Cal on March 20th, 2018

Cal on March 19th, 2018

Dutch bank ING sees the US taking a big chunk of OPEC’s Asian crude oil market share.  World oil prices are sliding back under $60 a barrel as a surge in US shipments to Asia continues. The resulting fallout could drag down crude prices after a rally of more than 40%  since a year ago.

Russia is attempting to build two new natural gas pipelines into Western Europe that would detour Ukraine and the ongoing fight over payments for transit. If these are completed, Europe’s dependence on Russia for its energy could become worse.

Daimler-Benz says diesel will remain the fuel of choice by the trucking industry for the foreseeable future despite the advent of electric and hydrogen powered  trucks. Company executives told a trucking conference that diesel is still the most efficient and cost-effective fuel, and that will be the case for quite a few years.

Energy giant BP reports that the cost of generating electricity from onshore wind power has declined 23% since 2010 and is now competitive with fossil fuels. The company finds the cost of wind power declines as wind turbines get taller, rotor blades get longer and control systems become more efficient. BP says onshore wind power looks to become the most economical source of electricity by 2050.

BP also finds improvements in energy efficiency have the potential to save around 40% of current primary energy use, although many of the improvements require significant investment. Areas where savings can be made include increasing vehicle efficiency, improving building design, and the use of energy in cooking and washing. Digital technology, including sensors, big data and artificial intelligence, is the most significant source of system-wide efficiency improvement.

WindEurope says, as turbines grow larger, electricity produced by offshore wind farms could meet as much as 10% of Europe’s total demand for electricity by 2030. Last year these wind farms produced 1.5% percent in 2017. The North Sea will be the biggest region for Europe’s offshore wind, followed by the Baltic Sea.

marketreportscenter says the value of the global market for wind turbines was $157 billion in 2017 and is anticipated to reach $254 billion in 2024. The value of this renewable energy source grows as it appears to be the most cost-efficient way to leverage renewable energy. Excluding China, the global market demand for wind installations is expected to increase by 8% from 36 gigawatts (GW) in 2017 to 45 GW in 2020.

Production of advanced biofuels made from algae could grow rapidly in the late 2020s, according to Synthetic Genomics, the biotech company that has formed a partnership with ExxonMobil to develop the fuel. The two companies said last week that by 2025 they were aiming to set up one or more demonstration plants to produce 10,000 barrels a day of diesel and jet fuel from genetically modified algae.



with h/t Tom Whipple



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Cal on March 19th, 2018

Cal on March 18th, 2018

Cal on March 17th, 2018

Renewable energy competitive auctions are now becoming the norm around the globe as more and more countries adopt them in an attempt to minimize the cost of incorporating wind, solar and other energy sources into their national electric grids. Here are some of the latest auction news.

Russia will auction almost 830 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity this year for delivery between 2019 and 2023, according to the Russian Association of Wind Power Industry. The tender will be carried out in two stages. The first phase will run from 29 May to the 4 June, with the second from 5 to 9 June. 100 MW is expected to be delivered in 2019, with 230 MW coming online in 2021. A further 500 MW would be in operation by 2023.

A wind auction in the Indian state of Maharashtra retched tariff of Rs 2.86 per unit for 25 years. (4.4 cents US)  The winning bid was from Inox Wind to supply 50 megawatts.  Inox Wind will be responsible for the development, construction and commissioning of the project and will provide long term operations and maintenance services.

The Indian state of Gujarat announced it will auction off 500 megawatts (MW) of wind capacity in April. The minimum bid size will be 25 MW for a 25-year power purchase agreement with the state electric utility. In addition, the state will award an additional 500 MW capacity to successful bidders that are willing to match the lowest successful bid in the auction. Central utilities and government sector enterprises will be given priority allocation for this additional quota.

In Central Asia, Kazakhstan plans to hold auctions to purchase wind, solar, biomass and hydro energy. The 1 gigawatt auction will include 620 megawatts (MW) of wind, 290 MW of solar, 75 MW hydroelectric and 15 MW of biomass. The auctions are part of the country’s goal to supply 3% of its electricity production with wind and solar by 2020. The first bidding round will be held in May.

Germany‘s federal energy regulator announced a 670 megawatt (MW) onshore wind auction for early May. A maximum of 223 MW can be built in the northern part of the country to avoid bottlenecks. That area is already densely populated with wind turbines. The regulator has set a maximum auction price of €63/MWh (US 7.5 cents per kilowatt-hour) and contracts will be awarded to the lowest submissions until the full volume is reached, An auction earlier this year fetched prices of €38/MWh-€52.80/MWh.

