Electrek green energy brief: CO2 slows in US 27% over past decade, Scandinavian wind farms threatened by Russian Warships, & more


Flat electricity demand allowing renewables to be part of slowing CO2 in USA – The author estimated that, “CO2 emissions from U.S. electricity generation in 2016 will be 27 percent below the baseline level from 2005.” The Northeast USA saw a fall in total electricity sales in 2015. All the while, cleaner natural gas has been replacing coal – but because there is a lot less electricity needed, not all of the coal is getting replaced. Energy efficiency and renewables have been able to step in. We should give ourselves a quick nod of approval – 27% off of 2005 numbers isn’t bad considering the economic and population growth since then.

Scandinavian wind farm nixed due to Russian threat – Imagine you have this wide open ocean area that has high winds and is near your coastline, however, your neighbor has placed warships less than 200 miles away is such a threat you need to use it to practice warfare. That’s the current position of countries bordering Russia’s northwest. A different version of NIMBY…

Manufacturing roundup – Meyer Burger $146m/six months , high demand pushing solar cell pricing – poly-silicon stable, end-user demand pushing high efficiency cells however standard efficiency well priced product has a strong market position and the place that invented PERC solar cells, is now getting a PERC solar power installation! 🙂

The price of electricity generation was up 4% over the last 12 months – This doesn’t price in costs of transmission, distribution, etc. With companies like Eversource in Massachusetts asking for 7-10% rate increases you’ll be seeing your return on investment getting a little better on your solar system.

Conflicting votes on solar trade duties by EU trade committee – Just like the US taxes Chinese manufactured solar panels and solar cells, the Europeans have protections in place also. I get that we need protect local jobs – but I’d argue that solar panels and certain strategic technologies might be things that get an out. Its going to be of no relevance whether we save a few thousand jobs if we blow past 2°C and have mass migrations across our planet.

What is the economic impact if everyone installs solar panels on their roof? – This answer on Quora is great because it involves a human being considering feedback loops, not extremist outcomes that ignore all of humanities history of reaction to change. In the end – the economics change, big companies adapt and we have cleaner air.

Remember when we talked about Exxon pushing a carbon tax, well, now Exxon is the Secretary of State and Musk is whispering carbon tax in his ear – The fundamental word you should learn about in this conversation is ‘externality.’ An externality is an effect on the broader world that isn’t normally accounted for in the cost of an object. For instance, emptying radioactive sludge into the local river will lead toward the water intake facility having to upgrade hardware and the kids swimming there spending more money and time at the doctors. There are consequences to your actions – and if carbon dioxide changes weather, and the other pollutants damage environments and your health – someone needs to pay. That’s capitalism. That’s a carbon tax.

Winter 1887 – Ohio, US – Professor Charles F. Brush builds a 12kW wind turbine to charge 408 batteries stored in the cellar of his mansion. The turbine, which ran for 20 years, had a rotor diameter of 50m and 144 rotor blades.”

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