Launched in October 2010, Energy Self-Reliant States tries to de-mystify the data that shows how electricity generation can be distributed and electricity generators can be locally owned.
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
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.
An incredibly thorough, annual analysis of the U.S. wind market. A must-read for anyone doing analysis of wind power data in the United States. The authors even provide their data file. Download the report. From the Executive Summary: Wind Power Additions in 2009 Shattered Old Records, with roughly 10 GW of New Capacity Added in… Continue reading
A residential rooftop solar PV system in Los Angeles, CA, has a cheaper cost per kilowatt-hour of electricity delivered than the most cost effective, utility-scale concentrating solar power plant.
In 2010, a buying group called Open Neighborhoods openly advertised an opportunity to get a solar PV system installed for $4.78 per Watt (not including any tax credits, rebates, or grants), a system that would produce approximately 1,492 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per year (AC) for each kilowatt of capacity (DC).
Based on the best available public information about the costs and performance of operational concentrating solar thermal power plants, the PS10 solar power tower – an 11 MW installation in Spain – has the lowest levelized cost of operation of any concentrating solar power plant that produces electricity. PS10 had an installed cost of $4.15 per Watt and produces 2,127 kWh per kW of capacity.
However, due to higher operations costs and a higher cost of capital (8% rather than 5%) for a concentrating solar power plant, the levelized cost of the residential rooftop system (17.3 cents per kWh) is less than that of the power tower (19.9 cents per kWh).
This analysis also does not include any transmission infrastructure or efficiency losses, either of which would increase the levelized cost of the concentrating solar power plant. It also did not include the lower price point from Open Neighborhoods, which advertised a possibility of driving the price down to $4.22 per Watt (driving the levelized cost down to 15.3 cents per kWh).
The Southern California Edison project, also featured in the chart, is another example of low-cost distributed solar PV, with the 250 MW project spread across commercial rooftops in 1-2 MW increments but still achieving large scale.
Ultimately, this data further confirms that distributed solar can be delivered less expensively than centralized solar power.
I received an email this morning from a thoughtful fellow who had read some of the posts I’ve sent over to Renewable Energy World. His perspective is worth sharing because it highlights the all-too-common tunnel vision we can get about renewable energy as only about electricity. I believe the distributed energy model will be the… Continue reading