Solar

POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for May 19, 2016

New photovoltaics world record set in Australia; EIA says Clean Power Plan to affect power sector CO2 emissions


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • Scientists at the University of New South Wales set a new world record for sunlight-to-electricity conversion for PV cells at a 34.5 percent efficiency rate. NREL confirmed that this result is almost 44 percent better than the previous record set at 24 percent efficiency. Dr. Mark Keevers, senior research fellow, says “This encouraging result shows that there are still advances to come in photovoltaics research to make solar cells even more efficient. Extracting more energy from every beam of sunlight is critical to reducing the cost of electricity generated by solar cells as it lowers the investment needed, and delivering payback faster.”
  • The EIA reports that emissions from the power sector would be 25 percent higher in 2030 if the Clean Power Plan is not implemented. The EIA says, “Currently, the power sector accounts for 36% of total energy-related CO2 emissions, but its share falls to 31% by 2030 in the reference case when power sector emissions fall below those of the transportation sector.” Additionally, the EIA says that the CPP’s effect on electricity prices may rise about 3 percent.
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 9, 2016

Caterpillar enters storage and microgrid markets; Panasonic doubles investment into Tesla's Gigafactory


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • Caterpillar, better known as a manufacturer of bulldozers and generators, has entered the storage and microgrid markets after launching an integrated microgrid solution that combines solar and energy storage with the company’s power generation equipment. The company has ties with a solar company that will manufacture solar panels which will then be added to Caterpillar microgrid equipment.
  • The Nevada Governor’s Office of Economic Development’s Q1 2016 Quarterly Activity Report shows that in Q1 2016, Panasonic doubled its investment in Tesla’s Gigafactory. This is a strong indicator that the factory is preparing to manufacture its first battery cells – Panasonic’s main role in the factory. The Gigafactory was built to manufacture lithium ion batteries for electric vehicles.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for May 6, 2016

Tesla delivers 25 MWh of energy storage in Q1; AWEA reports increased wind production; China to build global power grid


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • In a letter delivered to its shareholders, Tesla stated that it delivered 25 MWh of energy storage during Q1. Additionally, the company reported that it has delivered more than 2,500 Powerwall residential storage units and almost 100 Powerpack devices for commercial use. To meet the growing demand for their energy storage devices, the company has moved its Powerwall production to the $5 billion Gigafactory located in Nevada.
  • According to the latest report from AWEA, developers produced 520 MW of new electricity generating capacity from January through March of 2016, the highest level seen in four years. This increased production is attributed to the installation of new wind turbines, a reduction in costs as well as more efficient electricity delivery systems.  Texas led the country in total installed capacity and new construction.
  • China seeks to build a $50+ trillion power grid to power the world by 2050. Officially named the “Global Energy Interconnection” (GEI), the GEI would connect proposed wind and solar farms located across the globe into a global power grid.

Power Breakfast for May 5, 2016

U.S. solar reached major milestone; Massachusetts offshore wind bill in review; China to build 20 floating nuclear power stations


A nearly daily update of energy related news:

  • This week, the U.S. hit a solar milestone and celebrated installing 1 million solar installations across the country. While it took 40 years to reach this number, it is expected to only take two years to install the next 1 million. Additionally, the current total solar capacity of 27 GW is expected to triple in the next four years.
  • In Massachusetts, legislators are reviewing an offshore wind bill that would place a mandate on the state to purchase 2,000 MW of offshore wind over the next 10 years. If passed, the law could produce a $10 billion regional investment in offshore wind. Details indicating how much power the state’s utilities would have to buy have not yet been disclosed.
  • China will build up to 20 nuclear power stations that will float in the South China. These stations will provide power to desalinization plants and offshore projects like oilfield exploration rigs.
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.