US Solar Market Grows 95% in 2016, Smashes Records
This represents a 95 percent increase over the previous record of 7,493 megawatts installed in 2015. GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) previewed this data in advance of their upcoming U.S. Solar Market Insight report, set to be released on March 9.
FIGURE: U.S. Solar PV Installations, 2010-2016
Source: GTM Research / SEIA U.S. Solar Market Insightreport
For the first time ever, U.S. solar ranked as the No. 1 source of new electric generating capacity additions on an annual basis. In total, solar accounted for 39 percent of new capacity additions across all fuel types in 2016.
Rest of story here.
February 13, 2017
SPP sets North American record for wind power
Southwest Power Pool set a wind-penetration record of 52.1 percent at 4:30 a.m., Feb. 12, becoming the first regional transmission organization (RTO) in North America to serve more than 50 percent of its load at a given time with wind energy. The milestone beats a previous North American RTO record of 49.2 percent that SPP set April 24, 2016. Wind penetration is a measure of the amount of total load served by wind at a given time.
The proliferation of wind power in the SPP region has grown significantly over the last decade. As recently as the early 2000s, SPP’s generating fleet included less than 400 MW of wind, and for years, wind was reported in the “Other” category in SPP’s fuel mix data. Wind is now the third most-prevalent fuel source in the SPP region. It made up approximately 15 percent of the organization’s generating capacity in 2016, behind only natural gas and coal.
Installed wind-generation capacity increased in 2016 alone by more than 30 percent — up 4,000 MW from 12 GW to more than 16 GW. SPP’s maximum simultaneous wind generation peak rose from 9,948 MW in 2015 to 12,336 MW in early 2016.
“Ten years ago, we thought hitting even a 25 percent wind-penetration level would be extremely challenging, and any more than that would pose serious threats to reliability,” SPP Vice President of Operations Bruce Rew said. “Since then, we’ve gained experience and implemented new policies and procedures. Now we have the ability to reliably manage greater than 50 percent wind penetration. It’s not even our ceiling. We continue to study even higher levels of renewable, variable generation as part of our plans to maintain a reliable and economic grid of the future.”
The successful deployment of wind and other renewables in SPP is made possible because of its geographic diversity and robust transmission system. The RTO’s footprint covers almost 550,000 square miles from the Canadian border in Montana and North Dakota in the north to parts of New Mexico, Texas and Louisiana in the south.
“We’re able to manage wind generation more effectively than other, smaller systems can because we’ve got a huge pool of resources to draw from,” Rew said. “With a footprint as broad as ours, even if the wind stops blowing in the upper Great Plains, we can deploy resources waiting in the Midwest and Southwest to make up any sudden deficits.”
SPP has approved the construction of more than 10 billion dollars in high-voltage transmission infrastructure over the last decade, with much of it being built in the Midwest to connect rural, isolated wind farms to population centers hundreds of miles away.
Rest of story here.
MHI Vestas Unveils New 9 Megawatt Wind Turbine
January 27th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill
MHI Vestas Offshore Wind has unveiled its new 9 megawatt wind turbine which, in testing at the company’s Østerild broke the energy generation record over a 24 hour period.
The continued development of offshore wind turbines continues apace, with the unveiling of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind’s latest offering. The uprated V164 8 megawatt (MW) wind turbine has been reworked so that it is able to reach 9 MW “at specific site conditions,” said the company on Thursday.
Further, the new 9 MW turbine smashed the energy generation record for a commercially available offshore wind turbine, producing 215,999.1 kilowatt-hours (kWh) over a 24 hour period.
If you’re new to the wind turbine world, an increase of 1 MW per wind turbine is a much bigger story that it might appear at first glance. With each increase in turbine power, fewer turbines are needed to meet offshore wind farm target levels, which turns into financial savings for developers and consumers. This impacts the ‘levelized cost of electricity’ of offshore wind, which as we have seen over the past year has been dropping rapidly. In the UK, the levelized cost of offshore wind fell below £100 per megawatt-hour (MWh) four years in advance of the original target set by industry and Government. Meanwhile, in the rest of the European Union, offshore wind saw the lowest levelized cost price of €49.9/MWh.
