Renewables

Forget Coal, Solar will Soon be Cheaper than Natural Gas Power

22 Jun 2017   Solar

The staggering drop in the cost of clean energy has already upended the global power market over the past two decades — and that trend will only continue for the next two decades, according to new analysis from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). As a result, renewables will capture the lion’s share of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power generation by 2040, BNEF projects in its annual New Energy Outlook 2017 report. CREDIT: BNEF New Energy Outlook 2017 Despite years of plummeting prices for renewables, BNEF projects that over the next two decades, the cost of solar power will still drop another two-thirds, onshore wind costs will be cut nearly in half, and offshore wind costs will drop a stunning 71 percent. Here’s how this will profoundly transform power markets in the years ahead: By 2028, solar will beat existing gas generation. Solar and wind […]

Trump Says ‘Solar Wall’ on Mexican Border Would Pay for Itself

22 Jun 2017   Solar

‘The higher it goes, the more valuable it is,’ president says U.S. ‘spending a lot’ on design and planning of wall, he says U.S. President Donald Trump said he’s proposed building a “solar wall” on the Mexican border that would pay for itself by generating electricity. “We’re thinking of something that’s unique, we’re talking about the southern border. Lots of sun, lots of heat,” Trump said at a campaign rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall, so it creates energy, and pays for itself. And this way Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good. Is that good?” Donald Trump says “we will build a solar wall” along Mexico border https://t.co/598isRMkuF pic.twitter.com/Fa63a65tBj — Bloomberg (@business) June 22, 2017 Trump ran for the presidency on an oft-repeated promise to construct a wall across the 1,933-mile (3,207 kilometer) Mexican border […]

Wind, solar energy have not harmed U.S. power grid: industry study

21 Jun 2017   Solar, Wind

With the Trump administration expected to publish an analysis that could undermine the U.S. wind and solar industries, two renewable energy lobbying groups on Tuesday released their own study saying new energy sources pose no threat to the country’s power grid. Wind and solar advocates have said the government study’s outcome appeared to be pre-determined to favor fossil fuel industries. The new report, commissioned by the American Wind Energy Association and Advanced Energy Economy, says cheap natural gas is behind most of the decline in the numbers of U.S. coal-fired power plants in recent years, not government subsidies that have bolstered the growth of wind and solar power. It also said there is no evidence to show that wind and solar energy are threatening the reliability of the electric grid. The groups commissioned the report shortly after […]

America’s hungriest wind and solar power users: big companies

21 Jun 2017   Solar, Wind

FILE PHOTO: A man views solar panels on a roof at Google headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., on June 18, 2007. REUTERS/Kimberly White/File Photo Major U.S. corporations such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc and General Motors Co have become some of America’s biggest buyers of renewable energy, driving growth in an industry seen as key to helping the United States cut carbon emissions. Last year nearly 40 percent of U.S. wind contracts were signed by corporate power users, along with university and military customers. That’s up from just 5 percent in 2013, according to the American Wind Energy Association trade group. These users also accounted for an unprecedented 10% of the market for large-scale solar projects in 2016, figures from research firm GTM Research show. Just two years earlier there were none. The big reason: lower energy bills. GRAPHIC – Big companies are powering the U.S. clean energy push: […]

Switching From Coal To Solar Could Save 50,000 Lives

20 Jun 2017   Coal, Solar

Replacing coal-fired power plants with solar power installations could save as many as 51,999 lives every year, a study from the Michigan Technological University has found. This is the number of people who will in all likelihood not die of things such as asthma and congestive heart failure resulting from harmful emissions from coal-fired plants. Coal currently accounts for 30 percent of the U.S. energy mix, according to the Energy Information Administration. In terms of consumption, however, coal only accounted for 15 percent, almost all of it going into power generation. The fossil fuel is quickly losing share to natural gas, but is still a solid contributor to CO2 and other pollutants emissions – solid enough, according to the study’s authors, Emily Prehoda and Joshua Pierce, to kill more than 50,000 people on an annual basis. Switching from fossil fuels to renewables is at the core of sustainability efforts. […]

ExxonMobil Announces Breakthrough In Renewable Energy

20 Jun 2017   Biofuels

Synthetic Genomics and ExxonMobil’s partnership bore fruit on Monday, said a press release that announced the development of a modified algae strain that could push algae-based energy closer to being a commercially viable alternative energy source. The only way forward for algae-based energy to become commercial is if a high content strain that grows quickly is discovered. SG’s advanced cell engineering technologies has now managed to enhance the algae’s oil content from 20 to 40 percent, according to an official report published in the peer-reviewed Nature Biotechnology journal. The latest discovery moves the green fuel source closer to that mass market utilization. “We remain convinced that synthetic biology holds crucial answers to unlocking the potential of algae as a renewable energy source ,” said J. Craig Venter, Ph.D., Synthetic Genomics co-founder and chairman. “ We look forward to continued work with ExxonMobil so that eventually we will indeed have […]

