Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the month “July, 2013”

Infrared Heating

Key: local indoor heating with heat panels; ‘heat where you need’. Heat is dissipated by walls and furniture. This is about radiation, not hot air. Compare it to your winter ski holiday, where you can enjoy the sunshine on a terrace, surrounded by snow, and are yet comfortable in merely a pullover or even a t-shirt. Panels can come as mirrors or paintings. Beware, temperature panel could be 95 degrees Celcius. Individuel panels can be controlled from smart phone/tablet. Energy savings are claimed to be up to 60%.


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European Supergrid Submarine Cables – Inventory & Plans

An essential part of the solution to Europe’s energy problems is the European Supergrid. It means that all European countries will be interconnected to even out demand and supply patterns. Most countries in continental Europe are already strongly interconnected. A missing link though are connections to the country that could serve as ‘Europe’s battery pack‘: Norway.

purple – existing connections
yellow – planned connections

The first subsea connection was between Norway and The Netherlands: NorNed. Others followed like BritNed.

The Germans also have plans to link Germany with Norway: NorGer and NORD.LINK. NorGer plans got concrete by December 2012.

Siemens to increase power transmission capacity between England[source]
Siemens has won a 1.1 billion euro contract to connect England and Scotland (420 km, 2200 megawatts bi-directional, late 2015).

SSE’S Norway Interconnector Project. Meanwhile, SSE has withdrawn from the project. NorthConnect‘s other partners, Sweden’s Vattenfall and Norwegian companies E-CO Energi, Agder Energi and Lyse, said it would not affect their plans. NorthConnect has the support of Alex Salmond, the First Minister of Scotland, the man pushing for Scottish independence.

[] – NorthConnect Won’t Cancel Plan for U.K.-Norway Electricity Cable.

Iceland is considering building the world’s longest subsea power cable by around 2020 to take advantage of its abundant geothermal energy to supply Britain with green power, the head of the state-run electricity producer said. “We can serve as a green battery for the U.K.,” Hordur Arnarson, the chief executive of Landsvirkjun said in an interview… Landsvirkjun expects to make a final investment decision on the 1,000 kilometre subsea cable by 2015-2016… McKinsey & Co. estimates it (Iceland) is harnessing only 20 to 25 per cent of its hydro and geothermal energy potential… Mr. Arnarson declined to cite a figure for the costs of construction, which would take five years and would entail laying cable 3,000 metres underwater in some areas. The longest subsea cable currently in operation is the 580-kilometre NorNed link from Norway to the Netherlands, which was completed in 2008 and cost €600-million ($784-million U.S.).

[] – Iceland revives plans for world’s longest subsea power cable, Jan 9, 2013.

Now even Israel wants to get connected to Europe (Greece), to start with Cyprus.
The cable’s total length measures 870km (540 miles) and its depth is over 2,000 meters (656 feet). Between Israel and Cyprus, the cable will be 270km long. Electricity will flow in both directions at a capacity of up to 2,000MW. Another cable will connect Cyprus and Crete which forms part of the Greek electricity grid. As a result, Israel will be connected to the European electricity grid.


Is Europe on Renewable Energy Target?

eu-targets[source, p30]
With seven more years to go to 2020, how far are individual EU countries away from implementing the ageed upon renewable energy targets for 2020? The usual suspects Sweden and Germany are doing fine. Denmark is not even listed, but is doing fine, no surprises here. Positive suprises from Spain, Italy and Portugal, disapointing results from the Netherlands and UK so far, but it needs to be mentioned that both countries recently announced ambitious plans to catch up on time [Netherlands, UK].

[] – Renewable energy Targets by 2020.
EU will reach a 20% share of energy from renewable sources by 2020 and a 10% share of renewable energy specifically in the transport sector… On 31 January 2011, the European Commission (EC) presented its Communication showing that the 2020 renewable energy policy goals are likely to be met.

In the European Union, Member States are subject to Directive 2009/28/EC on renewable energy, implemented by Member States by December 2010 which sets ambitious targets for all Member States, such that the EU will reach a 20% share of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Gasland 2

GASLAND Part II from Emmy Winning and Oscar Nominated Director Josh Fox premieres on HBO July 8th 2013.


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The Bikes of Amsterdam

The New York Times has issues with the bikes of Amsterdam, see link. Too many bikes in Amsterdam? Judge for yourself.


Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions


[] – World Resource Institute

Electric Energy Consumption Country Ranking

Interesting details: most western European countries consume ca. 20 kwh per day (Germany, France, Spain, Netherlands, Russia). US citizens consume almost double that amount: 39 kWh. Canadians top the list with 52 kWh, Australia 34 kWh. Coming world power China is at 7 kWh.


