The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Japanese business community wants renewable power, losing faith in nuclear power

poster renewables not nuclearflag-japanJapan business lobby says Abe government can’t rely on nuclear energy TOKYO | BY OSAMU TSUKIMORI AND AARON SHELDRICK, 22 July 16  Japan’s use of nuclear power is unlikely to meet a government target of returning to near pre-Fukushima levels and the world’s No.3 economy needs to get serious about boosting renewables, a senior executive at a top business lobby said.

Under Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s energy policies, nuclear is supposed to supply a fifth of energy generation by 2030, but Teruo Asada, vice chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives, said Japan was unlikely to get anywhere near this.

The influential business lobby has issued a proposal urging Tokyo to remove hurdles for renewable power amid the shaky outlook for nuclear power after the 2011 Fukushima disaster.

The move shows how business attitudes are now shifting as reactor restarts get held up by legal challenges, safety issues and public scepticism.

“We have a sense of crisis that Japan will become a laughing stock if we do not encourage renewable power,” said Asada, who is also chairman of trading house Marubeni Corp.

Long dependent on imported fossil fuels, Japan’s government and big business actively promoted nuclear energy despite widespread public opposition.

The government wants nuclear to make up 20-22 percent of electricity supply by 2030, down from 30 percent before Fukushima. So far, however, only two out of 42 operable reactors have started and the newly elected governor of the prefecture where they are located has pledged to shut them.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | business and costs, Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

Challenges in the transition from nuclear power to renewables

poster renewables not nuclearThere are good reasons for California to phase out nuclear power, Huffington Post, Johann Saathoff,MP German BundestagCoordinator of energy policy for the Social Democratic Party in the German Bundestag  07/22/2016 “……..In Germany the transition to renewable energies is proceeding although there are challenges to overcome. Two thirds of electricity in Germany is currently generated from renewables. We do not expect demand for electricity to fall in the future. Coupling the electricity market sector (including electric mobility) and the heat market will create overcapacity. This will be a good thing and any overcapacity can be put to good use in the electricity market.

One of the greatest obstacles at present to expanding renewables is the failure to expand existing and build new power grids. The energy transition and the decentralised production of electricity involves the need to adapt the entire power supply system in Germany and renew large parts. Up to now power stations have been located in the vicinity of the major power consumers; in future power stations will be much smaller and distributed throughout the country. They will also not supply electricity on a continuous basis. Sector coupling between the electricity market, heat market and mobility means that fewer networks have to be built since part of the electricity can be consumed locally.

It is important to ensure, however, that security of supply is guaranteed as the production of renewable energy increases. There is therefore a need for an intelligent grid with intelligent, i.e. controllable, electricity meters at least for the big energy consumers. Up to now the production of electricity has been geared to consumption. In the new energy world it will be possible to adjust the consumption curve to the production curve. It will be possible, as an example, for cold stores to be cooled down further at times when there is too much power in the grid. They will not then need any power if a few hours later there is too little power in the grid. For the operator of the cold store there will be a commercial incentive in the form of lower prices if he adjusts the way he runs his cold store to comply with the electricity market.

The cold store would thus function as a type of energy store. This, along with other storage systems such as pumped hydroelectric and compressed air energy storage, chemical storage and power-to-gas and power-to-heat plants, will become increasingly important with the growth of renewable energy and in the context of supply security. In the transitional phase, security of supply can be ensured locally by small modular gas power stations.

In Germany there is a broad consensus in society in favour of the phasing out of nuclear power by 2022. The reasons for phasing out nuclear power for us are the same as in California and elsewhere: the lack of a solution regarding the storage of nuclear waste, environmental damage and the risk of accidents. The danger of an accident comes from human error in operating the plant, a lack of maintenance and wear. In the past there was also a failure to properly appreciate the danger of terrorist attacks. These dangers apply to the plant itself, to the energy supply for the region in question and to the nation as a whole. Phasing out nuclear power and changing over to decentralised renewable energy removes a central target of attack from potential aggressors. Thus the energy transition also contributes to national security.

There may be a consensus within society in favour of the energy transition and the resulting structural changes that are required, but the state needs to be proactive in the process in order to ensure that this consensus is maintained. This means that people employed up to now in the nuclear sector must be given prospects for the future and those regions which have benefitted in economic terms up to now from nuclear power stations must be shown other options for economic development. One way would be to provide incentives in these regions for building production facilities for storage systems, cabling, wind farms or parts thereof.

One possibility for ensuring people’s support for the energy transition is to encourage them to be actively involved in citizens’ energy companies. This means they have a direct stake in the commercial success of the energy transition. In addition or perhaps alternatively the local authorities as the real agencies responsible for providing public services and representatives of local citizens, should hold large stakes in these energy companies. In this way all citizens participate in the energy transition, not just those who can afford to invest…..

July 23, 2016 Posted by | renewable, Reference | Leave a comment

Facebook successfully trials solar-powered internet drone

Aquila: Facebook’s solar-powered internet drone takes flight ABC News 23 July 16 Facebook has completed a successful test flight of a solar-powered drone that it hopes will help it extend internet connectivity to every part of the planet.

Aquila, Facebook’s lightweight, high-altitude aircraft, flew at a few thousand feet for 96 minutes in Yuma, Arizona, chief executive Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his Facebook page.

The company ultimately hopes to have a fleet of Aquilas that can fly for at least three months at a time at 18,300 metres and communicate with each other to deliver internet access.

Google parent Alphabet Inc has also poured money into delivering internet access to underserved areas through Project Loon, which aims to use a network of high-altitude balloons to made the internet available to remote parts of the world………

Zuckerberg laid out the company’s biggest challenges in flying a fleet of Aquilas, including making the plane lighter so it can fly for longer periods, getting it to fly at 18,300 metres and creating communications networks that allow it to rapidly transfer data and accurately beam down lasers to provide internet connections……

July 23, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Low income earners to benefit from Obama’s new solar energy project

White House’s New Initiative to Install 1GW of Solar for Needies, Energy trend, 21 July 16   Under name of President Obama, the White House announces “Clean Energy Savings for All Initiative” and aims to offer a total of 1GW solar to low- and moderate-income families by 2020.

The Initiative, which was announced through a FACT SHEET on July 19, includes an investment of approximately US$288 million from housing associations, energy corporations, and power companies for solar deployment. The Initiative targets installing 1GW of solar systems for around 200,000 low- to moderate-income families by 2020.

President Obama’s Climate Action Plan set a goal of installing 100MW of renewable energy on federally-assisted affordable housing by 2020. The new initiative, depicted as “new catalytic goal,” will bring 10 fold of solar to the needy Americas. The Clean Energy Savings to All Initiative is the successor to the Climate Action Plan.

The new scheme will be implemented in collaboration with state agencies. Propergy-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) funding, a community solar competition and jobs programs will also be involved in.

The Initiative is supported by government agencies include the Departments of Energy (DOE), Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Veteran’s Affairs (VA), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Celeste Tsai, analyst at EnergyTrend, describes this new initiative as “an American version of PV Poverty Alleviation Project.” This program will be helpful for expanding renewable energy installations and relevant jobs as well as creating economical supports for needy families……., the new program will further declare Obama’s commitment to developing renewable energy and creating new jobs for the United States.

July 23, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Calgary, Canada succeeds brilliantly with wind-powered Light Rail Transport

Dedicated wind farms are an increasingly important source of energy for data centers.flag-canada Calgary’s wind-powered LRT an incredibly successful system: Nenshi , Green Energy Futures July 6, 2015 “Every one of these three-car trains that goes by has a capacity of 600 people. That means it’s taking about 550 cars off the road. It makes a lot of sense,” says Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi.  By David Dodge and Duncan Kinney 

The CTrain in Calgary is one of the greatest examples of electrified transport in Canada.

It is overwhelmingly popular with residents, boasting an average weekday ridership of 325,000. It has kickstarted smarter, denser development around its stations. And, best of all, it and the City of Calgary’s operations are 100 per cent powered by renewable energy.

“It’s hugely important to me. I wish I could take it every day, but it’s an incredibly successful transit system,” says Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi. “It has amongst the highest ridership of any LRT system anywhere — about 50 per cent of the people who travel downtown every day come downtown by public transit, and the majority of those use the CTrain system.”

But it’s when you compare Calgary to the other transit systems in Canada that it starts to get really interesting. The Pembina Institute has compiled some fascinating data, released in its Fast Cities report last year (disclosure: Green Energy Futures is presented by the Pembina Institute).

Calgary takes home the top spot when it comes to the amount of existing rapid transit lines per million residents; over the past ten years it has laid the most track out of any other city in the report. Continual investment in the system is an important factor that too many cities ignore.

City building

A full three-car CTrain carries 600 people. Not only does the CTrain take a lot of cars off the road, it also helps the city grow in a smarter, denser way………….

Powered by the wind

Perhaps the greatest coup of Calgary’s CTrain system is that it is powered by wind energy. In 2001, Calgary city council voted to purchase 21,000 megawatt-hours of wind power a year for 10 years. That’s the amount of electricity that the LRT uses in a year.

Now, the LRT does not run on electrons delivered straight from wind turbines — instead, it’s connected to the standard electricity grid. But while that grid is still dominated by natural gas and coal, Calgary’s 2001 investment meant 12 wind turbines were erected.

Then in 2012, Calgary went all-in on renewable energy, purchasing 100 per cent renewable power for all of the city’s operations. This investment meant two wind farms got built, totaling 144 megawatts of installed wind capacity.

While the CTrain is still 100 per cent powered by wind, the city’s other operations use a mix of renewable energies: wind, hydro, biomass and solar power. The power purchase agreement totals 450,000 megawatt-hours a year or the equivalent power demand of over 65,000 Calgary homes.

This is one of the killer apps of electrified rail transport: the ability to choose cleaner, greener options. By purchasing wind power, Calgary Transit reports they are saving 56,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.

Cities like Calgary are playing a leadership role without breaking the bank. While the City of Calgary wouldn’t disclose the terms of their power purchase agreement with ENMAX, wind is the cheapest source of electricity in Alberta. The 2013 average pool price for wind according the Alberta Electric System Operator was 5.5 cents per kilowatt-hour while coal was 7.7 cents per-kilowatt hour.

In December 2014 when Quebec issued requests for proposals to build 450 MW of wind power, the average price for accepted bids was 7.6 cents per kWh, including 1.3 cents per kwH transmission costs. Solar power purchase agreements are being signed for as low as 5.84 cents a kWh in Dubai and at 8 cents/kWh in Brazil.

The bottom line is Calgary’s LRT and city operations are running on 100 per cent renewable energy, making the city a leader in Canada. Doubly cool are the phenomenal ridership numbers Calgary has achieved for its LRT — something that is reducing congestion, bringing down emissions and building the clean energy economy of the future.

July 22, 2016 Posted by | Canada, renewable | Leave a comment

Developing world set to get 2 million new jobs with modern off-grid solar lighting

Solar-Energy-WorldModern off-grid lighting could create 2 million new jobs in developing world, Eureka Alert, 20 July 16  Berkeley Lab study assesses employment impact of widespread conversion to solar-LED lighting in developing countries DOE/LAWRENCE BERKELEY NATIONAL LABORATORYMany households in impoverished regions around the world are starting to shift away from inefficient and polluting fuel-based lighting–such as candles, firewood, and kerosene lanterns–to solar-LED systems. While this trend has tremendous environmental benefits, a new study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that it spurs economic development as well, to the tune of 2 million potential new jobs.

Berkeley Lab researcher Evan Mills, who has been studying lighting in the developing world for more than two decades, has conducted the first global analysis of how the transition to solar-LED lighting will impact employment and job creation. His study was recently published in the journal Energy for Sustainable Development in a paper titled, “Job creation and energy savings through a transition to modern off-grid lighting.”

“People like to talk about making jobs with solar energy, but it’s rare that the flip side of the question is asked–how many people will lose jobs who are selling the fuels that solar will replace?,” said Mills. “We set out to quantify the net job creation. The good news is, we found that we will see many more jobs created than we lose.”

