Cal on August 23rd, 2017

Investment banker Morgan Stanley is bullish on the market for electric grid storage products. “Demand for energy storage from the electric utility sector will grow more than the market anticipates by 2019–2020,” the company predicts in a recent report. Demand for grid-scale storage will increase from less than $300 million a year today to as much as $4 billion in the next 2–3 years. There will soon be demand for up to 85 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of storage — worth about $30 billion a year. 85 GWh would be enough to supply most of New York City for a year. Morgan Stanley claims the low price of wind and solar power coupled with the falling price of energy storage products has created a situation in which renewable energy is now reliable enough to be considered a mainstay of the utility industry and not just a specialty player. More grid-scale storage will also promote a more distributed grid architecture, one that employs a “plug and play” model that better suits the needs of utility companies, rooftop solar customers, and electric vehicle owners.

Energy storage effectively provides a low-cost source of power, eliminating the need for the highest cost, least efficient conventional power plant…We think utilities could deploy storage as a way to enable the growth of renewables and/or defer costly transmission and distribution projects.”

Electric car owners in Denmark are earning as much as 1,300 euros ($1,530) a year just by parking their vehicle and feeding excess power back into the grid. Trials in Denmark carried out by Nissan Motor Co. and Italy’s biggest utility Enel SpA showed how batteries inside electric cars could help balance electricity demand and supply at times and provide a new revenue stream for those who own EVs. Nissan currently has trials with more than 100 EVs across Europe. Many auto industry observers say electric car demand globally is expected to soar, putting further pressure on electric grid operators to find new ways of balancing demand. Power consumption from EVs is expected to grow to 1,800 terrawatt-hours (TWh) in 2040 from just 6 TWh now, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said for the first time this week that Germany will eventually have to ban new diesel cars, following the lead of other European countries. At the same time a leading environmental group in the country said recent steps proposed by the nation’s automakers to cut diesel pollution remained inadequate. The Deutsche Umwelthilfe, a lobby group which has advocated banning diesel cars from roads, said it would pursue court enforced diesel bans in 16 German cities.

ACT Research reports its free Truck Fuel Calculator now covers operating cost comparisons between diesel, natural gas, hydrogen fuel cell and electric. The enhanced fuels calculator helps fleets measure power selection and vehicle cost, fuel and performance, and maintenance over a set time period or trade cycle.

Bus operator First West of England is testing its new double-decker bus powered by biomethane in Bristol, England. The bus has 70 seats, a wheelchair space, and standing room for 13 people. The biomethane is made from food scraps and other household food waste,

Engineering tells us about The Race to Level 5 Autonomous Vehicles. See also The EngineerHow AI is paving the way for fully autonomous cars.

Forbes tells us about 10 Features Consumers Will Want To Watch Out For In Driverless Cars.

Chinese automaker Baidu says it plans to mass produce fully autonomous cars that can navigate cities by 2020. The Apollo expects to be running on uncomplicated roads by this Decemberand to have an artificial intelligence (AI) that can handle cities by December 2020.

Market analysts Frost & Sullivan predict global solar investment will be higher than coal, natural gas and nuclear combined this year. The analysts find that declining project costs are driving investment towards renewables as the electric generation industry continues to transition to more decentralised and intelligent energy systems. China will be the largest market in terms of solar revenue investment, but the fastest growth will come from India, which will see double-digit growth in investment to 2020.  Three-quarters of power generation investment in Europe will be for wind, solar and biomass technologies, while Russia will buck the trend and focus on nuclear power and hydro.

China’s energy demand will peak by 2040, later than the previous forecast of 2035, as transportation fuel consumption continues to rise through the middle of this century. China is the world’s second-largest economy and the world’s second-largest oil consumer. Gasoline demand will peak as soon as 2025 as the Asian country takes action to use cleaner fuels as part of a wider campaign to fight air pollution. China National Petroleum Corp. predicts renewable fuels and natural gas will replace coal as the largest fuel source for electric power generation by 2030 and account for more than half of the nation’s electricity generation by 2045.

