Research by the New York Times has suggested a new era in energy has started to dawn for energy in the United States as renewables are finally equaling conventional fossil fuels in price.
Following a trend over the last five years, the last twelve months have seen the cost of providing electricity from wind and solar plummet – so much so that in some markets renewables are now cheaper than more conventional sources such as oil or gas.
The harbinger of these lower costs has been new power purchase agreements being signed arose the country, but particularly in central and southwestern states like Texas and Oklahoma. This April saw a deal for 20 years of output from a solar farm at less than 5 cents a kilowatt-hour in Austin, whilst the Grand River Dam Authority in Oklahoma saw a similarly competitive deal arranged with a wind farm due online next year.
A new wave of ‘nano batteries’ could be leading a cavalry charge to help increase viability for green commercial energy sources, as researchers in the US say they have “ultimate miniaturization of energy storage”.
The team, based at the University of Maryland, have already created a working model of a ‘simple’ nano-battery concept designed to offer up a storage solution for energy created by solar panels, wind turbines and more.
How does it work? The team explained that the concept to science journal Nature as a ‘nanopore’ battery; stamped on to a ceramic cerface, identical holes (the nanopores) use transition metal ruthenium and vanadium oxide to turn each tiny dip in the surface into a a super-miniature battery, with the added elements acting as electrolyte, anode and cathode.
After revealing plans to build the World’s largest offshore wind farm this summer, the UK government has approved another significantly-sized installation earlier this week.
Consent has been given for Danish company Dong Energy A/S to install a new off-shore wind farm 19km west of the Cumbrian coast, close tot he existing ‘Walney I’ and ‘Walney II’ facilities.
Dong said it expects to put in 207 new turbines, with a projected yield of around 660 megawatts – enough to power as many as a half-million homes in conjunction with the existing two sites.
UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Edward Davey said: “Another large wind farm is now closer to being built – and each one gives us more home-grown, clean and secure energy supplies.”
“This decision to grant development consent now clears the way for the company to make a final investment decision on the project,” Benj Sykes, vice president of U.K. wind for Dong, added.
Funding worth £14 million to help find solutions to address the energy ‘trilemma’ has been announced.
Innovate UK has opened the second round of the Energy Catalyst competition to provide investment to businesses and researches that can address the challenges of reducing emissions and cost and improving security of supply.
Funding is available for three stages of technology development: early-stage, mid-stage and late-stage – depending on which cycle the specific technology sits.
Total project costs can be up to £300,000 for early-stage, up to £3 million for mid-stage and up to £10 million for late-stage.
Energy in spotlight during conference seasonThe UK’s three major political parties have used their autumn conferences to set out their visions for the future of the energy sector.Changing the rulesSpeaking at the Labour Party conference on 23 September, leader Ed Miliband said that a Labour government would ensure Britain maintained its position as “a world leader in the green economy” as a means to unlock business investment. He detailed plans to set a decarbonisation target for the power sector, to give the Green Investment Bank full borrowing powers, to make energy efficiency a national priority.
This week a new study has indicated that businesses here in the UK could save a collective £5 billion in commercial energy spend by switching to rooftop solar photovoltaic panels.Kingspan Energy might just happen to be one of the UK’s longest-running providers of ‘high performance insulation, building fabric, and solar integrated building envelopes’, but regardless of their interest in retailing solar systems, the company firmly believes that commercial rooftop solar is in the best interest of not just UK businesses, but also the UK energy economy.The study revealed that installing solar PV on 61% of the UK’s 2,500km square of south-facing commercial roof space on warehouses and depots would actually meet the UK’s total electricity demand.Gilbert McCarthy, Kingspan Insulated Panels’ MD said at the launch of the study: “The economic case for solar PV is clear, especially with the removal of the capital cost barrier from the equation. The immediate savings produced by adopting commercial rooftop PV can only increase the competitiveness of UK businesses.
Oil prices fell to their lowest level in four years on concerns that global supply is outstripping demand. These reductions in oil had a knock on effect on gas and power prices in the UK and were compounded by a recent report by the International Energy Agency claiming that global oil demand is set to increase more slowly than previously estimated.Long-term contract follow oil reductionsReductions in oil and other commodities fed into gas and power prices. Long-term gas contracts fell in October. Summer 15 gas dropped 4.2% to average 53.1p/th and the contract ended trading 16% below levels seen at the start of 2014. Long-term power prices also dropped in October, with the summer 15 power contract losing 2.3% to average £48.5/MWh.
A new style of boiler which contains the capability to produce energy as well as heated water is set to be handed out by it’s British developer for ‘free’ in the hopes of kick-starting a new era of self-supplying homes and businesses – and built upon a surprising business model.
Dubbed a ‘Game-changer’ already by some outlets, a new style of boiler by British start up Flow Energy is set to hit the market this November with a goal of changing the way British homes contribute to the energy economy.
As solar panels become a more frequent sight up and down the country, it seems more and more people are coming around to the idea of having the home cover the cost of it’s own energy. But Flow’s new style of boiler aims to open up this idea to homeowners who can’t accommodate a worthwhile solar panel.
Looking for all intents and purposes like any other boiler, Flow’s innovation contains one key difference; it houses a generator.
Traditional boilers use gas to heat water which is then pumped around pipes and radiators to heat your home. The Flow boiler instead uses a more dense coolant, which is evaporated by the heat from the gas source to spin a scroll expander – creating a mini generator within the housing.