Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

‘Extraordinary’ month for Scottish renewable energy – “On one day in particular, 15 May, output from turbines generated enough electricity to power 190% of homes or 99% of Scotland’s total electricity demand.” – Plus references to solar power being able to meet 100% of household needs across more than a few of the major cities. Scotland is aiming for 100% renewable electricity by 2020 (experts think they’ll hit 87%) and 50% renewable energy by 2030.

Nevada Governor Sandoval says he will sign bill to bring rooftop solar back to Nevada – Net metering, at lower rates, is returning to Nevada. AB 405 would immediately allow rooftop solar customers to be reimbursed for excess generation from a solar system at 95 percent of the retail electricity rate. Over time, though, customer compensation would decline. The amended bill would create tiers, where credit rates decrease in increments for every 80 megawatts of rooftop solar generation deployed — to a floor of 75 percent of the retail rate. Net metering does apply to the Tesla solar roof – I only mention that because it is talked about in the above article as Tesla says they’ll return to the state.

New York State to purchase 2.5 million MWH of clean energy – This is the first stage of the Governors announcements supporting clean energy. They estimate this will lead to 40-60 large-scale solar power plants to be built and 800MW of solar to be installed. My rough numbers say that 2.5m MWH would need 2GW of solar power to produce it. Also – this announcement talks about many initiatives. Take from it that the Governor of NY believes renewables can really help the state and this document is a multipronged effort. They’re using Renewable Energy Certificates – RECs – as the fundamental tool to drive growth.

Number one argument against electric cars is now completely debunked (filling an electric with coal) – Even in the dirtiest energy places in the USA, you’d have to drive a car at greater than 38mpg to be cleaner than an electric, with the large majority of the country above 50 mpg. Are there 50mpg gas cars? Also – of huge importance – this analysis is based upon 2014(!!!) data. The US has built some stuff since then – gas and wind and solar – and its grid has gotten at least 3-4% lower in emissions.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auction prices are the lowest since 2014 – Stanford study says carbon tax must be around $220/ton to work. Exxon has it on their books at $80/ton. Conservative political group os pushing for $40/ton. The northeast USA is charging $3/ton. Yes, it will generate great revenue for the region that leads toward smart investment – but it’s not going to change the game at that price.

A self-sufficient home with solar panels installed only on its facade – Building integrated photovoltaics. My pie in the sky idea – every surface will be deemed valuable enough and solar electricity generation techniques cheap enough that every surface will warrant solar panels. This college group building for the upcoming Solar Decathalon in Geneva found that the high levels of shade on facades meant they needed solar panel level power optimizers – SolarEdge invertors for instance – to make it work.

Mining Firms Hurt by ‘Ridiculously High’ Energy Prices in Australia Mull Renewables – Glencore’s copper business last month wrote to state and federal lawmakers in Australia complaining about a 100% hike in power prices over the last three years – Whoa. 100%.

Rooftop Solar Panels Are Great for the Planet—But Terrible for Firefighters – I’m only letting the title stay because I want to respect ‘Wired’ deserves it, but it’s not true that they’re terrible. Half the article is spent talking about firefighters who have never dealt with rooftop solar PV. Yes, having new hardware on the roof of you house will add complexity if it catches on fire. If you build solar on your house, consider going to visit the fire department and letting them know.

South Australia already at 57% wind and solar in 2016/17 – Expects 65% over the next year as 400MW+ of wind+solar comes online. Expectations to move toward 80% are being tempered until the state gives approval to the security of wind and solar versus traditional spinning electricity. The relatively small compared to something like California, this power grid is handling huge amounts of intermittent electricity – our engineers are learning.

EIA: US Power sector coal consumption drops to lowest point since 1984 – Down from just over 1,000 million short tons, to just over 600 since 2008 – 40%. Coal produces almost twice as much CO2 per kWh as gas. Average age of coal capacity is 39 years – with 88% of it built before 1990. Something was happening long before Obama.

Vivint Solar nets US$100 million in new tax equity commitments – $100M which will allow 70MW – ~10,000 homes worth – of residential leases to be installed. Money was raised from two repeat customers. Most interesting – $100M divided by 70MW equals $1.41/W from private investors. These groups are buying a 30% tax credit and depreciation of the solar projects (only businesses get to depreciate solar power) . Vivent is probably spends $2.50/W to install, meaning the investor pay ~60% of that money, but gains a return on their investment immediately by applying it against taxes they’re paying.

California, China defy U.S. climate retreat with new cleantech tie-up – The government of California and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology would work together on developing and commercializing know-how on carbon capture and storage, clean energy, as well as advanced information technology that could help cut greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Tuesday statement. – I don’t know exactly what that means today, it seems just proclamations to invest time linking up research, manufacturing, sales, etc in the two regions. So, a grain of salt. However, damn right California! I owe you a beer.

Floating solar power on top of flooded coal mines – what an experiment – what an opportunity

Header image of 700MW solar farm by Huawei in Ningxia, China – grape vineyard underneath

 

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