Sunday, December 18, 2016

Scotland Advancing in World Renewable Energy Markets

The transition to renewable energy is going to drive the world economy for decades to come. If Trump was halfway serious about revitalizing American manufacturing, he'd be going all in on this. But as it is, countries like Germany and China, and now even Scotland, are pulling ahead of us.

The Aberdeen (Scotland) Evening Express has the story.

“The stretching targets set in Scotland have meant our home-grown green energy industry has developed skills which are in demand on every inhabited continent, bringing investment and income to Scotland from across the world. Countries like Japan, Canada and Chile have seen the lead we’ve built up in wave and tidal energy and now employ Scottish organisations to advise them on developing their own marine energy resources."

Link: Scotland’s ‘renewable energy expertise’ in demand worldwide, says new research

Wave Energy Project in Ghana

Bianca Britton at CNN.com has the story on a new wave energy project off the coast of Ghana.

The thing I like about wave energy, speaking as a Californian, is that it is much less intermittent than solar or wind, and thus can provide much more reliable, 24-hour energy.

The advantages of wave power, the company argues, is that their machines do not emit pollution, waves are more predictable than other renewable sources and despite the original set up being costly, the running and maintenance costs are low.

Link: Could waves become the next big renewable energy source?

California Net Metering Cap Kicks In

Everyone is trying to minimize this, but the net metering cap is just another attempt by Pacific Gas & Electric to slow down the pace of the solar transition. Not good.

In January, the California Public Utilities Commission approved new net metering rules to keep retail rate remuneration for energy exported to the grid, but added the connection fee and a non-bypassable monthly charge ranging from $0.02/kWh to 0.03/kWh, in addition to time-of-use rates. Those rates are up for review in 2019.

Link: PG&E hits California net metering cap

Friday, December 16, 2016

Priming the Pump of Renewable Energy Financing

My own opinionse on how to finance the renewable energy transition tend towards things like nationalizing the electrical utilities and then using the utility income to finance the change.

But for people hung up on market mechanisms, here is a story from Jan Ellen Spiegel at InsideClimate News about Connecticut's Green Bank and its mission to secure private financing for the transition.

"Your goal is to get people into the real market where they can operate without government support or subsidy," said Esty, who is no longer commissioner. He believes industry, not government, should pick technologies. "The key role of government was to de-risk the flow of funds into clean energy."

Link: Does Connecticut's Green Bank Hold the Secret to the Future of Clean Energy?

Breakthrough Energy Ventures

I have some issues with Bill Gate's Breakthrough Energy Ventures fund. Gates seems to believe that we need a lot more research before we can make the transition to renewable energy. And I'm sure he's right that there are some mind-blowing technical breakthroughs ahead of us as we become a renewable energy society.

But we have sufficient technology in hand to push for implementation on a massive scale right now. And we need megawatts of renewable energy now, not twenty years in the future.

Tracy Staedter at Seeker has the report on what Gates and his supporters are doing.

Although the size of the fund is impressive, its duration is also a surprise. Whereas most investors want to see their startup companies turning a profit within a few years, those under Breakthrough Energy Ventures' wing will have 20 years to take the research and development time often necessary to push energy innovation to new levels.

Link: Bill Gates and Wealthy Allies Have Launched a $1B Clean Energy Fund

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Growth in Solar Energy Strong for 2016 3rd Quarter

A lot of solar energy projects are starting to come online. Danielle Ola at PVTech has the story.

Whilst the third quarter may have broken records, the momentum is set to continue with even better figures in store for Q4. GTM Research anticipates that 4.8GW of utility PV projects will come online in the last quarter of the year; even more than was installed across the entire segment in all of 2015.

Link: US solar sees record-breaking Q3 2016, with Q4 to do even better

Solar Hydrogen in Gas Pipelines

A new project at the University of California, Irvine is looking at using our existing gas pipeline infrastructure to store and deploy hydrogen gas generated with electricity from renewable energy sources. Avery Thompson at Popular Mechanics has the report.
The project involves a technique called electrolysis, which uses electricity (in this case, electricity generated by the excess wind or solar power) to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen. ... The hydrogen can be compressed and injected into existing natural gas pipelines, where it is burned to generate electricity or heat. In this way, hydrogen acts as an efficient means of storing excess electricity generated by renewable sources.
Link: How Simple Hydrogen Could Solve Renewable Energy's Biggest Problem