Observing the renewable energy transition from a European perspective

Archive for the category “electricity”

Most Efficient Way to Use Electricity in Mobility

Meaning of this graph is answering the question:

How to get the most kilometres from a given kWh electric energy?


1. put it directly in a car battery
2. turn it into hydrogen and use it in a car with a fuel cell
3. turn it into fossil fuel and drive a conventional petrol car

Clear winner: batteries.

Did batteries just beat hydrogen? Uh, no. Renewable electricity supply remains intermittent and hence needs to be buffered and hydrogen is one of the best seasonal storage options available.

Nevertheless, the graph does illustrate that IF electricity is available, it is best used directly, like for charging car batteries, hydro pumping, producing steel, turn on your washing machine, switch on your freezer for some extra degrees of cold and what not. It’s called demand management. Using renewable electricity directly is almost always preferable over storing it in chemicals. Storage of electricity in hydrogen is an application of last resort.

In the future, the weather forecast will get more interesting than today, because “money is in the air”. Expect the internet-of-things to play a prominent role in taking decisions when to consume electricity automatically.

[] – Cars, battery electric most efficient by far
[] – Internet of things

Netherlands to Double Capacity Electricity Grid in a Decade


…to accommodate for the energy transition.

The Dutch minister of Economic Affairs Wiebes wrote this in a letter to parliament on June 8, 2020:


Zoals eerder aangekondigd heb ik een aantal maatregelen op korte en lange termijn genomen. Met deze maatregelen kan ik verlichting bieden, maar zullen het gebrek aan capaciteit niet structureel kunnen verhelpen. Netuitbreiding en – verzwaring blijft vooralsnog nodig als structurele oplossing. Netbeheerders investeren dan ook fors om de transportcapaciteit uit te breiden.

De transportcapaciteit die we in afgelopen tientallen jaren hebben opgebouwd zal in de komende 10 jaar worden verdubbeld. De regionale netbeheerders verwachten circa 30 miljard euro te gaan investeren tot en met 2030 en TenneT 12 miljard euro op dezelfde termijn. Deze uitbreidingen vergen enkele jaren aan realisatietijd, met name als gevolg van procedures met betrekking tot ruimtelijke inpassing en bijbehorende vergunningsprocedures.

[] – Kamerbrief vervolg toezeggingen gebrek transportcapaciteit elektriciteit
[] – Onshore projects Netherlands
[] – Detailed grid map Netherlands

[source] The Netherlands and Germany can exchange 5 GW of electricity. For the moment it is mostly German wind energy, but that doesn’t need to be the case for all eternity, with the realization of one Dutch offshore wind project after another.

9-Seater e-Cessna Completes First Test Flight

“Fuel” cost 30 minutes flying: $6,-
A regular schedule will be picked up next year.

Nevertheless, this is flying for the happy few.
For regular mass transportation the only solution seems to be either kerosine-from-air or CO2-compensation via tree planting, via a ticket surcharge.

[] – e-vliegtuig voor 9 passagiers maakt testvlucht van 30 min.

Three Oslo Fjord Ferries are now Electric

Charging takes 8-9 minutes

[Google Maps] – Oslo Fjord

The Netherlands 40% Solar Electricity for a Few Hours

A beautiful Saturday afternoon in April and a corona lock-down suffice to break a new solar electricity record share of 40% in the Netherlands:

[] – Live & historic renewable electricity data The Netherlands

Expect this record of 5 GW to be broken later in the Summer (not the 40%-share after the end of the corona lock-down). Last year, the installed solar capacity in the Netherlands grew with 50%. Similar growth figures are expected for 2021.

[] – Zonnepanelen breken records in zonnig april

The Netherlands consumes on average 13 GW electricity (24/7/365), most from fossil sources. However, browsing back into history a few interesting maximum data points can be recovered:

29-03-2020 13:30 – 7.53 GW
22-03-2020 13:10 – 7.68 GW

Note that these values apply for an hour or so and shows that the renewable energy transition in the Netherlands is still in its early stages. But it can already be predicted that the moment when the entire electricity needs of the Netherlands will be covered for 100% by renewable electricity, isn’t that very far away, probably in a year or 2, when large offshore wind parks come on-line and more solar panels will be installed on Dutch roofs. Other European countries, like Germany, Denmark and Scotland already achieved that milestone earlier.

[] – List of countries by electricity consumption

Electricity consumption per capita in kWh/year (2016):

Country kWh/capita in 2016
Germany 6602
France 6448
Netherlands 6346
Denmark 5720
Spain 4818
UK 4795
Italy 4692

The Netherlands still lags behind in the EU with regards to achieving the EU renewable electricity targets, but will catch up quickly in the coming few years, when several huge offshore wind parks will go in-line.

Researchers Produce (a Little) Electricity out of Thin Air


The system is quite straightforward and consists of a thin film of protein nanowire just seven micrometers (sometimes known as a microns) thick which is positioned between two electrodes and exposed to the air. For reference, a human hair is roughly 75 microns across, depending on the person.

This nanowire film absorbs water vapor present in the atmosphere, thus creating a small electrical charge through the diffusion of protons in the material.

