Renewables

POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for May 18, 2016

FERC update shows all new capacity in Q1 2016 consisted of renewable energy; DOE expands Solar Ready Vets job program


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • According to a Q1 infrastructure update from FERC, almost all new capacity added in 2016 consisted of renewable energy with 1,291 MW added. There was 18 MW of new gas capacity in 2016 and no new nuclear or coal capacity added. Of the 1,291 MW added, almost 93 percent consisted of wind and solar energy at 700 MW and 500 MW (respectively).
  • The Department of Energy has added five military bases (including Joint Base San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas) to their Solar Ready Vets job program. This program helps to prepare service members for careers in the solar industry upon completion of active duty. Additionally, in another move to help meet the solar industry’s demand for a skilled workforce, the DOE has awarded $10 million through its Solar Training and Education for Professionals program. The DOE’s Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall says, “At DOE, we are committed to training the solar workforce of the future through our partnership with the Department of Defense, the solar industry, and community colleges around the country.”
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for May 17, 2016

Preparing for a threat to the nation's power grid; DOE summit to preserve the country's nuclear reactors; Report shows a dramatic shift in Texas' energy mix


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • To counter the threat of attacks to the nation’s power grid, the power industry and U.S. government are considering implementing intentional blackouts across the country. Other measures in consideration include stockpiling rare transmission equipment, utilizing the latest cyberdefenses and coordinating responses between sectors. Marcus Sachs, NERC’s senior vice president and chief security officer, says “Industry continues to take the prospect of a cyber or physical attack on the bulk power system seriously.”
  • The DOE is sponsoring a summit on May 19 aimed at preserving the country’s nuclear reactors. Key industry representatives and legislators will meet to discuss the issues facing at-risk nuclear power plants and the potential consequences that could result from early plant retirements. NEI Senior Director of Business Policy, Matt Crozat, says, “Preserving existing nuclear power plants is imperative to any credible plan to reduce carbon emissions and necessary to preserve jobs in their host communities.”
  • According to a report by the Brattle Group, Texans could soon utilize natural gas, wind and solar energy for their power and shift away from power sourced from coal. The study provides an analysis of what the state’s energy mix could be if natural gas prices remain relatively low and the cost of solar energy continues to decline. In this scenario, the 2035 ERCOT grid would consist of 65 percent natural gas (up from 48 percent 2015), 12 percent wind energy (12 percent in 2015), 9 percent nuclear energy (down from 11 percent in 2015), 7 percent solar energy (~1 percent in 2015) and 6 percent coal (down from 28 percent in 2015). “I think we can learn some things from a study like this,” said Michael Nasi, general counsel for the group Balanced Energy For Texas, which includes several coal interests. “Please believe in the market because this study seems to tell you that you should not fear the market.”
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for May 16, 2016

Tesla's Powerwall coming to market sooner than anticipated; Portugal operates on 100 percent renewable energy; World's first floating offshore wind farm coming in 2017


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • Tesla’s latest version of the Powerwall will be coming to market sooner than anticipated. The home energy storage unit is said to have a simplification to the handling and wiring requirements for installers  in addition to being compatible with inverters from SMA, the global residential PV inverter manufacturer.
  • For four days in a row last week, Portugal operated on 100 percent renewable energy. The country had seen 50.4 percent of its electricity from renewables in 2015 and had had 63 percent sourced from renewables in 2014. Other parts of Europe are also setting power records: Germany ran on 99.3 percent of wind and solar energy on May 16 at 2 p.m. local time; Denmark produced 140 percent of its electricity from wind power in 2015; and the UK set a record by not burning coal for the first time in 100+ years.
  • Statoil ASA, a Norwegian energy company, is set to begin building the world’s first floating offshore wind farm off the east coast of Scotland. The project, named the Hywind project, will use five 6-megawatt turbines which will float on steel tubes attached to the seabed. The turbines are scheduled to be installed in 2017.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for May 11, 2016

India's electricity consumption to increase by 4x; Wyoming considering a tax increase on wind-generated electricity; The advanced energy industry's workforce is expected to grow by 7 percent


