FT: Amplats chief calls for South Africa to open up renewable energy market

Anglo-American Platinum, the world’s biggest producer of platinum, said South Africa needs to open up its renewable energy market to allow companies to generate their own power rather than impose a blanket carbon tax on the industry.

The subsidiary of Anglo American, whose mines rely on power from the country’s struggling state utility Eskom, said the tax would impose millions of dollars of extra costs without helping it to move away from coal-based power. “We don’t have an ability to increase our renewables. There’s no policy that allows us to do that, there’s actually laws preventing us from doing that,” Chris Griffith, chief executive of the company known as Amplats, told the FT. Continue reading “FT: Amplats chief calls for South Africa to open up renewable energy market”

GE Renewable Energy Announces New Solar + Storage Hybrid Project In New York

GE Renewable Energy has announced that it will partner with Helios Energy to develop a new hybrid solar + storage system in upstate New York, which is expected to reach commercial operation in the second quarter of 2020.

Specifically, GE Renewable Energy will integrate two solar PV arrays built by Helios Energy with two battery energy storage systems comprised of GE’s Reservoir technology, Reservoir Inverter units, control systems, and combiner boxes. The two energy storage systems are expected to store and generate 3 MW/12 MWh and 2 MW/8MWh respectively.

The solar arrays to be built by Helios Energy are being built in Lenox, New York, with construction to begin later this year with commercial operation in the second quarter of 2020. Continue reading “GE Renewable Energy Announces New Solar + Storage Hybrid Project In New York”

Clean Technica: US Power In 2018 – The Good, The Better, & The Gassy

The first numbers on last year’s energy trends are in and there are two pieces of great news and one that should worry us: Solar and wind energy are thriving, coal-fired generation sunk to a four-decade low — but natural gas infrastructure is expanding.

The key 2018 energy trends, detailed in the Energy Information Administration’s preliminary 2018 energy figures, build upon the energy transition already underway, highlighting both emerging opportunities and challenges. Thankfully, this year promises to be a good one for solar and, especially, wind energy, but we still face the threat that we are locking in reliance on natural gas that doesn’t fit with our need to slash carbon pollution.

Here are four key stats for the U.S. power sector in 2018: Continue reading “Clean Technica: US Power In 2018 – The Good, The Better, & The Gassy”

China plans a solar power play in space that NASA abandoned decades ago

Image: NASA | Getty Images News | Getty Images

John Mankins has spent his professional life working on novel ideas that could transform the way humans use technology in space, solar power among them. But Mankins’ interplanetary musings went beyond the way solar is already used to power satellites and the International Space Station. During a 25-year career at NASA and CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he devised multiple concepts to extend the use of solar in space, among them a solar-powered interplanetary transport vehicle and a space-based power system.

It’s that second idea, in particular, that had Mankins’ attention while holding top research positions at NASA during the 1990s and 2000s, including overseeing the $800 million Exploration Systems Research and Technology group. Mankins — who now runs his own private aerospace firm, Artemis Innovation Management Solutions — had the task of figuring out whether there was a way to deliver electricity to the planet by beaming it from space. It’s an idea that could fundamentally reshape the idea of the utility business — and give control over it, on a scale, to whichever world power gets there first.

“If you can dramatically lower the cost of space solar, you can take over most of the energy market of the world,” said Mark Hopkins, a member of the National Space Society board of directors and former Rand Corp. executive. Continue reading “China plans a solar power play in space that NASA abandoned decades ago”

Chile Tests Floating Solar Power Island

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SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A floating island of solar panels is being tested in Chile as a way to generate clean energy and reduce water loss at mine operations, a cornerstone of the Andean country’s economy that uses huge amounts of electricity and water.

The experimental “Las Tortolas” power-generating island is being run by the giant Anglo American mining company at its Los Bronces mine, and the initiative comes as the government pushes to put Chile at the forefront of renewable energy use in Latin America and the world.

