Posts Tagged ‘electricity’

Credit: Coal India Limited


A big vote of no confidence in the Paris climate agreement, by the world’s second most populous country. Political reality comes first: coal is much cheaper than nuclear.

India has decided to cut its planned nuclear power plant construction by two-thirds, says The GWPF. This will further expand the country’s use of coal for electrical power generation.

The Financial Express, one of India’s major newspapers, reports that the Narendra Modi government, which had set an ambitious 63,000 MW nuclear power capacity addition target by the year 2031-32, has cut it to 22,480 MW, or by roughly two-thirds.

The decision has enormous implications for expanding use of coal for electrical power generation and for release of CO2, other greenhouse gases, and for adding to India’s dire air pollution problems in its major cities.

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Sweden installs section of electrified road

Posted: April 13, 2018 by oldbrew in innovation, News, Travel
Tags:

Slot cars [image credit: Thomas Mielke @ Wikipedia]


Forget solar panels on the road surface – this is a different idea. Power is picked up by vehicles on the move, similar to slot cars. The report says: ‘They have also taken measures to ensure the rail is functional during inclement weather.’ Trialling in Sweden should put that to the test.

A team making up the eRoadArlanda project has announced that they have electrified a section of road near Stockholm, which will be tested by a battery-powered test truck.

The team is part of an initiative set up by the Swedish government’s Transport Administration to meet its goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, reports TechXplore.

The Swedish government has been funding projects aimed at developing a fossil-free road transport system for many years. In this new effort, the focus was on implementing a road technology that could be used by currently available vehicles. The result is what some have called a human-sized slot car system.

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Promoting public awareness of the high cost and lack of reliability of weather-dependent power generation is important. Once fortunes have been spent and national grid systems are creaking under the strain of on-off power, it’s much harder to change course.

STOP THESE THINGS

Renewables rent seekers keep telling us how cheap wind and solar are, compared to those ‘evil’ fossil fuels, coal and gas.

But ‘price’ and ‘value’ are not the same animals. What we pay for something, and what it’s worth depends entirely upon what we get. And, in relation to the consumption of electricity, whether or not we get it, at all.

Wind power might be ‘free’, but try purchasing it, at any price, when the wind stops blowing.

Comparing weather dependent wind generation with sources available, around-the-clock, irrespective of the weather, is a game played by intellectual pygmies. There is, of course, no comparison.

So when you’re faced with a pile of numbers said to show how wind stacks up against the big boys, the obvious retort is, ‘when’? When I need it, or when the wind is just right?

Donn Dears picks up that thread quite neatly in this…

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Lithium ion battery


Of course the ‘could’ in the headline tells us this has yet to be proven beyond the laboratory, and many of these battery claims seem to fizzle out in the end, or may be overtaken by newer ideas. But a professor here is saying: “We’ve opened up a new chemical space for battery technology”.

A research team led by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, has opened the door to using metals other than cobalt in lithium-based batteries, and have built cathodes with 50 percent more lithium-storage capacity than conventional materials, reports EurekAlert.

Lithium-based batteries use more than 50 percent of all cobalt produced in the world. These batteries are in your cell phone, laptop and maybe even your car.

About 50 percent of the world’s cobalt comes from the Congo, where it’s largely mined by hand, in some instances by children.

But now, a research team led by scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, has opened the door to using other metals in lithium-based batteries, and have built cathodes with 50 percent more lithium-storage capacity than conventional materials.

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Sprites, elves and jets [image credit: NOAA / BBC]


While speculation about theoretical dark matter and big bangs may be more popular, there’s plenty still to learn about these observed near-Earth electrical phenomena.

A new mission aboard the International Space Station is taking storm chasing to new heights, reports BBC News.

Thunderstorms are some of the most spectacular events in nature, yet what we can see from the surface of our planet is only the beginning.

There are bizarre goings on in Earth’s upper atmosphere, and a new mission aims to learn more about them.

Launched to the International Space Station on Monday, the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) will observe the strange electrical phenomena that occur above thunderstorms.

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Nothing new there perhaps but, like the boiling frog, the reality of an endless upward ratchet of climate charges on bills may still not have fully sunk in with some of the public yet.
H/T The GWPF

Any doubt that increases in UK electricity prices are the result of energy and climate policies, rather than underlying wholesale energy costs, is firmly set aside by the recent announcement from Opus Energy that it must increase its prices to consumers by 7.5% even to those on Fixed Term contracts because of sharply rising “pass through” costs, namely subsidies to renewables, grid management, and the Capacity Market.

Opus Energy, part of the Drax Group and winner of the British Small Business award for Energy Provider of the Year (2017), has written to customers in the last week announcing a 7.5% increase in electricity supply charges.

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Fans of expensive, unreliable, part-time electricity that has to be replaced at short (or no) notice by other power sources should look away now.

STOP THESE THINGS

South Australia is renowned as a renewable energy ‘superpower’: by some strange coincidence, it’s also renowned for having the highest retail power prices in the world.

