Electrek Green Energy Brief Overview Updated June 23, 2017

Electrek Green Energy Brief

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

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147 Electrek Green Energy Brief stories

December 2016 - June 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 June 23

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

Obama energy secretary launches nonprofit – Ernest Moniz, who taught physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for decades before becoming energy secretary in 2013, is heading up the Energy Futures Initiative (EFI) along with two high-level staffers from his time at the Department of Energy (DOE) – Moniz seemed to do well as energy secretary for Obama. An educated man who knows energy from an academic and political standpoint. Thank you Moniz.

Panasonic HIT solar module achieves world’s best output temperature coefficient – standard silicon solar cell’s output temperature coefficient is -0.50%, which denotes a decline of 0.50% in the conversion efficiency as the module temperature rises by 1°C – Panasonic Corporation has achieved the world’s leading output temperature coefficient for mass-produced silicon photovoltaic modules, at -0.258%/°C. – This is cool. They’ve almost cut in half the efficiency losses associated with heat. I never even knew this type of research was going on. I expect to see other manufacturers do the same soon.

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Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories June 22

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

Solar’s new sweet spot: Low cost, compact PV plants at $1/watt – 10.9MW solar plant at Barcaldine in Queensland will set a new benchmark for capital costs in Australia, at just a few cents over $1/watt – I’ve never seen a ‘small’ project like this at such a low price, in addition – this is Australia where labor costs are not cheap. If 10MW plants can be built at $1/W in a high labor cost market – I’m very optimistic. Secondly – this project was super dense: ~0.6MW/acre – because of a new product called PEG, delivered by German solar firm Belectric. I’m used to building 0.2MW/acre. Of course, I do build systems that face due south with 30° angles – meaning lots of shade.

Mississippi Regulators Seek to End Southern Co. ‘Clean-Coal’ Plant – A $7.5B experiment with tax payer money to create ‘clean coal’ has failed. Now, regulators are telling the company to convert to gas from coal and that no more costs overruns will be passed onto electricity rate payers. Clean coal doesn’t exist. We’ve been trying to clean it since the beginning of the industrial revolution. There’s a coal plant that pumps the CO2 underground – but is this really a smart policy?

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Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories June 21

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

South Miami Mayor Blames FPL for Robocalls Against New Solar Panel Plan – South Miami: population 12,000 — wants to become the first in Florida with an ordinance requiring every new residential home, building, or apartment complex to install solar panels. – What happens when a city says they want solar power? The utilities get back to their lying and manipulation of the people. This is a county that will be underwater – they want to do something real – and now they’re getting phone calls that are illegal during political elections. And when you hear the BS denial from the utilities – remember How the electricity utilities “use a little bit of political jiu-jitsu” to steal the sun.

Phoenix flights cancelled because it’s too hot for planes – Definition of an externality is a cost that isn’t paid for at the time of purchase. We human have warmed the world so much, that our atmosphere is fundamentally changing.

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9to5toys 

Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories June 20

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

Lyft says all of its self-driving electric cars will be powered by ‘100% renewable energy’ – First, Lyft is going to move themselves to an all electric fleet of vehicles. Then they’ll start buying renewable energy certificates to balance out the electric charging. As an aside, I uninstalled Uber from my phone and installed Lyft awhile back (terrible company morals on the Uber side).

Countries With the Most Wind and Solar Have 10 Times Fewer Outages Than America – This doesn’t necessarily mean that the solar/wind increase grid stability. It probably means that those countries investing in wind/solar are also investing in smarter grid technologies concurrently. But this does clearly show evidence that grid stability and renewable can peacefully co-exist.  Germany produced 82 percent of its electricity from renewables for a period of several days in May. Denmark gets 100 percent of its electricity from renewables on many days of the year. Yet both nations have electric grids that are 10 times more reliable than America’s. 

So any time someone tells you that renewables and EVs destroy the grid, you can counter with the above.  expand full story

Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories June 19

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

‘Energy Choice’ is politics for fossil fuels in fight against solar power – Nevada Governor notes ‘Energy Choice’ as part of his logic for vetoing an increase in clean energy for the state. Whenever you hear the term ‘Energy Choice’ understand that this phrase was remarketed by fossil fuel interests to tap into the US spirit for free markets. We know clearly the fossil fuels don’t believe in free markets – otherwise they’d offer to pay for the pollution they cause. Secondly – Sandoval, the Governor in question, is in a challenging position. He’s got the most enigmatic entrepreneur in a generation on the one side with his Gigafactory in Reno – and we got Warren Buffett with his $60B on the other side that owns the electricity company. Of course, Buffet is more like Musk – and the people  (Koch Brothers, Exxon, Peabody, etc) pushing the term “energy choice” to this Governor are using Buffett as a front.

