Tag Archives: 100% renewables

Blowout Week 160

This week we feature the inauguration of President Donald Trump and what it portends for US (and World) energy policy. After some confusing recent announcements Trump seems to have reverted to form. We continue with, oil production up in Libya and down in China, UK “last hope” for fracking in Europe, nuclear shutdown in New York, California nuclear shutdowns frustrate renewable energy goals, Russia lends $11 billion to Bangladesh to build nuclear plant, Ontario’s failed coal closure initiative, Wyoming to ban utility-scale renewables, Saudi Arabia to become a renewable energy powerhouse, 790GW of untapped wind & solar in SE Europe, Germany can’t admit Energiewende blunder, Scotland targets 66% emissions cut in 15 years, Ikea refuses to invest in more renewables in UK, UK wave power “far too costly”, energy bills and the plight of UK pensioners, too much sun in Yorkshire, the Paris Agreement to cost $100 trillion and reduce warming by only 0.3C and a hydrogen-powered boat plans to circumnavigate the globe. Continue reading

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Can Hawaii go 100% Renewable?

Hawaii’s Renewables Portfolio Standard commits it to obtaining 100% of its energy from renewables by 2045, and Hawaii proposes to do this by wholesale replacement of fossil fuel generation with solar. This approach is theoretically possible, but only if there is enough energy storage (approximately 10GWh) to match day-night solar fluctuations of over 3GW to a substantially flat ~800MW load curve and if grid stability can be mantained with dominant solar generation. The Renewables Portfolio Standard also covers only electricity generation, which presently supplies only about a third of Hawaii’s energy needs, so even if it’s met Hawaii will still fall well short of its 100% renewable energy target. Continue reading

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El Hierro end 2016 performance update

Because of generally low wind strengths the Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant achieved only 28.2% renewables generation in November and December 2016. Percent total renewables generation since full operations began in June 2015 stands at 37.7% at the end of 2016, down slightly from 38.7% at the end of October 2016. Renewables generation for the calendar year 2016 was 41.1%. Minor improvements are apparently being made in wind turbine performance but hydro generation remains negligible overall. Data on GdV plant layout, operation and capacities are given in the September 2015 review. Previous posts on GdV are accessible through the El Hierro portal. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 157 – New Year’s Edition

We kick of this week with a look at EU gas imports from Russia. And then follow with Russians hack into a Vermont utility; Toshiba’s nuclear business in trouble; nuclear power in Iran, Switzerland and South Africa; uranium in the US and Spain; Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage; coal in China and India; the Energiewende and the “Trump Effect”; Hawaii accelerates drive for 100% renewables; renewables records fall in Europe; Drax secures its future; post-Brexit investment surge in UK; Scotland’s renewable targets; electric vehicle costs; Swansea Bay tidal project adrift; climate change and Arctic warmth; more blackouts in South Australia and climate skeptics hoping to come in from the cold. Continue reading

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Latest El Hierro reservoir images

Rainer Strassburger is back on El Hierro and has downloaded more Gorona del Viento reservoir images on his Cloud site, which is now accessible via the El Hierro portal . Here we take a quick pictorial look at what has changed since he took his last photographs in April. The main changes are a) two flexible pipelines are now delivering water to the Upper Reservoir from the island pipeline network and b) three long graduated poles presumably intended to measure water levels have been installed in the Upper Reservoir, suggesting that GdV may finally be planning to fill it. Otherwise GdV has continued to work with the ~100,000 cu m of water that the reservoirs contained in April. Continue reading

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Blowout week 155

This week we kick off with the good news that the Antarctic sea ice area has changed little since the time of Scott and Shackelton. All those who have feared for the worse can breathe a huge sigh of relief. We … Continue reading

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Solar power on the island of Ta’u, a preliminary appraisal

A 1,400kW(p) solar PV array backed up by 6,000kWh of battery storage and a smart grid has been installed on the island of Ta’u in American Samoa. It’s widely reported that this system already allows Ta’u to obtain 100% of its electricity from renewable sources for 100% of the time, and this brief review suggests that it will in fact be capable of delivering 100% electricity for almost 100% of the time if and when it reaches full operation. Continue reading

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UK Electricity Part 3: Wind and Solar

Part 1 of the series on 2050 electricity demand provided a “high electrification” scenario where the average electricity demand was approximately 72GW, but peak demand on exceptionally cold days could reach 121GW.

Part 2 described how this demand could be fulfilled with a nuclear supply model. In Part 3 we have used the same demand model to show how this could be substantially fulfilled with wind and solar power; though relying on significant amounts of storage to match supply and demand, and gas (or biofuel) capacity to operate when storage is insufficient. A number of different scenarios are explored, with the preferred scenario laid out below, adjacent to the nuclear scenario for comparison. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 152

This week we begin with Trump’ plans for Nigel Farage and continue with the Obama administration’s rush to push more regulations through, Saudis pull out of oil talks with Russia, oil potential in Mexico, pipeline gridlock in Canada, Gazprom pushes ahead with Nord Stream, Swiss to vote on nuclear phaseout, gas to ride to the rescue in France, Canada to phase out coal, snow, coal and gas in Tokyo and Beijing, the Torness nuclear outage, EU to challenge capacity markets, more UK funding for EVs, protected European forests being felled for biomass, Scott, Shackleton and Antarctic ice, how cement absorbs carbon (which is not the enemy) and the Pacific island of Ta’u, now 100% powered by solar. Continue reading

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El Hierro October 2016 performance update

