Electrek Green Energy Brief Overview Updated May 22, 2017

Electrek Green Energy Brief

A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news

See All Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories

125 Electrek Green Energy Brief stories

December 2016 - May 2017


Welcome to the Electrek Green Energy Brief. Put together by our Electrek authors, the Energy Brief is a daily technical, financial, and political review of important green energy news.

 

Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories May 22

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

Here’s what we know so far about Rick Perry’s fake power grid study – and it isn’t good – High level – study is too short, supposed grid reliability issues are non-existent, being led by fossil-fuel lobbyist, National Security language is red herring, already proposed 70% cuts to renewable programs, and of course the outspoken support for coal. #rickperryisfake

The World’s Largest Wind Turbines Have Started Generating Power in England – The video is enough. Short article that really just shows off some imagery and connects to other websites. The visuals of these huge systems are always so compelling. Living near Rhode Island, I get to see wind turbines on a regular basis – but until you stand next to one do you realize how large they are.

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Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories May 19

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

The Green Big Bang – “Will the 21st century be the last one for fossil fuels?” – Big business has a big reason to ask that question. Document is full of data. Check out the GIF at bottom of brief showing wind/solar growth. Another graphic – global battery manufacturing capacity by 2020 is expected to be 173GWh worth, with Tesla being the second largest at 35GWh worth. Later on, sobriety – coal took about 60 years to reach 50% as it took over from wood in the 1800s. There is a dearth of green alternatives to the fossil fuels used to make steel, cement or plastics, he adds. And replacing a global fossil fuel energy system that took an estimated $25tn to create over the 20th century with today’s crop of renewables is a job that will occupy us “for generations”. These fossil fueled businesses grew our population from one to greater than seven billion as the industrial revolution spread to almost all reaches of the planet. History will look at these quaint times with nostalgia.

California’s 2017 energy mix showing significant clean uptick relative due to hydroelectric and solar growth – And more importantly, natural gas way down. For most days so far in 2017, the share of CAISO’s electric power generated from natural gas has been near or below previous five-year (2012–16) minimums. These numbers of course don’t consider the 4GW’ish worth of residential/commercial behind the meter solar – that would up the solar number 30-50%.

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Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories May 18

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

Iowa senator slams energy chief for grid study undermining wind energy – Iowa’s Republican senator on Wednesday raised concerns that U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry has commissioned a “hastily developed” study of the reliability of the electric grid that appears “geared to undermine” the wind energy industry – Grassley said the results were pre-determined and would show that intermittent energy sources like wind make the grid unstable. We know the coal industry is going to use ‘instability’ as its tool to leverage a requirement of having large volumes of coal able to run immediately in times of risk. This has been expressed in public by the Pruitt at the EPA.

Coal plants failed in Queensland heatwave on day of record demand – A new report from the AER looks at the soaring electricity prices on February 12, 2017, when high temperatures across the state caused record demand despite the day being a Sunday, when most business and much manufacturing was closed. The principal reason, the AER notes, was the sudden withdrawal of more than 790MW of coal and gas capacity – all due to technical faults related to the heat – If the world is getting warmer, and thermal plants – coal/nuclear/gas – are going to have greater problems shedding heat, we truly depend on them? expand full story

9to5toys 

Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories May 17

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

Apple’s New Campus: An Exclusive Look Inside the Mothership – Apple’s new building – header photo – is absolutely stunning. The structure will be 100% renewable powered – 4MW of biogas fuel cells plus 16MW of solar power on top. And images – like the above by Dan Winters – will help power the imagination of architectural engineers integrating renewables into structures.

Rooftop solar saved NSW consumers nearly $1 billion in heatwave – New South Wales, Australia – When temperatures broke 45°C during a three-day period in February of this year, solar power produced 17GWh. This production – while only 2% of total electricity – was produced during peak demand times, and it managed to lower pricing 60% – $from 1920/MWh to $780/MWh – saving consumers $888 million. Approximately $600 million of it was saved in one day. In many places, this money would have been earned by gas peaker plants. Often times, event likes these – where prices can sometimes increases by hundreds of a percent – were where the whole years profits would come from. Game changing.

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Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories May 16

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

China and India overtake US as best renewable investment destinations – The basis of the USA falling from the top spot are political changes put forth by the Trump Administration. Investment funds don’t like their cash sitting around – and if the USA is going to slow its movement, there are plenty of places for it to flow globally. On the other hand – politics aside – China and India should be leading the world. It’s good to see them take their proper places.

Speaking of hundreds of billions of dollars – Solar to attract more investment than coal, gas and nuclear combined this year – Game, Set, Match, folks. Plus another $100B+ for wind. In Europe, renewable technologies will attract 73.4% of power generation investment this year. By 2020, say the analysts, non-hydro renewable energies will account for 65% of all power generation investment, led by the strong backing for solar found in India, China and other emerging economies and markets. India alone will see clean energy investment grow by 24% per year until 2020, the report finds. We will still need fossils and nuclear for a while – but change is coming hard.

