Distributed solar photovoltaic (PV) proponents have recognized that solar is not without economies of scale – larger installations generally have lower installed costs per Watt of peak capacity. But new data suggests that these economies are significantly smaller than previously believed. This is good news for solar and great news for the renewable energy movement…. Continue reading
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One of the keys to maximizing renewable energy production (decentralized or otherwise) is providing electricity storage to smooth out variabilities in wind and solar power production. Electric vehicles have a lot of promise, as the cars could provide roving storage and dispatchable power to help match supply and demand.
So could a large number of EVs actually help with the huge variations in wind that can occur? According to Claus Ekman, a researcher at the Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy in Frederiksborgvej, Denmark, it can, to an extent. Ekman recently published a paper in the journal Renewable Energy that modeled how well EVs could handle increasing wind power generation. He found that in a scenario involving 500,000 vehicles and 8 gigawatts of wind power, various strategies would reduce the excess, or lost, wind power by as much as 800 megawatts — enough to power more than 200,000 homes. Ekman calls this a “significant but not dramatic” effect on the grid. Scenarios involving 2.5 million vehicles and even more wind power show an even greater impact.
The U.S. currently has around 35 gigawatts of wind power, so it would take 2.1 million EVs to provide a similar effect in the U.S. (reducing the lost wind capacity by 10 percent of total installed capacity).
Right-Wingers Just Don’t Like the Ones Who Don’t Agree with Them. In 1787, writing in the Federalist Papers in support of state ratification of the Constitution, Alexander Hamilton argued that the proposed Supreme Court “will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the constitution.” As for judicial activism, “contraventions of the will of the legislature may now and then happen; but they can never be as extensive as to affect the order of the political system.” Continue reading
How self-sufficient in energy generation could states be if they relied only on their own renewable resources? In November 2008, ILSR began to address this question in the first edition of Energy Self-Reliant States. That report included a limited set of resources – on-shore wind and rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) – and also examined the… Continue reading
The interconnection and locational benefits of [Wholesale Distributed Generation] represent a large part of the ratepayer value for projects 20 MW and under. Because the locational benefits of distribution- connected energy in terms of ratepayer and ancillary impacts have been well- documented, the FIT Coalition strongly recommends that the [Reverse Auction Mechanism] program be limited to distribution-connected projects.
The FIT Coalition’s predecessors previously provided detailed evidence for the conclusion that distribution-connected energy provides up to 35% higher value to the ratepayer than transmission-connected energy. This value difference arises from several factors, including: avoided network construction costs, avoided line losses, and avoided congestion. Furthermore, ratepayers incur an additional cost of approximately 1.5 cents for every kWh that is stepped down from the transmission grid to the distribution grid. This Transmission Access Charge is applied across the board and is a clear and immediate benefit of interconnection renewable generation to the distribution grid.
CPUC Rulemaking 08-08-009 Comments filed September 27, 2010 Continue reading
A recent University of California, Berkeley, study showed that if we hit our state’s renewable energy goals for 2020 [33%] with wholesale generation projects instead of large, remote projects, we will get hundreds of thousands more in-state jobs, tens of billions more in private investment and billions more in tax revenues. Continue reading
Building wholesale [distributed] generation projects instead of large-scale renewable energy farms in remote areas helps consumers by avoiding unnecessary costs. If energy is generated close to where it is used, the utilities do not need to build more long-distance transmission lines, and less energy is lost traveling over those lines. Consumers also pay less in “transmission access charges,” fees for converting energy from the transmission grid to the local distribution grid. Continue reading
The ubiquitous nature of renewable energy argues for a decentralist energy approach. Continue reading
Let’s say I built a 100 megawatt photovoltaic power plant in Blythe, in a hot desert. The same 100 megawatts in 1,000 commercial rooftops in San Diego … you would pay a bit more. However if you’re building that array out in the desert, you need to transmit it in. You need transmission to do that.
One of my main arguments against doing it in the desert is that the utilities, like SDGE make their best rate of return on new transmission lines, like the Sunrise Powerlink that’s been so controversial here. So a utility is almost reflexively saying we must put it out remotely in order to get the most cost-effective power. But if you add the cost of putting in that transmission line you’ve completely negated the economic benefit.
And, addressing another point, yes, the solar intensity in Blythe is 10 to 15 percent better than it would be on average in coastal San Diego, but the amount of losses that transmission line will incur — especially on a hot summer day when you’re trying to deal with your peak loads — is also in the 10 to 15 percent range. Continue reading
In mid October, Leon County, FL, joined Babylon, NY, Palm Desert, CA, and Sonoma County, CA, as well as the California Attorney General, Sierra Club, and Natural Resources Defense Council in suing the Federal Housing Finance Agency over their opposition to the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) municipal energy financing program. These lawsuits were complemented… Continue reading