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

First tanker crosses northern sea route without ice breaker – The specially-built ship completed the crossing in just six-and-a-half days setting a new record, according to the tanker’s Russian owners. “Previously there was only a window of navigation from our summer to autumn, but this ship will be able to sail westwards from Sabetta which is the Yamal energy port, all year round and eastwards from July to December,” said Sovcomflot spokesman Bill Spears. “Before the northern sea route was only open for four months and you had to have ice-breakers – so it’s a significant development.” For hundreds of years, Europeans sought a ‘Northwest Passage‘ to shorten the trip to Asia. Many died. Now, with the arctic warming and the ice melting, we’re able to make this trip year round. This ship does have some ice breaker capabilities – but they’re limited. Hard evidence of global climate change.

Exclusive: Trump vents in Oval Office, “I want tariffs. Bring me some tariffs!”“(General) John *Kelly – White House Chief of Staff), let me tell you why they didn’t bring me any tariffs, I know there are some people in the room right now that are upset. I know there are some globalists in the room right now. And they don’t want them, John, they don’t want the tariffs. But I’m telling you, I want tariffs.” If the consequences of these actions weren’t so far reaching, this exclamation would be comical. Its like a spoiled Veruca Salt demanding a Willy Wonka golden goose. This is relevant to this column, of course, because right now there is a case winding its way through the International Trade Court (ITC) looking hard at whether solar panel manufacturers like Suniva and SolarWorld have suffered due to international competition. The ITC will make its decision on whether these groups have suffered later in September.

Speaking of this ITC case…The Section 201 Trade Case: Suniva’s Tangled Web – In summary, we have two bankrupt companies, neither of which is American-owned, leading the charge against the 38,000 American solar manufacturing workers and the total 260,000 workers in the U.S. solar industry. Two companies, suing to gain economic protection against global competition within the USA, that are both owned by those outside of the USA. Little bit of vomit just came up…

Farmers, experts: solar and agriculture ‘complementary, not competing’ in North Carolina – Horses tend to be picky eaters. Cows are too tall, and require too much space. Goats like to climb on the panels, eat wires, and otherwise distract from the mission. North Carolina sheep farming has grown over the last decade, from 21,000 to 30,000 animals at the end of last year. Sun-Raised Farms has played at least some role in that boost: 28 of the state’s large-scale solar installations are maintained by about 4000 sheep in the company’s network. If we’re going to use large chunks of land for solar panels – and we’re going to have to keep competing to drive costs down – one of the best ways to do so will be via multipurpose usage of land. While, we all know very well about sheep being used for grazing on solar power land – this research quantifies and we can now spread this knowledge. Any of you land owners with grazers?

5 million commercial customers could benefit from BTM storage – The report  (7 page PDF) analyzed over 10,000 utility tariffs in 48 states, looking for commercial customers eligible for utility rate tariffs that included demand charges of $20/kW or more. Economic opportunities for storage exist not only in first-mover states such as California and New York, but across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. The map below shows demand charges by power company. A demand charge – generally only applied to commercial customers – is a fee you pay for your peak energy usage during a 15 minute period over a month. This single peak moment drives the legal requirements of the utility for volume of electricity production that must be present – as such – the utilities charge you, even if you are no where near that peak at any other time of the month. The value of energy storage, in this case, is called ‘peak shaving’ – meaning you design your battery system to specifically run when your peak moment arrives. If properly designed, a battery system can make your peak moment equal to your general usage demand. Peak shaving systems lower overall electric grid stress, minimizes the use of highly polluting peaker plants and lowers the need for more expensive equipment that is rarely used.

Wind Energy Is One of the Cheapest Sources of Electricity, and It’s Getting Cheaper – First off, take the time to go through this slidedeck – its great knowledge. This article is a summary of it (and my paragraph is a summary of the article). In recent years, an enormous amount of wind energy has been procured at or below a price of 20 dollars per megawatt-hour — or just 2 cents per kilowatt-hour. That is competitive with typical wholesale electricity market prices by any measure. When you exclude the production tax credit and look at the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) from interior wind, it still comes in at an extremely competitive cost of less than 50 dollars per megawatt-hour (5 cents per kilowatt-hour). As we saw with the dual turbine yesterday, and in the slidedeck above – wind power is growing greatly, the technology is advancing aggressively and our ability to integrate this intermittent source of electricity is increasing. With energy storage and smarter, broader electric grids – this pattern will continue. Remember – wind power is 7% of US electricity, while solar just crossed 2%.

EPA Chief Scott Pruitt: “Science Shouldn’t Dictate American Policy” – I’m at a loss for words. Science ought be the one thing we can all agree on – it is without emotion, it is simply math. And – of any things – it ought be the bedrock of our policy. Yes, there are arguments above the science that we can fool with – but science is the driver of those arguments. For the person who is running a science based department that greatly affects so many Americans…this is an embarrassment to our country and will cost American lives.

To help you feel the grandiosity of scale…

Header image is of a new Russian ice breaker talked about in the BBC lead article – image found here.

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