“U.S. solar buyers and Chinese suppliers have been preparing for the new law for months, and were already providing documents to prove their panels didn’t include tainted polysilicon. But customs officials are now asking for proof that a key ingredient of polysilicon, quartzite, wasn’t mined in Xinjiang either. Quartzite miners aren’t accustomed to providing this level of specificity to customers…”
“Annual US energy expenditures are expected to fall by at least 4% in 2030 under the act, a savings of nearly $50 billion dollars per year for households, businesses and industry. This translates into hundreds of dollars in annual energy cost savings for US households.”
“Hydro mess” here means “Electricity System mess,” not hydropower per se. This article provides a look at the not-so-promising situation in Ontario for renewables, where DER in particular is apparently not being supported significantly at the moment.
“Terabase also makes software tools to manage the design and construction of solar farms. The startup recently wrapped its first commercial project, where its robots reportedly installed 10 megawatts worth of panels.”
“Net billing for rooftop solar, which incentivizes the use of battery storage to maximize solar self-consumption, is inefficient, researchers found, whereas incentivizing battery owners to discharge power during peak hours would provide greater value.”
“While Sanders (I-Vt.) applauded the Inflation Reduction Act’s “serious funding for wind, solar, batteries, heat pumps, electric vehicles, energy-efficient appliances, and low-income communities that have borne the brunt of climate change,” he raised concerns about the “billions of dollars in new tax breaks and subsidies” that the oil and gas industry will receive under the measure, which could get a Senate vote as soon as this week.”
“We cannot provide billions of dollars in new tax breaks to the very same fossil fuel companies that are currently destroying the planet.”
“This month, the PUC formed a task force to develop a pilot program next year that would create a pathway for solar panels and batteries on small-scale systems, like homes and businesses, to add that energy to the grid. The program would make solar and batteries more accessible and affordable for customers, and it would pay customers to share their stored energy to the grid as well.”
August 2: “Grid-Scale Battery Storage In US Tripled In 2021. In a preliminary report, the US Energy Information Agency says grid-scale battery storage tripled in 2021 to more than 4.6 GW.”
“A 4-GW installation would move Vietnam closer to its goal of having 11.7 GW of offshore wind power generation capacity in service by 2030. The country today has about 4 GW of operating offshore wind. In addition to the 2030 goal, officials have said they want to have 66 GW of offshore wind in operation by 2045.”
“The bill calls for a 10-year extension at 30% of the cost of the installed equipment, which will then step down to 26% in 2033 and 22% in 2034.The tax credit applies to residential adopters of solar technology. The 30% credit also applies to energy storage whether it is co-located or installed as standalone energy storage. This enables the retrofit of a battery to a solar array while taking advantage of the credit. One measure that was hoped for, but is not in the bill, was the “refundability” clause. Refundability means that if the tax credit value exceeds taxes owed on the year, it would be paid as a cash refund. This provision was not included, which hampers the value of the credit for some individuals. However, the credit can be rolled over to a following year.”
And here is the pound of flesh that Manchin extracted for the clean energy provisions referenced above. One would be mistaken to think that there was not a tremendous amount going on behind the scenes around this agreement.
“Solar projects were the most prone to delays, with nearly 21GW of projects currently delayed – much of which is a direct result of misguided trade actions, said the report. Solar accounts for 64% of all projects delayed. Across the US, Texas led RE development activity in the second-quarter with 23,665MW underway, representing 18% of the total project development pipeline. The ‘jumbo state’ was followed by California (13,710MW), New York (10,809MW), Indiana (7,099MW) and Virginia (6,456MW).”
“Congressional aides and climate activists said the climate investments were roughly in line with what had been negotiated over the past several months: tax credits to speed up the development of wind, solar, and other low-carbon energy as well as government assistance to spur technologies that Mr. Manchin favors, such as hydrogen and nuclear power. The deal will also include a means-tested $7,500 tax credit to make new electric vehicles more affordable, according to three people familiar with the details. The measure also includes a methane fee that will start in 2025, said the three people, who spoke anonymously because they were not authorized to discuss the details.”
Possible road to extension of the solar tax credit?
Unfortunately the details on clean energy have not been released, and “The accord came in part because Schumer, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Biden agreed to seek and pass new legislation targeting permitting for pipelines and other infrastructure in the coming months, Manchin said.”
