Electrek Green Energy Brief: A technical, financial and political analysis via a weekday review of important news

After a 100-Year Hiatus, Batteries Are Helping the Grid Again – The first cars were electric. And the ‘Duck Curve‘ being solved by batteries is over a hundred years old. The Duck Curve is a result of lots of solar power going away at sunset combined with the daily usage peak of everyone getting home – the previous way to solve it was via a Peaking Power Plant (gas plants that start up very fast but only run 3% of the time in the USA). Now a days – we’re going to build batteries, just like they did over a hundred years ago.

US budget proposal doesn’t hurt EPA or ARPA-E funding, does cut $800M from renewable energy programs – The headlines and Trump’s talk are running differently than the reality that’s coming out after we account for judges and Congress having their own will. Congress seems to have ignored certain suggestions and crafted their own, more consistent, budget. Strange language here though – Renewable energy programs, “which have already received significant investments in recent years,” were cut $808 million compared to the previous Administration’s budget request. Someone thought it appropriate to cover their actions with an excuse.

The 1981 TV documentary that warned about global warming – Possibly the earliest – anywhere in the world where a major broadcaster aired a documentary dedicated solely to the topic of human-caused climate change – 1981 – that’s almost the entirety of my life that we’ve known.

Slowly marching – Massachusetts Utilities Propose 800 Megawatts of Offshore Wind – Three companies — Dong Energy A/S, Deepwater Wind LLC and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners K/S — have leases from the federal government to build off Massachusetts and are expected to compete for the contracts. This will be a big player game only – there will be no ‘residential’ off shore wind.

Take a moment to read the words and reflect – HOW A PROFESSIONAL CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER DISCOVERED THE LIES AND DECIDED TO FIGHT FOR SCIENCE – The most interesting line in the article, There are between 40 and 50 (Republican lawmakers who don’t believe their own climate denials) in the House and maybe 10 to 12 in the Senate. They’re all looking for a way out of the denialist penitentiary they’ve been put into by the Tea Party. But they’re not sure what the Republican response ought to look like exactly and when the political window is going to open. At least 10%+ of the US Congress doesn’t believe its own facade when it comes to climate change.

Space Solar Power R&D Competition Initiated by NSS and SPACE Canada – Its a contest only, but my, what a great topic to research. In the long game – there’s no reason for a technology like this to arise. If the species holds, we will have robots mining and manufacturing in space. A few years later, it probably becomes arguments between ultra dense local technologies like fusion or Dyson Spheres – fusion collection from afar.

Solar power advocates take fight over credits to Maine’s top court – Maine residents taking a commission to a court regarding a decision to scale back net metering credit value for solar power as it doesn’t follow the state’s own laws for supporting solar power. Interestingly – Maine Gov. Paul LePage said he would urge the three-member Maine Public Utilities Commission “to resign in a heartbeat,” saying their “absolutely horrendous” January decision on solar policy will hurt most of the state’s electricity ratepayers. Looks like the panel might have made a sound, center aligned decision and is getting hammered either way.

For the professional solar developers – New Solar Study Examines Data From 200 Ground Stations on Six Continents –  Satellite-derived irradiance records from five different versions of the company’s global solar dataset. Results of study indicate that Vaisala’s values for global horizontal irradiance (GHI) — the key variable for PV projects — have a standard deviation of bias error, or uncertainty, of 4.4-4.9 percent, depending on the version of the dataset. The detractors of solar power say the sun isn’t predictable – they’re using the wrong word. Sunlight is quite predictable – what the term they’re looking for is ‘dispatachable’ – able to be turned on at will (like batteries). Word of the day folks.

You like jobs? Well – Nevada got the jobs. How about dem jobs?’ – I remember back in 2007-2008, as a recession was taking off, a very smart family friend of mine was worried – long-term – about the US economy. ‘Where are the jobs going to come from?’ they asked. I – being in my first solar power startup – was very hesitant to say, ‘Clean energy,’  but I felt it in my gut. Ten years later – wind+solar are leading the country – feeding people with money and clean energy.

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