Clean Energy & Transport News Roundup (Chinese EV Startups, Solar Sheep, Driverless Car Insurance, Electric Terminal Trucks…)

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In this edition of the clean energy and transport news roundup, we’ve got stories about Colorado solar fees, sheep as solar workers, solar microgrids, a new integrated energy storage system, driverless car insurance policies, a 2500 mile EV roadtrip, automatic braking systems, Musk’s pessimism about slowing climate change, Chinese EV startups, and more.

[CleanTechnica isn’t the only Important Media site to cover clean energy & transport news, and if you’re looking for more stories on electric mobility, bicycles, solar and wind energy, and other related issues, we’ve got them at sites such as Solar Love, CleanTechies, Planetsave, Bikocity, Gas2, and EV Obsession. We also host a large cleantech group on LinkedIn, called CleanTechies Around The World.]

 Colorado reaches compromise in solar grid fee conflict:

In Colorado, XCel Energy proposed a new charge on all solar customers, an idea that was furiously resisted by a dozen or more solar power advocacy groups. Now, all parties have agreed to a negotiated settlement of the dispute that may serve as a model for other states. The agreement involves refocusing the pricing of electricity for retail customers on a time of day model.

Sheep make great solar workers:

Not every solar energy installation goes on top of a roof. Utility scale systems, community solar, and some residential systems often are mounted on the ground rather than up in the air. What many of the owners of such systems tend to forget is that steps need to be taken to control the vegetation that will inevitably start to grow up underneath and around the panels as soon as the project is completed.

Solar microgrids bring power to Virunga National Park:

The plan was to install 200 solar panels, seven Tesla Powerwalls, several SolarEdge inverters, along with installing lights and plugs for dozens of buildings. In order to complete the project on time, they hired and trained local electricians and construction crews. After three weeks in Virunga, all three solar micro grids were successfully installed. Now the park rangers have reliable lighting, communication systems, computers, radios, and GPS units. That means they no longer need to risk their lives to bring in diesel fuel and can more effectively protect the park and its denizens from thieves and poachers.

SimpliPhi will launch integrated energy storage solution this fall:

SimpliPhi Power technology utilizes patented, licensed lithium ferrous phosphate cells with state-of-the-art proprietary management boards, circuitry, cell architecture and methods of assembly to create safe, intelligen,t and energy dense storage and management systems. SimpliPhi batteries feature the highest efficiency rate in the industry (98 percent), 10,000 cycle life and 100 percent depth of discharge. The compact, lightweight form factor does not require ventilation or cooling, is rated for outdoor installation, and can operate at a wide temperature range of -4 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Couple builds sub-$300 off-grid cabin:

Alyssa Craft and Jesse Stafford completed a cheap off-grid cabin-add-on to the trailer they are living in while setting up their homestead in the Western US. The cabin was built to allow them to heat the air around the trailer and prevent the plumbing, and themselves, from freezing during the snowy winter months.

Sri Lanka looks to 70% renewables by 2030:

The ‘Battle for Solar energy’ program aims to encourage the small consumers to install solar panels at their roof-tops and consumers will be paid for any excess energy exported to the grid. With this new program, government expects that at least 20% of the consumers produce electricity on their own.

India wind energy policy has developers apprehensive about country’s first wind energy auction:

Project developers are apprehensive about India’s latest wind energy policy which calls for large-scale auction of projects. The uncertainty amongst wind energy project developers in India originates from the fact that there is lack of clarity on the extension of crucial incentives like the accelerated depreciation and generation-based incentive. These two support mechanisms have been the sole driver of wind energy expansion in India.

Indonesia could see 19% returns on solar Feed-in Tariffs:

Indonesia may soon become a budding solar power market as feed-in tariffs recently announced by the government are expected to yield very attractive returns for developers.

India will begin construction on 5 GW solar park:

The Minister for Energy in the southern state of Karnataka recently told media outlets that construction on a proposed 5 GW solar power park will begin soon. The Pavagada solar power park is among the more than two dozen solar power parks with cumulative capacity of almost 20 GW approved by the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.

Chennai airport goes solar:

According to media reports, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has installed solar power panels on the cargo complex of the Chennai airport. The solar power system is believed to have installed capacity of 5 MW and will generate enough electricity to meet 80% of the cargo terminal’s power demand.

