Author Archives: brad horn

The Western EIM is Expanding

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The Western EIM (Energy Imbalance Market) is an interregional exchange that is gaining ground as CAISO adopts a larger share of renewable energy production.

What is the Western EIM?

Grid operators use the EIM’s advanced market systems to find the lowest-cost energy to serve real-time customer demand across a wide geographic area. EIM provides transparency on the status of multiple grids.

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U.S. Wind and Solar Energy Exceed 10% of Total Power Output

For the first time, U.S. wind and solar production in March exceeded 10% of total electricity generation, based on March data in EIA’s Electric Power Monthly.

The record contribution for non-hydro renewables comes amid surging installations of both wind and solar in the US, with 14.8GW of solar and 8.2GW of wind added in 2016.  On an annual basis, wind and solar made up 7% of total U.S. electric generation.

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Pumped Storage – Al Hattawi Dam, Dubai

The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) will build the  first hydroelectric power station in the GCC.  DEWA will build a 250-MW pumped storage facility powered by solar PV.

HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD and CEO of DEWA, announced the project.  HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai was also present.  

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Extract Data Tables from PDF Files in R

A new method to extract data tables from PDF files is introduced. Most of the data scraping tools available are browser-based.  The common tools are also manual in nature and limited to one table at a time. A solution is outlined to extract multiple tables at once.  The solution combines the R programming language with the open-source Java program Tabula. The result is a convenient method that transforms documents into databases.

Benefit Statement
The ability to train a machine to extract data tables from PDF files has several benefits:

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Predicting Technology Progress and Solar Growth

Technology progress is a key to solar growth and pricing.  By extension, the ability to model technology progress is essential to understanding future energy supply and demand.

Solar innovation is widespread. Examples include  solar cell efficiency, module manufacturing, and learning innovations with solar system installation and operation. Solar pricing and growth are also supported by innovations in enabling technology, such as battery storage, smart grids and electric vehicles.

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SpatialPoints in R: Large Data Case Study

A common task in spatial data analysis is  extracting SpatialPoints inside a set of polygons or buffer zones.  Analysts can use standard GIS or map tools to extract a set of points within an area of interest using manual “point-and-click” routines. This method is easy, but will probably prove impractical, especially in cases involving big data.  The alternative is to train a machine to automatically extract the points in a polygon or buffer zone.  This post achieves that task and presents a case-study with R code.

Posted in Data, GDAL, GIS, Qatar RE, Solar, Spatial Analysis | Comments Off on SpatialPoints in R: Large Data Case Study

Cost Breakdown Structures for Solar PV Projects

Modules, inverters and balance of system costs define the total installed cost of a solar PV system.

The three cost components are very simple in nature.  In practice, total cost is defined using a detailed cost breakdown structure.  The structure must also be applied consistently across projects and over time.  The result can be improved cost modeling and management.

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The Renewable Energy “Duck Curve”

The California grid operator (CAISO) has a high of share of  renewable energy.  CAISO has adopted a mascot that sums up the challenge: the duck curve.

The chart at left presents the duck curve.  It shows net power load during the day.  CAISO defines net power as the difference between forecast load and expected power production.  In certain times, net load curves have a “belly” in the middle of the afternoon given a surge in solar power production.  The chart then shows a rapid ramp-up in net load – as much as 13 to 15 GWh – as solar production declines and demand accelerates in the early evening.

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Solar Energy in Qatar: The Business Case

Qatar_Solar_LCOEThe economics for solar energy in Qatar are challenged by some of the lowest natural gas prices on Earth, combined with a local and subsidized electricity tariff with retail power prices of $0 to $27.40/MWh, commercial prices of $24.66 to  $41.10/MWh, and industrial power prices of $19.18/MWh.

Notwisthstanding, there is still a solid business case for solar energy in Qatar given the rapid decline in capital costs since 2009, and the ability to generate revenues from displaced domestic gas demand that results following the introduction of renewable energy capacity.

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Super Cheap Solar Power for Dubai

DEWAplotThe Dubai Electricity and & Water Authority (DEWA) just completed a tender for 100 MW of solar PV, and the delivered power system price is an amazingly low $0.059 / kWh.

Typically, the leveled cost of energy for solar PV is between $0.085 – $0.11 / kWh for GCC countries given solar irradiance, use of high efficiency panels, and cost competitive engineering. The low end of this range is best suited for vertically integrated OEMs with EPC services, or IPPs with scale in equipment purchasing who buy modules close to the cost of goods sold.  But IPPs with low construction costs are making their mark.

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Popularity of R Programming Language

TIOBE IndexThe popularity of R is rapidly increasing and is well on its way to being a top 10 programming language.  The TIOBE index is a standard indicator of the popularity of all programming languages.  The TIOBE index confirms that a subset of languages – those for computational statistics and data analysis – are gaining increased attention. The clear winner of the pack is the open source programming language R.

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Qatar Solar

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German Renewable Energy Output Tops Lignite

German Renewable Energy OutputGerman renewable energy output became the country’s most important power source for the first time this year, according to Agora Energiewende.

Energy policy in Germany has entered a new phase with nuclear power being permanently phased out. The old controversies are a thing of the past: there is a broad social and cross-party consensus concerning long-term political and energy goals. It is no longer a question of whether the energy system will be overhauled in favour of renewables, but how to go about doing this.

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Wind and Solar Capacity to Pass Nuclear

Nuclear, Wind, and Solar Capacity

Sources: IAEA, EIA, Bloomberg New Energy Finance

Wind and solar capacity are expanding  rapidly and each is well on track to pass nuclear power capacity.  Advocates of nuclear energy have long been predicting its renaissance, but the installation of nuclear capacity appears to be stalled with little to no change in recent years.  Wind energy, by contrast, will have more capacity installed than nuclear by 2015 and solar energy capacity is likely to pass nuclear prior to 2020.   

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Glare from Solar PV Modules

PV_array_glareA common question concerning the safety of photovoltaic (PV) power systems is the impact of reflected sunlight.  PV modules have the potential to impact neighboring structures or activities, notably aviation.  It is important to know where the reflected light will go and what the intensity of the light will be at any point in time.

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