Category Archives: Energy

Energetic 20170928

Chance of a solar panel tariff.

Solar power to protect military installations.

In a sense, stationing diesel-fueled generators outside key buildings to provide emergency power is a start down this path. But fuel supply lines can be disrupted too, so renewable energy is best for a long-lasting solution. Solar photovoltaic systems, which generate electricity directly from sunlight, are best because they are easy to maintain, can be located almost anywhere and don’t need to be refueled.

Primer on lithium production.

Energetic 20170907

Would you have to leave your car in the sun to charge all day? And here’s part 2.

The DOE study found cheap natural gas to be the greatest driver of baseload power plant retirements, followed by flat power demand, environmental regulations and the growing penetration of renewables on the grid. Perhaps most notably, the study did not find renewables to be a threat to grid reliability.

Duke Energy having trouble building anything other than renewable power in North Carolina.

Energetic 20170817

Bigger and bigger wind turbines.

Whereas 82 percent of offshore turbines ordered between 2001 and 2005 were under 3 megawatts, today there are no machines of that size on order.

Instead, 71 percent of orders are for products 5 megawatts or greater, and 16 percent are for turbines of 8 megawatts or greater. “Despite long project cycles and R&D timelines, commercial demand continues to favor the largest turbines,” says the report. “The next generation of 12-megawatt-plus turbines will gain market share within the next five years.”

Book Review – The Switch

The Switch: How solar, storage and new tech means cheap power for all
by Chris Goodall, 2016

Good up-to-date description of solar prices, technology, and potential. Covers the potential to get almost all of our power from the sun. Discusses the drawbacks and barriers, including what happens when the sun doesn’t shine. Batteries for short-term storage. An interesting idea that I hadn’t known about is power to gas for long term storage. Basically, use hydrolysis to generate hydrogen from water, and combine that with carbon-based molecules (either drawn from the air, see Climeworks, or captured from existing industry/power generation) to form energy-rich gases like methane. The gas can then be stored in existing infrastructure to be burned over dark winters in the northern parts of Europe and Canada where they don’t get enough sunlight to run entirely on solar power. Good read, with highlights of some early-stage companies trying to bring about a solar-powered future.