Power up: California may force utilities to buy big batteries for renewables

Californian policymakers have driven a boom in renewable energy–driving down the price of solar and wind energy through economies of scale.  They’re now attempting to achieve similar results with energy storage. If it comes to fruition, this Californian initiative could be a game changer for transitioning towards clean, renewable energy sources. 

Published at grist.org by . View original article.

The sun would never set on solar power under an ambitious new proposal in the Golden State.

californiaThe California Public Utilities Commission is considering new rules that would require the state’s utilities to spend heavily on large batteries. That would allow wind and solar energy produced during sunny and blustery conditions to be saved and sold even on calm nights. Continue reading “Power up: California may force utilities to buy big batteries for renewables”

Wind Power Proves Effective CO2 Saver

Published by Scientific American. View original article.

Contrary to claims by critics of wind power, Spanish researchers say, the turbines do reduce carbon dioxide emissions significantly even though the wind does not blow continuously.

ImageLONDON – One of the most oft-repeated arguments of the anti-wind lobby is that turbines produce electricity only intermittently, when there is enough wind to turn them.

This, the wind critics argue, means that so much gas has to be burnt to provide a reliable back-up supply of electricity that wind power‘s overall benefit to the environment is erased.

But extensive research in Spain means this claim can now definitively be declared a myth. Wind, the researchers found, is a very efficient way of reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

The anti-wind campaigners claim that fossil fuel plants have to be kept running at a slow speed, continuously producing CO2, just in case the wind fails. At slow speeds these plants are less efficient and so produce so much CO2, wind opponents say, that they wipe out any gains from having wind power.

Not true, according to a report published in the journal Energy by researchers at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. There are some small losses, the researchers say, but even if wind produced as much as 50 percent of Spain’s electricity the CO2 savings would still be 80 percent of the emissions that would have been produced by the displaced thermal power stations. Continue reading “Wind Power Proves Effective CO2 Saver”

Wind at wholesale price parity in world’s major markets

Published by Renew Economy. View original article.

wind_power_australia_cheapWe spend a lot of time [at Renew Economy] chronicling the dramatic price falls of solar PV, and the new technologies emerging in solar thermal, but it is sometimes forgotten that wind energy is also making important advances.

The recent report by Citigroup on the rapidly changing dynamics of global energy markets – Energy Darwinism the evolution of the energy industry” – had some important conclusions to make about wind. Continue reading “Wind at wholesale price parity in world’s major markets”

No big drop in performance as turbines get older

Published by Wind Power Monthly. View original article.

WORLDWIDE: Denmark’s first offshore wind farm, at Vindeby, has now accumulated over 20 years of operation and generated 217TWh of electricity. Tunø Knob, the second offshore wind farm, is not far behind, having been generating since 1995.

An article in the autumn 2010 issue of WindStats looked at the performance of these — as well as some Swedish and British — wind farms, and found that their outputs were generally in line with expectations. However, a recent analysis by the Renewable Energy Foundation (REF) in the UK has suggested that the productivity of the Danish offshore wind farms has been declining significantly with age and also concludes that “few wind farms will operate for more than 12-15 years”.

This analysis therefore updates the earlier WindStats review and examines the basis for the claim that wind-turbine performance declines with age. An analysis of data from the Danish Energy Agency finds no evidence to support the claim of an age-related performance drop. Performance generally appears to be maintained at a consistent level, with only a slight decline with age — one in line with other types of power plants. Some turbines even delivered improved performance with increasing age. Continue reading “No big drop in performance as turbines get older”

BEAM/Y2R present Energy Futures Forum in Seymour

Energy-Futures-Forum-624x517Victoria stands at a crossroads. Will our energy future be defined by more business-as-usual: fossil fuels, pollution, the threat of fracking and climate change? Or will we transition to clean renewable energy sources such as rooftop solar, community-owned renewable projects and wind farms?

