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Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3400 on: February 25, 2019, 09:44:39 PM »
A new 1.5 GW solar power plant with battery storage is under construction:

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/25/queensland-breaks-ground-on-1-5-gigawatt-solar-farm-with-500-mwh-battery-storage/

Quote
The 5100-acre solar farm will be built in three 500 MW sections and connect to the 275 kV high voltage national distribution network in Queensland. There will be two substations and the proposed 500 MWh of battery storage will be added after the solar farm is completed. Total cost of the project is given as $3.5 billion.

The Sunshine Energy website claims the installation will produce about 2,600 GWh of electricity each year. The proximity to the Queensland high voltage utility grid was a key factor in deciding where to place the new solar farm, which will be capable of powering 300,000 homes in Queensland. Up to 1,000 construction jobs will be created and 30 to 60 full time positions will be needed to maintain and operate the facility once completed.

There are two larger ones (as noted upthread) in the planning phase:

Quote
The Sunshine Energy project will be the largest in Australia — for now. There are other larger projects waiting in the wings for regulatory approval — a 4 GW renewable energy hub in New South Wales and the 11 GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub that will export power to Southeast Asia via undersea transmission lines.


Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3401 on: February 26, 2019, 07:36:11 PM »
Just Ask Alaska: Yes, Diesel-Killing Solar Panels Work In The Cold
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File this one under W for When You’ve Lost Alaska, You’ve Lost. The great oil-producing state of Alaska is beginning to deploy solar panels to reduce the use of diesel fuel for electricity generation and reduce sky-high electricity bills in remote rural villages — and yes, the solar panels work just fine in cold, snowy weather. ...
https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/24/just-ask-alaska-yes-diesel-killing-solar-panels-work-in-the-cold/
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

gerontocrat

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3402 on: February 26, 2019, 08:21:54 PM »
Just Ask Alaska: Yes, Diesel-Killing Solar Panels Work In The Cold
Quote
File this one under W for When You’ve Lost Alaska, You’ve Lost. The great oil-producing state of Alaska is beginning to deploy solar panels to reduce the use of diesel fuel for electricity generation and reduce sky-high electricity bills in remote rural villages — and yes, the solar panels work just fine in cold, snowy weather. ...
https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/24/just-ask-alaska-yes-diesel-killing-solar-panels-work-in-the-cold/

Greenland also...
http://awsassets.wwfdk.panda.org/downloads/Greenland_RE_Report_July_2017_v2.pdf

Quote
Solar power is a promising energy source that already has been well implemented and surely is scalable. The level of radiation varies throughout the year, but at the bottom line there is as much radiation in Greenland as other places on the world where solar power is eagerly implemented (Villumsen 2016). So far, only a few solar panels are fitted with battery banks. This means that the energy produced needs to be either consumed instantly
or sold to the Nukissiorfiit grid. In public buildings like offices and schools this is unproblematic. For private households it lowers the gain, as people often times are out of their homes in the sunny hours when the solar cells generate power. LED Solar Greenland has searched for updated technology that satisfies the need for a battery that can function also with very low temperatures as in Greenland. This has recently been found and will be implemented in January and February 2017. When selling solar installations, the entrepreneur often also sells heat pumps. By help from a heat pump the energy produced can be used not only for electricity, but also heating. In addition to this, the heat pump improves the indoor climate and is therefore popular. When dimensioning a solar power installation, the entrepreneur calculates how long it takes to return the investment. On average this is 4,5 year for public buildings and 7 years for private buildings where a battery is not included (LED Solar Greenland, personal communication).

"Para a Causa do Povo a Luta Continua!"
"And that's all I'm going to say about that". Forrest Gump
"Damn, I wanted to see what happened next" (Epitaph)

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3403 on: February 27, 2019, 10:37:14 PM »
Here's an article calculating how much solar and wind needs to be installed to go 100% renewable in the next 20 years (and it also assumes the need to power 100% electric vehicles):

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/02/26/100-clean-energy-cars-in-20-years-is-viable-but-unlikely/

Quote
So if we wanted to electrify everything and account for demand growth and electric cars, we’d need to put in about 290 GW of wind and 510 GW of solar a year. We already have over a TW of wind and solar globally. The amount we put in last year was 20% of the amount needed for a total global replacement of fossil fuels and full expansion of demand to cover electrification of transportation.

That sounds pretty doable, especially as wind and solar keep dropping in price and coal and gas plants keep aging and needing to be replaced anyway. A lot of this is just going to happen organically.

oren

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3404 on: February 28, 2019, 01:30:39 AM »
The numbers mentioned in the article are at least consistent and IMHO answer well the doomsday cries often made here regarding EVs and the impossible requirements they impose on electric grids. However the article makes a blatant omission by failing to mention the need for storage (and backup) to fit the supply and demand curves. Both short-term storage over the day, and longer-term storage over dead periods, are needed and would cost extra, though I would expect that is certainly doable. And in rare cases I expect natgas backup to be needed as well, these plants already exist but must be maintained. Not mentioning this causes me to take the article's analysis with a grain of salt, as I suspect a lack of objectivity.

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3405 on: February 28, 2019, 03:22:24 AM »
The numbers mentioned in the article are at least consistent and IMHO answer well the doomsday cries often made here regarding EVs and the impossible requirements they impose on electric grids. However the article makes a blatant omission by failing to mention the need for storage (and backup) to fit the supply and demand curves. Both short-term storage over the day, and longer-term storage over dead periods, are needed and would cost extra, though I would expect that is certainly doable. And in rare cases I expect natgas backup to be needed as well, these plants already exist but must be maintained. Not mentioning this causes me to take the article's analysis with a grain of salt, as I suspect a lack of objectivity.

That's a fair comment. This surely is the problem with (almost) all our media these days. To much PR spin not enough hard facts and explaining the fuller context involved.

So to me, this article like most others like it, rather than being a message of hope "yes we can", is really more a message that "no we can't - we're screwed", if this is the expectations for "a plan" for a solution in the next 20 years or less. 

I suspect many/most the "purveyors of hope" have not yet fully realised the extent of the massive disruptions in society in economics and accepted norms that is essential to properly tackle the problem head on. Instead they are relying solely on the "news reports" of technological incremental improvements on the margins only. A more cynical view of this approach is calling it "snake oil".

Of course the technology and capacity exists to build out Renewable to 800 GW per year - plus complement that with storage be it battery or some other method. But that technology (it's known potential then), our capacity and ability existed in 2000 as well - it was merely hidden behind a whole slew of BAU beliefs, far mongering, denials and therefore a total lack of investment and Government funded / legislated development goals at scale.

That same core problems exist in doing that today. Nothing foundational has really changed.  The UNFCCC Goals are still inadequate and do not confront the reality of the problem or yet meet the challenges to overcome it. Globally we're still playing around the margins despite all these "good news" stories. imo.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3406 on: February 28, 2019, 05:05:40 AM »
The numbers in that article were conservative, assuming solar and wind would supply 100% of the electricity, including new electrical demand.  There are other carbon free sources as well, including nuclear, hydropower and geothermal that already supply a significant source of power and are also expected to increase (although not as rapidly as solar and wind will).

And the amount of money to be invested in renewables is going to skyrocket over the next two decades:

https://www.axios.com/renewable-energy-investment-china-banks-61215737-e36d-4e43-aa6f-18f3c4b98343.html

Quote
While the Green New Deal is drawing both devotees and detractors on Capitol Hill, green energy is seeing nothing but love in the market.

Driving the news: The International Energy Agency reports that electricity investment has shifted towards renewables, networks and flexibility, while investments in coal dropped by a third in 2017. It's the second year in a row coal- and gas-fired power generation has seen a pullback.

Show less
Why it matters: That's got market analysts at UBS betting on renewable energy. They expect cumulative investment in renewable energy will exceed $9 trillion by 2050 and cumulative investment in clean-air technologies and energy efficiency will rise to $35 trillion between 2015 and 2030.

"We think the renewables longer term investment theme has great potential, particularly for project developers and wind turbine manufacturers," UBS analysts said this week in a note to clients. "Clean air, energy efficiency and storage, and electric vehicles are topics closely linked to the theme."
What they're saying: UBS points to increasing urbanization and population growth, leading to higher electricity demand; technological progress with relative cost advantages for renewable energies; and an improved regulatory environment of social and political support as tailwinds that will buoy the demand for green energy.

The state of play: As the U.S. retreats from global clean energy leadership, China is stepping up.

China is now aiming for renewables to account for at least 35% of energy consumption by 2030. Its previous target was for "non-fossil fuels" to make up 20% of energy use within the same time frame.

