News

Costa Rica

Costa Rica, is small yet bold. We have historically been a leader, a first mover, and have thrived by taking steps others deemed impossible. We were the first country in the world to abolish our army in 1948, have established free public healthcare and education, and invested in our national parks in order to protect our biodiversity. In 2017, Costa Rica achieved another first – and set a world record – for the most consecutive days of running the national electricity grid with only renewable energy: 300 days in a row. And this little country is aiming to go even further than that. Decarbonisation is the great task facing our generation, and we want to be the first country in the world to achieve it. We have launched an economy-wide plan to decarbonise our country in line with the Paris agreement on climate change and the objectives of the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda. Our nation has a history of thinking long-term and those decisions have paid off. Costa Rica rejected cheap coal in the 1970s and instead turned to hydropower, which to this day supplies much of our clean energy and allows us to power our country emissions-free for long stretches. As the price of wind and solar technologies fall globally, we’re investing more in these forms of energy to keep our grid clean and reliable.

FT 17th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2019

Greece

Greece’s regulator has announced details of the country’s next renewable energy tender. The Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) will open the bidding on 15 April for 600 MW of wind and solar energy projects. RAE has set the maximum bidding price at €64.72/MWh. The tender will be open to solar projects is capacities of at least 20 MW, while the minimum project size for wind is 50 MW. Clusters of wind and solar projects using a single substation are also allowed to participate, provided that their combined capacity exceeds 50 MW. The auction follows the first renewable energy auction held by Greece in July 2018, which awarded around 277 MW of capacity. In December the country’s second auction awarded 160 MW of wind and 62 MW of small-scale solar.

Modern Power Systems 18th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2019

Renewables

A “blustery week” in the UK has seen wind power generate the most amount of energy of any power source. Onshore and offshore wind farms in the UK supplied 35.6% of electricity generation, more than gas (31.2%) and nuclear (21.3%).

Energy Voice 18th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2019

100% Renewables

When a polar vortex hit parts of the Midwest and Northeast at the end of January, it brought temperatures cold enough to cause frostbite on exposed skin in just five minutes and closed down schools and businesses. Demand for power was intense, and the internet erupted in arguments about whether transitioning to 100 percent renewable energy would leave people in the lurch in periods of extreme weather. The conventional power grid survived the event without major customer disruptions or extreme surges in pricing. Fossil fuel advocates said this showed how important coal was to America’s energy security, contending that a utopian world of all-renewable energy would disappoint on days when it mattered most. Sierra asked energy experts about how a 100 percent renewable grid could cope with extreme weather such as we experienced in January. In general, they agreed, we’ll do just fine—as long as we’re properly prepared. “This is straightforward,” said Mark Jacobson, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford and the guy who created science-based, 100 percent clean energy roadmaps for the world. “It’s just mandating a transition to clean renewable energy in all energy sectors—kind of what the Green New Deal is trying to do. We have to electrify all our energy sectors and then provide that electricity with land, water, and solar power.” Iceland has an electric power sector that is 100 percent renewable, Jacobson noted, and it has more extreme cold than the United States. If they have solved the problem, he said, we can too. Here are some lessons from what clean energy companies did during the polar vortex to silence the naysayers, and for what we need to do in the future as the grid becomes cleaner:

Sierra Club 16th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2019

Decarbonise Heat

Smart electrification supported by improvements in energy efficiency will be the cheapest way to decarbonise heat across Europe, a new study from the European Climate Foundation has found. It says the use of hydrogen should be limited to providing seasonal energy storage and meeting peak power demand, even in countries with colder climates such as the UK. The analysis, conducted by Element Energy and Cambridge Econometrics, explored six different scenarios for creating a zero-carbon energy system across Europe by 2050. The results were extrapolated from modelling of six archetype countries, with Germany being the most analogous to the UK due to its high winds and significant existing gas infrastructure. In half of the scenarios heating is mostly electrified (“High Electrification”), whilst in the other three electrification is more limited and low-carbon gases such as hydrogen meet a substantial proportion of demand (“High Molecules”). Household spending on energy is higher in all but one of the scenarios. It is greatest in the High Molecules scenarios, which would add between €165 and €214 billion to annual costs across Europe in 2050. The change in spending is smaller in the High Electrification scenarios, with one seeing a €23 billion reduction in annual costs by the middle of the century when compared to a continuation of the current policies. In November, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) recommended the adoption of hybrid heating systems combining electric heat pumps and hydrogen boilers as the best way to decarbonise heat in the UK. Under this model, the heat pumps would meet “baseload” demand throughout most of the year, whilst the hydrogen boilers would step in to meet peak demand on the coldest winter days. The CCC said low-carbon hydrogen cannot be produced in large enough quantities to completely replace natural gas and that full electrification is not feasible due to the huge amounts of backup generation that would be needed during periods of high demand.

