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Tesla’s massive 50,000-Powerwall virtual power plant project gets green light from new South Australian government

Instead of being a large centralized battery system using Tesla’s Powerpacks, the new project is using Tesla’s residential battery system, the Powerwall, to create decentralized energy storage, which basically results in creating a massive virtual power plant.

This is great news for South Australia. It could technically result in almost 100,000 home battery packs deployed in the state over the next few years.

van Holst Pellekaan called it “a mass adoption of home batteries”: “This is a complicated task — I don’t think that anyone has attempted to do what we’re about to do at this scale relative to population and market size.”

See https://electrek.co/2018/05/24/teslas-massive-50000-powerwall-virtual-power-plant-project-gets-greenlight-from-new-sa-gov/

#tesla
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South Africa working on Climate Change Bill

Speaking at a press briefing before introducing her department's budget to the National Assembly on Wednesday, Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said in addition to finalising the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, the department had developed a draft Climate Change Bill.

She said that South Africa was a signatory to the Paris Agreement to Combat Climate Change was an acknowledgement that this was a problem requiring a global effort.

"South Africa continues to play an active role on the international stage through participation in a number of key multilateral environmental agreements and their associated negotiations," she said.

"In addition to finalising our National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, we have developed a draft Climate Change Bill to provide effective national response for both mitigation and adaptation action."

From the White Paper at https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/legislations/national_climatechange_response_whitepaper.pdf:
"Furthermore, the planned rail re-capitalisation programme is considered an important component of this Flagship Programme in so far as it will facilitate both passenger modal shifts and the shift of freight from road to rail. Initially led by the Department of Transport, the programme will also include a Government Vehicle Efficiency Programme that will measurably improve the efficiency of the government vehicle fleet by 2020. It will encourage new efficient-vehicle technologies, such as electric vehicles, by setting procurement objectives for acquiring such vehicles.

See https://www.news24.com/Green/News/south-africa-working-on-climate-change-bill-20180516

#climatechange
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Solar Energy Storage Problem May be Solved in New Single-System Technology - Austin, Texas

Generating power from the sun isn’t the problem. The technology has been there for decades. Storing that power efficiently, however, has been a challenge. Until now. That’s why the Department of Energy has awarded $3 million to engineering researchers at The University of Texas at Austin to overcome the Achilles’ heel of the solar power story since Day One: how to store its energy.

“Our solution to solar energy storage not only reduces capital costs, but it also reduces the operation cost through its multifunctional capabilities,” Huang said. “These functionalities will ensure the power grids of tomorrow can host a higher percentage of solar energy. By greatly reducing the impact of the intermittence of solar energy on the grid and providing grid-governing support, the M4 Inverter provides the same resilience as any fossil-fuel-powered grid.”

One such additional functionality is the ability to provide fast frequency control, which would prevent a solar-powered grid from experiencing blackouts on days when large cloud cover might obstruct solar farming.

Good to see more investment going into R&D around storage for renewable energy generation.

See https://news.utexas.edu/2018/05/22/single-system-solar-tech-cuts-clean-energy-costs-in-half

#gridstorage #solar
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The Great American Fracking Bubble

Something I was not aware of was that these shale spot supposedly dry up and you need to drill elsewhere again...

As a whole, the American fracking experiment has been a financial disaster for many of its investors, who have been plagued by the industry’s heavy borrowing, low returns, and bankruptcies, and the path to becoming profitable is lined with significant potential hurdles. Up to this point, the industry has been drilling the “sweet spots” in the country’s major shale formations, reaching the easiest and most valuable oil first.

But at the same time energy companies are borrowing more money to drill more wells, the sweet spots are drying up, creating a Catch-22 as more drilling drives more debt.

“You have to keep drilling,” David Hughes, a geoscientist and fellow specializing in shale gas and oil production at the Post Carbon Institute, told DeSmog. But he also noted that with most of the sweet spots already drilled, producers are forced to move to less productive areas.

The result? “Productivity goes down and the costs remain the same,” he explained.

While Hughes understands the industry’s rationale for continuing to drill new wells at a loss, he doubts the sustainability of the practice. “I don’t think in the long-term they can drill their way out of this,” Hughes told DeSmog.

U.S. oil produced via fracking is priced as West Texas Intermediate (WTI), which averaged $41 a barrel in 2016 and $51 in 2017. The consensus is that WTI should average over $50 a barrel in 2018, thus providing the industry another reason to keep pushing forward. However, even in 2017 with the average over $50 a barrel, the industry as a whole was not profitable.

See https://cleantechnica.com/2018/05/21/the-great-american-fracking-bubble/

#fracking
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Breakthrough solar panel can harvest power from raindrops — day or night - In another advance, Chinese deploy two-sided solar panels to boost efficiency

In a truly remarkable feat of innovation, scientists have figured out how to create “hybrid” solar cells that generate power not just from sunlight but also from raindrops. This means we may soon see all-weather solar panels that work when it is cloudy and even at night, if it’s raining.

Researchers at China’s Soochow University have demonstrated a solar cell that can generate electricity from falling rain. A recent article in the American Chemical Society’s nanotechnology journal Nano describes the innovation in an article titled “Integrating a Silicon Solar Cell with a Triboelectric Nanogenerator via a Mutual Electrode for Harvesting Energy from Sunlight and Raindrops.” (https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acsnano.8b00416)

The device makes use of a triboelectric nanogenerator (TENG), which converts mechanical energy — motion — into electricity. In this case, the solar cells harvest power from the movement of raindrops that fall on them. Since solar panels typically generate only one tenth of their potential output during rain, and virtually nothing at night-time, the advance could address one of the biggest problems facing solar power: its variability. The potential applications of TENG include generating power from walking and typing. The recent Chinese breakthrough was to figure out how to make it work in a simple and efficient manner for a solar cell.

