nuclear-news

The News That Matters about the Nuclear Industry

Wales moves towards energy self-sufficiency with renewables

Utility Week 17th May 2017, Plaid Cymru has pledged to cut the energy bills of customers in Wales by establishing a Welsh energy company. In its manifesto for the general election, published today (17 May), the nationalist party said the proposed energy company would channel the profits from Wales’ abundant renewable energy into cutting the cost of Welsh consumers bills.

Plaid proposes that the energy company would also support a shift in Wales to decentralised and distributed energy networks. The manifesto also pledges that Plaid would increase energy generation from renewable sources, including the delivery of tidal lagoons in Swansea Bay, Cardiff and Colwyn Bay.

The Welsh nationalists would transfer responsibility over Welsh energy generation to the National Assembly in Cardiff with the goal of achieving self-sufficiency in electricity generation from renewables. http://utilityweek.co.uk/news/Plaid-Cymru-pledges-to-create-Welsh-energy-company/1303042

May 19, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

France Gets EU Approval For 3 Schemes To Develop 17 Gigawatts Of Renewable Energy.

Clean Tech 12th May 2017 The European Commission has approved France’s request to develop three separate schemes that are intended to support the development of more
than 17 gigawatts worth of new renewable energy capacity. The European Commission, the legislative body of the European Union, on May 5 approved three separate schemes for the development of small-scale onshore wind, solar, and sewage gas installations in France, which would allow France to develop more than 17 gigawatts (GW) of renewable energy capacity.

The onshore wind scheme will have a provisional budget of €1 billion per year, and will grant support for 15 GW of new capacity over the next 10 years. The projects are intended to be small projects, taking the form of what is called a premium on top of the market price, or in French, complement de remunération, providing support to operators of small-scale onshore installations of less than 6 wind turbines that themselves are no more than 3 megawatts (MW) in capacity….
https://cleantechnica.com/2017/05/12/france-can-move-forward-three-schemes-develop-17-gw-renewable-energy/

May 17, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, France | Leave a comment

100% Renewables for Britain’s Tesco

FT 14th May 2017 Tesco seeks to secure all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. Tesco is to turn its back on fossil fuels and ramp up its use of solar panels as the UK supermarket makes an ambitious pledge to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in line with the toughest goals of the Paris climate accord.

Tesco says it will cut its emissions in line with the more ambitious 1.5C target, partly by securing 100 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources such as solar panels by 2030 and by pushing its
suppliers to become greener. Tesco’s goals will require big investments in renewable power because about 65 per cent of its emissions come from electricity needed for its distribution centres and 6,500 stores around the world.

Refrigeration gases account for 15 per cent of the company’s emissions, according to Kené Umeasiegbu, Tesco’s head of climate change. Another 12 per cent comes from its delivery vehicles; 7.5 per cent from heating and 0.5 per cent from business travel…. https://www.ft.com/content/536fb55a-374e-11e7-bce4-9023f8c0fd2e

May 17, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | 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

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

Solar can power just about anything – large or small

Solar-powered everything, REneweconomy, By  on 9 March 2017 NexusMedia Solar power used to mean large, heavy panels mounted on a roof or spread across a field.

But the sun falls on everyone — and everything — and as materials have gotten lighter, cheaper and more flexible, photovoltaic cells are showing up in the most unlikely of places.

In bustling New York City, you can buy a sandwich at a solar-powered food cart, eat it while sitting at a solar-powered bus stop, all while charging your phone using your solar-powered jacket.

Solar power is becoming more distributed, generating power closer to where it’s needed. That can mean buildings with their own solar arrays, or, on a smaller scale, clothing that features solar panels.

Brooklyn-based solar company Pvilion is leading the charge to put solar everywhere. Their projects range from building covers to small consumer items. “We’re looking at solar as a building material that can be used in a lot of different contexts,” says CEO Colin Touhey.

Touhey and his partners have collaborated with Tommy Hilfiger to make solar-powered jackets, and now they’re working on a line of bags with built-in solar panels. While coats can’t generate nearly as much power as larger arrays, every person with a smartphone is a potential customer.

