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.
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.”
[bloomberg.com] – Shell Says It Can Be World’s Top Power Producer and Profit
[royaldutchshellgroup.com] – Shell says it can be top power producer and make money
[cleanenergywire.org] – Shell says Sonnen purchase part of effort to become world’s largest power company
[businessinsider.nl] – Shell wil in 2030 het grootste stroombedrijf ter wereld zijn
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.
[tennet.eu] – Visie2030, een langetermijnvisie van TenneT op het 380 kV en 220kV deel van het landelijke elektriciteitstransportnet.
Siemens video highlights HVDC technology as the effective solution to transmitting renewable power over long distances.
|Name||Country||Length (km)||Voltage (kV)||Year||Power (GW)|
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.
[cobracable.eu] – Project site
[wikipedia.org] – COBRA cable
[deepresource] – Construction Started COBRA Cable Netherlands-Denmark
[deepresource] – European Supergrid Submarine Cables – Inventory & Plans
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.
Below, how Bordeaux ground-level power supply looks like:
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.
Dutch electricity supply. Currently almost all electricity consumed is produced in the Netherlands. The plan in accordance with the EU is to replace almost all fossil generated electricity by renewable power by 2050 at the latest.
Electricity consumption: 120 billion kWh/year
Electricity per capita: 7085 kWh/year
Total installed capacity: 31.5 GW
Average consumption: 13.7 GW
Total connections: 8 million
Capacity factor latest North Sea wind farms: 50%
Assuming no storage losses then you would need 27.4 GW offshore nameplate wind power to meet current Dutch electricity demand levels. By 2023 4.5 GW are expected to be installed in the North Sea. Already allocated but not all covered with tenders yet are:
Borssele: 2064 MW
Hollandse Kust: 7350 MW
IJmuiden Ver: 7020 MW
Waddeneilanden: 1200 MW
Total: 17.5 GW
No fixed time table for these 17.5 GW exist, but if the first 4.5 GW are realized in 2023, you can expect that new capacity will be built with existing offshore production capacity in at least the same pace or higher. Since we already have 1 GW installed, the remaining 4.5-1=3.5 GW would take 5-6 years or 640 MW/year. The remaining 17.5-4.5=13 GW would require an additional 13/0.64=20 years or 2043 with existing installation capacity. In reality the offshore wind industry is rapidly growing and the targeted 17.5 GW will be achieved earlier, probably much earlier. Expect that by 2050 the Netherlands will enjoy the renewable energy consumption enabling them to continue the current affluence levels and will have created new large wealth creating industries in the energy and storage sector. Note that these figures do not include existing or future wind and solar capacity onshore.
After that the sky is the limit because the offshore industry could sell a lot of electricity or its hydrogen derivative abroad. Expect NW-European offshore wind industry like Vestas, Orsted (Dong), Siemens, SiF, Van Oord and many others to take over from big oil names like Gazprom, Exxon, Texaco, BP, Shell and many others. Or as president Gorbachev uses to say: He who comes too late is punished by life.
The good news is that in 2018 corporations are competing to develop offshore wind parks without a dime of subsidy, neither for the infrastructure nor for the kWh’s brought onshore. Paying market prices for kWh’s brought onshore is enough for them to be profitable. All the government has to do is allocate offshore locations and pay for the cables.
The only remaining challenge is storage, a considerable one, but manageable. It is likely that hydrogen from electrolysis is going to play a big role here.
17.5 GW nameplate power would mean 8.8 GW continuously or 64% or 2017 electricity demand. That would be enough to uphold a reasonable affluent society. It would be like living in 1980, albeit with electricity consuming devices (lights, television, fridges) that are far more energy efficient. But it is far more likely that by 2050 more than the current 13.7 GW average consumption will be brought onshore, providing electricity for trains and e-vehicles as well. The Dutch train system is already fully covered by wind. And here a calculation that you need merely 222 wind turbines of 6 MW each to power the entire Dutch personal car fleet.
According to new legislation, every home in the Netherlands needs to be energy neutral by 2030. No natural gas connection will be guaranteed for new homes. This requires solar panels, thermal collectors, heat pumps and thorough thermal insulation measures. It is ambitious but feasible.
[cbs.nl] – 2015-elektriciteit-in-nederland
[energynumbers.info] – Capacity factors Danish offshore wind farms
[noordzeeloket.nl] – Dutch plans North Sea Wind (map)
[rijksoverheid.nl] – Bedrijfsleven bereid zonder subsidie windpark op zee te bouwen
P.S. the goal of the Dutch government is to have 6 GW wind power installed onshore by 2020.
Sites with lower capacity factors may be deemed feasible for wind farms, for example the onshore 1 GW Fosen Vind which as of 2017 is under construction in Norway has a projected capacity factor of 39%. Certain onshore wind farms can reach capacity factors of over 60%, for example the 44 MW Eolo plant in Nicaragua had a net generation of 232.132 GWh in 2015, equivalent to a capacity factor of 60.2%, while U.S. annual capacity factors from 2013 through 2016 range from 32.2% to 34.7%.
Let’s assume a capacity factor of 50%, that would mean that another 3 GW continuously (including not yet installed storage) are added to the mix as early as 2020.
And then there is solar:
Summary: by the end of 2016 there was 2.0 GW peak Watt PV-solar installed, which translates in 800 MW power continuously. By the end of 2017 the installed power had increased with 40%. So we can assume 1.1 GW of PV-solar power. The government wants solar panels on every suitable roof and the public is picking up the signal. In every street there are at l east a few houses that have panels on the roof, which will impose the question on the laggards: “when us?”, just like with owning a car or having an internet connection. Nobody wants to stay behind and everybody wants to be “green”. One of the largest energy providers in the Netherlands Eneco believes that as early as 2030, 70% of renewable electricity can be covered by renewables.
Despite a growing share of renewable energy in Germany, the grid remains as stable as ever: the average German has on average to endure a 11.5 minute/year blackout. Although grid stability will become an increasing challenge, for the moment everything is still fine.
[wattisduurzaam.nl] – Duitse stroomnet ondanks pieken windenergie superbetrouwbaar
A annual electricity generation of 3000 TWh is equivalent of 342 GW continuous average power.
Speed: over 100 kmh
Altitude: 2000 m
Flyweight: 450 kg
Airtime: ca. 1 hour
[reuters.com] – Daimler invests in flying taxi firm Volocopter
[engadget.com] – Daimler funds Volocopter’s autonomous flying taxi dreams
[de.wikipedia.org] – Volocopter
[volocopter.com] – Official site
French oil giant Total follows in the footsteps of that other European oil major Shell, in betting on the success of renewable energy. This is no doubt influenced by the radical choice for renewable energy by the European Union, that wants to get rid of fossil fuel in Europe by 2050.
[investopedia.com] – Oil Giant Total Sees Bright Future in Electricity
[erpecnewslive.com] – Total commits to electric vehicle charging stations in France
[thebiojournal.com] – French oil giant Total expands into solar energy in Japan
[reuters.com] – France’s Total buys stakes in solar power start-ups
[theguardian.com] – Total invests £800m in US solar power firm
[eenews.net] – Could France’s Total reinvent the grid?
[aiche.org] – French Oil Major Total Is Gung-Ho for Solar, Batteries and Grid 2.0
[telegraph.co.uk] – French oil firm Total bets on renewable energy with near €1bn bid for battery maker Saft
European supergrid latest. Construction of a 380kV electricity line between the Netherlands and Germany, which should replace the existing 1926 110kV line. Note the futuristic design of the pylons. EU “project of common interest” status.
Length: 57 km