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EGEB: California pumped storage vs nature; Ohio wind losses; St Louis solar hurting; more

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

From spectacular vistas to the pits: A decades-long public land battle continues in the California desert – They want to build a pumped-storage facility in the desert – ‘extra’ solar energy pumps water uphill in the daytime, when the electricity is needed later the water spins turbines on the way back down. The Joshua Tree National Park’s water supply is at risk – an environmentally challenging area. I’m going with the park over the business folks – even if they’re saving some CO2 with pumped storage. We’ve got so few healthy, relatively intact habitats left – build this somewhere else.

Istanbul Enerji and Istanbul Water and Sewerage Administration activates Turkey’s first floating Solar Power Plant – This article is linked to so we can see the header image and a nice, up close view of the construction of a different type of floating solar power. These techniques will evolve quickly. Costs for deploying the product is properly cheaper – no need to attach it to ground hundreds of times, only a few. What’s all that material cost though? Aluminum and steel and bolts are relatively cheap and they’re pretty strong relative to the weight of panels so their volume is probably much lower than this plastic…but the metal does sometimes total 20 feet of material above/below the ground. Anyone know numbers?

‘Dodgy’ greenhouse gas data threatens Paris accord – “Our estimate for this location in Italy is about 60-80 tonnes of this substance being emitted every year, then we can compare this with the Italian emission inventory, and that is quite interesting because the official inventory says below 10 tonnes or in the region of two to three tonnes,” said Dr Stefan Reimann, from the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology. There are many greenhouse gasses. There are plenty still being emitted even though they’re illegal. Remember that CO2 is the one that is just over 400PPM – that’s the big one, however – the big three are at 500PPM.

Tilting at Windmills – Why the green jobs promise is still unfulfilled – The fundamental pain of the story is that the USA is missing out on wind turbine manufacturing jobs in Ohio, in almost the exact same manner that the US is missing out on solar manufacturing work. The solution – a national plan where we support industry while they ramp up to compete with the Chinese manufacturing might (and state financial support). A recent report on the solar industry and China, suggests the US complement the work China does by focusing on five areas: 1.R&D spending for solar, particularly in storage and transmission technologies; 2. Broadening international solar R&D efforts that include China; 3. Reforms in federal policy that require recipients of R&D funding to manufacture their technologies primarily in the U.S.; 4. A focus of solar manufacturing support on products that are expensive to import to the U.S.; and 5. a “significant” U.S. price on carbon to bolster deployment. Other than requiring R&D funded in the US to stay in the US – these seem smart ideas if we’re going to take use each countries unique economic strengths. Do we wish to ignore the hundreds of thousands of jobs installing and maintaining this hardware in exchange for tens of thousands of jobs in manufacturing?

US federal department is censoring use of term ‘climate change’ – “Climate change” is in the “avoid” category, to be replaced by “weather extremes”. Instead of “climate change adaption”, staff are asked to use “resilience to weather extremes”. The primary cause of human-driven climate change is also targeted, with the term “reduce greenhouse gases” blacklisted in favor of “build soil organic matter, increase nutrient use efficiency”. Meanwhile, “sequester carbon” is ruled out and replaced by “build soil organic matter”. War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

Solar panel prices jump on trade complaint, delaying projects, St. Louis companies say – “In the last two months, we’ve seen a 20 percent increase in the price of the panels,” said Scott Canada, ““We have owners asking, ‘If you get the modules, we’ll go build the projects right now.’ We have to tell them we can’t get the panels. If you have uncertainty of 5 percent on a $100 million project or larger, those numbers become very large, very quickly, It’s the uncertainty that’s as bad as the potential tariff itself, at least in the near term.” The states that will bear the greatest consequences in the Suniva fiasco are the ones who don’t support the solar industry. These are the states where the pricing is much tighter and the margins are tougher to find willing investors for. Even in the states with a strong market – people will slow down and wait for the ruling as paying higher prices today when you could pay 5% lower in a few months is just fine for the patient.


While California has the most solar, by far – it is North Carolina’s solar power that will ‘most experience’ the upcoming eclipse –

Header image of floating solar power deployed in Turkey

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