Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 27,391
Number of posts: 27,391
Press reports of Texas completing new transmission lines for wind describe an energy boom with a difference — this is carbon-free wind energy. The grid operator in Texas, ERCOT, says agreements are already done for 7,500 MW of new wind power, most of which will be using the new transmission lines by 2016. That will put installed Texas wind around 20,000 MW. There are 15 U.S. states with 1,000 MW or more, but Texas wind is already twice as big as the next largest wind states, California and Iowa.
For size comparison, ERCOT’s winter demand for electricity can hit 57,000 MW, and summer demand peaks upwards of 68,000 MW. The energy from wind varies with the weather and time of day, as does the electric demand. Line these up, and see how much has wind actually contributed: on Christmas Day, 2013, wind supplied 26 percent of ERCOT’s electricity use. On January 29, 2013, Texas wind power produced 32 percent of total electricity needed.
How has this happened?
This is a great story of collective action, mandated by the Texas state legislature. It all started with the Texas RPS law, signed by Governor Bush. Once Texans found wind could be profitable, the legislature raised the RPS and set out this transmission planning-and-building requirement known as CREZ. Eight years in the making, from designing the transmission to completion.
During these eight years, many advocacy efforts tried to describe how to duplicate this in other regions. Texas does all its electricity policy and planning in one city, Austin. There isn’t any other state involved, and the electricity sector is largely exempt from Federal energy market rules. These unique circumstances have not been available to another transmission-for-wind effort.
Posted by jpak | Fri Feb 28, 2014, 12:58 PM (0 replies)
AUGUSTA, Maine — New revelations about how Gov. Paul LePage’s administration worked behind the scenes to stymie Statoil’s offshore energy project are renewing worries about the state’s image in the eyes of the international business community.
Prior to pushing legislation in June that essentially put the Norwegian company’s project on hold while the University of Maine could prepare a competing proposal, the LePage administration initially attempted “a much more aggressive effort to explicitly void” the state’s agreement with Statoil, according to a report published Sunday by the Associated Press, which obtained emails and documents regarding Statoil’s project in Maine through a Freedom of Access Act request.
If true, the revelations further hurt Maine’s image in the eyes of the international business community, according to Annette Bossler, an international business consultant based in Bremen.
“That Associated Press article is in every major U.S. national newspaper and it’s only a matter of days until it will get picked up by the international media,” Bossler told the Bangor Daily News on Monday. “It does not do much to improve Maine’s image, neither in the offshore wind energy industry or in general, because let’s face it — Statoil is not just in wind, their main business is oil and gas.”
Posted by jpak | Mon Sep 23, 2013, 06:41 PM (0 replies)
2012 was a year or wild, wacky and in some instances downright catastrophic weather. Most regions experienced conditions not befitting the seasons or the kinds of extremes few were prepared for, while others had their lives torn apart by natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy.
And while there’s little to nothing that can be done about what Mother Nature has in store for any of us, the American Meteorological Society has stated that at least some of last year’s extreme weather was entirely our own fault.
The AMS suggests that climate change directly resulting from the activities of the human population may have contributed to the global events of last year. From record rainfall across parts of Europe to the superstorms that wiped whole villages off the map, they warn that to some extent we have only ourselves to blame.
Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration looked into a series of events from last year in order to assess which may have been triggered or at least contributed to by manmade climate change. They concluded that although things like solar radiation the temperatures of the world’s oceans influence different events in different ways, human beings nonetheless played a part in at least 50% of the extreme weather events of 2012.
Posted by jpak | Mon Sep 9, 2013, 08:02 AM (0 replies)
The answer is technology improvement. In Mehta's latest report, he forecasted that top Chinese manufacturers will be making solar modules for 36 cents per watt by 2017. But with very little room for polysilicon prices to keep falling, refinements to technology -- increasing conversion efficiency, reducing yield loss and automating production lines -- become absolutely critical, as the following chart indicates.
From 2013 to 2014, the cost reductions from Chinese companies will only be about a penny per watt. But from 2014 to 2017, companies may shave off another 10 cents.
"This is due to a very large drop in labor costs," said Mehta. "We need a significant increase in the degree of automation employed by Chinese companies to mitigate labor inflation there."
Because labor costs have been relatively low in China, manufacturing processes there have been much more dependent on people. But labor costs have increased by roughly 10 percent annually since 2009, and manufacturers will eventually have to react by automating their production lines -- in line with with Korean, Taiwanese, Japanese, European and American producers. GTM Research projects a 25 percent decline in labor costs from 2012 to 2017 due to automation.
If labor costs are not a factor - why can't US cell & module manufacturers compete with China?
Because our so-called "free market" republicans do not support our solar industry like the Chinese communists do theirs.
...and they are eating our lunch.
We coulda been a contenda....
Posted by jpak | Sun Aug 25, 2013, 04:09 PM (3 replies)
Innovative Solar Systems, LLC has quickly become the number two solar developer in North Carolina within their first two years in business. The company started out developing solar farm projects in the 1 to 2 megawatt size and has now grown to developing larger projects like the 20MW, 50MW and 100MW projects slated to be shovel ready by sometime in 2014.
Innovative Solar Systems plans a total of 25 utility scale solar farms to be fully developed and ready for construction in 2014. Many of these projects are currently under going engineering review by Duke Energy Progress and will be shovel ready by January 2014. Of those twenty five projects, approximately twenty (20) will be 2.5MW size projects on 15 acre land tracts along with the larger projects ranging from 20MW to 100MW which will be on land tracts that range in size from 100 acres to 600 acres.
Last year in 2012 we developed and received approvals on eleven (11) large solar farm projects in various counties throughout the state. Most of those projects will be on line and commissioned by January 2014, said Green of ISS, so we're getting to be a major player in solar within North Carolina. The company is also in early stages of developing large scale solar projects in other states and abroad.