First Mongolian Wind Farm

Interesting facts: 1) Mongolian capital Ulan Bator is the second most air-polluted city in the world and 2) Mongolia has the most wind energy potential of all Asian countries.


For Mongolia, three times the size of France, wind potential at utility scale runs from Class 3 to Class 6, with more than 130,000 km2 of land falling in the 6.4 to 7.1 meters-per-second range. The South Gobi region in Mongolia alone is estimated to have over 300 GW of wind potential or three times the total wind capacity installed in Europe in 2012. With less than 3 million inhabitants, most of them living in the capital and for the rest virtually empty, Mongolia could become a wind based electricity exporting country for Asia.

[] – Wind Energy Resource Atlas of Mongolia (pdf, 215p) – page 133: total wind energy potential of Mongolia is 4,314 GW in the moderate to excellent range or 1,013 GW in the good to excellent range. To compare: the total EU electricity generation capacity in 2012 is ca. 1500 GW. Wind energy from Mongolia could replace all electricity generating capacity of Europe.

Electric Tuk Tuk for Asia Begins Series Production

[] – ZBee Electric Tuk Tuk Begins Series Production
[wikipedia] – Auto rickshaw

Van Eko’s New Bio-composite Electric Scooter

City range 60 km, max. speed 55 km/h, 4 kW motor.



Price Solar Panels Down Another 20% in 2013


According to REC Solar, one of the leading European solar companies, the price falls of 60-80 % over the last 3-4 years will be continued over 2013, mostly as a result of lower manufactoring costs. It is interesting to note that the cost of polysilicon ‘raw material’ only constitutes a minor part of the overall cost of a solar panel.



2013 BCEA Keynote – Richard Heinberg

2013 BCEA Keynote – Richard Heinberg, Post Carbon Institute from Renewable Energy Alaska Project on Vimeo.

Revolution in the Dutch Northsea

Nearly hundred wind turbines distributed over two parks have already been installed offshore near the Dutch coast, generating 228 MW. This number is planned to increase twenty-fold in the coming decade, leading to 4.5 GW offshore. Three new parks worth 729 MW are under construction now. Permits for another nine parks have been granted but for locations far from the coast, see map. The temptation is to rethink these locations and to build the parks nearer to the coast, which would be substantially cheaper, but also would lead to visual ‘horizon polution’ and public protests. Additionally, the existing onshore wind base will be expanded to 6 GW before 2020.


Home Solar Installation In 1 Minute

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Sun Guzzler

Students at the University of Eindhoven in the Netherlands say they have created the world’s first solar-panelled family 4-seater saloon. Range 600 km when fully charged. In parked position the solar cells keep charging the batteries. According to the creators this setup suffices for normal daily distances. The Dutch on average lives 14 km/10 miles from their workplace. Published july 17, 2013.


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$20 Trillion Worth of Shale in Australia?

Brisbane company Linc Energy recently released two reports, based on drilling and seismic exploration, estimating the amount of oil in the as yet untapped Arckaringa Basin surrounding Coober Pedy ranging from 3.5 billion to 233 billion barrels of oil.




Annual Solar PV Installed Capacity 2000-2020





Glasspoint Solar Enhanced Oil Recovery

From Wikipedia: GlassPoint Solar is a private company founded in 2009 that designs and manufactures solar steam generators. Its enclosed solar thermal technology is applied to the global thermal enhanced oil recovery (EOR) market to increase the amount of crude oil that can be extracted from an oil field. In 2011, GlassPoint deployed the world’s first commercial solar EOR project on an oil field operated by Berry Petroleum in Kern County, Calif., USA In May, 2013, GlassPoint commissioned the Middle East’s first solar EOR project with Petroleum Development Oman, the national oil company of Oman. The 7 MW GlassPoint system produces a daily average of 50 tons of emissions-free steam. The company’s solar thermal technology uses lightweight mirrors, standard piping and a glasshouse structure. By bringing the solar collector system essentially indoors, GlassPoint claims its can produce emission-free steam for two to three times less than competing technologies, such as the power tower and linear fresnel.


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RYNO Motors One-Wheeled Electric Scooter


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New Record In Germany – 40% Solar

Beautiful weather in Germany caused another absolute solar energy production record: 24 GW peak. That’s 40% of the 60 GW peak demand in the afternoon. Germany is clearly world leader in kwh produced.

[] – July 12, 2013 update: “it was on a sunday”

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