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

Lyft says all of its self-driving electric cars will be powered by ‘100% renewable energy’ – First, Lyft is going to move themselves to an all electric fleet of vehicles. Then they’ll start buying renewable energy certificates to balance out the electric charging. As an aside, I uninstalled Uber from my phone and installed Lyft awhile back (terrible company morals on the Uber side).

Countries With the Most Wind and Solar Have 10 Times Fewer Outages Than America – This doesn’t necessarily mean that the solar/wind increase grid stability. It probably means that those countries investing in wind/solar are also investing in smarter grid technologies concurrently. But this does clearly show evidence that grid stability and renewable can peacefully co-exist.  Germany produced 82 percent of its electricity from renewables for a period of several days in May. Denmark gets 100 percent of its electricity from renewables on many days of the year. Yet both nations have electric grids that are 10 times more reliable than America’s. 

So any time someone tells you that renewables and EVs destroy the grid, you can counter with the above. 

Lower silicon consumption due to wafer innovations to hit polysilicon demand – Bernreuter Research said that the average silicon consumption for the manufacturing of both multicrystalline and monocrystalline wafers was expected to decline from 4.8 grams per watt (g/W) in 2016 to 3.6 g/W in 2020, a 25% decline – Cool. And if we know that the silicon inside of solar panel these days makes up 20-33% of the total cost of a solar panel, then we have a path for a 4-8% fall in prices of panels. Course – panels are 25% of system cost these days – so we’re only talking a 1-2% overall system price drop, but every bit counts. From a polysilicon manufacturing standpoint – the 25% decrease due to innovation will be more than countered by a 100% increase in volume before then.

California scores its first big environmental victory of the Trump eraPruitt told a House subcommittee that the EPA is not reviewing California’s lone-in-the-country authority to set air-quality standards tougher than those found elsewhere in the nation – This might also mean that the administration has decided that other plans of dictating to the states what they can and cannot do environmentally will be shelved. I am more than sure this involved a significant legal team influence.

Lyon plans battery tender for $1.88bn solar plus storage projects – Seemingly, once a week post from Australia talking about their energy storage/solar plans. Lyon has announced that it is planning a tender for contracts to cover the 640MWh of storage capacity at its most advanced projects in Victoria, South Australia (Riverland) and Queensland (Cape York) – and then add in this comment – The latest plan for a 250MW large-scale solar plant, paired with 80MW/160MWh of battery storage at Nowingi in north-western Victoria, takes its total pipeline to more than 1700MW of solar and 1000MW of storage. I really love seeing the size of the energy storage going on here. 640MWh – the sum of multiple projects whose smallest would be larger than the current largest lithium-ion system connected to the grid (30MW/120MWh). Rock on Australia.

Billions to face ‘deadly threshold’ of heat extremes by 2100, finds study – If we do nothing, under the RCP8.5 scenario where emissions aren’t curbed, as much as 74% of the global population could be exposed to at least 20 days of deadly heat extremes a year by the end of the century – Currently we’re tracking closer to the 8.5 scenario than anything else…though we’re starting to move. Cutting emissions to give a good chance of staying below 2C of global warming – known as the RCP2.6 scenario – would reduce this percentage to 48%. That means – already – half the planet will deal with that air trying to kill them 5% of the time they go outside.

Research paper that says simply moving/storage coal increases the volumes of small particles in the air to the point where they cause localized health effects equal to $183/ton of coal. Coal costs about $48/ton in this study.

Header image is of a National Geographic most beautiful of 2016, system located in Edelstal, Austria

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