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Electrek green energy brief: Oil stocks for solar?, Solar=grid stability in California, battery charging by light, more


Saudi Aramco selling $500B (?) in stock, investing $5B of it in solar – Groups representing $60 trillion (wow) in investment capital have pledged ‘to incorporate environmental, social and governance factors, known as ESG, into their investment decisions.’ Aramco is hoping to draw a slightly greater portion of these folks by making an investment in the largest oil company on the planet slightly solar powered. This is seperate from the countries $30-50B in solar power that is coming. $5B out of a valuation from $400B to $2T (estimates for the value of the oil company) represents 1.25% to 0.25%, respectively. Purist investors think its foolish to mix these investments, however – I’ll argue that the world is more complex than one line descriptions of what an IPO should be – and I am glad to see this, even if it is a slight manipulation of ‘clean’ to get what they want.

Solar power being requested in strategic locations to INCREASE grid stability – That’s right, none of this ‘solar power is bad for the grid’ crap – that’s 1999 talking. The utilities of the more advanced solar states in the USA – California in particular – are already mapping out where solar need be. And now, officially, Southern California Edison is ready to pay you extra if you build a plant that connects to the grid in predetermined places. Strategic solar power can lower the cost of grid upgrades – can lower voltage loss far from the factory – and with the right hardware, can offer additional services that the grid needs to keep it stable. Brave new world.

Main image – National Geographic thought wind mills were among the ten most breathtaking landscapes – ‘Windmills stand tall in the wine fields of Burgenland.’ – Edelstal, Austria, Photograph by Matej Kova. Windmills. Beauty. Say it out loud.

France increasing PV investment after solar bids were greater than expected – France has the cleanest energy of a large, developed nation that I know of. 80%+ nuclear powered electricity is the driver. However, that electricity is a lot more expensive than the monthly price the French pay (when you have no profit motive because state owned and paid for by taxes then price falls 30-50%) – and the French are looking for solutions. I’m still surprised to see France going solar…but – its the French and solar energy is democratized energy in certain circles, and democratized energy aligns with France like no one else.

The Chinese want to dominate batteries like they dominate panels – WIN!!! I say this for one very specific reason – the price of solar panels fell 40-60% (rough guess – not scientific) because of the Chinese scaling the industry so amazingly. If the Chinese can figure out how to scale batteries in the same way, and along with awesome companies like Tesla, and bring the costs below $100/kWh with long life times (15+ years) then we’re talking revolution – none of this evolution stuff. Power to the People’s Republic – and thank you Elon for setting the pace.

Batteries charged by light and other batteries designed to hold their charge for a month in winter – The Argonne National Laboratory is one of the premier research labs on the planet. These days, part of their time is focused on batteries – and we’re all benefiting. Batteries charged by light because the cables of high voltage SupertCharges can melt? Check. Batteries designed to hold onto their charge over the course of a month to deal with low sunlight/low wind situations? Check. Human innovation is sometimes emotionally overpowering for me…

Minnesota electricity getting cheaper as renewables added – Two caveats, 1. Gas prices are low, 2. There isn’t yet a *lot* of renewables, yet. But – with that – I thought renewables were supposed to make electricity prices in the USA go through the roof? Isn’t a collapse of western economic society supposed to closely follow these greens and their weird electricity? I see the northeast USA with some of the lowest wholesale electricity prices of the new millennia – and this is a region with significant renewables. What’s up with that? Is it possible that our prices of energy might fall further while cleaning themselves?

If you look really closely – at the base of these wind mills – you can see ‘tiny’ 75 ft tall wind mills. I will name them…mini-mill. 🙂


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