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Shocked! Shocked to hear the EIA underestimates renewables! October 22, 2017

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid.
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When I was still on the front lines of the PV market, we would look forward to receiving the latest US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) reports. Invariably they predicted a price for PV that was much higher than what we were shipping it out at retail, and every year we managed to ship a non-insignificant portion of what they said the entire US’s installations would be.



Error? What error?

Everyone knew their predictions were way off, but as the official mouthpiece of the industry it was hard to argue that they weren’t the “official numbers”. Well no longer; the Natural Resources Defense Council had Statista review the EIA’s numbers, and it makes me laugh all over again.



Renewable growth in the US: 1, 2, 3 March 14, 2015

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid.
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image of two wind turbines in China

They’re popping up like weeds!

Three reports that came out about the same time highlight the dramatic changes to the US power mix which is going on largely without comment outside the nerdy circles (like this one).

The long and short is this: wind power in the US will double to about 10% in the next five years, and make up something like 35% of the US grid by around 2050. That’s fast, but solar is going in ever faster, outpacing wind. Coal is disappearing, while gas turbines take up its place.

As always, this is really about cost. Wind turbines and gas plants are far, far less expensive than any non-hydro conventional source. PV isn’t that far behind. Coal plants are actually more expensive than any of these, nuclear even more. And that, basically, is that.


Future grid: energy and transport September 16, 2014

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Do not open the door

I was watching the fairly silly Extant last night and saw a bit of tech that caught my eye; it was a burner cell-phone powered by a chemical reaction you started by twisting it like a glo-stick. It’s a little throwaway prop that I just love.

The reason I bring this up is that they also assume every car is electric. Nothing new there, but in this case they use an actual car instead of a made-for-TV model. Lots of Teslas and BMW i3’s.

And that got me thinking. What sort of overall effect is there on the grid if everyone starts driving electric? I know that electric cars use less power overall, but what sort of effect does that have on the big picture?

Well unless I’m doing the math seriously wrong, it looks like the answer is “bring it on!”


Hidden in plain sight: EIA highlights massive swing to renewables June 27, 2014

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid, solar.
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For many years the gold standard in energy reporting in the US has been the various EIA reports. Over the last five years though, it was clear something was going wrong. Renewables were part of the reports but always listed at high costs and low adoption rates. The numbers weren’t wrong, just outdated, as if you were reading a report from three years ago.

And this month’s report drives that home; the EIA has been predicting slow uptake of various renewables for some time now, and long predicted that it would reach about 13.5% of the electrical mix around 2040. However, the latest report, covering the first third of 2014, shows that renewables covered 14.04% of the electrical mix.



PV outpaces Wind, in other news, River Styx very cold September 27, 2013

Posted by Maury Markowitz in solar.
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I’m not normally one for the blogroll, but I thought this little news tidbit was worth pointing out – PV is on track to install more new generation than wind for the first time.

According to Bloomberg, they’re expecting 36.7GW of PV, 33.8GW of onshore wind, and 1.7GW of offshore wind for 2013.

At least some of this is due to the massive upswing in PV in Japan, while at the same time we’re in a low point in wind due to the permanent boom-and-bust cycle in US wind installations, and a surprising uncertainty in China’s normally robust wind pipeline.

This is expected to reverse again as new builds come into the pipeline, but it’s an interesting point in history anyway.


Wind power works August 31, 2012

Posted by Maury Markowitz in power grid.
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Just a quick note…

A peer-reviewed report out of the UK demonstrates that wind can supply a major portion of their power supply, and all the negative concerns are, quite simply, not true. The report concluded:

“unequivocally that wind power can significantly reduce carbon emissions, is reliable, poses no threat to energy security and is technically capable of providing a significant proportion of the UK’s electricity with minimal impact on the existing operation of the grid”

And further…

“Claims to the contrary are not supported by the evidence”

In spite of this report, and many like it, I’m sure it will have no effect on the debate anywhere else. After all, the wind in the UK is made up of different molecules than it is here, right?

Read all about it: Wind power study says opponents’ claims are unfounded.