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EGEB: Tunisian solar to Europe; US Climate Report leaked; Orlando for 100% clean energy; more

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

Orlando City Council to vote on 100% clean energy goal – Orlando is a big city, if they start pushing toward clean energy it’ll offer great press in Mickey Mouse land – plus it could make a real change. Cities aiming for 100% clean energy is still early though, and not as perfect as it sounds (some go deeper). However, actions by cities and statesas the Federal government flops – are leading to changes.

US offshore pipeline ‘tops 24GW’ in more than 20 planned projects – Most projects are planned for the northeast Atlantic, but schemes are also in the pipeline in the southeast Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes. Offshore wind getting bigger in the USA – prices will fall. Lots of people on the coasts of the USA, close to the energy source.

Suniva and SolarWorld Claim Their Trade Case Will Create More Than 114,800 Jobs – 45,000 manufacturing jobs…and installation job increases (via saying job losses won’t be as big as others have predicted). 88,000 jobs lost next year, versus maybe 45,000 job gains over the next five years. Still not sold.

A Solar Plant in the Sahara Could Help Power the EU – They want to deliver 4.5GWh worth of solar via molten salt storage and HVDC cables running beneath the Mediterranean Sea. The first cable links Tunisia and Malta, as Malta is already connected to the European grid, and this connection will help reinforce Malta’s position as an energy hub in the center of the Mediterranean.  The second cable system will link Tunisia to central Italy, with a shoring point North of Rome.  This second cable system has been under development for several years and is currently being evaluated as a Project of Common Interest by the European Community. A third cable is under study and will link Tunisia directly to the South of France. The Sahara Desert solar farm was a big dream for a while, and who knows, may one day come to be – but instead via multiple smaller farms. This is how they describe the second farm in further detail: As a second stage, the project consists of 2,250MW CSP Tower plant with molten salt storage on the same site in Rjim Maatoug, Southern Tunisia with a dedicated 2,000MW HVDC transmission line from the site, across Tunisia, through the Strait of Sicily, East of Sardinia and the Tyrrhenian Sea, landing North of Rome, Italy. Once landed in Italy 9,000GWh per annum of low carbon dispatchable power will be transported to offtakers across Europe. This would be split into two equal tranches. It looks like everything is in the research phase – some design has occurred. 4.75GW of molten salt solar – if we compare it to pricing SolarReserve has announced (2GW at $5B in Nevada), then the plants will cost $11.9B. Solar thermal recently set records in Dubai at 9.45¢/kWh. If they can keep the price of the transmission below a 1¢/kWh – it might be compelling. What does underwater HVDC cost?

Tucson Electric solar-plus-storage PPA details – and its no where near 1.5¢/kWh – by adding a small amount of storage next to a much larger cheap solar power plant (storage can hold 12% of solar plant’s output), you can later sell – upon demand – electricity from energy storage at 4.5¢/kWh. The *real* price of that energy storage is closer to 9¢/kWh – great pricing, but not the pricing that was exciting me to all ends. Nonetheless – it is a very interesting business model – that can add revenue at a decent rate of return, plus needed services (stable, on demand) that power companies require.

Power-to-Liquid: 200 Liters of Fuel from Solar Power and the Air’s Carbon Dioxide – The “Direct Air Capture” Unit developed by the Technical Research Center of Finland (VTT) captures carbon dioxide from air. An electrolysis unit developed by Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) uses solar power to produce the required hydrogen. Afterwards, carbon dioxide and hydrogen are first converted into reactive synthesis gas at high temperature and then into liquid fuels in a microstructured chemical reactor. Will we use liquid fuels in the future? We will probably have a mix of things, just like today. I can definitely see a place for hardware like this though – complex areas need fuel, and we humans are experts at moving shipping containers. Boom – near instant, stable energy.

Government reports finds drastic impact of climate change on US – This report, in a prior rough draft, was released for comment a few months ago, got little attention. This version being circulated now is in its 5th version – and scientists are now trying to get it out to press early, so it gets attention before the politicians have their go at it. I like this model of leaking science. The tweet below gives you a long list of people – 13 agencies – that have to sign off on the document before it gets released. Once reading their names and opinions on climate change – you can understand why these scientists would want this document out now (especially after learning that 1984 is 2017 – “Climate change” is in the “avoid” category, to be replaced by “weather extremes”).

Header image is from Tunisia solar thermal story – the various pathways the cable could take

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