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Author Archives: Brad Horn
MAKE Consulting has released its list of the top 15 global wind turbine suppliers of 2014. According to the report, Siemens has taken the top spot based on MW capacity sold, GE has moved up from 6th to 2nd place and Vestas has fallen from 1st to 3rd (though GE and Vestas market shares are nearly the same). Again, Chinese OEM’s dominate the top country ranking.
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.
The 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
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.
A 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.
Inverters are key components in any photovoltaic (PV) power system. Inverters convert direct current (DC) to alternating current (AC). They control power factor (e.g. reactive power) and ensure power output quality aligns with downstream equipment specs. And finally, they play an essential role in the protection, operation and communication philosophy of the solar power plant.
The business case for renewable energy and CO2 reduction is changing as carbon tracking and court cases shift focus from carbon emitters to the ultimate producers of coal, oil and natural gas … to the “carbon majors.”
A 2013 study published in the journal Climatic Change cites 90 companies by name and responsible for 63% of human induced greenhouse gas emissions since the beginning of the industrial revolution. National industrial plans (NIPs) and energy companies from the US and Europe dominate the list with familiar names like ChevronTexaco, ExxonMobil, Saudi Aramco, British Coal, and RWE.
Aerosol Optical Depth (AOD) defines the degree to which aerosols prevent the transmission of sunlight by absorption or scattering. AOD is measured using an integrated extinction coefficient over a vertical column of air. The extinction coefficient can be used to analyze solar extinction and the performance of solar power systems as a function of location and time.
The maptools package has a pruneMap() function t0 crop map objects in R. In practice, the function extracts data from SpatialPolygon or SpatialLine objects given a boundary box or specific area of interest. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent function for high resolution, large data, raster images, which are common in many Earth Science applications. The following post defines a custom function to crop raster images in R and to extract data from SpatialGridDataFrames. The function is tested using a raster image from the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM; shown at left). The resulting data is then mapped using the image() function in R.
Source code access is one of the great benefits of R. Source code is available for base R and over 5,000 open source packages. There are many reasons to view source code: to know what software does when documentation is vague or incomplete; to combine code objects in custom scripts or libraries; and to change source code as needed. The following post defines the different types of R source code available and how to access R sources.
QND95 is a two dimensional coordinate reference system that is the standard for geographic mapping in Qatar. QND95 is intended for onshore activities only. QND95 provides up-to-date specs to calibrate surveying tools, GPS devices, GIS tools, and analysis activity. The coordinate reference system facilitates standardization and consistency across activities.