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jpak

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 37,563

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Solar Power Cheaper Than Coal Foreseen By German Solar CEO

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/07/10/solar-power-cheaper-than-coal-foreseen-by-german-solar-mogul/

In a new interview with Deutsche Welle, the CEO of a Germany-based global solar developer made a good case for the potential for solar power to become cheaper than coal sooner rather than later.

That would be Bernhard Beck, CEO of BELECTRIC. In the interview Beck had some interesting things to say about the direction of the global solar market and the potential for growth in large-scale solar power generating plants, and if anything, we think his forecast could come true even sooner than he thinks.

BELECTRIC specializes in utility-scale solar power plants as well as rooftop solar, and the former area is where the focus of the Deutsche Welle interview takes place.
According to Beck, large scale solar power in Germany is already “approaching the costs” of conventional power, at 10 euro cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh).

Beck was reluctant to lay out a specific timetable, but he did predict that with additional technological improvements, the cost of solar power in Germany (and by extension, other relatively sun-poor countries), will ultimately fall below the cost of conventional energy.

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World's Biggest Offshore Wind Farm Switched On in Britain

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/green-tech/wind/worlds-biggest-offshore-wind-farm-switched-on-in-britain

Around a year and a half ago, the Walney wind farm in the Irish Sea started spinning and prepared to relish the title of being "biggest in the world." It ended up enjoying that status a bit longer than expected, but the London Array, off the coast of Kent, now leaves Walney and its 367 megawatts in the dust.

Some numbers: 175 turbines. 630 megawatts. Half a million homes. 100 square kilometers. 450 kilometers of offshore cabling.

In other words, it's pretty big. The speed at which these enormous projects are popping around in the waters around the U.K. is impressive, especially considering the ongoing difficulties with getting even a single offshore turbine up and running in the U.S. (Cape Wind might have one by next year! Maybe!) There are now around 20 distinct offshore wind farms around the U.K., generating enough power for 2.3 million homes; when all offshore turbines that are spinning, in construction, or planned are combined, they total 15 gigawatts of capacity—about a quarter of the entire U.S. onshore wind power capabilities.

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BREAKING: Germany Sets Solar Power Record (Again) — 23.9 GW

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/07/07/breaking-germany-sets-solar-power-record-again-23-9-gw/

It has been a very sunny day here in western Poland, so I knew it was basically the same in Germany (it always is) and that there was a good chance Germany would break its previous solar power output record. So, I’ve been keeping an eye on SMA Solar Technology’s live solar power output tool for the country.

Sure enough, a few hours ago, solar output climbed above the 22.68 GW solar power output record Germany set in April. Not long after, it climbed above the 23.4 GW solar power output record set in June. At its peak at about 1:45pm local time (one hour ago), the output got up to 23.9 GW. (Actually, I thought I saw it reach 24 GW at that time, but the replay isn’t showing it go above 23.9 GW.)

I’m sure an official number still needs to be confirmed, but a full 0.5 GW increase according to SMA’s site makes for a very safe conclusion that we have a new record. It is an estimate based on the output of thousands of SMA solar power systems spread across the country.

Germany’s peak electricity demand at midday is about 60 GW, so at 1:45pm or so, solar power was providing about 40% of the country’s electricity demand. Impressive. Approximately 1.3–1.4 million solar power systems were involved in creating that massive electricity output, our German solar expert Thomas tells me. And about 8.5 million people live in buildings where solar power systems are used to produce electricity or heat.

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Feds Approve Huge Wind Facility Near Lake Mead

http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/wind/interior-approves-huge-wind-facility-on-public-lands.html

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has signed off on a wind power facility that would cover almost 60 square miles of public lands in Arizona near the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. The Mohave County Wind Farm, built by BP Wind Energy North America, would include up to 243 wind turbines with blades about 180 feet long.

The project would occupy 35,329 acres of land under the Bureau of Land Management and 2,781 acres of Bureau of Reclamation land, and would butt up against Lake Mead NRA about 44 miles east of Las Vegas. Depending on the transmission connection eventually chosen, the project would max out at between 425 and 500 megawatts peak generating capacity.

"These are exactly the kind of responsible steps that we need to take to expand homegrown, clean energy on our public lands and cut carbon pollution that affects public health," said Secretary Jewell. "This wind energy project shows that reducing our carbon pollution can also generate jobs and cut our reliance on foreign oil."

The one oil-fired power plant in Arizona that this project might have supplanted, the diesel-fueled Grand Canyon Power House in the South Rim area of the National Park, ceased operations in 1956.

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Use of wind power for electricity generation rises as coal declines

http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/2013/06/26/iowa-releases-new-data-on-sources-of-electric-power-generation-wind-increasing/article

n consecutive stories this week – here on Tuesday and here on Wednesday – the Des Moines Register has cited 2010 data on the sources of electric power generation in Iowa.

Those figures were the best available as of deadline Tuesday evening, and showed the state reliant on coal-fired power plants for 71.8 percent of its power, while drawing 16 percent from wind.

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In short: coal power is falling while the wind is rising.

Here’s the new data:

Coal: 67.82 percent
Wind: 19.0 percent
Natural Gas: 1.76 percent
Fuel Oil/Petroleum: 0.25 percent
Nuclear: 9.25 percent
Hydro: 1.64 percent
Other Renewables: 0.28 percent.