This is a rare case where the true political machinations against clean energy behind the scenes, 99% of which usually remains completely invisible except to those directly involved, have come to light. Very instructive for those involved or interested in advocacy, and why we need lots of closely involved, strong advocates.
“A recent report by BloombergNEF declares that the tipping point for battery electric vehicle (BEV) ascendency has been reached globally. Although acceptance of EVs varies from country to country, a pattern has emerged. “Once 5% of new-car sales go fully electric, everything changes — according to a Bloomberg analysis of the 19 countries that have made the EV pivot.””
This is a truly exciting development. The article provides a good description of the catalyst, which is the real heart of this experiment. The article does not address the source of the CO2, but there is a worthwhile discussion of that issue in the publicly accessible comments.
Summary from the technical article: “In summary, the technical feasibility of the entire thermochemical process chain to produce solar liquid hydrocarbon fuels from H2O and CO2 has been demonstrated with a pilot-scale solar tower fuel plant that integrates, in series, the three main sub-systems, namely: the solar concentrating tower, the solar reactor, and the GtL unit. The solar reactor produced syngas with selectivity, purity, and quality suitable for FT synthesis. Although the ηsolar-to-syngas is still in the single digits, it has the potential to reach competitive values of over 20% by recovering rejected heat during the temperature-swing redox cycle and by improving the volumetric absorption of the porous structures. The ceria RPC remains the most critical component of the solar reactor and further progress with the manufacturing of mechanically robust porous structures remains essential. “
A .5 megawatt pilot project, integrated with a wind project to use ocean space more efficiently.
“Earlier this month, Portuguese energy firm EDP inaugurated a 5 MW floating solar park in Alqueva. It described the park, which consists of nearly 12,000 photovoltaic panels, as “the largest in Europe in a reservoir.”
“All the above projects feed into the idea of “hybridization,” whereby different renewable energy technologies and systems are combined on one site.”
“Overall, jobs in the energy sector [in 2021] grew by about 4 percent, or about 300,000 jobs. But job gains in renewable energy markets were so strong that they effectively masked losses from several fossil fuel industries; the solar industry added tens of thousands of workers while fossil fuel industries specializing in petroleum and coal hemorrhaged nearly 40,000 workers.”
“It’s also possible that the trend of renewable energy job growth and fossil fuel job decline will not persist into 2022.”
“While many current lithium-ion batteries have power densities in the area of 270 watt-hours/kilogram, a pouch cell based on Cuberg’s technology hit 380 Wh/kg, a gain of 40 percent. When an independent lab placed the battery on a cycle of one-hour discharges and two-hour charging, it found the battery took over 670 cycles for its capacity to drop to 80 percent of its original. For comparison, many lithium-ion batteries target a 500-cycle life span.”
“Solar roof is now in its third iteration, and Tesla has made cost improvements and speed of installation improvements, but it remains an expensive product with problems that as resulted in serious issues for customers.”
“Bates said that 90% of US utility-scale projects last year were CdTe, and the utility-scale sector makes up about 55% of all solar capacity added. About 20 years ago, it represented less than 1% of solar installations. “
Other good info on Cadtel recycling, this kind of PV in general.
Really great, beautiful and interactive article in the New York Times (you may need a subscription) on tree ring data and drought. Provides a very vivid feel for the whole business of how megadroughts are gauged, and provides a look at the one that the Southwest is now experiencing, which the article states appears to be the strongest in 1200 years, attributable to the large, human-caused changes to greenhouse gas levels that has occurred.
“The plant has six pump turbines and a total power output of 900 MW, enough to power as many as 900,000 homes. With a storage capacity of 20 million kWh of electricity, it is hoped the water battery will play a significant role in stabilising Switzerland and Europe’s energy grids.”
Storing heat obtained from excessive renewable electricity in a massive above ground thermal storage facility with a max thermal power of 200 MW to supply about 10% of Berlin’s winter heat demand via a thermal heating network in Berlin that has its origins in the Soviet era.
The oil & gas industry in Germany is not keen on ceding ground to heat pumps. “German households installed around 630,000 gas boilers alongside another 45,000 oil furnaces in 2021. In contrast, a mere 154,000 heat pumps were installed, with a record 28% increase yearly.” Hence this government push for more heat pumps.