While there are about 274 million households worldwide that lack access to electricity, Mills’ study focuses on the “poorest of the poor,” or about 112 million households, largely in Africa and Asia, that cannot afford even a mini solar home system, which might power a fan, a few lights, a phone charger, and a small TV. Instead this group can afford only entry-level solar lighting.

In countries such as Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, India, Indonesia, and Kenya, fuel-based lighting is not particularly “job-intensive.” Individual entrepreneurs sell lanterns, wicks, candles, fuel dippers, and kerosene in small quantities, often in local markets or on the roadside, but few jobs are created and many are part-time.

In all Mills found that fuel-based lighting today provides 150,000 jobs worldwide. Because there is very little data in this area, his analysis is based on estimating the employment intensity of specific markets and applying it to the broader non-electrified population. He also drew on field observations in several countries to validate his estimates.

He did a similar analysis for the emerging solar-LED industry and also collected data on employment rates for larger manufacturers and distributors representing the majority of global production of products quality assured by the World Bank’s Lighting Global initiative at the time. He found that every 1 million of these lanterns provides an estimated 17,000 jobs.

These values include employees of these companies based in developing countries but exclude upstream jobs in primary manufacturing by third parties such as those in factories in China. Assuming a three-year product life and a target of three lanterns per household, this corresponded to about 2 million jobs globally, more than compensating for the 150,000 jobs that would be lost in the fuel-based lighting market.

Furthermore Mills’ research found that the quality of the jobs would be much improved. “With fuel-based lighting a lot of these people are involved in the black market and smuggling kerosene over international borders, and child labor is often involved in selling the fuel,” he said. “Also these can be very unstable jobs due to acute shortages of kerosene and government subsidies going up and down. It’s a very poor quality of livelihood, and the commodity itself is toxic. These new solar jobs will be much better jobs–they’re legal, healthy, and more stable and regular.”

While there is some overlap in terms of skillsets required for the new jobs, retraining and education would be necessary. The new jobs span the gamut, from designing and manufacturing products to marketing and distributing them. “The challenge of re-employing some of these people is not trivial,” Mills said. “A lot of them aren’t literate. So there are some real human considerations to account for.”

In fact, a transition to modern lighting technologies could have immense benefits for the health and education of these populations. Mills, an energy analyst specializing in the energy efficiency of buildings and industry who also founded the Lumina Project, published a separate paper in the same journal recently that identified many of the risks of fuel-based lighting, such as child poisoning, slum fires, indoor air pollution, and lantern explosions leading to significant burn injuries.

Solar lanterns also provide far more and better light, allowing children to study in the evening and businesses to stay open later into the evening. “As long as people are using kerosene lanterns, candles, and other fuels for light, it’s actually reinforcing poverty because they’re spending so much on energy and getting so little in return. So many are stuck in that vicious circle,” he said.

Solar-LED lanterns and flashlights are gaining in popularity in the developing world thanks to being “a rugged, affordable, reliable, compact and very manufacturable technology and one that is effectively wireless,” Mills said.

In addition to job creation, the potential environmental benefits are also enormous. A study Mills published in Science in 2005 estimated global off-grid lighting energy expenditure at $38 billion per year. That corresponds to CO2 emissions of 190 million metric tons per year, or the equivalent of those from about 30 million typical American cars.

“All of this energy and pollution can potentially be saved with a conversion to solar-LED systems,” he said……..

July 22, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decentralised | Leave a comment

Electricity system being reshaped by solar energy, batteries and electric cars

Will solar, batteries and electric cars re-shape the electricity system?, UBS, 20 July 16, 

 Batteries and solar at the tipping point: Electricity users will become generators Solar systems and batteries will be disruptive technologies for the electricity system. Steeply declining battery and solar system costs will enable multiple new applications. In this note, we focus on the impact on the utilities and auto sectors. Our proprietary model suggests a payback time as low as 6-8 years for a combined EV + solar + battery investment by 2020 – unsubsidised. We see Europe, and in particular Germany, Italy and Spain, leading this paradigm shift due to high fuel and retail electricity prices.

