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The Heated Debate Over Citizenre

Stephen Lacey, Renewable Energy Access
How an emerging company has created a storm of controversy in the world of solar energy.
The war of words has intensified in recent days over Citizenre, the new multi-level marketing business that promises to “revolutionize” the way Americans purchase their energy.

Skeptics say that Citizenre executives cannot possibly live up to many of their ambitious claims and will hurt the solar industry if consumers are deceived by false company promotions.

According to Citizenre CEO David Gregg, the company plans to bring 100 megawatts (MW) of PV manufacturing capacity online by September of this year; however groundbreaking for the plant has not yet occurred. In addition, investors have not been identified, which has some wondering if the company has any money at all. Some have gone so far as to call the company a “scam.”

But executives and company supporters are encouraging the public to be patient. “This is a long term proposition for both the customer and associate and if they are willing to participate without any financial burden…then we are more than happy to deliver to them,” said Citizenre’s Gregg in an interview on‘s Inside Renewable Energy podcast.

The company plans to rent PV arrays to customers over a 25-year period, with the customer paying for the clean energy generated by the system at a price per kilowatt-hour (Kwh) that is less or equal to their present utility bill. There is also a $500 security deposit that will be given back to the customer when the contract expires.

At last count, there were over 6,500 customers. But that does not mean that customers have signed contracts, it simply means they have expressed interest and provided some personal information. It appears that no money has yet changed hands.
(15 Feb 2007)
Podcast (MP3)

The New Math of Alternative Energy

Rebecca Smith, Wall Street Journal
..Alternative energy still can’t compete with fossil fuels on price. But the margins are narrowing, particularly since oil and gas prices have been rising. The math looks even more favorable if you consider the environmental cost of fossil fuels — which most purely economic calculations don’t. ..

In 1980, wind-power electricity cost 80 cents per kilowatt hour; by 1991 it cost 10 cents, according to the International Energy Agency.

Today, production costs at the best on-shore sites have dropped as low as 3 cents to 4 cents per kilowatt hour, but are more typically 6 cents to 9 cents, not counting subsidies — getting closer to the cost of generating electricity from burning coal. In fact, costs are approaching the point where wind power may be able to prosper without subsidies — currently 1.9 cents a kilowatt hour in the U.S. — particularly if natural-gas prices stay high. ..
(12 Feb 2007)
Thorough but tame review of the changing in economics of energy sources, includes a nice figure illustrating tiny contribution of renewables currently and a video on logistics of installing solar systems. ‘Peak’ only gets a mention in the linked forum and poll on energy sources in 2030.-LJ

Renewable energy to power Indonesian villages

Antara News (Indonesian National News Agency)
Indonesia aims to have 2,000 energy self-sufficient villages powered by hydro, solar or bio-fuel resources by 2009, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said.

The country currently has 140 villages capable of meeting all their own energy needs, the official Antara news agency quoted him as saying late Wednesday after a cabinet meeting.
(15 Feb 2007)