nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Florida Power and Light to build more solar plants

FPL to build more solar plants, one new gas plant, Palm Beach Post Susan Salisbury  April 3, 2017  More solar power plants are on the way, and an older power plant in Dania Beach will be replaced with a newnatural gas-fired facility, Florida Power & Light officials said Monday.

April 26, 2017 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

As solar energy costs fall, the industry charges on

Solar juggernaut marches on as costs continue to fall  http://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-juggernaut-marches-costs-continue-fall-47153/ [good graphs]  By Sophie Vorrath on 24 April 2017 The global solar market looks set to continue on its trajectory of extraordinary growth, driven by further reductions in the costs of the technology, and a possible post-Trump “gold rush” that is brewing in the US.

The onward march of the solar juggernaut has been predicted by global investment group Deutsche Bank, whose latest report bumped up its 2017 estimate for total demand to 82GW, from a previous forecast of 74GW.

This has certainly been the pattern of recent decades, with dramatic growth rates of PV consistently beating – and sometimes smashing – analyst predictions. And while Deutsche Bank and other analysts continue to flag a slow-down in the market’s near future, it is not expected to happen this year, mainly due to stronger growth forecast for China.

“We are raising our 2017 global demand estimate from 74GW to 82GW, mainly due to expectations of stronger growth in China (from 17GW to 25GW),” the Deutsche Bank report says.

A similar adjustment was made earlier this month by US-based GTM Research, which replaced a projected -7 per cent global PV market contraction with a forecast of 9.4 per cent growth in its latest quarterly report, the Global Solar Demand Monitor.

GTM Research now projects that the annual global solar market’s size will reach 85 GW in 2017, slightly higher than Deutsche’s forecast – and more than double the installed capacity in 2014.

As Deutsche notes in its quarterly report, published on Friday, a good deal of this market momentum is being fuelled by falling PV technology costs, with some developers asking for less than 30c/W for solar modules in India in 2H17 and mid 20c/W in 2018.

Deutsche says this puts solar “at grid parity”, and while such low prices are not yet being offered by tier 1 Chinese suppliers, it believes a near 20 per cent reduction in poly-silicon prices will act as a catalyst for further price cuts for modules.

“Poly prices (down 17 per cent in the past seven weeks) have been declining faster than module prices as the supply chain in China has been focused on working down excess inventory,” the report says.

“We expect poly prices to approach $10-12/kg and module prices to decline to low 30c/W in 2H timeframe.”

Even in Australia, which gets no special mention in Deutsche Bank’s report, the cost of building large scale solar farms is falling to a fraction of the cost of new coal or gas plants. Indeed, according to the former head of Victoria’s Hazelwood brown coal generator, Tony Cancannon – who now heads up Reach Energy – the cost of large scale solar and storage is already competitive with gas-fired generation, and within a few years will be well below $100/MWh.

All the same, Deutsche still expects global solar demand to be “flattish” in 2018, but notes this could be countered by a final “gold rush” in the US – also driven by falling costs, from $60c/W to low $30c/W between Q3’16 and Q4’17.

“Our analysis suggests that project returns in the US could likely exceed the returns solar developers achieved in other markets during prior cycle peaks and these returns are unlikely to improve as incentives gradually decline or net metering phases out.

“As such, we expect the final “gold rush” in the US market to drive strong growth in US demand from 2018,” it says.

And as the table below illustrates [on original] , this view is supported by the strong pipeline of North American utility-scale solar projects, with roughly 8GW under development in Texas alone, and 31GW in the entire US.

But Deutsche also warns of possible speed-humps looming for global solar, such as a slow-down of growth in markets like India.

“Although declining solar module and system costs are driving significant improvement in downstream project economics in India, the pace of new solar project auctions has slowed down significantly,” the Deutsche report says.

According to the Bank’s data, project allocations in India have declined by 67 per cent to 2.9GW in FY17, while the SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India) has also recently reduced a rooftop solar
tender from 1GW to 0.5GW.

The report puts the slow-down to difficulty securing PPAs in India, limited interest from developers, and tax increases.

“Beyond 2017, we expect overall growth in China to slow down and expect other emerging markets as well as the US to be the primary growth drivers,” the report says. “Our current estimates call for flattish demand in 2018.”

April 26, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, business and costs, renewable | Leave a comment

Solar power taking over in First Nation Above the Arctic Circle

Meet the First Nation Above the Arctic Circle That Just Went Solar https://www.desmog.ca/2017/03/28/meet-first-nation-above-arctic-circle-just-went-solar  By Matt Jacques • Tuesday, March 28, 2017 Across Canada’s north, diesel has long been the primary mode of providing year-round electricity to remote communities — but with the advent of small-scale renewables, that’s about to change.

Northern communities were already making strides toward a renewable energy future, but with $400 million committed in this year’s federal budget to establish an 11-year Arctic Energy Fund, energy security in the north has moved firmly into the spotlight.

This level of support shows positive commitment from the Canadian government on ending fossil fuel dependency in Indigenous communities and transitioning these communities to clean energy systems,” said Dave Lovekin, a senior advisor at the Pembina Institute.