The UBS report downloads as a pdf, so I can't link to it.  Here's there statement about projected near term growth for onshore wind and solar:

Quote
Solar and Wind
By 2025, total onshore wind capacity is projected to reach 1000 GW from today’s 500 GW. Meanwhile, electricity generation from solar is expected to reach 750TWh by 2020, a number which was 30 TWh in 2010.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2019, 05:16:29 AM by Ken Feldman »

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3407 on: February 28, 2019, 05:56:01 AM »
I've pointed out before that the US EIA consistently underestimates the growth of renewables.  They aren't alone.  BP confessed in 2018 that they underestimate the energy transition and this article also points out the the international IEA also does:

https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/bp-confesses-mistake-in-forecasting-renewable-energy-growth/

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When oil and gas major BP published its 2018 Energy Outlook last February, the group’s chief executive underlined in the report’s foreword that “a core theme” of this year’s edition “is the speed of the transition underway”.

Speaking to EURACTIV in Brussels this week, BP’s chief economist, Spencer Dale, went further, acknowledging that the company had made a “mistake” in evaluating the speed of the transition.

“We don’t pretend we haven’t made this mistake – we have made this mistake,” Dale admitted, saying BP has “revised up” its renewable energy growth forecasts as a result.

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BP surprised by “pace” of China’s energy transition

For BP, the surprising figures are “telling us less about solar energy and more about the pace of the energy transition in China. And the pace at which essentially they’ve reduced their share of coal and filled up that hole with solar energy,” Dale said.

The pattern is a familiar one. For years, the International Energy Agency (IEA) and oil majors such as BP and ExxonMobil have consistently tended to underestimate renewables growth in their annual energy outlooks.

“Every year BP has predicted a sudden slowdown in renewable energy growth, and every year it has been wrong,” said Greg Muttitt from Oil Change International, a green NGO, when BP published its 2017 energy outlook.

So people like Lurk who look at the EIA, IEA or oil major energy projections are mislead into underestimating the speed of the energy transition.

BTW, the major oil companies' projections should be looked at with caution.  They're sitting on trillions of dollars worth of oil reserves that their companies' values are based on.  When the world transitions to EVs and they find those reserves aren't going to be drilled, the investors are going to be left hold the bag.

rboyd

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3408 on: February 28, 2019, 06:16:45 AM »
Global Wind Energy Council: 51.3 GW of global wind capacity installed in 2018 (down 3.6% over previous year)

"“Since 2014, the global wind industry has added more than 50GW of new capacity each year and we expect 55 GW or more to be added each year until 2023. In particular, the offshore market will grow on a global scale and will reach up to 7 to 8GW of new capacity during 2022 and 2023.”

Year over year growth in cumulative installed capacity fell to 9.6%. With a relatively constant level of annual net new installs, against a growing installed base, the growth in the latter will slowly reduce over the next 5 years. At this rate of growth, the doubling rate is approximately 8 years. That is much too slow for the rate of decarbonization required as wind provided 5% of global electricity in 2017, and would increase to only 10% around 2025 (assuming no significant increase in global electricity production).

Note: in 2017 solar provided 2% of global electricity production.

https://gwec.net/51-3-gw-of-global-wind-capacity-installed-in-2018/
« Last Edit: February 28, 2019, 06:29:18 AM by rboyd »

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3409 on: February 28, 2019, 06:53:26 AM »
Global Wind Energy Council: 51.3 GW of global wind capacity installed in 2018 (down 3.6% over previous year)

"“Since 2014, the global wind industry has added more than 50GW of new capacity each year and we expect 55 GW or more to be added each year until 2023. In particular, the offshore market will grow on a global scale and will reach up to 7 to 8GW of new capacity during 2022 and 2023.”

Year over year growth in cumulative installed capacity fell to 9.6%. With a relatively constant level of annual net new installs, against a growing installed base, the growth in the latter will slowly reduce over the next 5 years. At this rate of growth, the doubling rate is approximately 8 years. That is much too slow for the rate of decarbonization required as wind provided 5% of global electricity in 2017, and would increase to only 10% around 2025 (assuming no significant increase in global electricity production).

Note: in 2017 solar provided 2% of global electricity production.

https://gwec.net/51-3-gw-of-global-wind-capacity-installed-in-2018/

It's only in the past year or two that cost of new wind or solar has decreased so that it's lower than fossil fuels.  It takes time for new projects to come online.  So projecting from the past into the future (which is what the EIA and IEA models do) is going to severely underestimate the growth in new renewable installations.

To get more accurate projections, you need to consider current costs of all competing technologies, government policies, other market considerations such as power purchase agreements and projects in the pipeline.  Here is an article that does that for the US, published in January 2019:

https://www.aweablog.org/2018-highlights-six-trends-shaping-future-wind-power/

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THE WIND DEVELOPMENT PIPELINE HITS AN ALL-TIME HIGH
Here’s a remarkable fact: There has never been more wind power under construction in the U.S. than right now, which means America’s 105,000 wind workers and 500 wind-related factories are as busy as ever.

Just under 38,000 megawatts (MW) of new wind projects are under construction or advanced development. That means in just the next few years, the U.S. is poised to add as much new wind as all the wind currently installed in Texas, Oklahoma and Iowa combined, the country’s top three wind states.

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2018 saw the first 4 MW land-based turbine orders in the U.S., which are powerful enough to provide electricity for 1,400 homes. That’s almost twice as many homes as the average wind turbine installed in 2017. As technology continues improving, and turbines reach stronger, steadier winds, electricity output will continue increasing and wind will become economically viable in even more parts of the country.

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STATES COMMIT TO MORE RENEWABLE ENERGY
States big and small decided they want more renewable energy in 2018. Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia all passed legislation increasing their Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). On election day, Nevada voters also passed a ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to include a 50 percent RPS, which now must be approved by the legislature.

COMPANIES CONTINUE POWERING MORE OF THEIR OPERATIONS USING WIND
We don’t have the final numbers just yet (you’ll need to wait for the release of the Fourth Quarter Market Report later this month), but we already know 2018 was a record year for corporate and other non-utility customers buying wind power. In just the first nine months of 2018, non-utility wind customers signed contracts for more wind power capacity than any other year, for a total of 2,904 MW.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3410 on: February 28, 2019, 08:11:35 PM »
Quote
So people like Lurk who look at the EIA, IEA or oil major energy projections are mislead (sic) into underestimating the speed of the energy transition.

No I am not being misled ... I have a brain and I use it. I am not underestimating anything.

I do not even recall making any "claims" or presenting any numbers here that could be labelled as "underestimating" the actual real speed of the energy transition. SO why do you say things like and make it all so personal about me?

fyi I spent several years digging deeply into the EIA, IEA, IPCC, high end science papers and other energy use Data like BP and found all of it wanting and "intentionally complex" and incomparable among data sets all by myself. So don't be telling me what I know and what I don't know and making such silly unfounded assumptions. 

Since the early 2000s I chose to focus my attention in several fields: Energy Use Data, Arctic Sea Ice extent and PIOMASS, the great barrier reef science re ocean acidity, bleaching events, fish stocks etc etc, Renewable energy technology and uptake; and the Oil and Gas Fracking industry; and lastly CO2 emissions and shifts in atmospheric levels and what was driving them from one year to the next.

That was on top of making sure I knew exactly what every single IPCC Assessment Report and sub report had to say about Climate change science. So I know what I know from ~15 years of really close constant attention to the details of those things I was interested in.

These days my time and energy into additional research has diminished a lot because I don;t see the point any more. What with 55 new climate papers a day being released I am way too old to keep up with that. Nothing is going to change my mind about how serious this issue is and what little has and is still being done about it.

I'm also got a bit of expertise in Corporate business "mindsets", dynamics and Financials, along with a higher than average level of knowledge in Marketing, Advertising and Sophistry in the media and by Politicians. So I can pick the holes in an article be it a denialists one or a fake hope one that do not actually address all the facts - which can at times make an article nothing more than dishonest PR Spin. I can do this because I used to write dishonest PR spin during my 'career' and then go sell that to my Board, to 'clients', to customers and the public.

NO I do not consider myself a climate science expert and neither do I have tickets on myself nor believe I am "oh so much better" than others here. But given the "mud" that gets thrown at times, I figure my response here is reasonable and necessary.

If I post information (beyond my perosnal opinions about things in general) that is factually incorrect including data on renewable energy uptake then by all means call me on it and if you are correct then I will correct the record myself and apologise for the error.

You'll recall we had an exchange last month about the amount of renewables installed in Australia and you accused me of just copying and pasting from industry press releases.  When I corrected you and showed you the links to Australian Government websites and news articles about the installations connected to the grid, you didn't apologize or correct your erroneous posts.  You were silent.