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • By 2030, India’s electricity consumption is expected to increase by four times the current amount (from 1.1 trillion units to 4 trillion units).  Part of this demand is expected to come from the 230 million people who will have access to electricity for the first time. Coal and Power Minister, Piyush Goyal, said “Indian electricity sector, to my mind, is possibly the biggest business opportunity the world has to offer today.”
  • The legislature in Wyoming is considering increasing the state tax on wind-generated electricity. The current tax of $1 per MWh brought in $3.8 million in revenue. Any additional revenue will be allocated to covering the state’s budget shortfall.
  • A report released by the Texas Advanced Energy Business Alliance shows that the state’s advanced energy industry employs approximately 143,000 workers. Employers in this sector are expected to increase their workforce by 7 percent. Advanced energy represents a $16 billion industry in Texas.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for May 10, 2016

Renewables covered 95 percent of Germany's electricity consumption; Hawaii budgets to study alternative utility and regulatory models


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • On Sunday, May 8, renewable energy covered 95 percent of Germany’s electricity consumption at 11 a.m. (local time). This was made possible due to strong winds, abundant solar as well the addition of biomass and hydropower to the energy mix. At 11 a.m., Germany’s energy consumption was 57.8 GW while the total capacity of solar PV installations reached 26.11 GW, the capacity of wind power plants reached 20.83 GW, biomass reached 5.14 GW and hydropower generation reached 2.75 GW.
  • Hawaii is budgeting $1.2 million to study alternative utility and regulatory models, including cooperative, municipal and independent distribution system operators.  The study will focus on how to best use existing resources and will consider alternatives to the investor-owned utility business model. If this study is approved by the state’s governor, it will mark the second time the state seeks to find the viability of an alternative utility business model.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for May 3, 2016

ERCOT anticipates adequate generation for this summer and fall; DOE grants $25 million for solar grid integration; Scotland sees 79 percent of homes powered by wind energy in April


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • Electricity reserves for this summer and fall should be sufficient according to ERCOT’s latest seasonal and 10-year outlooks. “We expect to have enough generation available to serve consumer needs this summer, based on the current forecast,” said Director of System Planning Warren Lasher. “However, hotter-than-normal weather combined with low-wind conditions or high generation outage rates could cause operating reserves to drop below target levels, making it necessary to take additional actions to maintain grid reliability.”
  • To help accelerate the integration of solar energy into the grid, the DOE is making $25 million of funding available to the solar industry as part of its Enabling Extreme Real-Time Grid Integration of Solar Energy (ENERGISE) initiative. ENERGISE will primarily focus on developing software and hardware platforms for utility distribution system planning and operations. “This funding will help that mission by supporting industry partners working to integrate, store, and deploy solar energy throughout our electric grid,” said Lynn Orr, Energy Department Under Secretary for Science and Energy.
  • In Scotland, wind energy provided 699,684 MWh of electricity to the National Grid during April, enough electricity to power 79 percent of Scottish households. Additionally, homes in Scotland with solar panels were able to power 70 percent or more of their electrical or hot water needs from solar energy.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 29, 2016

Using trains to store energy; Weather patterns affect wind generation; A battery that can last for 100,000 charges


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • A start-up company in California is looking to 19th century technology for tomorrow’s energy storage. The company, Advanced Rail Energy Storage (ARES), absorbs excess energy and uses it to power electric trains pulling giant slabs of concrete up a hill converting kinetic electricity to potential energy. When the energy is needed, the same train carries the concrete back down the hill unlocking the energy. ARES claims this process is 86 percent efficient.
  • In 2015, U.S. wind generation grew by 5.1 percent, the smallest annual growth since 1999. The EIA attributes this to changing weather patterns across the U.S which saw lowered wind speeds in the west and stronger winds in the central part of the country.
  • A research team at UC-Irvine has created a type of energy storage that can last for more than 100,000 charges. Although this battery is still in the early research stage, scientists say that if this technology moves ahead, it could have a significant impact on the life-cycle and supply chain issues for a number of every day technology like smart phones and electric vehicles.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 27, 2016

Venezuela implements a two-day work week to save power; City in Vermont is the first U.S. city to run on 100 percent renewable electricity


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • In the country’s latest attempt to stave off its power crisis, Venezuela’s president announced that all public sector workers will work a two-day work week for at least two weeks. The country has already implemented rolling blackouts and given government workers every Friday off to save power, but with water levels at the nation’s largest dam which provides 66 percent of the country’s power at its minimum operating level, additional measures are being taken.
  • Burlington, Vermont, became the first U.S. city to run on 100 percent renewable electricity. The electricity is acquired by biomass, hydroelectric, solar and wind energy with hydroelectric energy as its largest source of renewable power. The city has a population of 42,000.