The solar farms being developed in North Carolina by ISS will provide power for approximately 200,000 homes all over and across the state. North Carolina remains a developer friendly state for solar and provides for 35% NC Tax Credits, 30% Federal Credits and accelerated system depreciation.
Posted by jpak | Tue Aug 20, 2013, 09:29 PM (3 replies)
Despite foot-dragging by the state’s leadership on solar policies, residential solar installation prices recently hit $3.90 per watt in Texas, lower than anywhere else in the nation. It’s part of a nationwide plunge in installation prices for the smaller systems — generally 10 kilowatts or less — used for individual homes. According to a new report out of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, that national price fell from around $12 per watt in 1998 to $5.30 per watt in 2012.
Large utility-scale solar systems saw a similar plunge in installation price, hitting $4.60 per watt in 2012. But it’s the small, distributed residential systems that could fundamentally remake the electricity market in America, and have been a large part of the growing pro-solar coalitions between environmentalists and the Tea Party.
Granted, residential solar is still a relatively small slice of national capacity, but it’s also been the least sensitive to seasonality and market volatility.
And according to the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory report, of all the states with measurable observations of 15 or more, Texas clocked in with the lowest median price of $3.90 per watt.
CREDIT: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory & US Dept. of Energy
Garrett Gordy, the owner of Texas Solar Outfitters in Houston, told the Houston Chronicle that he’s sold 10-kilowatt systems for as low as $3.60 per watt. At that price, after accounting for various tax incentives, such a system would pay for itself within 12 years.
Posted by jpak | Tue Aug 20, 2013, 09:23 PM (4 replies)
Three major solar manufacturers are producing panels at full speed and contemplating plans to expand capacity to meet surging demand in Asia.
Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL), the third-largest panel producer, increased its forecast for panel shipments this year to as much as 2.4 gigawatts from an earlier range of 2 gigawatts to 2.1 gigawatts, according to a statement yesterday. That matches the Changzhou, China-based company’s estimated annual production, and it may boost capacity next year.
SunPower Corp. (SPWR) and JinkoSolar Holding Co. (JKS) said they’re also running their factories at maximum and mulling ways to boost output. The industry has been battered by excess production that drove panel prices down 61 percent since the start of 2011. Rising demand in Asia is soaking up the surplus and will prompt the biggest producers to expand factories, said Angelo Zino, an analyst at Standard & Poor’s in New York.
“I think it’s safe to say that we’ll see a number of tier one manufacturers add capacity, probably in 2014,” Zino said in an interview yesterday.
Posted by jpak | Tue Aug 20, 2013, 09:17 PM (0 replies)
Today’s graph is sourced from the recent Goldman Sachs analysis of the thermal coal industry, and its conclusion that the window for investment is closing rapidly – thanks to reduced demand, and because of the rise of renewables and other cleaner energy sources.
Goldman Sachs says there are three big themes governing the outlook for thermal coal; the first is environmental regulation, be it air quality or greenhouse gas emissions (which lead to more expensive coal); the second is energy efficiency (which leads to less consumption of coal), and the third i
s the growth in renewables.
To illustrate the point about how growing amounts of renewables impact coal generation, the Goldman Sachs analysts looked at the recent experience of Spain.
Goldman Sachs says Spain is a good example of how increases in renewable energy production has to be offset by a lower average load among fossil fuel plants. “Rising generation from solar plants in particular (whose output often coincides with the time of peak power demand) can result in lower peak power tariffs, undermining the profitability of many conventional power plants,” it says.
Posted by jpak | Mon Aug 19, 2013, 05:25 PM (5 replies)
Solar PV scored an unprecedented amount of electricity output, increasing its contribution to Italy's energy mix to 7.3% of the total electricity demand in the first seven months of the year.
In July alone, Italy produced a record 2,957 GWh of PV energy, a 22.1% boost over July 2012.
According to a recently published report by TERNA, Italy's electricity grid operator, solar PV systems in Italy in the period generated 13,810 GWh of electricity, an almost 20% increase compared to the same period last year.
In July alone, Italy produced a record 2,957 GWh of energy from photovoltaics, the highest monthly solar PV output in the country ever. In comparison, in July 2012, solar photovoltaics provided 2,421 GWh of electricity in Italy, 22.1% less than this year.
Posted by jpak | Mon Aug 19, 2013, 05:18 PM (1 replies)
I live in Poland, which (for the geographically indifferent) is right next to Germany. Actually, the city where I live, Wrocław, was once part of Germany, and it’s now just a couple hours to the German border from here. From living in this city for 5 years, I can tell you one thing with great emphasis: this is one super-grey area of the world. Actually, the weather at the moment reminds me of winter weather in Florida (my home state). I was looking at a lot of solar irradiation maps and stats just yesterday, and I happened to notice that Florida gets about twice as much average sunshine per day as Wrocław — I’m sure it’s the same across Germany. So, really, I am stunned when I think about how much solar power the country is producing relative to other countries (especially relative to the humungous and sunny USA).
It was just reported the other day that Germany has broken its monthly solar power generation record yet again. In July, the super-grey country rose above 5.1 TWh of electricity from solar panel systems. That’s according to the latest data from the EEX Transparency Platform.
That actually beats the 5 TWh of electricity from wind turbines that the country logged in January (it’s also a wind power leader, in case you weren’t aware).
More emphatically, that crushes the 0.764 TWh of electricity solar PV and solar thermal systems produced in the US in May 2013 (the latest month for which we have data) as well as the 0.522 TWh produced in the US in July 2012.
But we have been told that solar is a "failure" in Germany.
Posted by jpak | Mon Aug 19, 2013, 05:10 PM (2 replies)