PV Solar Costs Have Fallen 10% per Year Since 1980

PV Solar Costs Have Fallen 10% per Year Since 1980

Union of Concerned Scientists: West Coast States Could Cut Petroleum Consumption in Half by 2030, New Study Shows

California, Oregon and Washington could cut their petroleum use by half in the next 15 years through policies that encourage greater transportation options and the more robust use of existing and emerging low-carbon technologies, according to a report prepared by ICF International and released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The report finds that the three West Coast states are already on track to reduce petroleum consumption and outlines strategies for further cutting oil use from car and freight transportation that is fouling air quality and contributing to climate change.

Photon: Study Shows Costs of PV Decreased 10 percent per Year Since 1980

We put ourselves in the past, pretended we didn’t know the future, and used a simple method to forecast the costs of the technologies.

These were the methodological premises of a study conducted by a research team from the University of Oxford, which has also analyzed the development of the PV technology over the past and future decades. The paper (titled “How predictable is technological progress?”) found that the costs of a PV module decreased at an average rate of 10% per year since 1980. It provides a quantitative answer to a fundamental question: How do we know that the historical trend will continue? Isn’t it possible that things will reverse, and over the next 20 years coal will drop in price dramatically and solar will go back up?

Bloomberg Businessweek: Who Owns the Sun?

Warren Buffett controls Nevada’s legacy utility. Elon Musk is behind the solar company that’s upending the market. Let the fun begin.

SolarCity’s success is partly because the government provides subsidies and enables an arrangement called net metering, which allows homeowners with panels to sell back to the grid any solar energy they don’t use. This helps offset their cost of power when the sun’s not shining. Like more than 40 other U.S. states, Nevada forces utilities to buy the excess energy at rates set by regulators — usually the same rate utilities charge (hence, the “net” in net metering). In Nevada, it’s worked well. So well, in fact, that NV Energy, the state’s largest utility, is fighting it with everything it’s got.

Photo Illustration by Justin Metz from Photograph by David Brandon Geeting for Bloomberg Businessweek. Buffett: Lacy O’Toole/Getty Images; Musk: Rebecca Cook/Reuters

Kleiner Perkins partner Randy Komisar discusses the roadmap for pitching a venture capital firm in the firm’s podcast, Ventured.           

The Present is a thesis short from the Institute of Animation, Visual Effects and Digital Postproduction at the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg in Ludwigsburg, Germany.

Source: greentechmedia.com/GTM_Solar
PV Solar Costs Have Fallen 10% per Year Since 1980

Record-Breaking Temperatures Persist: 2015 Was the Hottest on Record

Record-Breaking Temperatures Persist: 2015 Was the Hottest on Record

New York Times: 2015 Was Hottest Year in Recorded History, Scientists Say

Scientists reported Wednesday that 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history by far, breaking a record set only the year before — a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world.

In the contiguous United States, the year was the second-warmest on record, punctuated by a December that was both the hottest and the wettest since record-keeping began. One result has been a wave of unusual winter floods coursing down the Mississippi River watershed.

Bloomberg: Gulf Countries’ Savings Put at $87 Billion With Renewable Energy

Gulf countries stand to save as much as $87 billion from lower oil and natural gas consumption if they achieve goals for renewables use by 2030, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

Meeting Gulf Cooperation Council targets for solar and other renewable energy could also create an average of 140,000 jobs a year, with 207,000 people employed in 2030, the Abu Dhabi-based Irena said in a 96-page report released Wednesday. The goals may already be pushed back, with Saudi Arabia, the largest of the GCC’s six member countries, delaying its target completion date for renewables by eight years to 2040.

Utility Dive: 2016 Is the Year That Could Transform Utility Business Models in NY

If 2015 was the year that New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative captured the imagination of the utility sector, 2016 could be the year some of its dreams start to materialize.

In April 2014, the New York Public Service Commission kicked off the REV initiative with a groundbreaking straw proposal. In it, the staff of the regulatory body laid out a vision for the regulated utility as a “Distribution System Platform (DSP) Provider” — akin to an air traffic controller that coordinates and facilitates the deployment of various distributed energy resources (DERs) on the grid.

Reuters: Wall Street in Relentless Selloff as Oil Prices Sink

Wall Street moved deep into the red on Wednesday, with the S&P 500 hitting its lowest since February 2014 and extending this year’s selloff as oil prices continued to plummet unabated.

