Tag Archives for " utility scale solar "

The Duck Curve, or the Difficulty of 100% Renewable Energy Systems


Why’s it so hard to go to a 100% renewable energy system?

We often hear how renewable energy systems could easily power the world. Just throw up some solar and wind, add some hydro, and voila! we’re running on clean energy.

Unfortunately, though, it’s not that easy. Transferring to 100% renewable energy is fraught with difficulties, Today we’re going to focus on one huge issue with renewable energy: controllability.

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Tribal Lands Adopting Solar Energy in Innovative Ways


In the last 10 years, hundreds of tribal groups across the US have adopted renewable energy like solar and wind as a way to serve their community needs better.

The type and size of the solar installation depends on the needs and goals of each community. Each group has adopted it in unique ways, from large utility-scale projects where the tribe leases land to a developer, to small solar-plus-storage systems designed to provide electricity to rural homes that are too distant to connect to the electric grid.

Reasons and goals vary among tribes. Some desire greater independence from the utility, while others want to set a higher standard of living for local residents through greater financial independence. Others want to bring electricity to rural households. But one goal is shared: to adopt an energy source that offers clean, renewable electricity.Continue reading

Nationwide HVDC Grid: Cheapest Way to Radically Cut CO2 Emissions?

HVDCA Grid wind

According to a peer-reviewed paper just published at Nature Climate Change; “Future cost-competitive electricity systems and their impact on U.S. CO2 emissions” – the cheapest way to radically cut greenhouse gas emissions from generating electricity by 2030, would be a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) grid connecting America’s prime renewable resources to 256 electricity markets.

The study concludes that electricity prices could remain flat if the US could site projects for maximum generation – unconstrained by the current lack of a national HVDC grid – connecting the best carbon-free resources to load centers.

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Southern Town Fears Solar Farm will Suck Up their Sun

The town council of Woodland, North Carolina has voted for a moratorium on solar farms after outright rejecting a solar farm proposed by the Strata Solar Company.

Before the vote was taken at the town meeting, various residents expressed some pretty wild ideas about the mysterious “powers” of solar.

A husband and wife, Jane and Bobby Mann, were the most irrational.

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World’s Oldest Solar Nation Turns Three

tokelau solar

Three years ago, Tokelau made a huge change.

They ditched their diesel generators and have been successfully running on solar ever since.

Small Pacific islands, like Tokelau, with its tiny population of just 1,500 souls, are generally dependent on the most expensive and dirty – and unreliable energy there is.

With so few people living in such isolated islands, their choices have been limited to diesel generators.

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Elon Musk Joins Calls For Global Carbon Tax


As the climate negotiations continue in Paris, Tesla and SpaceX entrepreneur Elon Musk has joined a chorus of calls for a carbon tax.

Musk is not alone. The climate scientist Jim Hansen also believes that a global carbon tax is the most effective policy driver of a clean energy economy.

The idea is that only a carbon tax will accelerate the move to a clean powered economy. Similar to the tax on cigarettes but not on fruits and vegetables, this would be a revenue-neutral tax; ie, taxes would be lowered elsewhere in the economy so that government treasuries would receive the same as they do now.

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Las Vegas to go 100% Renewable

A huge change is underway in Las Vegas, which currently gets its electricity from Nevada’s 18% renewable grid.

The City of Las Vegas has filed a request with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) of Nevada to get power from part of a 100-MW solar farm that SunPower is developing in Boulder City for the state utility NV Energy.

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Astonishing Drops in Solar Cost Worldwide

solar cost

Solar costs have seen a remarkable drop in the last few years – now solar is competitive and even cheaper than fossil energy in some regions!

Solar is getting cheaper fast.

Globally, 70 gigawatts of renewable energy was installed in 2013, and that cost $279 billion. In 2014, almost 40% more was installed and yet that didn’t cost 40% more – it actually cost nine billion less than even the year before; $270 billion.

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