In this edition of the clean energy and transport news roundup, we have stories about India’s massive solar park, UFOs stealing our sunshine, solar-powered e-bike stations, utility companies becoming irrelevant, Elio Motors’ latest prototype, GM’s 1956 self-driving car, Consumer Reports vs Model X, Chevy’s money-losing Bolt strategy, and more.
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Oregon considers Renewable Energy Tax Credit extension:
The current Renewable Energy Tax Credit for people who install residential solar systems on their homes is due to expire in a little over a year on January 1, 2018. But the Oregon legislature is considering extending the RETC “for two years or until a replacement program is adopted.”
Is Baseload Power An Outmoded Concept?
“The concept of baseload is actually an outdated concept,” said Harald Winkler, the director of the Energy Research Center at the University of Cape Town. “Eskom was built around big coal and to a lesser extent big nuclear — big chunks of base load power. It’s really myopic in terms of where the future of the grid is going to go. We’re going to see in South Africa and the rest of the world much more decentralized grids.”
Liberty State Park, New Jersey, gets solar-powered e-bike station:
A containerized PV solar system with energy storage in the form of lithium-ion batteries has been installed at Liberty State Park in New Jersey. The Eco Power station has a PV solar system capacity of 5 kilowatts, and includes backup electricity generating capacity from a hydrogen fuel cell which can provide power for 8 hours or more. The entire system consumes no energy from the grid.
Clean energy jobs increasing, fossil fuel jobs decreasing:
IRENA, the International Renewable Energy Agency, says the trend is clear. Jobs in clean energy industries like solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric are increasing while jobs in oil, natural gas, and coal extraction are decreasing worldwide. About 8.1 million people worldwide had jobs in the clean energy in 2015. That’s up from 7.7 million in 2014, according to the latest figures from IRENA.
India’s 2,500-acre solar plant is world’s largest:
Adani, an Indian company that specializes in solar development, has recently activated the largest solar installation in the world. Located in Kamuthi in the state of Tamil Nadu, the project is composed of 2.5 million solar panels covering more than 2,500 acres of land. Vneet Jaain, Adani CEO, said: “Before us, the largest solar power plant at a single location was in California in the U.S. That was of 550 MW and was completed in around three years. We wanted to set up a solar plant of 648 MW solar plant in a single location in less than a year.”
India targets 42.6 GW renewable energy capacity addition by 2019:
According to the Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, a total renewable energy capacity of 42.6 GW is to be added to the grid between April 2017 and March 2019. The capacity addition target, quite understandably, is dominated by solar power. Wind energy targets have also been increased steadily, although in the very likely scenario of withdrawn incentives these targets may prove hard to achieve.
Motley Fool predicts utility companies will become irrelevant:
Residential solar systems threaten traditional utility companies. They think they have the exclusive right to provide electrons for our homes. Just this fall, utilities in Florida spent over $20 million of money they got from their customers to promote an amendment to the Florida constitution that would have restricted the ability of private citizens to install photovoltaic systems on their roofs. Nothing says desperation like trying to outlaw the competition. Fortunately, the ballot initiative failed.
Gamesa claimed a ‘milestone in its sales and product strategy’ as it landed the first order for its largest wind turbine model:
… an order for 18 units of G132-5.0 MW has been received from the renewable energy subsidiary of Sinohydro, one of China’s largest manufacturing groups. Gamesa will be responsible for the supply, installation and commissioning of the turbines at Nangang wind complex in Tianjin.
Toyota discovers a way to increase battery capacity by 15%:
There is perhaps no mainstream automaker that has been more dismissive of electric vehicles than Toyota. So imagine my surprise when I read the Japanese automaker’s announcement that it had observed lithium-ion deviation in batteries, allowing for as much as a 15% increase in range and capacity of current battery technology. Is Toyota having second thoughts when it comes to hydrogen fuel-cell technology?
The 2017 Ford Focus Electric will have a 115-mile range:
The 2017 Ford Focus Electric will feature a roughly 115-mile single-charge range thanks to a new 33.5 kilowatt-hour battery pack, going by the sticker on a display vehicle at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show.
Consumer Reports is not thrilled with the Tesla Model X:
Consumer Reports recently put up its full review of the 2016 Tesla Model X P90D, providing a contrarian view to the idea that the model is the cream of the crop when it comes to SUVs (comparable to the Model S for large sedans). What are the issues identified by the popular magazine? How serious should the review be taken? Let’s take a look.
A look back at the GM Firebird II self-driving car of 1956:
Set your way back machine to 1956, boys and girls, and let’s travel back in time to 1956. Eisenhower was in the White House (when he wasn’t playing golf). Construction of the interstate highway system had just begun. Cars had tail fins and looked like jet fighters. Transistor radios were everywhere and people flocked to shows like the General Motors Motorama that showcased the automotive wonders the future had in store.
BMW unveils Digital Charging Service:
BMW has announced a new Digital Charging Service that helps an electric car work more closely with an energy provider. The company says DCS is more predictive, convenient, and cost effective. The system makes BMW the first manufacturer to offer its electric car customers a system that intelligently incorporates charging into everyday life and at the same time helps to considerably reduce charging costs.
Elio Motors reveals its E1c prototype at LA Auto Show (w/video):
You really do have to hand it to Paul Elio. Even if the whole thing is a long con and not a single Elio trike ever rolls out of the old GM plant down in Shreveport, the man has delivered a convincing concept car to the LA Auto Show. Called the Elio Motors E1c, it may be an accomplishment that’s a few years behind schedule, but it shouldn’t be one that passes without comments. And, as you might have already guessed by now, I love to comment on Elio.
Sources say Chevy will lose $9,000 on every Bolt it sells. If that is so, why bother selling them at all?:
The world of economics is a strange and wondrous place. Reducing things to the lowest common denominator, you can’t buy apples for ten cents a piece, sell them for a dollar a dozen and expect to stay in business very long. But according to industry reports, that is exactly what Chevrolet plans to do with the upcoming Chevy Bolt.