Green Energy, December 2015
AwN | Green energy is both interesting and important. There is a little bit of something for everyone if you look closely enough. While I am not a global warming alarmist, I don't like fossil fuels very much at all, and am happy about the current push for renewables. Yet I feel more and more trepidation as I wonder about the full rollout of these technologies. Each and every renewable energy has either severe limitations, a reliance on fossil fuels, or the risk of stagnating natural systems, some have all three. I fear that since humanity often chooses the answer and treats it as perfect, they will ignore these limitations until they too become too disasterous to stand.
Regardless of the limitations though, there is no doubt that fossil fuels need to be used in an educated manner. On the flip side, even if a renewable energy is more expensive than a fossil fuel, its use can be considered a step in the right direction. What follows are some of the more interesting renewable energy topics from 2015.
10 Most-read Articles of 2015 on RenewableEnergyWorld.com
It’s time to look back at which articles on RenewableEnergyWorld.com captured the most attention from readers in 2015. Take a look at visual stories that explored how we feel about climate change and show what it’s like to be a wind farm operator. Review the top energy stocks and which alternative energy mutual funds are focused on renewables. And examine the policy issues that kept the solar industry on its toes all year.
The Take Away on Cost: How Geothermal Can Compete with Solar
Further exacerbating the issue for the U.S. geothermal industry are the solar industry’s favorable subsidies as compared to those given to geothermal. Solar currently receives a 30 percent federal tax credit, while geothermal receives 10 percent. Although the solar federal tax credit is set to go down to 10 percent in 2017, solar also receives state tax credits/rebates and property tax exemptions as well as special rates and net metering. None of those additional incentives are extended to geothermal.
US Plows Another $10.5 Million Into Futuristic Water Mills
Marine energy fans have something new to buzz about this week, now that the US Department of Energy has dropped another round of $10.5 million in funding for next-generation technology to tap river currents as well as ocean currents, waves, and tides. The new funding is aimed at lowering the cost of the nation’s vast marine energy potential by building up durability and ease of maintenance, as well as increasing efficiency.
The technology to tap rivers for power goes back to the earliest water mills, and that’s the basic idea behind marine and hydrokinetic energy systems. All of these rely on the natural motion of water rather than the high pressure infrastructure required by hydroelectric dams.
While ocean-going devices have been grabbing much of the marine energy spotlight these days, the US also has an abundance of potential interior sources that could be tapped, including rivers as well as existing dams and other built infrastructure such as irrigation canals, water treatment plants, food processors, and other facilities that use large amounts of water.
Sweden deploys 120-ton subsea generator switchgear at MHK project
A significant step to develop the first megawatt from the marine hydrokinetic (MHK) Sotenas Wave Energy Plant off of Sweden’s west coast took place earlier this month when a 120-ton subsea generator switchgear was deployed and connected to the Swedish national power grid via a 10-km-long subsea cable.
According to a press release from Seabased AB, a Sweden-based MHK company, a number of wave energy converters were also connected to the subsea switchgear.
Google-backed 104 MW Solar PV Facility Comes Online in Utah
Norway-based Scatec Solar ASA said it has commissioned its 104 MWsolar PV plant in Parowan, Utah, more than doubling the state’s installed PV capacity.
Utah in 2014 had 39 MW of installed solar capacity, according to the Solar Energy Industry Association.
India’s ReNew Power Eyes 1 GW Renewable Energy Capacity In 3 Months
Goldman Sachs-backed renewable energy projects developer ReNew Power Ventures is working aggressively to expand its market share.
Local media reports have stated that ReNew Power Ventures is looking at an operational base of 1 GW within the next 3 months. A huge majority of this capacity will be based on wind energy technology.
ReNew Power Ventures will hope to make as much wind energy capacity operational as possible before the monsoon season starts in late-April to early-May. The company is believed to have an operational wind energy base of around 640 MW across various states in India.
180 MW Of Renewable Energy Projects In Pipeline In Jordan
Work on solar and wind energy projects in Jordan is likely to pick up swiftly in 2016 for companies that were awarded in projects in the recent auctions.
According to media reports, two international companies are set up to start work on solar power projects, while an 80 MW wind energy project is expected to be commissioned.
The Jordanian government is expected to sign final agreements for the construction of two solar photovoltaic (PV) power projects of 50 MW capacity each. These projects were auctionedin 2015 at record-low tariffs. One of the projects will be developed by Greece-based Sunrise Photovoltaic Systems which secured the project at the lowest tariff of US¢6.13 per kWh. The second project will be developed by Saudi Oger, which quoted a tariff bid of US¢6.48 per kWh. Two more projects of 50 MW each were also allocated in the auction.
Australia’s Small-Scale Rooftop Solar Installations Hit 4.59 GW In 2015
Propelling a global boost in renewable energy, Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator has reported small-scale rooftop solar totaled 4.59 GW in 2015.
As reported by pv-magazine, data released by the Clean Energy Regulator shows 119,000 new small-scale PV installations have taken place in 2015. While not as sizable as 2014, this number distinguishes Australia with the highest portion of residential buildings with rooftop PV globally.
The Australia small-scale rooftop solar numbers also show the nation has maintained its world lead the world in deployment of rooftop solar. Counting a December 1 calculation, Australia has reached 1.49 million small-scale PV installations. This total is based on data released by this country’s Clean Energy Regulator.
Volkswagen To Be Wind Powered In Mexico
Wind will be the energy source for two of Volkswagen’s factories in Mexico. That is, if all goes through as planned. Spanish turbine maker Gamesa agreed last week to build a 130 MW wind farm to power these two VW sites. Is this part of Volkswagen’s comeback after the diesel scandal?
Dignity may be hard to restore, but as Business Green notes, this is “a breath of fresh air.”
Continuing with the information, Gamesa reports that the installation will include 65 of its 2-megawatt (MW) turbines, and it is expected to be completed by the last month of 2016.
Nevada Solar Fee Retroactive, Makes SolarCity Exit State (2,000 Nevada Employees & All)
How bad is the hurt? As cited by the news and market research firm Greentech Media, the national solar advocacy organization TASC (The Alliance for Solar Choice) estimates that most rooftop solar customers are looking at a monthly surcharge of $40.00, while the savings from their installation only ranges from $11.00 to $15.00. Quite simply, the math doesn’t give solar fans any good financial reason to install rooftop solar.