Wind and sun worshippers keep telling us that by plugging into nature’s wonder fuels we’ll soon enjoy power at 1970s prices. Except that that mantra is part myth and part fantasy and, wherever you find endless seas of solar panels and windmills, power prices just keep on rocketing. In SA, wholesale power prices doubled in just 12 months:

Comparing 2016 (red) and 2017 (blue) average
wholesale prices of electricity ($per MWh) by state

For power punters battered with crippling bills, predictions don’t count for much. But still renewables rent seekers keep pumping the line that, one day soon, power prices will plummet. Here’s Donn Dears spelling out precisely why they won’t.

EIA Energy Forecasts Part 1
Power for USA
Dnn Dears
6 March 2018

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Battery builders get the cobalt blues

Posted: March 12, 2018 by oldbrew in Travel
Tags:

Chinese electric car [image credit: scmp.com]


One battery expert said: ‘I’ve had multiple Chinese carmakers in my office really worried [about cobalt supply]. They wish they’d thought about this two years ago.’ They find themselves bidding against the likes of wealthy companies like Apple and Samsung for supplies.

Demand for battery metals surges on the back of a global appetite for electric vehicles, reports ChemistryWorld.

At the beginning of 2017, $32,500 (£26,300) would buy you one tonne of cobalt. Today you’d have to fork out $81,000. Since 2016, cobalt’s price has spiked enormously, and it’s all because of batteries.

Cobalt is an essential component of the lithium ion batteries that power our phones and laptops, and which are expected to be a key part of the world’s energy mix. ‘In 2017, we saw demand from the battery sector at 102 GWh, but we expect that to increase to 709 gigawatt hours by 2026,’ says Caspar Rawles, market analyst at Benchmark Minerals Intelligence.

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Scottish offshore wind project [image credit : urbanrealm.com]


Researchers have discovered what common sense thinking has led many people to believe anyway, namely that sales pitches and reality can be quite far apart when it comes to renewable technologies and reliable electricity supplies.

A variety of models predict the role renewables will play in 2050, but some may be over-optimistic, and should be used with caution, say researchers.

The proportion of UK energy supplied by renewable energies is increasing every year; in 2017 wind, solar, biomass and hydroelectricity produced as much energy as was needed to power the whole of Britain in 1958, says EurekAlert.

However, how much the proportion will rise by 2050 is an area of great debate. Now, researchers at Imperial College London have urged caution when basing future energy decisions on over-optimistic models that predict that the entire system could be run on renewables by the middle of this century.

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Carrington gas power station, Greater Manchester


Britain badly needs new power stations but current national policy is working against that, argues an industry insider. Instead we have a ‘sticking plaster’ strategy.

Great Britain’s energy market, once the envy of free-marketeers after Margaret Thatcher ended decades of nationalisation in the 1980s, is once again under the spotlight – for all the wrong reasons, says businessman Peter Hughes at PEI.

The current Prime Minister Theresa May is fond of referring to the UK’s “broken energy market”. While she may use the phrase to justify a cap on consumer energy bills, she could just as easily apply it to the failure of successive governments to encourage the building of new power plants.

As old coal and aged gas and nuclear power plants head towards decommissioning, the UK faces the possibility of a shortfall in its future electricity supply that cannot be plugged by intermittent renewables alone.

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Bitcoin [image credit: BBC]


Renewable energy has an unwelcome customer: ‘Bitcoin emits the equivalent of 17.7 million tons of carbon dioxide every year’ according to one recent report. Unless or until its bubble bursts, that figure is expected to rise.

KEFLAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Iceland is expected to use more energy “mining” bitcoins and other virtual currencies this year than it uses to power its homes, says AP News.

With massive amounts of electricity needed to run the computers that create bitcoins, large virtual currency companies have established a base in the North Atlantic island nation blessed with an abundance of renewable energy.

The new industry’s relatively sudden growth prompted lawmaker Smari McCarthy of Iceland’s Pirate Party to suggest taxing the profits of bitcoin mines.

The initiative is likely to be well received by Icelanders, who are skeptical of speculative financial ventures after the country’s catastrophic 2008 banking crash.

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Germans are supposed to understand engineering but that doesn’t seem to apply to their leaders, at least where ideological obsession is a factor.
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Talkshop link: Diesel generators installed in South Australia

STOP THESE THINGS

Mutti Merkel’s suicidal obsession with sun &
wind sends Germans to a New Dark Age.

Renewable energy zealots keep ranting about the ‘inevitable transition’ to wind and solar power. The only thing inevitable about it, is rocketing power prices and routine blackouts.

If you don’t believe us, ask a German, South Australian or a Victorian.

All three have been hijacked by lunatics, obsessed with nature’s wonder fuels, the sun and wind; all three suffer retail power prices which are the highest in the world (or in Victoria’s case, rocketing in that direction); and all three have suffered, and will continue to suffer, mass blackouts and routine load shedding, simply because they’re attempting the impossible.

