW plan in 3 phases.
Austin is the GREENEST City in America !
Chart of  Solar Technology Progress
There are numerous opportunities to be captured as
Solar Technology advances in stairsteps to our very
future. " Or don't put all your eggs in one basket !"
Please Don't Outsource
Austin's Future to
China
the Federal RPS
see also the Federal RES
The plan honors the goal of 30 Mega-Watts of SOLAR Power for Austin ASAP,
but offers advantages in ramping up in three phases for numerous reasons and gains.

Austin's plan to buy 30 MW now by 2010 from China & then 20 MW more in 2015, creates a FIVE year opportunity gap to build a solar manufacturing cluster in Austin.
Phasing this 50MW goal in over five years would grab these opportunities, rather than skip the chance to create high tech jobs.


Phase One of 5 to 10 Megawatts could be built
quickly by GEMINI, LLC ultimately reaching
Austin's 30MW Solar Power goals in phase 2 & 3.

A Large Solar Tracking Array at Nellis AirForce Base
Phase Two of 10 MW might look like this, but
make use of State, Federal DOE & tax incentives in
the new stimulus bill while creating more local jobs.

A Large Utility Scale Solar Park at Nellis Air Force Base
The third phase would use only LOCAL manufacturers
of panels like Heliovolt, Applied Materials & many more
future Solar companies emerging in Central Texas.

A 2.5 MW thin film based solar power park in Germany
OUR CONCERNS - Turning clean sunlight directly into Solar Power & Electricity seems much simpler and better than a coal or nuke plant by far. We all certainly believe in large utility scale Solar PV Parks using acres of photovoltaic PV panels. But the idea of giving the benefit within Austin's 30 Megawatt Power Project to a Suntech, a Chinese company, that will send all the jobs and half the money to China, seems unconsciousable while 5,000+ people in Austin's semiconductor sector alone have been laid off recently. Although 30 Megawatts will be the largest Solar Power Park in North America, that excitement & want have hidden inside the proposal some flaws, non-optimizations and large oversights or missed opportunities.
  • GEMINI, LLC,... 50% MMARV (a San Francisco { update, now Spainish } ) & 50% Suntech (Chinese), will cause ~ half the money of $250M or ~$125 Million will go to China from this project and the other half to Spain.
  • There are no GREEN COLLAR JOBS from this project's vendor. All the new long term manufacturing jobs will go to China where the solar modules are manufactured. As for Austin, Gemini will really only hire two employees long term to run the PV plant, the ~ 100 construction jobs are really short term jobs only running for 6-9 months. The construction will be done by a large EPC firm, not small Austin PV installers. Gemini refers to green jobs at MEMC in Pasadena making silicon for SunTech,..... these are not NEW jobs nor in Austin.
  • There are as many as 20+ companies in Central Texas that could make PV panels and modules soon. This project could create an advance order book to build several factories.
  • There has been NO third party engineering review or study of this project, as in the recent nuke study at $250K. CH2MHill or Navigant needs to look over the deal closer.
  • There was no consideration or point weight in a purchasing decision matrix given the financial strength of MMA, (really a bank), puts all other bidders at a disadvantage to show finance in place short of a PPA. And all this as the bid went out Sept. 23rd and closed Nov. 13th, 2008, the worst time in financial history.
  • There are no installer or electrician jobs promised to any Austin company in this offer, as Nellis, MMARV could give this to an out of state EPC contractor.
  • $54 Billion dollars of stimulus incentives for renewable energy just went in, and that begs we wait 120 days for DOE Secretary CHU to make those moneys available to reduce cost and engage DOE help as we build a solar industry & Texas Solar Economy.
  • Even before the new stimulus package, there was an unplanned, surprise WINDFALL of a 30% ITC or investment tax credit that will give GEMINI a $60 Million dollar kick back from the US Treasury. By circumstance & timing, this huge federal incentive that came through four days after the bid closed is not fairly reflected in the price quote from GEMINI or any of the vendors who bid in this process. Austin will effectively both pay for & lose this $60M windfall to GEMINI and OVERPAY for the power by 30%.


