Only 7,102 electric vehicles were sold during the month of July in the US, compared with 11,242 in July 2014. For the first six months of 2015, a total of 61,449 EVs were sold in that country, compared with 123,049 during the same period last year.

Japan has just finished installation of the world’s largest floating wind turbine. The 7 megawatt turbine is located at Onahama port in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, 12 miles off the coast.  It is 344 feet high and features three 262 foot-long blades.

China is in the process of building the world’s largest solar power station in the Gobi Desert. When completed it could generate enough energy to supply one million homes. The power station will measure 10 square miles and generate 200 megawatts of electricity.

The International Energy Agency reports that China produces two-thirds of the world’s solar panels. China now sells solar panels for only 61 cents US per watt of electricity-generating capacity, according to the Bloomberg New Energy Finance research group. That is down from $4.50 seven years ago, in 2014 prices. This means that rooftop solar panel systems that once cost as much as a new car are now the price of a large screen HD television.

The European Wind Energy Association says about 2,500 wind turbines have been installed in offshore waters on the continent. Cumulatively, 74 offshore wind farms in 11 European countries generate a total of 8 gigawatts of electricity. (1 gigawatt is the size of a typical nuclear reactor.)

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reports that for the first half of 2015, solar and wind energy accounted for 2.5 gigawatts of new electricity generating capacity brought online in the US — about 65% of all new capacity added so far this year. Wind alone accounted for 1.9 gigawatts.

Together wind and solar account for less than 8% of total installed electrical generating capacity in the US, compared to 43% for natural gas and 27% for coal.

Research by German energy economist Lion Hirt finds that, due to the way wholesale electricity markets operate, the more successful that solar and wind energy become, the more they will depress wholesale prices and reduce the profitability of these renewable resources below their costs and hence become uncompetitive with constant source electricity generators like natural gas. This is primarily due to the inherent variability of wind speeds and solar radiation and the timing of their electricity production along with the lack of large scale electricity storage technology.

We find the value of wind power to fall from 110 percent of the average power price to 50-80 percent as wind penetration increases from zero to 30 percent of total electricity consumption. For solar power, similarly low values levels are reached already at 15 percent penetration. Hence, competitive large-scale renewables deployment will be more difficult to accomplish than many anticipate….Without fundamental technological break-throughs, wind and solar power will struggle becoming competitive on large scale.
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