If the tech-savvy Germans can’t make wind and solar power work (despite trillions of euros in subsidies), it’s a pretty fair bet that this wholly weather-dependent nonsense isn’t going to work anywhere on…

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Credit: energy.gov


California is – somewhat optimistically perhaps – looking to phase out its use of fossil fuels, and equally reliable alternatives need to be found and developed.

Experts say the American West is full of geothermal reservoirs whose energy could power millions of homes. But extracting that energy isn’t easy, as NPR explains.

Three and a half hours east of Los Angeles lies the Salton Sea, a manmade oasis in the heart of the Mojave Desert.

It was created in 1905, when a canal broke and the Colorado River flooded the desert for more than a year. The Sea became a tourist hotspot in the 1950’s, perfect for swimming, boating, and kayaking.

But now, people are coming here looking for something else.

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France’s President Macron at Davos


France’s virtue-signalling anti-coal pledge may sound grand, but as the report points out it ‘only has three power plants that burn coal’, providing 1% of its electricity. Another potential problem for France is the inflexibility of nuclear power, which is not suitable for rapid ramping up and down in response to changes in demand and/or short-term fluctuations in renewable energy. In February 2017 the German nuclear plant at Brokdorf was taken offline after the operation of the plant in “load-following” mode had contributed to unexpected oxidation of its fuel rods.

France failed to meet its global warming target, as The Daily Caller reports.

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German Chancellor Merkel surveys an offshore wind site [image credit: evwind.es]


Will this failure persuade the media to stop pretending Germany’s energy policy is a shining example to the rest the world? Probably not, as yet more financial pain for its taxpayers awaits, thanks to climate obsessions.
H/T The GWPF.

BERLIN—Germany is missing its European climate targets and will have to pay for rights to emit greenhouse gases due to polluting vehicles, farms and buildings, the government said Wednesday, an embarrassing admission for Chancellor Angela Merkel who had once put energy transformation at the forefront of her policies.

Germany will have to purchase greenhouse gas emissions allowances for the years 2019 and 2020 from other European Union members, an environmental ministry spokesman said.

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Image credit: easyevcharge.uk


Even a relatively small number of EVs charging at once in a local area could put the local transformer under serious strain, as Phys.org reports.

An influx of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) charging without coordination could prove challenging to the nation’s electric grid, according to research conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

Matteo Muratori, a transportation and energy systems engineer at NREL and author of the new Nature Energy paper, “Impact of Uncoordinated Plug-in Electric Vehicle Charging on Residential Power Demand,” created a computer simulation to explore the effects of in-home charging on the grid.

“Realizing the full benefits of vehicle electrification will necessitate a systems-level approach that treats vehicles, buildings, and the grid as an integrated network,” said Johney Green Jr., NREL’s associate lab director for Mechanical and Thermal Engineering Sciences.

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We don’t normally do press releases at the Talkshop, but this one might be interesting if we can work out what it really means. The fact that they refer to grid stability implies it’s an issue in Germany at least.

Automobile, home and power supply combined to form an intelligent energy network: In a pilot project the Audi Smart Energy Network for the first time interacts with the power grid.

This marks a major advance for grid stability, claims Audi’s press release.

As part of a research project, Audi is running a pilot project with households in the Ingolstadt area and the Zurich region in conjunction with other partners.

This involves combining various sizes of photovoltaic systems with stationary storage batteries. The control software by the Zurich start-up company Ampard distributes the solar power intelligently based on the current or plannable demand from car, household and heating system.

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One local complained: ‘Residents used to be able to watch the sun setting over the sea at Blackpool. Now all they can see is a mountain of muck.’ Not to mention the foul smell.

Clayton Hall, a supposedly ‘green’ electricity plant in Lancashire, has been generating misery for months – by shrouding thousands of nearby homes in a stinking fog of poisonous gas, writes David Rose in The Mail on Sunday.

The owners of the plant at the Clayton Hall landfill site in Lancashire, sandwiched between the commuter towns of Leyland and Chorley, a golf course and pretty, rolling hills, have received about £1.7 million in green energy subsidies since it opened in 2010.

These levies are added directly to consumers’ household bills. The firm has made a further £1.7 million from selling power to the grid.

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Image credit: BBC


Looks like UK councils have better things to do than worry about providing charging points for a few electric car owners. There are no council-run filling stations after all.

Just five councils across England have taken advantage of a government backed scheme for funding electric car charge points, ministers have revealed.

Jesse Norman and Claire Perry, respectively ministers for transport and climate change, have written to local authorities urging them to take advantage of the On-Street Residential Charge point Scheme, which was launched in 2016, reports Utility Week.

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Who knew? Apart from nearly everyone who ever gave it any thought, that is. But if confirmation and analysis from published research is needed, PEI reports it here. It seems to be worse than they thought.

Grid stability is likely to be increasingly challenged as power distribution moves from a centralized to a more decentralized model, new research has found.

According to a paper published this week in the journal Nature Energy by researchers from Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization and the UK’s Queen Mary University of London, integrating growing numbers of renewable power installations and microgrids onto the grid can result in larger-than-expected fluctuations in grid frequency.

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