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EGEB: ‘Clean coal’ failure, ‘small’ solar at $1/W, fake DOE study delayed, more

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

Solar’s new sweet spot: Low cost, compact PV plants at $1/watt – 10.9MW solar plant at Barcaldine in Queensland will set a new benchmark for capital costs in Australia, at just a few cents over $1/watt – I’ve never seen a ‘small’ project like this at such a low price, in addition – this is Australia where labor costs are not cheap. If 10MW plants can be built at $1/W in a high labor cost market – I’m very optimistic. Secondly – this project was super dense: ~0.6MW/acre – because of a new product called PEG, delivered by German solar firm Belectric. I’m used to building 0.2MW/acre. Of course, I do build systems that face due south with 30° angles – meaning lots of shade.

Mississippi Regulators Seek to End Southern Co. ‘Clean-Coal’ Plant – A $7.5B experiment with tax payer money to create ‘clean coal’ has failed. Now, regulators are telling the company to convert to gas from coal and that no more costs overruns will be passed onto electricity rate payers. Clean coal doesn’t exist. We’ve been trying to clean it since the beginning of the industrial revolution. There’s a coal plant that pumps the CO2 underground – but is this really a smart policy?

Wind O&M ‘worth $27bn in 2025’ – Just a huge number to keep up the hardware in place. These O&M numbers are included in the original $/kWh – this will not increase the price of electricity. Also interesting is recent research I’ve seen looking to extend the lives of wind turbines to 30 years. That will further lower the price of electricity coming from these machines.

Release of Perry grid study pushed to July – My apologies for linking to a subscription article that don’t have a subscription to, but I’ve not found this elsewhere – The Department of Energy is delaying release of a high-profile study on the electrical grid until July, according to an agency spokeswoman – Makes me wonder why. The Trump administration is not known for its smooth actions so far – maybe this means tension internally because the DOE knows the report is bunk?

Global banks reduce lending to dirtiest fossil fuel companies by billions in 2016 – World’s largest banks lent $87bn to oil, coal and LNG companies in 2016 – a 22% drop from a collective $111bn worth of lending in 2015 – Specifically they’re focused on – ‘extreme fossil fuels as: oil (tar sands, Arctic drilling, and ultra-deepwater oil), coal mining, coal-fired power, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals. – Based on me hearing so much about gas being relatively low CO2 (and general gas being on this list) – tells me that LNG export terminals create much more CO2 than standard gas. I’m guessing the liquefying process adds significant CO2 to the process.

The Wind Industry released a study cross referencing coal retirements, grid stability and renewable energy – the data showed that we’ve not seen grid instability increase in the USA as a result. This image comes from the article – and made me smile a bit to see so much coal retiring.

Header image is of Jülich Solar Tower

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