More than a third of Canada’s electricity demand could be met with wind turbines without compromising the country’s grid reliability or driving up power bills, new findings from a much-anticipated wind power integration study show. The study, led by GE Energy Consulting, is the first to make a detailed systemwide examination of the opportunities, costs and benefits of adding significant amounts of wind energy capacity to Canada’s grid, officials said.
A report by a Berlin research institute said that on Sunday, May 15, Germany had generated just short of 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy. It appeared to be an environmentalist’s dream come true. A surge of wind and solar power helped handle nearly all of the day’s power demands, and the grid hadn’t flickered. “Germany achieves milestone,” said one headline. But like many aspects of adapting electricity grids to cleaner energy sources, the milestones are still to come. First, the institute’s report was wrong. Later calculations showed the portion of electricity supply from renewable energy was around 82 percent, not a record.
Wisconsin regulators have relaxed noise restrictions on a major wind farm in St. Croix County. The Public Service Commission approved the Highland wind farm in 2013, but a St. Croix County judge ruled the commission improperly imposed noise restrictions on the farm’s turbines. The restrictions required the turbines to remain within maximum decibel levels 95 percent of the time, or just under 23 hours per day.
For the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, June was a month of changes for the future of renewable electricity and solar gardens in this state. Here is why: At June’s end, PV-Tech reported the Colorado PUC reversed an earlier decision it had rendered by approving the deployment of community solar gardens. The regulatory agency granted reconsideration of a proposal by the state’s largest utility, Xcel Energy, and three solar companies, for community solar gardens which had earlier been rejected. Community solar gardens provide scope for virtual net-metering to those wanting to go solar but who are unable to have panels on their own property, and were part of Xcel’s wider Renewable Energy Standard (RES) compliance plan.
Apple recently made headlines when it established a subsidiary called Apple Energy and filed for authorization to sell capacity, energy and ancillary services in wholesale energy markets nationwide. It will be some time before we see Apple participate in many of these markets, since Apple’s application currently covers only its renewable energy projects in California and Nevada, as well as one under construction in Arizona. But the fact that a consumer technology company has formed an energy subsidiary reflects the extent to which large corporations are taking an active approach to energy management.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s administration has been talking directly with oil companies in hopes of reaching a consensus on extending California’s landmark climate programs, opening a back channel with an industry the governor has harshly criticized as a barrier to addressing global warming. The dialogue was described by sources who requested anonymity to talk about private discussions and later confirmed by the Western States Petroleum Assn., which represents oil companies in Sacramento.
China’s Hanergy Holding Group (Hanergy) has unveiled four solar-powered electric concept cars, set for production within three years. Hanergy is a large clean-energy company and one of the largest thin-film solar cell manufacturers in the world. Hanergy is also the owner of U.S. based Alta Devices, which it bought in 2014. Much of the technology used in the solar panels that cover the Hanergy cars is based on Alta Devices AnyLight, which was devised as a range-extending technology for electric vehicles.
The Danish utility Dong Energy A/S won a contract to develop two wind farms off the coast of the Netherlands that the Dutch government deemed the cheapest in the world. Dong, the world largest offshore wind developer, offered to develop the projects for 7.27 euro cents a kilowatt-hour (8 U.S. cents), excluding connection fees for TenneT of 1.4 cents a kilowatt-hour, the Dutch economic affairs ministry said in a statement on its website Tuesday. The government said the move will allow it to spend 2.7 billion euros less than it had anticipated over the 15 years it will subsidize the project.
Carbon markets, the free-enterprise solution to saving the world from global warming, are now in danger themselves. The idea was simple enough: Set a cap on carbon emissions, issue enough permits to allow power plants, refineries and the like to stay within those limits and then shrink the cap over time to achieve reductions. The companies whose emissions fall fastest can sell their permits for a profit to slower responders — call it a reward for good behavior.
For many years, the tradition has been that on midsummer afternoons, engineers will turn on what they call a “peaker,” a natural gas-burning power plant In Long Beach. It is needed to help the area’s other power plants meet the day’s peak electricity consumption. Thus, as air conditioners max out and people arriving home from work turn on their televisions and other appliances, the juice will be there. Five years from now, if current plans work out, the “peaker” will be gone, replaced by the world’s largest storage battery, capable of holding and delivering over 100 megawatts of power an hour for four hours. The customary afternoon peak will still be there, but the battery will be able to handle it without the need for more fossil fuels. It will have spent the morning charging up with cheap solar power that might have otherwise been wasted.