EGEB: Energy storage ‘well past the tipping point’, wind/solar/nuclear cleanest and best investment, more

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

Energy Storage Well Past the ‘Tipping Point,’ Panel Says – A mix of comments, So, 10 years from now, do I think we’ll have a commercially available storage technology that’s below $100/kWh? Sure.; “I think you could argue that the tipping point was several years ago when big PJM systems started to come online,”; and “We’re looking at much more ambitious efforts that would require the attributes of a flow battery, which is a minimum of six to 12 hours of energy.”. A lot to unpack in this article – including a reference to storage being too expensive relative to a large number of energy actions. Big, pretty words though – we’re past a tipping point, but not yet to wide market application yet – which means we believe the amount of projects that can get built-in smaller expensive, incentivized markets is enough to build the factories that will deliver the learning curve benefits. A machine is in motion that seems to now generate its own steam.

The New Phase of Top Runner Program Favors Companies Already Dominant in Application Bases and N-Type Solutions in Technology Bases – A really great analysis of the Chinese Top Runner program by EnergyTrend. I’m particularly interested in the ‘Technology’ arm of the program – 1.5GW of projects pushing technologies that are starting at 18-19% efficiency. The article suggests that “N-type” solar panels are in a good position to win. That might be a good long-term win for all of us as a Chinese push toward higher efficiency products will filter down to the world.

International Solar Alliance to be a legal entity tomorrow The ISA is an Indian initiative, jointly launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President of France on November 30, 2015 in Paris, on the sidelines of COP-21, the UN Climate Conference.  The goal of the program is to build strong financial techniques around solar, energy storage and other technologies tuned to individual countries needs. I’d argue that these intelligent financial structuring are the driving factors behind the record pricing we’re seeing in solar auctions in Saudi Arabia, Mexico and India – and have been the lifeblood of the US market for a while now. If trust in the structures of programs rises, big money flows in.

Solar, wind and nuclear have ‘amazingly low’ carbon footprints, study finds – The study finds each kilowatt hour of electricity generated over the lifetime of a nuclear plant has an emissions footprint of 4 grammes of CO2 equivalent (gCO2e/kWh). The footprint of solar comes in at 6gCO2e/kWh and wind is also 4gCO2e/kWh. In contrast, coal CCS (109g), gas CCS (78g), hydro (97g) and bioenergy (98g) have relatively high emissions. 

And another piece of information – The study finds one unit of energy invested in coal power yields nine units of electricity. Nuclear power is twice as good as coal, with the energy embedded in the power plant and fuel offsetting 5% of its output, equivalent to an EROI of 20:1. Wind and solar perform even better, at 2% and 4% respectively, equivalent to EROIs of 44:1 and 26:1.

Solar, wind and nuclear are amazing technologies. They’re clean enough that we we’ll have a healthy ecosystem. And each of them are efficient enough – to drive society long-term (that’s the EROI side of things).

Professionals are needed to deliver opinions on technologies to politicians. Politicians don’t have the expertise that these professionals have. So, is it an inherently bad thing that a company delivers recommended adjustments to the legal structure in areas they are experts in? No, of course not.

However, I’m not interested in companies who fund hardcore climate denialism and are part of the global warming problem getting extra money from me through political, not technological, means. This welfare queen of a coal company needs to find a new career.

Featured image is from the Department of Energy SunShot programAs the sun rises, a hot air balloon launches over this 1.4MW community solar project in the hills of Tennessee. Photo by Bram Britcher.

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