Germany is also wary of having its heat pump industry fail like the solar industry in Germany did due to lack of “political reliability”
“Megapacks [Tesla’s name] are utility-scale batteries, meaning a power company can use them as a backup to store electricity for hundreds or thousands of customers. Each Megapack battery can store three megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity, enough to power about 100 US homes for a day. Tesla’s biggest battery installation involves 256 Megapack battery units with a combined storage capacity of 730 MWh, enough to power about 25,000 US homes for a day or nearly 600,000 homes for an hour.”
“We found that the overall upfront cost to replace all energy in the 145 countries, which emit 99.7 percent of world carbon dioxide, is about $62 trillion. However, due to the $11 trillion annual energy cost savings, the payback time for the new system is less than six years. The new system may also create over 28 million more long-term, full-time jobs than lost worldwide and require only about 0.53 percent of the world’s land for new energy, with most of this area being empty space between wind turbines on land that can be used for multiple purposes. Thus, we found that the new system may require less energy, cost less and creates more jobs than the current system.”
“A leading mini-grid developer with operations in India and Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Husk Power signed an UN-Energy Compact this year, committing to build 5,000 mini-grids that would reduce these regions’ diesel use by 700 million gallons by 2030. At least 500 of these mini-grids will be built in Nigeria as part of the “Sunshot Initiative” that aims to benefit at least 2 million Nigerians with reliable, renewable energy by 2026 and take at least 25,000 diesel and gasoline generators offline.”
“In a new comprehensive literature review, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) discovered that alternatives to recycling may have untapped potential to build an effective circular economy for solar photovoltaic (PV) and battery technologies.”
“The authors also noted that challenges remain in developing PV and battery recycling methods. There are currently no integrated recycling processes that can recover all the materials for either technology, and existing research has focused more on lab-scale methods.”
One of the disinformation threads identified is about renewables: “Unreliable renewables: over a longer period – from 1 January to 19 November 2021 – the study found 115,830 tweets or retweets were shared, alongside 15,443 posts on Facebook, that called into question the viability and effectiveness of renewable energy sources.”
The potential for PV has long been underestimated, to put it mildly, even by RE experts. Humans tend to make simple extrapolations that don’t work well for exponentially growing, disruptive technologies.
She was responding to irresponsible comments that were made recently, and ironically, by Stuart Kirk, the head of responsible investment at the global bank HSBC, suggested that financial institutions should discount the risks of the climate crisis as the world could adapt to its impacts.
“In the four years since solar sites were installed at farms in New South Wales, Australia, sheep grazing under the solar panels have produced better wool and more of it, according to growers cited in an initial ABC report.”
“The U.S. energy secretary and Danish wind developer Orsted say they want American union workers to build offshore wind farms to dot the U.S. coastlines — the building trades workers who could otherwise be left out of a transition to renewable resources….A majority of onshore wind and solar farms have been built either with non-union workers or without collective bargaining agreements, except for in California where unions are more involved in the industry, according to North America’s Building Trades Unions.”
“Congress passed and President Biden signed a major infrastructure law last year. It includes $8 billion for at least four hydrogen hubs to produce, store and use this combustible gas. Groups around the country are hoping to land hubs…..Veser says one advantage of blue hydrogen is that it relies on technology that is many decades old. Another advantage, says Bridget van Dorsten, an analyst with the Wood Mackenzie energy research consultancy, is the fossil fuel industry’s political power in the United States. She says that makes blue hydrogen more likely than a full push for green hydrogen.”
So in other words, undue corporate influence gives blue hydrogen and unfair edge. But we knew that already…
Nice summary of different colors of hydrogen here.
Note: We are not endorsing the advice or ratings given here one way or the other. There is some factual info, and links to other CNET Solar articles/research at the end that are potentially useful. It is notable to see the emphasis here on battery storage for operation during grid blackouts, which is still a relatively new thing for the solar industry, and a great new selling point given the widespread and increasing concerns about grid reliability. Be nice to see more emphasis though on reducing fossil fuel use in general, and lowering long-term grid maintenance and upgrade costs though as well: Solar is still undervalued, even by entities such as CNET that purport to support it.
“Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) accesses the stable temperature of groundwater to warm buildings in winter and cool them in summer. The solution uses much less power than conventional heating and cooling systems. As Daisy Chi at ECECPexplains, ATES first took off in China in the 1960s but ran into problems with the required circulation of the groundwater. However, the technology has been developed and optimised in the Netherlands: of the roughly 3,500 currently operational ATES systems worldwide, 3,000 are based there. “
Very exciting news! Water is a fantastic thermal energy storage medium. This approach is essentially technically optimized geothermal heating and cooling.
“Experts expect plant sizes of 1,100 megawatts (MW) for fixed-bottom and 600 MW for floating offshore wind. These and many other design choices discussed in the article can support levelized cost of energy reductions of 27% (onshore) and 17%–35% (floating and fixed-bottom offshore) by 2035 compared to today”
So economy of scale gains are still continuing with wind. Not surprising, but the numbers and changes are nice to see spelled out.watching trends is a good idea. If more people had been watching PV trends instead of just current price 20 years ago, the immense potential of PV would have been bette
Very revealing article on the true cost of manufacturing in China vs. the US: Makes the case the US has little or no chance of competing in PV manufacturing, but that the installation industry is well worth saving by not imposing solar tariffs.
“Annual renewable capacity additions broke a new record in 2021, increasing 6% to almost 295 GW, despite the continuation of pandemic-driven supply chain challenges, construction delays and record-level commodity prices for raw materials.”
Maybe a bit of an over-claim, but still apparently helping.
Good discussion of both advantages and downsides/limitations.
One of the few articles out there to discuss the “solar graveyard” left in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in 2017 (which laid waste to many large PV projects there), while mentioning that some solar microgrids remained useful in the aftermath of that hurricane.
Major development. Also shows that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is apparently helping to accelerate EU renewable energy development, despite concerns that it might also cause a regression to coal in some countries, as the IEA has cautioned about.
“…the EU aims to bring online over 320 GW of solar photovoltaic energy by 2025 (more than doubling compared to 2020) and almost 600 GW by 2030.”
Contains a very nice and exciting graph of the growth of renewables in the EU.
This article is a sobering take by a prominent economist on the realities of costs when transmission costs are factored in. It doesn’t discuss storage, but that cost is relevant too. And there is a startling comment about the windfall that Russia gained by invading Ukraine.
“The proposed energy harvester has operated the Arm Cortex M0+ for over six months in a domestic environment under ambient light. It is comparable in size to an AA battery, and is built using common, durable, inexpensive and largely recyclable materials.”
Wattages in the microwatts (fractions of a volt voltages, micro amps of current): This technology is clearly for very low power applications only.
The ideas discussed here, such as basing advocacy on economic benefits, is very similar to the approach that the Coalition for Clean Affordable Energy and I successfully used in New Mexico from 1997-2007. Environmental advocates intuitively tend to shy away from such an approach, but it can work well.
Claims that the company who filed the federal petition to have tariffs imposed on Asian companies that it claims are funneling Chinese modules that would otherwise face tariffs, makes shoddy modules and fair less than claimed.
This article actually (briefly) discusses several research efforts on this topic. A critique of the remaining challenges from the article states: “”First, you have to feed the bacteria and dilute them as they grow,” he says. “That’s not so easy. Also, the phenomenon will be very temperature-dependent and I doubt that it will work in the winter. Third, bioluminescence is very dim compared to electrical lighting. But perhaps they have improved the luminescence intensity.”
Lithium supply is looking better and better. The article states but does not explain why this large European lithium deposit can be mined most sustainably than others.
“At present, however, the EU has only six gigafactories in operation with circa 62 GWh of lithium-ion cell production—a scale that pales in comparison to China, which has 93 gigafactories in operation at last count. By 2025 another 25 gigafactories plan to come online in Europe, increasing production capacity to 590 GWh.”
The math here is a little funny: Generally speaking, renewables have been exhibiting exponential growth for a long time. The results here refer to the relative increase in RE additions over two years, implying that the linear growth rate increased. Whether the exponential growth rate increased is a different (and arguably better) question.
This references some leading research on the topic of energy storage, and yields a cost of storage of $20/kWh to get to 100%, but $150/kWh to get to 95%. The dramatic difference is due to rare long term gaps in solar and wind generation over multi-year timescales.