theenergycollective told us why increased alternative energy means increased natural gas production in the US. Despite their zero carbon emissions, variable wind and solar power require increasing amounts of 24/7 peak electrical backup capacity to properly control and maintain power grids. The post explains why and how the electric grid power production changes throughout the day and why it is imperative to have a reliable backup power ready to ensure sufficient power at peak demand.  Solar and wind do not yet have the storage capability to ensure this backup power will be available.  Hence the need to have sufficient natural gas available as more and more solar and wind are added to the electrical grid.

Until reliable backup-peaking power options including adequate industrial scale power storage is developed or substantially increased levels of interruptable power demand is made available, up to 100% backup power from reliable sources such as natural gas peaking plants will continue be required to support significant levels of variable wind and solar power in the future.  Required natural gas peaking power backup will continue to increase proportionally to expanded wind and solar power capacity until cost effective alternatives are developed.

Electric Co-op Today wrote about the promise of geothermal energy from volcanoes. In the US state of Oregon engineers are conducting drilling tests to determine if heat from an inactive volcano can be used to produce electricity to power residential homes.

TriplePundit educated us on Hydrokinetics: The Biggest Source of Renewable Energy You Never Heard Of. Hydrokinetics is the production of energy from the flow of moving water. The term applies to both ocean tidal power systems as well as river flow systems.

Climate Spectator said energy storage in Australia will reach 3 GW by 2030. This is the thinking of the country’s Clean Energy Council based on current trends and projected costs. The cost of storage is expected to fall from $800 to $550 per kilowatt during this period. The most economic markets for storage in the short term will be remote areas and the fringes of the electricity grid, where power is often expensive and unreliable. According to Clean Energy Council Policy Manager Tim Sonnreich:

“As the price of storage falls, it will allow us to smooth out the supply of electricity and help us deal better with issues such as peak demand. Household energy storage systems will also be much more common in the coming years as well, meaning families might say goodbye to electricity bills altogether by relying on their solar panels and batteries to power their homes day and night.”

Worldcrunch told us about the German battery that could store the Sun and wind. Germany wants 80% of its electrical power to come from renewable energy sources (like wind and solar) by 2050. However, because solar and wind energy are intermittent, this can only happen if reliable battery technology can be created to store this energy for use when the Sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing. Now Germany’s Federal Research Ministry is funding a project to achieve this goal. The project, called “Tubulair“, involves Hamburg’s University of Applied Sciences, universities in Nuremberg and Aachen, and companies FuMa Tech GmbH and Uniwell GmbH & Co. The goal is to develop, in three year’s time, lithium-ion automotive batteries with an energy density roughly twice that of today’s li-ion batteries. Germany joins Australia, Japan and China in working on developing advanced battery storage technology for renewable energy. See also plugincars German Firms Collaborate on Epic Lithium-Ion Battery Development Project. In a related post see CTV What holds energy technology back? The battery.

Renewable energy supplied one-half of all new US electricity in 2012 we learned from Renewable Energy Magazine. A report from the country’s Federal Energy Regulatory Commission revealed that renewable energy now comprises 15.4% of total US electricity generating capacity. The new 2012 generating capacity involved several renewable energy technologies including biomass, geothermal, solar, water and wind.  Wind lead the way with 164 power plants totaling 10.7 GW followed by solar with 240 new plants totaling 1.5 GW. Biomass added 100 new plants while geothermal, steam and water each added 13.

hydrogenfuelbews said solar energy could meet 100% of world’s energy demand by 2050.  A new report from the World Wildlife Fund shows that solar energy systems can cover the entirety of the world’s energy demand, using less than 1% of the world’s land mass.

Germany may put a cap on subsidies for renewable energy reported Der Spiegel. However, the plan which is aimed at halting rising electricity prices in an election year may simply be a ploy. If it did happen, it would slow down the country’s attempt to replace nuclear energy with renewables like solar and wind. Germany announced a rapid exit from nuclear power in 2011, shortly after the Fukushima event, and wants to boost renewables to 40% of electric power generation by 2020.

To date, there has been no upper limit on Germany’s subsidies for renewables, which means that the more solar panels and wind turbines go into operation, the higher the surcharge that consumers have to pay….An average German household currently pays €180 ($242) per year to subsidize renewable energy.

See also Power Engineering International, Germany considering reduction in clean energy feed-in tariff.

The Philippines could be Southeast Asia’s renewable energy leader according to CleanBiz Asia. According to Greenpeace, the Philippines is sitting on vast renewable energy potential of more than 250 GW of power. In a new report, Green Is Gold: How renewable energy can save us money and generate jobs, Greenpeace says the Philippines economy stands to benefit from massive renewable energy investments.

In terms of revenues, Greenpeace said geothermal energy, a “mature industry in the Philippines,” had saved the government more than USD7 billion. Other RE technologies suggest more savings to the economy — for biomass, USD96.9 million per year; for hydro: USD65.9 million per year; for solar: USD8.5 million per year; and for wind: USD29.5 million per year.

Fierce Energy projected that Africa is poised for renewable energy growth. The continent has the potential and the ability to power most of its future growth with renewable energy, according to a study by the International Renewable Energy Agency.

With world-class solar and hydropower resources, complemented by bioenergy, wind, geothermal and marine resources in some regions, the report shows that Africa has the opportunity to leapfrog to modern renewable energy – unlocking huge economies of scale, and offering substantial benefits for equitable development, local value creation, energy security, and environmental sustainability.

Energy Live News said UK renewable energy generation will double by 2017. EDF Energy predicts the renewable generation market will reach the 75  TWh mark, contributing around 20% of the UK’s total electrical generation capacity. EDF expects this growth to be driven mainly by wind and biomass, which could account for around 60% of the total renewable market by 2017.

Renewable Energy Magazine noted that Scotland intends to cut its carbon emissions from its electricity generation by 80% by 2030 by relying on wind. To achieve its goal the country will require huge investments in onshore and offshore wind farms.




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