Burning diesel not only pollutes the atmosphere, but getting it into remote communities is often inefficient in and of itself: it’s delivered by truck, barge or, sometimes when the weather doesn’t cooperate, by plane.

There are more than 170 remote indigenous communities in Canada still relying almost completely upon diesel for their electricity needs.

But, for some, at least, that’s beginning to change. Take the community of Old Crow (Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation), above the Arctic circle in the Yukon.

Despite its northern latitude, and near total darkness between December and February, a 2014 Government of Yukon pilot study demonstrated that solar represents a major untapped renewable resource for the community. Now Old Crow has a number of small-scale solar panel installations, including an 11.8 kilowatt array at the Arctic Research Centre — but its sights are set higher. Plans for a 330 kilowatt solar plant are well underway. A 2016 feasibility study estimated that this large-scale installation could offset 17 per cent of the community’s total diesel use, or up to 98,000 litres of fuel each year.

Anything that affects our community, we want to have control over. That’s our goal with this project is to have ownership over the facility,” said William Josie, director of Natural Resources for the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation. “We burn a lot of fuel up here per capita and we’re trying to reduce that.”

Josie said his community is excited to build further solar capacity.

This has been in the works for a long time, and it’s just the right thing to do,” he said. “It’s the first solar project of this size in the Yukon with community ownership.”

The Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation has a self-governing final agreement in place with the Government of Canada, the Government of the Yukon and the Council of Yukon First Nations. So too does the Kluane (Burwash Landing/Destruction Bay) First Nation in the southwestern Yukon, which is taking another approach to delivering a similar level of renewable energy capacity.

A major $2.4 million wind power generation project is set to be installed in 2018. Three refurbished 95 kilowatt turbines will deliver just under 300 kilowatts of total power and are estimated to offset 21 per cent of the community’s total diesel use.

One of the big things for the community is to be self-reliant and self-sufficient. Diesel is neither of those two,” explains Colin Asseltine, general manager of the Kluane Community Development Corporation. “We’re looking at what we can possibly do to reduce our carbon footprint and move off-grid.”

The wind project will expand on the earlier successes in the community. Since 1998, Burwash Landing has used biomass for district heating, and began selling solar power back into the grid not long after installing a 48 kilowatt array in 2003. Along the way, they have been collecting the data required to inform the next steps and increase the impact of the community’s investment in renewable energy.

April 19, 2017 Posted by | ARCTIC, decentralised | Leave a comment

In Pakistan, 2000 schools go solar

http://www.ecowatch.com/pakistan-schools-go-solar-2360991261.html , 17 Apr 17, About 20,000 schools in the province of Punjab in Pakistan will convert to solar power, according to government officials.

Punjab chief minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif reviewed the progress of the “Khadim-e-Punjab Ujala Programme” to install solar rooftop systems on the area’s schools at a recent meeting.

The project will kick off in Southern Punjab schools and expand in phases across the province, according to a local report.

The Asian Development Bank and France’s AFD Bank are backing the program, Cleantechnica reported. This is the first program of its kind in the country.

In Pakistan, nearly half of all residents are not connected to the national grid. Residents who are connected to the grid regularly experience rolling blackouts and power outages. And the problem is only expected to get worse in the coming years.

Renewable resources can help mitigate this growing energy crisis. Pakistan happens to be rich in solar, as the Express Tribune described:

“With eight to nine hours of sunshine per day, the climatic conditions in Pakistan are ideal for solar power generation. According to studies, Pakistan has 2.9 million megawatts of solar energy potential besides photovoltaic opportunities.

“According to figures provided by FAKT, Pakistan spends about $12 billion annually on the import of crude oil. Of this, 70 percent oil is used in generating power, which currently costs us Rs18 per unit. Shifting to solar energy can help reduce electricity costs down to Rs 6-8 per unit.”

Solar energy has made great strides in Pakistan in recent years. In February 2016, its parliament became the first national assembly in the world to be powered entirely by solar energy. The legislative body, known as the Majlis-e-Shoora, is in the capital city of Islamabad.

One of the world’s largest solar farms is currently under construction in Punjab. Developers of the 1,000-megawatt Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur have already added hundreds of megawatts of energy to the national grid.

April 19, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, Pakistan | Leave a comment

Wind and solar now the cheapest source of new electricity power – even without subsidies

A major reason why installations increased, even though dollars invested fell, was a sharp reduction in capital costs for solar photovoltaics, onshore and offshore wind,” the report said.

At the same time, because of the drop in prices, last year, the overall investment in renewable energy plummeted 23% to $241.6 billion from the record established in 2015; it was the lowest total investment since 2013.

Investment in new renewables capacity was roughly double that in fossil fuel generation in 2016, for the fifth successive year. The proportion of global electricity coming from renewable sources rose from 10.3% in 2015 to 11.3% in 2016, and prevented the emission of an estimated 1.7 gigatons of CO2.

Unsubsidized wind and solar now the cheapest source for new electric power http://www.computerworld.com/article/3190409/sustainable-it/unsubsidized-wind-and-solar-now-the-cheapest-source-for-new-electric-power.html Between 2015 and 2021, China is expected to install 40% of all worldwide wind energy and 36% of all solar, By  Senior Reporter, Computerworld | APR 17, 2017While investments in renewable energy slumped last year, a big drop in unsubsidized costs for new wind and solar power installations indicated that they remain popular energy alternatives.

