More greentech stories that were making the news while we were on our summer break…
A majority of European states reportedly endorsed the amicable solution reached in the EU-China solar trade dispute details
Indian railways announced plans to use solar power to provide air conditioning and light in passenger coaches more
Australia’s largest concentrated solar power plant launched in Mildura, Victoria
The 1.5 MW demo facility is the first stage in the development of a 100 MW facility being developed by Solar Systems. The CSP array uses curved mirrors to focus sunlight onto ultra efficient photovoltaic cells more
Catching up from our summer break. Here are the greentech stories that were making the news in the first week of August…
BMW unveiled it’s new electric vehicle the i3. The 170 horse power electric motor accelerates the car from 0-100 kmh in 7.2 seconds.
In a move to overcome customer fears about limited range BMW announced an option to borrow a petrol powered SUV such as the X5 for longer journeys more
BP reversed it’s decision to sell 16 wind farms due to a lack of demand from the market more
The first wind turbines were installed at the German offshore wind farm Borkum West 2
When completed the wind farm will generate 400MW of power through 80 wind turbines.
China and Uganda signed a memorandum of understanding for construction of the 188MW Isimba Falls hydropower plant. The $570m project is expected to be completed in 2018.
Greentech round up for the week
Republicans proposed cutting nearly $3 billion from the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget denying funds for president Obama’s plan to combat global warming more
Ford ended a partnership with Toyota to develop a hybrid system for pick-ups and SUVs. The two car producers mutally agreed to end their collaboration at the end of the R&D phase more
Biofuel makers in the US urged the federal govenment to ease quotas for the use of renewable fuels. A fall in the amount of gasoline being consumed means that refiners can’t sell enough ethanol without exceeding the 10% blend deemed safe for all vehicles more
Supporters of fossil fuels often mention predictability of supply in their argument against renewable energy sources. Put simply solar power is only effective when the sun is shining and likewise wind power only generates electricity on a windy day. While this criticism is not valid for all forms of renewable power (hydro and geothermal are some of the most consistently reliable energy sources) it is true that solar and wind power are very susceptible to peaks and troughs in supply. The traditional response has been to vary the feed into the grid from more reliable power sources such as coal, gas or nuclear to balance energy production with demand.
However while it is the case that sometimes there is insufficient power generated othertimes too much power can be generated. Domestic energy requirements tend to be lower during the day, ironically when the sun is shining and solar power production is most effective. When the wind blows strongly massive wind turbines can generate more power than is required by the electricity grid. Recently there have been some interesting developments that promise to improve the reliability of supply from renewable sources by storing excess power so that it can be released later to better match demand.
In Germany domestic solar customers are able to benefit from a hybrid solar invertor and energy management system. At the heart of the systmem are advanced Li-ion batteries that enable electricity to be consumed in the evening when demand is highest.
A typical household is estimated to be able to produce 80% of it’s own power using this system. Similar improvements in battery life are also improving the reliability of electric cars giving greater range to emission free runabouts.
Apple have filed a patent application for a wind turbine that generates heat instead of electricity.
The heat is used to generate steam to turn turbines which produce electricity. The benefit of this design is that heat is easier to store for long periods than electricity.
But perhaps the most original solution has been put forward by the Belgium government who plan to build a doughnut shaped island 5km offshore to store excess energy from wind farms. When additional power is needed valves would be opened allowing the water to flow back into the island turning hydroelectric turbines in the process.
We think that these ideas are hugely exciting and variations that offer even more innovative solutions to store energy will further improve the reliability of renewable power sources in future years
This week’s greentech news from around the world…
Solar stocks rose on news that China plans to add 10 GW of solar power a year for the next three years. The government also announced tax breaks for solar companies that acquire others more
UK utility company RWE claims that British power bills will increase by 20% by 2020 in order to pay for new power plants aimed at cutting pollution more
Electric car maker Telsa has replaced Oracle in the Nasdaq 100 index
Tesla shares have tripled this year with sales of the new Model S sedan helping the company achieve profitability more
A heatwave in Europe saw Germany break it’s previous record for solar power production. Output reached 23.9 GW on breaking the previous record set in June more
The city of San Diego is considering a 500 MW hydroelectric power plant to offset decomissioned nuclear capacity more