The rout was across the board: all 30 Dow components and all 10 major S&P sectors were in the red, with nine down more than 2 percent. The small-cap Russell’s 2000 index .RUT fell 3.6 percent.

The New York Stock Exchange recorded 1,387 stocks hitting new 52-week lows, while 866 sank to new lows on the Nasdaq, the most on a single day since Aug. 24 for both exchanges.

Guardian: How Cities Are Getting People to Ditch Their Cars

Home to more than half of the planet’s 7 billion people and a large portion of its 1.2B cars, cities face a huge challenge as the world strives to meet the Paris climate goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels. Cutting emissions in cities is critical: they make up only 2% of the world’s total land area, but produce up to 70% of its climate emissions from human activity, according to a 2011 United Nations report.

As they work to reduce emissions, governments and public agencies — which often lack the resources to tackle the weighty global warming problem alone — are increasingly looking to the private sector for help, says Robert Puentes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program think tank.

Source: greentechmedia.com/GTM_Solar
Record-Breaking Temperatures Persist: 2015 Was the Hottest on Record

After Nuclear Plant Closure, Natural Gas Fills in the Gap: A Worrying Sign of Things to Come?

After Nuclear Plant Closure, Natural Gas Fills in the Gap: A Worrying Sign of Things to Come?

Mike Twomey: The Replacement for Vermont Yankee Was Natural Gas

ISO-New England (the nonprofit independent entity that ensures the reliability of the electric grid in New England) publishes data that shows daily generation by fuel type.  That data shows that in 2014 (the last year of Vermont Yankee’s operation), natural-gas-fired generators supplied 43.1% of the energy in New England, while nuclear provided 34%.  

In 2015 (the first year since 1972 without Vermont Yankee), natural-gas-fired generators supplied 48.6% of the energy in New England, while nuclear provided 29.5%.

The bottom line is that without Vermont Yankee, nuclear’s carbon-free contribution to the New England electric grid fell by 5.3 million megawatt-hours in 2015 compared to 2014.

Wall Street Journal: Panasonic Will Bet Big on Gigafactory

Panasonic Corp. President Kazuhiro Tsuga said the company will spend up to $1.6 billion on an advanced battery factory with electric-car maker Tesla Motors Inc., an investment it hopes to cement its future in automotive electronics.

The Japanese consumer electronics giant and Tesla are jointly funding an up to $5 billion battery plant in Nevada. Panasonic hasn’t previously disclosed the full size of its investment. It will be several years before that factory is humming at full steam, and for Panasonic, the wait will be costly because its lithium-ion battery business has struggled to make money.

BBC: Is Sweden’s ‘Green Miracle’ a Model for the Rest of the World?

Despite the enviable safety track record, and the fact that it provides 40% of the country’s electricity, nuclear power is now on the defensive in Sweden. The government wants to replace it, in the long term, with what they say are greener sources.

However, some experts say that nuclear has been the critical factor in the country’s ability to grow the economy while cutting carbon. “In the start of the 1970s, we started putting nuclear power plants on-line, and what we saw was that the economy kept growing but the emissions started falling very rapidly,” said Dr. Staffan Qvist from Uppsala University, who researches nuclear issues.

Phys.org: New Efficiency Record Set With Dual-Junction Solar Cell

Scientists at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and at the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology (CSEM) have jointly set a new world record for converting non-concentrated (1-sun) sunlight into electricity using a dual-junction III-V/Si solar cell.

The newly certified record conversion efficiency of 29.8 percent was set using a top cell made of gallium indium phosphide developed by NREL, and a bottom cell made of crystalline silicon developed by CSEM using silicon heterojunction technology. The two cells were made separately and then stacked by NREL. The record was published in ‘Solar cell efficiency tables.’

Reuters: Climate Change Could Cut Global Electricity Output by Disrupting Water

Climate change could lead to significant declines in electricity production in coming decades as water resources are disrupted, said a study published on Monday.

Hydropower stations and thermoelectric plants, which depend on water to generate energy, together contribute about 98 percent of the world’s electricity production, said the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Source: greentechmedia.com/GTM_Solar
After Nuclear Plant Closure, Natural Gas Fills in the Gap: A Worrying Sign of Things to Come?