Last week, the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) released a substantial study looking at solar and wind energy effects on the West Connect power system over the next few years. The West Connect power system is the power grid run by a number of private and public utilities powering sections of California, Nevada, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. With worries that the current grid can't handle power fluctuations of wind and solar energy, this study shows that some coordination and communication among utilities can reduce the need for more firming power form Green House Gas (GHG) producing sources like coal and natural gas without major changes to the grid.
“If key changes can be made to standard operating procedures, our research shows that large amounts of wind and solar can be incorporated onto the grid without a lot of backup generation,” said Dr. Debra Lew, NREL project manager for the study. “When you coordinate the operations between utilities across a large geographic area, you decrease the effect of the variability of wind and solar energy sources, mitigating the unpredictability of Mother Nature.”
These changes will not only reduce GHG emissions, but save utilities money.
The study also finds that if utilities generate 27 percent of their electricity from wind and solar energy across the Western Interconnection grid, it would lower carbon emissions by 25 to 45 percent, depending on the future price of natural gas. It would also decrease fuel and emissions costs by 40 percent.
Smart grid innovations and new technology will surely be added to our current grid system in the future, but with a few changes, the grid system can handle clean, renewable energy now!
NREL Press Release http://www.nrel.gov/news/press/2010/846.html
Download the 500 page study http://www.nrel.gov/wwsis
Germany leads the way in PV installation (SEIA Report)
Germany continued its steady growth yet again, regaining its title as the largest PV market by installing 3,800 MW of new capacity in 2009. This represents a doubling of the 1,500 MW installed in 2008 and is attributable, in part, to the improved project economics resulting from the decline in module prices. This growth has caused the German government to pursue an additional mid-year cut in incentives in 2010 above and beyond what was already scheduled but the country is expected to remain the single largest market for PV in 2010.
Germany, a country that shares many climate and insolation characteristics with the US and Washington in particular, is continually the leader in PV Solar installation and continues to invest in these projects. Germany is an example of why solar can work in Washington.
Read more at www.seia.org
What to expect in Solar Industry 2010 (SEIA Report)
Huge increase in planned and under-construction PV grid size projects.
PV is getting ready to go big. Residential and commercial rooftop installations are expected to remain strong and the utility-scale PV is expected to grow significantly, with more than 6,000 MW in announced projects in the pipeline. With the Treasury Grant Program set to expire at the end of the year, many in the solar industry wish to meet the start-construction deadline of December 31, 2010. Most industry analysts expect another year of growth in the PV industry.
The rest of the country is ready to get in the game. Is Washington ready? This growing industry is poised to take off. The jobs and technological intellect that can be gleaned from TSR will be applied to projects all over the country and the world. This is a growing industry that is quickly establishing itself as a major player in energy production. This isn’t an industry that is going away. We need projects like TSR to develop home-grown energy generation.
Read the entire SEIA Report at www.seia.org
The Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA) released their 2009 Year in Review on the solar energy industry.
In 2009, these are the states that installed the most combined MW Capacity of grid-tied photovoltaic (PV) solar and Concentrating Solar Power (CSP). Where’s Washington?
- California 220
- New Jersey 57
- Florida 57
- Arizona 23
- Colorado 23
- Hawaii 24
- New York 12
- Massachusetts 10
- Connecticut 9
- North Carolina 8
These states have increased their load of solar energy projects. TSR can add to the growing solar industry to propel Washington into a leading position in the country and make solar energy a major industry here. Washington talks a lot of talk about environmentalism and the need for green jobs and a green economy; here is our chance to walk the walk.
Find the entire report at www.seia.org
US Joint Forces Command sees surplus oil disappearing in 2012 – need for renewable energy imminent
The US Joint Forces Command released the Joint Operating Environment (JOE) 2010 report last month (press release here). The report details a number of different factors for the Joint Forces to base future force growth and development. At the top, energy is a major factor for troop deployment, equipment and vehicles, and cause of global instability, military engagement and the need for defense. The energy summary highlights the declining supply of oil and huge increase in demand. By 2015 we could see a severe shortfall in current oil extraction. The US needs stable, self-created supplies of energy to fill this gap from renewable energy of all kinds.
From the report:
By 2012, surplus oil production capacity could entirely disappear, and as early as 2015, the shortfall in output could reach nearly 10 MBD. Energy production and distribution infrastructure must see significant new investment if energy demand is to be satisfied at a cost compatible with economic growth and prosperity. Efficient hybrid, electric, and flex-fuel vehicles will likely dominate light-duty vehicle sales by 2035 and much of the growth in gasoline demand may be met through increases in biofuels production. Renewed interest in nuclear power and green energy sources such as solar power, wind, or geothermal may blunt rising prices for fossil fuels should business interest become actual investment.
Energy is a vital part of national defense and security. The Joint Forces Command recognizes that energy production and resource control is a major factor in the future security of the United States. Investment in new energy sources and projects can help stabilize and ensure US energy production here at home, and end reliance on importing costly and scarce fossil fuels. Solar energy projects can help fill the gap and lead us to better technology that can be used in other projects. The more development we put into this today, the more renewable, self-generated energy we will have tomorrow.
Gary Hammons has a post on MyAroundTown describing the potential of Upper Kittitas County with VISION Cle Elum, bringing Industry, Education, and Government representatives together:
"What we need, is for our citizens, business leaders and elected officials to break down barriers, not put them up. We need to raise our voices to embrace change in a positive way, not resist it at all cost. We need to look forward, not continuously in the rear view mirror, longing for the “good old days”. We need to “Execute” and realize the future, today..."
Read the whole thing here
Teanaway Solar Reserve selects Potelco, Inc. as EPC Contractor and an Equity Partner
The Teanaway Solar Reserve, LLC has selected Washington-based Potelco Inc., a Quanta Services, Inc. (NYSE: PWR) company, as an equity partner and contractor for the design and construction. Teanaway Solar Reserve and Potelco signed a Memorandum of Understanding under which the parties have agreed to negotiate a contract for engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for the 75 megawatt solar facility that is expected to be the largest PV solar project in the Pacific Northwest to date. Potelco also intends to provide construction financing for the project. The contract and equity arrangements are subject to final terms and conditions to be negotiated.
For more information on the companies and a full press release, visit the Updates Page on www.teanawaysolarreserve.com