Fattened, Genetically Engineered Algae Might Fuel the Future

20 Jun 2017   Biofuels

The future of fuel is green, slimy, and reeks of fish. “Fish smell like fish because fish eat algae,” says Imad Ajjawi, a geneticist at the synbio company Synthetic Genomics in La Jolla, CA that grows those smelly photosynthesizers. This algae is also fatty, which probably isn’t a word you’d typically associate with the goopy, mucky organism. But scientists like Ajjawi have spent decades dreaming about algae this fat. Because fat is essentially oil, fatty algae could be the world’s most successful fuel crop. Ajjawi and his colleagues spent nearly a decade tweaking an algae genome so it produces more than twice as much fat than wild versions of the same species, and Monday they described their efforts in an article published in Nature Biotechnology . Algae are similar to plants, in that they need nutrients, carbon dioxide, and sunlight to survive. If you starve them of nutrients—think nitrogen, […]

Solar Power Will Kill Coal Faster Than You Think

17 Jun 2017   Solar

Solar power, once so costly it only made economic sense in spaceships, is becoming cheap enough that it will push coal and even natural-gas plants out of business faster than previously forecast. That’s the conclusion of a Bloomberg New Energy Finance outlook for how fuel and electricity markets will evolve by 2040. The research group estimated solar already rivals the cost of new coal power plants in Germany and the U.S. and by 2021 will do so in quick-growing markets such as China and India. The scenario suggests green energy is taking root more quickly than most experts anticipate. It would mean that global carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels may decline after 2026, a contrast with the International Energy Agency’s central forecast, which sees emissions rising steadily for decades to come. “Costs of new energy technologies are falling in a way that it’s more a matter of when […]

Solar And Wind Revolution Happening Much Faster Than Expected

16 Jun 2017   Solar, Wind

The clean energy revolution is unfolding even faster than previously thought, which will have massive ramifications not just for the solar and wind industry, but also for the fading fortunes of old King Coal. Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) published its “ New Energy Outlook ” (NEO), with renewable energy forecasts through 2040. BNEF says that the costs of wind and solar are falling rapidly, and the transition to cleaner energy will be more significant than expected. “ This year’s report suggests that the greening of the world’s electricity system is unstoppable, thanks to rapidly falling costs for solar and wind power, and a growing role for batteries, including those in electric vehicles, in balancing supply and demand, ” said Seb Henbest, BNEF’s lead author of the NEO 2017. Solar is already cost-competitive with coal and natural gas in parts of Europe and the U.S., and solar will become […]

U.S. solar power gaining momentum

9 Jun 2017   Solar

Solar power in the United States is gaining momentum that’s independent of partisan issues in Washington, the head of an industry trade group said. A report published Thursday by the Solar Energy Industries Association found first-quarter 2017 marked the sixth quarter in a row with more than 2 gigawatts of solar power installed. The price point, meanwhile, is becoming competitive, with utility-scale installations falling below $1 per watt for the first time. Abigail Ross Hopper, the trade group’s CEO and former director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, told UPI the sector has established a sustainable trajectory that’s independent of the levers of power in Washington. “This quarter shows us […]

World’s energy system not on track to meet climate goals: IEA

6 Jun 2017   IEA, Renewables

Barely one tenth of renewable energy technology is ready to meet long-term climate change targets as governments have failed to adequately support large-scale deployment, a report by the International Energy Agency showed on Tuesday. Under a global climate pact, called the Paris Agreement, nearly 200 countries agreed last year to phase out greenhouse gas emissions this century and to limit a global average rise in temperature to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Energy technology innovation can help achieve a cleaner energy system but strong policy signals are needed, the report said. Only three out of 26 assessed technologies – electric vehicles, energy storage and mature variable renewables (solar PV and onshore wind) – are on track to meet climate targets, according to the IEA. “Transformation toward a clean energy system is not in line with stated international policy goals. Many technology areas suffer from a lack […]

Is New York The Next Energy Tech Hotspot?

