2015-05-21 Energy Week

Please note that this post is being developed.

Thursday, May 14:

  • “Let’s Get Straight: Tesla Powerwall DOES = $3,000″ – Something we’ve been assuming, and seen all over the interwebs, is apparently wrong. The assumption has been that the $3,000 price for a Powerwall is the wholesale price. It is the retail price. SolarCity’s higher prices we have seen include installation. [CleanTechnica]
  • An interdisciplinary MIT study, The Future of Solar Energy, says today’s solar panels are all that is needed to supply the world with many TW of clean solar power by 2050 (1 TW is 1,000,000 MW). The other main point the study makes is that it will take political will to finally wean the world off of fossil fuels.[CleanTechnica]
  • SolarCity says it is on track to install more than 1 gigawatt of rooftop solar in 2015. The company reported installations of 153 MW during the first quarter 2015, beating its own forecast of 145 MW. The company has set a target of 1,000,000 customers by the middle of 2018. It now has more than 218,000. [CleanTechnica]

Friday, May 15:

  • Andrew Blakers, who is the director for Sustainable Energy Systems at the Australian National University, told the Australian Solar and Energy Storage conference in Melbourne that his conservative prediction was that Australia would reach 90% renewables by 2040 – just through natural attrition. [CleanTechnica]
  • Lincoln Renewable Natural Gas has filed a petition to construct a renewable natural gas plant at a farm in Salisbury. Gas from a bio-digester would be processed to make purer bio-methane, some of which would be burned to make power and some piped to Middlebury College for use there for fuel. [Vermont Public Radio]

Saturday, May 16:

  • The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded grants to scientists in five western states to do research in geothermal methods that can develop the region’s huge potential. It has been estimated that geothermal in this region could potentially generate enough electricity to power about 100 million homes. [CleanTechnica]

The Sonoma Calpine 3 geothermal power plant at The Geysers field in the Mayacamas Mountains of Somona County, Northern California. Photo by Stepheng3. Wikimedia Commons.

  • Greenpeace Energy desk reported the figures from China’s National Energy Administration in October of 2014, revealing that China’s coal use dropped by 1.28% in 2014. However, in March of this year, new data from the National Bureau of Statistics of China indicates that coal consumption dropped by 2.9%. [CleanTechnica]
  • The Energy Supply Association of Australia, representing the fossil fuel and renewable energy sector, has sourced data from around the world revealing household solar PV penetration in Australia is way out in front of any other nation. Almost 15% of Australian households have adopted the technology. [Daily News Biotech Wired]
  • Virtual power plants for small, distributed power generation have become a fixture of Germany’s electrical grid. While their numbers remain in the low thousands, VPPs withstood a five-year trial period in the electricity market. Now, with falling battery prices, they are beginning to change the grid. [Environment & Energy Publishing]
  • On Friday afternoon, the Vermont Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation that will encourage more renewable energy projects in the state. The bill passed by a vote of 22-6. Nevertheless, it has re-ignited a debate over the impact of solar and wind projects on the communities where they’re built. [Vermont Public Radio]

Sunday, May 17:

  • After four years of drought, production at some California dams is expected to be less than 20% of normal because of low water levels. The shortfall should not cause brownouts because California relies on dams for power far less than it did in decades past, due in part to the emergence of solar and wind energy. [Los Angeles Times]
  • Compressed air is being studied increasingly as a medium for storing electric energy. While it is not as efficient as many other storage systems, it has the advantage of providing storage over longer terms. It is also expected to be utilized at a fraction of the cost of other systems, possibly as low as 10%. [New Zealand Herald]

Monday, May 18:

  • Giving local communities powers to stop onshore wind farms is one of the first things on the agenda of the new UK energy secretary, Amber Rudd. Personally, she enjoys the turbines, but her position is that they cannot be built on scale in places where people do not want them, she told The Sunday Times. [SeeNews Renewables]
  • A deal has been reached to reduce Australia’s renewable energy target to 33,000 GWh after the government agreed to drop regular reviews of the scheme. The government and Labor reached an agreement during talks in Melbourne on Monday morning, ending more than 12 months of political deadlock. [The Age]

Tuesday, May 19:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from installations covered by the EU emissions trading scheme fell by about 4.5% last year, in part, due to the impact of renewables, according to the European Wind Energy Association. It is of interest that power sector emissions fell substantially more than industrial emissions. [reNews]
  • A house in the hills above Stuttgart can theoretically generate enough energy to power itself and an electric car, with enough left over to feed back to into Germany’s national grid. The B10 house is designed to generate 200% energy, a target it hopes to hit within the next year. Almost the entire house is recyclable. [Wired.co.uk]
  • SaskPower’s 140-MW Boundary Dam coal plant has an operating carbon capture and storage system (CSS), which captures 90% of carbon dioxide it produces. It sells most of it to a nearby oilfield for “enhanced oil recovery” and buries the rest. CSS reduces power output by 17% to 18%. [The Australian Financial Review]
  • Unilever has saved 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions since 2008 in its manufacturing network. Energy consumption has been reduced by 20%, the same energy used to run 40 factories or the carbon of over 800,000 acres of forest per year. This has also resulted in significant cost savings of €244 million. [New Food]

Wednesday, May 20 :

  • The world’s first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which corresponds to three days use of electricity in a standard Norwegian household. The ferry is powered by lithium-ion batteries charged by hydropower. [The Maritime Executive]

Battery-powered ferry in Norway.

  • German Chancellor Merkel and French President Hollande jointly yesterday pledged to do their utmost to ensure an ambitious UN deal to combat climate change is reached this year. The EU’s two biggest economies also urged other countries to do their part in helping achieve a global push to cut emissions. [The Daily Star]
  • In Alaska, faced with climate change and high electricity costs, the Kodiak Electric Association set a goal of producing 95% of the community’s electrical needs with renewable energy by 2020. They actually arrived there well ahead of time, and are now 99.7% renewably powered by wind and hydro. [Business Spectator]
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