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No I am not being misled ... I have a brain and I use it. I am not underestimating anything.

Quote
So I know what I know from ~15 years of really close constant attention to the details of those things I was interested in.

These days my time and energy into additional research has diminished a lot because I don;t see the point any more. What with 55 new climate papers a day being released I am way too old to keep up with that. Nothing is going to change my mind about how serious this issue is and what little has and is still being done about it.

Not even new information?  A lot has changed about the costs and investments in the electrical generation industry, electronic vehicles and even our assessment of the tipping points or thresholds in climate change in the past two years.  Much of it is good news that shows with concerted effort, we can avoid exceeding the 1.5 degree C threshold. 

rboyd

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3411 on: February 28, 2019, 08:46:17 PM »
It's only in the past year or two that cost of new wind or solar has decreased so that it's lower than fossil fuels.  It takes time for new projects to come online.  So projecting from the past into the future (which is what the EIA and IEA models do) is going to severely underestimate the growth in new renewable installations.

To get more accurate projections, you need to consider current costs of all competing technologies, government policies, other market considerations such as power purchase agreements and projects in the pipeline.  Here is an article that does that for the US, published in January 2019:

That's why I use the Global Wind Energy Council numbers, i.e. the body representing the wind energy industry, not the EIA or IEA that have been overly pessimistic. If anyone is going to know whats in the pipeline it will be the GWEC, so I would say that their forecasts are on very strong ground and they are certainly not "anti-wind" in any way. Their full report will come out next month and goes into great detail on all the factors affecting growth rates (the 2017 report is available on their web site, you have to provide your email and they send it to you).

Its the growth rate in cumulative installed capacity that counts, on a global basis. Individual countries can have growth spurts (just like Germany then China has had) but its the global numbers that are the most important for climate change. Also, such spurts tend to be followed by pauses as infrastructure issues, economic costs of closing down current capacity etc. are dealt with. The case of the German coal industry is a good case of political issues, as is the NIMBY resistance to onshore wind in the UK.

There is a lot of "friction" in the economic, financial (e.g. non-depreciated assets), technical infrastructure and political systems - especially as wind and solar gain a greater percentage share and start impacting many entrenched interests and infrastructural issues. The marginal cost of intermittent electricity from a wind turbine is just one factor. My PhD thesis is on the critical political economy of climate change, so I spend a lot of time looking at such things. Not the most optimism-inducing activity.

For solar I use numbers from solar power europe (they do global forecasts), and IRENA covers all renewable energy on a global basis (they have some excellent specialist reports as well as a big database of renewable energy statistics).

http://www.solarpowereurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Global-Market-Outlook-2018-2022.pdf

https://www.irena.org/






Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3412 on: March 01, 2019, 12:22:41 AM »
For solar I use numbers from solar power europe (they do global forecasts), and IRENA covers all renewable energy on a global basis (they have some excellent specialist reports as well as a big database of renewable energy statistics).

http://www.solarpowereurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Global-Market-Outlook-2018-2022.pdf

https://www.irena.org/

Thanks for the links.  There's a lot of good information in them.

Here are some excerpts from the Solar Power Europe Global Market Outlook for 2018 - 2012:

They start by noting that 2017 (the last year with data available, as the report was published in 2018) was quite notable.

Quote
In fact, solar alone saw more new capacity deployed than fossil fuels and
nuclear combined. Solar even added nearly twice as much capacity as its
renewables peer, wind power (see fig. 1). Despite remarkable growth rates
in recent years, there is a long way to go for renewables – its total share
reached ‘only’ 12.1% of total global power output in 2017 (see fig. 2).

They note that costs will continue to decline with advancements in the technology:

Quote
Due to technical improvements, solar power cost and price
will quickly continue to decrease. A foretaste was already
provided in the recent 300 MW Saudi tender, where the
lowest bid of 1.79 US cents/kWh, which was later
disqualified, was reportedly based on bifacial module
technology. Such solar modules can generate power on
both sides and come with the promise of 10-30% higher
yields, depending on solar cell technology and location.
The market share of bifacial technology is expected to grow
from less than 5% in 2017 to nearly 40% by 2028, according
to the International Roadmap of Photovoltaic (ITRPV).
Bifacial modules and other technology improvements
on the crystalline side will further improve solar’s cost
advantage over other generation technologies. That’s
also true for the thin-film solar technology segment,
where First Solar just introduced its high energy yield
Gen6 module product.

They note that the 2017 Global Market Outlook underestimated growth so they revise it upwards in the 2018 Outlook:

Quote
Again, all Global Market Outlook 2018 scenarios show
stronger growth than in the previous GMO edition. In
2017, we assumed a cumulative installed capacity of
471.2 GW for the Medium Scenario in 2018, this year we
estimate 505.2 GW, which is about 7% higher (see Fig.
10). The final year of the 5-year forecast in the GMO 2017,
ranged between 623.2 and 935.5 GW with the most likely
Medium Scenario resulting in 772.1 GW of cumulative
operating solar power in 2021. In the GMO 2018, we
anticipate a range between 714.6 and 1,042.1 GW, with
871.3 GW forecasted for the most likely scenario in 2021
– that’s about 13% higher.

So even the industry advocates are underestimating the growth rates!

The report has some good sidebars on techonology improvements (more detail than what I summarized above) and Purchase Power Agreements (PPAs).  Thanks again for sharing the link.


Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3413 on: March 01, 2019, 12:36:15 AM »
Global Wind Energy Council: 51.3 GW of global wind capacity installed in 2018 (down 3.6% over previous year)

"“Since 2014, the global wind industry has added more than 50GW of new capacity each year and we expect 55 GW or more to be added each year until 2023. In particular, the offshore market will grow on a global scale and will reach up to 7 to 8GW of new capacity during 2022 and 2023.”

Year over year growth in cumulative installed capacity fell to 9.6%. With a relatively constant level of annual net new installs, against a growing installed base, the growth in the latter will slowly reduce over the next 5 years. At this rate of growth, the doubling rate is approximately 8 years. That is much too slow for the rate of decarbonization required as wind provided 5% of global electricity in 2017, and would increase to only 10% around 2025 (assuming no significant increase in global electricity production).

Note: in 2017 solar provided 2% of global electricity production.

https://gwec.net/51-3-gw-of-global-wind-capacity-installed-in-2018/

It's true current installation rates for wind and solar are only about 20% of what will be needed annually, averaged over 20 years.  However, the EV revolution really hasn't taken off yet, and enough renewables are being installed to replace retiring coal plants and even some natural gas peaker plants.  So while more would be better, the fact that less has been installed than will be needed eventually isn't overly concerning yet.  As costs drop and more companies enter the market, the pace of installations will accelerate.

Wind and solar are still in the early phases of technology adoption.  Basically, the long R&D phase has pretty much ended and the commercialization phase is underway.  Up until 2018, wind and solar were in the flat part of the "S-curve".  Now that the costs for wind and solar are lower than other types of energy, the installations will accelerate onto the exponential growth part of the curve. 

See the Wikipedia page for more info on the tech S-curve:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technology_life_cycle



Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3414 on: March 01, 2019, 06:04:19 AM »
One of the advantages of solar power is that it can be installed much more quickly than competing technologies.  For example, the new 497 MW solar farm in Texas, which broke ground this week, will have 245 MW online this year and the remainder next year.

https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/02/28/texas-largest-solar-project-a-behemoth-of-national-scale-breaks-ground/

Quote
497 MWdc. Enel is pitching it as the largest solar plant in Texas, which is both accurate and selling the project short. The truth is this is among the largest projects in the nation known to pv magazine, exceeded only by the 550 MW Topaz project in California.

Now one would think that a plant this large is going to take some time to construct and Enel would appear to reflect this by anticipating staged completion. However, the first 252 MWdc phase of the project, which is the phase that has broken ground, is anticipated to be completed by the end of this year. The remaining 245 MWdc is expected to reach completion just a year later, at the end of 2020 – an impressively fast timeline.

Furthermore, this is not the only behemoth that Enel is developing in Upton County, let alone Texas. In early January the company broke ground on the High Lonesome wind project, a 450 MW wind farm which it expects to become operational by the end of the year. Fun fact about High Lonesome: it will be, once completed, the largest wind farm in Texas, so Enel will hold the claim for both the largest wind and solar farms in the Lone Star state

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3415 on: March 01, 2019, 06:12:15 AM »
One of the results of the US tariffs on solar panels is that foreign manufacturers who want to sell to the US market are building factories in the US.  Two of those factories opened this week.

https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/02/28/breaking-the-largest-solar-factory-in-the-western-hemisphere-is-now-online/

Quote
A few weeks ago, we were wondering when the 3.8 GW of solar factories that had been announced in the United States last winter and spring were going to actually come online. Turns out, we didn’t need to wait long.

