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Electrek green energy brief: Florida politicians sticking it to voters (again), “Clean Coal” plant = economic failure, more

After Florida voters approve solar law by 73%, utilities attempt to add on solar limiting rules – In the last election in Florida, voters decided to support tax breaks for commercial companies going solar. Florida politicians decided that the law – instead of focusing on tax breaks – ought also add additional requirements, strategically chosen, to make residential solar a little more complex. One of the strange aspects of the law is that it says you cannot use past history prices to predict future energy savings. Best part is that one of the politicians pushing the law says we don’t actually need the law today in Florida since there aren’t any contractors breaking the law – but you know – just in case someone might want to break this law, we ought make a law.

Southern Company Says $7B+ ‘Clean Coal’ Kemper Not Viable as Coal Plant, Blames the Public Service Committee – At the end of spending $7B a clean coal plant is said to not be economically viable burning coal – and of course, it isn’t the technologies fault but those who are hoping to protecting rate payers. Coal has significantly cleaned itself relative to pollution of yesteryear – wikipedia says coal plants are 77% cleaner than they used to be. And imagine, even so much cleaner coal is releasing twice as much CO2 per kWh as natural gas.

Algeria seeking 4GW of solar power – Cool data point – the tender is being split into three 1.3GW bids. It wasn’t so long ago that we were reading about the biggest solar plant being 750 or 800MW. Now we’re seeing three 1.3GW plants in a single tender. Bankers like single deals of larger amounts – it simplifies paperwork and usually means a better price on a project as it scales. Three 1.3GW power plants located in a desert are going to produce a huge amount of energy – and getting them financed and bid in one fell swoop will mean better pricing. Of course, concurrently the country is spending $50B to develop oil and gas reserves – this 4GW is going to cost less than $4B.

National Geographic and wind/solar images – I like that energy is art. I like that we see the beauty in these structures. Enjoy.

Canadian Solar sales volume up significantly, sales revenue down significantly – Total module shipments for Canadian Solar in 2016 were a record high of 5,232 MW, well up on the 4,706 MW shipped in 2015. However, conversely — and seemingly counter-intuitively — net revenue for the year was $2.85 billion, down compared to the $3.47 billion taken during 2015. It doesn’t get much rougher than that – increasing sales volumes 10% is great for most groups – until you run the numbers realize revenue fell 18%. $0.73/W in 2015 – $.54/W in 2016.

Moore’s Law of carbon reduction – A law forcing carbon reduction by half every decade would be the first time I’ve seen the Moore’s Law terminology applied to emissions, but it makes some decent sense if we start looking at everything as learning curves. These researchers believe fossil fuel emissions will peak by 2020 (maybe already?) – that coal will be gone by 2035’ish, and oil by 2050, and they see global renewables doubling every 5.5 year right now.

Dual Axis tracker improves solar output by 44%+ – We all know that when your solar panels follow the sun, facing it directly, they generate more electricity. The real question is how much extra does the hardware cost and how many times will it break down during the 20+ year lifetime. Single axis trackers in utility scale installations across the USA have been getting attention as their cost per watt is within 10% of standard systems. That’s compelling.

The idea that we’re working on an atomic produced level to create solar power – and then we, regular people, are buying these types of hardware amazes me. Its just as amazing as the computer chips harnessing quantum mechanics.


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