The 12,917-square-foot array of solar panels was inaugurated Thursday by Chilean Mining Minister Baldo Prokurica. Officials said that if the test is successful, the $250,000 plant could be expanded to cover nearly 100 acres. Continue reading “Chile Tests Floating Solar Power Island”

Florida announces largest community solar programme in the US

If Florida Power & Light Company’s proposal is approved, the programme will more than double the amount of community solar currently in the US.

Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) is proposing a new community solar programme that would offer FPL customers the opportunity to directly participate in Florida’s transformation to a world leader in solar energy. Continue reading “Florida announces largest community solar programme in the US”

Oil Plows Billions Into Solar & Energy Storage

Oil companies are plowing billions of dollars per year into solar and into energy storage, as more nations seek to switch their energy sources away from fossil fuels. In only 5 out of 15 acquisition deals done in solar over the past two years, over $8 billion was spent, according to an analysis by Mercom Capital Group.

Similarly, out of 7 funding deals by oil companies over the past two years, more than $240 million was provided to solar companies, Mercom calculates.

For battery storage investments, 6 acquisition deals were reported during the past two years, without values, Mercom says. During the same time period, 7 funding deals were done, involving nearly $133 million, Mercom says. Continue reading “Oil Plows Billions Into Solar & Energy Storage”

Why Governments Are Less Important To Renewable Energy, As Demonstrated By Spain

Flickr/Som Energia Cooperativa

Spain’s government has set the target for 100% of its electricity to come from renewables by 2050, but the reality is that the private sector will probably have more to do with hitting that target than the authorities in Madrid. It will probably happen sometime before 2050 as well.

Solar power is already the cheapest form of power when compared to market prices. The chief of the country’s solar trade association claimed last year that there was a pipeline of 29GW of photovoltaic (PV) projects proposed for private companies. That is to say, projects that will be for the sole use of large energy users and either directly or virtually plugged into their facilities. The power purchase agreements (PPAs) are popular among the likes of Facebook and Google in the US and for nervous investors, they offer projects to sink their capital into without taking on the risk associated with relying on a government. Their hesitancy is understandable. Continue reading “Why Governments Are Less Important To Renewable Energy, As Demonstrated By Spain”

How ‘miniature suns’ could provide cheap, clean energy

Pic: Getty Image

We’re just five years away from harnessing almost unlimited power from “miniature suns”, some start-ups say: nuclear fusion reactors that could provide abundant, cheap and clean energy.

In a world of warming caused by our addiction to fossil fuels, there is an urgent need to find sustainable alternative sources of energy.

If we don’t, the future looks decidedly bleak for millions of people on this planet: water and food shortages leading to famine and war.

Nuclear fusion has long been heralded as a potential answer to our prayers. But it’s always been “thirty years away”, according to the industry joke.

Now several start-ups are saying they can make fusion a commercial reality much sooner. Continue reading “How ‘miniature suns’ could provide cheap, clean energy”

Harvesting renewable energy from the sun and outer space at the same time

Credit: Linda Cicero, Stanford News

Scientists at Stanford University have demonstrated for the first time that heat from the sun and coldness from outer space can be collected simultaneously with a single device. Their research, published November 8 in the journal Joule, suggests that devices for harvesting solar and space energy will not compete for land space and can actually help each other function more efficiently.

Renewable energy is increasingly popular as an economical and efficient alternative to fossil fuels, with solar energy topping charts as the worldwide favorite. But there is another powerful energy source overhead that can perform just the opposite function — outer space.

“It is widely recognized that the sun is a perfect heat source nature offers human beings on Earth,” says Zhen Chen, the first author of the study, who is a former postdoctoral research associate at Stanford in the group of Shanhui Fan and is currently a professor at the Southeast University of China. “It is less widely recognized that nature also offers human beings outer space as a perfect heat sink.”

Continue reading “Harvesting renewable energy from the sun and outer space at the same time”