Weekly Newsflash 1/1/17-1/6/17: Ringing in the New Year with Cleantech Successes

Weekly Newsflash 1/1/17-1/6/17: Ringing in the New Year with Cleantech Successes

This week, solar power electricity officially become more cost effective than traditional fossil fuels in tens of countries, including the United States; wave energy technology rolls forward with a new test site in Oregon; and modular microgrids may unlock the market for distributed energy. What cleantech news are you reading? Share it with us @GreentownLabs!

International Business Times : Electricity Through Solar Power Now Cheaper Than Fossil Fuels, WEF Says in New Report

In more than 30 countries, electricity produced through solar and wind energy is the same price or cheaper than any new fossil fuel capacity, the report, released last Wednesday, noted.

“Renewable energy has reached a tipping point–it now constitutes the best chance to reverse global warming. … It is not only a commercially viable option, but an outright compelling investment opportunity with long-term, stable, inflation-protected returns,” Michael Drexler, who leads infrastructure and development investing at the WEF, said in a statement.

MIT Technology Review : The Biggest Clean Energy Advances in 2016

Clean energy made critical strides in 2016. The Paris Climate accords went into effect, the price of solar installations continued to drop, investments in renewable energy soared, offshore wind finally got under way in the United States, and scientists made a series of technical advances that promise to make sustainable energy increasingly efficient and affordable.

Cleantechnica : US Doubles Down On Wave Energy, $40 Mil for New Test Bed

The new wave energy test site will be built and operated under the auspices of Oregon State University’s Northwest National Marine Renewable Energy Center. In a press release announcing the plan to invest up to $40 million in the nation’s first utility scale wave energy test site, the Energy Department noted that more than half of the population of the US lives within 50 miles of a coastline.

Greentech Media : ENGIE – Renewables Could Drag Oil Prices Down to $10 a Barrel

The oil industry must brace for five energy “tsunamis” that threaten to drag prices as low as $10 a barrel in less than a decade, according to Engie SA’s innovation chief. The falling cost of solar power and battery storage, rising sales of electric vehicles, increasingly “smart” buildings and cheap hydrogen will all weigh on crude, Thierry Lepercq, head of research, technology and innovation at the French energy company, said in an interview.

Scientific American : Accepting the Reality of Climate Change is Good for Business

In the meantime, the private sector has increased demand for already existing renewable energies. Fortune 500 companies like Apple, Goldman Sachs, and Walmart have pledged to source 100 percent of their electricity from renewable energy by 2020. Their commitment hinges on the ready availability of alternative energies like wind and solar, which are fast becoming cheaper to produce and use. While the fate of the Clean Power Plan, which aims to reduce carbon emissions, hangs in the balance, the states that house these companies must power their clean energy demands.

Microgrid Knowledge : Modular Microgrids – Are They the Future? Will They Liberate Microgrids?

The problem, explained Peter Asmus, principal research analyst, Navigant Research, is that larger-scale microgrids tend to be so complex that they sometimes die in the planning process.

“They die because they are sold as complex projects and require money spent on complex engineering that doesn’t always make economic sense,” he said. They also require complex control schemes.

Modular microgrids, on the other hand, often involving a number of microgrids under 100 kW in size, are smaller, expandable and have simpler controls. They don’t have to be forced into an existing system in the form of a retrofit. And they’re easier for utilities to install. Such benefits are the key to liberating microgrids, according to the whitepaper.

Trend in Tech : Renewables Set to Become Cheapest and Most Efficient Way to Power Our Homes

Over the past decade renewable energy techniques have received a lot of attention, particularly solar, and for good reason too. The Bloomberg New Energy Finance has predicted that renewables will continue to improve in both efficiency and cost and will soon become the cheapest form of energy in a number of countries over the next 25 years.

NA Wind Power : Good News for Wind – UChicago Tech Enhances Renewables Storage

A technology developed at the University of Chicago, and now being commercialized by a university start-up, is addressing the intermittent nature of these renewable sources. It uses a selectively evolved, unicellular microorganism that helps convert electricity into methane gas. That gas can be stored, transported and used wherever natural gas is used, including for the generation of power on demand.