Popular and ‘Best-Of’ Posts

This is a list of the most popular and / or most important posts on the blog.  These posts are rich sources of information.  I do my best to find high quality sources to back up the thesis of the posts.  I think a good deal of idea processing goes on in the comment threads in the blogosphere.  I hope the link list below and the links contained in those write-ups will support people in learning more about renewable energy.

WIND:

CleanTechnica logo-JoUS Wind Potential has Barely Been Tapped this post shows where the best sites are and How We Can Harvest it. – HERE

The best Wind sites have capacity factors in excess of 50% offering phenomenal value HERE

New wind turbine technology is further reducing cost and intermittency of wind power – HERE

TRANSMISSION

HVDC Explained HERE .

Moving power from here to there Clean Line Energy HERE  .

Connecting the three grids Tres Amigas

RENEWABLES IN GENERAL

Cost of Renewables Is Dropping Rapidly – HERE Lots of great graphs showing declining costs.

The amount of renewable energy has been growing exponentially for decades.  Here are some good graphics that quantify that growth.

High Voltage DC Power offers a way to get electricity from distant renewable energy sources to population centers and it is available now.  HERE

I have not built a post based upon this course but it looks so good I wanted to post a link to it – HERE

STORAGE

The Energy CollectiveTesla Power Wall – While it is an important development, I think much of the hype about the Tesla Powerwall energy storage system is off the mark.  My recent post post on the significance of Powerwall was picked up by The Energy Collective.

Cost of Lithium Ion Batteries is expected to continue the steep downward trend.  Elon Musk predicts breaking the $100 / kwhr barrier by 2025 which is in the same ballpark as Navigant and McKinsey were predicting prior to the Tesla announcement of the Gigafactory.  See More on the Cost trends for Li-ion HERE .

ELECTRIC VEHICLES INCLUDING ELON MUSK AND TESLA

Electric Vehicles pollute less even when you take into account emissions from the generation source HERE

Tesla really is revolutionary. HERE

EV batteries are the cost driver and they are coming down FAST – HERE

EVs combined with Load Shifting use market forces to increase the value of wind power while reducing the cost of driving. – HERE

EVs don’t have a range problem – HERE  CleanTechnica logo-Jo  .

SOLAR

Land area required to provide world’s electricity, including EV power, from solar.

EFFICIENCY

High efficiency LED lighting.

Posted in EV PEV, New Energy Paradigm, Path to a New Paradigm, T&D The New Grid, US Energy Competitiveness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ocean Thermal

Ocean Thermal Energy is an interesting technology.  This post on The Energy Collective covers many of the details.  However I think it unlikely that it will be pursued aggressively.  The infrastructure that would need to be put in place would address most of the issues hindering 100 % adoption of solar and wind.  But hey are already mature and so could be pursued with lower risk.  The author also points out some additional environmental benefits to OTEC that are worth considering.

Some thoughts I have in response to the Ocean Thermal concept are as follows:

I think there are a few fundamental weaknesses to the overall concept in comparison to others, wind and solar in particular.

1) Once it is decided to build a hydrogen energy economy, intermittency and CF are no longer at issue and $ / MWhr becomes the primary evaluative figure of merit.  With a hydrogen based energy economy, solar and wind are no longer constrained by intermittency since the energy is stored as hydrogen and easily dispatched in a highly responsive as needed basis.

2) Your cost figures appear to be based upon projections for OTEC at scale where solar and wind are based upon (almost) up to date numbers.  Lazards puts utility scale solar at $72 / MWhr with projections only 3 years out at $60.  Your proposal assumes both hydrogen and HVDC.  Under the assumption of that infrastructure wind power can be land based and land based wind is currently at $37 / MWhr at favorable sites. PPAs are already beating this even when adjusted for PTC.  The experience curve for wind is about $14% per cumulative doubling of deployment.

Posted in Path to a New Paradigm, Climate Change | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Rare Earths

Molycorp

http://gizmodo.com/the-strange-second-life-of-americas-only-rare-earth-min-1702199894

Posted in Path to a New Paradigm | Tagged | Leave a comment

Smart Grid and Net Metering

This is an interesting article that teases apart some of the challenging issues associated with behind the meter generation and net metering.