30 May 2017   Renewables

New York is turning into a center of attraction for innovative energy technology companies thanks to its US$5-billion plan to generate half of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, a double increase on the current portion of renewable power. The change, writes Leslie Kaufman from Inside Climate News, requires a transformation of the New York grid, to incorporate more renewable power generation capacity and to diversify into more distributed energy storage systems. This, in its turn, needs new tech in order to happen. Energy storage is a hot topic across America. The race for ever more efficient and reliable systems is on, and there are billions of dollars at stake: if the future of energy is renewable, then the basis for this future will be precisely these storage systems, as they turn renewables from intermittent but unreliable sources of energy in the long run to a truly sustainable […]

Russia Seeking Bids For Colossal Green Energy Auction

30 May 2017   Renewables, Russia

Russia issued government tenders on Monday for contracts to build 1.9 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by utilizing foreign direct investment to create thousands of jobs for the country’s citizens, who are facing a multi-year recession. “Russia has had a long history of leadership in the energy sector and now has the opportunity to extend that leadership into renewable energy,” Adnan Amin, of the International Renewable Energy Agency, told Bloomberg. Developing green energy “can significantly contribute to the country’s economic objectives such as economic growth and employment,” he added. Strict local-content rules passed in 2012 and 2014 for parts used in renewable energy initiatives have stifled the sector’s growth in recent years. The proportion of Russian-made parts necessary for any wind turbine or solar panel plant to function in the country stands at 40 percent in 2017. In the coming years, that percentage will become more stringent. The new […]

Utility-scale solar has grown rapidly over the past five years

5 May 2017   Solar

Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory Republished May 4, 2017, 4:30 p.m. to clarify that utility-scale solar plants make up 2% of electricity generating capacity, not 2% of utility-scale electricity generation. Utility-scale solar installations—including both photovoltaic (PV) and thermal technologies—grew at an average rate of 72% per year between 2010 and 2016, faster than any other generating technologies. Utility-scale solar (plants with a capacity of at least one megawatt) now makes up about 2% of all utility-scale electric generating capacity and 0.9% of utility-scale generation. The first utility-scale solar plants were installed in the mid-1980s, but more than half of the currently operating utility-scale solar capacity came online in the past two years. As of December 2016, more than 21.5 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale solar generating capacity was in operation across the United States, with more than 7.6 GW of that capacity coming online in […]

U.S. wind power accelerating at near-record pace

3 May 2017   Wind

An annual report from a wind energy trade group in the United States found the sector is in the midst of extraordinary growth and Texas is leading the way. Tuesday’s report from the American Wind Energy Association found first quarter U.S. installations reached 2,000 megawatts, triple the capacity from one year ago, for one of the strongest quarters on record. “The addition of North Carolina’s first utility-scale wind project brings U.S. installed wind power capacity to 84,143 MW across 41 states,” the report read. With a White House under President Donald Trump moving in favor of legacy energy resources like oil and coal, the AWEA joined two other renewable energy trade groups last week in defending […]

Wind turbines provide 8% of U.S. generating capacity, more than any other renewable source

3 May 2017   Wind

Preliminary Monthly Electric Generator Inventory Wind generators accounted for 8% of the operating electric generating capacity in the United States in 2016, more than any other renewable technology, including hydroelectricity . Wind turbines have contributed more than one-third of the nearly 200 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale electricity generating capacity added since 2007. The increase in wind development in the United States over the past decade reflects a combination of improved wind turbine technology, increased access to transmission capacity, state-level renewable portfolio standards, and federal production tax credits and grants. More than half of U.S. wind capacity is located in five states: Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, California, and Kansas. In three states—Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma—wind makes up at least 25% of in-state utility-scale generating capacity. Several states with the highest wind capacity are located in the Midwest, a region with favorable wind resources . As of […]

Solar-Power Subsidies Are Money Well Spent

26 Apr 2017   Solar

Regarding Robert Bryce’s “Thanks for Giving Me Your Tax Money” (op-ed, April 19): Mr. Bryce, you and your community are welcome for your reliable and competitive solar electricity. Yours is one of 1.4 million American households, and skyrocketing, that have solar on their roofs. Your claim that only the wealthy are benefiting from solar energy is flat wrong. Our customers come from all walks of life and are investing in solar in large part because the cost of panels has dropped by more than 82% in the last six years. A…

Solar power reliability in Britain boosted with batteries

25 Apr 2017   Solar

Batteries deployed at solar farms in Britain could add reliability to the renewable energy portfolio in the country, developers said. Investment manager Ancala Partners and energy storage provider Anesco said their joint effort led to the completion of their first portfolio-scale deployment of batteries at 10 solar plants across Britain. Solar power is an intermittent source of renewable energy and its expansion in the British grid means more reliability is necessary. “Batteries offer a unique solution to the challenges of intermittent generation by storing and deploying electricity into the National Grid at the times it is required most” the collaborators announced. The development comes about a week after the British grid reached a milestone when about 4 percent, or 29 gigawatt hours, of the nation’s […]

