Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news.
Solar panel industry repays its energy ‘debt’: study – Climate-friendly electricity generated by solar panels in the past 40 years has all but cancelled out the polluting energy used to produce them – The whole of the solar industry, all of what has been built up to and including this morning – minus all of the clean electricity produced, is net zero officially. Now, this still means the solar industry has contributed to our current total CO2 volume in the atmosphere – and future production will be part of the CO2 released – but, from here on out all production, essentially will be lower than the clean energy being produced globally. Another cool observation – authors found that for every doubling in solar capacity installed, energy used to produce solar panels decreased by 12-13 percent, and greenhouse gas emissions dropped by 17-24 percent. In general – a solar system will cover its carbon budget in 12 months.
California regulators weigh whether the state needs more power plants – This is what we really want to see start happening. When utility-scale energy generation is being discussed, solar or wind+storage are the leading players because they are cleaner. This pull back on natural gas plants has a lot to do with a power glut in California, but never before has there been true discussion of replacement with renewable sources.
Macron Seeking Stiff Carbon Costs to Avert Climate Change – $33.50/ton is the value Macron is pushing to Merkel to make as the floor carbon price, and then hoping that $/ton value spreads to broader Europe. Macron is described to me as a centrist politically, so it is surprising to hear that value coming from a ‘centrist’ – but France is more socially conscious as a whole (and we’re in Europe). Carbon tax won’t add anything to France’s nuclear heavy electricity bills – but will add it to Germany’s coal. $33.50/ton = adds $.02/kWh gas, $0.035/kWh coal & $0.30/gallon for gasoline.
China CO2 market launch set for November at earliest: government researcher – Speaking of carbon taxes – if the world’s largest contributor to CO2 takes a swing at the market, it going to have a global effect. Market was originally expected to launch in the first half of 2017, but regulators have struggled to deal with a variety of problems, including the valuation of permits trading on existing pilot exchanges, as well as data accuracy and transparency problems in some industrial sectors – It’s not going to be easy to make those who made their money off of pollution suddenly take it into consideration.
An image making the rounds again on the tubes – thought you might appreciate some math. How can 2 million tons of coal turn into about 7 million tons of CO2? Coal is carbon is the C of CO2 – atomic mass of 12. Oxygen is the O – and has an atomic mass of 16. Two Oxygens combine with the coal when it is burnt and breaks apart to an individual C to create CO2. Combine their atomic masses of 12+16+16 and we get a new atomic mass of 44. That original 2m tons of coal and 7m tons of CO2 – is a similar number to an at0mic mass of carbon at 12 to a new mass of CO2 at 44. Similarly to how a gallon of gas, weighing 6.3 pounds, will produce 20 pounds of CO2.
Offshore wind turbines vulnerable to Category 5 hurricane gusts – uniquely high-resolution simulations showed that under Category 5 conditions, mean wind speeds near the storm’s eyewall reached 90 meters-per-second, well in excess of the 50 meters-per-second threshold set by current standards – which leads to – wind direction changed by as much as 55 degrees between the tip of the rotor and its hub, creating a potentially dangerous strain on the blade. Concurrently – large turbine arrays (300+ GW installed capacity) may diminish peak near-surface hurricane wind speeds by 25–41 m s−1 (56–92 mph) and storm surge by 6–79% – So, maybe we ought be paying wind turbine installers insurance money taking on risk?
That’s pretty cool – 74% of America cares, at least some, about the environment – Thank you.
Two tweets because of the data point – 5 years in a row more money spent on capacity for renewables greater than fossils (capacity is not equal to fuel) –
Header image – 850MW solar plant in Longyangxia, China as seen from low earth orbit