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Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories May 15

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

Blackout parties: how solar and storage made WA farmers the most popular in town – “People assume the grid is something reliable and permanent, but in reality it is a centralised system with very long lines out to remote communities – it is in fact highly susceptible to failure” – Every day, as the price of solar + storage falls, more places become economically viable for solar power. What’s more interesting – with advancing microgrid technology – is how a grid can develop and broader stability exist outside of the incumbent centralized model.

The Next Step in Energy Storage: Aggregation – Australia and Germany are piloting smarter grids that tie to together home storage + solar generation. Hawaii is testing pieces of it. Now we have Tesla working in Vermont. The program, basically, offers people a home energy backup for $15/month. Cool. What it offers the broader grid is much more – a distributed power plant able to be called on in a near instant. There are many ways for batteries to make money from the grid. I’d be interested in who owns these batteries – and whether Tesla is making money off of the services offered to the grid – and is there an official ‘Tesla Utilities’ department yet?

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9to5mac 

Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories May 12

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

Michigan Tech study suggests outfitting military infrastructure with solar PV microgrid systems – study found that the military requires 17 gigawatts (GW) of PV to fortify domestic bases and that the systems are technically feasible and economically favorable – also interesting directly from the research paper – the DOD operates over 400 military bases within continental USA. 27 of these bases already have or are planning solar power installations. Now, instead of talking about the geopolitical risks of protecting oil or arguing about pollution/climate change – solar is now defined as a strategically important distributed energy resource for the military.

1000 km range thanks to a new battery concept – Individual battery cells are not strung separately side-by-side in small sections; instead, they are stacked directly one above the other across a large area – the idea is to put the batteries together in a way eliminate much of the housing and contacting that can take up more than 50 percent of the space. One thing I’ve learned in the past year being a part of electrek.co is that battery density has many ways to improve that don’t need recreating of fundamental physics, but instead – packaging.

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Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories May 11

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

SolarWorld insolvent – On the one hand – its sad to see one of the oldest, most respected and groundbreaking companies in the industry in this state. Being younger in the industry, ten years, I grew up in a time when there were always many solar panel manufacturers – and I also got to see SolarWorld force the politicians to tax solar panels from China in both the USA and Europe. In the end – it’s true that the Chinese model of underwriting the solar industry as it loses money in the early stages of development has hurt long-term manufacturers. It’s true that SolarWorld’s shareholders and employees have bore the brunt of this Chinese investment. However, I’m hard pressed to say I wish it’d have come about differently. Easy to say when I’m not a shareholder or employee…

Elon Musk: “This is a connector that has to last for more than 30 years. It has to be weatherproof, heavy rain, snow, slush, salt, water leaking – it’s like connector hell” – technology in the connectors – I’m still wondering exactly what is going on underneath those tiles. Are the tiles going to lay on top of the sheathing – the plywood that makes the first layer – of the roof? Will we lay down roofing felt (the paper like under layer)? I’m guessing the paper might be valuable – not sure – and we still use a standard nail gun to hold the tiles in place after they’re assembled and connected. Connector is probably built hard into the tile so the connect can last decades on top of a roof. This excites me folks.

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Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories May 10

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

A million people in LA County might ditch their utility and investors are scared – They’re not going off grid, but instead are joining a CCA. California Assembly Bill 117 of 2002 established CCAs, allowing “customers to aggregate their electrical loads as members of their local community.” California CCAs have eight operational members/1.25 million customers/projected 2017 load of 13,750 GWh. This is a complex thing – multiple power utilities within the same area, neighbors even. Electricity pumped over shared power lines using various sources for generation. A very smart electricity grid will be required to maximize concepts like this. Anyone know who owns the local distribution power lines in California? Private? Public? Anyone in this program already?

Paying for Utility Politics: How ratepayers are forced to fund the Edison Electric Institute and other political organizations – In essence, your payments to the utilities go directly toward an organization that will manipulate the public and pay Congress to make laws against your best interests. The story here focuses on how the Edison Institute is constantly shown to be violating the rules surrounding collecting fees used for lobbying in shareholders, not ratepayers, interests. And Edison consistently being told they’re not allowed to lobby with that money – many times after it is shown they’ve broken rules. This isn’t new – Ten major utilities spent more than $250 million total on political expenditures over a five-year period beginning in 2011 – and it isn’t going to stop.

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9to5google 

Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories May 9

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

Russia Tells the UN It Wants to Produce More Renewable Energy while Macron tells Trump he will protect what was made in Paris – the people and the Paris Agreement – In terms of Russia, we have a minister telling the UN that one of the largest oil and gas-producing countries in the world likes green energy. In France, we have a country run on nuclear energy with heavy investment in taking care of the environment and building plenty of solar. Macron gives me something to believe based upon history – and Putin speaking can be used to influence.

LG has a 20.8% efficiency solar panel available for sale – LG NeON® R, Module efficiency: 20.8%, model LG360Q1C-A5 – This is cool because it’s the second time I’ve seen a normal solar panel above 20% and available from a serious player. Someone on reddit said their contractor was offering this panel up at SunPower pricing (meaning expensive) versus the regular priced LG product in the 18-19% efficiency range. This might be a great panel to start looking for if your roof is space constrained as it’ll come down in price fast as production ramps.

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