Oklahoma to end tax credits for wind energy

19 Apr 2017   Wind

Oklahoma is resting on its laurels in the renewable energy sector by signing legislation ending tax credits for the wind industry, the state’s governor said. Gov. Mary Fallin put her signature on a bill that ends tax credits for wind power, effective July 1. In a statement, the governor said the tax credits were part of a comprehensive energy strategy that left wind accounting for more than 25 percent of the electricity mix in Oklahoma. “With the support of the zero emissions tax credit, our state has become a national leader in wind energy,” she said. “Currently, Oklahoma ranks third in the nation in total installed wind capacity.” The governor’s signature ends the tax support three years early, though polling data from […]

Saudis Target 30 Solar, Wind Projects in $50 Billion Pledge

18 Apr 2017   Saudi Arabia, Solar, Wind

World’s biggest exporter of crude seeks to wean itself off oil Government to tender for 400 megawatts of wind in 4th quarter Saudi Arabia will develop 30 solar and wind projects over the next 10 years as part of the kingdom’s $50 billion program to boost power generation and cut its oil consumption. The world’s biggest exporter of crude oil will produce 10 percent of its power from renewables by 2023, Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih said Monday at a conference in Riyadh. It also plans to generate an unspecified amount of electricity from nuclear plants. The country is currently seeking bids to build 700 megawatts of wind and solar power capacity in a first round of tenders. It plans a second tender round for rights to build 400 megawatts more of wind power and an additional 620 megawatts of solar plants, Turki Al Shehri, head of the ministry’s renewable […]

Solar Installers Struggle as Panels Become Cheap Enough to Own

14 Apr 2017   Solar

Solar panels are more affordable than ever for U.S. homeowners, and that is bad news for the biggest players in the industry. The price of solar panels dropped by 20% in the past year thanks in part to a global glut of panels and better technology, according to GTM Research, accelerating a shift among homeowners to buy panels rather than lease…

German power company examining new wind energy options

12 Apr 2017   Germany, Wind

Technology for wind energy could use fixed-wing or sails for power in a way that would make deployment easier for deep waters, a German company said. German energy company E.ON said it made an investment commitment with Ampyx Power to test so-called airborne wind energy technology. “This novel technology has the potential to transform the global offshore wind generation market as airborne wind devices are cheaper to manufacture and easier to maintain than conventional wind turbines,” the German company explained. “Additionally, they are easier deployed in deeper waters surrounding countries such as Portugal, Japan and the United States.” Ampyx Power is a pioneer in the development of novel wind energy technologies and the company said teaming up with E.ON was “clear […]

Wind hits new monthly record for share of ERCOT energy

11 Apr 2017   Wind

More than one in four megawatt-hours consumed in March in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas was supplied by wind power — the biggest share ever for renewables in the Lone Star State’s main grid operator, a report released Monday shows. ERCOT’s monthly Demand and Energy Report shows the grid used almost 26 TWh in March, of which wind supplied about 6.6 TWh, equal to about 25.4% of the total, which beat the previous record, 23.3%, set in February. In March 2016, the percentage was 15.5%. Wind’s total in March was less than 2 percentage points below that of coal-fired generation, which supplied the second-largest share, 7.1 TWh or 27.2%. Article continues below… Coal’s total was up from 6.9 TWh in February but ERCOT had a smaller overall total of energy consumed at less than 23 TWh. Therefore, coal’s share equaled 30%. In March 2016, coal plants supplied 3.1 […]

Wind turbine maker Vestas looks at expanding into energy storage

7 Apr 2017   Wind

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. The wind industry is entering a phase of slower growth and steadier demand for turbines, prompting producers to look at alternatives to grow revenue. “The storage side is interesting and there are a lot of small start-ups that might be of interest. I’m looking for industry batteries,” Vestas Chairman Bert Nordberg told Reuters. “If you can store over-production in a good way it would take down the total cost.” Energy storage is the capture of energy produced for use at a later time, for instance in the form of batteries. The technology is becoming increasingly viable with the […]

Report: Global renewable power capacity expanding

31 Mar 2017   Renewables

As European and Asian leaders take up the low-carbon mantel from the United States, a global report found 2016 was a record-setter for renewable energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency reported total global renewable energy capacity increased last year by 161 gigawatts, reaching 2,000 GW by the end of the year. According to estimates from the U.S. Energy Department, 1 gigawatt of energy is enough to power 100 million LED light bulbs. “We are witnessing an energy transformation taking hold around the world, and this is reflected in another year of record breaking additions in new renewable energy capacity,” IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin said in a statement. For the first time ever, new power from […]

