Take a look at the most popular posts on Energy Post in 2018 and answer the questions for your chance to win one of ten 12-month subscriptions to EPW (Energy Post Weekly) worth almost €3000 absolutely FREE. Our most popular articles always give an indication of the crucial debates of the moment. THREE out of the top-TEN concern how we power our cars! Other perennially pre-occupying topics include the concept of a 100% renewable energy system and the continued use of coal around the world. As always, a fascinating mix…
And the top-ten, best read articles (and associated questions) of the year in reverse order are…
Coming soon: the Amazon of energy – The energy sector has not yet been conquered by a platform giant like Amazon, Spotify or Facebook. But there are reasons why this will happen soon, writes the author. All that is needed is two things: a trusted customer-facing platform and a back-office platform that combines the purchasing and trading of energy together with the management of customer demand. So the only question is, who is going to get there first?
Q. Which two companies, apart from Amazon and Google, does the author speculate may monopolise energy retailing in the near future? Is it A] Saudi Aramco and ExxonMobil B] Areva and Rosatom C] Enel and EDF OR D] BMW and Daimler (insert answers in form below)
9. Electricity market design
The new EU electricity market design: more market – or more state? – The article warns of the serious concerns the Member States have about the effects any agreement will have on their security of supply. To ensure that “their lights don’t go out”, they are pursuing their own solutions, in the form of different schemes for backup capacity and strategic reserves. Extensive interviews with key experts and players, including representatives of the Commission, reveal that this preoccupation with national interest will lead to legislation that will, in the end, do little to enhance the functioning of the internal energy market, or might even make it worse.
Q. In what month and year was the Clean Energy for all Europeans package of proposals first formally presented by the European Commission?
8. EV charging networks
Charging electric vehicles: the challenges ahead – The future of electric cars depends not just on the battery technology, but on how we solve the challenge of charging them. The author discusses the four main challenges of EV charging, and possible solutions. Increasing grid capacity for all the new EVs, and spreading the peak loads (e.g. overnight charging) are only the obvious problems. There are many more!
Q. According to the article, in a typical small UK town with a population of 6,800, how many EVs added to the local grid can cause a brownout (a drop in the voltage of supply)? Is it A] 45 B] 90 C] 450 OR D] 900
7. India slashes nuclear for coal
India slashes plans for new nuclear reactors by two-thirds – In April 2018 the Indian government, which had set an ambitious target of 63,000 MW of additional nuclear power capacity by the year 2031-32, cut that target to 22,480 MW. This will further expand the country’s use of coal for electrical power generation, warns the author. The country already accounts for 8% of the world’s total coal consumption. About two-thirds of India’s electricity generation comes from coal. More energy generation is desperately needed, given around 200m of the country’s 1.3bn population still has no access to the grid.
Q. In what year did India suffer the largest electrical blackout in world history, affecting an area encompassing about 670 million people, or roughly 10 percent of the world’s population?
6. Hybrid engines
The future for gas guzzlers lies in hybridisation – The author explains in detail how future hybrid cars will be cheaper than existing internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, and deliver the same performance. The downsized ICE will be mostly responsible for constant speed driving, while the electric motor will provide the short bursts of high power needed for acceleration and steep hills.
Q. Acceleration consumes more power than constant speed, but how much more? It takes around 15 hp (horse power) for a Toyota Prius to maintain a steady 60mph. According to the article, approximately how much hp does it take the car to accelerate from 0 to 60mph in 6 seconds? Is it A] 30hp B] 90 hp C] 225 hp OR D] 375 hp
5. Shell New Energies
An exclusive interview with Mark Gainsborough, head of Shell New Energies: “We are further along than people realise” – he talks about Shell’s growing renewable investments, and plans to invest $1bn+ in the sector (though it’s still only 10% of its total investment portfolio). He also talks of Shell’s New Energy Challenge. This is a competition for European startups that offer innovative, low-carbon energy solutions. The winner receives a €100,000 grant and cooperation from Shell Technology Ventures for a year to develop its business.
Q. Who was the 2018 winner of the Shell New Energy Challenge?
4. % RES in energy mix
In Roadmap to nowhere: the myth of powering the nation 100% with renewable energy the authors are convinced any US ambition of a 100% renewable nation is a myth. Instead, the authors say the US should rely primarily on nuclear power. The article received 150 comments! The article takes apart the recommendations of the Solutions Project, a highly-cited roadmap to 100% renewables both in the US and globally, founded and backed by high profile academics and celebrities.
Q. What is the name of the famous actor who co-founded the Solutions Project? (Clue: he plays a superhero who is, appropriately, very very green)
3. Solar waste
If solar panels are so clean, why do they produce so much toxic waste? – The article warns that enthusiasm for solar is blinding us to the cost of disposing of the panels once they are redundant. Solar panels can contain lead, cadmium, and other toxic chemicals. The cost of recycling is so high, a lot of panels are being disposed of in landfill! IRENA predicts a global total of 78m tonnes of PV panel waste will be accumulated by 2050. The author recommends a recycling fee at the point of sale, which is used to cover future disposal or recycling costs.
Q. According to IRENA, which five nations will have accumulated the most solar PV waste by 2050?
Why it’s so difficult to reduce CO2 emissions – This article focuses on four big economic and social (i.e. non-technical) reasons. It then addresses the solutions, including geoengineering as a possible way of slowing down global warming. It references a paper by a Nobel Prize winning atmospheric chemist, which presents the case for albedo enhancement (artificially altering the ability of clouds and/or oceans to reflect solar radiation).
Q. What is the name of this Nobel Prize winning chemist? (Clue: he coined the term “anthropocene,” to describe the current geological age, when human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.)
1. Hydrogen fuel cells
Why hydrogen fuel cell cars are not competitive – Our top article for 2018 was published back in June 2016 and is still going strong, showing just how hot car fuel choices are as a topic (Hyundai announced in December this year they are pumping $7bn into fuel cell technology).
Q. Our article quotes one famous critic of hydrogen cars, who called them “mind-bogglingly stupid”. His battery cars are much better, says he! Who is he?
How to enter
Fill out the form below along with your answers and hit the submit button. The deadline is midnight Sunday 20th January. The first ten correct entries, drawn at random, will receive a free 12-month subscription (normally €295 each) to our premium online newsletter: Energy Post Weekly. Winners will be announced on Monday, January 21st 2018.
Good luck and best wishes for 2019!