“It’s really cool to plug in your phone and charge it with the sun,” says Touhey.

Researchers are developing woven solar fabrics that have photoactive dyes coating individual threads, so each fiber is a miniature solar panel. But for now, flexible solar panels must be laminated on top of fabrics.

Pvilion has also designed building facades using heavy-duty solar fabrics. You can see their handiwork in a planned expansion at the Artists for Humanity Epicenter in Boston. The building’s photovoltaic facade will generate power and provide shade, helping to keep the interior cool. This and other energy-smart technologies will make the Epicenter the largest commercial building on the East Coast to produce more power than it consumes, according to Pvilion………http://reneweconomy.com.au/solar-powered-everything-40816/

March 11, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

This year, Tesla’s solar roofs on sale

House with solar roof tilesTesla will begin selling its solar roof this year — here’s everything you need to know [excellent pictures]  Business Insider  DANIELLE MUOIO FEB 27, 2017, Tesla will begin selling and installing its solar roof later this year, the company wrote in its fourth-quarter investor letter.

March 6, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Solar power for 7,000 Railway Stations In India

7,000 Railways Stations In India To Go Solar    https://cleantechnica.com/2017/02/21/7000-railways-stations-india-go-solar/ February 21st, 2017 by  Almost every railway station in India will soon be fed with solar power if the plans announced in India’s latest union budget are implemented.

solar _photovoltaic_cells-wide

The Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announced that the 7,000 railway stations across the country will be fed with solar power as per the Indian Railways mission to implement 1,000 megawatts of solar power capacity. The minister made the announcement during the union budget speech on 1 February 2017.

The minister stated that work to set up rooftop solar power systems at 300 stations has already started, and soon this number will increase to 2,000 stations. According to data released by the Minister of Railways, India had 7,137 railway stations at the end of March 2015.

These rooftop solar power systems are expected to be implemented through developer mode, wherein the project developer will sign long-term power purchase agreement with Indian Railways.

In addition to rooftop solar power systems, the Indian Railways is expected to set up large-scale projects as well. Last year, it announced plans to launch a tender for 150 megawatts (MW) of rooftop systems. Late last year, it announced a partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to set up 5 gigawatts of solar power capacity.

The Indian Railways has managed to identify the solar power resource in two states so far — Gujarat and Rajasthan — where 25 MW of rooftop and 50 MW of ground-mounted capacity is to be commissioned in the first phase of the program. In the second phase, 60 MW of rooftop and 660 MW of ground-mounted capacity will be installed in nine other states. During the third phase, 400 MW of rooftop and 3,800 MW of ground-mounted capacity will be installed in the rest of the country.

February 25, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, India | Leave a comment

Churches now finding that solar energy is getting cheaper and easier

text-relevantchurch greenEden Keeper, (USA) 6 Jan 17 Faith members considering solar power for churches, temples, mosques, and other houses of worship are discovering that installations are getting both easier and cheaper. Since 2009, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), costs for non-residential solar installations have dropped around 73%, from around $7.50 per kilowatt to today’s cost of about $2 per kilowatt.In Minnesota, for example, approximately 400 congregations are working with Minnesota Interfaith Power and Light (MNIPL), a faith-based nationwide nonprofit concerned with climate change and environmental stewardship. MNIPL Executive Director Julia Nerbonne notes that conversations on solar power for churches are trending all across the state.

Among the 20 Minnesota houses of worship that completed their transition to solar power in 2016 are Unity Church-Unitarian and Woodbury Peaceful Grove United Methodist Church in St. Paul. In Roseville, St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church also completed it’s solar rooftop installation last year……..

Community Solar Farms Offer Additional Solutions……..

Just Community Solar: A Story of Faith in Action

Many States Offer Solar IncentivesCurrent political fearmongering aside, many states are working hard to increase the transition to renewable energy in the US. Minnesota is an inspiring example…


“Tons and Tons of Faith Communities Doing Solar” 
An additional bill credit especially relating to solar power for churches, faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits may be approved in March 2017, by the Public Utilities Commission………

Learn More about Community Solar Power For ChurchesMNIPL’s project, “Just Community Solar: A Story of Faith in Action” is “connecting the dots between climate, racial, and economic justice.”