Last year, the average “levelized cost” or total cost of generating power from solar worldwide dropped 17% percent, onshore wind costs dropped 18% and offshore wind turbine power costs fell 28%, according to a new report from the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

Well, after the dramatic cost reductions of the past few years, unsubsidized wind and solar can provide the lowest cost new electrical power in an increasing number of countries, even in the developing world — sometimes by a factor of two,” Michael Liebreich, chairman of the Advisory Board at BNEF, said in the report.

The average capital cost for solar power projects of new construction in 2016 was 13% lower than in 2015, while for onshore wind the drop was 11.5% and for offshore wind, 10%.

It’s a whole new world: even though investment is down, annual installations are still up; instead of having to subsidize renewables, now authorities may have to subsidize natural gas plants to help them provide grid reliability,” Liebreich said.

Last year, more gigawatts of solar power were added (75GW) than of any other technology for the first time. Trailing behind solar, in order of net gigawatts installed, were wind, coal, gas, large hydroelectric, nuclear and biomass.

Renewable energy accounted for 55% of new worldwide power last year, or a total of 138.5 gigawatts (GW). That compares with 127.5GW of new renewable energy in 2015; and renewable power installed in 2016 was done so at a cost 23% lower than 2015, the report showed.

Since 2010, the dollars committed per year to new renewable energy worldwide — excluding hydroelectric — have increased roughly five-fold, and have since oscillated between $234 billion and $312 billion, the report said.

A major reason why installations increased, even though dollars invested fell, was a sharp reduction in capital costs for solar photovoltaics, onshore and offshore wind,” the report said.

At the same time, because of the drop in prices, last year, the overall investment in renewable energy plummeted 23% to $241.6 billion from the record established in 2015; it was the lowest total investment since 2013.

Investment in new renewables capacity was roughly double that in fossil fuel generation in 2016, for the fifth successive year. The proportion of global electricity coming from renewable sources rose from 10.3% in 2015 to 11.3% in 2016, and prevented the emission of an estimated 1.7 gigatons of CO2.

Smart energy hardware such as smart meters, energy storage sources and associated IoT technologies also saw record investments last year. Asset finance for smart meters and energy storage, plus equity raised for specialist companies in energy efficiency, storage and electric vehicles, totalled a record $41.6 billion last year. That was up 29%.

In the U.S., utilities and private energy companies are increasingly investing in smart grid technology, including microgrids.

China now leads the world in renewable investments

China is now the world leader in domestic investments in renewable energy. In 2015, it invested $103 billion, a 17% increase in spending year over year — twice as much as the U.S. invested. The country is now actively pursuing a “global” strategy, which aims for a Pan-Asian development approach.

In 2016, China increased its foreign investments in renewable energy by 60% year over year to $32 billion, according to a January report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA)

China will install 36% of all global hydro electricity generation capacity from 2015-2021, according to the report. During the same period, it will install 40% of all worldwide wind energy and 36% of all solar, the IEEFA said.

“A change in leadership in the U.S. is likely to widen China’s global leadership in industries of the future, building China’s dominance in these sectors in terms of technology, investment, manufacturing and employment,”

April 19, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

World’s first “intelligent energy plant.” – the Smartflower

Someone invented a solar panel system that tracks the sun all day, folds up at night http://mashable.com/2017/02/17/sunflower-inspired-solar-panel-follow-sun/#at3NoAFNikqn  FEB 18, 2017

SmartFlower: An Intelligent Solar Panel System Tracks Sun Throughout Day

Smartflower‘ claims to be the world’s first “intelligent energy plant.” It’s a solar system that unfolds its giant solar panel petals in the morning and follows the sun throughout the day. It closes up at night or during heavy weather conditions.

Its mobility makes it more efficient than traditional roof solar panel systems, while its design makes it aesthetically appealing and discrete.

April 17, 2017 Posted by | decentralised | Leave a comment

Saudi Arabia seeking bids for 700-Megawatt Wind and Solar Projects

Saudis to Seek Bids for 700-Megawatt Wind and Solar Projects, Bloomberg, by Anthony Dipaola

April 11, 2017
  • Energy Ministry qualifies 51 companies to bid for power plants
  • First Solar, renewables unit of EDF among qualified companies

Saudi Arabia will begin seeking bids next week from renewable-energy companies to build wind and solar plants with a combined capacity of 700 megawatts as part of the kingdom’s $50 billion program to boost power generation and cut its oil consumption.

Energy Minister Khalid Al Falih will announce a request for proposals for the projects, the next phase in the country’s bidding process, at a conference next week in Riyadh, the ministry said Monday in an emailed statement. The ministry qualified 27 companies to bid for a 300-megawatt solar plant and 24 firms for a 400-megawatt wind farm.

