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EGEB: Washington State’s amicable coal breakup, German politics heavily affected by environment, more

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

Washington State leaves coal behind, but not its workers – After getting a permit to build a natural gas plant on the same site, the company has committed $55 million for community development (and the movement away from fossils). The coal plant employs about 300 workers, with an average wage over $80,000, a very respectable income for the small town of 16,000. The resulting legislation will result in half the plant being shut down by the end of 2020 and the other half by the end of 2025. The grant fund is divided into three parts, with $10 million for weatherization and energy efficiency projects; $20 million for education, job training and economic development projects; and $25 million for energy technology investments.  At least $5 million of the job training fund will be dedicated to Centralia plant workers. We are humans. We are fighting green house gases because we want humanity to continue forward, in a life that has an opportunity of comfort. I sympathize with the coal workers. It’s hard to be a specialist in a hard-working labor field, build your life around the land – and then be pulled from it while the land still has so much more to give. Still gotta cut coal though, gotta grit through it.

German deal could boost wind, PV – It’s good to hear that environmental performance is such a significant part of the political process in Germany right now. Merkel (from so far away) seems to have done a solid job over a long period. However, with the complexity between growing renewables, lowering nuclear, not growing storage and transmission as quickly, coal holding strong, and the automakers lying – it’s been a tough run on the green side. However, Germany did hit 38% renewable energy last year, the battery factories are growing, Diesel Gate is real, wind power is amazing, and the world did benefit greatly from the German push. Now Germany wants more from their leader. Good work folks.

Accelerating the path towards ‘solar energy 3.0’ – The next phase, 2.0, uses advanced plant control systems to strategically manage the output of a solar power plant to create spinning reserves and other ancillary grid services. As the markets evolve towards energy and capacity contracts, photovoltaic solar can provide grid reliability services and the kind of flexibility that grid operators value, while enabling penetration of approximately 40%. Phase 3.0 delivers fully-dispatchable solar using energy storage and time-shift techniques to contribute to firm generation capacity. With the potential for as much as 80% penetration, this places solar energy on par with thermal generators, presenting the EU with a substantive response to longer-term climate ambitions.

Ecosystems Are Collapsing, Food Bowls Are Next – You ought to begin to consider what happens if food production goes sideways, or down due to climate complexity. The movement toward shipping container food production or growing meat indoors might be a strategic asset for a species on a less consistent planet surface. I once got a quote from a shipping container company – Freight Farms – and an all in package (probably even the first round of seeds), minus labor of course, runs in the $70-90k range. I think the return on investment was well under 2 years – maybe even under one year. A return to distributed food generation coming next? Are we going to have food closets? Meat productions freezers?

This is a rooftop. Someone took the time to design the project as the building was built. I bet string sizing, racking layout, cluster sizing, etc – all optimized – maybe even with the solar partially driving the building size. Looks so perfect, it almost fades away from being visually significant. That’s the way its supposed to be.

Featured image is from the Department of Energy SunShot programEarly morning pattern of frost appears on the surfaces of these giant heliostat mirrors at Solar Reserve’s Crescent Dunes facility in Tonopah, NV. The frost takes on the shape of the supports that hold each panel to the array, but quickly evaporates as the sun warms them. Photo by Ivan Boden.

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