Friday, September 30, 2016

How to Save the World With Used Car Batteries

Probably the biggest nut left to crack in figuring out our transition to a renewable energy economy is the problem of energy storage: how do we store energy for use when the sun isn't shining and the wind's not blowing?

We've seen Elon Musk tackle this challenge head on last year with his Powerwall and Powerpack home batteries. But Joe Romm at ThinkProgress pointed out last May that an even cheaper solution lies with used batteries from Electric Vehicles (EVs) like the Tesla, the Chevy Bolt and the Nissan Leaf. When the batteries of those cars degrade to the point that they no longer provide sufficient range for an electric vehicle, they still retain 80% of their storage capacity and are well suited for home or commercial energy storage.

A year ago, Toyota turned on its off-grid 85-kilowatt-hour (kWh) energy storage system built with 208 repurposed Toyota Camry Hybrid nickel-metal hydride battery packs. The batteries work with a new 40-kilowatt photovoltaic solar array system to “provide all-day, renewable power at the remote facility for the first time in its history.”

 So the growth of the EV market automatically makes it cheaper and easier to store renewable energy at home as well. A two-fer.

Link: Why Used Electric Car Batteries Could Be Crucial To A Clean Energy Future

Sunday, September 4, 2016

China and U.S. Clinch New Climate Deal

I've always thought that Obama was just kind of scrambling to do something about climate change, but maybe he's been working on a long term strategy all along. John H. Cushman Jr. at Inside Climate News has a report on how the new China-U.S. agreement is intended to help push along ratification of the Paris climate accords, and what the implications are if it is ratified.

According to the United Nations, the pact's early entry into force would have a "catalytic effect, spurring strong and decisive action" well before 2020. In particular, parties to the agreement would be bound by rules such as those governing "transparency," the ability of nations to monitor each other's compliance. A series of timetables would also kick in further tightening the Paris pledges.
Link:  U.S. and China Ratify Paris Agreement, Upping Pressure on Other Nations

Thursday, September 1, 2016

China Takes the Lead. Go China!

Marlene Cimmons at Think Progress runs down the numbers on how China has taken the lead in moving to a clean energy economy. It's impressive. I remember watching a Fox News special on global warming which argued that the U.S. couldn't do anything about global warming because our efforts would be useless unless the Chinese joined in. So now that China has clearly joined in, what's going to be the excuse now?

“Already, China hosts the largest installed capacities for most types of renewable energy technology,” said Dolf Gielen, director of the International Renewable Energy Association’s (IRENA) Innovation Technology Centre. “China’s progress in this area is just one example of the ongoing, dramatic shift occurring in the global energy system.”

Link:  China Is Emerging As A Global Clean Energy Leader