The project is part of a plan to transform the Saudi economy by weaning it off oil and creating new industries. Other Middle Eastern countries including the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Morocco are also developing renewable energy to curb fuel imports or conserve crude oil for export. Saudi Arabia plans to develop almost 10 gigawatts of renewables by 2023, requiring investment of $30 billion to $50 billion, Al-Falih said in January…….https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-04-10/saudis-to-seek-bids-for-700-megawatt-wind-and-solar-projects

April 12, 2017 Posted by | renewable, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment

One Small Tribe Beat Coal and Built a Solar Plant

 The Moapa went from suffering at the hands of coal to benefiting from the profits of renewables

Color Lines, Yessenia Funes  APR 10, 2017 Tucked between scattered red desert rocks, the Moapa Band of Paiutes dwells on a little over 70,000 acres in southeastern Nevada. It’s a small tribe with a population of no more than 311, but those numbers
haven’t stopped its members from shutting down a giant coal generating station to protect their health and land.

While President Donald Trump is attempting to revive the coal industry, the Moapa Band has proven how dangerous that industry can be to health. Tribal members suffer from high rates of asthma and heart disease, though the tribe’s small size makes it difficult to accurately quantify. The coal-fired Reid Gardner Generating Station sits outside the Moapa River Indian Reservation, just beyond a fence for some tribal members who have had to deal with the repercussions of its air pollution and toxic coal ash waste for 52 years.

“The whole tribe was suffering from it,” says Vernon Lee, a tribal member and former council member who worked at the plant 15 years ago. “It’s just bad stuff. We all knew that.”

Coincidentally, the day after the station last stopped operating (on March 17), the Moapa Band of Paiutes launched the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project, the first-ever solar project built on tribal land, in partnership with large-scale solar operator First Solar. Companies started approaching the tribe about leasing its land around the same time their organizing took off, and things essentially fell into place. 

Despite all this—and the impending closure of the coal-fired Navajo Generating Station in Arizona, also run by NV Energy and impacting Navajo Nation members who work there or live nearby—President Trump is pushing forth with a coal-first energy agenda……..

the tribe’s prevalence of cardiovascular and respiratory issues are consistent with what is generally caused by air pollution, says C. Arden Pope III, an environmental epidemiologist who currently teaches economics at Brigham Young University but has served on the EPA Science Advisory Board and chairs the EPA Advisory Council on Clean Air Compliance Analysis.

Coal releases heavy carbon dioxide emissions, but it also emits a cocktail of pollutants dangerous to health: sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, mercury, particulates and fly ash that is then placed into nearby ponds. Lee calls them “chemical soup ponds.” These pollutants can lead to respiratory issues, heart problems, as well as neurological and developmental damage.

Pope has examined the health of the Moapa Band. Back in 2012, he attempted to conduct a study on the tribe but was unable to establish conclusive findings because the tribe’s numbers are so small. Then, there was the issue of no valid control group because, as Pope put it, “they all lived so very close to the power plant that…they were all being exposed.”

Still, Pope did collect a lot of data, and the health impacts were enough for him to have a strong opinion about how the generating station was impacting their health: “Do I think that the exposure to air pollution likely had adverse impacts on their health? The answer to that is yes.”

And he says that their high rates of respiratory and cardiovascular issues are in line with greater empirical research on air pollution. Without a conclusive study, however, it was difficult for government officials to take tribal members seriously.

“But we wouldn’t care,” chairwoman Simmons says. “We smelled it and felt it.

Then, in 2010, they met Vinny Spotleson, who was working with the Sierra Club at that time. That changed everything.

It all started with letters. That’s how tribal members first thought they’d give the EPA and state agencies like the state’s Division of Environmental Protection a piece of their mind. “People wrote [many] letters,” Simmons tells me, adding that they never got a response.

When they met Spotleson in 2010, Simmons realized that they finally had the support needed to be taken seriously by officials. Before then, Simmons says government agencies would shoot back with numbers from air quality reports she and other Moapa people didn’t fully understand. But Spotleson introduced them to lawyers and scientists. From there, all the Moapa had to do was tell their stories. Simmons remembers Spotleson telling her, “Just say how you feel, and they’ll never be able to prove you wrong.”……

with the help of the Sierra Club, the Moapa Band of Paiutes entered into a legal battle against the Bureau of Land Management for approving the expansion project in Moapa Band of Paiutes, et al v. BLM, et al. Part of their campaign involved growing public awareness. The residents in Las Vegas whose homes were powered by the plant had no idea where it was or that it even existed—much less what it was doing to the Moapa.

“We did see a lot of people in the community, in Las Vegas, in southern Nevada, really engaging and making this campaign their own,” says Elspeth DiMarzio, another Sierra Club campaign organizer who worked with the Moapa. “Once they were aware of the issue, they could see that their neighbors in Moapa were suffering because of an energy that they were receiving.”……

the tribe ultimately lost that case in 2013—but they didn’t lose everything.

Legislators introduced Senate Bill 123 in February 2013, which would require certain utilities (like NV Energy, the one behind Reid Gardner) to reduce their coal-based greenhouse gas emissions by eliminating at least 800 megawatts of electricity by 2019 and replacing part of that lost energy with 350 megawatts of renewable energy like solar or wind. This came after these three years of organizing by the Moapa and its allies.

By April, NV Energy gave its support for SB 123. In June 2013, the bill became law—with a stamp of approval from NV Energy and the Moapa.

The plant shuttered for good March 2017…….