Coming only two days after JinkoSolar held an opening for its 400 MW solar panel factory in Jacksonville, Florida, Hanwha Q Cells has now announced that it has put its massive solar panel factory in Dalton, Georgia online. When fully ramped the factory will have the capacity to put out 1.7 GW of solar panels annually, and has already begun shipping modules.

Quote
As mentioned earlier, this is the second of four large factories planned in the wake of the Section 201 tariffs and Republican-driven tax reform which has gone online. As for the others, the construction contractor who built LG’s 500 MW PV module factory in Huntsville, Alabama has stated that construction is complete, but it is unclear on what schedule tools will be installed and the facility will be online.

Additionally, First Solar is building a 1.2 GW PV module factory in Ohio to make its large-format Series 6 modules based on its cadmium telluride thin film technology. The company says that this factory will be producing modules by the end of 2019.

Altogether these four factories will increase the aggregate PV module capacity in the United States to around 5 GW. This represents around half of the nation’s current market for solar.

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3416 on: March 01, 2019, 02:42:08 PM »
Quote from Ken Feldman from the solar power europe report (link below)

Quote
in fact, solar alone saw more new capacity deployed than fossil fuels and nuclear combined. Solar even added nearly twice as much capacity as its renewables peer, wind power (see fig. 1). Despite remarkable growth rates in recent years, there is a long way to go for renewables – its total share reached ‘only’ 12.1% of total global power output in 2017 (see fig. 2).

That's mixing hydro-electric (which has very slow yearly growth) together with wind and solar (and other slow growing renewables such as biomass), which very much misrepresents the share for the faster growing "new renewables" of solar and wind. I have found that a lot of sites use this sleight of hand and others such as capacity vs output, electricity production being confused with overall energy production etc., all of which tends to put a more optimistic spin on the message. Wind energy is 5% and solar is 2%

In the paragraph above that quote, the report says:

Quote
Under optimal conditions, the world’s solar generation plant capacity could reach up to 1,270.5 GW by the end of 2022, but we consider 1,026.2 GW more likely. Still, that means solar would reach the terawatt production capacity level in 2022.


Their most optimal (i.e. optimistic) scenario is for 1,270.5 GW capacity (not output, solar has about 20-25% capacity utilization rates) in 2022. This is from just over 500GW capacity in 2018 - an increase of 150%. As solar currently provides 2% of global electricity, this would be an increase of 3% of overall electricity production (to 5% if overall electricity production did not grow).

The trend growth in global electricity production is 3% per year, so this plus the slower growth in wind and the relatively static hydro output will not offset the growth in global electricity production growth between now and 2022. i.e. fossil fuel usage will still increase.

The report also notes that the amount of net incremental capacity additions grew only 3.5% between 2017 and 2018, mostly because China cut government support.

Renewables are only part of the solution, even if governments greatly increased their fiscal support. The others include energy efficiency, electrification to replace fossil fuels (e.g. EV's), land use change etc., but we are way past the point where such things will get us to where we need to be (i.e. rapid and significant reductions in carbon emissions). That requires reductions in overall energy usage, something that is still not acceptable in policy discussions.

http://www.solarpowereurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/Global-Market-Outlook-2018-2022.pdf
« Last Edit: March 01, 2019, 02:52:41 PM by rboyd »

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3417 on: March 02, 2019, 12:36:41 AM »
Two large US companies announced PPAs for renewable energy this week:

GM in Michigan

https://www.autoblog.com/2019/03/01/gm-wind-energy-dte-michigan/

Quote


General Motors has been working to green up its operations for years now, and has been doing so with the help of renewable energy. The company has been investing in solar for well over a decade, and has recently been sourcing wind power in both the U.S. and Mexico. Currently, GM sources at least 20 percent of its global energy needs from renewables, with a target of 100 percent by 2050. This week, GM took another step toward that goal through a deal with DTE Energy to source 300,000 MWh of wind energy in Michigan.

 That amount of energy is enough to completely power GM's Warren Technical Center, as well as all of its operations at the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit. GM likens the amount of energy it'll be getting through this wind deal as enough to power almost 30,000 U.S. households per year. GM also says it has so far signed on to source 1.71 terawatt hours of clean energy in North America.

3M in Minnesota:

http://www.startribune.com/3m-makes-deal-to-use-all-renewable-energy-on-maplewood-campus/506492132/

Quote

The new agreement makes 3M one of the largest corporate headquarters to commit to using renewable energy to power its corporate operations.

3M has committed to powering its Maplewood headquarters campus with 100 percent renewable energy under a new partnership with Xcel Energy that begins Friday.

The agreement makes 3M one of the largest corporate headquarters to commit to using green energy to power corporate operations. Others include the pipemaker Uponor, floor-cleaning equipment manufacturer Tennant Co., the city of St. Louis Park and St. Olaf College. A future project also includes Google’s pending data center in Becker, Minn.

Right now, however, 3M’s arrangement “is unique in terms of the size, for sure,” said Xcel Energy spokesman Randy Fordice. The project has been in the works for a year.
 
Under the agreement, Xcel Energy will purchase roughly 180,000 megawatt hours of wind energy for 3M, mostly from wind farms in Pipestone, Minn. Additional electricity will come from wind projects that are part of Xcel’s Windsource program and solar sources.

The power, for which 3M is paying a premium, will supply electricity to the 30 buildings across 3M’s 409-acre campus in Maplewood. The headquarters houses 12,000 employees.

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3418 on: March 02, 2019, 06:16:07 AM »
The way the electrical grid works power is power. Their is no way to distinguish between green electrons and fossil fuel electrons. Separate power lines would be costly and wasteful.

While their is concern about keeping the system honest. The basic idea if you can afford it and are willing paying a premium helps fund new and existing renewable energy projects. If enough people do this they will have to install more renewables to keep up.

The shift of renewables being cheaper than fossil fuels is very new. But to be clear this is the producers price but end users pay retail price they are not the same. This transition to cheaper costs has happened in the last year or two most of those projects have not been built yet. Many people are willing to pay the premium to encourage new renewable projects.

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3419 on: March 02, 2019, 09:36:12 AM »
For the corporations it's mostly greenwashing imho, unless new wind and solar farms are built as part of the deal. Otherwise it's just taking existing renewable generation and branding it as 3M power or GM power. It's true though that if all customers did this the utility would have an extra incentive to put in more renewables.

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3420 on: March 02, 2019, 02:48:53 PM »
Does anyone has experience with ageing PV systems ? My experience is that many systems are on roofs that are difficult to reach, so maintenance is not so easy. Infra red camera would be a great help to find the problems but I never saw it at work. The worry is that existing capacity is often considered as granted, which I'm not sure of. I guess that governments when calculating returns on subsidies might have been overoptimistic.

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3421 on: March 02, 2019, 04:10:07 PM »
Guess 8 year old is a bit new for 'ageing PV systems'. Anyway, never had to do anything if that is any use.

Occassionally check meter readings with neighbour who had system installed at about same time.

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3422 on: March 03, 2019, 12:46:59 AM »
When a company (or community organization) buy electricity from a solar or wind provider under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), they are purchasing a certain amount of energy at a set price.  Their money goes directly to the wind or solar provider, who can then invest that money in new wind or solar projects.

In most cases, the PPA specifies which solar or wind farm the electricity is coming from.  If that farm doesn't have the capacity to supply the electricity, the owner of the renewable farm either has to expand it to increase the capacity or the deal isn't made.

In Australia, that's the point of the Government accreditation of the solar or wind farms.  In the US, there are production tax credits involved.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3423 on: March 03, 2019, 12:55:21 AM »
Sol Systems CEO discusses current trends in US demand for solar power, improvements in the technology and costs:

https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/a-solar-ceos-2019-forecast#gs.7fNt7nUl

Quote
In 2018, New Jersey passed a renewable portfolio standard (RPS) with a goal of 50 percent renewables by 2030, and the governor has stated his goal for reaching 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. The District of Columbia passed a 50 percent renewable energy goal by 2032. In September 2018, the California state legislature passed SB 100, which requires the state to generate 100% percent of electricity from carbon-free sources, with a 60 percent renewable portfolio standard built in.

New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed an executive order in January 2019 that commits the state to reduce carbon emissions by at least 45 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. Governors in Maine, New York, Colorado and Illinois have all set 100 percent targets for renewable energy.

These policies have broad and significant impacts on solar regionally, since RPS legislation generally enables both in-state and out-of-state development. Climate change has become one of the most important issues for younger generations, as it should be. These generations are actively changing the prioritization of policy across the political divide. Given the recent Democratic takeovers of six state legislative houses, as well as six governorships, expect additional legislative support for renewables in 2019.