January 7, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, USA | Leave a comment

Wales introduces solar ‘eco hamlet’ – the first of many?

solar rooftopstext-relevantInside Glanrhyd, the first solar ‘eco hamlet’ in Wales  Residents of the new eco hamlet in Pembrokeshire can expect greatly reduced fuel bills and shared use of an electric car, Guardian, , 6 Jan 17, 

Most of the houses in the Welsh village of Glanrhyd are of traditional construction – walls made out of hefty local stone, roofs of grey slate. They can get chilly when the winter winds whistle through the gaps.

The six houses that make up the “eco hamlet” of Pentre Solar look and feel very different. They are built using light, bright timber sourced from a nearby valley. The houses are carefully insulated, airtight and powered by solar panels.

Over the next few weeks the first tenants, local people from Pembrokeshire county council’s housing list, will move into what is being billed as the only development of its kind in the UK.

Their fuel bills are expected to be a fraction of their neighbours’ – and they will even get the use of a shared electric car for the school run, the shopping trip to nearby Cardigan, or even for a jolly to one of the many glorious local beaches…….

If the project, which has been backed by the Welsh government, does work, the hope is that similar developments could be rolled out across Wales and eventually across the UK.

Western Solar’s first venture was a solar farm, five miles from the eco hamlet. Doubts that it was sunny enough in this part of the British Isles (after all, the nearby village of Eglwyswrw made headlines last year after it rained for more than 80 days in a row) proved unfounded and the project thrived…….

Using technology borrowed from Germany, Western Solar built a prototype eco home called Tŷ Solar (Tŷ is Welsh for house). The idea was to produce a high-quality, brilliantly insulated, airtight house made of locally sourced timber and powered by solar energy…….

Western Solar’s ambitious plan is to build 1,000 more houses across the UK in the next 10 years and is looking for investors to help. The Welsh government is keen to see the concept work elsewhere. One of the key pledges of the current Labour-led administration is to provide an additional 20,000 affordable homes by 2021.…… https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/06/inside-glanrhyd-the-first-solar-eco-hamlet-in-wales

January 7, 2017 Posted by | decentralised, UK | Leave a comment

South Pacific island ditches fossil fuels to run entirely on solar power

Ta’u island in American Samoa will rely on solar panels and Tesla batteries as it does away with diesel generators, Guardian Eleanor Ainge Roy, 28 Nov 16, A remote tropical island has catapulted itself headlong into the future by ditching diesel and powering all homes and businesses with the scorching South Pacificsun.

Using more than 5,000 solar panels and 60 Tesla power packs the tiny island of Ta’u in American Samoa is now entirely self-sufficient for its electricity supply – though the process of converting has been tough and pitted with delays……https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/28/south-pacific-island-ditches-fossil-fuels-to-run-entirely-on-solar-power

November 30, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, OCEANIA | Leave a comment

China’s ambitious plan, lifting poor communities by means of solar rooftops

Unlike many other developing countries, around 99% of all Chinese households already have access to the grid.

community-solar

Solar PV can help China’s poorest, China Dialogue     23.11.2016 中文版本  In Anhui villages are hooking up to the grid to generate income and power, writes Suzanne Fisher-Murray The residents of Yuexi county, a mountainous area in eastern China, must have thought it was their lucky day when they heard they had been selected for China’s new solar poverty alleviation project.

The 382,000 residents are some of the poorest in the country, living below the poverty line of 2,300 yuan (about US$1 per day). This was the key criteria for their selection in the project, which is part of China’s 13th Five-Year-Plan, the roadmap for the nation’s development from 2016 to 2020.

In 2015, President Xi Jinping announced the Chinese government would eradicate poverty in China by 2020, which requires targeting the country’s 70 million people living below the poverty line. In April, 2015, China’s National Energy Administration released a plan to use solar photovoltaics (PV) to increase the income of 200 million Chinese households within 16 provinces and 271 counties.

