Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “February, 2013”

Future Electric Grids



[Leonardo Energy Channel]

Vaclav Smil on Energy Transitions

Published 25 March 2013 – Energy transitions: a future without fossil energies is desirable, and it is eventually inevitable, but the road from today’s overwhelmingly fossil-fueled civilization to a new global energy system based on efficient conversions of renewable flows will be neither fast nor cheap. Distinguished Professor and author Vaclav Smil explores technological transitions of past, present and future that are critical for understanding how to shift to a low carbon future.

Vaclav Smil presents as part of WGSI’s Energy 2030 Summit (June 5-9, 2011).

[] – Can We Live again in 1964’s Energy World?

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Understanding The Electrical Grid

Solar Rooftop Revolution

Whiteboard animation.


Microalgae Lamp Absorbs CO2

Youtube text: Shamengo pioneer Pierre Calleja has invented something truly remarkable–an algae lamp that absorbs CO2 in the air–at the rate of 1 ton PER YEAR, or what a tree absorbs over its entire lifetime! While development is still needed to make a cost-effective product, the microalgae streetlamp has the potential to provide significantly cleaner air in urban areas and revolutionize the cityscape.

Byron King On The Energy Sector In The Coming Years

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Euro In Safety Zone Again

Bloomberg no longer believes in a euro breakup, if it ever did. The euro gained in comparison to currencies of six top rated nations and “the bonds of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Spain and Italy — the region’s most indebted-economies– have been the best performers among sovereign debt in that period“. The euro has appreciated 7.1% over the last six months. The currencies of top AAA rated countries like Canada, Australia and Singapore have fallen against the euro by 9.6 % in the past six months.


Compact Thermal Energy Storage

Youtube text: More than half of the primary energy consumption is for the generation of heat. Thermal energy storage is of key importance for energy reduction technologies and for increasing the share of renewables in the thermal energy consumption.

In many application areas, like for instance in solar thermal systems for the existing building stock, the volume available for large capacity heat stores is limited. Systems with high renewable yield are only possible when compact heat storage technologies are developed. These storage technologies typically are several times more compact than a thermal storage using water.

An overview will be given of three classes of compact thermal energy storage: phase change material, sorption and thermochemical storage. The principles of the technologies will be explained, examples of their applications will be given and the research and development challenges described that are needed for their respective routes to the markets.


Ocean Grids Around Europe

Youtube text: Several European countries have policies to encourage the development of renewable energy sources. This is identified in, for example, the European green paper Energy strategy for a sustainable, competitive and secure energy supply (March 2006).

In the transition towards a European sustainable energy system for the future and to reduce the dependency of imported primary energy sources such as oil and gas, the development of offshore wind power is an essential element. EWEA assumes that almost 120,000 MW offshore wind power will be realised in the next two decades, amounting to 10% of the installed generating capacity. Apart from offshore wind energy, other offshore renewable energy sources such as wave energy, tidal energy and some experimental technologies of offshore energy have been considered.

Recent blackouts within Europe have shown that there is a need for increased European co-ordination regarding the transmission of electricity including aspects related to interconnections. In the EU technology platform Smart Grids, attention is paid to the networks of the future to ensure that they can accommodate and facilitate large amounts of renewable energy, both distributed and concentrated.

Following the European Smart Grids line of thinking, Airtricity has proposed a European offshore super grid (HVDC based on Voltage Source Converter technology), combining the grid integration of offshore wind farms with an interconnection grid between countries at sea. One could extend the role of this grid and connect all “ocean power” to it. The supergrid could then be part of the European backbone to connect and transmit bulk renewable power from remote generation sites, even as far as North Africa (Desertec).

The goal of this webinar is to discuss “Ocean Grids”, grids at sea, at a conceptual level. The idea behind Ocean Grids is to provide an offshore backbone for the mainland transmission networks on one hand, and connection points for offshore wind power stations on the other hand. This will include offshore wind energy and other potential energy sources at sea.

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Californian Home Solar Lease

Many people associate having a solar installation on your own roof the work of hobbyists and are not to keen to climb on the roof themselves. And then there is the high cost, in the thousands of $, of such an installation. Fortunately this is not necessary, as a phone call to a specialized company will suffice to have all the work done for you, as well as monthly payments that could equal the savings on monthly payments to the utility company.

Sunrun, a company specialized in third-party solar leasing, announced that in 2012 $938 million worth of solar installations were leased in this way in California. This was a record and equal to all the previous five years combined. 75% of all Californian solar installations are financed this way. Californian state incentives no doubt had a hand in this development.


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