This post looks at the message promoted by the gas industry that natural gas is the necessary complement to renewables such as solar and wind, because the latter are variable and thus need a backup power source that can quickly be brought on line. There are other and perhaps even better ways of addressing variability that also need looking at.
The clean energy sector is entering a phase of dramatic change in which business models are being transformed against a backdrop of regulatory uncertainty, as the industry emerges from a challenging period caused by the global economic downtown. Technologies and business structures that were once abandoned, are now being revived in several key sectors.
This post examines the central role of energy in our lives by posing the hypothetical question the impact that free and unlimited energy would likely have on our world. Of course, as the author points out energy is neither free nor is it unlimited and prices for fossil fuels are destined to rise as emerging economies energy appetites make themselves felt on the market. From a venture capital perspective, it is this type of disruption that makes cleantech a compelling area for investment.
This post reports on the newly announced loan guarantees for the concentrated solar power (CSP) Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project that is to be built in Nevada. This kind of solar power, because it is paired with a molten salt thermal energy storage capacity has the ability to be a load following generation source that is somewhat insulated from intermittency issues as well. For large concentrated solar thermal energy this decoupling of the energy collection from electricity generation makes a lot of sense, because the molten salt is already being used as the working fluid that captures the sun’s heat.
This post looks at fifteen kinds of utility or grid scale energy storage solutions that are either in wide use or have significant potential to supply the energy storage capacity that will help make the grid both more efficient and more robust. These range from pumped hydro, which is by far the most prevalent form of energy storage at this scale to compressed air, thermal storage, advanced batteries, fuel cells and purely electric storage systems.
This post answers the recently much hyped focus on wind’s variability problem, quantifying it in clear cost terms that put it in perspective. The post helps clarify the differences between energy, capacity and the ancillary services surrounding ensuring capacity and goes on to answer some of the other related problems that have been alleged for wind energy as its penetration level increases.
This post examines the case against subsidies for renewable energies recently made in the WSJ, which opined that renewable energy should focus on the small niche off grid market currently largely served by diesel generators where renewable energy has a clear advantage.
In this post, which is part of a series of posts on the hot button topic of rising gas prices and record oil company profits, Robert argues against the powerful temptation to tax Exxon/Mobile’s recent windfall profits. Doing so will do nothing to lower recent high gasoline prices, which in reality are driven by global supply and demand and will risk driving more of the oil business overseas. He goes into some depth on each of the main tax breaks and subsidies that the oil sector now enjoys and argues the case that these need to be continued and that the oil sector should not be singled out. He poses the question if it is fair for ExxonMobil to pay even more income taxes, than why not Apple or Google, which have much higher profit margins?
In this post, Dallas writes about bio natural gas a potentially disruptive renewable energy technology that may be poised to expand out of the niche markets it has so far been constrained in. After describing what bio natural gas is and is not, the post delves into some of the specifics for why this sector may be ready to take off, and why it has a big upside potential. The study, which this post summarizes suggests that bio natural gas may emerge as the lowest cost renewable power in the future, once available at scale.