EVs entering the mass market, battery demand could grow exponentially We forecast a c10% EV and plug-in hybrid penetration in Europe by 2025. While the initial growth should predominantly be driven by incentives and carbon regulation, the entry into the mass market should happen because EVs will pay off. The expected rapid decline in battery cost by >50% by 2020 should not just spur EV sales, but also lead to exponential growth in demand for stationary batteries to store excess power. This is relevant for an electricity mix with a much higher share of (volatile) renewables.
Opportunities for utilities: Customers, smart grid and decentralised backup In this decentralised electricity world, the key utilities’ assets will be smart distribution networks, end customer relationships and small-scale backup units. Utilities should be able to extract more value in (highly competitive) supply activities, as customer needs will be more complex. Large-scale power generation, however, will be the dinosaur of the future energy system: Too big, too inflexible, not even relevant for backup power in the long run. Overall, sector EPS could grow 13% by 2025 on capex and higher-margin supply businesses, but differences between the companies should be large……..

July 22, 2016 Posted by | energy storage, renewable | Leave a comment

Lawsuit against USA’s The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC)’s rules disincentivising renewable energy


The shortage was expensive for homeowners — some saw their monthly bill go up five-fold from January to February — but for utilities, it was expensive, dangerous, and scary. No one wants to be on the hook for a bunch of families losing power in the middle of a -7°F night.

Following the prolonged cold snap, PJM, the entity that oversees utilities in the Mid-Atlantic and parts of Appalachia and the Midwest, put a plan into action: It would help the local utilities ensure that power was more reliable. To do this, PJM fast-tracked new rules for capacity resources — an industry phrase for guaranteed electricity supply. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved the new rules last May.

But now four environmental groups, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club, have announced a lawsuit against FERC, saying the rules are going to cost consumers and are unduly burdensome to renewable energy.

Under the new rules, renewable energy providers, such as solar and wind companies, will have a hard time participating in PJM’s capacity market, where utilities pay to make sure that they have a certain amount of electricity guaranteed in future years. The new rules require the providers in the market to be able to provide consistent production year-round, whereas wind and solar perform better during different parts of the year.

“The new rules will funnel billions of dollars from electricity consumers to fossil and nuclear power plants while severely limiting clean energy participation in PJM’s capacity market,” writes Jennifer Chen, an attorney with NRDC’s Sustainable FERC project……..

Chen and her colleagues argue that making it difficult for renewables (and demand response) to participate in the capacity market will push the auction prices higher — prices that, again, will be passed on to consumers, while disincentivizing developers and investors from pursuing renewable energy projects in PJM.

“The way that PJM’s rules operate basically doesn’t acknowledge the contribution of anything but fossil fuel resources that operate year-round,” Casey Roberts, an attorney for the Sierra Club, told ThinkProgress. “What regulators need to bring about a smarter energy future is rules that are more flexible and recognize the different capabilities that different resources offer.”

The irony of the new PJM rules is that during the polar vortex, wind performed incredibly well, saving consumers $1 billion in electricity costs, according to research by the American Wind Energy Association……..

environmental groups will put the pressure on FERC to reconsider the rule. The lawsuit will be filed in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

July 20, 2016 Posted by | Legal, renewable, USA | Leave a comment

Cochin International Airport in Kerala, India powered entirely by solar energy

sunflag-indiaThanks to solar power, this airport is no longer paying for electricity.  Jenny Soffel Website Editor, World Economic Forum 19 July 2016 [excellent graphs]   If you fly over Cochin International Airport in Kerala, India, you will find yourself staring down at over 46,000 solar panels. The airport, India’s seventh busiest, last year became the first airport in the world to run completely on solar power.

It started as a pilot project in 2013 with 400 panels on the airport rooftop, an attempt by management to lower the airport’s energy bills. After the installation of a 12 megawatt solar plant, the airport was able to run entirely on solar power.

The airport has now stopped paying for its electricity altogether, and even sends energy back to the grid.

Solar energy has become a cheap option in India – the price has dropped to a similar level to that of coal.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the country’s investment target for the source of renewable energy will be increased to $100 billion, five times greater than current levels, scaling solar power to more than 10% of India’s total energy sector by 2022.