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As we anticipated, corporate customers continue to move into direct renewable energy procurement based on corporate sustainability goals and cost savings. In 2018, there were 75 new corporate renewable deals, supporting almost 7 gigawatts of new projects. This is twice as much as 2015, the former record year. Expect this trend to continue in 2019, especially in the PJM Interconnection territory where there is tremendous demand from customers, a very large and dynamic market to support solar, pending RPS change, and a federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) that drives urgency.

Quote
How corporate customers acquire solar energy will be the biggest change over the coming year. The corporate customer has evolved from buying voluntary renewable energy certificates (RECs), to buying compliance RECs, to actually contracting for the output of electricity from a specific renewable energy project. This evolution has largely been driven by the concept of additionality. Corporates want to know that there is a causal relationship between their efforts to procure renewable energy and new builds.

Quote
Additionally, and just as importantly, module efficiency is increasing. Increased adoption of PERC, N-type cells, split cell, and bifacial will drive module performance increasingly upward. A standard 350-watt module in 2018 will become a 380-watt module over the next year, increasing energy density, reducing installation costs, and increasing overall output.

To further this trend, balance-of-system costs and architectures are improving. Tracker performance at a sub-array level is increasing (for example, see the TrueCapture technology our friends at Nextracker launched recently), creating a projected 2 percent more energy. DC optimizers will create 3-5 percent more energy longer-term, while mono-PERC and bifacial modules may add up to 5 percent more efficiency. These are small changes by themselves, but create significant uplift together.

Quote
All of this means that we’ll build vastly less expensive yet more efficient solar. Utility-scale projects are being built at 90-95 cents per watt right now. That was unthinkable two years ago. We’ll build at or below 85 cents per watt in the near future. This pricing has led to sub-3 cent PPA prices from solar projects. There is no other technology that can compete. Lazard, as they have for years, does a great job of illustrating this in their annual Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) Report.

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3424 on: March 03, 2019, 05:46:52 PM »
Hornsea 1 in the North Sea (UK) has begun production 7 MW wind turbines

This video shows the current project and how Hornsea 2 will come in at a price about half that of Hornsea 1  Hornsea 2 will tout higher turbines at 8.4 MW each.



Upon completion it will have 1.2 GW of generational capacity at a very high capacity factor.

Hornsea II will tout larger wind turbines and their projected capacity factor will approach 60%

http://euanmearns.com/uk-offshore-wind-capacity-factors-a-semi-statistical-analysis/

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Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3425 on: March 04, 2019, 08:28:29 PM »
When a company (or community organization) buy electricity from a solar or wind provider under a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), they are purchasing a certain amount of energy at a set price.  Their money goes directly to the wind or solar provider, who can then invest that money in new wind or solar projects.

In most cases, the PPA specifies which solar or wind farm the electricity is coming from.  If that farm doesn't have the capacity to supply the electricity, the owner of the renewable farm either has to expand it to increase the capacity or the deal isn't made.

In Australia, that's the point of the Government accreditation of the solar or wind farms.  In the US, there are production tax credits involved.

I do not think that is telling the whole/real story. It does not really answer my questions about 3M/GM, and I deleted a latter response because it doesn't say much about what's going on. It looks a little like a pea and shell game using 'financial instruments'. I am unsure atm.

Quote
the wind or solar provider, who can then invest that money in new wind or solar projects.

Like is that really true? It looked to me the PPA from 3m and gm were about the supplier obtaining sufficient financial security to enable it to actually build the project that was going to supply that power - not to finance the next one.

"Data center owners Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have used PPAs to offset the emissions and power usage of cloud computing."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_purchase_agreement (unreliable as a ref but a start)

"A solar power purchase agreement (PPA) is a financial agreement where a developer arranges for the design, permitting, financing and installation of a solar energy system on a customer’s property at little to no cost." ....... ?
https://www.seia.org/research-resources/solar-power-purchase-agreements

As the Wikipedia article explains, there are many types of PPAs, including commercial and community organization PPAs.  The SEIA website seems to be about those (note the part about the solar panels being on the purchaser's property).  Here's an overview of Corporate PPAs:

https://www.dlapiper.com/en/uk/insights/publications/2016/06/renewable-energy-global-paper/what-are-corporate-power-purchase-agreements-ppa/

Quote
A Corporate Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) is a long-term contract under which a business agrees to purchase electricity directly from an energy generator. This differs from the traditional approach of simply buying electricity from licensed electricity suppliers, often known as utility PPAs.

Quote
The corporate off-taker will enter into a long term PPA (commonly with a term in excess of 10 to 15 years) with renewable energy generator to take all of the energy generated by its plant (or portfolio of plants), commonly for a fixed price per kWh (subject to some form of indexation).

While the energy is "notional" and not real, the plant owner can't legally enter into multiple PPAs with the energy generate from the same plant.  Once all of the power is accounted for by PPAs, the solar or wind farm owner will either need to expand the plant or build new ones.


Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3426 on: March 04, 2019, 08:51:46 PM »
The first large-scale solar farm in North Dakota is starting construction.

https://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/north-dakota-s-first-commercial-solar-energy-project-gets-ok/article_30b14097-1f6e-51ac-bd62-77d852997bca.html

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FARGO — North Dakota’s first commercial solar energy complex will start construction this spring in rural Cass County’s Harmony Township and go into operation in 2020.

The $250 million project will sprawl over 1,600 acres and have a capacity of up to 200 megawatts — generating enough electricity to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 240,000 metric tons, or the equivalent of taking 50,000 cars off the road every year.

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3427 on: March 04, 2019, 11:24:28 PM »
China shows the way: builds out UHV DC and AC and proposes transcontinental UHV grid

Fairley at ieee spectrum has detail. For those so minded, there is a link to a pdf about line commutation control which gives some of the math behind the grid.

https://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/the-smarter-grid/chinas-ambitious-plan-to-build-the-worlds-biggest-supergrid

sidd

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3428 on: March 05, 2019, 06:27:13 PM »
Results of the most recent solar power auction in India:

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/03/04/india-witnesses-sharp-fall-in-solar-tariffs-in-750-megawatt-auction/

They received bids for more projects than they planned to install.

Quote
Rajasthan, being one of the most favored states for project developers to set up projects, saw massive over-subscription of the tender. Against an offered capacity of 750 megawatts, project developers placed bids to set up 2.37 gigawatts of solar power capacity.

The bids came from international firms and Indian firms, and the prices were really low.

Quote
Finland-based project developer Fortum Solar placed the lowest tariff bid of Rs 2.48/kWh (3.49¢/kWh). The company managed to secure 250 megawatts of capacity. An Indian conglomerate also entered the solar power auctions for the first time and bagged 40 megawatts of capacity at the same tariff.

One of India’s largest solar power independent power producers, Acme Solar, secured rights to develop 250 megawatts of capacity at the same tariff. The company jointly holds the record for the lowest-ever tariff bid placed by any company in India of Rs 2.44/kWh (3.44¢/kWh).

A subsidiary of UPC Renewables, which also successfully bid in recently concluded Gujarat solar power auction, managed to grab 250 megawatts of capacity, also at Rs 2.48/kWh (3.49¢/kWh). ReNew Power, a major competitor to Acme Solar, placed a bid to develop 360 megawatts capacity but could manage to secure only 110 megawatts of capacity as it placed a marginally higher bid of Rs 2.49/kWh (3.51¢/kWh).

Quote
The lowest tariff discovered in this auction is around 3% lower than the lowest tariff bid placed in the recently concluded 1.2 gigawatt national-level auction. The lowest winning bid in the national-level tender was Rs 2.55/kWh (3.59¢/kWh).

The notable decline in tariff bids in the Rajasthan solar power tender is likely due to the favorable land lease policy of the state government, presence of sufficient and ready-to-use transmission infrastructure, and certainty of power purchase by Rajasthan-based power distribution utilities.


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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3429 on: March 05, 2019, 07:21:38 PM »
I think Lurk and I actually have the same goals and would like to ultimately see all of the world's energy come from carbon free sources, and the sooner the better.  It seems he objects to my pollyana-ish language, so I'll try a different tone. :P

Yet another corporation is refusing to wait for the global systemic change requiring them to use carbon free energy sources and has instead installed a massive solar power plant.

https://bigthink.com/technology-innovation/disney-builds-massive-solar-facility-to-cut-emissions-in-half-by-2020

Quote
You know who's one of the world's leaders in tackling greenhouse gas emissions? You might be surprised to know that the venerable corporation that brought us Mickey Mouse is staying ahead of the pack by following through on its pledge to cut emissions by 50 percent. Disney's goal is to reach half the emissions it had in 2012 by the year 2020.

