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Thread: The Remarkable Progress of Renewable Energy

  1. Top | #21
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    Electric Buses Are Hurting the Oil Industry - Bloomberg -- these are battery-powered buses and hybrid-electric ones, not electric trolleybuses, the kind of bus that gets its electricity from overhead cables.

    Electric buses were seen as a joke at an industry conference in Belgium seven years ago when the Chinese manufacturer BYD Co. showed an early model. ...

    Suddenly, buses with battery-powered motors are a serious matter with the potential to revolutionize city transport—and add to the forces reshaping the energy industry. ...

    The numbers are staggering. China had about 99 percent of the 385,000 electric buses on the roads worldwide in 2017, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s entire fleet. Every five weeks, Chinese cities add 9,500 of the zero-emissions transporters—the equivalent of London’s entire working fleet, according Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
    China got into electric buses because its cities are so smoggy, with about 1.6 million deaths a year attributed to that smog. Buses consume about 30 times as much fuel as cars, and to date, electric buses have displaced about 5 times as much fuel as electric cars.

    Outside China, several cities have been acquiring electric buses, even if not as many as China.

    This is worth mentioning in the context of renewable energy, because the most successful renewable sources make electricity.
    It's also worth mentioning that the buses in question are powered by whatever the local power generation mix is; and that even in places like Denmark, where wind power has been massively adopted, that's FAR from 'emissions free'.

    For electric vehicles to be worthy of the tag 'emissions free', they must be recharged in a location with very low emissions from electricity generation - like France, Sweden, Norway, or Ontario.

    Electric buses in China are doing a good job of reducing the pollution levels in the cities. But they are not doing much to lower emissions overall. In China, an electric bus runs mostly on coal.

  2. Top | #22
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Wind, Solar, & Batteries Continue To Squeeze Out Fossil Fuels, Finds BNEF | CleanTechnica
    With lithium-ion batteries' prices falling 79% with 2010, it is becoming evident that a missing piece of the renewable-energy puzzle is falling into place.

    At first site, wind and solar electricity generation seem like they are trading the vagaries of powerplant-fuel markets for the vagaries of weather. But weather is often very predictable, though only on average for more than a few days. Arid areas often have very little obstruction of incoming sunlight by clouds, and likewise for dry seasons. Likewise, the Earth's rotation is very predictable, as are solar eclipses. In fact, some people have gotten solar-eclipse light curves by monitoring the output of their solar panels.

    Energiewende passes solar eclipse stress test | Clean Energy Wire
    What blackout? How solar-reliant power grids passed the eclipse test
    German and European Power Grids, Civilization Intact Following Solar Eclipse | Greentech Media
    Total Solar Eclipse of 2017
    Eclipse | Vernier

    But such predictability does not get around the problem of intermittency. So one ought to store energy from when the wind is blowing and when the Sun is visible for when the wind is not blowing and the Sun is blocked off. The most common energy-storage technique has been pumped hydroelectric storage, but batteries are now starting to challenge that:

    Falling Grid-Scale Storage Prices Create "Watershed Moment" | CleanTechnica
    RTO Insider reports she enthused that the energy storage industry will grow to 35 gigawatts by 2025 and create hundreds of thousands of new jobs along the way. Energy storage will account for $4 billion in cumulative operational savings during that time while avoiding 3.6 million metric tons of carbon emissions.

    Christopher Parent, ISO-NE’s director of market development, told the conference his organization had no storage in its interconnection queue a couple years ago. Now it has more than 500 megawatts of grid-scale energy storage proposals in the queue, a number that has been growing even in recent weeks, he said.

    ...
    Dan Finn-Foley, senior energy storage analyst for GTM Research, said “energy storage costs have dropped dramatically over the past few years” and projected the trend to continue. ESA figures show the costs for large-scale storage systems declined by 50% since 2014, and Finn-Foley estimates those costs will drop an additional 35% by 2022.
    This will be good not only for renewable sources, but also for coal and nuclear.

  3. Top | #23
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Europe Faces Another Solar Boom, Increasingly Unsubsidized | Greentech Media
    Europe was once the world's biggest solar spender, until the region's PV market fell into a structural decline after subsidies were pulled back. Now Europe is on the upswing once again — this time, with far less government spending.
    As Subsidies Phase Out, Wind Still Powers Ahead | Climate Denial Crock of the Week
    In the US, subsidies for wind energy are due to be phased out in 2020, and for solar energy in 2022.

    I find it welcome that subsidies are being phased out. This phasing out has the effect of slowing down renewable-energy development, but it has a beneficient political side effect: giving at least the appearance of being independent of taxpayers' money. If anything, it may help in directing attention to fossil-fuel subsidies.

  4. Top | #24
    Veteran Member Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    Here in Houston, many of our Metro buses are now electric. And Texas now leads the nation in wind power. 17% of our electrical energy is now generated by wind.
    Cheerful Charlie

  5. Top | #25
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    Here in Houston, many of our Metro buses are now electric.
    Presumably battery-powered ones. There is a kind of electric bus that is powered from overhead cables, the electric trolleybus. This kind of bus uses pairs of wires, since it is difficult to complete a circuit through typical pavement. Electric rail vehicles need only one overhead wire, or else one extra rail, since their rails can complete the circuit.

  6. Top | #26
    Fair dinkum thinkum bilby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    Here in Houston, many of our Metro buses are now electric.
    Presumably battery-powered ones. There is a kind of electric bus that is powered from overhead cables, the electric trolleybus. This kind of bus uses pairs of wires, since it is difficult to complete a circuit through typical pavement. Electric rail vehicles need only one overhead wire, or else one extra rail, since their rails can complete the circuit.
    Third rail electric power has a lot of problems though - it doesn't work for high speed services, and it's no good for areas shared with pedestrians, which is the typical case for buses and tramway/light rail setups. Heavy rail can use it - the London Underground uses a four rail system, and the London and South East England heavy rail uses a three rail system with the return current via the traction rails.

