Popular and ‘Best-Of’ Posts

This is a list of the most popular and / or most important posts on the blog.  It is a great place to start.

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

RENEWABLES IN GENERAL

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

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

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

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

 

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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/

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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

 

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US Typical Electricity Use

I ran across this piece that shows a breakdown on household electricity use.  I anticipate the lighting use will drop by 50% due to the emergence of cost effective, high efficiency LED bulbs.  As they replace the aging fleet of incandescent and compact fluorescent bulbs lighting will use less electricity.  Add to that that LEDs are expected to nearly double in efficiency over the next decade and there is a recipe for more light at less cost.  High efficiency LEDs also bring down the electricity use of TVs and computer screens.  All of this reduces heat produced so that air conditioning doesn’t need to work as hard.

Household energy use

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Arctic Sea Ice Changes

Here is the best graphic I have found yet showing changes in arctic sea ice.  It is interactive and makes it easy to compare various years.  2012 is by far the worst.  Here are additional links and videos.

Arctic Sea IceThe lowest curve is 2012 and the yellow one is from 1980.

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EVs Are a Good Match for Renewables Part II

In an earlier post it was shown that EVs are a good match to night peaking wind power in places like CA and TX.  However, there are occasional lulls.  What then?  Here are some thoughts backed up wtih data.

-Texas is expanding transmission access.  Presumably they will access their 50%CF resource that is virtually untapped to date.  This will reduce the intensity of the lulls.

– The giga factory is designed for 35GW cells and 50GW battery packs.  Tesla says that the GF is designed to provide batteries for 500,000 cars per year.  That works out to 100kwhr per car in a mass market unit.  The Model S is 85kwhr.  It appears that Musk, who has a pretty good track record, thinks the norm for EVs will be a range between 200 and 400 miles and can span a few days of commuting without a charge.  The new leaf is expected to double their range in the next year or two so trends are on track.

– Looking at Texas, which on an energy basis has sufficient wind resource to power the country, solar is a good match to compliment the wind power on down days.  (See Below) Ercot offers extensive wind data in Excel format so anyone can do the analysis.  A quick look shows a few notches of the kind you are talking about where wind dies to about 10% of capacity for a few days.  But solar is pretty robust during those periods.  So if solar is built out to compliment the wind power then charging during the day with solar may offer the load balancing.

– TOU metering would also kick the cost of electricity up during these lulls and reduce demand.

EV Wind TX Ercot July 13

ERCOT 5 day lull.  Wind averages about 10% of capacity.

EV Solar TX Elgin July 13

Same time period, solar availability is quite good.

See Part I HERE .

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Energy Bootcamp

 

This post offers a good overview of the basics needed to understand energy.

 

Physics, energy introduction.

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