The tribe now leases its land to Capital Dyanmics, which owns the Moapa Southern Paiute Solar Project. The plant provided 115 construction jobs for tribal members and employs two permanently as field technicians.

The power goes to Los Angeles, and the tribe receives revenue from leasing their land. But they’ve been discussing and attempting to find bidders for two other solar projects with the thought of launching one that would bring that power into their homes.

They have a new revenue stream and are still deciding on the best way to use it. “We’ve never been in this position before or had these [solar] projects before,” Simmons says. “It’s hard to take off and start spending everything we do have because we want to plan and spend accordingly.”

The Moapa went from suffering at the hands of coal to benefiting from the profits of renewables……http://www.colorlines.com/articles/how-one-small-tribe-beat-coal-and-built-solar-plant

April 12, 2017 Posted by | indigenous issues, renewable, USA | 1 Comment

Old Energy Order Draws to a Close as a battery storage revolution takes off

nuClear News No.94 April 2017 “…The old energy order is drawing to a close as a battery storage revolution takes off, according to the Telegraph. Over the last two years, battery costs have fallen 40%, with further falls to come as economies of scale take hold. Rapid growth in the market for battery storage, forecast by Goldman Sachs to increase by a thousand-fold from $258m (£210m) last year to $258bn in 2025, should in turn remove a number of the key economic constraints on renewable forms of energy. Wind and solar are intermittent forms of energy, and hitherto have therefore required complementary back-up generation to ensure there is enough power in the grid at all times to service demand. The great promise of storage is that it should lend renewables the same “always on” characteristics of more conventional forms of power, allowing electricity to be drawn when the wind is blowing, and given out again when it is not.

Paul Massara – a former chief executive of Npower who now runs his own battery storage business, North Star -says it seems plausible that at least half of all UK households will have installed battery storage facilities within 10 years. In such a world, energy supply ceases to be the linear business of delivering power from the generator to the consumer as and when it is required, and becomes much more about smart grids and data management. There will always be a need for National Grid and the District Network Operator Companies, but they may have to radically change their charging methods from a metered usage basis to a single, all-you-can eat rental charge, to cater for this new, much more diffuse form of power provision. That’s what happened to BT. Far less certain is that there will be any need for Hinkley Point C. This will in time be seen as a phenomenally expensive and unnecessary form of power generation; Theresa May’s Government will be cursed for locking us into such ruinously high prices. (1)

Britain’s energy system is poised for a rapid expansion of batteries, with 4 gigawatts likely to be operating by 2033, official forecasts show. Renewables will also play a bigger role than forecast, resulting in far fewer gas-fired power stations being built than expected, according to an analysis published by the government in March. No carbon capture and storage plants are likely to be built by 2030, according to the documents, which show the government’s best estimate of the future energy mix if policies are continued.

Large-scale battery technology is still in its infancy, with initial projects totalling 200 megawatts being built. New government forecasts project that this will increase to 1GW by 2021, 2GW by 2025, 3GW by 2029 and 4GW by 2033. Last year’s forecast included no battery capacity but the government said that it had “continued to see significant reductions in the cost of batteries”. The government now forecasts 45GW of renewable capacity will be built by 2035, compared with 33GW a year ago. Forecasts for new gas power plants have been reduced by an amount corresponding to the increase in renewables. (2

) Local authorities have been told they need to develop energy storage strategies, or get left behind. Speaking at the Association for Public Sector Excellence’s (APSE) energy conference, Ray Noble said the price of energy storage systems will come down “faster than solar” and “every onshore wind and solar farm will have one in the future. They [councils] need to put in place the right strategy or work with government to produce the right networks to make certain it happens in their area,” he said. “Local authorities have got to recognise that this is going to happen. They need to be seen to be ahead of the game, and telling people in their area why they are doing this.” Noble said storage will change the face of the energy market beyond recognition. (3)

The community at Garmony on the Isle of Mull is an example of how things might look in the future. It’s not just that the community is running a new 400-kilowatt hydro power plant on an east coast hillside that will plough £2 million into local projects. It’s what they are doing about using the electricity. With the help of experts and a government grant, they are trying to solve one of the most paradoxical problems of renewable power: sometimes there is just too much of it. If the river is flowing fast and full and electricity demand is low, there’s nowhere for the power to go. There’s a limit to how much can be transmitted to the mainland, and no easy way of storing it. The same applies to wind turbines when the wind is blowing hard but homes and factories aren’t hungry for power, at night for example. It’s why electricity consumers have to fund “constraint payments” to compensate generators forced to turn off turbines to avoid overloading the national grid. What the Mull and Iona Community Trust are trying to do is to develop a much smarter local grid that will enable electricity to be stored rather than wasted. It’s called the ACCESS project – Assisting Communities to Connect to Electric Sustainable Sources. It means that electric storage heaters in homes can be automatically switched on and off in order to match the amount of power being generated by the hydro plant. This may not sound like the kind of sophisticated system that is key to the future, but experts insist that it is. It is decentralised, locally owned and community-scale schemes for using renewable energy that have the real potential to revolutionise the energy system.

