2017-07-13 13:00:02 UTC
Grid Batteries Are Poised to Become Cheaper Than Natural-Gas Plants in Minnesota
A new report suggests the economics of large-scale batteries are reaching an important inflection point.
July 12, 2017
MIT Technology Review
[Image] A 60-acre solar farm in Camp Ripley, a National Guard base in Minnesota.
When it comes to renewable energy, Minnesota isn't typically a headline-grabber: in 2016 it got about 18% of its energy from wind, good enough to rank in the top 10 states. But it's just 28th in terms of installed solar capacity, and its relatively small size means projects within its borders rarely garner the attention that giants like California and TX routinely get.
A new report on the future of energy in the state should turn some heads (PDF). According to the University of Minnesota's Energy Transition Lab, starting in 2019 and for the foreseeable future, the overall cost of building grid-scale storage there will be less than that of building natural-gas plants to meet future energy demand.
Minnesota currently gets about 21% of its energy from renewables. That's not bad, but current plans also call for bringing an additional 1,800 MWs of gas-fired "peaker" plants online by 2028 to meet growing demand. As the moniker suggests, these plants are meant to spin up quickly to meet daily peaks in energy demand-something renewables tend to be bad at because the wind doesn't always blow and the sun doesn't always shine.
Storing energy from renewables could solve that problem, but it's traditionally been thought of as too expensive compared with other forms of energy.
The new report suggests otherwise. According to the analysis, bringing lithium-ion batteries online for grid storage would be a good way to stockpile energy for when it's needed, and it would prove less costly than building and operating new natural-gas plants.
The finding comes at an interesting time. For one thing, the price of lithium-ion batteries continues to plummet, something that certainly has the auto industry's attention. And grid-scale batteries, while still relatively rare, are popping up more and more these days. The Minnesota report, then, suggests that such projects may become increasingly common-and could be a powerful way to lower emissions without sending our power bills skyrocketing in the process.
Electric cars to account for all new vehicle sales in Europe by 2035
The Guardian, 13 Jul 2017 11:48Z
Ten Thousand Voices on Marine Climate Change in Europe: Different
Perceptions among Demographic Groups and Nationalities
A new paper presents the results of an opinion poll of 10,000 European
citizens in 10 countries on levels of awareness and concern about the
impacts of climate change on the marine environment. Respondents were
least aware of ocean acidification and most aware of melting sea ice -
as well as pollution and overfishing, the study says. Participants
living in coastal areas claimed to be both more informed and more
concerned on climate change than those living inland, as did females
and older age groups. In terms of trust in sources of information,
academic scientists or those working for environmental NGOs are
trusted more than scientists working for govt or industry, the
study suggests. -- Frontiers in Marine Science
[Yet Another Thermometer:]
The impacts of rising temperatures on aircraft takeoff performance
Rising air temperatures may make it harder for commercial aircraft to
takeoff, requiring restrictions on how much weight they carry, a new
study suggests. As air temperatures increase at constant pressure, air
density declines, resulting in less lift generation by an aircraft
wing at a given airspeed. Modelling 5 common aircraft at 19 major
airports, the study finds that 10-30% of annual flights departing in
the hottest part of the day by the mid-to-late 21st century may
require some weight restriction. -- Climatic Change
Shell sells #1bn stake in Irish gas project
-- Joel Lewin, Financial Times
[She'll be right, mate!]
Melbourne suffers peak-hour train delays after computer fault
ABC News, 13 Jul 2017 09:28Z
Melbourne commuters are experiencing frustrating delays after Metro Trains'
entire network came to a standstill this afternoon because of a computer fault.
All trains down. Boom gates stuck so buses are blocked.
Ubers surge 1000% Guess I'll just die then. #metrotrains
5:07 PM - 13 Jul 2017 · Melbourne, Victoria
Christine Craik @christine_craik
Thanks to the uber driver quoting $300 for a $50 trip after the trains
ground to a halt in Melbourne tonight, that's the spirit!
7:13 PM - 13 Jul 2017 · Victoria, Australia
Tiril Stenhammer @TirilStenhammer
How does the train network crash in peak hour. #metrotrains #metrofail
5:09 PM - 13 Jul 2017
Sri Lankan navy rescues elephant washed out to sea
ABC News, 13 Jul 2017
The Sri Lankan navy rescued an elephant dragged away by the current about 13
kilometres off the shore of Kokilai.
Zeke Hausfather @hausfath 13 Jul 2017 03:25Z
Last few days bring to mind a great Schneider quote on climate: "the end of
the world and good for us are the 2 least likely outcomes"
Temperatures to soar as high pressure edges across UK for latest ...
The Weather Channel, 13 Jul 2017 08:43Z
Tim Osborn @TimOsbornClim 13 Jul 2017 09:23Z
1/ Some people claim recent global warming has been fabricated by adjusting
temperature data in new dataset versions. Those claims are wrong
[Series back to 1999 pretty much the same:]
Southern Europe swelters as heatwave sparks wildfires and closes tourist sites
The Guardian, 13 Jul 2017 11:43Z
Hospital Evacuated After Power Outage, Floods Remains Closed
AP, 13 July 2017 6:55 a.m.
A suburban Chicago hospital remains closed after being evacuated due to
power outages caused by flooding.