    My uncle, who was a scheduler for British Rail before his retirement, used to say that he was strongly in favour of the third-rail system, because while it didn't stop people from trespassing on the railways, it did at least usually stop them from doing so twice.

    Of course, overhead power can also be a major hazard, but generally you need to be a lot stupider to get caught out by it. Having said which, the standard 25kV used for overhead railway power is quite capable of jumping a large gap to a well earthed human; He needn't tough the wires in order to be incinerated. A chap who was stealing radios from cars on a rail transport wagon at Wakefield (the car loading facility next to Westgate station) found that out the hard way back in the 1980s when the East Coast line was electrified. They had to use dental records to identify him, and the whole area smelled like BBQ pork for a week.

  7. Top | #27
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Fox News Slams California Rooftop Solar Initiative With Lies, Half-Truths, & Distortions | CleanTechnica
    The California Energy Commission has mandated that most new residential structures — single family homes, condominium complexes, and apartment buildings — have rooftop solar systems beginning in 2020. While most people who care about the Earth are applauding the move, Fox News has greeted the decision with derision and scorn.

    Amber Beck, a spokesperson for the California Energy Commission, says, “For residential homeowners, based on a 30-year mortgage, the Energy Commission estimates that the standards will add about $40 to an average monthly payment, but save consumers $80 on monthly heating, cooling, and lighting bills. On average, the 2019 standards will increase the cost of constructing a new home by about $9,500 but will save $19,000 in energy and maintenance costs over 30 years.”
    However, Fox News found some people with contrary opinions, like the Republican leader of the California State Assembly.

    Why The Energy Storage Problem Won't Be A Problem For Long | CleanTechnica
    ... Sure enough, here comes the US Department of Energy with a solution: a newly announced round of $30 million in funding for next-generation technology leading to batteries that can store electricity in bulk for at least 10 hours.

    At that scale, energy storage can solve three problems at once: it can funnel more wind and solar into the grid, it can shrink reliance on coal baseload power plants, and it can push gas “peaker” plants out of the picture. Problem solved!

    By the way, 10 hours is just for starters. The new round of funding aims at systems that can shoot electricity into the grid for up to 100 hours, which puts nuclear power on even shakier ground than it is now (that’s a whole ‘nother can of worms).

    ...
    The background material for the funding announcement also hammers home the aim of enabling “a greater share of low-cost, intermittent sources of wind and solar in the future generation mix.”
    ARPA-E (Energy) put out a report on the prospects of improved storage, noting that 10-hour storage would have some performance features that would enable various design shortcuts. Such shortcuts may be necessary to reduce costs enough to make utilities willing to install something that they are not likely to use very often.
    …the future unsubsidized levelized cost of energy (LCOE) of these technologies will be at or below 2.5 cents/kWh.8 These low prices for wind and solar create a substantial opportunity for the United States, through the reduction in electricity bills and through an increase in the ability to maintain low natural gas prices for use in the chemical industry or for export.

  8. Top | #28
    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Renewable & Fossil Fuel Organizations Oppose "Emergency" Coal & Nuclear Bailout | CleanTechnica
    An unlikely coalition of renewable energy, natural gas, energy efficiency, and oil industry associations have collectively submitted their concerns to the US Department of Energy regarding the possibility of effectively bailing out and subsidizing uneconomic and aging power plants that would otherwise be forced to retire, such as FirstEnergy Solutions’ recent request for the same.

    In a move which is striking in its bilateral and bipartisan support, a combination of American industry associations have submitted a legal analysis to the Department of Energy (DOE) effectively condemning the misuse of Government power to prop up coal and nuclear power plants which, for one reason or another, are being forced into retirement. The group of associations includes Advanced Energy Economy (AEE), the American Petroleum Insititute (API), the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA), the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (INGA), and the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) — a cross-section of American energy voices which speak almost louder than words.
    As renewable energy gets better and better, this could be followed by more such pushes for bailouts. It's not quite the twilight of the fossil fuels (Fossilenergiedämmerung?), even for electricity generation, but it looks like a foretaste of what is to come.

  9. Top | #29
    Veteran Member Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lpetrich View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    Here in Houston, many of our Metro buses are now electric.
    Presumably battery-powered ones. There is a kind of electric bus that is powered from overhead cables, the electric trolleybus. This kind of bus uses pairs of wires, since it is difficult to complete a circuit through typical pavement. Electric rail vehicles need only one overhead wire, or else one extra rail, since their rails can complete the circuit.

    Our electric buses are battery powered. Houston is too big in area to string overhead wires everywhere. Our metro trains use overhead wires, but they are nowhere as extensive as our bus system.
    Cheerful Charlie

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    Statoil Officially Changes Name To Equinor | CleanTechnica
    After announcing its intention earlier in the year, Norwegian multinational oil and gas company Statoil has today officially changed its name to Equinor after the company’s annual general meeting approved the name change on Tuesday.

    Energy companies and utilities around the world are looking to not only transition away from reliance on fossil fuels, but are also looking to ensure that the world knows they are doing so. In October of 2017, Danish energy giant DONG Energy announced that it would change its name to Ørsted, and in late March Swedish power company Vattenfall made the cosmetic decision to change its logo.
    DONG = Danish Oil and Natural Gas
    Ørsted = Oersted = discoverer of magnetic fields made by electric currents

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