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Green, ethical, energy issues in the news (last 2 weeks)

edited 9 October 2018 at 10:41AM in Green & Ethical MoneySaving
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  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    A quick tip of the hat to Germany for some impressive RE figures, but still a fair amount of coal/lignite on the grid. But overall their plan seems to be steadily working.

    German renewables deliver 'record high' in 1H 2020

    Renewable energy delivered a record of just under 56% of Germany's electricity in the first half of 2020, according to the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE).

    Fraunhofer ISE said it based the findings on data available on the Energy Charts platform, indicating in February that clean power's share of electricity supply hit 61.8%.

    Renewables supplied 136.1 terrawatt-hours in the first six months of the year, compared with 125.6TWh in the same period of 2019.

    In contrast, coal-fired power generation declined sharply, with the share from lignite falling to 13.7% and hard coal to just 6%.


    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Some big news on coal, especially in the US.

    Lots of examples of companies going straight from coal to RE + storage, skipping the 'gas' stage.

    Natural Gas As A Bridge Fuel To The Future? Not Anymore

    For a long time, it was assumed renewables would become ascendant one day but in the meantime, new gas-fired peaker plants would be needed because, you know, the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. For a while that was true, but once again a funny thing happened on the way to the renewable energy revolution. The costs of solar and wind farms plummeted along with the cost of battery storage. Now, according to PV Magazine, several US utilities are saying “no thank you” to new gas-fired generation.
    The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis says, “Up until recently, the easy option for utilities would have been to propose using gas to replace coal. But not any longer. Rising concerns about climate change and continuing reductions in wind, solar and battery storage costs coupled with improved performance have altered the playing field.”

    This is all good news for clean energy advocates. The idea that natural gas, most of which is derived from fracking, was never a “bridge fuel.” That was an invention of the natural gas industry which has powerful friends at all levels of the federal and many state governments. But gas is being done in by low prices for renewables and storage, which is precisely how capitalism is supposed to work. Now to eradicate the torrent of money the industry receives from federal and state subsidies. That fight is not over yet, but the end game has begun. 


    And an article (similar to one a few months back), looking at the number of coal plants that are now, or soon to be, more expensive to continue running than rolling out new RE + storage:

    How To Retire Early: Making Accelerated Coal Phaseout Feasible & Just

    In a new report, Rocky Mountain Institute, the Carbon Tracker Initiative, and the Sierra Club present an analysis of nearly 2,500 coal plants around the world. This analysis shows that the cost of clean energy has fallen so far that new renewables outcompete new coal virtually everywhere. Furthermore, it is cheaper today to build new renewable energy capacity including battery storage than to continue operating 39 percent of the world’s existing coal capacity. And the competitiveness of coal is sinking rapidly elsewhere.

    An analysis of nearly 2,500 coal plants around the world shows that the cost of clean energy has fallen so far that new renewables outcompete new coal virtually everywhere.

    The Cost of Coal

    Continuing to run uncompetitive coal plants comes at a cost to consumers and taxpayers. If we were to phase out the share of existing global capacity already uncompetitive with new renewables, we would save $39 billion in 2020. In just five years, 73 percent of the global coal fleet will be uncompetitive with new renewables plus storage, equating to a savings of $141 billion in 2025.


    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • CoastalwatchCoastalwatch Forumite
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    STA: Scaling up smart solar homes to 4.4m could ‘dramatically’ flatten evening peak

    Something many of us have been suggesting for some time but at least now the STA have proven this to be the case. Let's hope the powers that be take notice and act upon it also. Or is that too much to hope for!

    The Solar Trade Association (STA) has released a new report detailing how mass adoption of residential solar, storage and smart controls could completely remove the evening peak.

    The report has been produced in collaboration with Loughborough University and Advanced Further Energy, and looks into the consumer and grid benefits of four generations of smart home, scaled up across a 4.4 million home portfolio, a number the report said was consistent with the level of deployment that could be needed by 2035 to achieve net zero.

    The majority of its key findings centered around 'Generation 3' homes, which it defined as those with solar PV, battery storage and intelligent controls. Conversely, 'Generation 1' are those with solar only, 'Generation 2' solar and storage and 'Generation 4' those with energy efficiency measures, electrified heating and electric vehicles (EVs) installed alongside the previously mentioned technologies.

    It found that 'Generation 3' homes could reduce their peak time consumption by 97% annually, with 4.4 million of these homes completely eliminating the evening peak on a typical winter’s day regardless of whether a 6kWh, 10kWh or 20kWh battery is used by the household. This consistently enables around 3GW of peak shaving at the times of highest grid stress, the report said.