The project is being piloted in Yuexi county, Anhui province before being rolled out across the country. Villagers identified as living below the poverty line will have rooftop solar panels rated at 3-5 kilowatts installed on their roofs and become shareholders in village solar power stations with a generating capacity of around 60-100 kilowatts. The aim is for the solar panels to earn each family 3,000 yuan (around US$430) in extra income each year. Local farmers could also earn additional income by leasing out non-arable lands or maintaining the solar farms.

So far, 182 villages (with 30,000 residents) in the county have been identified as eligible for the project. Construction has begun at a staggering pace: 57 solar parks were built in 2015, with the remaining 125 expected to be finished this year.

Unlike many other developing countries, around 99% of all Chinese households already have access to the grid.

Each household will use the solar electricity generated for their own purposes. This will reduce energy bills and any surplus electricity will be sold back to the grid. Families will also have shared ownership of the solar parks, splitting 40% of the profits between them, with the remaining 60% going to pay back loans and park construction fees. This means that once the solar panels are installed, households and villagers could begin to see the benefits quickly.“It will take more time before we know the impact of the project,” warned Yixiong Kang from China Carbon Futures Asset Management Company, which is overseeing the financial and technical aspects of the project.

“But it could have a huge impact. We are talking about the poorest families. They basically have nothing in their houses that use electricity [because they can’t afford to pay the bills].” The extra income they’ll earn could change that. “If you want to change the living standards of people, sometimes it’s not enough to just give them electricity. Electricity – that’s just a power supply. They need greater help,” he added.

Aside from the direct profits, the villagers would also likely benefit from subsidies paid to solar generation projects in China. The rates are set to go down in 2017 due to a solar power generation surplus, but, if paid, will also help increase the villagers’ profits. The village level solar stations will also be part of a Chinese emissions trading programme which is currently being established. The village solar stations that have certified emissions reductions certificates could trade 1000 kWh of their clean energy to replace one tonne of carbon dioxide emissions on the carbon trading scheme.

When China’s national cap-and-trade programme officially launches in 2017 its carbon trading market will be the largest in the world. The sums set to be generated are substantial. By the end of October 2015, China had seven pilot carbon trading markets in seven cities and provinces. The total emissions ‘allowances’ distributed during 2015, said Kang, was the equivalent of 1.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, with a projected turnover of 1.3 billion yuan (around US$188 million)….https://www.chinadialogue.net/article/show/single/en/9420-Solar-PV-can-help-China-s-poorest

November 24, 2016 Posted by | China, decentralised | Leave a comment

Florida’s Amendment 1 would have undermined rooftop solar, but voters were not fooled

Solar PV capacity in Australia lags that of less sunny nations such as the UK and South Korea.Florida’s Amendment 1 defeat shows why solar won’t be stopped, Trump or no Trump, http://www.utilitydive.com/news/floridas-amendment-1-defeat-shows-why-solar-wont-be-stopped-trump-or-no/430373/14 Nov 16,  David Pomerantz, executive director of the Energy and Policy Institute, wants utilities to ‘co-thrive’ with DERs. 

Americans who are concerned about climate change are shell-shocked over the election of Donald Trump, who has claimed climate change was a hoax created by China and promised to end federal support for clean energyneuter the EPA, and kill the Paris agreement.

If Trump follows through on these threats, it will cause irreversible damage. But an election result buried by the chaos of Tuesday night offers a thin silver lining to the dark clouds gathering on the climate horizon: the surprise defeat of a deceptive ballot initiative in Florida called “Amendment 1.”

 Florida’s investor-owned electric utilities – Duke Energy, Florida Power & Light (FPL), Gulf Power and Tampa Electric – spent $20 million pushing Amendment 1 and branding it as “pro-solar,” when in fact it would have undermined customer-owned solar power in Florida. Amendment 1’s passage would have paved the way for the utilities to add fees to solar customers’ bills and to cut net metering payments for the extra power they produce. They could have killed the nascent rooftop solar industry in Florida, which already lags behind far smaller states like Massachusetts and New Jersey.

