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EGEB: Steel Pulse to Tesla Solar Roof, $1B green Apple bond, electric power grid digital weapons, etc

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

Inside “Steel Pulse,” The Project That Became Elon Musk’s Solar RoofInternally at SolarCity, the solar roof product was far from what Musk would consider market-ready, let alone beautiful, according to nearly a dozen sources familiar with the projectMusk told Peter and other team members that they were wasting his time with this “piece of shit.” The concept of solar power integrated into a metal seem roof sounds pretty damn compelling – for a commercial structure at least. On a residential? C’mon – people whine about solar panels being big, ugly and square, that’s why it has to be these pretty tiles. I agree with Musk’s opinion on what would catch customer’s eyes. As an aside, I’d like to get some rights to the original Steel Pulse and start pitching it to commercial groups. (Also is steel pulse sounds like a Ben Stiller modeling pose)

Apple moves closer to 100% renewable energy as it issues $1 billion green bond – The company is investing in solar energy, hydroelectric plants and biogas facilities in Oregon, North Carolina, Nevada, Arizona and California, including $850 million on a 130-megawatt solar farm near San Francisco over the next quarter century, and Apple Energy has received permission to sell power to the wholesale energy markets. $1B is a lot of money – Apple is going much deeper than just clean electricity though.

Russia has developed a cyberweapon that can disrupt power grids, according to new research – The malware, which researchers have dubbed CrashOverride, is known to have disrupted only one energy system — in Ukraine in December. In that incident, the hackers briefly shut down one-fifth of the electric power generated in Kiev. The United States taught me that most any system could be broken into digitally when STUXNET was used to destroy hardware in an Iranian nuclear material processing facility that was not connected to the internet. This matters to solar and other distributed because centralized power plants is risky, but weak distributed security (think hacking millions of residential solar systems) is worse. We’re shifting toward distributed+ centralized – hopefully we won’t take worst of both worlds.

Google is using machine learning to help people make smart decisions about solar energy – The machine algorithm does its best to find solar systems on a roof, and then note it. The purpose of this is to help people visualize how much solar is truly around them. Cool tool.

Solar power emerges where oil and gas once dominated – When oil prices tanked two years ago, hundreds of Pecos County workers lost jobs working at oil and gas companies in the prolific Permian basin. Last year, the rural county lost around 20 percent of its $2.5 billion tax value. But the unemployed residents weren’t out of work for long. Most of the 300 to 400 oil field workers found jobs installing solar panels beneath the hot and abundant West Texas sun. The jobs story with renewables will only grow, and that’s a major driving force for why I will win…I’m not posting this for the jobs story specifically. I’m posting it because Texas is going big on solar – and that means a lot.

Oil giants need to invest heavily in renewables by 2035, says analysis – The commodities analysts found the major energy companies would need to spend more than $350bn (£275bn) on wind and solar power by 2035 to take a market share similar to the 12% they have in oil and gas – $350B/18 years = $20B a year. That’s not an incomprehensible amount of money for an oil major, it’d be close to 10% of the money spent on renewables last year. The real story is that commodities analysts are taking the time to see how the energy majors compare to renewable energy – versus chuckling at low total volumes.

First quarter of 2017, Coal jobs dropped to 73,792, a decline of 1,106 jobs from Q4 – 1,270 jobs above all time low from Q3’16. Technically, since Trump joined us in January, we don’t have a single full quarter of data for the coal industry – but we definitely don’t have any evidence of Trump inspired growth.

Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. signed a long-term Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources – agreement will enable the investment and development of a new 68 megawatt wind project in Pennsylvania and is anticipated to facilitate up to 150 construction jobs and result in the reduction of more than 200,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per annum once operational – Goldman putting down some money is good PR.

The Interconnections Seam Study focuses on expanding grid flexibility by increasing the number of points connecting the Eastern and Western Interconnections – If we can figure out how to get excess high noon solar power pumped east and west of high noon, suddenly we can have a four+ hour high noon peak across the nation.

Header image is of repair of a solar thermal dish

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