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EGEB: Gas *and* coal down in 2017, solar predictions for 2018, more

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

U.S. renewables replace coal and gas in 2017In the first nine months of 2017 gas use fell 11% year over-year. If borne out through the last three months this would be the first such fall since 2013. The bigger story here, in my opinion, is that both coal and natural gas usage fell in the same year. For a while, coal was down – and gas was up. And coal was down because gas took over. Well, this year gas was able to go down because we had a lot of solar/wind in place, and hydroelectricity out west was huge. From what I’ve read – it won’t happen again out west with hydro because of droughts. What matters more is that this happened once – because that means it can happen again.

10 Predictions for Rooftop Solar and Storage in 2018 – Two of the thoughts from this post I liked: 1. Wires will disappear from solar system monitoring and 2. Dumb solar modules on residential rooftops are dead on arrival – and they could be related. Smarter solar systems have been getting deployed starting with individual level solar panel monitoring. Adding (by removing wires) cell connections versus standard internet for monitoring a system also seems interesting – but what will that cell connection cost for monitoring? Interesting, this author sees smarter home energy management still going slowly – and I agree – since the technology still costs too much to install/no cost benefit. Kinda true until we have demand charges/time of use/etc. applied to residential customers.

Has Xcel Minnesota designed the ideal residential time-of-use rate? – First off, the program isn’t in place yet – so I’ll wait before I pat it on the back. But, the premise is that you, a home energy user, will adjust usage patterns if you’re getting pushed on your usage. The image below is of the new pricing structure, note the evening price bump. How fast will it take a home battery system to eat that price bump and pay itself off?

Northeast states sue EPA over air pollution from Midwest – Northeast and mid-Atlantic states have long contended that emissions from coal-fired power plants and other air pollution in the Midwest is carried eastward by prevailing air currents. The US Government via the court system, at various points, has said that states are liable and must act if pollution flows from one state to another. Interesting to watch as states ratchet up pressure when the federal level shifts its focus away from managing pollution due to political proclivities.

Germany is almost at 40% wind+solar. It’s a challenge, yes, and Germany gets a lot of pressure for their coal/nuclear issues – but they’re still growing with the wind and solar.

Featured image is from the Department of Energy SunShot program.

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