Futurism: Tesla just updated their website to include images of their new low-profile solar panels. The panels integrate seamlessly with the Tesla Powerwall and can be ordered this month for production in the summer.
Reuters: Denmark's Vestas, the world's largest wind turbine maker, is keen to expand into areas such as energy storage to increase the global use of wind power and bring costs down.
Energy Harvesting Europe Article: Governments, manufacturers and other interested parties agonise about what to do as multiple gigafactories spew out vast numbers of lithium-ion batteries that almost always die before the life of the equipment in which they are placed and they are linked to toxins, fires and other nasties. As the world moves to structural electronics instead of the nostalgic old components-in-a-box designs, the batteries are holding up the party because even solid state ones tend to swell and shrink with each cycle, bursting a smart structure apart.
David Nield for Science Alert: Construction will soon be underway on a gigantic solar farm in South Australia that's set to be the biggest of its kind in the world - thanks to 3.4 million solar panels and 1.1 million individual batteries. The project is expected to be completed by the end of the year, at which point the huge plant should outdo all other solar farms in terms of overall battery capacity - although other solar facilities are larger in terms of land area.
Joshua S Hill for CleanTechnica: The US National Renewable Energy Laboratory has published a landmark report extensively detailing component and system-level cost breakdowns for residential PV solar systems equipped with energy storage. The decreasing cost of solar systems has been well documented over the last several years, with increased innovation and decreasing manufacturing costs combining to make solar PV a competitive and economic choice for residents and utilities across the United States, and in fact the world. As such, the costs attributed to the development of residential and utility-scale solar projects has been well defined for some time - even though that figure keeps decreasing.
Bruce Gellerman for WBUR: The ability to store energy promises to revolutionize the way we generate, transmit and use electricity - making renewable sources such as wind and solar cheaper and more dependable. Massachusetts is one of just three states requiring electric utilities to build battery facilities in the future. A company in Marlborough believes it literally has the next hot technology in energy storage: molten metals.
Danielle Ola for Energy Storage News: According to the latest GTM Research figures, energy storage is coming into its own and is no longer confined to a handful of US states. 21 states now have 20MW of storage projects proposed, in construction or deployed. Further, 10 states have pipelines of more than 100MW.
David Ferris, E&E News reporter: The problem, Blunden said, is that the United States is wandering into a global competition without much urgency or a plan. "Are we going to make the decision to take a significant share of the next wave of manufacturing growth globally?"
Diane Cardwell for The New York Times: ¬ Brooklyn is known the world over for things small-batch and local, like designer clogs, craft bourbon and artisanal sauerkraut. ¬ Now, it is trying to add electricity to the list. In a promising experiment in an affluent swath of the borough, dozens of solar-panel arrays spread across rowhouse rooftops are wired into a growing network. Called the Brooklyn Microgrid, the project is signing up residents and businesses to a virtual trading platform that will allow solar-energy producers to sell excess-electricity credits from their systems to buyers in the group, who may live as close as next door. The project is still in its early stages - it has just 50 participants thus far - but its implications could be far reaching. ¬ Cont'd...
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...
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...
In addition to the technical lessons learned, the project team expects to draw conclusions regarding the changes necessary to the current regulatory regime that will enable the optimum usage of energy storage in unbundled power systems.
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...
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