Smart Grid, net metering, real time pricing, TOU metering, time of use metering

Posted in New Energy Paradigm | 1 Comment

Net Generation Graphic

This is a neat graphic that shows how various energy sources have played a role in the US energy picture.

Generation Net by SourceNet Generation of Electricity by Source in the U.S., 1920-2014.

This was found at this site:

Posted in New Energy Paradigm | Leave a comment

Do Wind Turbines Kill Birds? Not so Much.

The Anti-Wind community (yes, there really is such a thing) loves to make up problems that do not exist.  One is to point out the bird kill problem with wind turbines.  This is a “thing” because the first major wind farm in the country, Altimont Pass, had a bird kill problem.  When it became evident that it was a problem, rather than hiding it or attempting to sweep it under the rug, they studied it.  And it was learned what the factors were that led to significant bird and raptor kills in Altimont pass.  As a result, they now no what to look for in siting wind farms.  There are other subtlties like the fact that the ‘lattice towers’ were good nesting sites further attracting birds.  And at the base they provided good cover for rodents, creating populations attractive to raptors.  So now wind towers are made with tubular towers.  In short this is a solved problem and there is minimal bird kill from wind turbines when compared to other human created problems such as house cats.  Yes, house cats.  Below is a list of some links to articles that address this in some depth.

US Fish and Wildlife

National Geographic Article

USA Today article on bird kills from wind turbines

Treehugger Bird Kill

Now bats are a different story.   I don’t think they have figured out what is going on there.

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Wind Vision A Timid Report on the Future of Wind by the DOE

Released in March of 2015 this report makes conservative assumptions about the role of windpower in the country’s future.

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20% Efficiency Becoming the New Normal for PV

Not so long ago, SunPower’s high efficiency PV modules were an industry novelty and considered a specialty premium item.  With greater than 20% efficiency they allowed relatively large capacity in a compact footprint.  However as the price of PV modules has collapsed the Balance of Systems components are now significant cost drivers on a percentage basis.  It is a thing of the past that racking, wire, labor are swamped out by the module cost.  In less than 10 years PV module costs have dropped by a factor of 10.

10 years ago all efforts were to bring Module $/Watt down.  But they have reached lows that premium modules from SunPower are in demand because they can lower the cost of PV systems even with the cost premium for the modules.  However with the impending elimination of the federal tax credits, there is a push to make PV economical without subsidies.  Solar City has purchased Silevo with the intent of taking their very high efficiency module technology and scaling production to the point that they are able to produce 20%+ efficiency modules at very low cost.  This will be revolutionary in the industry and promises to meet that goal.  It is interesting to look at the build-out of capacity in the high efficiency space.

Silevo (now owned by Solar City) is building a 1GW production facility in Buffalo NY.  They currently show 18.4% efficiency on their spec sheets and the company has been averaging 1% annual efficiency improvements over the last few years.

And SunPower has not been standing still.  Their 21.5% efficiency solar modules set the standard for high efficiency.  And they are planning to triple capacity in the next 5 years.

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Resources and Links

This page is an aggregation of resources that I have stumbled across and would like to be able to find again.  They are useful but may be difficult to track down after the fact as I have typically found them through circuitous paths.

Group of Slideshows AWEA 2014 posted at the Navigant website.

Wind power program review 2014

 

Resources, Links, Wind Cost, Solar Cost, Transmission Cost

 

Posted in In Process, Resources and Information | Leave a comment

Renewable Energy Databook from NREL

Better late than never, NREL put out a renewable energy databook that covers RE through the end of 2013.  It is full of charts and graphs that do a nice job of illustrating RE progress in the US and the world.

Found on http://breakingenergy.com/

Posted in New Energy Paradigm, Path to a New Paradigm, Resources and Information | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Tesla Getting Faster – P85D to Get an Upgrade

The Internet is abuzz since Elon Musk put out a tweet stating that a firmware upgrade would make the already fast Tesla even faster.  The firmware upgrade will improve the 0-60 time from 3.2 s to 3.1s and some are speculating that it will improve it even more.

See more on this and other Tesla facts HERE

Insane Mode

 

Posted in EV PEV, Exciting Technology Breakthroughs | Tagged , , | Leave a comment