7 Terms to avoid if you need to discuss renewables

Do you find yourself discussing about Renewable Generation Technologies often?

This post can help you avoid incorrect expressions!

You might well agree that renewables are changing rapidly. Technology has not only become more competitive, but has also solved many issues or challenges that simply are not applicable today.

So, the language we use for evolving technology has to evolve too, right?

Image by Daino_16 on freeimages

Image by Daino_16 on freeimages

1. Expensive

There certainly are some expensive renewable technologies, and certainly expensive renewable projects.

But in general, Sigue leyendo

The battery gap

I explained to a friend this week my concept of “battery gap”.

He thinks batteries will not “be enough”, are “too far away” and “too expensive” for grid energy storage… Well, we’ve heard that old story before.

We heard that old belief that solar energy would never be competitive or only represent a small portion of energy generation, right? Or the one that grids had an inherent limit for absorbing renewable power (yes, some people once said it was 15%) Or that to reach a high degree of renewable penetration, the land use would not leave space to grow food… And such.

Well, the DOE has published an update on the accelerated escalation of LEDs, wind, solar, EVs and batteries. The graphs and the facts are impressive.

The difference in price for renewable energy Vs conventional grows quickly. So there is growing “space” to pay for energy storage. We could represent as follows: Sigue leyendo

How to crowdfund unsubsidized solar

This solar power plant is an important milestone in Spain!

Since April this year, the new 2 MW crowdfunded solar park in Spain from Som Energía has been producing power. It is unique because it has no subsidies and because the energy is sold to the retail cooperative, so the price is supplied at cost* to the investors.

Image Share by Som Energía from Alcolea plan

Image Shared by Som Energía from Alcolea plan

I’m proud of having participated in this project. It’s sustainable, doesn’t need subsidies and also a good investment. The funding will be returned with no interest, but the benefit is through the reduced energy costs in the retail monthly invoice.

Living in a flat with little space for solar panels, I find it very difficult and inefficient to install one or a couple of self-consumption solar panels. So this is a natural option, to team-up with other people to own together renewable power generation. And it avoids facing the so-called tax on the sun (discussed some time ago here).

Of course there are other investment options like Yieldcos (I have shares from Saeta Yield myself). Or simply buying 100% renewable electricity from the retailer. But helping build this small project with a cooperative feels closer to owning the plant. And power generation not only owned by big corporations is also positive, as has been the case in Germany. We can say it’s a good example of the sharing economy, too…

What other options do you see to participate as an individual in the energy transition?

*Actual calculation is 36 €/MWh, which means 6 €/MWh below the market before taxes and network charges.

Upcycling sun-tennas

The following picture was taken in Casablanca from the Kenzi Tower one month ago. It isn’t the best example, though, for example, in Cairo, it strikes more to the eye.

What do you see?…

Antenas techo

Actually, there are approximately 200 TV antennas on the roof-tops. Let’s zoom in a bit:

Antennas 25 In this portion, corresponding to one building alone, you have around 25 units.

With the advent of cable television, wireless video streaming and other technology, these antennas could soon become stranded assets in many countries. Imagine how many could be left useless and need recycling. While thinking about asset utilization and the sharing economy, I couldn’t help but think:

What can they be used for instead?… Sigue leyendo

Future surpluses in Energythaca

On one hand, the rise of renewable energy, even before the 100% goal, will bring a surplus of power. This means there will be excess power that is not required in the system. It already is happening and it will be even more so. This power can be stored, but of course, using it directly is more efficient and thus, preferable.

On the other hand, the penetration of robotics and software will change the jobs available for humans, as is in discussion in Davos these days. This means there will also be a surplus of productivity.

Overflow

Overflow. Image from Andrea Kratzenger on freeimages.com

We will have Superavit of Power and Superavit of Productivity, that we must use wisely to Sigue leyendo

Publication: PV on water channels. Avoiding evaporation through power generation

We recently got published the following article on Elsevier’s Solar Energy:

Solar Energy  Water canal use for the implementation and efficiency optimization of photovoltaic facilities: Tajo-Segura transfer scenario

Solar Energy, Volume 126 , March 2016, Pages 168-194 A. Colmenar-Santos, Ángel Buendía, Carlos de Palacio, David Borge-Diez

http://authors.elsevier.com/a/1SPkc,tRczt1q

(Note: The article can be accessed for free for a short time!)

FI 2014:  3.469

You might want to have a look at the results… Sigue leyendo

Cómo llamamos al “Energiewende” español?

Recientemente podíamos leer un artículo con un buen resumen del llamado “Energiewende” aleman en National Geografic (con excelentes fotos, como siempre) que recomiendo:

http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2015/11/climate-change/germany-renewable-energy-revolution-text

Por ejemplo, incluye cómo surgió el nombre del movimiento, y recuerda el también famoso concepto “Waldsterben”, que también tuvo mucho poder movilizador.