Brazil announced it has awarded 675 megawatts of renewable electricity capacity that fetched an average price of BRL 144.51 per megawatt-hour (MWh) or US 4.4 cents per kilowatt-hour at auctions in December. The projects include wind, solar, hydro and biomass.

Renewable Energy Focus says onshore wind power is now as affordable as any other source. Global weighted average costs over the last 12 months for onshore wind 6 cents US per kWh, with recent wind auction results suggesting future projects will significantly undercut these averages. Onshore wind is now routinely commissioned for 4 cents per kWh. In comparison, the current cost for fossil fuel power generation ranges from 5-17 cents per kWh. The data comes from a new cost analysis from the International Renewable Energy Agency. The agency projects that by 2019, some onshore wind and solar PV projects will be delivering electricity for 3 cents per kWh. The lower costs are being driven by governments around the world adopting competitive renewable energy auctions together with the emergence of a large number  of experienced medium-to-large project developers competing for global market opportunities using more efficient technologies. The report also highlights:

  • The global weighted average levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) of utility-scale solar PV has fallen by 73% between 2010 and 2017 to USD 10 cents/kWh.
  • The average cost of electricity from onshore wind fell by 23% between 2010 and 2017. Projects are now routinely commissioned at USD 4 cents/kWh and the global weighted average is around USD 6 cents/kWh.
  • By 2019, the best onshore wind and solar PV projects will be delivering electricity for an equivalent of USD 3 cents/kWh, or less.
  • New bioenergy and geothermal projects commissioned in 2017 had global weighted average costs of around USD 7 cents/kWh.
  • Record low prices for solar PV in Abu Dhabi, Chile, Dubai, Mexico, Peru and Saudi Arabia have made USD 3 cents kWh (and below) the new benchmark.
  • By 2020, project and auction data suggest that all currently commercialized renewable power generation technologies will be competing, and even undercutting, fossil fuels by generating in the range USD 3-10 cents/kWh range.

New research from Imperial College London finds renewable energy output in the UK rose 27% to 96 terrawatt-hours (TWh) in 2017.  Of the county’s total 2017 electricity supply, 25% came from biomass, wind, hydro and solar. Wind alone generated 15% of the UK’s electricity. Fossil fuels accounted for 50% of the country’s electricity. The UK plans to end its reliance on coal in 2025.








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Cal on March 17th, 2018

Cal on March 16th, 2018


Dixie Chicks live in Holland in 2006 singing The Long Way Round

Cal on March 15th, 2018


The promise of nuclear fusion is huge: it represents an inexhaustible supply of clean, safe power — a zero-carbon, combustion-free source of energy without any hazardous radioactive waste. The problem, so far, has been to create a reactor that produces more energy than the amount of energy used as an input.  Many have tried, yet all have failed to produce net energy from a fusion experiment.

Now scientists at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) say the dream of nuclear fusion is on the brink of being realised. Indeed, the world may see its first fusion reactors in 15 years. The scientists are working with Commonwealth Fusion Systems to put a working fusion reactor on the electric grid. They intend to use a new class of high-temperature superconductors that will allow them to create the world’s first fusion reactor that produces more energy than needs to be put in to get the fusion reaction going.

Fusion works on the basic concept of forging lighter atomic elements together to form heavier ones. When hydrogen atoms are squeezed hard enough, they fuse together to make helium, liberating vast amounts of energy in the process. Fusion is the source of the power of the stars, including our Sun. However, this process produces net energy only at extreme temperatures of hundreds of millions of degrees celsius – hotter for any solid material to withstand. To get around this dilemma, scientists use powerful magnetic fields to hold in place the hot plasma – a gaseous soup of subatomic particles – to stop it from coming into contact with any solids. A newly available superconducting material – a steel tape coated with a compound called yttrium-barium-copper oxide, or YBCO – allows plasma physicists to produce smaller, more powerful magnets. And this potentially reduces the amount of energy that needs to be inputted  to get the fusion reaction started. And the higher the magnetic field, the more compactly we can squeeze that fuel and extract even more energy.

The planned fusion experiment, called Sparc, is designed to produce about 100 megawatts (MW) of heat. While it will not turn that heat into electricity, it will produce, in pulses of about 10 seconds, as much power as is used by a small city. The scientists anticipate the output will be more than twice the power used to heat the plasma, achieving the ultimate technical milestone: positive net energy from fusion.

Unlike other fuels, there will never be a shortage of hydrogen as it is the most common material in the Universe.

Prof Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice-president for research, said: “If we succeed, the world’s energy systems will be transformed. We’re extremely excited about this.”

See WBURMIT Aims To Bring Nuclear Fusion To The Market In 10 Years

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