Elle Hunt for The Guardian: Elon Musk, the billionaire co-founder of electric car giant Tesla, has thrown down a challenge to the South Australian and federal governments, saying he can solve the state’s energy woes within 100 days – or he’ll deliver the 100MW battery storage system for free.
On Thursday, Lyndon Rive, Tesla’s vice-president for energy products, told the AFR the company could install the 100-300 megawatt hours of battery storage that would be required to prevent the power shortages that have been causing price spikes and blackouts in the state.
Thanks to stepped-up production out of Tesla’s new Gigafactory in Nevada, he said it could be achieved within 100 days. Cont'd...
Sami Grover for TreeHugger: Offshore wind energy has been growing like crazy in the last few decades—so much so that there's even talk of serious talk of multi-gigawatt offshore wind farms in the US in the not too distant future. But offshore wind has so far been limited to areas where the seafloor is relatively shallow, and where it's easy to build foundations for these gigantic turbines.
Floating wind turbines are different. Instead of using fixed foundations, they are anchored to the sea floor using cables. And that means they can be located in deeper waters, opening up many more areas where wind conditions are favorable and concerns about views and/or bird migration routes are less relevant. Alongside opening up new areas for development, the other major advantage of floating turbines—once they are being developed at scale—could also be reduced costs. Cont'd...
Megan Geuss for ArsTechnica: Pumped storage is a decades-old technology with a relatively simple concept: When electricity is cheap and plentiful, use it to pump water up into a reservoir above a turbine, and when electricity is scarce and expensive, send that pumped water down through a turbine to generate more power. Often, these pumped storage facilities are auxiliary to other electricity-generating systems, and they serve to smooth out fluctuations in the amount of power on the grid.
A German research institute has spent years trying to tailor pumped storage to ocean environments. Recently, the institute completed a successful four-week pilot test using a hollow concrete sphere that it placed on the bottom of Lake Constance, a body of water at the foot of the Alps. The sphere has a diameter of three meters and contains a pump and a turbine. Much like traditional pumped storage, when electricity is cheap, water can be pumped out of the sphere, and when it’s scarce, water can be let into the sphere to move the turbine and generate electricity. Cont'd...
Phys.org: A major roadblock to the mass use of solar energy are photovoltaic (PV) solar cells. This is because the cost, inefficiency and negative environmental impact that the manufacturing of these cells outweighs any potential savings provided by the resulting solar energy. If, however, cost could be were minimised, then solar power would be more able to compete with traditional fossil fuel-based methods for generating energy.
To overcome this hurdle, the EU-funded SOLNOWAT project has developed an innovative dry process for manufacturing PV solar cells.
PV cells are typically created via a wet chemical process that etches away layers of silicon from a crystalline wafer, leaving behind the solar cell. The SOLNOWAT process replaces the expensive and inefficient wet chemical process with the use of atmospheric pressure dry etching technology – a process that cuts costs and speeds up production. Because less silicon is removed during dry etching, the resulting cells are darker, making them very efficient at absorbing light. In fact, they are so efficient that they have been classified as having zero global warming potential. Cont'd...
Mike Munsell for GTM: “The fourth quarter marked a turning point in the U.S. utility-scale energy storage market reflected by the burst of deployments over an extremely short period from inception to interconnection,” said Ravi Manghani, GTM Research’s director of energy storage. “California will play a significant role in the future as utilities there continue to contract energy storage under the state’s 1.3 gigawatt mandate. While California took over the pole position in 2016 from PJM, the market shift was also transformational in terms of applications -- from short duration ancillary services to longer duration capacity needs.”
As a result, even though the market stayed roughly flat in megawatts, it grew 100 percent in megawatt-hours. Cont'd...
Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma and North Dakota all sourced more than 20 percent of their electricity generation from wind power during 2016, according to new data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). It shows wind supplied over 5.5 percent of electricity nationwide, up from 4.7 percent in 2015.
With 99 percent of wind turbines located in rural areas, wind power's steady growth as a share of the nation's electricity supply has been accompanied by a surge of investment in rural America. The industry invested over $13.8 billion in new turbines last year, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), in addition to operating a fleet now over 52,000 turbines. Full AWEA Press Release:
Shoshanna Delventhal for Investopedia: The Trump administration’s stance on climate change and the environment can be summed up by the chief White House strategist’s recent criticism of government support of green energy as “madness.”
Despite a 180-degree shift from Obama administration’s environmental agenda, the Department of Defense, plans to move forward with a decade-long effort to “convert its fuel-hungry operations to renewable power,” senior military officials told Reuters.
Yet apart from the controversial debate on climate change and the need for environmental protection, the Department of Defense has a strictly nonpolitical incentive to carry out the transition. Weaning reliance off petroleum means improved safety for U.S. troops and the American public. Cont'd...
Anmar Frangoul for CNBC: The European Commission has awarded 4.4 million euros ($4.63 million) in funding to a European tidal energy consortium to demonstrate innovative technology for tidal turbines.
The consortium, led by Scotland's Nova Innovation, will use the funding to demo and show a "direct drive power take-off (PTO) solution" for tidal turbines. According to Nova Innovation, this technology could help to cut the lifetime cost of tidal power by 20 percent.
The project will be known as TiPA (standing for Tidal turbine Power take-off Accelerator) and run for 36 months. Organizations involved in the project include Siemens, the University of Edinburgh, and Delft Technical University, among others. Cont'd...
Global Annual Installed Capacity of Small and Medium Wind Turbines is Expected to Exceed 446 MW in 2026
Despite weakening policy drivers and competition from declining solar PV prices, the SMWT industry is still poised for growth. With a large amount of wind resource potential still available, plus several growing and emerging markets, the industry is anticipated to sustain itself into the foreseeable future. Click to tweet: According to a new report from @NavigantRSRCH, the global installed capacity of SMWTs is expected to grow from 176.4 MW in 2017 to 446.0 MW in 2026.
"With historically leading markets such as the United States, the United Kingdom, and China seeing declining annual installed capacities of small and medium wind in recent years, other countries such as Japan, Denmark, and Italy are emerging as forces in the distributed wind market thanks to favorable government incentives," says Adam Wilson, research associate with Navigant Research. "We're also seeing a shift with medium-sized turbines as their niche slowly shrinks as drivers continue to favor small wind turbines for distributed wind and larger multi-megawatt turbines dominating utility-scale applications." Full Press Release:
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