El marketing de la estrategia, para la involucración de la gente en una iniciativa tan ambiciosa es fundamental. Por eso pienso que ponerle un nombre atractivo es importante.

En Francia se habla de la “Transition Energetique pour la croissance verte“, idea que incluye transición y crecimiento, ambos conceptos positivos.

Qué nombre le ponemos?

Source: Freeimages by Nick Normann, http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/daitenshi6-63284

Fuente: Freeimages por Nick Normann, http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/daitenshi6-63284

Aquí en España… Sigue leyendo

The grid as an emergency supply?

It’s official. Finally Spain has the most toll-intensive consumer power generation (what is called self-consumption) law in the world. The so-called “sun tax” is in place.

It is important to understand the worries of the regulator here;

Given the high fixed costs of the system, further reductions of electricity demand (as with self-consumption) increase the price of energy in a Grid independence cycle. The goal of increasing the toll on self-consumption is to ensure the system costs are covered, delay the implementation of self-consumption (starting in the islands and small systems), delay consumer energy storage (in fact it is also a “battery tax”) and (try to) avoid further political problems. Of course, it is not the best solution, academics and regulatory experts agree that politically fixed costs that have to be paid by all citizens shouldn’t be in the tariff but evenly paid from the nation’s bugdet (like the extra-costs for electricity in the islands).

Image by Cancia Leirissa on freeimages.com

“Grid Emergency Exit”                                                       Image by Cancia Leirissa on freeimages.com

What are the consequences? Rising prices, and the fact that fixed costs (for the contracted power) are surging, push the active consumer to look for the following solutions:

Sigue leyendo

Take the panel with you

Solar Panels are getting cheaper every day, so this idea might convince you less today than it could have some time ago…

Anyway, suppose you have bought yourself one 300 W solar panel for your flat. In fact you found a smart orientation that covers your “base load” for the fridge and all the stand-by consumption and also lowers your consumption once you arrive home. It happens you have a e-bike that is prepared for you to plug your panel, for your daily commuting, keeping your battery fine or even charging while you are working. Additionally, you own an Electric Vehicle. During the week-ends, you can dock your panel for the journey and lower your consumption. And it happens that you are as wealthy as to have a second house in the forest, which is off-grid, so you use the battery of the Electric Vehicle for your consumption and you also plug your panel when you arrive.

Panel cycle

This is just an example of maximizing the asset utilization of a panel, for house self-consumption in two locations, and also for mobility. This will not be the case for most people, of course. Besides, regulatory frameworks may promote the use of the panel to feed the grid when it would be underused only for self-consumption and could be connected elsewhere for other purposes. Anyhow, the point of having portable generation opens more possibilities for generating one’s own energy, in this case at home and also for transportation. It is also an application for extending the access to electricity in developing countries.

In fact, if a person consumes (as it is the case in Spain) 3487 kWh/year of electricity and 9908 kWh of total energy at the home, together with 12000 km/year of driving, which can be calculated as 2400 kWh (with an EV doing 20 kWh/100 km) it makes a total of 12308 kWh. In order to source this with solar PV, he would need approximately 6 kW of solar panels working 2000 equivalent hours. These 20 solar panels he cannot take around with him that easily. For the moment…

P.S.: Allow me to include the crowded house video as the song I thought about while writing…

La única solución al déficit de tarifa y alguna propuesta más

Tras leer el útlimo post de Jorge Morales, estoy de acuerdo en que lo fundamental es proponer soluciones, no sólo criticar la mala política energética. Me animo a recoger algunas reflexiones personales que aunque no pretenden ahondar en todo, al menos me mojaré un poco proponiendo soluciones.

Un tema fundamental sobre el que hacer propuestas es en mi opinión el déficit de tarifa, pues es la preocupación política principal. Para resolverlo, opino que deben darse soluciones a la sostenibilidad actual del sistema sin utilizar parches injustos, retroactivos o indiscriminados. En esto supongo que estamos todos de acuerdo, incluso los que los han utilizado, pues no los consideran como tales.

Realmente hay varias soluciones, muchas serían también atajos injustos, que incluso pueden defender partidos de moda ahora, por ejemplo, expropiar las nucleares e hidroeléctricas, o las redes de distribución, nacionalizándolas por el “bien común” (Es curioso que expropiación suena tan fuerte como sonaba legislación retroactiva hasta hace poco…), multar a las grandes compañías con un importe equivalente al déficit de tarifa por prácticas oligopolísticas…  Por otro lado, opciones como subir el precio, hasta donde sea necesario (que además es la palanca mas potente para fomentar la eficiencia energética), no las defenderá ningún partido. Voy a defender aquí la única opción que yo veo (querido lector, si tiene una solución mejor, por favor responda a este post)

Si el consumo eléctrico creciera lo suficiente, se podrían cubrir los costes del sistema con los precios actuales, verdad? Sigue leyendo