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EGEB: Europe’s grid vs. climate change, UK wind deal, powerful home solar, and more

Today in EGEB, a study finds climate change won’t destroy a renewable-based European electric grid. The UK makes a big deal for offshore wind expansion. SunPower releases 400-plus-watt residential solar panels. And National Grid announces its acquisition of wind and solar developer Geronimo Energy.

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

A new study in the journal Joule concludes that a renewable-heavy electric grid in Europe could survive the coming effects of climate change. 

Researches from Aarhus University in Denmark claim that five different climate scenarios “show a limited impact on the five key metrics of a highly renewable European electricity system.” Those key metrics are: dispatchable electricity, benefit of electrical transmission, benefit of electrical storage, dispatchable capacity, and short-term variability.

The study calls for a large-scale mix of wind and solar, and it mainly focused on a mix of 80 percent wind and 20 percent solar power. Researchers noted “the most extreme impacts of climate change are observed within fully wind-dominated electricity systems.” A range of climate scenarios through 2100 were included.

UK Offshore Deal

The U.K. wind industry is ponying up £250 million ($327 million) over the next 11 years for £557 million ($728 million) of state subsidies, The Guardian reports.

The government wants a third of the U.K.’s electricity to come from wind by 2030. One estimate believes offshore wind jobs could reach 27,000 by that same year. Energy and clean growth minister Claire Perry said,

“This new sector deal will drive a surge in the clean, green offshore wind revolution that is powering homes and businesses across the UK, bringing investment into coastal communities and ensuring we maintain our position as global leaders in this growing sector.”

Greenpeace UK, however, doesn’t think the goal is lofty enough. Executive director John Sauven said “the government’s latest offshore wind target of 30 gigawatts by 2030 is woefully inadequate.”

Among current developments, the U.K.’s massive Hornsea One offshore wind farm started generating power last month. It should be complete by early 2020, with larger nearby projects to follow.

GND Support

(Major) Sunpower

SunPower announced the release of its A-Series solar panels. The company is touting the 400-plus-watt solar panels as the “most powerful residential solar panels in the world.” SunPower CEO Jeff Waters said,

“SunPower is introducing the world’s first 400-watt residential solar panels as most in the industry are just crossing the 300-watt threshold for home solar.”

The A-Series panels use SunPower’s Gen 5 Maxeon solar cells to deliver up to 415 watts of electricity. SunPower says A-Series offers a “65 percent larger cell than previous generations that absorbs more sunlight and ultimately offers more savings to homeowners.”

SunPower also introduced its Maxeon 3 solar panels, a 400-watt panel for European and Australian customers.

SunPower cell

National Grid Deal

Multinational utility National Grid announced its acquisition of Minnesota-based wind and solar developer Geronimo Energy on Thursday. The cost is $100 million, “with potential for further payments subject to successful development of the project pipeline.”

National Grid is also pursuing an agreement to acquire a 51 percent share in 378 MW of wind and solar generation projects developed by Geronimo that are already in operation or under construction. That deal would actually cost National Grid more — $125 million. The projects will be jointly owned by National Grid and Washington Investment Board. That joint venture will “have right of first offer on future projects developed by Geronimo Energy.”

Geronimo has more than 2200 MW of wind and solar projects either in operation or under construction. Pending typical acquisition approvals, both transactions are expected to close in the second quarter of 2019.

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