Mega-wind farm offshore Denmark clears hurdle

29 Mar 2017   Wind

Danish plans to build one of the larger wind farms in European territorial waters are in line with competition and environmental goals there, a governing body said. Denmark in February told the European Commission it was offering state-backed premiums for the price of electricity to support the Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm. Margrethe Vestager, the European commissioner in charge of competition policy, said the wind farm will help Denmark cut back on greenhouse gas emissions without distorting the market. “The Kriegers Flak offshore wind farm will help to cut carbon dioxide emissions while the support is carefully designed to avoid distorting competition in electricity markets,” she said in a statement . “I’m glad to be able to approve state support for this project.” […]

U.S. oil refiners push for biofuels overhaul at White House

25 Mar 2017   Biofuels

U.S. oil refining executives met with a senior official in President Donald Trump’s administration at the White House last week to argue their position for an overhaul of the nation’s biofuels program, two people in the meeting told Reuters. While it is not unusual for the White House to meet with stakeholders on key issues, the meeting is a sign the Trump administration is actively considering possible changes to the wide-reaching program. Executives from Valero Energy Corp, Delta Airlines’ refiner Monroe Energy, CVR Energy Inc. and several others met with Michael Catanzaro, Trump’s senior energy policy aide, on March 16, the two attendees said. The executives argued that Trump should change the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program to lift the onus of blending biofuels into gasoline away from refiners, placing it instead further down the supply chain to gasoline marketers. They said the program was costing the oil refining […]

World Affairs – Cold Fusion: An Impossible Invention

24 Mar 2017   Renewables

What if there was an energy source that could provide clean water to planet Earth, zero-emission vehicles with unlimited mileage, a solution to the climate crisis and much more but was blocked not by Big Oil but the scientific community. Would that make sense? Much indicates that this is the case with the phenomenon known as cold fusion or LENR (low energy nuclear reactions). Little did I know, when I wrote a short news piece on cold fusion in January 2011 on the website of the Swedish technology […]

Big Oil Replaces Rigs With Wind Turbines

23 Mar 2017   Wind

Royal Dutch Shell Plc , Statoil ASA and Eni SpA are moving into multi-billion-dollar offshore wind farms in the North Sea and beyond. They’re starting to score victories against leading power suppliers including Dong Energy A/S and Vattenfall AB in competitive auctions for power purchase contracts, which have developed a specialty in anchoring massive turbines on the seabed. The oil companies have many reasons to move into the industry. They’ve spent decades building oil projects offshore, and that business is winding down in some areas where older fields have drained. Returns from wind farms are predictable and underpinned by government-regulated electricity prices. And fossil fuel executives want to get a piece of the clean-energy business as forecasts emerge that renewables will eat into their market. “It is certainly […]

1st US offshore wind farm goes ‘full throttle’ during storm

17 Mar 2017   Wind

The company that built the United States’ first offshore wind farm says the powerful storm that hit the Northeast this week was a chance to go “full throttle” and put the turbines through their paces. Deepwater Wind says all five turbines off Rhode Island operated at full capacity during much of Tuesday’s nor’easter. It says the wind farm automatically powered down for several hours when the sustained wind speeds exceeded 55 mph, the designated limit. Winds got as high as 70 mph. Deepwater Wind CEO Jeffrey Grybowski says the offshore wind industry loves strong storms and the wind farm handled the season’s worst conditions superbly. The blustery late-season storm plastered the Northeast with sleet and nearly three feet of snow is some areas.

North Carolina ready for offshore wind energy auction

17 Mar 2017   Wind

More than 100,000 acres off the coast of North Carolina go on the auction block Thursday for potential wind energy development, the U.S. government said. The U.S. Department of Interior pounded the gavel to open the seventh offshore wind auction, putting 122,405 acres off the North Carolina coast on the block for commercial wind energy leasing. In August 2014, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, a division with the Interior Department, identified three areas offshore North Carolina that were suitable for potential wind energy development. The closest to the shoreline would be the Wilmington West wind energy area, located 10 nautical miles from shore. The furthest out would be the Kitty Hawk wind energy area, which begins 24 nautical miles from shore. North Carolina Gov. Pat McRory’s government […]

U.S. refiners’ biofuel bill soars to record high as debate heats up

11 Mar 2017   Biofuels

Oil refiners shelled out a record over $2 billion to meet U.S. biofuels requirements in 2016, a 70 percent surge that helps fuel a growing debate over who should shoulder the costs for meeting environmental regulations. A Reuters review of regulatory filings from ten refiners, including Valero Energy Corp and CVR Energy Inc, showed that they paid $2.22 billion last year for compliance credits that companies use to prove they are meeting annual government requirements for volumes of biofuels to be blended with gasoline and diesel. That was 68 percent more than in 2015 and well above the previous record of $1.3 billion reached in 2013, when prices for paper credits, which trade in an opaque market, spiked to historic levels. […]