One big way the entertainment juggernaut is making its commitment a reality is by opening an enormous new 270-acre, 50-megawatt solar facility in Florida. It went online in 2019 to provide clean renewable energy to the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. As stated on Disney's blog, the facility will generate so much power, Disney will be able to use it to operate two of its four theme parks in Central Florida.

The new solar farm, consisting of more than half a million panels, will majorly reduce net greenhouse gas emissions, lowering them by more than 57,000 tons per year.

The article is silent on the economics on the deal and instead quotes a corporate spokesperson blathering about "being a responsible citizen of the world".

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3430 on: March 05, 2019, 11:53:08 PM »
Millennial Lithium’s project center in Argentina goes solar


http://www.mining.com/millennial-lithiums-project-center-argentina-goes-solar/

In a media statement, the Vancouver-based miner highlighted that a state-of-the-art hybrid solar power system is in charge of providing electricity to the center while reducing CO2 emissions by 147 tonnes annually and the costs for fuel by $250,000 per year.
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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3431 on: March 06, 2019, 02:13:47 AM »
It seems he objects to my pollyana-ish language ...


You are correct about the first part of your comment. But off the mark with this one above. How you speak, your style, beliefs and your opinions are fine. As is your "emphasis" even if I think it;s a little over the top/exaggerated at times. But we all do that when it comes to what we feel and believe is the important "message".

I think (and hope) if one had an objective view at my own (at times over-exaggerated) responses I generally "focus" on the missing details, especially in regard "media/blog" references. I don't claim to know everything about everything but when I see distortions and extreme cherry-picking or laziness by "journos/PR hucksters" this is what motivates me. I abhor people being misled by only hearing a slice of a story that claims to be the whole cake.

And/or appears to be the most important issue when it is not. Or where a series, a pattern of narratives keeps saying the same things that when taken together overtime presents a distorted reality of what is - this can occur even when everything said is basically correct and true in itself - but it's what is consistently missing from that narrative that causes the distortions in peoples minds and therefore their beliefs if they hear it often enough. 

That's my focus on these pages. Nothing personal and yes my own style and choice of words can also be a pain but that's really not the point is it. I do try to look past peoples beliefs opinions and style and see what the "information" is behind that which they are relying on. That's my "focus" even if sometimes I get the "facts" wrong myself or miss the mark in telling the whole story or placing things in the broader context - but no one can ever do that to everyone else's satisfaction.

Misrepresentations by the media, by politicians, by lukewarm scientists, by deniers, by greenies, by corporations, by PR writers, by advertisers, by bloggers, by forum/news media comment posters, by CEOs including Elon Musk, by religion and cults, by anyone in fact, has been a life long trigger and therefore a personal interest for all kinds of psychological personal reasons. The later half of my life has been spent learning everything I can about this phenomena. It's a key reason why I was never ever a potential victim of climate science denialism - and that had little to do with my climate science knowledge at the time - but was a motivator to get to the scientific facts as well and what they really "meant".

My Taurus Excretus antennas are highly tuned and nuanced. ;) (imho)  It is not a necessity to always know the all the objective facts to still be able to establish someone is lying through their teeth or so biased and unknowing their word is always unreliable and not credible.

eg I have a lot of faith in my ability to pick a Pathological Narcissist on the other side of the world - when I have had enough time to see them speaking and/or reading what they say and how they say it and what they look like when they are saying it. (That is not to say anyone else's here is worse or I am better than.) And it is not a comment about participants here but about those in power and those who have positions of 'authority' including in the media eg Luke Harding of The Guardian, Chris Monckton, or as easy as 'nailing' Donald Trump and his main competition in 2016. 

However my apologies for when I do come across as too harsh, strident, or intolerant and might appear to be blaming the 'poster' for the material they post. I try hard not to yet it is still a work in progress.

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3432 on: March 06, 2019, 07:39:07 PM »
I think (and hope) if one had an objective view at my own (at times over-exaggerated) responses I generally "focus" on the missing details, especially in regard "media/blog" references. I don't claim to know everything about everything but when I see distortions and extreme cherry-picking or laziness by "journos/PR hucksters" this is what motivates me. I abhor people being misled by only hearing a slice of a story that claims to be the whole cake.

...

However my apologies for when I do come across as too harsh, strident, or intolerant and might appear to be blaming the 'poster' for the material they post. I try hard not to yet it is still a work in progress.

Lurk,

Thanks for your very gracious post.  I'll try to do a better job of stating when the sources I'm quoting from are PR for industry firms and try to find additional information to verify the data they provide, or at least highlight some of the uncertainties in their stories.

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3433 on: March 06, 2019, 07:57:13 PM »
PV magazine, which covers the international photovoltaic solar trade, published an article about off-grid solar systems in remote locations.  Before I get to that article, here's a little background info about the source.  PV Magazine covers trends in markets and technologies and in the "About" section on their website claims,

Quote
pv magazine readers comprise:

By industry sector
◦PV manufacturers (cells, modules, components) and suppliers (equipment, materials)
◦International project developers, system integrators and distributors
◦Financial/political sector

By job title
◦Directors, presidents, chief executives
◦Engineering executives
◦Engineering managers, project managers
◦Financial executives

(For the record, I'm none of those, I just do internet searches for articles on the energy sector and post the ones that I think are interesting).

Here's an article, dated March 5, 2019, about the potential for growth in off-grid systems in developing countries around the world.

https://www.pv-magazine.com/2019/03/05/off-grid-solar-could-bring-electricity-to-740-million-people-by-2022/

They lead with an example project that appears to be under construction in Tanzania.

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Some 80,000 people living on a cluster of islands on Lake Victoria have reason to rejoice. Renewable energy developer RP Global has started work on 11 solar hybrid mini-grids on their islands, promising energy access to 20 villages on the Tanzanian side of the lake.

The company said a second stage of the project would see a further 11 mini-grids installed to power 23 more villages and bring the total number of people to benefit from the EU-backed project to 160,000.

The article then states how off grid energy projects increased in the past few years.

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Meanwhile, the Strategic investments in off-grid energy access: Scaling the utility of the future for the last mile report by analyst Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables spells out how investment in off-grid solar, mini-grids and universal energy access projects is continuing to climb steeply. Commitments to the sector reportedly experienced a 37% year on year increase from 2016 to 2017. Between 2017 and last year, investment climbed 22%. Last year’s investment volume was clocked at $511 million and almost $1.7 billion has been poured into the sector to date.

Later in the story, the authors cite a report from Woods Mackenzie (a UK based stockbroker that prepares reports analyzing various industries for investors) comparing the costs of grid connected solar to the off grid systems.

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The Wood Mackenzie report states a utility grid connection for rural villages would cost around $500-$2,200, on average, per connection. By contrast, small-scale PV systems with a 5-250 Wdc capacity, operated on a pay-as-you-go basis, would cost around $80-$550, on average. While DC mini-grids with 25-500 kW capacities are more expensive, and prices per connection vary greatly, they are still cheaper than a utility connection.

Wood Mackenzie notes the universal energy access sector – especially the off-grid solar segment – and solar mini-grids are experiencing a steep uptick in strategic investment and partnerships from oil and gas majors, European utilities and independent power producers, clean energy original equipment makers, and the technology sector. Partners such as those see new business opportunities in fast-growing emerging markets


Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3434 on: March 07, 2019, 06:42:48 PM »
The following article discussing a new PPA between Microsoft and Invenergy in North Carolina appears on the website of Zacks Equity Research.  They appear to be an investment advisor (possibly making money from selling stocks and bonds to investors).

https://www.zacks.com/stock/news/358023/microsoft-invenergy-collaborate-for-renewable-energy-project

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Microsoft (MSFT  -  Free Report) is collaborating with Invenergy to work on a solar project based out of Beaufort County, NC. The new 74-megawatt Wilkinson Solar Energy Center project is slated to commence operations in 2019.

Founded in 2001, Invenergy is a privately held company primarily engaged in developing sustainable energy solutions and operating storage facilities across the Americas, Asia and Europe.

Microsoft entered into a 15-year deal, by which it will be the single off-taker of the renewable energy produced by Wilkinson Solar Energy Center. The facility is anticipated to generate local investment of $20 million and estimated to create approximately 500 jobs in the course of construction.

The latest deal is in sync with the company’s strategy to promote the usage of renewable energy in a bid to keep costs under control and reduce carbon emission. In fact, Microsoft intends to achieve early 60% dependency on renewable energy for its power requirements by the end of 2020.

