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Colorado’s NREL — a workhorse in national solar, wind research — faces “devastating” cuts in Trump budget proposal – It’s that season of the year, where partisan politics are flung for the purpose of shock and awe versus doing some proper, patient work. Last year the Executive Office suggested significant cuts to the Department of Energy’s renewable energy and efficiency budget. The Senate reversed most of those cuts. This year again though – the Executive Branch has requested a stronger budget cut, 72%. The US Government’s budget for 2017 was approximately $4,094 billion. The Department of Energy’s renewable energy and energy efficiency groups get about $2 billion a year. They’re scientists and researchers building the technologies that drive our attacks against climate change. 0.05% – five hundredths of a percent – of the US governments budget.
Magenta Goes Green: T-Mobile Commits to 100% Renewable Energy – T-Mobile unveiled, for the first time today, that the company has finalized a contract for 160 MWs from Infinity Renewables’ Solomon Forks Wind Project in Kansas, with power generation slated to begin in early 2019. The Solomon Forks project marks T-Mobile’s 2nd major wind power project. The first, the Red Dirt Wind Project operated by Enel Green Power in Oklahoma, went online this past December. Combined, the two will generate 320 MWs for T-Mobile, enough to meet an estimated 60% of the Un-carrier’s total energy needs nationwide. Two things – first, RE100 website says they have 123 companies on their list of committed to go 100% renewables, some suggest a ‘renewable energy race in the phone industry.’ That’d be a sweet thing to see start happening – and would then mean we ought be strategically targeting unique business verticals to maximize corporate uptake of clean energy. Second, the 320MW equaling 60% of electricity usage by T-Mobile means 173MW of equivalent capacity factor wind power to go to hit their 100% number. Supply chain next folks.
Savings from avoiding outages make solar+storage more economic – For a representative large office building solar was cost-effective without valuing resilience, but not storage. When accounting for the cost of outages, the model increased the ideal PV size on the office by 35% and added a 271-kWh battery energy storage system (see Table 2). With the ability to avoid outage losses and deliver increased electric bill savings throughout time, the solar and storage system increases the net benefit for the customer by $178,000 throughout 20 years, a 160% boost in NPV. This quote is direct from the document, not the article linked to above. Standardization of losses due to power outages – and adding that into the financial models being used to determine financial viability of renewable energy and storage purchases. Financial Wizardry from the Renewable Energy branch of the Department of Energy – NREL, the one getting hacked at by our Executive Branch. Technically, most big industry people already do this – but the knowledge need be distributed.
The Controversy Behind Massachusetts’ $1.6B Hydro Power Transmission Line – Why is it a complex issue to consider whether or not you want to import hydroelectricity from existing infrastructure in Canada? 1. The people don’t want the power company to control the machine anymore. We tire of the CEO privileges that have been taken. Now that we have chances to generate and store locally, we’re taking it. 2. Why would we want to pay for a single 1GW powerline when we can install local power generation, pay our local people to install it, and then personally gain the revenue and the incentives locally – so we can then spend our money locally? That’s an economics education in ‘velocity of money‘ – and Massachusetts being educated knows how to calculate this out. Buying local matters – electricity as well.
The first time I looked at the tweet below, I wondered where the solar part of the production curve was, then all the way at the bottom I saw the tiny bumps! Wind and solar have been paired in various off-grid locations, but the 10MW Gullen Range solar farm south of Crookwell in NSW is the first large-scale solar farm on Australia’s main grid to be co-located with a major wind farm. It shares facilities with the 165MW Gullen Range wind farm, and could soon be joined by the 100MW Biala wind farm which Beijing Jingneng Clean Energy wants to develop later this year.
We’ve got some volumes of offshore wind coming to the USA. Europe has about 6GW right now though – China/Asia ramping as well.
Featured image is from the Department of Energy SunShot program. A very efficient, custom-designed and engineered cleaning truck fitted with articulated scrubbers, drives alongside while cleaning massive heliostats at Solar Reserve’s Crescent Dunes facility in Tonopah, NV. Photo by Ivan Boden.
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