Installed Renewables Capacity


2012 cumulative PV cumulative-installed-wind-capacity-1996-2013

See also Renewable Energy Cost Curves   -


PV, Wind, Cumulative Capacity, Capacity


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Conservative Senator Defends the Production Tax Credit for Wind

This is not complicated.  This senator puts it into perspective nicely.  The PTC is all about bringing an industry to maturity.  And he totally gets it, wind is almost there.  Not there, almost there.  The PTC should continue for a time yet.

Shortlink to this post, good for reposting to message threads.

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To Harden or Add Resilience – What is Next For The Grid

SubStation - Crp

Hoping to have time to write this out in detail, but key links are here.

Government incompetence is beginning to scare me.  While there is probably some low hanging fruit in hardening the grid, making it more resilient through redundancy would be a much better way to spend the money.  It would have the added benefit of expanding the amount of renewables that could be added to the grid.

The scenario below is for a coordinated attack.  The more nodes that have to be hit simultaneously, the harder it is to plan and execute an attack.  It requires more people, and therefore more communications and substantially raises the probability of catching them before they have a chance to attack.  It also makes it harder to determine for certain which nodes are critical therefore making failure of the mission more likely.

Since those who should be addressing this are not after a decade, the free press is doing its job to raise awareness and smoke out the bureaucratic dysfunction responsible for no action being taken.

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Can Wind Turbines Withstand a Hurricane?

Hurricane Sandy enhI ran across this interesting post on a topic I had thought about but not seen much helpful information.  Mike Barnard makes a strong case for wind turbine survivability.  See the link below.


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LCOE Comparision

Lazard’s Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis offers a great comparison between various energy sources.  It shows subsidized and unsubsidized so that better comparisons can be made.  These graphics give a taste of the wealth of information in this report.

Lazards LCOE sensitivity to subsidies Lazards LCOE unsubsidized


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CREE Continues to Deliver Game Changing Inverter Components

I love this stuff.  As a former inverter designer all I can say is I wish we had had these back in the day!

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Meadow Lake Wind Farm – A Case Study

I will add interesting photos and videos I run across on wind turbine construction here.

Meadow Lake Wind Farm

Meadow Lake Wind Farm

Indiana Wind Farm – Meadow Lake Wind Farm – Photo

Some additional photos here

Indiana wind farm being built and here and here and here

Meadowlake wind farm more info:

Meadow Lake Wind Farm Project Areas I-V Turbine Map

Web Site

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Low Natural Gas Working Storage a Likely Leading Indicator for Higher Electricity Pricess

Updated March 26th, 2014

Good EIA report on gas prices and gas supply here.

Natural gas use has continued to rise.

US natural gas consumption

Click to Enlarge

While reserve storage is at near record lows.

Underground storage

Click to Enlarge

This seems almost certain to drive prices higher and in fact, already is:

Henry hub feb

Click to Enlarge

And since Massachusetts gets about 50% of our electricity from natural gas, our electric rates seem certain to rise along with them.

This graphic shows the high percentage of Massachusetts electricity that is generated using natural gas.  If gas prices rise then electricity prices will typically follow:   Massachusetts Fuel Mix

This graphic shows that the reservoirs that store gas for the winter are at record lows.  The summer will be spent both providing the usual consumption and recharging the reservoirs.  This will put ongoing pressure on the supplies keeping prices elevated: Lower 48 Underground Storage Graph

Storage Compared to the AverageThe graph above shows how unusual this year really is.

As expected, gas prices are beginning to respond as it becomes clear that this transient event is going to keep demand elevated: Spot Price for Gas

This graphic gives a sense of just how unusual things are this year.

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A Brief Comparison of Hull 2 and the Controversial Falmouth Turbines

There has been little complaint about the Hull turbines and they are considered by most in town to be proud beacons of energy responsibility.  The Falmouth turbines are controversial and dividing the town.  Interestingly, the Hull turbines went in before the cottage industry of wind bashing had been developed.  Falmouth went in after.

Hull 2   1_6 MW turbineHull 2 – This was built before the cottage industry of anti-wind folks.  These homes are in a quieter ambient sound area due to lower speeds on nearby roads.  They are closer to the turbine as well.  And yet the outcry has been quite limited.

I have personally spoken to a Hull neighbor of the turbine.  She initially did not like it.  Her children did though.  And once it was in and operating she actually become an advocate.

Hull 2 is a 1.8 MW turbine and is 160 m from the nearest home with a number of other homes being within 200m.  It is also worth noting that the topography, layout of buildings and vegetation are such that the homes are somewhat shielded from the sound from the nearest busy road.

Falmouth Nearest NeighborFalmouth turbine showing the closest home located across a divided highway.

The Falmouth turbines are somewhat smaller weighing in at 1.6 MW.  The nearest neighbor is more than twice as far as the Hull nearest neighbor, at 335 m and they are on the other side of a divided highway.  There are several other homes that are less than 400m from the turbines with the rest being further away.

Kingston turbineKingston Turbine – Note, it looks like there are two turbines.   The second one is some sort of artifact courtesy of Google.

Another highly controversial turbine is in Kingston MA.  This turbine was built in a commercial area atop a landfill.  Across Rte. 3, one of the busiest highways in Massachusetts there is a small residential neighborhood.  While those in opposition portray this as a quiet leafy suburb, the fact is that the folks complaining most vociferously live in homes that are roughly 125 m from Rte. 3.  The Kingston Turbine is 2 MW.

Note that in the screen shots I have been careful to include the coordinates so these can easily be found.

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New England Electricity Rates

I have been looking into NE Electricity rates to see what the implications of declining natural gas inventories will likely be.  In summary, I think that people who have an opportunity to lock in today’s rates will benefit.  Both NSTAR and National Grid adjust their rate structure twice a year.  The next adjustment is due this spring.  In June I think that people will get a rude awakening with a dramatic increase in rates for the next 6 months or more.

Gas inventories

Much of NE Electricity is generated by burning natural gas.  Gas comes from basic supplies on an as needed basis and from reserves stored at various sites.  These reserves are headed down well below the average and some are saying possibly to record lows.  While breaking the record may be a bit hyperbolic, no doubt we are in unusual territory.  We started 2014 at 5 year lows and it has just gotten worse from there .   Prices have been relatively slow to respond until recently.  However spot market prices are now moving pretty quickly to make up for lost time and have reached levels not seen since 2008 .

Henry hub feb

The exact impact on electricity prices is still uncertain.  Power companies often are able to spread transient cost spikes out over time minimizing their impact.  This is very common, for example, with high air conditioning peaks in the summer.  However during the winter, both electric power and home heating work in concert to diminish supplies of gas so transients last longer and take longer to correct for.  That seems to be what is happening now.

During the spring and summer months demand for gas will have to address the normal generation + replenishing the reserves.  Add to that the fact that if the winter weather remains cold they will have to start later and we have the recipe for a long term demand scenario.  I think this will force natural gas prices and electricity prices up significantly.  The author of this NY Times article seems to agree.

A third party supplier that can offer a contract price over a period of time may be a great option for those who are concerned about price volatility.  National Grid and NStar, for example, adjust their price twice a year.  Their next adjustment is in June.  Today’s prices, that they can charge, are locked in.   In June they will change prices in response to the market conditions.  It is hard for me to understand how they can go anywhere but up.

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