“I found that exposure to atmospheric humidity was essential and that protein nanowires adsorbed water, producing a voltage gradient across the device,” Yao said.

Similar experiments have been conducted previously using nano materials like graphene, but they only produced intermittent, short bursts of electricity, rather than a “continuous voltage output” like the Air Gen system.

Air-Gen reportedly produces a sustained voltage of 0.5 volts at 17 micro amperes per square centimeter; in other words, you’d need multiple Air-Gen devices linked together to charge your smartphone, so don’t throw out those solar panels just yet.

0.5 Volt and 17 micro ampere per centimeter, that would be 0.35 Watt/m2 or 0.5 Watt for a surface like that of 300 Watt standard panels.
Indeed, don’t throw away your solar panels. Useless.


[] – Power generation from ambient humidity using protein nanowires
[] – Geobacter
[] – Researchers produce electricity out of thin air
[] – UMass Amherst Generates Electricity ‘Out of Thin Air’
[] – Forscher erzeugen Strom aus Luftfeuchtigkeit

Power Generation, Electricity Lines and Pumped Hydro-Storage

Read more…

Renewable Electricity Champs 2018

Renewable share electricity production:

Country %
Scotland 74
Portugal 55
Spain 46
Denmark 43
Germany 42
China 38
EU 32
UK 30
Italy 20
USA 15

Note that northern countries with low population density and high mountains and hence high proportion of hydro-power, like Norway, Sweden and Canada, have even higher shares. But we are for the moment more interested in those countries with high shares of wind and solar.

Breakthrough Grid Expansion in Germany

Recently there were headlines about the stagnation of the renewable energy transition in Germany, mainly due to the resistance of the population, not against the transition itself, but against too visible consequences for the local environment (“not in my backyard”). However, a breakthrough seems to have been achieved and new major grid lines, connecting the offshore wind parks in the north with the southern German states. The emphasis will be on underground power lines.

[] – Stromnetz-Ausbau: Wirtschaftsminister Altmaier erzielt Einigung
[] – Bundeswirtschaftsminister und Länder einigen sich bei Ausbau von Stromnetzen
[] – Power line expansion deal
[deepresource] – Energy Transition in Germany Stagnating

Hybrid Electric Regional Flying Coming

[] – 30% Fuel Savings When Flying UTC’s Hybrid-Electric Regional Planes (Soon)

Scientists Transmit Electricity Wirelessly Through the Air

Youtube text:

Since the 1960s, space enthusiasts and international space agencies have had one dream: to collect solar power and use it on earth. What seemed utopic more than 40 years ago is about to become reality: the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency JAXA especially is hell-bent on harvesting solar energy from space by 2030.

Researchers from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) managed to transfer 1.8 kilowatts of power via microwaves to a specific receiver located at a distance of 170 feet (55 meters). You may think that it’s not such an impressive distance, and the delivered energy was only enough to power an electric kettle, but the experiment opens up new prospects for alternative energy research. In particular, similar technology could be utilized for collecting solar energy in space and delivering it to Earth. In fact, this is how the International Space Station is powered – it converts sunlight into electric current with the help of solar cells placed on its solar array wings.

The Japanese Science and Economy and Trade Ministry are currently pushing the project, set to launch in 2030. Just last month they put together the Institute for Unmanned Space Experiment Free Flyer (USEF) consortium consisting of several high-tech giants such as Mitsubishi Electric, NEC, Fujitsu and Sharp. Given that Japan has few energy resources of its own and therefore relies heavily on oil imports, it is no surprise that the country has long been a leader when it comes to solar and other renewable energies.

It seems that after more than a century, someone eventually managed to come close to Nikola Tesla’s breakthrough in transferring wireless electric power. Japanese scientists for the first time succeeded in transmitting electricity wirelessly through the air.

In any case, I strongly believe that the world community will soon realize that alternative sources of energy are the only way for humanity to survive. While definitely different than Tesla’s idea of FREE energy, if the SSPS is finally implemented, we would have a permanent supply of wireless electric power regardless of the time of the day and the weather conditions.

Shell to be the World’s Largest Electricity Producer by 2030


Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to become the world’s biggest power company despite electricity’s historically narrow margins.

The world’s second-largest oil explorer by market value is spending up to $2 billion a year on its new energies division, mainly to grow in a power sector it envisions delivering 8 percent to 12 percent annual returns, according to Maarten Wetselaar, director of Shell’s integrated gas new energies unit.

“We believe we can be the largest electricity power company in the world in the early 2030s,” Wetselaar said in an interview with Bloomberg TV on Monday. “We are not interested in the power business because we like what we saw in the last 20 years. We are interested because we think we like what we see in the next 20 years.”