Solar Could Beat Coal to Become the Cheapest Power on Earthby
Global average solar cost may fall below coal within 10 years
Countries from Saudi Arabia to Mexico planning auctions
Solar power is now cheaper than coal in some parts of the world. In less than a decade, it’s likely to be the lowest-cost option almost everywhere.
In 2016, countries from Chile to the United Arab Emirates broke records with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal power. Now, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Mexico are planning auctions and tenders for this year, aiming to drop prices even further. Taking advantage: Companies such as Italy’s Enel SpA and Dublin’s Mainstream Renewable Power, who gained experienced in Europe and now seek new markets abroad as subsidies dry up at home.
Since 2009, solar prices are down 62 percent, with every part of the supply chain trimming costs. That’s help cut risk premiums on bank loans, and pushed manufacturing capacity to record levels. By 2025, solar may be cheaper than using coal on average globally, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
Rest of story here.
The chief architect of President Barack Obama’s climate change policies has warned the incoming Trump administration that US law and the scientific evidence of global warming will constrain any attempt to overturn her work.
Ms McCarthy said that, just as she had to provide a scientific foundation for her regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions, the Trump administration would be required by the Clean Air Act to show that any attempt to tear up the regulations was scientifically justified.
“If they choose [to] develop a different record then they have a right to do that, but it’s going to be a very high burden of proof for them, because I have no question that what we have done will be solid from a science perspective,” she said.
This nifty map shows why coal power is struggling, Trump notwithstanding
As the first map at the Science link shows, even without the CPP, gas and wind (pink and medium blue) are already the cheapest new power sources in nearly 75% of the nation’s 3110 counties. [Note: Red shows the few areas where coal is cheapest.]
Tack on the CPP (middle map), which would require coal plants to capture some of their carbon emissions, and coal (red) cedes more territory to wind and natural gas.
And coal disappears from the map if you add the environmental and public health costs associated with various energy sources (the third map), including a $62 per metric ton price on carbon dioxide emissions. And nuclear power (light blue) expands.
(Go to link at bottom to see these maps.)
The work is part of a broader initiative at the institute, aimed at tallying all the costs that come with keeping the lights on, from environmental impacts to building transmission lines or responding to regulations.
Snazzy online calculators and mapping tools that accompany the new model enable users to tweak a number of variables, including gas prices and environmental costs, and see how the nation’s energy future might change, at the level of individual counties.
Colorado Public Radio (December 8, 2016)
At Kaiser’s Arapahoe Medical Offices in Centennial, executive Clayton Mitchell points out the solar panels that are “sort of arrayed toward the south.” In a state with 300 sunny days a year, these solar panels provide more than half the electric energy needed to power the adjacent medical office building. For Mitchell, who heads up Kaiser’s investments in renewables, it is tangible savings. “Fifty-five percent,” he said. “Roughly over 25 years, we anticipate getting $160,000 in energy savings, in cost savings.”
Rest of story here.
New Survey Shows That Renewable Energy Polls Extremely Well Among Trump Voters
by Stephen Lacey
December 01, 2016
A new survey of 1,000 people conducted by the Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies illustrates this dynamic. According to the poll, 75 percent of Trump voters support “action to accelerate the deployment and use of clean energy” — including solar, wind, energy efficiency, and community renewable projects.
Rest of story here.
Michigan’s biggest electric provider phasing out coal, despite Trump’s stance
on November 25, 2016 at 9:47 AM, updated November 28, 2016 at 12:51 PM
LANSING, MI — President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to end the “war on coal,” but DTE Energy CEO Gerry Anderson said the company plans to phase out the fuel, regardless.
Anderson said the company had already shuttered three coal-fired units, and has plans to shelve another eight by 2030.
“All of those retirements are going to happen regardless of what Trump may or may not do with the Clean Power Plan,” said Anderson in an interview.
Full story here.
November 22, 2016
Economics to Keep Wind and Solar Energy Thriving With Trump
Utilities plan to continue building wind, solar farms
Clean power is now cheaper than coal or gas in some state
On the plains of West Texas, new wind farms can be built for just $22 a megawatt-hour. In the Arizona and Nevada deserts, solar projects are less than $40 a megawatt-hour. Compare those figures with the U.S. average lifetime cost of $52 for natural gas plants and about $65 for coal.
Full story here