Category Archives: Technology

Crescent Dunes solar with storage is now on-line

The large scale Crescent Dunes solar tower with its thermal storage has successfully generated electricity at its full 110 MW capacity.  Now Crescent Dunes will begin full commercial operation to supply power for Nevada – day or night.

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Sand used to store solar heat

Researchers from Masdar Institute have successfully demonstrated that desert sand in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) could be utilised as an alternative to molten salts for concentrated solar power (CSP) thermal energy storage.  Using the sand, rather than importing the salts will be cheaper and more sustainable.

Energy Matters: 30 Dec 2015
http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/sand-batteries-solar-em5272/?utm_source=NewsletterMailingList&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EM160107C

Key Words: Climate Change, technology
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The coming electrification of everything

Stored electricity from renewable sources will replace fossil fuels as the way to power everything in our lives, from cars to scooters to boats to locomotives to industrial equipment.  This change will happen surprisingly fast because electrically powered things work better – and people want things that work better.  They work better in the moment of use, and better for our surroundings, our health, and the health of our planet.

** Electric cars
Cutting-edge electric cars today are better than their gas-powered counterparts. They are both safer and easier to maintain than conventional cars. No trips to the gas station, no oil changes; the bulk of upkeep lies in tires and windshield wiper fluid. They also perform on the road, with better acceleration, torque and responsiveness than their conventional counterparts. The big downside (and it’s a big one) of range verses cost will be overcome by multiple car companies in the coming years.

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Europe’s biggest solar farm opens in France, cheaper than new nuclear

This week Europe’s largest solar PV plant was finally brought online.  The Cestas solar farm, which is 300MW and covers a 250-hectare site near to the French city of Bordeaux, was connected to the grid earlier this month and has already begun producing solar power at a price cheaper than that offered by new nuclear plants.

Renew Economy: Ian Clover: 4 December 2015
http://reneweconomy.com.au/2015/europes-biggest-solar-farm-opens-in-france-cheaper-than-new-nuclear-31214

Key Words: Climate Change, technology
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Underwater Energy Storage

The world’s first underwater compressed air energy storage system is up and running – and is claimed to be one of the cheapest forms of energy storage available.  Located in Toronto Island, Canada; the system’s underwater air storage is located 2.5 km off the shore of Lake Ontario – one of the five Great Lakes of North America.

There is a good video describing how this works on the link

Excess electricity is used to compress air which is stored in balloons in deep water.  When electricity is needed the water pressure forces the air back to the surface where it drives a generator.

Hydrostor says:
.  The system stores and retrieves electricity losing only between 20 to 40 % of the power.
. The system is not polluting
.  A project such as the one in Toronto Island needs less than 2 years project lead time.
.  The expected lifespan of the system is over 30 years without efficiency loss.
.  the system is now commercially available, available in configurations from 5MW/ 30MWh up to more than 100MW/ 1,000MWh.

30 November 2015: Energy Matters
http://www.energymatters.com.au/renewable-news/underwater-energy-storage-em5220/?utm_source=NewsletterMailingList&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EM151202C

Key Words: Climate Change, xx
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Renewables are changing the climate narrative from sacrifice to opportunity

Oil-rich countries are choosing renewables as a means to create jobs, boost GDP and improve livelihoods – as well as reduce emissions

Dramatically falling solar photovoltaic costs are changing the economic equation. A solar photovoltaic tender in Dubai earlier this year resulted in record-low price of $0.06 per kilowatt hour – cheaper than domestically produced gas generation. Jordan’s recent tender results locked in power prices of between $0.06-0.08.

Accelerating signs of climate change and rising global temperatures are perhaps more pressing here in the Middle East than anywhere else on the planet.  Record-breaking temperatures made global headlines this year and a recent scientific study predicts the region will face heatwaves “beyond the limit of human survival” if climate change remains unchecked.

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King Island achieves 100% renewables for 33 hours straight

Tasmania’s King Island was powered by 100 per cent renewable energy for a period of 33 hours non-stop this month – another huge milestone for the renewable energy system established on the island as part of a world-leading project by Hydro Tasmania.

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All-electric bus unveiled in Melbourne, heading to Sydney on one charge


A prototype all-electric bus that its developers say can be driven from Melbourne to Sydney on a single on charge was unveiled in Melbourne on Friday, ahead of a road-test on Saturday that will see it undertake the interstate journey – a huge 1004 km on one charge.

The launch, by Australia-based company Brighsun, showcased a total of four prototype full electric buses ranging from high range capacity route service passenger buses to touring coaches.

One Step Off the Grid: Sophie Vorrath: 30 October 2015
http://onestepoffthegrid.com.au/all-electric-bus-unveiled-in-melbourne-heading-to-sydney-on-one-charge/

Key Words: Climate Change, technology
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How Tanzania plans to light up a million homes with solar power

In a country where only 40% of people have access to grid electricity, the government is looking to sunshine to power health centres and homes

Before solar panels were installed at Masaki village’s only health centre, doctors, nurses and midwives had to use dim flashlights or the glow from their cellphones to deliver babies and treat night-time emergencies. In one case in 2010, a man arrived late after a motorcycle accident and needed a wound stitching. As the nurse began the procedure by the light of her torch, she felt a cold slithering sensation against her legs.  A large black snake was moving across the dark, cement floor. The nurse fled, leaving the patient in the dark with the snake.

The work of the centre, which is five hours drive down a dirt track from the capital Dar es Salaam and serves a population of 1.5 million people in surrounding villages, is now transformed by a two kilowatt solar array installed on the roof at a cost of $15,000 (£9,700).

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Solar energy costs continue to plunge across the world

Two stunning auction results in India and Chile in the last week have underscored the extraordinary gains that large-scale solar has made against its fossil fuel competitors.

In both countries, solar is now clearly the cheapest option compared to new coal-fired power stations. In Chile, where the auction was open to all technologies, fossil fuel projects did not win a single megawatt of capacity. And the auction produced the lowest ever price for unsubsidised solar – US6.5c/kWh.

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