U.S. solar market set new record in 2016

10 Mar 2017   Solar

The solar market in the United States had its best year on record in 2016, according to researchers with the Solar Energy Industries Association. In a study published by the industry group, researchers note the solar market nearly doubled its previous record, and added more electric generating capacity than any other source for the first time in history. Solar Power Enter Your Zip Code & Connect. Pre-Screened Contractors Near You! homeadvisor.com The report, called the U.S. Solar Market Insight 2016 Year-in-Review, says the market is set to triple over the next five years, a trend SEIA president and CEO Abigail Ross Hopper calls good news for solar energy producers. “It would be hard to […]

Wind energy gaining traction, U.S. trade group says

8 Mar 2017   Wind

A General Electric wind turbine on display. An industry trade group said wind energy is the new American “cash crop.” File photo by Alexis C. Glenn/UPI. March 7 (UPI) — Wind energy in the United States is making a case for itself as a cheap source of energy that steers revenue to rural America, an industry trade group said. Federal data show five state — Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota — each sourced more than 20 percent of their electricity from wind power last year to lead the nation. “Wind is now cheaply and reliably supplying more than 20 percent of the electricity in five states and is a testament to American leadership and innovation,” Tom Kiernan, the CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, said in a statement . For the entire United States, wind energy supplied 5.5 percent of the total electricity last year, […]

Tapping into Ocean Power

8 Mar 2017   Tidal, Waves

The oceans of the world are a vast unexploited source of clean, reliable and predictable renewable energy. Could this energy help replace fossil fuels and be a solution to climate change? Humans have been trying to harness ocean energy for centuries, beginning with a French engineer named Pierre-Simon Girard in 1799. The constant pounding of the waves and the ebb and flow of tidal currents, as well as other properties of the ocean, if harnessed, could produce 20,000 to 80,000 terawatt hours of electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. That is more than the world’s current energy consumption of almost 20,000 TWh The Electric Power Research Institute estimates that the waves breaking along the U.S. coastline alone could generate 2,640 TWh each year. But since shipping, fishing, naval operations or environmental concerns take precedence in certain areas, the amount of power that is “recoverable” is estimated at 1,170 […]

French, Spanish companies set for more wind power off coast of France

7 Mar 2017   France, Spain, Wind

French and Spanish energy companies said Monday they were setting their sights on building up the wind energy potential off the coast of France. French energy company ENGIE counts an installed wind power capacity of more than 1,700 megawatts in France and is now teaming up with its Spanish counterpart, EDPR, on plans to install as much as 750 MW of wind power offshore. According to ENGIE, offshore France is one of the most attractive parts of the world for offshore wind and the two companies have already pre-qualified for further developments. “Already a leader in on-shore wind, we hope to […]

Trump to shift biofuel blending burden off refiners: U.S. ethanol group

1 Mar 2017   Biofuels

The head of the Renewable Fuels Association said on Tuesday that U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration would lift the responsibility for fuel blending off refiners, which had long requested this change to the nation’s biofuel program. The news sent prices of compliance credits used to meet annual standards tumbling to as low as 30 cents apiece on Tuesday from 47 cents to 48 cents previously. The Renewable Fuel Standard requires that fuel companies use increasing amounts of biofuel blended with gasoline and diesel. Oil refiners, including Valero Energy Corp ( VLO.N ) and CVR Energy Inc ( CVI.N ), had long sought the change, saying the biofuel program hits them with burdensome costs. Renewable Fuels Association Chief Executive Officer Bob Dinneen said a […]

Refiners Pare Gains as Trump Denies Change to Biofuels Rules

1 Mar 2017   Biofuels

Shares of U.S. refiners pared gains late Tuesday after President Donald Trump’s administration denied that it was considering a proposal to change biofuel blending rules. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn and the leading U.S. biofuel trade group struck a deal to revamp a law that mandates oil refiners to either blend petroleum-based fuels with ethanol and biodiesel, or buy blending credits called RINs, according to people familiar with the agreement, and the shares rose earlier in the day on the news. They slipped after the White House said there was no deal. Merchant refiners including Icahn’s CVR Refining and Valero Energy Corp . would benefit from a deal. Gasoline blenders that operate fuel stations such as Casey’s General Stores Inc. and Murphy USA Inc. would have to shoulder the costs. Ethanol blending credits for 2017 compliance fell by nearly 35 percent Tuesday to 30 cents each, the lowest on record […]