    The report went on to detail how homes with a 20kWh battery would be able to either go off-grid for an entire day, or provide additional flexibility services.

    East coast, lat 51.97. 8.26kw SSE, 23° pitch + 0.59kw WSW vertical. Nissan Leaf plus one dirty diesel. Still waiting for V2H and home storage to become available at sensible cost.
  • michaelsmichaels Forumite
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    My solar panels lose 10% of efficiency (less than the typical round trip of battery storage) because they are optimised to generate power at the time of day when it is most valuable.  This is achieved with no extra environmental footprint such as is incurred by producing battery cells.

    What is this magic?

    A West facing roof.
    I think....
  • edited 5 July at 9:31PM
    CoastalwatchCoastalwatch Forumite
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    edited 5 July at 9:31PM
    michaels said:
    My solar panels lose 10% of efficiency (less than the typical round trip of battery storage) because they are optimised to generate power at the time of day when it is most valuable.  This is achieved with no extra environmental footprint such as is incurred by producing battery cells.

    What is this magic?

    A West facing roof.

    Nice one. :)
    How do you get on for breakfast?
    East coast, lat 51.97. 8.26kw SSE, 23° pitch + 0.59kw WSW vertical. Nissan Leaf plus one dirty diesel. Still waiting for V2H and home storage to become available at sensible cost.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    Carbon Commentary Newsletter extracts:

    1, Cement carbon capture and use. Cement producer Lafarge and the Austrian oil and gas company OMV said they would cooperate to design and build a plant to capture 700,000 tonnes of CO2 from a cement works and turn it into ‘renewable’ hydrocarbons. The other two partners, the largest Austrian utility and a specialty chemicals company, will respectively provide the green hydrogen and turn the hydrocarbons into fully recyclable plastics. This is a highly significant announcement: four different companies embedded in the fossil fuel economy have become participants in a venture which will develop wholly green alternatives to conventional hydrocarbons. I think this is the first time that this has been proposed at scale. But the lead time is long and the plant will not be finished before 2030. 
     
    2, Electrolysis and electricity markets. Industrial engineering company and steel-maker Thyssen Krupp announced that its proprietary electrolysers had qualified for participation in the German electricity market. The use of electricity by these electrolysers can be adjusted up or down within seconds. Their owners can now become part of utility E.ON’s 600 MW ‘virtual power plant’ in Germany and the UK and thus benefit from short-term balancing payments from the electricity networks. This is another small part of the integration of hydrogen into the core of our energy systems.

    3, Ammonia as shipping fuel. Engine manufacturer Wartsila said it would run a long-term test using ammonia as the fuel for an adapted four stroke marine engine. Ammonia, which is made from hydrogen, has been used in the past as an alternative fuel for internal combustion engines but this trial will be a world first for a marine engine. The tests are being carried out in partnership with Spanish oil major Repsol. Wartsila’s press release on the topic suggested remaining concerns about the safety of storing and using ammonia on board on ships. The costs to develop a worldwide ammonia infrastructure would be much smaller than using pure hydrogen but other parts of the shipping industry (see note 5) are pushing for fuel cells.
     
    5, Samsung Heavy Industries and Bloom fuel cells. Samsung Heavy Industries is the one of the world’s largest shipbuilders. It announced a venture with Bloom Energy, a US leader in larger fuel cells to design and build ships powered by hydrogen. The partnership suggested that the first vessels could be at sea by about 2025, an impressively early date. Somewhat incongruously, the first target is to power liquid natural gas carriers with the hydrogen fuel cells. (Thanks to Paul Boyle)
      
    7, Construction equipment using hydrogen. JCB, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of construction equipment, showed off a prototype 20 tonne excavator that uses a hydrogen fuel cell for power. JCB says that this digger has been tested for 12 months at the company’s proving grounds and is the first hydrogen excavator to be publicly demonstrated. (Hyundai has said it will have a fuel cell excavator ready for market in 2023). No detail was provided on the likely purchase price or operating costs but likely early markets include city centre sites, where noise restrictions sometimes make the operation of diesel machinery difficult.
     
