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EGEB: Record wind output in US, China launching carbon market, US tax bill weighing on renewables, more

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

SPP Sets New Records for Wind Generation – Wind resources peaked at 13,587 MW at 7:55 a.m. on Dec. 4 and then again at 14,150 MW at 9:55 p.m., bettering the old record of 13,342 MW, set on Feb. 9. And per the graph the peak was about 56.25% of total electricity. They suggest that this record means breaking 75% is within the technical possibilities. That’s a lot of wind power in the Midwest USA.

Global electricity investment was higher than investment in fossil fuel supply for the first time in 2016 – For the first time ever, the electricity sector edged ahead of the oil and gas sector in 2016 to become the largest recipient of energy investment. However oil and gas still represent two-fifths of global energy supply investment, despite a fall of 38% in capital spending in that sector between 2014 and 2016. The money invested in solar panels and wind farms today will generate clean electricity and revenue for decades.

The teenager inventor who could change the way the world fights climate change – Novek’s technology could capture carbon dioxide at $10 or so per metric ton, about 85% less than industry standard. This is done by using a chemical process known as “salting out”, which is less energy intensive as current industry practices. I’m always a bit skeptical of the coolest, newest ideas. Mainly because I’ve gotten excited in the past and been burned – what happened to my space elevator? If we can figure out how to use huge amounts of carbon – building stuff, making food – and something like a pie in the sky breakthrough like above happens, then we can consume/build our way out of the problem.

A 3D-printed, solar-powered lab-in-a-box could change how we combat disease outbreaks – The kit will cost at most $1,500, which is about a tenth of the cost of lab-based equipment, according to the creators. Additional modifications or attachments will cost about $730 more. The portable lab’s solar powered 3D printed equipment is able to test for viruses, test for bacteria, do dna analysis, cetrifugation, and accomodate a microscope. Solar power is a tiny part of this overall kit’s ingenuity, but it is a fundamental piece of it. Kind of an enabler of other levels of creativity.

Future of solar and wind finance unclear in final tax reform bill – Multiple clean energy finance experts have warned pv magazine that by limiting the amount of income that could be protected from taxation in international transfers, the BEAT provision could dry up the market for tax equity and limit monetization of both the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) and Production Tax Credit (PTC), particularly by some of the large U.S. banks that are most involved in this market. Since money management is a global game, then any fund that invests in large-scale solar projects is going to be affected by international taxation laws. I don’t know much about international taxation laws, but they’re affecting solar power’s business continuity right now.

MIT researchers observe the effects of climate on solar cell performance – The researchers tested both silicon and cadmium telluride solar cells, and were surprised to find a difference in performance as high as 5% in tropical regions. In the hot, humid climate of Singapore, the cadmium telluride cells produced up to 5% more energy than silicon, and expect similar results for high-bandgap cell materials such as perovskites or gallium-arsenide. Lot of tools out there to fine tune design. Probably applicable across the USA – the southeast being more humid than the southwest.

China is launching a carbon market sometime soon. I wonder the effect it will have.

Featured image is of the Tesla’s Hornsdale Wind+Storage site.

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