Solar

POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 12, 2016

A tiny turbine the size of a desk to power cities; The U.S. leading the world in solar energy deployment; Wind turbine construction reached new high


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • GE Global Research is developing a tiny turbine about the size of an average desk that is powered by CO2 so hot and pressurized that it forms what is called a “supercritical fluid.” This supercritical fluid is a state where the heat and pressure is so extreme that the distinctions between liquid and gas no longer exist. The small turbine is designed to harnesses the power of the supercritical fluid and researchers are testing to determine if this fluid would make the turbines as much as 50 percent efficient at turning heat to electricity.
  • Approximately 50 GW of solar panels were installed in 2015, a 25 percent over 2014. Three countries were responsible for more than half of this growth with China (15.3 GW), Japan (11 GW) and the U.S. (7.3 GW) leading the world in the growth of solar energy deployment.
  • Construction of wind turbines is at the highest level seen in the past three year according to the AWEA. In 2015, there was more than 8,500 MW of wind power capacity built, nearly double that of 2014. Of this, 3,600 MW (or 42 percent) was in Texas.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 11, 2016

ERCOT sets new wind generation record; Scientists develop solar cell that converts energy from water


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • ERCOT set a new wind generation system record of 48.28 percent of its 27,245 MW load on March 23. This broke the record set on February 18 of 45.14 percent wind penetration. ERCOT’s peak use of wind capacity continues to be the 14,023 MW used on February 18.
  • Scientists in China have developed a solar cell that uses energy from raindrops. The water sticks to the grapheme layer on the solar cell where the differences in energy between the graphene’s electrons and the water’s ions produce electricity. More work is still needed on the technology as it currently only converts about 6.5 percent of the energy it receives.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 7, 2016

Solar is poised for a record year; Venezuela shuts down to conserve electricity


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • The EIA reports that in 2016 we will see 9.5 GW of utility-scale solar installed, 8 GW of natural gas added and 6.8 GW of wind. These numbers indicate that solar is poised for a record year. “If actual additions ultimately reflect these plans, 2016 will be the first year in which utility-scale solar additions exceed additions from any other single energy source,” says EIA.
  • In an effort to conserve electricity during a prolonged drought, Venezuela has designated every Friday in April and May as a non-working holiday. This news comes following last month’s closure of the country during the Easter holiday. Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro stated that by granting workers those additional days off, there were almost 22 centimeters of water saved (about nine inches) at the Guri Dam over the Easter holiday. The Guri Dam supplies as much as 75 percent of the electricity used in the country’s capital of Caracas.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 6, 2016

Solar to grow by 521 percent in Mexico; World’s largest lithium NMC oxide battery system deployed in South Korea


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • During Mexico’s first-ever power auction, 11 PV projects were awarded contracts worth four million MWhs per year (translating to 1,860 MWs of capacity). Out of a total 5.38 million MWhs of energy awarded at the auction, PV won 74 percent with wind winning the other 26 percent. Solar in Mexico is now set to grow by 521 percent during this year.
  • The world’s largest lithium-nickel-manganese-cobalt (NMC) oxide battery system has been deployed in South Korea due to a growing demand for grid-scale storage in the country. The 24 MW, 9 MWh system was installed in January of this year. The South Korean energy storage market has been growing of a rate of approximately 200 percent annually for the past three years.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Apr. 4, 2016

The Dallas Fed takes a look at the state's job growth; Electricity broken down by the numbers


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • The Dallas Fed forecasts that Texas’s job growth will either remain flat or grow by 1.5 percent (an additional 179,000 jobs) in 2016. These numbers are according to a report released on Friday which takes into consideration the effect that oil prices have on the Texas economy. Despite lowered crude prices, Texas did not fall into a recession in 2015 because of the many leading industries that make up the state’s economy. “Due to diversification of the state’s economy over the past three decades, the energy industry now accounts for approximately 2 percent of employment and 9 percent of gross domestic product, a smaller share of activity than in the 1980s,” said Robert Kaplan, president and CEO of the Dallas Fed.
  • The EIA reports that in 2015, almost 33 percent of U.S. electricity was powered by natural gas, 33 percent was fueled by coal, 20 percent was generated by nuclear energy and 13 percent was produced by renewable energy. The remaining one percent was created by petroleum. Of the renewable energy created in 2015, six percent came from hydropower, wind power provided almost five percent, biomass accounted for about two percent, geothermal powered generated less than one percent and solar power produced nearly one percent.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Mar. 30, 2016

NREL study shows rooftop solar PV potential at 1,118 GW; DOE to participate in the development of 700-mile Clean Line transmission project; Mexico holds first-ever power action


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • A new NREL study puts U.S. rooftop solar PV potential at 1,118 GW of capacity and 1,432 TWh of annual energy generation, equivalent to 39 percent of 2013 U.S. electricity sales. These figures are almost double than the analysis reported in 2008 with the difference attributed to increases in PV module power density, improved estimation of building suitability, higher estimates of the total number of buildings and improvements in PV performance simulation tools.
  • The DOE will participate in the development of the 700-mile, 4,000 MW Clean Line transmission project. The DOE’s involvement attempts to clear the delays in route development, giving the line a defined path so that negotiations can begin with landowners. “The federal government will only exercise eminent domain as a last resort — after the project has met significant milestones to prove its viability — and the process will provide every opportunity for the land owner to maximize the value of their land in a transparent and fair manner,” the DOE said in a statement. Construction on the transmission line could begin as early as 2017 with the completed project delivering enough power for more than 1 million homes.
  • Mexico had the country’s first-ever power action and awarded 1,720 MWs of wind and solar to seven companies that won 15-year contracts to rights to provide power beginning in 2018. These contracts are expected to generate more than $2.1 billion in investment by 2018 according to Mexico’s deputy electricity minister. The Mexican government has a goal of obtaining 35 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2024.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Mar. 29, 2016

UTSA professor awarded grant to study cybersecurity for the electrical grid; Solar in Japan set to peak in 2016


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • An assistant professor at The University of Texas at San Antonio, Ahmad Taha, has been awarded a $30,000 grant to study the cybersecurity of the U.S. electrical grid. His work will focus on smart grids and the Internet-enabled devices that generate and monitor electric power in the U.S. “A smart grid is the future version of the electrical grid that enables more renewable energy sources (to be connected), and allows consumers to control their demand. But it’s also for power generators to know exactly how much power they should be creating. It’s more dynamic and real-time,” said Taha.
  • Aided by governmental incentives, new installations of rooftop solar in Japan are set to peak at 14 GWs in 2016. The government seeks to have seven percent of the country’s electricity generated from photovoltaics by 2030, which will require 64 GWs of capacity according to 2015 figures. However, these incentives will soon expire which may result in a reduction of new installations.
POV: Power Breakfast

Power Breakfast for Mar. 28, 2016

China halts coal-fired power plant construction; Solar policy debates across the country


POV: Power Breakfast

A nearly daily update of energy-related news:

  • China will stop the construction of coal-fired power plants in 15 regions in an attempt to control surplus capacity. The country will also stop approving new projects until 2018. Initial estimates gather that up to 250 power projects with a total of 170 GWs could be involved.
  • Of the country’s 50 states, 46 had solar policy debates in the last year (the four that did not were Alaska, North Dakota, Wyoming and Alabama). The North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center released a report that discusses how the various states’ regulators, utilities and solar providers are attempting to find the best way to move forward on solar. The report breaks down the developments into five categories: net metering, fixed charges, the value of solar, community solar and solar ownership.