During October the hybrid wind-hydro Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant achieved 19.8% renewables generation that compares with the 58.2% achieved in August 2016. The cause was an abrupt mid-month fall in the wind. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 148

In this week’s blowout: falling renewable investments, the SA blackout, falling oil output in Libya, Nigeria and Venezuela, EU gives pipeline go-ahead, Warren Buffett on wind subsidies, French nuclear woes and UK energy prices, Fukushima reclamation costs up, the end of nuclear in the US and of coal in UK, Australian coal mines reopening, Sweden and Spain to go 100% renewable, DONG considers selling oil & gas assets, renewables and “Big Data”, the Heathrow third runway, Brexit lowers the UK’s renewables-favorable ranking, few in UK support fracking, new life for the incandescent light bulb and how climate change causes cold winters, an increase in child marriage and more politicians being voted out of office. Continue reading

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A more detailed look at the California grid data

In the June “Renewable California” post I presented a brief analysis of California’s progress towards its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions at least 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 based on annual generation data. Hourly grid data for the period between April 20, 2010 and March 9, 2016 are now available, and this post reviews them to see what they add. The conclusion is basically the same as before – that despite all the legislation that California has passed in an attempt to stimulate the growth of renewables the state has not progressed at all. The percentage of renewables in California’s energy mix is still about the same as it was in 2010 and the percentage of low-carbon generation in the mix has decreased slightly. The California “Duck Curve” also remains a matter of concern. Continue reading

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El Hierro September 2016 performance update

During September the hybrid wind-hydro Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant achieved 58.2% renewables generation, comparable to the 55.6% achieved in August and far higher than the 19.9% achieved in September 2015. This was largely a result of the fact that the wind didn’t die early in the month as it did in September 2015. Total renewables generation since full operations began at GdV on June 27, 2015 is now 40.1%, up from 38.7% at the end of August. Continue reading

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Blowout Week 141

In this week’s Blowout: Bumper wheat harvest in hottest year; OPEC output falls sharply in August; Apache Corporation makes billion barrel find; Caspian Sea set to add 200,000 bpd; Hurricane Energy finds more oil West of Shetland; US rigs up 7; Rosatom to build 16 nukes in Saudi; Iran begins work on second nuke; UK government may take a stake in Hinkley and renegotiate deal; Corbyn to ban fracking; coal prices surge; global coal consumption rising; 100% renewables in Costa Rica; one new turbine a day in Scotland; US may outlaw biomass in power sector; renewable heat strategy failing in UK; Spain replaces old solar modules; global warming causes profanity. Continue reading

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Electricity and energy in the G20

While governments fixate on cutting emissions from the electricity sector, the larger problem of cutting emissions from the non-electricity sector is generally ignored. In this post I present data from the G20 countries, which between them consume 80% of the world’s energy, summarizing the present situation. The results show that the G20 countries obtain only 41.5% of their total energy from electricity and the remaining 58.5% dominantly from oil, coal and gas consumed in the non-electric sector (transportation, industrial processes, heating etc). So even if they eventually succeed in obtaining all their electricity from low-carbon sources they would still be getting more than half their energy from high-carbon sources if no progress is made in decarbonizing their non-electric sectors. Continue reading

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El Hierro August 2016 performance update

During August the hybrid wind-hydro Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant achieved 55.6% renewables generation, higher than the 47.9% achieved in August 2015 but lower than the 65.9% achieved in July. The decrease relative to July was a caused by wind lulls and the increase relative to 2015 was a result of two periods of 100% renewables generation totalling 79 hours. Total renewables generation since full operations began at GdV in June 2015 is now 38.7%, up from 37.8% at the beginning of the month. Continue reading

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The Holy Grail of Battery Storage

A recent Telegraph article claims that storage battery technology is now advancing so fast that “we may never again need to build 20th Century power plants in this country, let alone a nuclear white elephant such as Hinkley Point” and that the “Holy Grail of energy policy” – a storage battery cost of $100/kWh – will be reached in “relatively short order”. This brief post shines the cold light of reality on these claims by calculating battery storage costs based on the storage requirements for specific cases estimated in previous Energy Matters posts. Continue reading

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El Hierro July 2016 performance update

During July the hybrid wind-hydro Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant set a new record of 65.9% renewable energy delivered to the El Hierro grid, handily exceeding the previous record of 53.9% achieved in June. This was dominantly a result of a continuation of the sustained northerly winds that began in mid-June. Continue reading

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The Eigg renewables project revisited

Among the claimants for the title of “world leader” in renewables development in remote areas the island of Eigg (population 90) off the west coast of Scotland, which since 2008 has been obtaining over 80% of its electricity from a custom-designed hybrid system, probably has the best claim. This post reviews operating data that have become available since I posted Eigg, a model for a sustainable energy future in September 2014. It concludes a) that while the project has delivered good results it is inefficient (overall capacity factor 11%), b) that Eigg will probably never be able to do away entirely with diesel backup and c) that the project owes its existence to the fact that 94% of the capital cost was financed by grants. It is economically unviable on a stand-alone basis. Continue reading

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El Hierro completes a year of full operation

At the end of June the Gorona del Viento (GdV) plant completed its first year of full operation, during which it supplied 34.6% of El Hierro’s electricity demand with renewable electricity at a cost probably exceeding €1.00/kWh while lowering the island’s CO2 emissions by approximately 12,000 tons at a cost of around €1,000/ton. This post summarizes these unexpectedly poor results, discusses the reasons for them and concludes that GdV, which was intended to show the world how fossil fuel generation can readily be replaced with intermittent renewables, can already be classified as a “failed project”. Continue reading

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