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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 24, 2011

Community Power: Decentralized Renewable Energy in California

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/community-power-decentralized-renewable-energy-california-0/

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.

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 24, 2011

EV Charging Station Charges Cars and Supports the Grid

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/ev-charging-station-charges-cars-and-supports-grid/

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.

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 21, 2011

Addressing Frequently Asked Questions About Solar PV v. Concentrating Solar

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/addressing-frequently-asked-questions-about-solar-pv-v-concentrating-solar/

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

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 20, 2011

Rapid Distributed PV Outstrips Lumbering Solar Thermal

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/rapid-distributed-pv-outstrips-lumbering-solar-thermal/

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.

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 20, 2011

Half of Germany’s 43,000 Megawatts of Renewable Energy Owned by Individuals

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/half-germanys-43000-megawatts-renewable-energy-owned-individuals/
Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | 1 Comment | Updated on Jan 19, 2011

Over 80 Percent of German PV Installed on Rooftops

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/over-80-percent-german-pv-installed-rooftops/

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.

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 19, 2011

A Look at Electric Vehicle Economics

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/look-electric-vehicle-economics/

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.

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Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 19, 2011

Nova Scotia Proposes Feed-in Tariffs Solely for Community-Owned Projects

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/nova-scotia-proposes-feed-tariffs-solely-community-owned-projects/

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

Article filed under Energy, Energy Self-Reliant States | Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jan 18, 2011

Turkey Adopts Feed-in Tariff with Buy Local Provision

The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at http://www.ilsr.org/turkey-adopts-feed-tariff-buy-local-provision/

The country of Turkey recently adopted a new feed-in tariff policy for several renewable energy technologies including wind and solar.  What’s notable is not the base rates (the prices are likely too low) but the bonus payments for “made in Turkey” projects.  For a solar PV project, for example, a fully local solar PV system could increase their payment per kilowatt-hour by over 50%.

The policy mimics the highly successful FIT Program in Ontario, where a buy local rule requires participating projects to source at least 60% of their content in the province.  The rule has meant that the 5,000 megawatts of projects in the pipeline have generated the promise of 43,000 jobs.  For more on Ontario’s program, see our recently released report: Maximizing Jobs From Clean Energy: Ontario’s ‘Buy Local’ Policy.

Turkey’s policy is noteworthy for using bonus payments, a strategy that is more likely to pass legal muster for U.S. states looking to emulate Ontario’s job creation success.

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