Summer has officially ended as we embark upon September. This summer has been a whirlwind of exciting news and this week was no exception! In international news, Kenya has joined the slow rise of countries banning plastic bags and researchers in Australia have developed a method to create building materials out of carbon emissions. During the devastation that occurred in Texas this week, microgrids proved their worth and were able to provide power to areas that would have otherwise suffered severe outages. Solar power had a big week as well! Not only is a Florida utility investing $6 Billion into a new solar field, but solar performance is on the up and up with warmer and wetter climate conditions.
What news have you been reading this week? Share with us @GreentownLabs!
- Plastic bags have become an epidemic in Kenya, but as of today they are banned from use in the country by one of the most stringent laws in the world. Violations of the law are punishable by fines of up to $38,000 and up to four years in prison.
“Grocery stores alone distribute 100 million plastic bags per year in Kenya, says the UN Environmental Program. They perpetually litter regions like Nairobi’s Kibera neighborhood, one of Africa’s biggest slums.”
Microgrid Knowledge – Hurricane Harvey Creates New Abnormal for the Electric Grid
- Stories are just beginning to emerge about microgrids and distributed energy systems that are keeping critical services up and running despite Hurricane Harvey’s best efforts to do them in.
“Twenty-one convenience stores and gas stations in the Houston area remained open thanks to an unusual microgrid system designed by Enchanted Rock (ERock). The Texas-based company installs natural gas generators at commercial sites, which it aggregates into virtual power plant microgrids.”
- Continued warm, wet conditions in the second quarter of 2017 brought a departure from normal global horizontal irradiance, the key variable for PV plant production.
“These conditions also affected the solar industry because wetter springtime weather typically comes with significant cloud cover, reducing the available solar resource. This has the obvious effect of reduced power production and decreased project revenue, but can have the added consequence of bringing negative attention to solar in locations where it may not be politically stable.”
- Analysts have been underestimating the expansion of solar energy for nearly two decades, scientists report in a new study released Friday. And that could be a serious problem for the industry and, maybe, the planet.
“While it may seem like good news that solar is performing better than expected, underestimating its potential could pose some serious problems in the future, the researchers suggest — namely, that ‘decision-makers might treat [photovoltaics] too reluctantly’”
- Duke Energy Florida has decided to cease plans to construct a nuclear power plant in western Florida. Instead, they will be investing $6 billion in growing the region’s solar energy capacity.
“Duke’s move reflects global trends that see surging growth for solar power as prices plummet, while increasingly uncompetitive nuclear power stagnates.”
- There’s a new carbon capture process in town. Developed by an Australian company, partnering with several institutions, the new technique doesn’t just keep carbon locked up. Instead, it turns carbon into useful construction materials.
“This mimics but greatly speeds up the natural weathering by rainfall which produces common types of rocks over millions of years”