On November 16, BEAM-Mitchell Environment Group and Yes 2 Renewables present the Energy Futures Forum to explore these very questions. The event provides a way for the Mitchell Shire community to engage in the issues surrounding energy generation in Victoria. Continue reading “BEAM/Y2R present Energy Futures Forum in Seymour”

Health experts: Renewables needed to tackle health impacts of fossil fuels

The case for clean renewable energy from wind farms, rooftop solar panels, and large-scale solar plants is usually made in terms of addressing climate change, yet health experts say they’re also necessary on public health grounds.

“We should really be moving towards renewable energy generation.” says Dr George Crisp in Climate and Health Alliance‘s documentary, The Human Cost of Power. “We know that renewable energy is not just good for reducing our carbon emissions. But it also has significant health co-benefits and other environmental benefits too–in terms of reducing air pollution, and water use, and other pollutants into our environment.” Continue reading “Health experts: Renewables needed to tackle health impacts of fossil fuels”

Big data ideas promise improved wind and solar forecasts

Published by Windpower Engineering & Development. View original article.

Big Blue says its advanced power and weather modelling technology will help utilities around the world improve the reliability of their renewable energy resources. “The solution combines weather prediction and analytics to accurately forecast the availability of wind power and solar energy,” says Michael Valicchi, IBM’s Global Energy and Utility Industry Leader. He says the effort will let utilities combine more renewable energy into the power grid, helping to reduce carbon emissions.


Valicchi says HyRef can predict the performance of each wind turbine and estimate the amount of generated renewable energy by using local weather forecasts. “This level of insight will let utilities better manage the variable nature of wind and solar, and more accurately forecast the amount of power that can be redirected into the power grid or stored. It will also let energy organizations combine other conventional sources such as coal and natural gas,” he adds. “We have developed an intelligent system that combines weather and power forecasting to increase system availability and optimize power grid performance.” Continue reading “Big data ideas promise improved wind and solar forecasts”

What will it take for facts to overcome fear about wind turbines?

Published by Environmental Law & Litigation. View original article by Dianne Saxe. People who actually live with and host wind turbines on their properties are rarely heard in the emotional debate on wind farms and health. Australian filmmaker and researcher Neil … Continue reading What will it take for facts to overcome fear about wind turbines?

Wind Economics: Case for wind energy strengthens further

Published by Wind Power Monthly. View original article.

WORLDWIDE: A new report comparing generation costs for different technologies on a global basis confirms wind’s competitiveness.

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In its Renewable Energy Medium-Term Market Report 2013, the International Energy Agency (IEA) compares all electricity-generating technologies and suggests that the minimum global price for onshore wind is about $50/MWh, which can only be bettered by geothermal and hydro in favourable locations, and coal and gas in some locations with cheap access. The IEA suggests the generation cost range for onshore wind is $50-160/MWh, with offshore wind at $150-340/MWh. Coal is placed at $40-90/MWh and gas at $40-130/MWh. This confirms once again that the cheapest wind can now compete with both gas and coal. Continue reading “Wind Economics: Case for wind energy strengthens further”

Pumped hydro energy storage – making better use of wind

Published by The Conversation. View the original post

By Tim Forcey, energy advisor at the University of Melbourne Energy Research Institute. 

South Australia produces plenty of wind power, but it might become more than the grid can handle.

In late September, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) released a report investigating how wind can better be integrated into the power grid. AEMO reports that as more wind turbines are deployed over the next seven years, constraints on the way our electricity grid works – including bottlenecks in the system – mean there may be limits on how much wind-generated electricity we can use.

AEMO has not yet investigated what long-term solutions exist to avoid curtailing wind. But a joint study by the engineering and consulting company Arup and the University of Melbourne Energy Institute is looking at one possible solution.

Electricity system operators and investors could use pumped hydro energy storage to complement the growing deployment of renewable energy. The current grid struggles to push power through when it is being generated in large quantities, and to meet demand when generation is low. Storing energy from wind using pumped hydro means the electricity wouldn’t have to be sold as it is being made, but could be saved for later.

Continue reading “Pumped hydro energy storage – making better use of wind”