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Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories June 16

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

Solar Power Will Kill Coal Faster Than You Think – 34% of global electricity from wind/solar by 2040, and an additional drop in price of 66%. Interesting – article notes solar dropped in price 66% between 2009 and today. In China, new solar will be cheaper than new coal in the early 2020s. In Europe, coal capacity will fall by 87%. Projections are cool – one cool thing to consider: almost everyone that is an ‘expert’ has underestimated the growth of renewables.

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9to5mac 

Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories June 15

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

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Over $4.6 Million in Grants for Peak Demand Reduction Projects – The state has put money behind 9 grants aimed at reducing peak demand via, mostly, deploying energy storage intelligently. For instance – Tesla – $996,455 – Will demonstrate aggregated energy storage for peak demand reduction in National Grid territory. Tesla will work to quantify the benefits of the demonstrated peak demand reductions and evaluate the model’s viability at scale. – This reminds me of Tesla’s distributed grid work in Vermont. Look at the list of projects (it’s short). Within three to four years, Massachusetts will have the fundamental knowledge – funded and trusted by their taxpayers – to change move their energy grid well into the 21st century.

Clean energy stored in electric vehicles to power buildings – Given that battery degradation is dependent on calendar age, capacity throughput, temperature, state of charge, current and depth of discharge, V2G is an effective tool that can be used to optimize a battery’s conditions such that degradation is minimized. Hence, taking excess energy from an idle EV to power the grid actually keeps the battery healthier for longer – These batteries are worth too much to just sit in cars. If this research is correct, and we can use the grid to optimize batteries while the grid uses those batteries for services, then we need redo all of our equations for getting energy storage onto the grid to make use of electric car batteries also.

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Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories June 14

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

Inside “Steel Pulse,” The Project That Became Elon Musk’s Solar RoofInternally at SolarCity, the solar roof product was far from what Musk would consider market-ready, let alone beautiful, according to nearly a dozen sources familiar with the projectMusk told Peter and other team members that they were wasting his time with this “piece of shit.” The concept of solar power integrated into a metal seem roof sounds pretty damn compelling – for a commercial structure at least. On a residential? C’mon – people whine about solar panels being big, ugly and square, that’s why it has to be these pretty tiles. I agree with Musk’s opinion on what would catch customer’s eyes. As an aside, I’d like to get some rights to the original Steel Pulse and start pitching it to commercial groups. (Also is steel pulse sounds like a Ben Stiller modeling pose)

Apple moves closer to 100% renewable energy as it issues $1 billion green bond – The company is investing in solar energy, hydroelectric plants and biogas facilities in Oregon, North Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and California, including $850 million on a 130-megawatt solar farm near San Francisco over the next quarter century, and Apple Energy has received permission to sell power to the wholesale energy markets. $1B is a lot of money – Apple is going much deeper than just clean electricity though.

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Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories June 13

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

Solar Decathlon Teams Enter Construction Phase; Readying for October Competition – U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon consists of 10 contests. The contests evaluate cost-effective design; innovation balanced with market potential; water and energy efficiency; energy production and time-of-use energy; and communications strategies (link) – Article here is cool. Gives some updates on the teams – best part of article is that it links to all of the twitter accounts for the teams. Also see tweet at bottom of article.

Moore’s Law: Two economists believe they can make reasonably secure predictions about the future cost of solar power – In short, there’s no equivalent for Moore’s Law when it comes to fossil fuels and nuclear power. Here the trend has been unmistakable, with the price per unit dropping a very steady 10 percent per year– We got to watch one of those flowing accelerations of Moore’s law with solar panel pricing during the last year. We’re going to see it keep happening because of efficiency gains and further scale. Moore’s Law can sometimes be described as a Learning Curve – the more people you have looking at something, the more answers and gains they will find.

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9to5google 

Electrek Green Energy Brief Stories June 12

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

Germany’s First Onshore Wind Auction Brings Low Prices for Citizen-Owned Projects – Community projects — wind farms owned directly by citizens — made up 93% of the winning bids (65) or 96% of the volume – Locals are pooling resources to build energy. This document from 2014 – presents that there were close to 1,000 citizen owned projects and that those citizens represent 50% of all renewable ownership in the country. These numbers line up with what I’ve read in the past. You wonder why Germans approve paying some of the highest rates of electricity in the developed world? 50% of that green energy tax and electricity revenue goes back to the people – not international conglomerates or energy utilities. Voters like concrete paychecks versus distant financiers. Solar power and wind jobs – same thing. Side note – 1.7 million personal solar systems and greater than 50,000 battery systems. Cost of capital from regular folk much cheaper than investor groups – risk tolerances higher.

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