Dave Elliott: Power engineers worry that, as more renewables are added to the grid, replacing old coal, gas and nuclear plants, we will loose lock-step AC synchronous system stability, since the latter had large heavy rotating turbo-generators which provided system inertia against frequency perturbations. The big plants’ rotational inertia acts as a buffer to grid frequency changes, and to varying supply and inductive loads. However, PV solar has no rotational inertia, and wind turbines not much, though direct drive machines can provide some. With more renewables on the grid it will become more of an issue. There may be solutions, and smart grid demand management may be an option for avoiding some problems. There is certainly a big literature on that:

Environmental Research Web 17th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2018

Renewables – solar

The global solar power market grew 29.3 per cent last year, with new capacity additions rising from76.5GW in 2016 to 98.9GW in 2017, according to the latest data from SolarPower Europe. Unveiled at the trade body’s annual conference in Brussels, the new update confirmed the European market almost matched the global market, with new capacity rising 28.4 per cent to 8.6GW last year. Christian Westermeier, president of SolarPower Europe, said it was encouraging to see the European solar market growing again after several years when policy changes and subsidy cuts have curtailed growth in key markets. “It is good to see European solar growing again, and it is particularly encouraging that this increase is at about the same level as the global market,” he said. However, he added the EU could help support the next phase of growth by delivering a more ambitious renewables target for 2030.

Business Green 16th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2018

Renewables – wind

UK sets new wind power record as turbines deliver 14 gigawatts for first time – 37 per cent of nation’s electricity. At 10am on Saturday Wind generated 13.9GW, or 36.9 per cent of the UK’s electricity, increasing to 14GW by 11am. The previous record was 13.6GW in January this year. By contrast gas generated only 8.5GW (23 per cent), nuclear 6.5GW (17.3 per cent), coal just 4.7GW (12.5 per cent) and both solar and biomass 1.5GW (4.1 per cent). Hydro came last with 0.3GW or 0.9 per cent.

Independent 17th March 2017 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2018

Energy Storage

Power-to-gas uses electrolysis to break water down into its constituent parts of oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen can be stored along with natural gas in pipelines, or used in fuel cell vehicles. An additional step called methanisation converts the hydrogen into renewable natural gas (RNG), which can be stored in those same pipelines to be used later in a variety of industrial and domestic applications. But just how effective is it? And how does it compare to lithium-ion batteries? Last year, research funded by SoCalGas at University of California demonstrated that power-to-gas could enable them to increase the campus’ mix of renewables in their microgrid tenfold, from a relatively minor 3.5 percent up to a hugely significant 35 percent. Such a huge jump is certainly a great argument in favour of the system’s efficacy, and it compares extremely favourable with lithium-ion, at least in terms of cost. According to Matt Gregori, technology development manager at Southern California Gas, their pipeline system has about 13 tWh of equivalent electricity storage. That level of storage using battery storage facilities would cost about $2.6 trillion. It is indeed the ability to use existing infrastructure that makes power-to-gas so appealing. The North Sea for example, has an existing gas infrastructure. It is also home to offshore wind farms, with the green light having recently been given to construction of the world’s largest wind farm, which is scheduled to come online in 2023. The Hornsea Two project, along with its sister site Hornsea One will have the potential to generate nearly 2.6GW, enough to power in excess of two million homes. Using the preexisting gas pipeline infrastructure for power-to-gas will be a cost-effective way of ensuring that power can satisfy the demand of those homes, as and when it is needed.

Oil Price 17th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2018

Baseload Power

The experience of the German Energiewende shows that increasing amounts of renewable energy on the power system, while at the same time reducing inflexible baseload generation, does not harm reliability write Michael Hogan, Camille Kadoch, Carl Linvill and Megan O’Reilly of the Regulatory Assistance Project (RAP). American policymakers who are still skeptical can look across the Atlantic, to Germany, for a concrete example of a successful transition away from traditional baseload, the authors note. Numerous studies sponsored by utilities, system operators, the national labs, and others show that a large share of variable renewable energy production can be integrated while keeping the lights on, without any valuable role for traditional baseload. No study, not even by the US Department of Energy, which examined this issue in an August 2017 Staff Report on Electricity Markets and Reliability, has found evidence that baseload generation is required for reliability. Most studies have found that reliability and least cost are best served by reducing the share of inflexible baseload generation. Germany is meeting nearly a fifth of its electricity requirements with VREs while retiring inflexible thermal generation, the nation has not experienced reliability problems on either the distribution or bulk electric system. If anything, government data show that the reliability of the German system has increased.

