Solar Power Thrives In Chile, No Subsidies Needed

William Pentland, Contributor for Forbes:  In Chile’s most recent power auction, the bids from solar project developers came in at between $65 and $68 per megawatt hour (MWh) were considerably more competitive than bids made by coal plants, which were priced at $85 per MWh. Solar power projects were awarded the lion’s share of the 1,200 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity contracts sold.

Chile boasts one of the world’s biggest solar resources. High electricity prices and strong demand from Chile’s mining industry have driven demand growth for solar, especially large scale commercial or utility projects.

The total installed solar capacity in Chile increased from less than 4 MW in 2013 to more than 220 MW last year. Nearly 1 GW of solar is projected to be installed in Chile in 2015. Meanwhile, a total of about 8 GW of solar power projects have been approved for development in Chile. First Solar and SunEdison are two of the biggest U.S. solar companies active in Chile.  Cont'd...

As California Rolls Out More Solar Power, Regulators Could Undercut The Industry

Ken Silverstein for Forbes:  The fall season is kicking off a sizzling solar power debate in California and one that has the potential to undercut the state’s climate mission.

Utility regulators there are in discussions over how to balance the interest of rooftop solar generators with the utilities on which they will still depend. Just how those hearings are resolved with have implications for the rollout of renewable energy not just in California but also around the country.

At issue is something called “net metering,” which is technical term used to measure the amount of money that rooftop solar generators should get paid relative to retail electricity prices. Utilities, generally, want to offer them the wholesale rate for what they send to them over the grid. Those are expensive wires to maintain and ones that all customers will use, even those who power their homes with solar panels. That’s because the sun is not always shining and the utilities would then have to provide them electricity over their networks.

The present net metering rules in California were set a dozen years ago, with the intent that they would expire when solar penetration reached 5 percent at any of three investor-owned utilities: Edison International’s SoCalEd, PG&E Corp. and Sempra Energy, which is nearing the threshold. Generally, those utilities are paying customers the full retail value for their electricity generated and transmitted.  Cont'd...

Wind turbine technology stores excess wind power for when gusts turn to breezes

Megan Treacy for TreeHugger:  A new technology developed by University of Nebraska-Lincoln electrical engineering doctoral student Jie Cheng solves both of those problems by harnessing the excess wind energy usually wasted as spillage and storing it for use when wind speeds dip, making wind turbines more efficient and consistent.

Cheng's system converts and directs the extra wind energy to an air compression tank, where the energy is stored until wind speeds dip below the maximum capacity. Using a rotary vane machine that is connected between the turbine's gearbox and generator, excess energy is diverted and stored in the air compression tank. When the wind dies down, the tank then kicks in and reverses airflow back to the rotary vane machine to generate electricity.

In a recent study of his prototype, Cheng found that a 250-kW system would produce an additional 3,830 kWh of electricity per week or an additional 16,400 kWh per month based on historical wind data from Springview, Nebraska. That extra electricity is about 18 times the monthly energy use of a typical American household.  Cont'd...

Electricity System Needs New Framework for 2030

Utility-industry working group says California's goals, changing technologies call for new utility business models, new products for customers

ABB and Smart Grid Technology in North Carolina

North Carolina's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard (REPS) has encouraged investments in renewables and the energy economy statewide.

Smarter Grid Solutions' Active Network Management Technology Connects 48MW to create the UK's largest single Actively Managed Wind Farm

Smarter Grid Solutions has been working with SP Energy Networks to connect 48MW at Aikengall Wind Farm, at Dunbar in south-east Scotland. This new connection is the latest delivery from SP Energy Networks' ARC Project.

SEL introduces reliable and secure microgrid control system

New high-speed SEL microgrid control solutions allow seamless integration of distributed energy resources (DERs) to maintain uninterrupted power to critical loads

GE Anticipates Solar Industry Needs, Helps Customers Optimize Grid Infrastructure

PROLEC-GE Launches Three-Phase Pad-Mounted Transformer Extension for Solar Industry ---- Optimal Technical Support Helps Solar Market Navigate Key Industry Challenges ---- Evolved Technology is One More Way GE is Helping Customers Optimize Existing Grid Infrastructure, Add More Renewable Resources

SunEdison Awarded 33 Megawatt Deal To Modernize The Grid In Southern California With Solar

The solar systems will be built on rooftops throughout the Orange County and Inland Empire industrial corridors.

Identified Microgrid Capacity Has Tripled in the Last Year, According to Navigant Research

North America leads the market today, but the largest market over the long term is likely to be Asia Pacific, report concludes

What Can be Learned from the Northeast's Use of Microgrids

State leaders in the Northeast should keep watch of neighboring states to share best practices and innovative solutions for microgrids. Stakeholders can also look nationwide to other states including California and Illinois, where officials are creating incentives and addressing regulatory challenges.

The Schneider Electric Smart Grid (SESG) Laboratory

The SESG Lab can replicate the operation of a substation and feeders of an electrical utility distribution system, thanks to its core infrastructure that supports organizations in the research and development of leading edge solutions and systems pertaining to smart grid technology.

VC Funding in Smart Grid Jumps to $185 Million in Q1 2015, Reports Mercom Capital Group

Battery/Storage companies raise $69 million; Energy Efficiency companies raise $140 million

Solar Industry Supports Needed Changes to U.S. Electric Grid

Today's grid is ancient, aging ungracefully and facing enormous challenges in the future - from meeting America's day-to-day electricity needs to national security threats.

Super Grid - Renewable Energy from Remote Sites to Cities (Projects and Challenges)

Just imagine, a super grid will allow Norway's hydro-power to light up a restaurant in Italy, Belgium's wind farms to provide power to a home in U.K., and Saharan solar power plants to run a factory in Germany.

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