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Electrek green energy brief: Trump attacks Clean Power Plan, 5GW of batteries for Australia, more

Trump signs executive order to review Clean Power Plan – A couple of interesting points within the article – 1. The EPA, per the courts, is obligated to protect against CO2 – which has been defined as a pollutant. It seems that if the current administration were to simply get rid of the Clean Power Plan, they’d be open to law suits. 2. Scott Pruitt, the new EPA chief that pretty much works for the fossil fuel industry, wrote a version of regulations for the coal industry that forced an ever so slight increase in efficiency. We can see a future pathway – a toothless replacement plan, versus an absolute rescindence of the law.

31.3 percent for a fully integrated silicon-based multi-junction solar cell – Space age stuff these days, unless you’ve got a dual axis solar tracker and you’re ok with a slower return on investment. These multi junction technologies – multiple layers of solar cells absorbing sunlight – will break through to the mass market one day. The recent 26.3% solar cell was two layers – both silicon. This cell is three layers with different product types. Being discussed in the article is how to bond the solar cells – maybe that’s where the real breakthroughs are these days.

Climate change references are disappearing from US Government websites – Deleting links to research, is the modern day burning of books. You burn books when you want to hide knowledge that you fear. We are destroying data access to information that might help our species weather some of its greatest challenges. We will bear the consequences.

Solar developers making money – Kong Sun posts $7.9 million profit in 2016 and Huadian Fuxin posts $293.6 million profit in 2016 – This industry must create value further down the chain, in  management and the selling of electricity, if it is going to grow from 1% global electricity to something significant. Seeing groups like this – those managing plants – make money is a great start.

If the climate goes to hell faster than we predict, it could be a species level event – what do you think about geoengineering? The science in me says – yeah, why not? The fear in me looks at every other time a human action has gone too far because we’re a bit dumb. The reason this website – electrek cars, solar power, energy storage, climate change, the green lifestyle in general – is popular is because we went too far with burning fossil fuels (and then lied about it on a massive level). Doing globe changing events will become easy for our species – at a point. Doing them today makes me queasy.

5GW of battery storage in residential Australia by 2020 – A presentation to a few politicians on the energy challenges of Australia, with a focus on virtual power plants (that means digitally connected distributed generation and storage). It was cool to see them put a number – 5GW via 1 million residential systems – on the amount of energy storage they see needed. Australia might become the first place to aggressively roll out a truly decentralized power grid. Their energy prices are high enough, their solar electricity generation capacity is huge, they’re small enough for it not to cost trillions and its seems just the right time.

Westinghouse-Toshiba nuclear group going bankrupt – One of the last credible groups building nuclear power has gone bankrupt. They were owned by an even older company – Toshiba. Watching this company go belly up reminds me of the low margins, but completely opposite problem that solar manufacturers are facing as prices fall. Nuclear represents the large majority of clean energy produce in the world – if we hadn’t built it, we’d have been having these really hot summers in the 1990s or 2000s. Yes I know, generations will have to deal with storing the waste – but at least they’d have a functioning, consistent global society to do so in.

Projected residential penetration levels of solar power in California – showing because all of those dark green areas on the right side represent 80-100% solar penetration. Wow.


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