There are similar initiatives under way on the Orkney islands, where excess electricity from wind turbines can be used to charge community electric vehicles. These are the kind of ideas that, if they are shown to work, could be followed up across the country. “But we need to get away from thinking of green energy just as a bunch of subsidised windmills or wave or tidal turbines, or thinking only about electricity. Green energy in its widest sense includes energy generation technologies, but also heat pumps, energy efficiency, low emission vehicles and smart meters.” (4)

The arrival of large scale renewables with zero operating cost is eating away at the businesses of those companies reliant on selling on the open market. The old business model is now ‘obsolete’. Lower and lower prices are making it impossible to produce electricity from gas or coal in markets increasingly captured by solar and wind. Equally, no-one can raise the finance to build new power stations, even in those countries with ageing fleets, such as the UK, because of low prices and fewer and fewer hours of operation. This problem will get worse. Whether you are an enthusiast for a fast transition to a renewables-based energy system or are sceptical about the pace of change, the destruction of the traditional utility by the eating away of wholesale prices is not good news. It increases the possibility that the increasingly rapid switch to renewables around the world will be brought to a shuddering halt by governments worried about the security of energy supply because of the intermittency of wind and solar. Although we can make huge progress in adjusting electricity use to varying supply, ‘demand response’ will never be enough to deal with weeks of low wind speed and little sun in northern countries.

‘Power-to-gas’ is the critical remaining ingredient of the energy transition, says Chris Goodall. Without a rapid and whole-hearted commitment to this technology, the renewables revolution may ultimately fail. The right way to ‘fix the broken utility model’ is to link the gas and electricity markets through large-scale application of power-to-gas technologies. Big utilities talk about understanding the need for decentralisation but the reality is that they will be terrible at moving away from centralised production plants. What they would be good at is running large scale electrolysis and methanation operations that allow them to continue to run CCGT power plants when electricity is scarce. We will not need capacity payments or other complex subsidies and incentive schemes. By creating a continuing role for CCGT we will have found a way to keep our energy supply secure without threatening decarbonisation objectives. http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/nuclearnews/NuClearNewsNo94.pdf

April 8, 2017 Posted by | ENERGY, energy storage | Leave a comment

Giant renewable energy storage battery – a transformation for a coal mine

Germany Converts Coal Mine into Giant Battery to Store Renewable Energy for off-Hours EnviroNews World News  on April 2, 2017  North Rhein Westphalia, Germany — The Prosper-Haniel hard coal mine, slated to be shut down in 2018 when government subsidies run out, is being repurposed to become a giant battery for excess power created by renewable energy sources. Located in North Rhein Westphalia, the coal mine’s conversion will allow Germany to store 200 MW of electricity for use during times when solar and wind are unavailable or unable to meet energy needs.

The storage is formed by a reservoir of water above the mine. The water can be released into the system when it is needed. As gravity pulls the water into the coal mine below, the water turns a turbine creating electricity. The water is then pumped back to the reservoir. This can be done when power prices are lower or when renewable energy sources are making more energy than people are using, as they did in Germany on May 12, 2016. This isn’t the first pumped hydroelectric storage station; however, it is the first one to use a coal mine for its lower reservoir.

According to Governor Hannelore Kraft, the miners of Bottrop will remain employed during the conversion process. Thus the plan addresses two concerns about which most opponents are vocal when it comes to energy sources like solar and wind. It creates a storage system, and it keeps people employed…….http://www.environews.tv/world-news/germany-converts-coal-mine-giant-battery-store-renewable-energy-off-hours/

April 3, 2017 Posted by | energy storage, Germany | Leave a comment

Governors of New York and California Reaffirm Commitment to Exceeding Targets of the Clean Power Plan

Governor Cuomo and Governor Brown Reaffirm Commitment to Exceeding Targets of the Clean Power Plan, https://www.governor.ny.gov/news/governor-cuomo-and-governor-brown-reaffirm-commitment-exceeding-targets-clean-power-plan MARCH 28, 2017 Albany, NYWith the announcement that the United States will begin to dismantle the Clean Power Plan, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued the following statement reaffirming their ongoing commitment to exceed the targets of the Clean Power Plan and curb carbon pollution:

“Dismantling the Clean Power Plan and other critical climate programs is profoundly misguided and shockingly ignores basic science. With this move, the Administration will endanger public health, our environment and our economic prosperity.
 
“Climate change is real and will not be wished away by rhetoric or denial. We stand together with a majority of the American people in supporting bold actions to protect our communities from the dire consequences of climate change.
 
“Together, California and New York represent approximately 60 million people – nearly one-in-five Americans – and 20 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. With or without Washington, we will work with our partners throughout the world to aggressively fight climate change and protect our future.”

New York and California lead the nation in ground-breaking policies to combat climate change. Both states – which account for roughly 10 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States – have adopted advanced energy efficiency and renewable energy programs to meet and exceed the requirements of the Clean Power Plan and have set some of the most aggressive greenhouse gas emission reduction targets in North America – 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050. New York and California will continue to work closely together – and with other states – to help fill the void left by the federal government.

New York’s Climate Leadership
Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions: Established ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to reduce emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. These targets have made New York a leader across the country in fighting climate change.

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI): Spearheaded the formation of the successful RGGI cap-and-trade program between northeast and mid-Atlantic states, led effort to reduce RGGI’s carbon emission cap by 45 percent in 2014, and recently called for an additional cap reduction of at least 30 percent between 2020 and 2030.