The successful project has inspired other airports both nationally and internationally to invest in renewable energy. Kolkata’s international airport in India is now also looking to build a solar plant to reduce its electric bill by a third.

South Africa recently opened the continent’s first solar-powered airport in George, in the Western Cape. It’s expected to save an excess of 1.2 million litres of water every year, and will contribute to around 40% of the airport’s electricity needs.

July 20, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, India | Leave a comment

North America looking at a Trillion Dollar Renewable Energy Market


A Trillion Dollar Renewable Energy Market Might Have Just Opened Up in North America
An agreement between the U.S., Canada, and Mexico could open up new growth for the solar industry. The Motley Fool  Travis Hoium (TMFFlushDraw)
Jul 4, 2016  
Leaders of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico agreed this week to increase their renewable energy consumption in an effort to get half of North America’s energy from renewable sources by 2025. It’s a lofty goal, despite assertions that 37% of the region’s energy already comes from renewables. But it highlights just how much of a coordinated effort the countries are taking. And it may open a trillion dollar energy market for renewable energy companies. 

Cross-border transmission is big

One of the biggest things holding back renewable energy from an even larger market share is transmission lines. There’s not enough transmission that goes from the windy sections of Texas or Iowa or the sunny corners of Nevada and California to population centers. Part of the agreement will be to build cross-border transmission that will allow cheap renewable energy to flow more freely to where it’s needed.

To put the potential impact into perspective, the Brattle Group estimated that $130 billion in grid upgrades and transmission will be needed in the next decade to meet renewable standards in the U.S. And if those standards go up, we’re talking about billions, or hundreds of billions more.

The companies that could benefit from this are transmission line builders like Quanta Services (NYSE:PWR) and MYR Group (NASDAQ:MYRG), which have been talking about the upgrade cycle in transmission lines for years. Maybe this will help some of that come to fruition. On the ownership side, National Grid is a major infrastructure company with transmission lines all over the world……..

The two developers that would likely get a lot of business from a North America expansion of renewables are First Solar and SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR), which are the two largest solar developers in the U.S. For example, SunPower just won 500 megawatts out of 1,860 megawatts auctioned in Mexico, part of the country’s major expansion in renewables. If Mexico starts exporting solar or wind energy to Southern California it could expand that solar market……..

Maybe the renewable energy revolution has legs left in North America after all.

July 20, 2016 Posted by | NORTH AMERICA, renewable | Leave a comment

Offshore wind prices drop 30% below nuclear

The Walney wind farm, in the Irish Sea. Credit: WikimediaOffshore wind powers ahead as prices drop 30% below nuclear, Ecologist  Kieran Cooke 19th July 2016 The cost of offshore wind power in the North Sea is 30% lower than that of new nuclear, writes Kieran Cooke – helped along by low oil and steel prices, reduced maintenance and mass production. By 2030 the sector is expected to supply 7% of Europe’s electricity.

A building boom is underway offshore in Europe. Up to 400 giant wind turbines are due to be built off the northeast coast of the UK in what will be the world’s largest offshore wind development.

Output from theDogger Bank projectwill be 1.2 GW (gigawatts) – enough to power more than a million homes.

Next year, a 150-turbine wind farm off the coast of the Netherlands is due to start operating, and other schemes along the Dutch coast are in the works.

Denmark, Sweden and Portugal are major investors in offshore wind, and China has ambitious plans for the sector.

Wind farms – both onshore and offshore – are a key ingredient in renewable energy policy, and an important element in the battle against climate change.

WindEurope, an offshore wind industry group, says that at the present rate of installations it’s likely Europe will be producing about 7% of its electricity from offshore wind by 2030.

Ofshore wind developers benefit from falling costs……..

Offshore wind’s greatest renewable competitor is probably solar power, which has seen dramatic cost reductions in recent years. But the two technologies make a harmonious fit – the two together producing a smoother electricity supply curve, and one that more closely matches demand, than either alone.

