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

America’s Farmers are Turning to Solar – The one line that made me grab this article: 2017 report by the North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association found that solar installations in North Carolina generate 30% of the income of an average farm while occupying about 20% of the land. These folks own land, they know how to manage large-scale properties over long periods of time – and they understand the economics of depreciation (a big drivers of solar investment). Sounds like ‘solar farms’ isn’t just a marketing term anymore.

Even as renewables increase, fossil fuels continue to dominate U.S. energy mix – Two pieces of data – renewables broke 10% of energy in the first half of the year, and when including nuclear, 18% of all energy was clean. And note that the chart focuses on *Energy* – not electricity. Energy is the real goal – cars, boats, trains, heating, etc. Electricity is the easier first 1/3 of the goal. It’s good to see renewables looking respectable on energy, not just electricity charts.

Oil major Shell dips into power market – MP2 offers supply, on-site generation, demand response and other services, including solar, to commercial and industrial customers – Shell must believe that oil alone will not protect its future revenues, as it is now buying companies that focus on delivering energy services specifically to corporate customers.

China poly-Si solar wafer makers shifting to diamond wire slicing – Key datapoint: The change in the method of slicing ingots into wafers is because the number of sliced wafers using diamond wire is about 20% more than that using slurry, which means reduced production cost – This won’t drop the silicon prices 20% – but it will give another bump.

Court rejects Trump administration move to delay methane regulation – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cannot freeze implementing a rule requiring oil and gas companies to fix methane leaks in their equipment…EPA’s stay “is essentially an order delaying the rule’s effective date, and this court has held that such orders are tantamount to amending or revoking a rule – The real question is though: are oil companies fixing their methane leaks during these delay tactics or are they still releasing greenhouse gasses at huge rates? We know the real answer.

Some sobriety – Quantitative risk assessment of the effects of climate change on selected causes of death, 2030s and 2050s – climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year between 2030 and 2050; 38 000 due to heat exposure in elderly people, 48 000 due to diarrhoea, 60 000 due to malaria, and 95 000 due to childhood undernutrition.

Wind output constrained in South Australia as it blows above 1200MW – At times, wind output in a state with some 1698MW of wind capacity jumped above 1400MW, but had to be constrained back to 1200MW, because there were not enough gas generators in the system under the AEMO’s new guidelines. – This is a real problem that we’re lucky to have to deal with. We need figure out how to deal with large volumes of output from energy sources that cannot be controlled. Energy storage is one path – and that is going to be a challenge to scale, just like renewables were…but we’ve got to do it.

Check this video out – Video: World’s first floating wind farm ‘mated’ – Masdar-Statoil project sees 5 wind massive turbines fitted onto a floating substructure in Stord, Norway, ready to be towed into position 25km out to sea from the Scottish, then anchored to the seabed – The whole video is visually compelling when considering the scope of the project. Around 1.28 you see the actual connection starting.

Germany produced record 35 percent of power from renewables in first half – This is not a 15 minute, or weekend number (that number is 85%). This is for the first six months of 2017 – with 6% growth from 2016. That growth of clean electricity is still a bit slow to meet long-term de-carbonization goals, but 2017 expects to see more solar/wind as energy storage and new auction mechanisms pick up pace. I do wish they’d consider letting the nuclear stay on for a bit longer…and closing coal instead in 2022.

And here is a great chart via twitter showing 2016 renewable electricity numbers in Germany:

Header image of 50MW power plant partially built and connected to grid in China. The black parts are composed of single crystalline silicon solar cells supplied by Xi’an LONGI Silicon Materials Corp., while the white parts consist of thin-film solar cells supplied by First Solar. Source – but I found it via Inhabitat. Marketing matters.

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