A groundbreaking new study, the Indie City Index, ranks all 363 metropolitan areas in the U. S. according to the vitality of their independent retail sectors. Continue reading
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I talked with Al Weinrub as he wrote this report and I think it’s another great demonstration of the cost and local economic superiority of distributed renewable energy generation. Commuity Power helps overturn the conventional wisdom that bigger is better, illustrating how decentralized, distributed renewable energy can provide a cost-effective and economy-boosting strategy for meeting our power needs.
From the media release:
Community Power argues that local, decentralized generation of electricity offers many benefits to California’s communities relative to large central-station solar or wind power plants in remote areas.
It identifies the factors that favor local decentralized generation of electricity: its economic benefits to local communities, its cost-effectiveness, its minimization of environmental impacts, its potential to rapidly meet renewable energy targets, and its increased system security. The paper also identifies obstacles to local renewable power and outlines policies that can promote its development.
Community Power reflects the reality that all electric power is not equal: the impact of electric power production on our ecosystem and on our communities depends on the economic, environmental, political, and social conditions under which the electricity is produced. And from this perspective, the impacts on our communities of remote central-station renewable power and local decentralized renewable power are very different indeed.
To get the full story, download Community Power by clicking here.
The batteries and the solar cells themselves are something like shock absorbers for the grid. If drivers want to charge up their cars during peak periods on the grid, the charging station’s batteries will meet part of that demand so that the impact on the grid is milder. Likewise, the solar cells will chip in with some energy, lessening the load on the grid.
“If with new technologies we can control these resources on the distribution side, we can eliminate the need for potentially very expensive upgrades to the distribution system,” said James A. Ellis, the senior manager for transportation and infrastructure at the T.V.A.’s Technology Innovation Organization.
Although both produce electricity from the sun, there are significant differences between solar PV and concentrating solar thermal electricity generation. This FAQ provides answers to the most pressing questions about the two solar technologies. 1. Isn’t concentrating solar power cheaper? No. Five years ago the two technologies were relatively comparable, but in 2011 there’s no… Continue reading
While California lumbers forward with a high-cost, controversial solar strategy built around remote utility-scale solar thermal plants, with the hope that 10,000 megawatts can be built in ten years, Germany is demonstrating now that 10,000 megawatts of distributed PV can be added in only three years.
Updated 1/28/11: Talk about distributed generation! In Germany in 2009, nearly 1 in 5 solar PV systems went on residential rooftops and 60% was installed on small to medium residential or commercial buildings.
The absolute numbers are big, too. Germany installed nearly 9 gigawatts installed 3 gigawatts of solar in 2009, to reach 9 gigawatts of installed capacity.
The blog Camino Energy has a very detailed analysis of the payback on an electric vehicle (Nissan Leaf) compared to a conventional Toyota Camry. The author looks specifically at Northern California, where off-peak electricity prices are low enough that utilities could offer electric vehicle (EV) charging at 5 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh). At that rate, with solely night-time charging of the EV and driving 12,000 miles a year, a Nissan Leaf pays back in 5 years.
The author provides a sensitivity analysis against higher electricity prices, and his entire post is worth reading.
Joining Ontario and several U.S. states, the Canadian province of Nova Scotia has proposed a new twist on a common clean energy program. The policy provides a guaranteed, long-term contract for wind, biomass, hydro, and tidal power producers and offers them the same return on equity provided to utiltiies. Continue reading