Engie subsidiaries will develop 400 MW of solar in Chile:

Engie Energia Chile and Solairedirect, subsidiaries of French utility Engie, have announced plans to jointly develop 400 MW of solar power in Chile.

South Africa could have 5.6 GW of wind capacity by 2020:

The research and consulting firm GlobalData report states that more than 3 GW wind energy is expected to be installed by 2020 which will bring country’s cumulative wind capacity to 5.6 GW.

Driverless car insurance policy launched in UK:

The company apparently intends for the launch of the new insurance policy to move forward “the discussion around who or what is liable in the event of a collision.” The policy was designed “for people who may have driverless or autonomous features in their existing car, or who may be thinking of buying a new car with driverless or autopilot features such as Tesla’s forthcoming Model 3.”

The 2500 mile EV road trip:

The trip — which has been dubbed Route 57 — involved 2,500 miles of travel through England, Wales, Scotland, and Ireland; through various scenic towns, national parks, cities, etc. The trip was blogged about in great detail by the driver, Jess Shanahan.

Orange EV taking orders for its new T-Series all-electric terminal truck:

The new T-Series electric terminal trucks build on the company’s initial T-Series trucks (capable of up to 24 hours of operation per charge), which have now been deployed at various sites in the manufacturing, shipping, retail distribution, warehouse, railroad inter-modal, and waste management industries.

And buyers could qualify for up to $120,000 in incentives:

Orange EV has announced that organizations and businesses operating fleets in California will now be able to receive up to $120,000 in incentives towards the purchase of new T-Series all-electric Class 8 terminal trucks with extended-duty battery packs.

56,000 miles on 50 gallons of gas:

Tom Moloughney is an avid electric car advocate. Two years ago, he purchased a BMW i3 with the 0.65 liter onboard two cylinder range extender gasoline engine. 27 months later, he has 56,000 miles on the odometer. He says 96% of those miles have been done on electric power alone. He has purchased about 50 gallons of gasoline for the car, which works out to be more than 1,000 miles per gallon.

Mercedes will market its EVs under the EQ brand:

No self respecting premium auto company would dive into the deep end of the electric car pool without dreaming up some snazzy new title to define its EV brand. BMW started it with its “i” division. Audi followed along with its E-Tron models. Now Mercedes has all but confirmed that it will market its electric cars under the EQ brand.

90% of Chinese EV startups could be wiped out:

Soon, entrepreneurs will need a license from the government to become an automobile manufacturer. (Existing companies like SAIC and BYD will not need to apply for licenses.) According to reports, no more than 10 licenses will be issued — a very small number for such a large country. “There are too many entrants in the sector, and some of them are just speculators,” said Yin Chengliang, a professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Institute of Automotive Engineering. “The government has to raise the threshold. It’s bad to see irrational investments in projects with low technology levels.”

Citroen CXperience PHEV concept car is “different”:

The summer doldrums are almost over and the world of automobiles is about to get re-energized as the new auto show season kicks off in Paris in September. Citroen has gotten the buzz started early by showing off its latest creation, the CXperience large sedan concept. Sadly, it looks at though the Citroen design team has been heavily influenced by the new Toyota Prius. That is not meant as a compliment.

Elon Musk pessimistic about slowing climate change:

Speaking with MSNBC host Chris Hayes recently. Elon Musk said he is pessimistic about slowing or reversing the effects of carbon pollution on global climate change. Doing so will require an effective means of pricing carbon emissions agreed to and implemented by all nations, he told Hayes. In his remarks, Musk made reference to what economists call The Tragedy of the Commons.

Most drivers don’t understand automatic braking systems:

There are two kinds of automatic braking systems — one designed to avoid forward collisions and one that only tries to minimize the damage from one. Which is which? How do you know which system your car is fitted with? And what are you, the driver, supposed to do — or not do — if the car ahead stops short suddenly or a pedestrian steps into your path?

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Derek Markham

Derek lives in southwestern New Mexico and digs bicycles, simple living, fungi, organic gardening, sustainable lifestyle design, bouldering, and permaculture. He loves fresh roasted chiles, peanut butter on everything, and buckets of coffee.

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