Amendment 1’s defeat offers a road map for how to keep the clean energy economy growing under a Trump presidency: turn to the states. During the George W. Bush years, wind and solar power grew rapidly, despite federal hostility, thanks to supportive policies in both red and blue states. That’s not surprising, as Americans across the political spectrum, then and now, overwhelmingly support clean energy. A President Trump can’t block that progress, but another obstacle can: electric utilities.

Utilities profit when they build more power plants and transmission lines, which they can only do if people buy more electricity. Distributed solar threatens that outdated business model by offering people the choice of making their own power, so utilities have waged war on rooftop solar, and Amendment 1 revealed their battle plan:

Instead, they advocate for “smart solar” and “solar done right” – code for large solar farms that utilities own, not customers. But it’s a ruse; Duke Energy told Florida regulators that it planned to generate a mere 2.2% of its power from solar energy in 2025, and FPL reports that it will be 1% solar in that year. Duke and FPL are instead investing heavily in gas, as are many other utilities.

Florida voters proved that they wouldn’t be fooled. The utilities’ “pro-solar” message crumbled after the Energy and Policy Institute and the Center for Media and Democracy released an audio recordingconfirming Amendment 1 was a “political jiu-jitsu” campaign designed to trick pro-solar voters. Once the truth was out, support cratered.

Second, utilities try to divide environmentalists from low-income advocates and communities of color, using front groups to argue that rooftop solar is only for the rich, who “shift the costs” to poor people. It’s more deception: a host of studies have shown that the benefits that rooftop solar customers provide to the wider grid outweigh the costs.

Low-income communities and communities of color are refusing to be pawns in the utilities’ game. Black and Latino leaders spoke out against Amendment 1, noting that they want policies that result in more solar for their communities, not less. The NAACP nationally has been a forceful advocate for rooftop solar power, and polls show that communities of color support clean energy at the highest rates of all Americans.

Last, utilities use their financial might to buy political power. In addition to the $20 million that Florida’s utilities spent backing Amendment 1, they spent another $9.3 million on campaign contributions to legislators this cycle. Utilities’ influence peddling will never go away, but the pro-solar movement is learning to counter it via grassroots organizing, as it did effectively in Florida.

If other utilities follow their Florida brethren’s game plan, they too will unite their opponents into broad movements against them, and politically sensitive regulators will take notice. FPL’s war on solar power is already having this effect. Regulators in Hawaii, rightfully skeptical of FPL’s record of blocking solar in Florida, rejected its parent company NextEra’s bid to buy Hawaii’s electric utility. In Texas, where NextEra wants to buy Oncor, regulators are expressing their own concerns.

Nevadans – many still outraged at NV Energy’s hostility toward rooftop solar in the net metering battle there – voted Tuesday to strip the utility of its monopoly status.

These results should send a loud alarm to utilities and their investors that every attack they launch at rooftop solar will boomerang to erode their customers’ trust and weaken their standing with regulators.

There is only one way out of the jam for utilities: they have to adapt their business models and find ways to co-thrive with distributed resources. Some are trying to do that, albeit at the behest of regulators, but most seem intent on wasting time fighting a war they are destined to lose. Customers are demanding solar, the market forces behind solar cannot be stopped, and a Trump presidency will not change those facts.

November 23, 2016 Posted by | decentralised, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Decentralized renewable energy – this is the future

Why the Future Belongs to Decentralized Renewables, Not Centralized Hydrogen and Giga-Scale Nuclear November 18, 2016 by Energy Post
highly-recommended“……….Let me develop the real reasons why conventional renewables are likely to emerge as the dominant primary energy sources in the first half of the
21st century. The fundamental advantages of renewables, as revealed by practical experience in China as well as in industrialised countries like Germany where an energy transformation is well under way, are these.As they scale renewable energies do not present greater and greater hazards. Instead they are relatively benign technologies, without serious riskThey are clean (low to zero-carbon); they are non-polluting (important in China and India with their high levels of particulate pollution derived from coal); they tap into inexhaustibleenergy sources; and they have close-to-zero running costs since they do not need fuel. They are also diffuse, which should be viewed as an advantage, since this means that renewable sources are decentralised, and can be harvested by both large and by small operations. So they are eminently practicable.