[] – Shell Says It Can Be World’s Top Power Producer and Profit
[] – Shell says it can be top power producer and make money
[] – Shell says Sonnen purchase part of effort to become world’s largest power company
[] – Shell wil in 2030 het grootste stroombedrijf ter wereld zijn

Nera – The World’s First Fully 3D-Printed e-Motorbike

[] – Electric 3D-printed motorbike provides a glimpse into the future of green travel

Structure Electricity Prices Europe




Visie2030 – TenneT en het Landelijk Electriciteitsnetwerk

Waarom hebben wij deze toekomstvisie ontwikkeld? TenneT werkt continu aan een betrouwbaar en adequaat hoogspanningsnet. Om goed in te spelen op de behoeftes van de Nederlandse maatschappij, publiceren wij iedere twee jaar een Kwaliteits- en Capaciteitsplan. Hierin blikken we zeven jaar vooruit naar de mogelijke aanpassingen die we moeten uitvoeren om de levering van elektriciteit in de toekomst veilig te stellen. Dit plan vormt de basis voor eventuele uitbreiding op de middellange termijn.

Het ontwikkelen en realiseren van hoogspanningsverbindingen over grotere lengtes en daarmee samenhangende nieuwe stationslocaties duren geregeld langer dan zeven jaar. Dit komt door de procedures en daarbij behorende voorbereiding. Het ontwikkelen van nieuwe centrales (“de vraag”) daarentegen vergt slechts 3 tot 5 jaar.

Aangezien de toezichthouder niet toelaat dat wordt “voorgeïnvesteerd”, de jaarlijkse monitoring onvoldoende tijdig investeringsplannen van marktpartijen weergeeft, maar de samenleving wél verwacht dat nieuwe eenheden tijdig kunnen worden aangesloten, is het vormen van een robuust beeld van het toekomstige net noodzakelijk. Met een dergelijk beeld kan in een vroege fase worden begonnen met voorbereidingen.

Daarom is een tijdig beeld van mogelijke toekomstige ontwikkelingen en daarmee samenhangende knelpunten nodig. Een analyse van de langetermijnontwikkelingen van de Nederlandse elektriciteitsvoorziening is daarbij van belang. Met deze Visie2030 geven we hier invulling aan.

We willen met onze langetermijnvisie op de netinfrastructuur bovendien adequaat inspelen op de door de samenleving gewenste transitie naar een duurzame energievoorziening.

[] – Visie2030, een langetermijnvisie van TenneT op het 380 kV en 220kV deel van het landelijke elektriciteitstransportnet.

Connecting Remote Renewable Power Generation to the Market

Siemens video highlights HVDC technology as the effective solution to transmitting renewable power over long distances.

[] – High-voltage direct current
[] – The world’s longest power transmission lines (2014)
[] – List of HVDC projects

Name Country Length (km) Voltage (kV) Year Power (GW)
Rio Madeira Brazil 2385 600 2012 7.1
Jinping-Sunan China 2090 800 2012 7.2
Xiangjiaba-Shanghai China 1980 800 2010 7.2
Inga-Kolwezi Congo 1700 500 2009 0.5
Talcher-kolar India 1450 500 2003 2.5

Cobra Sub-Sea Cable Project Near Completion

The COBRA sub-sea cable interconnector between Denmark and the Netherlands is nearing completion and operations will begin early 2019. Another leg of the European Supergrid will have been realized.

[] – Project site
[] – COBRA cable
[deepresource] – Construction Started COBRA Cable Netherlands-Denmark
[deepresource] – European Supergrid Submarine Cables – Inventory & Plans

Update December 2019:

[] – Onderzeese kabel voor goedkope windstroom uit Denemarken

New Impetus Street Car Ground Level Power Supply

Bordeaux street cars, still with old-fashioned catenary

The French city of Bordeaux was the first to replace the catenary of its street cars and replaced it with a third ground rail. After 2011 the technology has been adopted in Reims, Angers (both France) and Dubai. The system is safe for humans and animals. Wikipedia:

APS uses a third rail placed between the running rails, divided electrically into ten-metre rail segments with three-metre neutral sections between. Each tram has two power collection shoes, next to which are antennas that send radio signals to energise the power rail segments as the tram passes over them. At any one time, two consecutive segments under the tram will be live.

[] – Pioneering Light Rail System in Bordeaux
[] – Light Rail Without Wires
[] – Ground-level power supply

Below, how Bordeaux ground-level power supply looks like:

38% Electricity OECD Europe Renewable

More than gas and coal combined (March 2018).

[] – IEA

[] – Monthly Electricity Statistics

Enyway – kWh Flea Market

Enyway is a new market for locally produced electricity and spin-off of a large renewable energy producer Lichtblick (“glimmer of hope”), a sort of AirBnB for electricity. Enyway is not a producer but a market place, a mediator. If you have a spare roof or unused piece of land, you can install solar panels and directly sell you electricity to others via the Enyway portal. This development could encourage private investment in renewable energy. The key-success factor could be the feed-in tariff system, that could be abolished soon, now that the energy transition is in full swing. Local producers could use this to sell their renewable energy to buyers, who prefer renewable energy over fossil-generated kWh’s. The real upshot is that new investment opportunities open up for private persons. increasing the speed of the energy transition.

[] – Company portal
[] – Diese Mühle erzeugt 100.000 Kilowattstunden Strom
[] – Lichtblick (Unternehmen)

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