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To operate a cloud infrastructure, data centers are required that in turn need a steady and unwavering power supply to function properly. Given the growing demand for cloud, demand for datacenters and power is likely to increase in the future. To meet the power requirements, many major cloud players are turning to renewable sources of energy and Microsoft is no different.

We note that dependence on renewable resources to cut down on operating costs is just another way to be more competitive and profitable, and Microsoft’s decision to do so augurs well for the company in the long run.

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Further, Microsoft has completed a few large-scale corporate Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) to buy renewable energy in the United States. The new project is estimated to expand the company’s total renewable energy portfolio to approximately 1.3 gigawatts. Reportedly, Microsoft’s cloud platform Azure “has been carbon-neutral since 2012”.

Other companies like Apple (AAPL  -  Free Report) , Alphabet (GOOGL  -  Free Report) , Amazon (AMZN  -  Free Report) and Walmart, among others, are also seeking greater use of renewable energy in their operations. In fact, Apple and Alphabet owned Google have achieved 100% renewables target and are powered by green energy. Amazon Web Services (AWS) attained 50% dependency on renewable energy in January 2018, and has plans to hit 100% target in the longer haul.

Undoubtedly, going green will help big companies to save on costs and protect the environment at the same time. Moreover, it is expected to help reduce global warming and fossil fuel consumption.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3435 on: March 13, 2019, 07:03:44 PM »
Wind and solar provided almost 65% of Germany's power last week:

https://www.cleanenergywire.org/news/wind-provides-half-germanys-power-whole-week

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Thanks to strong winds, electricity production in Germany achieved a new record share of nearly 65 percent renewables last week, research institute Fraunhofer ISE has found. Wind turbines, solar panels and other renewable energy sources contributed 64.8 percent to the country’s net power production between March 4 and 10, the institute says in a press release. Wind power turbines alone reached the new record share of 48.4 percent of power production in Europe’s biggest economy. “These figures show that the envisaged goal [of the German government] of 65 percent renewables by 2030 is technically feasible,” researcher Bruno Burger said, adding that the goal now was to sustain a high renewables share for an entire year. According to Fraunhofer, lignite and hard coal plants only ran at minimum output during that week, while nuclear plants were curtailed during the night. The share of lignite in the power production mix fell to 12 percent, half of its average share in 2018. While the share of renewables overall reached 40.2 percent in 2018, it stood at 43.3 percent after the first ten weeks of 2019, Fraunhofer added.

b_lumenkraft

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3436 on: March 13, 2019, 07:09:44 PM »
Wind and solar provided almost 65% of Germany's power last week:

Live updates can be looked up here:

Wöchentlicher Anteil erneuerbarer Energien an der Stromerzeugung in Deutschland in 2019
(Weekly share of renewable power sources in Germany's power grid)
Link >> https://www.energy-charts.de/ren_share_de.htm?source=ren-share&period=weekly&year=2019

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3437 on: March 13, 2019, 08:57:31 PM »
U.S.

New Mexico to commit to 100 percent carbon-free electricity by 2045
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In addition to the carbon-free electricity goal, New Mexico’s Energy Transition Act calls for 80 percent of electricity to come from renewable energy sources by 2040. Other incremental benchmarks include 50 percent renewable energy sources by 2030 and 40 percent by 2025.
https://electrek.co/2019/03/13/new-mexico-100-2045/
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3438 on: March 15, 2019, 06:25:28 PM »
Please note that the arcticle linked below appears to quote from a GE press release about a new model of wind turbine, and thus may be a little too optimistic for some readers.  I'm posting it because the article illustrates the technology improvements that are currently happening in the wind energy industry and how they will allow the amount of wind power being deployed to continue to increase.

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/03/14/ge-installs-worlds-largest-onshore-wind-turbine-in-the-netherlands-the-5-3-megawatt-cypress/

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A year later, GE Renewable Energy announced the upgraded 5.3 MW version and the new “Cypress Platform” naming convention. The new Cypress turbines are designed to produce over 20 gigawatt-hours of power annually and offer a 50% increase in Annual Energy Production over their lifespan.

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“We’re delighted with the progress our team has been able to make in bringing our innovative, high-tech turbine to market on an accelerated schedule,” said Jérôme Pécresse, CEO of GE Renewable Energy. “We are confident that Cypress, with its two-piece blade design, will be a game changer for the industry. We’re hearing equal enthusiasm from our customers across the globe, who tell us they appreciate the potential of Cypress to help them both lower the cost of onshore wind and gain added flexibility in siting turbines.”

The Cypress Platform of turbines are offered with multiple power ratings and varying hub heights, enabling a lower cost of electricity by matching each wind turbine to specific site needs. Designed with a “revolutionary” two-piece blade design which makes it possible to use larger rotors and site the turbines in a wider variety of locations, the Cypress turbines can thus be installed at locations that were previously inaccessible.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3439 on: March 19, 2019, 07:22:40 PM »
The State of Washington is leasing land for a solar farm at 150 times the revenue it was receiving for grazing fees.

https://pv-magazine-usa.com/2019/03/15/solar-power-increases-land-lease-rate-by-150x-for-washington-state/

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Would you rather lease your land for $300/acre/year for 20+ years in a fixed contract (probably with a 1-3% escalator)? Or for $2/acre/year? The State of Washington has put pen to paper with an answer.

Avangrid Renewables has signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) for their currently under development 150 MWac / ~190 MWdc solar power plant located in Klickitat County, Washington – named the Lund Hill Solar Project. The project’s electricity will be sold through the utility’s Green Direct program which sells 100% green energy options to commercial entities.

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The second round of PSE’s offering of the Green Direct program is already fully subscribed and will be a blend of wind and solar, with the Lund Hill Solar project supplying the solar product. The state of Washington is one of the largest customers in PSE’s Green Direct program, which has more than 40 customers signed up to receive the wind and solar power.

Lund Hill Solar will be located on approximately 1,800 acres, a mix of land leased from private landowners and the Washington Department of Natural Resources, the state’s first solar power land lease. 480 acres of that land will be leased from the State of Washington. Prior, the state was leasing the land for $2/acre/year for cattle grazing. The goal is to have 500 megawatts of solar capacity operating on leased state lands by 2025.

Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3440 on: March 19, 2019, 07:43:46 PM »
Here's some more information about the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) that is helping to fund the  Lund Hill solar farm in Washington:

https://solarindustrymag.com/avangrid-scores-utility-ppa-for-150-mw-washington-solar-project/

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PSE’s second-round offering of the Green Direct program is already fully subscribed and will be a blend of wind and solar, with the Lund Hill Solar Project supplying the solar product. Lund Hill would represent an investment of more than $100 million by Avangrid Renewables, and PSE’s power purchase agreement (PPA) would cover the entire output of the solar project, which is still in development and is anticipated to reach commercial operation in 2020.
 
As announced recently by the Washington State Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Lund Hill Solar would be located on approximately 1,800 acres on a mix of land leased from private landowners and DNR.

“This is an incredible example of the public and private sector coming together to transform the trajectory of renewable energy in Washington state,” says Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who announced last October that eight state agencies would be joining the Green Direct program with a commitment to purchase more than 100 million kWh of in-state wind and solar electricity by 2021. “This project will help us fight climate change, create clean energy jobs and save agencies thousands of dollars in energy costs. This is what Washington’s energy future is all about.”

The state of Washington is one of the largest customers in PSE’s Green Direct program, which has more than 40 customers signed up to receive wind and solar power.

Individuals, government agencies and companies in PSE's service district can sign up for the Green Direct program, which allows PSE to combine their power demand and then sign a PPA with a renewable energy provider.  In 2017, when the program was first launched, it was considered to be a model for other utilities.

https://www.wri.org/blog/2017/04/washington-state-pioneers-new-model-utility-scale-renewable-energy

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Many businesses in Washington state want to use renewable energy. Starbucks, REI and Microsoft are all iconic brands in the Pacific Northwest making big commitments to wind and solar. Of the 65 companies that have signed the Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers Principles, more than a dozen use substantial energy in Washington state. Public sector energy users like King County and the Port of Seattle have also committed to renewable power.

Nonetheless, Washington’s large energy buyers have found it difficult to access renewable energy because nearly all buyers must go through their utilities to buy energy. Those utilities still use at least some fossil fuel-based sources.

Washington’s largest investor-owned utility, Puget Sound Energy (PSE), announced today that it will meet some of those needs with Green Direct, a new renewable energy program, or green tariff. Green tariffs are programs offered by electricity utilities that allow eligible customers to buy energy from a renewable project as well as the Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) the customers have traditionally purchased. PSE’s new tariff is the first of its kind, offering a model for other utilities around the country to offer affordable renewable energy through the grid to smaller, existing customers. Green Direct’s first subscribers include commercial customers (REI, Starbucks, Target), local governments (Anacortes, Bellevue, King County, Mercer Island and Snoqualmie) and local institutions (Western Washington University and Sound Transit).