    8, Decarbonising steel. Arcelor Mittal is Europe’s largest steel maker. It indicated that it would not begin a large scale switch to hydrogen until 2030, by which time the gas might be competitive. It intends to achieve its 2030 ambition of a 30% cut in emissions per tonne by utilising a variety of other technologies, including the manufacture of ethanol from blast furnace waste gases. It claims that making steel using blue hydrogen (with carbon capture) in a Direct Reduction furnace would be 50% more expensive than today’s metal made with coal. Employing green hydrogen made from renewables would be 80% per expensive. Arcelor Mittal’s numbers are much more pessimistic about future hydrogen costs than Sweden’s SSAB which says that Direct Reduction using hydrogen will be competitive with coal, although it did not give a precise date. It is probably important that SSAB’s plants are generally in areas of low electricity costs whereas Arcelor Mittal’s blast furnaces are located close to transport hubs with easy access to cheap coal and gas. (Arcelor Mittal's published analysis gives very useful and transparent information about its plans).

    9, Direct Air Capture (DAC). The UK government indicated that it would make £100m ($125m) available for direct CO2 capture. Sources suggested that the money will be allocated by auction, with a target price of around £80/$100 per tonne. That is far lower that industry leader Climeworks is currently quoting for small amounts of DAC ($775 a tonne in a recent bid, and an estimated $250-350 in five years). However the proposed UK figure is about the same as Carbon Engineering has said is achievable with a large scale DAC plant. Climeworks says that a tonne of CO2 capture should require 400 kWh of electricity and 1,600 kWh of low-grade heat. This are the dominant cost elements in any DAC plant. At today’s energy prices, £60/$75 should eventually cover the operating costs. The Times newspaper said this week that capturing the equivalent of the UK’s aviation emissions would require the construction of five extra nuclear power stations. The actual number - if Climeworks is right – is just over one.
     
    10, Carbon capture of flue gases. UK/Indian company Carbon Clean Solutions raised another $22m from investors including Norwegian oil and gas giant Equinor. This is on top of $16m earlier in the year. CarbonClean can collect CO2 from flue gases of cement plants and other industrial processes. It indicates that it will achieve a cost of $30 a tonne by next year, less than half of the lowest figures claimed for DAC (see note 9). New investor Equinor made a pitch for a new hydrogen site on the east coast of England, making it from natural gas with carbon capture and storage. I assume they intend to back Carbon Clean Solutions to provide the CCS technology for this venture. Equinor says that some of the hydrogen produced will be used to mix with natural gas in a nearby power station as well as providing a source for the UK government’s intended cluster of hydrogen-using industries nearby.


    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    This article is arguing an interesting point, and whilst it is speculative, if they are right, then 'the energy folk' may be able to see the writing on the wall?

    Gigantic Atlantic Coast Gas Pipeline Done In By Humble Household Heat Pump

    Gigantic Atlantic Coast Pipeline Vs. Renewable Energy

    The Atlantic Coast Pipeline was supposed to carry gas over 600 miles from West Virginia and on into markets in Virginia and North Carolina. You can bet your bottom dollar that Dominion and Duke would have kept pouring money into the legal slugfest if they thought those markets were strong enough to support the project. Dropping it like a hot potato is a clear sign that the regional energy market has shifted, or is about to shift.

    Renewable energy is the first thought that comes to mind. North Carolina is one of the top ten states for solar energy and Virginia has a fairly strong solar profile as well. Meanwhile, both states are committed to exploiting their rich offshore wind resources — as are most of the states along the US east coast.

    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
  • silverwhistlesilverwhistle Forumite
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    michaels said:
    A West facing roof.
    My terrace house has a South facing roof, but I could find the space  for two or three West facing panels on the shed roof. I don't think it's economically feasible, if only for not wanting to disturb (and dispose of..) the corrugated asbestos cement roof but it would certainly help cover the 16.00 to 19.00h expensive period on Agile!

  • Martyn1981Martyn1981 Forumite
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    News on flywheels to stabilise the grid. Though it does say the first of its kind, when I seem to recall something in the news many years ago about one, also in the UK, perhaps on a GB to Ireland link. I think it was 20kWh, but could absorb/deliver the energy very quickly to help maintain frequency. But I digress.

    Found a bit of news on the 'old' flywheel:

    UK to host Europe’s largest battery flywheel system

    At first the flywheel system will be capable of a peak power of 500kW and able to store 10kWh of energy. It will then be installed at the University of Sheffield’s 2MW battery facility where it will be upgraded to provide 1MW of peak power and 20kWh of energy storage, and used as a hybrid energy storage system with the batteries providing frequency response services.


    Mart. Cardiff. 5.58 kWp PV systems (3.58 ESE & 2.0 WNW)

    For general PV advice please see the PV FAQ thread on the Green & Ethical Board.
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