Some advantages of renewables are not at all obvious and need to be made explicit. Fundamentally, they are scalable. They can be built in modular fashion – one solar panel, 100 solar panels, 1000 solar panels. As they are replicated in this fashion so their power ratings continue to rise, without complexity cutting back on efficiency. This cannot be said of nuclear reactors, which have an optimal operational size – below which or above which the plant under-performs.

Moreover as they scale they do not present greater and greater hazards. Instead they are relatively benign technologies, without serious risks.

recycle-rare-earths-2

When they use hazardous materials, such as the cadmium in Cd-Te solar, the solution would be to recycle materials in order to minimise the use and waste of virgin materials.

Most importantly, the superiority of conventional renewables lies in their cost reduction trends which are linked to the fact that they are always the products of manufacturing – and mass production manufacturing, where economies of scale really play a role. This means that they offer genuine energy security in so far as manufacturing can in principle be conducted anywhere. There are no geopolitical pressures stemming from accidents of chance where one country has deposits of a fossil fuel but another does not. Manufactured devices promise an end to the era in which energy security remains closely tied to geopolitics and the projection of armed force. As Hao Tan and I put it in our article published in Nature, manufacturing renewables provides the key to energy security.

Manufacturing is characterised by improving efficiencies as experience is accumulated – with consequent cost reductions captured in the learning or experience curve. Manufacturing generates increasing returns; it can be a source of rising incomes and wealth without imposing further stresses on the earth. Add to these advantages that renewables promise economic advantages of the first importance: they offer rural employment as well as urban employment in manufacturing industry; they offer an innovative and competitive energy sector; and they offer export platforms for the future.

The real driver of the renewable energy revolution is not government policy, or business risk-taking, or consumer demand. It is, quite simply, the reduction of costs

This is to list the advantages of renewables without even mentioning their low and diminishing carbon emissions. Indeed they offer the only real long-term solution to the problem of cleaning up energy systems.

With all these advantages, it is little wonder that China and now India are throwing so much effort into building renewable energy systems at scale. These are not exercises undertaken for ethical or aesthetic purposes, but as national development strategies of the highest priority.

So the real driver of the renewable energy revolution is not government policy, or business risk-taking, or consumer demand. It is, quite simply, the reduction of costs – to the point where renewables are bringing down costs of generating power to be comparable with the use of traditional fossil fuels, and with the promise of reducing these costs further still. Supergrids are also being promoted for renewables, but these are very different conceptions, based on integrating numerous fluctuating sources in IT-empowered grids, offering the same practicable, scalable and replicable energy future.

Against these advantages, the obstacles regularly cited are small indeed. There is the fluctuating nature of renewables, which can be addressed by various forms of systems integration (smart grids, demand response) and of course through energy storage, which is moving into the same kind of cost reduction learning curve that has characterised solar and wind power, promising rapid diffusion of both commercial and domestic energy storage units. With rapidly falling costs of storage providing the buffer that can even out fluctuating levels of generation, there is no further serious argument against renewables……..

by 

This article is based on a scientific paper by John A. Mathews, Competing principles driving energy futures: Fossil fuel decarbonization vs. manufacturing learning curves, which was published in Futures in November 2016 (.http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0016328715300227)

John Mathews is author of the Greening of Capitalism: How Asia is Driving the Next Great Transformation”, published by Stanford University Press: http://www.sup.org/books/title/?id=24288. His latest book, “China’s Renewable Energy Revolution” (co-authored with Hao Tan) was published by Palgrave Pivot in September 2015: http://www.palgrave.com/page/detail/chinas-energy-revolution-john-a-mathews/?isb=9781137546241.

See his author’s archive on Energy Post.

November 21, 2016 Posted by | 2 WORLD, decentralised, Reference | Leave a comment