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3441 on: March 20, 2019, 12:44:41 PM »
Geothermal Plant 'Triggered Earthquake' in S. Korea 
https://m.phys.org/news/2019-03-geothermal-triggered-earthquake-korea.html

The southeastern port city of Pohang was rattled by a 5.4-magnitude earthquake in November 2017—the second-most powerful tremor ever in the normally seismically stable South.

Dozens of people were injured and more than 1,500 left homeless—while a nationwide college entrance exam was postponed in an unprecedented move as authorities scrambled with recovery efforts.

A year-long government-commissioned study pointed to the geothermal power plant as the cause.

The geothermal plant—which was temporarily suspended during the study—will be "permanently shuttered", the trade, industry and energy ministry said in a statement.

It cost around 80 billion won ($71 million) to build and test operations began in 2016.
“There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.” ― Leonardo da Vinci

Insensible before the wave so soon released by callous fate. Affected most, they understand the least, and understanding, when it comes, invariably arrives too late

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3442 on: March 24, 2019, 08:32:09 PM »
Blown off-course? Despite rapid expansion across Europe, German offshore wind capacity growth is slowing

"Warning signs are beginning to appear for the German offshore wind industry.With 276 MW of fully installed turbines far out at sea not yet feeding power to the electrical grid, a stubborn lack of grid expansion progress, and only a narrow investment pathway, investors specializing in offshore energy development are starting to look away from Germany.  Even as larger turbines come online and are producing more energy less expensively, groups warn that political conditions are hampering the growth of Germany’s critical wind energy sector, with the vital expansion of both on and offshore generation at stake."

https://energytransition.org/2019/02/german-offshore-wind-capacity/

rboyd

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3443 on: March 24, 2019, 08:40:24 PM »
Gas wars part one: let’s be honest about Germany’s growing dependence on fossil gas

Germany is no longer a leader in renewables growth, as the technical, political, and economic complexities slow things down. To be expected once renewables reach a percentage of supply that requires significant change to sustain growth.

"With the ink barely dry on Germany’s Coal Commission report recommending a phase out by 2038, the oil and gas industry is breaking out the champagne. While environmentalists criticize the plan’s particulars, the other side is celebrating the slaying of their strongest competitor. And they’re translating that joy into furious lobbying aimed at ensuring that renewables don’t fill the majority of the void as coal plants are shuttered. L. Michael Buchsbaum explains."

"But current trends indicate that green energy expansion is in fact, being deliberately fenced in. While on and offshore wind expansion slows, Nordstream 2 and a plethora of other new pipelines from Russia and newly discovered gas fields in the Middle East as well as the construction of a fleet of new LNG ships and terminals are set to flood the European gas market, dropping gas prices dramatically.

Thereafter, cheap gas will enable a business case for simply switching from one fossil fuel to another, allowing existing under-utilized gas plants more generating capacity and convincing lenders to finance more retrofits of coal plants or the building of new “cleaner” gas plants. Once that infrastructure is built, fossil gas use “will only be prolonged, ensuring it’s harder for renewable energies” to expand said Green Bundestag member Julia Verlinden.

Under this scenario, German gas usage could actually rise by up to 8 percent through 2022 alone according to gas lobbying group Zukunft Erdgas. Coal currently provides about 40% of total capacity. As the first cuts take place under the Coal Commission’s plans by 2022, the gas industry is already planning on jumping into that space."

https://energytransition.org/2019/03/gas-wars-part-one-lets-be-honest-about-germanys-growing-dependence-on-fossil-gas/



rboyd

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3444 on: March 24, 2019, 08:46:42 PM »
Blown off course: European onshore wind markets decline

"But now the bad news: new onshore wind installations in Europe, the birthplace of the on-going energy revolution, dropped almost a third last year. The worst two performing markets were in Germany, which was down by more half compared to 2017, and the UK, where the rate of expansion seemingly collapsed. Reflecting on the numbers, “It’s very unfortunate that Europe seems to lose track,” lamented Gsänger from his offices near the United Nation’s Sustainability Secretariat in Bonn, Germany.

Overall, new European installed capacity slumped down to numbers not seen since 2013, with just 11.7 gigawatts of gross wind power added. Throughout the European Union, twelve countries failed to install a single wind turbine last year, said Giles Dickson, CEO of industry body WindEurope. The numbers broke down to 8.6 GW of new onshore and 2.65 GW of new offshore wind capacity. (Note: these totals were also further affected by the decommissioning of 0.4 GW of wind turbines, most of which was onshore)."

"Why the drop? Industry groups blame Germany’s permitting process, which has become so complicated that it “can now take over two years compared to just 10 months” to get a green light for development. Worse, “even projects that get a permit are increasingly being challenged in the courts.” Current reports suggest that over 750 MW of wind farm projects are currently stuck in legal proceedings. As moods continue to shift, individual German states are also becoming more reluctant to identify new locations for wind farms.

Germany’s new wind auction processes have hindered growth even further, seemingly  driving away bidders. At its most recent auction, grid regulator BNetz only awarded 476MW of onshore wind capacity, well below the 700MW on offer. Now the third onshore wind auction in a row to be under-subscribed, “it’s clear the permitting process is not fit for the purpose,” said Dickson."

https://energytransition.org/2019/03/european-onshore-wind-markets-decline/


b_lumenkraft

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3445 on: March 24, 2019, 08:50:47 PM »
Doesn't sound like it, but this is actually good news.

I'm a strong ally of decentalisation of the power grid. Seeing big companies fail to deploy massive centralized offshore plants is positive in this regard.

The development of the German Energiewende (moving to renewable) is mainly driven by farmers, house owners, and city-owned energy providers (Stadtwerke). IMHO it should stay like that. It's not only a measure to produce energy in a localized, decentralized manner, but it also transfers less wealth to powerful companies, more to smaller entities and back into public hands.

Also, offshore (compared to onshore) is more expensive anyway and might have a worse environmental impact.

Sigmetnow

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3446 on: March 27, 2019, 06:45:14 PM »
Quaking aspen leaves inspire an energy harvester fit for Mars
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The mesmerizing flutter of a quaking aspen's leaves has inspired a new kind of energy harvester that could one day provide backup power to future rovers scouring the surface of Mars.

In a paper published in the journal Applied Physics Letters, researchers at the University of Warwick in Coventry, England, say they looked to the aspen because of the way its leaves dramatically oscillate even under extremely low-wind conditions. By studying the mechanisms behind this natural quiver, they were able to engineer a new kind of wind harvester capable of operating in the harshest of environments.

"What's most appealing about this mechanism is that it provides a mechanical means of generating power without the use of bearings, which can cease to work in environments with extreme cold, heat, dust or sand," lead author Sam Tucker Harvey, a University of Warwick PhD engineering researcher, said in a statement.

While the energy generated would be small, Harvey says it would be more than enough to power autonomous electrical devices.

"These networks could be utilized for applications such as providing automated weather sensing in remote and extreme environments," he adds. ...
https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/space/blogs/aspen-leaves-inspire-new-energy-harvester-fit-mars
People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it.

b_lumenkraft

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3447 on: March 28, 2019, 12:01:55 PM »
Will renewables end up as more landfill?

(Yet again showing how important smart regulations are! Well done Europe.)


Ken Feldman

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3448 on: March 28, 2019, 05:17:05 PM »
New renewables are now cheaper than existing coal in most of the US:

https://cleantechnica.com/2019/03/28/us-wind-solar-cost-less-than-74-of-existing-coal-fleet/

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America has officially entered the “coal cost crossover,” according to a new report by environmental firm Energy Innovation, which finds that local wind and solar could replace approximately 74% of the United States’ current fleet of coal-fired power plants at an immediate cost savings to consumers — a figure which is expected to grow to 86% by 2025.

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It’s worth noting, too, that the report’s definition of ‘replacing with local wind or solar’ is not an abstract notion, but specifically refers to the ability to replace coal with wind or solar “within 35 miles of the existing coal plant” at a saving to customers.

This means that when a coal plant has an expensive part break, the owners will need to seriously consider shutting it down and installing wind or solar instead.  Expect to see many more premature retirement of coal plants in the next few years.

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Re: Renewable Energy
« Reply #3449 on: March 31, 2019, 03:06:10 PM »
I went to a Solar convention last Friday. I have been very impressed by the work done by Issol http://www.issol.eu/ They produce active glass that can be use everywhere on buildings. Extra costs compared to traditionnal constructions would make ROI possible.