Renewables: Energy is free, guarantees cost money

isotopp image Kristian Köhntopp -
July 26, 2017
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Digging through my bookmarks and open tabs was interesting. The picture of the future that emerges: With costs for energy approaching the 1 cent range per kWh, electrical energy is going to be close to free. Money can and will be charged for guarantees, because batteries or other forms of storage still cost money.

  • Guardian: ‘Spectacular’ drop in renewable energy costs leads to record global boost »The new renewable energy capacity installed worldwide in 2016 was 161GW, a 10% rise on 2015 […] The new record capacity cost $242bn, a 23% reduction in investment compared to 2015, and renewables investment remained larger than for all fossil fuels. Subsidies for green energy, however, are still much lower than those for coal, oil and gas.«
  • SolAmerica: SolAmerica Energy Launches 1.3 MW Solar Project on President Carter’s Farm in Plains, Georgia »Former President Jimmy Carter leased a 10-acre (40.000 sqm) site in his hometown to SolAmerica for development of the 1.3 MW solar project, which will provide over 50% of the power needs of the City of Plains.«
  • Bloomberg: German Tenants Win Right to Generate Solar Power on Rented Roofs »Lawmakers are set to pass legislation dubbed “Tenant Power” on Thursday in Berlin. The bill promises owners of tenant blocks a subsidy of as much as 3.8 cents (4.3 U.S. cents) a kilowatt-hour for generating solar power on rooftops or from basement combined heat and power units.«
  • Bloomberg: Solar Power Will Kill Coal Faster Than You Think The tipping point will be 2021 for China, Germany is already past it.

  • Forbes: The Cost Of Wind And Solar Intermittency »What is the integration threshold? There is no threshold, per se. The cost of managing intermittency is nonlinear and depends upon the mix and location of dispatchable and non-dispatchable sources, the match of local demand patterns with variable source pattern, and various other factors. Based on model studies of Germany and Indiana, Falko Ueckerdt found integration costs began to become significant at 20% [intermittent energy sources].«
  • Christopher Schwarzer: DIE DEUTSCHLAND-BATTERIE, TerraE baut Zellfabrik in der Bundesrepublik (Article in German) »Die Gründungsgesellschafter der TerraE Holding GmbH sind Holger Gritzka, bisher Head of Battery Technologies bei ThyssenKrupp, Dr. Ulrich Ehmes, zuvor CEO der Schweizer Batteriefirma Leclanché sowie die BMZ Holding GmbH.« TerraE wird spätestens Ende 2019 eine deutsche Batteriefabrik am Start haben. BMZ hat die Batterien für die Streetscooter geliefert.
  • PV Magazine: TerraE bildet Konsortium für Gigawattfertigung füLithium-Batteriezellen (Article in German) »17 Unternehmen und Forschungsinstitut haben sich mit TerraE zu einem Konsortium zusammengeschlossen. Ziel ist der Aufbau einer Großserienfertigung von Lithium-Ionen-Zellen an zwei Standorten in Deutschland.«
  • PV Magazine: Energy storage already cost-competitive in commercial sector, finds study »Cheaper battery prices sees storage playing a broader role in energy markets, particularly for commercial customers seeking to reduce peak consumption, research from McKinsey shows.«
  • Energiespeicher Blog: Unterirdische Pumpspeicher (Article in German) »Wie bereits mehrfach erwähnt, sind Pumpspeicher die verbreitetste Methode elektrische Energie in großer Menge abzuspeichern. […] Unterirdische Speicherkraftwerke sind von den Kosten nicht in einer anderen Welt als Batterien oder obertägige Pumpspeicher. Allerdings gibt es je nach Technologie erhebliche unterschiedliche technische Probleme und spezifische Kosten.«
  • Singularity Hub: Canada Is Building a 7 Megawatt-Hour Compressed Air Energy Storage Plant »Compressing air in porous caves can serve as a backup form of power that can be tapped when the demand for power is high.«
  • New Shift: This is how Big Oil will die »And here is what is disruptive for Big Oil: Self-driving vehicles get to combine the capital savings from the improved lifetime of EVs, with the savings from eliminating the driver. The costs of electric self-driving cars will be so low, it will be cheaper to hail a ride than to drive the car you already own.« Using the math in the article, this will even be the case if the car is a traditional Taxi with driver, as long as it is electric and has the lifetime assumed in the article.The second half of the article discusses the US coal crash, which happened between 2011 and 2016 (the four largest US coal companies were worth about 45 bn USD together in 2011, and all bancrupt in 2016).
  • Mark Bently: Tweet »I recently made this simply plot showing the solar flux at various longitudes on Mercury’s equator. The blue line shows the value at Earth.

  • Bloomberg: Bird Radar May Help Reduce Wind Turbine Deaths Shared for this graph: