Last year, wind and solar reached a record 12% of global electricity generation, according to think tank Ember’s latest global electricity review. The overall share of all forms of low-carbon electricity rose to almost 40% of total generation. Josh Gabbatiss at Carbon Brief goes through the Ember review which heralds this as the moment fossils began their permanent decline. Ember calls it “structural” and “enduring” because previous declines only … [Read more...]
Germany closes its last 3 nuclear reactors. Understanding the reasons why
Germany has a long history of being resistant to all things nuclear. No new commercial reactors have been built since 1989. By 2023, nuclear made up only 6% of its power mix. To meet its decarbonisation goals, the government is confident of its target to reach an 80% renewables share in electricity demand by 2030 without nuclear. Hence the shut-down of its last three reactors over the weekend. Yet nuclear supporters say that leaving the last six … [Read more...]
Strategic home + workplace EV charging: there’s no need for extra power plants, storage, advanced demand management
High EV usage introduces new power consumption problems. At first look, extra storage and plants will be needed to cope with charging peaks. Either that, or sophisticated advanced demand management connected to every charging point, to smooth out demand. David Chandler at MIT describes research there that shows how, done right, none of that may be necessary. The study, tested on real life data in New York and Dallas, reveals that two things can … [Read more...]
Geothermal’s full potential: 24/7 power everywhere, storage, environmental mineral extraction
Geothermal is not just for generating energy. It can be used for storage and extracting minerals too. Kelly MacGregor at NREL summarises the research into taking geothermal to the next level and making it a solution to multiple challenges. Depending on how far down you dig, geothermal is available for running utility-scale power plants as well as heating and cooling individual districts, buildings and houses. And new techniques are being … [Read more...]
The U.S. needs a plan to transfer electricity long distance between regions, like Europe and China
In the U.S. several hundred thousand miles of power lines connect thousands of electric generators. But whereas Europe and China, at a similar scale, have continental-scale grid development plans, the U.S. does not. Its grid is highly fragmented and consists of not one, but three separate power grids that are almost completely isolated from one another. It has twelve different transmission planning regions that must coordinate much better to cope … [Read more...]
Russia, fossil prices, energy security will boost Renewables to 38% of global power mix by 2027, says IEA
The IEA has raised its 2027 forecasts for total renewables additions in its main scenario to 2,383GW – around the total power capacity of China. That’s a 28% increase on the previous estimate and up 76% from two years ago, explains Josh Gabbatiss at Carbon Brief who summarises the IEA’s latest forecasts. Globally, solar power will overtake gas by installed capacity in 2026 and coal in 2027. There are two main drivers for this acceleration. High … [Read more...]
Small Modular Reactor cost overruns: the same old problems haunt new nuclear in Utah
Much hope is being placed on Small Modular Reactors (SMR) making new nuclear plants competitive. But David Schlissel at IEEFA summarises their research into the publications, updates and statements coming from the stakeholders involved with the SMR by UAMPS (Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems) and NuScale Power Corporation that shows that costs are going out of control, a persistent problem in the nuclear industry. The original target power … [Read more...]
Can the Czech Republic revive its clean energy ambitions?
Although an early enthusiast for solar in 2009 the Czech Republic’s clean energy ambitions stalled. The share of green electricity was only 12% last year, with solar contributing 3% and wind just 1%. The current government is now reviving the nation’s drive towards carbon-free energy. Will new Czech policies along with EU initiatives like REPowerEU, the Green Deal and the Modernisation Fund successfully breathe new life into the Czech transition? … [Read more...]
Global Wind Speeds: are they falling due to climate change?
Last year, Europe experienced a “wind drought”, with wind speeds falling 15% in many regions, sometimes more. Deeper research shows speeds dropped gradually between 1978 and 2010, though rose again in the last decade. It’s difficult for the science to create a clear picture and predict long term trends. But the IPCC forecasts slowing winds for the coming decades, saying average annual wind speeds could drop by up to 10% by 2100. Jim Robbins at … [Read more...]
Europe’s decoupling of electricity and gas prices: the crisis is temporary, so why do it?
The debate is intensifying over how to decouple power prices from the extraordinarily high natural gas prices in Europe. Simona Benedettini and Carlo Stagnaro warn that the current problem of high prices is not caused by the mis-functioning of electricity markets, but by the exceptional trend in gas prices. So should the markets be re-designed at all? Will we lose the benefits of the current design, one being the reliable profits that renewables … [Read more...]
Reactor shutdowns in Nuclear-dependent France expose the need for a diversified mix of Renewables
Events are showing that a nation’s heavy reliance on a single source of energy is unwise. It’s not just gas. The heatwave is causing problems for France’s nuclear fleet, where the use of water for cooling has had to be restricted. All compounded by routine and unexpected maintenance shutdowns. As nuclear typically delivers well over 60% of its power, and also made it Europe’s biggest power exporter (until now), France is feeling the consequences. … [Read more...]
Record global clean energy spending, but it’s still not enough and costs are rising
Since 2020, clean energy investment has grown by 12% per year – it was only 2%/year during the five years after the 2015 Paris Agreement. That boost is the main reason why total global energy investment is set to reach $2.4tn in 2022, according to the latest “World Energy Investment” report from the IEA. It’s very good news that spending on solar PV, batteries and EVs is now growing at rates consistent with reaching global net zero emissions by … [Read more...]
How the U.S. can meet its target of halving emissions by 2030
Writing for Carbon Brief, John Bistline at the Electric Power Research Institute summarises his co-authored paper “Actions for reducing US emissions at least 50% by 2030”, the target set by the Biden administration. The paper provides detailed projections and actionable insights about the policies and technology deployment needed to achieve this near-term climate goal. Roughly 70-90% of emissions reductions by 2030 must come from the power and … [Read more...]
Reversible Hydrogen fuel cells: can H2 gas-to-power support the grid economically?
We know about making green hydrogen from excess intermittent wind and solar. We also know that that same intermittency means the gaps in wind and solar generation need filling. Green hydrogen is very expensive to make. But what if that green hydrogen could be economically converted back to power when needed? Writing for Stanford University, Edmund Andrews describes new research, in collaboration with the University of Mannheim in Germany, into … [Read more...]
Renewable Ammonia’s role in reducing dependence on Gas
Today, IRENA and the Ammonia Energy Association (AEA) released its “Innovation Outlook Renewable Ammonia” which updates in detail the current state and prospects for green ammonia as an energy carrier. Here, Dolf Gielen, Francisco Boshell and Gabriel Castellanos at IRENA and Kevin Rouwenhorst and Trevor Brown at the AEA summarise the findings. Worldwide ammonia production, though fossil-based, is already at-scale as a feedstock for fertiliser. So … [Read more...]