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Are Solar and Wind Really Killing Coal, Nuclear and Grid Reliability?

           

Lessons from the Lone Star State: A surge in wind power on the Texas grid didn’t cause reliability problems (and brought down electricity prices) because regulators improved the efficiency of wholesale electricity markets. Sarah Fields Photography/Shutterstock.com

theconversation.com - by Joshua D. Rhodes, Michael E. Webber, Thomas Deetjen and Todd Davidson - May 11, 2017

U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in April requested a study to assess the effect of renewable energy policies on nuclear and coal-fired power plants.

Some energy analysts responded with confusion, as the subject has been extensively studied by grid operators and the Department of Energy’s own national labs. Others were more critical, saying the intent of the review is to favor the use of nuclear and coal over renewable sources.

So, are wind and solar killing coal and nuclear? Yes, but not by themselves and not for the reasons most people think. Are wind and solar killing grid reliability? No, not where the grid’s technology and regulations have been modernized. In those places, overall grid operation has improved, not worsened.

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Stunning Drops in Solar and Wind Costs Turn Global Power Market Upside Down

           

CREDIT: U.N. and BNEF

CLICK HERE - REPORT - United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) - GLOBAL TRENDS IN RENEWABLE ENERGY INVESTMENT 2017 (90 page .PDF report)

The world built more renewables for far less money last year, report UN and Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

thinkprogress.org - by Joe Romm - April 6, 2017

Stunning drops in the cost of wind and solar energy have turned the global power market upside down . . .

 . . . Unsubsidized renewables have become the cheapest source of new power — by far — in more and more countries, according to a new report from the United Nations and Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF).

In just one year, the cost of solar generation worldwide dropped on average 17 percent, the report found. The average costs for onshore wind dropped 18 percent last year, while those for offshore wind fell a whopping 28 percent.

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As Solar Booms, Utilities Look to Build New Business Models With Strategic Investments

           

Image credit: Flickr user 10 10

utilitydive.com - by Herman K. Trabish - March 14, 2017

Beyond simply contracting for solar, utilities are increasingly investing in the sector to ‘position themselves to be the utility of the future'

Solar energy is becoming a generation resource so ubiquitous that utilities are looking beyond simply contracting for new capacity and are increasingly moving into the sector themselves.

Solar added a record-breaking 14,762 MW of capacity in 2016, nearly doubling its 2015 growth. The resource added 39% of all new U.S. generation capacity in the year, making it the leader among all resources for the first time.

Growth was dominated by utility investment in 2016, a trend that’s expected to continue, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research.

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Shell Sells Oil Sands Assets as Boss Warns on Clean Energy Challenge

           

An excavator at the Athabasca project near Fort McMurray in Alberta. Shell has cut its interest in the project as part of a retreat from tar sands. Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

Carbon-heavy assets offloaded for $8.5bn as company ties 10% of directors’ bonuses to how well it manages emissions

theguardian.com - March 9, 2017

Royal Dutch Shell has agreed to sell most of its carbon-heavy Canadian oil sands assets for $8.5bn (£7bn) as the chief executive warned that the industry risked losing public support without progress towards cleaner energy.

The world’s second largest publicly-traded oil company plans to increase its investment in renewable energy to $1bn (£800m) a year by the end of the decade, Ben van Beurden said on Thursday, although it is still a small part of its total annual spending of $25bn (£20.5bn). 

Shell also said that 10% of directors’ bonuses would be tied to how well it manages greenhouse gas emissions in refining, chemical and upstream operations.

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Will a New Glass Battery Accelerate the End of Oil?

John Goodenough, coinventor of the lithium-ion battery, heads a team of researchers developing the technology that could one day supplant it.  Photo: Cockrell School of Engineering

spectrum.ieee.org - by Mark Anderson - March 3, 2017

Electric car purchases have been on the rise lately, posting an estimated 60 percent growth rate last year. They’re poised for rapid adoption by 2022, when EVs are projected to cost the same as internal combustion cars. However, these estimates all presume the incumbent lithium-ion battery remains the go-to EV power source. So, when researchers this week at the University of Texas at Austin unveiled a new, promising lithium- or sodium-glass battery technology, it threatened to accelerate even rosy projections for battery-powered cars.

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The Murky Future of Nuclear Power in the United States

A view into Unit 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating station in Georgia. The complex plans to use AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse. Credit via Georgia Power

Image: A view into Unit 4 at the Alvin W. Vogtle generating station in Georgia. The complex plans to use AP1000 reactors from Westinghouse. Credit via Georgia Power

nytimes.com - February 18th 2017 - Diane Cardwell

This was supposed to be America’s nuclear century.

The Three Mile Island meltdown was two generations ago. Since then, engineers had developed innovative designs to avoid the kinds of failures that devastated Fukushima in Japan. 

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Flamanville reactor blast: No nuclear risk, say officials

The two reactors at Flamanville will eventually be joined by a third.

Image: The two reactors at Flamanville will eventually be joined by a third.

bbc.com - February 9th 2017

An explosion and fire have occurred at the Flamanville nuclear plant on France's northern coast but there was no nuclear risk, officials say.

"It is a significant technical event but it is not a nuclear accident," senior local official Olivier Marmion told AFP news agency.

Five people reported feeling unwell but none was seriously injured.

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Weak Federal Powers Could Limit Trump’s Climate-Policy Rollback

A wind farm in Pomeroy, Iowa. The wind power industry is booming in the United States, with wind-farm technician projected to be the country’s fastest-growing occupation over the next decade. Credit Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Image: A wind farm in Pomeroy, Iowa. The wind power industry is booming in the United States, with wind-farm technician projected to be the country’s fastest-growing occupation over the next decade. Credit Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

nytimes.com - January 2nd 2017 - Justin Gillis

With Donald J. Trump about to take control of the White House, it would seem a dark time for the renewable energy industry. After all, Mr. Trump has mocked the science of global warming as a Chinese hoax, threatened to kill a global deal on climate change and promised to restore the coal industry to its former glory.

So consider what happened in the middle of December, after investors had had a month to absorb the implications of Mr. Trump’s victory. 

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World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind

           

Emerging markets are leapfrogging the developed world thanks to cheap panels.

bloomberg.com - by Tom Randall - December 15, 2016

A transformation is happening in global energy markets that’s worth noting as 2016 comes to an end: Solar power, for the first time, is becoming the cheapest form of new electricity. 

This has happened in isolated projects in the past: an especially competitive auction in the Middle East, for example, resulting in record-cheap solar costs. But now unsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

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Before the Flood

nationalgeographic.com - October 30, 2016

From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Fisher Stevens and Academy Award®-winning actor, environmental activist and U.N. Messenger of Peace Leonardo DiCaprio, Before the Flood presents a riveting account of the dramatic changes now occurring around the world due to climate change, as well as the actions we as individuals and as a society can take to prevent the disruption of life on our planet.

CLICK HERE - National Geographic - Before the Flood

CLICK HERE - YouTube - Before the Flood

CLICK HERE - About the Film - Before the Flood

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