If you ever wanted to build your own hydro-electric generator check out The Green Optimistic. Note: having a river or small stream nearby helps.

The International Energy Agency forecasts 40% growth in global renewable energy generation over the next 5 years we learned from reve. Electric power generation from renewable resources — hydropower, concentrated solar power, wind energy, photovoltaic, biomass and others — will increase to nearly 6,400 TWh. This amounts to approximately 1.5 times the the total electricity output in the US currently. “Renewable generation will increasingly shift from the OECD to new markets, with non-OECD countries accounting for two-thirds of this growth. Of the 710 GW of new global renewable electricity capacity expected, China accounts for almost 40%. Significant deployment is also expected in the United States, India, Germany and Brazil.”

CBS Broadcasting will use fuel cells to power its radio and television studios in California said Hydrogen Fuel News. Two CBS Studios locations  powered by six stationary fuel cells will produce 2.4 MW of electricity – enough to meet 40% of the energy needs of the facility in Studio City and 60% of the energy needs of the facility in Los Angeles. Four of the fuel cells are designed to operate independently of any existing energy grid, allowing them to continue generating electricity even in the event of a power outage.

Energy Storage Trends Blog told us that grid storage battery costs for lithium-ion batteries will fall to $500/kWh by 2022. A new study by Lux Research entitled Grid Storage Battery Cost Breakdown: Exploring Paths to Accelerate Adoption finds that it will take at least a decade to reach half that value. Li-ion batteries may lose market share to cheaper molten-salt batteries for large projects but will remain the system of choice for space-constrained projects because of their high energy density. Grid storage is regarded by many as the key to developing more widespread adoption of solar power generation. See also Report: Energy storage prices to drop, but not enough at Clean Energy Authority.

Renewable Energy World explored The Growing State of Wind Power in Latin America. Brazil comprises 70% of the Latin America wind market, but has tapped just a fraction of its wind power potential. Now Chile and Mexico are going to join Brazil in exploiting this resource as demand for electricity rises. Latin American developers and governments are turning to wind energy because of the proven ability to generate electricity and its potential to grow local industrial activity. The posts takes a close look at the state of the wind industry in each of these countries and the challenges and obstacles they face in expanding their wind potential.

Forbes told us that Solar Panel Supply Will Far Exceed Demand Beyond 2012. Solar panel makers are expected to deliver 59 GW of their products worldwide this year when demand will likely only reach 30 GW, according to a report released by GTM Research. To bring supply and demand back into balance, an estimated 21 GW of existing factories would need to close by 2015. The oversupply problem emerged in early 2011 and led to a near 50% drop in wholesale solar panel prices last year. Lower government subsidies and concerns about the financial health of Europe – the largest solar market – has since tempered demand for solar equipment in that part of the world. Asian markets such as Japan, China and India should see a big jump in solar panel installations this year and the  U.S. could experience a 75% growth. Yet this demand will be insufficient to take up the current and planned production over the next few years.

Der Spiegel looked at the rising cost of Germany’s solar market. “Photovoltaics are threatening to become the costliest mistake in the history of German energy policy. Photovoltaic power plant operators and homeowners with solar panels on their rooftops are expected to pocket around €9 billion ($11.3 billion) this year, yet they contribute barely 4 percent of the country’s power supply, and only erratically at that. When night falls, all solar modules go offline in one fell swoop; in the winter, they barely generate power during the daytime. To keep the lights on, Germany ends up importing nuclear power from France and the Czech Republic. Grid operator Tennet even resorted to tapping an aging fossil fuel-fired power plant in Austria to compensate for shortages in solar power. During the summer, meanwhile, they sometimes generate too much power around midday, without enough storage capacity to capture it all. The distribution network is also not laid out in a way that would allow the country’s thousands of owners of photovoltaic arrays — a term used to denote an installation of several panels working together — to feed into the grid as well as draw power from it.”

Europe is burning coal at the fastest pace since 2006 reported Bloomberg. Surging imports from U.S. coal producers have lead to prices falling 26% in a year and benefited European electric power companies. Demand for coal grew 3.3% last year in Europe while sales natural gas fell 2.1%, the steepest drop since 2009. Ironically, the opposite is happening in the US. “Coal will continue to remain on the money in Europe because it’s more competitive to burn than gas,” said Trevor Sikorski, an analyst at Barclays Plc in London. “More and more of the coal to Europe will come from the U.S. where just the opposite is happening.” USA Today reported that natural gas is now producing as much electricity as coal in the US, something which has never happened before.

The Australian Financial Review wrote that the country’s green power mess needs untangling. “Evidence is mounting that the carbon tax is combining with renewable energy targets, investment cycles, rigidities in the still regulated state energy markets and declining demand to threaten severe distortions to our electricity supply.” Australian electricity prices are rising due to three main factors, the carbon tax, the renewable energy target (mandated subsidized wind power) and a wave of investment in transmission and distribution infrastructure. Yet the higher prices, along with declines in energy-intensive manufacturing due to the high Australian dollar, are reducing demand. Australia’s electricity woes were also addressed in Report warns of electricity market death spiral at the Business Spectator and Queensland’s rising electricity bills eating up higher proportion of poor people’s income at the Herald Sun.

novinite reported that electricity prices in Bulgaria are set to skyrocket in 2013.





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