July 20, 2016 Posted by | EUROPE, renewable | Leave a comment

Solar 2016 – a future with abundant, clean and cheap energy

sun-powerBright future for renewable energy on display at giant solar show,Financial Post, Diane Francis July 15, 2016 SAN FRANCISCO — It has been said that renewable energy is the energy of the future and always will be.

But the tipping point is nigh, thanks to Germany’s leadership, China’s pollution catastrophe and technological advances in battery storage, materials science and software.

At this year’s giant solar show – Solar 2016 – a future with abundant, clean and cheap energy was discussed and on display.

Success will be based on the continuation of five trends:

    • The Germans and Chinese have been dramatically transitioning to renewable energy by government edict, which has massively driven down costs for everyone through innovation and mass production;
    • The Americans, wary of government edicts of any kind, are increasingly adopting and developing viable solar “distributed power” units — a do-it-yourself and market-based approach designed to dramatically reduce or free residences and industries from any dependency on grids or utilities;
    • “Distributed power” is being adopted by developing countries to leapfrog the traditional giant power utility and extensive grid model. Power demands are high, fossil fuels are expensive and power grids inadequate so two-thirds of renewable development is underway in developing nations, led by China;
    • A materials science breakthrough involving solar cells made from a material called perovskite will be introduced next year and will drive down solar cell costs and exponentially increase efficiency;
    • Battery storage technology is advancing so dramatically that within three years a “tipping point” cost-wise will allow anyone with renewable power generation such as a rooftop solar system to go off grid.

The Germans have led the world to rid themselves of any dependency on fossil fuels from the Middle East or Russia as well as from nuclear power, which will be phased out by 2022. Their grand scheme — called Energeiwende — is publicly supported and German consumers pay a “green tax” of 24 billion euros annually to convert their economy to renewables such as biomass, wind and solar. Scaling and inventions have greatly reduced subsidies.

In the sunnier U.S., the biggest “tipping point” is closer thanks to cheaper storage, said Adara Power Inc. founder Greg Maguire. “Batteries are now US$650 per kilowatt hour and will be US$425 soon. In less than three years, they will hit US$200 and then there will be mass adoption.”……….


July 16, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, renewable | Leave a comment

France greenlights a raft of new tenders for solar energy

sunflag-franceFrance rolls out solar tenders for 20 GW by 2023 JULY 2016 BY:  IAN CLOVER French environment and energy minister Segolene Royal greenlights raft of new tenders for solar energy, including a three-fold increase in installed PV capacity, eyeing 20 GW by 2023. The French environment and energy minister Segolene Royal announced this week the introduction of a number of new solar tenders in France for the development of various PV applications.

Chiefly, France is aiming to triple its solar PV capacity to 20 GW by 2023, with the tenders expected to hit incremental goals of 10.2 GW by 2018, and between 18.2 to 20.2 GW by 2023.

Other tenders announced aim to support France’s stuttering building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) sector, with the French government earmarking 450 MW of BIPV tenders over the coming three years. Another tender will be aimed solely at the country’s self-consumption sector, particularly in C&I and agriculture, while 1 GW of tenders for ground mounted PV will be issued annually for the next six years.

An additional 50 MW tender for solar+storage has also been introduced for France’s overseas territories.

This latest suite of support for solar development follows the previous round of tenders – first introduced in 2014 – that have collectively attracted more than $1 billion in investment into France’s solar PV industry. Experts in the country believe that the certainty offered by this approach will curry further favor with investors, and should particularly help boost France’s ground-mount and BIPV sectors.

The plans were first announced by the Conseil Superieur de L’Energie (CSE) in April, which outlined how France will embrace further its use of solar and wind energy. However, the CSE confirmed that there will be no nuclear plant closures before 2019, but affirmed that nuclear’s share of the energy mix will fall from 75% currently to 50% by 2025.

For solar, the cumulative target for 2023 is relatively ambitious and certainly achievable. France currently has just over 6.2 GW of cumulative PV capacity installed – according to official figures from grid operator RTE – and added just under 1 GW of capacity in 2015. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) expects France to add around, or just above, 1 GW of new capacity this year, but the hope is that these new tenders will accelerate that pace of installation.

