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Category Archives: Renewable Energy
“I’d put my money on the Sun and solar energy, what a source of power! We shouldn’t wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that.”
– Thomas Edison in conversation with Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, 1931
The Solar Energy section of New Energy Research provides data and information on solar energy assessment and PV performance modeling. Chapter topics are illustrated in the process poster and subject links below.
Solar resource and engineering performance assessment have several distinct modeling steps. Section chapters represent different steps in the modeling and due diligence process:
The Earth’s atmosphere has several effects on terrestrial radiation. The figure below depicts the relative importance of atmospheric impacts on the sunlight striking the Earth’s surface. The process poster also depicts the solar energy balance of the Earth-atmosphere system.
The major impacts of the atmosphere on sunlight include:
- A reduction in solar radiation and change in spectral content given atmospheric absorption;
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.
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.
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.
A critical component of the economics of solar PV in Qatar is the ability to translate solar power production into local gas market efficiencies and displacement of natural gas demand. More important: the ability to extend gas displacement into higher LNG exports AND to link the export cash flows to the income statement of the solar power systems. The result can be solar PV projects that are economically feasibility in the absence of government grants, production subsidies or tax incentives. Meanwhile, project cash flows tied to natural gas exports can be 20% to 400% greater than cash flows from power sales, depending on the domestic power tariff in force and the gas marketing strategy used.
An innovative CSP storage demonstration project is being pursued by Sandia National Laboratories and Areva at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Solar Thermal Test Facility in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The CSP storage pilot project, partly funded by the DOE, uses the French industrialist’s Compact Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) technology married to a molten salt test loop to reduce the cost of concentrating solar power projects.
Renewable energy in Kuwait is well supported. The Kuwait Petroleum Company and the Ministry of Water and Electricity sponsored a joint study by the Kuwait Institute of Scientific Research to determine the potential for renewable energy given an optimal generation mix. Study details have been presented publicly, revealing the following model inputs: wind and solar resource assessment data, RE technology costs short- and long-term, short-term hourly demand profiles, long-term power demand forecasts, power sector plant performance, and energy price forecasts.
A process poster has been created to outline key steps in solar energy assessment and key factors in the performance of solar PV power systems.