Reforming the Energy Vision: Established a comprehensive energy strategy to make the vision for a clean, resilient, and affordable energy system a reality, while actively spurring energy innovation, attracting new jobs, and improving consumer choice.

Clean Energy Standard: Established the most comprehensive and ambitious clean energy mandate in the state’s history, requiring that 50 percent of electricity in New York come from renewable energy sources like wind and solar by 2030.

Clean Energy Fund: Established a $5 billion fund that is jump-starting clean-tech innovation, mobilizing private investment, capitalizing the nation’s largest Green Bank, and helping eliminate market barriers to make clean energy scalable and affordable for all New Yorkers.

Coal-Free New York: Committed to close or repower all coal-burning power plants in New York to cleaner fuel sources by 2020.

Offshore Wind: Approved the nation’s largest wind energy project off the Long Island coast in 2017 and made an unprecedented commitment to develop up to 2.4 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030.

California’s Climate Leadership
Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions: Established ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to reduce emissions 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050. These targets have made California a leader across the country in fighting climate change.

Cap-and-Trade: Established the most comprehensive carbon market in North America, investing more than $2.6 billion from the Cap-and-Trade program in programs and projects that reduce emissions and support communities disadvantaged by pollution.

Renewable Energy: Established landmark targets that require at least 33 percent of California’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources by 2020, and 50 percent by 2030.

Energy Efficiency: Established targets that double the rate of energy efficiency savings in California buildings and require residential buildings to be Zero Net Energy by 2020, and all commercial buildings to be Zero Net Energy by 2030.

Super Pollutant Reduction: Established the nation’s toughest restrictions on destructive super pollutants, such as methane, black carbon, and hydrofluorocarbon gases.

Low Carbon Fuel Standard: Established requirements for producers of petroleum-based fuels to reduce the carbon intensity of their products, helping drive the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable natural gas and diesel, low-carbon ethanol, and clean electricity, giving consumers more clean fuel choices while driving significant clean fuel investment and creating new economic opportunities.

Zero Emission Vehicles: Established a program requiring increased sales of zero emission vehicles – a policy adopted by 10 states – resulting in more than 30 new models of clean and affordable vehicles that are reducing consumer gasoline and diesel costs. California also adopted North America’s first greenhouse gas emission car standards – later adopted as a national program – and adopted the nation’s first heavy-duty vehicle and trailer greenhouse gas emission reduction requirements, which led to similar national requirements.

These efforts complement New York and California’s ongoing efforts to broaden collaboration among subnational leaders on climate change, including through the Under2 Coalition – a pact among cities, states and countries around the world to limit the increase in global average temperature to below 2 degrees Celsius in order to avoid potentially catastrophic consequences. New York and California are among the Under2 Coalition’s 167 jurisdictions representing more than one billion people and $25.9 trillion in combined GDP – more than one-third of the global economy.

March 31, 2017 Posted by | climate change, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA): global economic growth possible with 2˚C scenario with Renewable Energy

IRENA, IEA Study — 2˚C Scenario Possible With Renewable Energy, Clean Technica, March 27th, 2017 by  At the request of the German government, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) conducted a study to determine whether global economic growth is possible while honoring the pledge made by the world community in Paris to prevent average world temperatures from rising more than 2º Celsius.

The result? The study concludes that energy-related carbon dioxide emissions can be reduced by 70% by the year 2050 and eliminated entirely by 2060 without causing the global economy to shrink.

“The Paris Agreement reflected an unprecedented international determination to act on climate. The focus must be on the decarbonization of the global energy system as it accounts for almost two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions. Critically, the economic case for the energy transition has never been stronger. Today around the world, new renewable power plants are being built that will generate electricity for less cost than fossil-fuel power plants. And through 2050, the decarbonization can fuel sustainable economic growth and create more new jobs in renewables.” — IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin

The study is entitled “Perspectives for the Energy Transition: Investment Needs for a Low-Carbon Energy Transition.” Its thesis is that increasing the the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency globally can achieve the emissions reductions needed to prevent global temperature from rising more than 2º Celsius while permitting the global economy to grow.

Decarbonizing Is Essential……https://cleantechnica.com/2017/03/27/irena-iea-study-2%CB%9Ac-scenario-possible-renewable-energy/

March 29, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

Wisconsin and Louisiana cities join 23 others in USA, in going for 100% renewable energy

25 Cities Now Committed to 100% Renewables, EcoWatch, http://www.ecowatch.com/cities-commit-renewable-energy-2324917492.html , 22 Mar 17, Madison, Wisconsin and Abita Springs, Louisiana are transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy following respective city council votes on Tuesday.

Madison and Abita Springs are the first cities in Wisconsin and Louisiana to make this commitment. They join 23 other cities across the United States—from large ones like San Diego, California and Salt Lake City, Utah to smaller ones like Georgetown, Texas and Greensburg, Kansas—that have declared similar goals.

Madison is the biggest city in the Midwest to establish 100 percent renewable energy and net-zero carbon emissions. The Madison Common Council unanimously approved a resolution to allocate $250,000 to develop a plan by January 18, 2018 that includes target dates for reaching these goals, interim milestones, budget estimates and estimated financial impacts.