Energy Post 12th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018

Renewables Investment

The world of energy is changing and new records keep being set. Britain generated more electricity from renewables and nuclear power last year than from gas and coal, the first time lower-carbon resources met most of the UK’s power needs. The German and Dutch governments last year held offshore wind auctions that were subsidy free. Infrastructure funds have long been backers of renewable energy projects but the number of publicly listed green investment vehicles is growing. Investors traditionally buy in for the long-term yield. Gore Street Capital, a private equity group, is launching the world’s first listed energy storage fund. The Gore Street Energy Storage Fund wants to raise £100m to invest in large-scale battery projects. Two strategic investors are committing £14m, Japan’s NEC and Nippon Koei, an engineering company. Battery storage is a growing market. As the amount of intermittent renewables increases and baseload power from coal declines, the demand for utility-scale batteries to help balance supply and demand will increase. The fund will target a dividend yield of 7 per cent and will be following in the footsteps of some other interesting green investment groups.

FT 16th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018

Renewables – floating wind

With the Hywind project off the coast of Peterhead outstripping all expectation during its first testing phase, Statoil’s senior vice president of wind and low carbon solutions, Stephen Bull, is confident about the technology’s growth in Scotland.

Energy Voice 12th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018

Island Energy

A SMALL island community hopes to produce almost all of its power through renewable sources after securing £1.3 million in funding. Residents on Canna in the Inner Hebrides will use the money to build a green energy system based around wind and solar energy along with better battery storage. The island is not connected to the national grid and currently uses three diesel engines to produce power, but it is hoped renewables will provide more than 90 per cent of what is needed when the scheme is complete. Canna Renewable Energy and Electrification Ltd (CREEL) director Geraldine MacKinnon said: “Our energy project has been a long-standing ambition for our community. The island is exposed to the full force of Atlantic gales and we can finally start to put that to good use. “As well as reducing the noise and pollution from the generators, the new scheme will give us the capacity to build additional houses. We’re very grateful to all of our funders for their support in this vital project.” Funding was secured from the Big Lottery Fund, the Scottish Government’s Community and Renewable Energy Scheme, SSE Highland Sustainable Development Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise as well as the National Trust for Scotland.

The National 17th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2018


Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar telephoned a local authority over a wind farm planning application in 2014 after being lobbied by Donald Trump. The Taoiseach told an event in Washington to mark St Patrick’s Day that he was contacted four years ago by the now US President who had a “problem” with the nine-turbine Shragh project in County Clare. Trump had acquired the nearby Doonbeg hotel and golf course and said the wind farm would “impact on tourism”, Varadkar said. The then Tourism Minister “endeavoured to do what I could about it” and “rang” Clare County Council to enquire. “Subsequently the planning permission was declined,” he said. “The president has very kindly given me credit for that although I do think it would probably have been refused anyway.”

Renews 16th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 16 March 2018

Renewables – solar

Solar school economics returning as latest RepowerBalcolme install completed. RepowerBalcolme has completed its latest community funded install at a primary school in West Sussex in a sign that the economics of such projects are now “coming back” following feed-in tariff cuts. The 20.52kWp system at Holy Trinity Primary School in Cuckfield represents the ninth project to be completed by the group, having now installed 163kWp of community funded solar in the local area. Tom Parker, director at RepowerBalcombe, said: “It’s great to see yet more locally owned solar start bringing the benefits of clean, green energy to our community. From cow sheds to school roofs we’ve shown the potential to bring a community together behind the potential offered by renewable energy.” The system was fully funded by RepowerBalcolme in exchange for all of the FiT income and a small maintenance fee, with the school benefiting from 20% of their electricity needs being met by the 18,000kWh generating annually by the system. This is expected to save the school £1000 on their energy bills each year.

Solar Power Portal 15th March 2018 read more »

Posted: 16 March 2018