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

Record wind output sends UK into negative pricing – Electricity data from utility shows that system buy and sell prices fell to -£3.71/MWh between 6-6:30pm and remained negative for four consecutive settlement periods. For settlement period 15 (7-7:30am 14 January), it fell as low as -£68.43/MWh. We covered the Tesla battery earning up to AU$1000/MWh a few days back. Pretty soon we’re going to stop talking simply about ‘negative electricity pricing’ and we’re going to start talking about how our plug-in and grid enabled cars got a bonus $/MWh bonus overnight, or our office battery, home battery, etc. Or maybe – we’ll get real smart with excess electricity and start making things real cheap based upon excess electricity generation modeling. Either way – this is our new reality. Adapt.

Largest Hydrogen Electrolysis Plant to Be Built in Germany“This new unit at Rhineland enables hydrogen to be made from electricity rather than natural gas. A unit of this kind brings a flexibility that can help the stability of the power grid, thereby facilitating more use of renewable electricity.” Currently the Rheinland refinery, Germany’s largest, requires approximately 180,000 tons of hydrogen annually, which is produced by steam reforming from natural gas. If we’re going to have negative prices and excess electricity – we need test everything we can surrounding it. Hydrogen isn’t the hot ticket these days in the headlines – but so far, it’s the most logical liquid fuel for us to deal with if there’s going to be one. And it has use as a transition material utilizing our current energy infrastructure.

Cell Prices to Plummet as Off-Peak Season Arrives – Following the plummet of module orders placed by Chinese power plant developers, mono and multi-Si module prices keep declining. The average trading price of conventional multi-Si modules dropped to RMB 2.6-2.65/W (41-42¢/W) and will drop further. It appears that February and March will be the months with the weakest demand in 1H18. Manufacturers are not that willing to stock before the Lunar New Year this year, and therefore demand is likely to stay weak all the way from January to after the Lunar New Year. Remember, this market price is a generally temporary event that happens every year in the ‘spot’ market – that means people buying stuff for purchase right away. Nonetheless – good to see what’s happening. Specifically, note that the prices of the highest quality monoPERC solar cells are really closely priced to the standard solar cells – 2¢/W across a 60 cell solar panel is $1.20 – that buys you 21%+ vs 18.5%.

Nori.eco – the digital currency based on the removal of CO2750 Billions Tons of CO2 need to be removed from the atmosphere. An interesting datapoint separate from the main idea of the website. Speaking of the broader website – the concept of tracking CO2 removal in a blockchain would be that we trust the records being kept in this distributed cloud hosted public ledger. And if we trust that this thing represents a CO2 offset, and we as a society come to value CO2 removal, then somewhere – somehow – we’ll figure out how to monetize it to motivate it. I’m still in the head wrapping around things phase of blockchain/energy industry applications – this is an interesting spin. Thanks for the tip Ben, I’d never heard of them.

Dominion Closes Nine Obsolete (mostly Coal) Generating Units – The utility has decided to mothball nine of its older, less efficient power-generating units — all but one of them either coal-fired or converted from coal to gas. Because the units rarely run, they provide only one percent of the company’s current generation, reports the Associated Press. Dominion also decided to eliminate about 390 positions, including about 100 from its nuclear operations. The company expects many employees will be reassigned to other operations. Cool to see old hardware closing, sucks for the few hundred jobs becoming a bit more unsettled – but the key is that these units were rarely run, and probably didn’t commit too much CO2, which means we’re not saving much from these units at these moments. Nonetheless, great momentum.

I  like this tweet for the third picture where it shows the wiring underneath the panels. Those are Enphase microinverters attached to the racking. They’re so small these days – the last time I installed one they were two or three times the size, and double the thickness. Good job by the scientists/engineers.

Featured image is from the Twitter account of  Dr. Thomas Hillig. “ 18 Luxury has 512kW plant

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