Madison Common Council Alder Zach Wood said that his city is determined to “lead the way in moving beyond fossil fuels that threaten our health and environment.”

After a unanimous vote, Abita Springs is aiming to derive 100 percent of the town’s electricity from renewable energy sources by December 31, 2030.

The Sierra Club noted that Tuesday’s votes from the politically polar municipalities reflect the growing bipartisan support for alternative energy development. To illustrate, during the November election, more than 70 percent of Madison voters supported Hillary Clinton versus the 75 percent of voters in St. Tammany Parish, where Abita Springs is located, who supported Donald Trump.But as Abita Springs’ Republican mayor Greg Lemons said, “Transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy is a practical decision we’re making for our environment, our economy and for what our constituents want in Abita Springs.”

“Politics has nothing to do with it for me. Clean energy just makes good economic sense,” Lemons added. LeAnn Pinniger Magee, chair of Abita Committee for Energy Sustainability, had similar remarks.

“In a state dominated by oil interests, Abita Springs is a unique community that can be a leader on the path to renewable energy,” she said. “Our town already boasts the solar-powered Abita Brewery and we can see first-hand how clean energy benefits our businesses and our entire community. By transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy, we will save money on our utility bills and protect our legendary water and clean air in the process.”

Last year’s Gallup poll indicated for the first time that a majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents prefer an alternative energy strategy. Fifty-one percent of Republicans favor alternative energy, up from the previous high of 46 percent in 2011.

“Whether you’re Republican or a Democrat, from a liberal college city or a rural Louisiana town, clean energy is putting America back to work and benefiting communities across the country,” Jodie Van Horn, director of the Sierra Club’s Ready for 100 campaign, said. “That’s why Madison, Wisconsin and Abita Springs, Louisiana, today join the ranks of 23 other cities and towns across the United States that are going all-in on clean, renewable energy.”

Van Horn noted that local leaders and governments will be increasingly tasked to curb President Trump’s pro-fossil fuel policies and gutting of environmental regulations.

“As the Trump Administration turns its back on clean air and clean water, cities and local leaders will continue to step up to lead the transition towards healthy communities and a more vibrant economy powered by renewable energy,” she said.

March 27, 2017 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Green Party accuses UK government of failing consumers and the environment over energy policy

Energy Costs http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/news/energy-costs-25-3-17/  Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the South West, has accused the government of failing consumers and the environment over energy policy. The accusation follows new projections from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) which estimate that onshore wind and solar will be as cheap or cheaper than gas by 2020 [1]. BEIS now acknowledge an increased role for renewables, particularly due to potential improvements in battery storage. Molly Scott Cato said:

“Having hammered the renewables sector for ideological reasons, the government now discovers that wind and solar are set to become the cheapest ways to generate electricity. Government energy policy supposedly seeks to deliver secure, affordable and low carbon energy. They have failed on all three counts. But in particular we now see that by failing to pursue a transition to renewable energy they have missed the opportunity to provide electricity for the consumer at the lowest cost.”

Green Party 23rd March 2017 read more »

A long-awaited report exploring the complex cost implications of different energy technologies has finally been released, offering a series of recommendations on how government should manage a grid that is transitioning to cleaner sources of power. The report from consultancy Frontier Economics was originally commissioned by former Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey in response to a wide-ranging debate about whether the government was accounting for the full cost of renewable energy technologies. Business Green 24th March 2017

March 27, 2017 Posted by | ENERGY, politics | Leave a comment

Hawaii’s first utility-scale solar farm that stores solar energy in giant battery packs, now open on the island of Kauai.

Tesla Powers Kauai With Solar Energy After Sunset, ENS, LIHUE, Kauai, Hawaii, March 23, 2017 Hawaii’s first utility-scale solar farm that stores solar energy in giant battery packs and delivers it to homes after sunset has opened on the island of Kauai.

The solar power array enables a Kauai utility to increase its renewable energy generation to more than 40 percent due to high-capacity Tesla storage batteries.

“Storage is a challenge for us here in Hawaii,” said Governor David Ige at the blessing ceremony earlier this month. “I want to congratulate the residents of Kauai. Renewable energy sources are the future and we’re committed to making that happen.” Dignitaries from throughout the state were on hand for the blessing ceremony.

The project, commissioned by Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative and owned by Tesla, Inc., is located on 50 acres of land north of Lihue in Kapaia owned by Grove Farm.

The Kauai Island Utility Cooperative increased its solar capacity by connecting Tesla lithium-ion battery storage systems called Powerpacks to the solar farm. Each Powerpack can store 52 megawatts of power.

The solar storage system will feed up to 13 megawatts of electricity into Kauai’s grid to meet peak demand in the evening hours.

The Powerpacks store enough energy to service 4,500 homes during peak night demand. Before this system was built, Kauai’s grid had reached the maximum amount of solar power it could handle……..

Tesla is diving into solar energy following its acquisition of SolarCity last November. The company also is powering nearly the entire island of Ta’u in American Samoa with solar power and its Powerpacks.http://ens-newswire.com/2017/03/23/tesla-powers-kauai-with-solar-energy-after-sunset/

March 25, 2017 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment