September 22 Energy News

September 22, 2015

Science and Technology:

Prototype JBT ceramic batteries undergoing high-temperature testing.

Prototype JBT ceramic batteries undergoing high-temperature testing.

¶ Solid-state battery technology may deliver up to three times more energy than equivalent-sized lithium-ion cell, while eliminating many of the durability and safety issues associated with conventional lithium-based energy sources. The technology employs ceramic electrolytes instead of volatile liquid or gel electrolytes. [IHS Electronics360]

¶ According to new research from Griffith University, in Queensland, Australia, harnessing the energy created from salinity gradients could provide a renewable source of power able to mitigate climate change impacts, reduce reliance on fossil fuels and improve processes within the desalination industry. [WaterWorld]


¶ Yingli Green Energy Holdings has announced a partnership with Namene Energy International, a leading renewable energy projects developer in Africa, to work together to set up 100-MW of utility-scale and 50 MW of rooftop solar power projects in Ghana and other African countries. Each company will have a 50% share. [CleanTechnica]

¶ Canada’s clean energy sector employs more people than the oil sands, and the workforce grew another 14% last year. According to Clean Energy Canada’s latest Tracking the Energy Revolution, this sector attracted almost twice the number of investors than the fishing, forestry and agriculture sectors combined. [CleanTechnica]

¶ In 2017 the solar industry is expected to face, again, accelerating declines in prices and margins as manufacturing capacity additions are set to “dangerously” exceed demand, IHS projects. A cut to the federal solar investment tax credit in the US will lead to a drop in global demand in 2017 and new challenges to suppliers. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ SunPower supplied a total of 41 MW to La Compagnie du Vent for the construction of four solar power plants under the French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy national tender programme. A a dedication ceremony at one facility was attended by French President Francois Hollande. [reNews]

SunPower panels (SunPower)

SunPower panels (SunPower)

¶ French utility EDF wants to expand into renewable energy beyond Europe, according to the company’s CEO. He said barely 5% of EDF’s assets were outside Europe, where there is little economic or demographic growth. EDF would remain in its key markets of France, Britain and Italy, would increase international operations. [Reuters]

¶ Major nations seem to be reducing fossil fuel subsidies but still have “ample scope” for deeper cuts in recent support of up to $200 billion a year, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development says. The OECD nations are estimated to subsidize fossil fuels production $160 billion to $200 billion annually. [Times of Malta]

¶ A study released Monday in the science journal Philosophical Transactions says the Fukushima Disaster was preventable. It says, “Had the TEPCO modellers had any experience with tsunamis, they would have had immediately recognized that their ‘high’ resolution predictions were underestimating the hazard.” [Washington Post]

¶ Volkswagen AG plans to set aside €6.5 billion ($7.3 billion) in the third quarter to cover the costs of addressing irregularities in diesel engines installed in 11 million vehicles worldwide, as the scandal that started in the US widens. Germany, France, South Korea, and Italy have said they would look further into the issue. [Bloomberg]


¶ Notre Dame officials said Monday that a plan to phase out coal-burning power plants over the next five years will ultimately pay for itself through lower energy costs. The announcement comes ahead of Pope Francis’ planned visit to the United States, and the move is part of Francis’ plea for bold action to curb climate change. [WISH-TV]

Photo from University of Notre Dame

Photo from University of Notre Dame

¶ Tesla will drive down battery-pack-level costs by 70% (down to around $38/kWh) once the Gigafactory hits peak production via economies of scale, improved chemistry, supply chain optimization, and other factors, according to Jefferies analyst Dan Dolev. Model S battery cells could be brought to 88$/kWh. [CleanTechnica]

¶ With energy prices rising, solar projects stalling and discussions of how to reduce fossil fuel consumption happening on Beacon Hill, state Senator Marc Pacheco sees a part of the solution, and it is all around him: wind. He points out that wind power is cheap. “Once you pay for the capital investment, the fuel is free,” Pacheco said. []

¶ Energy storage specialist Younicos said Monday it will install a 1-MW turnkey battery storage system at one of OCI Solar Power LLC’s sites in Texas. They system is planned to go live in early 2016 and would be the first integrated grid-scale solar-plus-storage project in the Electric Reliability Council of Texas market. [SeeNews Renewables]

¶ Discussing how US and China can collaborate on nuclear energy, smarter electricity use, and other clean technologies is a top agenda item as Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Seattle, almost a year after he and President Barack Obama announced their nations would cooperate to fight climate change. []


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