THE SOLUTION- SEMITEXAS.org believes the potential of PV Solar Power is underestimated and indeed provides the best form of any type of renewable energy source. Harnessing electricity directly from the sun is that miracle moving now to be a common part of our utility generation infrastructure. SEMITEXAS.org makes the commitment to bring Solar Electric Power to the forefront of Texas' new economy. There is new consciousness that Solar Energy also promises to be the ideal match of daytime generation to peak loads. And Solar is a better investment than a coal or nuke power plant as we really don't need such base generation or 24/7 power in the middle of the night. Massive Large Scale utility power projects to be placed in the desert Southwest are on the drawing board now ranging from 5 MW up to 100 MegaWatts. Austin and Texas could be at the forefront of this exploding business, if we grab the opportunity before us with the 30MW project Austin energy proposes. 30MW will be the largest such Solar Power Park to be commissioned next in North America, We must not outsource such a project and the manufacture of the core components within, the solar panels themselves to China, while several companies here in Austin could rise to the occasion and create jobs here in Texas.
  • We propose either the 5+10+15 Megawatt Plan or the 10+10+10 MW Plan, that would still commit to 30 MW {or more}, but phase it in three bids, building JOBS and MANUFACTURING COMPANIES via economic development and finding new opportunities in each growth step for Austin and Texas.
  • Reduce the order from GEMINI, LLC from 30MW to 5 or 10 MW on the current bid, and place the balance of the goal or 25 MW in two bids, later in 2009 and in 2010, to allow Austin's high tech sector to rise to the cause. Solar cost are flat above 2MW, and there is NO economy of scale above 2MW. thus 5 to 30 MW will cost the same per watt.
  • A 120 day delay to bid the balance of 20-25 MW, would not compromise our goals to reduce carbon and go solar. The council would adjust the 30 MW goal to 2011 to allow this to happen with local manufacturers. With NO sacrfice to the environment or generation portfolio goals, this puts new jobs on equal in our goals, rather than knowingly sending the opportunity to China.
  • The first bid order can be reduced from 30MW to 5-10MW from GEMINI {by their agreement}, in that the precedent was set when Austin Energy bidout for 15 to 50 MW of solar in 2006, and council awarded a bid to Sun Edison for 770KW. [ that project was canceled ]. Otherwise 3 new bids.
  • There are several solar manufacturers, that could attract capital with a PPA from Austin Energy. Typically, get a Purchase Order, then go to bank will repeat itself.
  • 16.5 cent/KWh power could be 11 cents with the solar ITC tax credit that should be worked in !!. ( our bids in Austin closed four days after this became law, missing this benefit.)
  • The customer or utility need only commit to the purchase of solar power, with no other up front cost, and the banks are ready to finance such projects.
  • The Green Choice Program could turn into a RESAM or Renewable Energy Subscription Aggregation & Monetization, making capital available for any size project.
  • Future Large Scale Solar Power Parks can be structured with one or more utilities buying wholesale power from such power project.
  • Panel and Module prices are going down though gradual increases in supply, throtled by the economy, thus 5-10 Megawatt increments in each phase will make it easier to supply for any developer { vs 30MW of one type & one order ) and opens the feasibility to more bidders.

Supporters of the 10-10-10 Plan:

  • SemiTexas.org
  • CSI-Austin.org
  • PIAC
  • SEPA
  • SIEA
  • DOE
  • State of Texas - Economic Development
  • Texas Solar Business Report

      PUNDITS of the PLAN

  • Robert Ernost - Founder
  • Barry Rollins - Environmentalist
  • Don Edwards - Solar Consultant
  • Centex Economic Development

      Related Links

  • RECENT HISTORY
  • VOTE SOLAR !!!
  • US Solar Market Pumped by Solar 30% ITC
  • 30% Tax credits extened to 2016
  • SOLAR ITC can be taken now as CA$H !
  • From City Agenda from Feb. 12th, 2009
  • Decision Matrix from currect bid
  • COA March 5th agenda
  • Memorandum from AE utility director
  • 30 MW Solar Park APPROVED !!
  • MEDIA
  • Latest In Austin Bizjournal
  • Statesman Citybeat
  • Statesman Urban Affairs
  • Austin Chronicle Coverage
  • REFERENCE LINKS
  • Solar @ NREL
  • Wikipedia on Solar
  • SEMITEXAS.org
  • Texas Solar Business Report
  • Austin: GREENEST City in America !
  • Austin goes Green

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