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What to do with the world's unwanted wind turbines?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-23048093

The study was commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage, which is expected to issue new guidance on dealing with old turbines later this year.

The research looked at the decommissioning of the machines, the restoration of wind farm sites and also how turbines, towers and the various components can be recycled.

Dealing with the massive devices when they are replaced by more efficient ones is expected to become an increasingly weighty issue.

The SNH-commissioned report quotes a forecast that by 2034 there will be a need to recycle about 225,000 tonnes of rotor blade material every year worldwide.

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U.K. Moves Toward Bigger Solar Plants as Costs Drop

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-17/u-k-moves-toward-bigger-solar-plants-as-costs-drop.html

Solar-energy developers in the U.K. are installing bigger power plants after the cost of panels dropped quicker than the government reduced subsidies, the British Photovoltaic Association said.

More than half of projects in development are sized 5 megawatts or bigger, up from about a third in the first quarter, when installations reached 520 megawatts, Reza Shaybani, the head of the British Photovoltaic Association, said today in an interview at a conference in Munich.

Investors can generate returns of “between 8 percent to 12 percent, depending on what you install,” he said. The plunge in prices for solar systems eclipsed the feed-in-tariff cuts of about 50 percent, he said in a speech at the gathering.

Britain seeks to install as much as 22 gigawatts of solar energy by 2020 as part of a target to get 15 percent of its energy from renewables by the same year. While the U.K. is “well on track” to achieve its 2020 solar target, the BPVA is asking the government to suspend further cuts to the feed-in-tariff and the Renewables Obligations Certificate for 12 months because of the European Union’s anti-dumping tariffs on China that are hurting sales, he said.

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The business case for wind power: Opinion (Google)

http://blog.nj.com/njv_guest_blog/2013/06/the_business_case_for_wind_pow.html

People sometimes ask why an Internet company like Google has chosen to invest in the Atlantic Wind Connection — a multi-billion-dollar electric transmission “backbone” designed to carry power from offshore wind farms. The answer is simple: At Google, we believe investing in renewable energy makes business sense.

Energy is a critical driver of our business. We receive more than 3 billion search queries a day, show 6 billion hours of video on YouTube every month, and serve 5 million businesses with Google Apps — and all that takes energy. As a company, Google is committed to using that energy efficiently and sustainably. Our data centers use half the energy of typical data centers, we build our campuses to the most efficient design standards, and we’ve purchased more than 260 megawatts of wind power.

Beyond our own operations, we want to help the transition to that clean energy future in another way — by investing directly into projects. This allows us to diversify our capital while contributing to a clean energy future — for ourselves, for the local communities in which we operate, and for our users around the world.

Since 2010, Google has committed more than $1 billion to renewable energy projects, including some of the world’s largest land-based wind farms, the largest solar power tower in the world, and both utility scale and residential scale solar photovoltaic systems.

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(Califronia) Solar power generation hits record levels (2071 MW at noon)

http://fox5sandiego.com/2013/06/09/solar-power-generator-hits-record-levels/#axzz2VwiUCov2

SAN DIEGO — With Southern California’s largest electric generating station broken and scheduled for removal, solar generation levels have reached a record level in California, state officials said Sunday.

Solar power generation on California’s grid set a new all-time high output of 2,071 megawatts at 12:59 p.m. Friday, said officials at the California ISO, the state agency that balances customer demand on regulated power utilities with power generation from commercial vendors.

That nearly equals the 2,250 megawatts of nuclear-powered generation that was lost in January, 2012, when small amounts of radiation began leaking from Southern California Edison’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, at Camp Pendleton.

San Diego Gas & Electric owns 20 percent of San Onofre, and has historically received one fifth of its power from the iconic nuclear plant, 65 miles north of San Diego. SDG&E has reassured its customers it can import sufficient replacement power from natural gas, wind and geothermal plants in the Imperial Valley via its new Sunrise Powerlink transmission line.

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2013 Q1 Update: U.S. Solar Industry Keeps Chugging Along (723 MW installed)

http://www.forbes.com/sites/peterdetwiler/2013/06/11/2013-q1-update-u-s-solar-industry-keeps-chugging-along/

GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association released numbers this morning suggesting that the solar juggernaut is not slowing down. Consider this: in the first three months of the year, the U.S. installed 723 MW, just under half of all new generation capacity installed across the country, and the best first quarter yet for solar.

The utility solar market scored big, with 318 MW installed under the direction and ownership of the electric utilities. However, the residential market saw 164 MW installed, with 53% year-over-year growth.

The biggest development driving this trend is the explosive growth of third-party owned solar, which removes the upfront financing obstacle. Companies such as Solar City have approached this problem head on. In the past two months alone, Solar City announced a $500 mn lease financing agreement with Goldman Sachs, as well as a zero down financing program for homebuilders wishing to include solar in new construction. The GTM/SEIA report notes that these third-party models supported two-thirds or more of all residential solar installation in some states.

As one might expect, the ‘left coast’ had a major role to play, especially in the residential sector. In California, residential installations actually eclipsed non-residential additions, driven largely by the increasingly favorable economics. With the benefit of the 30 percent federal investment tax credit, solar is now cost-effective when compared with relatively high California utility rates.

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