Oil industry infighting heats up as EPA weighs biofuels rule change

24 Feb 2017   Biofuels

Oil companies showed deepening divides on the future of the U.S. biofuels program in solicited comments from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) over a plan sought by some refiners to shift the program’s financial burden to retailers and blenders. All sides are pushing hard, seizing the opportunity to test President Donald Trump’s commitment to the program. Trump has supported the program, but top figures in his administration have criticized it. Refiners, integrated oil companies, fuel retailers and biofuels manufacturers flooded the EPA with comments on its plan to deny requests from refiners to tweak the U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) by pushing the compliance burden further downstream. Within the oil industry, the fight pits Valero Energy Corp and billionaire Carl Icahn against refiners like Marathon Petroleum Corp. Biofuels advocates are worried about losing progress into the U.S. fuel stream since lawmakers established the RFS program in 2005 under then […]

Battery Power Boost to Renewables

22 Feb 2017   Solar, Wind

It is the holy grail of the renewable energy sector – a cheap and efficient battery system that can store energy generated by renewables such as wind and solar. These days there are few who doubt the potential of renewables, except those diehards on the extreme of the fossil fuel industry. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) , the main body monitoring developments in the global energy sector, renewables are surging ahead. Investment in renewables In 2015, investments in oil and gas – fossil fuels that, along with coal, are the main drivers of global warming – declined by 25% , while energy produced from renewables rose by 30%. Renewables are becoming increasingly competitive with fossil fuels in […]

Tidal Lagoon Energy in Wales

17 Feb 2017   Tidal, United Kingdom

The report of an independent review of UK tidal lagoon energy was published on 12 January 2017 by a former UK energy Minister Charles Hendry. The report praises the proposed ‘pathfinder’ tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay as a ‘no-regrets option’, and sets out a supportive case for developing the sector. The Hendry Review was commissioned in February 2016 by UK Government to assess the strategic case for tidal lagoon energy as a new industry in the UK. This followed a successful planning proposal by Tidal Lagoon Power (TLP) to develop the world’s first tidal lagoon in Swansea Bay, as well as a subsequent programme for a ‘fleet’ of five larger projects, including three in Welsh waters (Cardiff, Newport and Colwyn Bay). Despite the Swansea Bay project appearing in the 2015 UK Conservative Party manifesto and receiving development consent in June 2015, uncertainties around cost and subsidy subsequently prompted the […]

California demand for wind power energizes transmission firms

16 Feb 2017   Wind

A firm controlled by Philip Anschutz, the billionaire entertainment and pro sports magnate, will soon build the largest wind farm in the United States to serve utilities in California, where officials have set ambitious green power goals. The $5 billion project, however, will be constructed 700 miles away in Wyoming, a state better known for coal mines and oil fields. The vast distance between the two states provides a different Anschutz-owned firm with another big opportunity: a $3 billion project building transmission lines to deliver the power – one of a dozen similar power-line projects by other companies across the West. (Map: How wind power will get from Wyoming to California click here ) In all, about 5,700 miles of transmission lines are in development with the goal of delivering renewable energy to California from other states, according to the Western Interstate Energy Board. Such investments are an outgrowth […]

Solar Installations Surge 95% In 2016

16 Feb 2017   Solar

The solar industry posted its best year on record in 2016, obliterating previous records by installing a smashing 14.6 gigawatts of new solar in the U.S. That is a 95 percent increase from the 7.4 GW installed in 2015, which happened to be the previous record. It was the best year in the history of the U.S. solar business, according to new data from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Even more impressive is the fact that with a cumulative installed capacity at just over 40 GW, roughly one third of all solar capacity ever installed was installed in 2016. Of course, solar has been growing from a small base, and it still represents around 1 percent of total electricity generation. But what matters going forward is growth, and the 2016 figures point to a solid trend that suggests solar will dominate the future. In 2016, […]

OPEC’s Top Producer Is Turning to Wind and Solar Power

14 Feb 2017   Saudi Arabia, Solar, Wind

The nation most identified with its massive oil reserves is turning to wind and solar to generate power at home and help extend the life of its crucial crude franchise. Starting this year, Saudi Arabia plans to develop almost 10 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2023, starting with wind and solar plants in its vast northwestern desert. The effort could replace the equivalent of 80,000 barrels of oil a day now burned for power. Add in natural gas projects set to start later this decade, and the Saudis could quadruple that number, according to Wood MacKenzie Ltd. That could supplant all the crude burned in the kingdom during its winter months. The effort goes hand-in-hand with a drive by the royal family to broaden the economy following two years of budget deficits tied to low oil prices. More industry, though, means more energy, with the amount of power used […]

