Around a third of the world’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions come from buildings. Highly glazed skyscrapers and buildings may look beautiful and let in plenty of light, but waste a lot of energy due to the extra cooling needed in summer and heating in winter. Modern skyscrapers can have window-to-wall ratios of 70%+. But modern thermally efficient photovoltaic windows not only provide insulation but turn the absorbed light into power. Wayne … [Read more...]
Grid Distribution Systems: access to usage data is uncovering the optimal design for future electrification
The more efficient a distribution grid is, the less likely other potential supply bottlenecks (from lithium for batteries to trained electricians) will slow the transition to greater and greater electrification. State-of-the-art modelling of future grids is already happening, but the robust modelling of the distribution system is conspicuously missing because good data are notoriously hard to find, says Meredith Fowlie at UC Berkeley’s Energy … [Read more...]
Latest U.S. modelling shows Battery Storage can support an 80% Renewables grid by 2050
NREL’s latest Storage Futures Study concludes that battery storage should be able to support an 80% renewables grid mix in the U.S. by 2050. Madeline Geocaris at NREL explains how they modelled hundreds of future scenarios to accurately represent the value of diurnal (<12 hours) battery energy storage. The high-storage scenarios made different cost and performance assumptions for storage, wind, solar PV, and natural gas. 15 storage … [Read more...]
U.S. Solar breaks new records. What’s needed to keep the momentum?
The latest available data reveals it’s been a record breaking 2021 for U.S. solar. John Rogers at UCS runs through the highlights. Solar passed the 100GW milestone, with 23.6GW newly installed, up 19% on 2020 and 77% up on 2019. Solar was the biggest source of new electric generating capacity for the third year in a row. Residential, non-residential and utility-scale all performed well. Across the nation, solar accounted for 3.9% of total … [Read more...]
Piloting peer-to-peer electricity markets in China and the EU
Peer-to-peer (P2P) electricity trading is being promoted, to varying degrees, in both the EU and China. It allows individual citizens and businesses to produce and trade their own solar power (local, rooftop), while enabling the close-to-real-time balancing of supply and demand to maintain system stability. Helena Uhde at the ECECP gives an insight into the current status, implementation, regulations and policies in both regions. She cites two … [Read more...]
Grid-scale modelling of Distributed Energy Resources and dynamic pricing for all customers
Smart grids can solve multiple problems now and throughout the lifetime of the energy transition. The supply from hundreds (existing + new wind, solar, etc.) and ultimately millions (rooftop solar, EV batteries) of power sources can be matched in real time with demand from all major customer devices (air conditioners, water heaters, batteries, EVs). Dynamic pricing keeps the peaks low and the troughs high. It takes the pressure off total load, … [Read more...]
Distributed Energy Resources and Smart Grids: an opportunity or a distraction?
Distributed Energy Resources (DERs) are poorly understood by the utilities, explain Doyob Kim and Alyssa Fischer at the IEA. Part of the problem is that new innovations and solutions are coming fast, and policy-makers aren’t creating the incentives and frameworks to make them an imperative. But, done right, the successful integration of DERs into the grid will accelerate electrification, address grid stability, and reduce spending on expensive … [Read more...]
Compact voltage converters for integrating new DERs into the grid
The switches and converters needed to plug new clean energy technologies into the grid are going to be needed soon. The cheaper and smaller they are, the easier it will be to cope with the wide range of solutions coming down the pipe. NREL and its partners are building a megawatt-scale prototype converter that could fit the bill. They will be 1/5th the size and 1/10th the weight of existing alternatives: small enough to place almost anywhere. … [Read more...]
Surging U.S. renewables on track to take 30% market share by 2026
While the U.S. Congress debates whether backing the transition is a winning strategy, the energy sector is clearly showing the nation’s direction of travel. Dennis Wamsted and Seth Feaster at IEEFA look at the impressive growth of the clean energy champions, wind and solar. Since 2019, wind and utility-scale solar generation has risen by 76 TWh — a 31% increase — while coal and gas has fallen by 1.6%. By 2026, wind and utility-scale solar will … [Read more...]
Next German government’s climate and energy plans: what will Olaf Scholz do?
Olaf Scholz led Germany's Social Democrats (SPD) to an unexpected win in the 2021 elections held in September. He now needs to finalise a coalition with the Green Party and the pro-business FDP before forming a government and becoming chancellor. Like his predecessor Angela Merkel, Scholz has said he wants to become a "climate chancellor". Kerstine Appunn and Benjamin Wehrmann at Clean Energy Wire try to understand what his climate and energy … [Read more...]
Community Scale Solar plugs the gap between “rooftop” and utilities
Rooftop residential and utility solar exist at two ends of the scale. Is there a sweet spot between those two that can capture the advantages of small-scale (no transmission loss, grid resilience through distribution) and large (economies of scale, easy to invest in)? Yes, reports Laurie Stone of the Rocky Mountain Institute, and it’s being called Community-Scale Solar. More than a sweet spot, it can reach communities underserved by rooftop solar … [Read more...]