China has developed “double-sided” solar panels that can generate power from light that hits their underside. That can enable a 10 percent boost in output, especially if you put the panels on a roof or other area that is painted white to help reflect the suns rays. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects these panels could capture a remarkable 40 percent share of the market by 2025.

See https://thinkprogress.org/breakthrough-solar-panel-can-harvest-power-from-raindrops-day-or-night-3a2ce74f9060/
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Gas Stations Will Adapt To Benefit From Electric Vehicles

If you think Big Oil is oblivious to the threat that electric vehicles pose to industry profits, think again. BP has forecast that oil demand will peak in the 2030s as EVs enter the mainstream. The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell has said the next car he purchases will be an EV, and the CEO of Total says he’s already driving one. At the recent CERAWeek conference in Houston, an annual gathering of players in the oil and gas fields, one of the hottest tickets was a seminar on batteries.

While some in the oil and auto industries still have their heads firmly ensconced in the sand (or perhaps another, more malodorous metaphorical location), others, notably the leaders of Europe-based oil conglomerates, are taking concrete steps to prepare for a future with fewer gas-burning vehicles.

Ironically, one of those moves could be investing more in “downstream” operations such as retail gas stations. Betting that oil demand will continue to grow in developing countries for some time, even as it shrinks in the wealthy world, Shell plans to expand its global network of gas stations and convenience stores, mostly in China, India, Indonesia, Russia and Mexico. According to BusinessDay, Shell and rivals such as BP see retail as a way to secure demand for the fuels they refine as overall global demand heads towards a peak.

See https://insideevs.com/gas-stations-benefit-electric-vehicles/
InsideEVs
InsideEVs
insideevs.com
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Prince Harry drove his new bride to the wedding reception in a converted 1968 electric powered Jaguar E-Type

Prince Harry drove his new bride, wearing a Stella McCartney dress, from Windsor Castle to nearby Frogmore House in a silver blue Jaguar E-Type, originally built in 1968 but recently converted to electric power. Its number plate bore the date of Saturday's wedding -- E190518.

Jaguar launched the service to restore and convert existing E-Types to electric power -- the ultimate in upcycling -- last year as Concept Zero, but with a cost of at least $400,000 you'll need a king's ransom to afford it.
The green supercar driven by Prince Harry is based on a Series 1.5 E-Type, once described by Enzo Ferrari as "the most beautiful car in the world," with its original gas-guzzling 3.8-liter XK engine replaced by a 295-horsepower electric motor.

See https://edition.cnn.com/style/article/royal-wedding-electric-jaguar-intl/index.html
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US Citizens want more clean energy. Here's what they're actually willing to do to get it

Americans (US Citizens I assume) have long supported the idea of clean power. The question has always been how much effort they're willing to expend to make a green energy future a reality.

A new survey from global auditing and consulting firm Deloitte suggests the gap between environmental concern and consumer action may be shrinking. The pillars helping to bridge the divide include falling prices for solar power, higher awareness of clean energy options, growing concern about climate change and the inclinations of millennials.

"In addition to expressing broad support for renewables, residential consumers are generally striving to do more to become greener at a personal level," the report authors wrote.

In this year's Deloitte Resources Study, 68 percent of electric power buyers said they are very concerned about climate change and their carbon footprint. That's the highest percentage ever recorded in the study, topping the previous record of 65 percent in 2016. The survey found that 74 percent of respondents believe climate change is caused by human actions, up 5 points from 2017. Just 37 percent said environmental concerns are overblown, down 8 points from last year.

So despite what official US policy may say (or does not say) it is good to see actual citizens are as concerned as the rest of the world's population and are doing what they can on a personal and business level. It's just as good to see the upswing in employment figures recently in the renewable energy sector.

Another interesting factor (which could explain a lot about the official policy - which usually determined by the "older generation") is that it is the younger generation that stands out as supporters of cleaner energy and environments.

See https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/16/americans-want-more-clean-energy-heres-what-theyll-do-to-get-it.html

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Nissan Nissan e-NV200 Vehicle-2-Grid (V2G) in Copenhagen - Using a Vehicle Fleet to Stabilise Grid Frequency instead of a Tesla Powerpack

A very interesting real-world view of how a fleet of Nissan EV vans (and other vehicles) is being used to help stabilise Copenhagen's grid frequency. This is a lucrative business and the owners of the vehicles actually earn money back while their cars are being used. Each car can have settings that ensure the car is at the required charge level when it is expected to be used.

The intelligence is on the charging station software side so any EV could be used for this.

It is great to see real-world practical alternatives coming to the fore. The electric vehicles here are performing a dual role and even earning money for their owners whilst not in use.

Watch the video at https://youtu.be/NDYhihUbovM

#V2G
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A look at DAF’s new all-electric truck with a 170 kWh battery pack - Only 100km range though intended for urban use

Over the last year, almost all truck makers have either announced an electric truck program or they’ve unveiled an electric truck. Dutch truck manufacturing company DAF is the latest to join the trend by unveiling a new all-electric truck with a 170 kWh battery pack.

A 170 kWh battery pack capacity is fairly small for a truck of that size. For example, Daimler’s E-FUSO Vision ONE is packing a bigger 300 kWh battery pack – just like the Volvo FL Electric.

But DAF claims that it still enables a range of 100 km with a capacity of up to 40 tons, which it says is still useful in distribution applications within urban areas.

The company is also talking about a “quick charging of the batteries in 30 minutes or a complete full charge can be accomplished in as little as 1.5 hours.”

See https://electrek.co/2018/05/16/daf-all-electric-truck-battery-pack/
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