July 6, 2016 Posted by | France, renewable | Leave a comment

World Bank backs solar power in 1 trillion dollars loan, tripling India’s renewable energy

World-BankSolar power plantPM Modi lands World Bank’s record 1 trillion dollars loan for mega solar power project The World Bank has signed an agreement with India-led International Solar Alliance (ISA) to mobilise investments worth $1 trillion by 2030. IANS India Today, by Arpan RaiNew Delhi, June 30, 2016  The World Bank on Thursday signed an agreement with India-led International Solar Alliance (ISA) to mobilise investments worth $1 trillion by 2030 to help fund projects to increase solar energy use around the world.

The agreement, establishing the World Bank Group as a financial partner for 121-nation ISA, was signed here in the presence of visiting World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and New and Renewable Energy Minister Piyush Goyal.

The ISA was launched at the Paris United Nations Climate Change Conference in November by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and French President Francois Hollande.


As part of the agreement, the Bank will develop a roadmap to mobilise financing for development and deployment of affordable solar energy, and work with other multilateral development banks and financial institutions to develop financing instruments to support solar development.

On the occasion, the multilateral lender also announced that it planned to provide more than $1 billion to support India’s initiative to expand solar energy generation.


The solar investments for India combined would be the Bank’s largest financing of solar energy projects for any country in the world to date, it said.

India’s plans to virtually triple the share of renewable energy by 2030 will both transform the country’s energy supply and have far-reaching global implications in the fight against climate change………


July 2, 2016 Posted by | India, renewable | Leave a comment

US solar power market hits all-time high

Statue-of-Liberty-solarHere comes the sun: US solar power market hits all-time high, Guardian, , 29 June 16 
After a rocky start, the American solar market is taking off and growing faster than coal and natural gas power. What will it take to make it go truly mainstream?   

Solar energy in the US has had a rocky existence. Ever since Ronald Reagan symbolically removed Jimmy Carter’s solar panels from the White House roof in 1986, federal policy has been unpredictable, such that manufacturers and consumers could never depend on reliable incentives to produce and install solar energy systems.

Remarkably, the US solar energy industry is now entering what may be its most prosperous decade ever, thanks to a new wave of federal and state policies and positive economics in the industry, both at home and abroad.

“I think it will actually be bigger than people are projecting,” says Jigar Shah, president and co-founder of Generate Capital, a clean energy investment firm based in San Francisco. “The solar industry is booming right now.”

The US solar industry expects to install 14.5 gigawatts of solar power in 2016, a 94% increase over the record 7.5 gigawatts last year, according to a new market report by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Revenues from solar installations also increased 21% from 2014 to more than $22bn in 2015.

For the first time, more solar systems came online than natural gas power plants – the top source of electricity in the US – in 2015, as measured in megawatts, said Justin Baca, vice president of markets and research at the Solar Energy Industries Association. This year, new solar is expected to surpass installations of all other sources, said the US Energy Information Administration.

The rise of solar energy use, especially by homes and businesses with panels on their roofs, is gradually transforming the electricity industry. For more than a century, power plant owners and utilities have controlled the energy delivery service, and some of them enjoy a monopoly.

“We were just a tiny little speck 10 years ago, and now we are really up there with the major established generating technologies,” said Baca. “It’s amazing.”

Sunny path


What’s behind all this? A federal tax credit has played a key role: it enables home and business owners to take off 30% of the price of their solar energy systems from their income taxes. Congress renewed the tax credit last December.

Another factor is cost. It is simply a lot cheaper to install solar these days, largely because cost of components have declined considerably. The wholesale price of a solar panel today is about $0.65 per watt, compared with $0.74 per watt a year ago and $4 per watt in 2008…….

The tariffs and increasing domestic demand have boosted manufacturing jobs in the US, which is now one of the top five nations for solar panel producers behind China, Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia.

“Now the market’s so large you can actually sustain the large manufacturing plants and support the product locally,” said Shah.

One example is SolarCity, which is building a giant new solar panel factory in Buffalo, New York. The facility, expected to be in operation later this year, plans to employ 3,500 people. It will produce panels primarily for SolarCity’s own projects around the world……..

July 2, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,184 other followers