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Cal on August 22nd, 2017

Cal on August 21st, 2017

Cal on August 20th, 2017

Change in US Electric Generating Capacity: 1949-2016


Cal on August 19th, 2017

Cal on August 19th, 2017

The US Energy Information Administration projects that, based on current construction plans, by 2020 the US will have the third-largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) export capacity in the world after Australia and Qatar. China is expected to become the leading importer of LNG, consuming about 40% of world supply. Natural gas liquids are sought by the steel, chemical and fertilizer industries. They are comprised of such chemicals as butane, ethane, methane and propane — all of which can serve as the foundation for finished goods that are consumed around the globe.

According to the US Energy Information Administration, in 2000 shale gas accounted for 5% of all US natural gas production. Today, it is about 60%.

The heat trapped in just the upper six miles of our Earth’s crust represents 50,000 times more energy than all of the world’s crude oil and natural gas combined, according to recent estimates by the US Department of Energy. Currently some countries are using that heat to produce geothermal energy to produce electricity – Iceland, the US state of California etc. A study led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology concluded that US geothermal energy could provide 100 gigawatts or more by the year 2056 or enough to power some 100 million homes.

India’s renewable energy program is proceeding at such a rapid pace that there are suggestions its contribution to total electric power generation will equal that of coal in 2026 and surpass it the following year. Presently, India’s installed electric power capacity is 327 gigawatts (GW) of which coal comprises 55% of the total and renewable energy 18% of the total. India has set a goal of 175 GW of renewable power capacity by 2022 and 275 GW by 2027.

India has installed more solar energy capacity in the first half of this year than it did in all of 2016. The south Asian country installed about 4.8 gigawatts of new solar capacity between January and June of this year compared to 4.3 gigawatts all of last year. About 90% of this new capacity was for industrial use and 10% for residential. India currently has some 12.2 gigawatts of large-scale solar projects in various stages of development.

The Coopers Gap Wind Farm, to be located 250 kilometers north west of the city of Brisbane in Australia, is expected to become the country’s largest wind farm. When it becomes operational in 2019 the 453 megawatt capacity will produce around 1.51 million megawatt hours of renewable electricity each year. This would be enough to power the equivalent of 260,000 Australian homes. The wind farm will be comprised of 91 3.6 megawatt turbines and 32 3.8 megawatt turbines.

German onshore wind costs fell 25% in the latest auction. The average price in Germany’s second onshore wind tender fell to 4.28 euro cents per kilowatt-hour, down from the average price of 5.71 euro cents in May. Bloomberg New Energy Finance says the result confirms that the wind farms due to be built in the next decade are among the cheapest forms of electricity, rivaling fossil fuels including coal and natural gas.

The Australian state of Tasmania has set a goal of running on 100% renewable electricity by 2022.  Currently, 93% of the electric power Tasmania uses is renewable, predominantly from hydro plants. New wind farms are expected to add a further 6 to 7% of renewable power generation.

A joint study by the UN Development Programme and Asian Development Bank projects the south Asian country of Sri Lanka can be 100% renewable electricity by 2050.  To achieve this goal Sri Lanka will need investment of US $50 billion. By mid century, the country’s installed electricity generation capacity needs will increase to about 34 gigawatts (GW). This will consist of 15 GW of wind energy and about 16 GW of solar energy. The remaining 3 GW is expected to be met by hydro and biomass based power plants. However, given the large amount if intermittent wind and solar power, the country will also require to stabilize the electricity grid with energy storage capacity of 15,000 megawatt-hours.

Hyundai claims its new hydrogen fuel cell car to be sold next year will have a 580 kilometer (360 mile) range. The automaker says it will start in temperatures as cold as –30° C (–22° F). The SUV will be available in South Korea, North America and Europe.

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Cal on August 19th, 2017

Cal on August 18th, 2017

…the shift from petrochemicals to electric vehicles will be disruptive and extremely expensive…what will be the most significant transport, infrastructure, electricity generation and tax revolution since the arrival of personal computing and the internet.


— John Bryson, Professor of Enterprise and Competitiveness, University of Birmingham,

The Economic Black Hole at the Heart of the Shift to Electric Vehicles