Utility Week 15th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2019

Hydrogen

Philip Hammond has been urged to use his upcoming Spending Review to deliver a series of “quick win” transport schemes for the North of England – including the first UK introduction of hydrogen-powered trains. Researchers at the IPPR North think-tank are calling on the Chancellor to consider funding hydrogen-powered trains – which produce electricity through a combination of hydrogen and oxygen – for the Tees Valley and Merseyside. They also want the Government to commitment to the region by backing a number of unglamorous but inexpensive projects.

iNews 18th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2019

Energy Storage

Due to their decreasing costs, lithium-ion batteries now dominate a range of applications including electric vehicles, computers and consumer electronics. You might only think about energy storage when your laptop or cellphone are running out of juice, but utilities can plug bigger versions into the electric grid. And thanks to rapidly declining lithium-ion battery prices, using energy storage to stretch electricity generation capacity. Based on our research on energy storage costs and performance in North Carolina, and our analysis of the potential role energy storage could play within the coming years, we believe that utilities should prepare for the advent of cheap grid-scale batteries and develop flexible, long-term plans that will save consumers money. So far, utilities have only installed the equivalent of one or two traditional power plants in grid-scale lithium-ion battery projects, all since 2015. But across California, Texas, the Midwest and New England, these devices are benefiting the overall grid by improving operations and bridging gaps when consumers need more power than usual.

Renew Economy 18th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2019

EVs

New onshore wind farms could soon provide local communities with free electric vehicle charging under plans by German renewables giant Innogy. The firm is in talks with community groups in North Wales to develop a car-charging station alongside its 100MW wind farm at Cloacaenog Forest, which will produce enough electricity from 27 turbines to supply the equivalent of almost 64,000 homes. Locals may be able to charge cars for free through Innogy’s new emobility venture, which launched in the UK in November. Alexander Meredith, head of UK onshore wind development at Innogy, said the model will form a template for how new wind farms in Scotland and Wales can help meet the twin goals of cutting carbon emissions from the power system and Britain’s roads.

Telegraph 17th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2019

Fossil Fuels

More than 1,000 shale rigs dot the plains of the US fracking heartlands in a patchwork of economic promise. The oil price crash all but snuffed out the US pioneers of the shale rush. Yet, it is from this pyre of bankrupt frackers and hastily dismantled rigs that a new industry centred on the Permian Basin in Texas has galvanised to reassert the US as an energy superpower. It is this “remarkable strength” that is “triggering a rapid transformation of global markets”, according to Fatih Birol, the chief executive of International Energy Agency (IEA). “The second wave of the US shale revolution is coming. It will see the US account for 70pc of the rise in global oil production,” he said last week.

Telegraph 17th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 18 March 2019

Bradwell

HE is the man in charge of a project so divisive, it has seen years of campaigns against it – and they show no sign of abating. So you might be interested to know Alan Raymant, the new chief executive of Bradwell B power station, not only grew up being able to see the now decommissioned Bradwell A power station from his home but frequently sailed in waters nearby. The site of the new power station, Bradwell B, lies to the east of the former station which ceased operating in 2002. The organisations behind the new project – China General Nuclear Power Group and EDF Energy – say it will bring reliable, low carbon energy for years to come as well as generating jobs, skills and investment. But anti-nuclear protesters, especially those living in Mersea and Brightlingsea, will take some convincing the good outweighs the bad. Mr Rayment grew up in Brightlingsea but says taking on the role of the proposed power station’s boss was a career choice not a nostalgic one.

Essex Gazette 16th March 2019 read more »

Posted: 17 March 2019