U.S. D.O.E. Finds Renewables Employed More Americans Than Oil and in Gas in 2016

14 Feb 2017   Renewables

A new report by the United States Department of Energy concludes that American renewable energy firms are creating more jobs than their fossil fuel counterparts. Solar and wind energy companies generated more jobs than oil, coal and natural gas combined, even though the green companies still account for a small portion of total domestic power production. The findings were part of the U.S. Energy and Employment report released last month and support claims by climate activists that supporting renewables can rejuvenate the economy while revitalizing the planet. The entire supply chain of the solar and wind industries – including those who manufacture, install and run turbines and panels – now employs 476,000 workers, while fossil fuel companies employ 187,117 people. Solar energy provides for 1.3 percent of American energy needs and creates twice as many jobs as the coal industry – which President Donald Trump has vowed to bring […]

British grid drawing power from new offshore wind farm

10 Feb 2017   Wind

While only a fraction of the total capacity is realized, Norwegian energy company Statoil said the British grid is getting power from its latest wind farm. Statoil announced its first wind turbine from the Dudgeon facility off the British coast was now providing electricity to the nation’s grid. Up to 6,000 homes are now getting power from offshore wind. Once in full operation later this year, the entire Dudgeon wind farm will have the capacity to provide power for more than 400,000 average households. “This is a significant milestone for one of the largest offshore wind farms in Europe,” Margareth Ovrum, Statoil’s executive vice president for technology, said in a statement . The first wind turbine at Dudgeon was installed in January. In total, 67 […]

Cheaper renewables to halt coal and oil demand growth from 2020: research

The falling cost of electric vehicle and solar technology will halt demand growth for oil and coal from 2020, according to research published on Thursday, posing a threat to fossil fuel companies unprepared for the transition. The Grantham Institute at Imperial College London and independent think tank Carbon Tracker Initiative analyzed cost forecasts for electric vehicle (EV) and solar photovoltaic (PV) technology, government policies and the impact on road transport and power markets, which account for half of global fossil fuel consumption. “Fossil fuels may lose 10 percent of market share to PV and EVs within a single decade. This may not sound much but it can be the beginning of the end once demand starts to decline,” Carbon Tracker said in a statement. A 10 percent […]

Offshore Wind Moves Into Energy’s Mainstream

7 Feb 2017   Wind

When engineers faced resistance from residents in Denmark over plans to build wind turbines on the Nordic country’s flat farmland, they found a better locale: the sea. The offshore wind farm, the world’s first, had just 11 turbines and could power about 3,000 homes. That project now looks like a minnow compared with the whales that sprawl for miles across the seas of Northern Europe. Off this venerable British port city, a Danish company, Dong Energy, is installing 32 turbines that stretch 600 feet high. Each turbine produces more power than that first facility. It is precisely the size, both of the projects and the profits they can bring, that has grabbed the attention of financial institutions, money managers and private equity funds, like the investment bank Goldman Sachs, as well as wealthy individuals like the owner of the Danish toymaker Lego. As the technology has […]

An unconventional approach to fusion

3 Feb 2017   Nuclear, Renewables

There’s no easy road to fusion. Whether one travels the large route forged by six decades of research on hundreds of machines, or whether one tries to open a way through uncharted and exotic territory, difficulties abound and challenges loom large. General Fusion’s approach is quite exotic: no vacuum vessel in their planned fusion machine but a spherical tank filled with a liquid lead-lithium mixture spun into a vortex; no giant superconducting magnet system to confine the plasma but an array of pistons to compress it by way of a powerful shock wave… Over the past few years, several private sector startups have raised enough capital to launch their scientists and engineers into the race to harness fusion power. Tri Alpha Energy and Helion Energy in the US; Tokamak Energy and First Light Fusion in the UK; General Fusion in Canada and scores of others … all claim they […]

Why 100% Renewable Energy Is Just A Dream

1 Feb 2017   Renewables

The “Wind and Solar Will Save Us” story is based on a long list of misunderstandings and apples to oranges comparisons. Somehow, people seem to believe that our economy of 7.5 billion people can get along with a very short list of energy supplies. This short list will not include fossil fuels. Some would exclude nuclear, as well. Without these energy types, we find ourselves with a short list of types of energy — what BP calls Hydroelectric, Geobiomass (geothermal, wood, wood waste, and other miscellaneous types; also liquid fuels from plants), Wind, and Solar. Unfortunately, a transition to such a short list of fuels can’t really work. These are a few of the problems we encounter: [1] Wind and solar are making extremely slow progress in helping the world move away from fossil fuel dependence. In 2015, fossil fuels accounted for 86% of the world’s energy consumption, and […]