TONIGHT, ELON MUSK unveils the Model 3, Tesla Motors’long-awaited, affordable sedan.
Musk has already shared the car’s key attributes: A 200-mile range and a $35,000 price that will drop to $27,500 or less after tax credits kick in. Tesla has long promised to change the world, and this is the car designed to bring electric vehicles to the masses and save humanity from climate catastrophe.
So the enormous hype surrounding this car is little surprise. Telsa inspires tremendous passion, so much so that people have been lining up outside Tesla stores to get their names as high as possible on the preorder list.
A $2.5-billion transmission line carrying wind power to the U.S. Southeast is coming — whether state regulators there like it or not.
On Friday, the U.S. Energy Department used a decade-old statute to clear Clean Line Energy Partners LLC’s 705-mile (1,134-kilometer) power line for construction over any objections from the states involved.
The Energy Department’s approval of the line, proposed to carry 4,000 megawatts of power from the wind-rich Oklahoma panhandle through Arkansas and into Tennessee, marks the first time the 2005 statute has been used to bypass state approval and push through an interstate transmission project.
A big showdown is coming, if you believe the car-business chatter: General Motors (GM) is about to challenge Tesla’s (TSLA) dominance among electric-car makers. Toyota (TM) is planning to take on Tesla, too. And don’t forget Honda (HMC), Ford (F) and Nissan (NSANY). Telsa-battlers, all.
Tesla is the most prominent name in electric vehicles, yet beneath the radar, virtually every big automaker has built some kind of EV, with more on the way. This is happening not because car buyers are clamoring for electrics, by and large, but because governments around the world are raising the pollution standards automakers must meet, essentially forcing them to build cars that don’t burn gasoline or diesel.
There’s a new battery startup on the scene angling to take a piece of the home energy storage market.
Palo Alto-based ElectrIQ Power offers a 10-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery, a hybrid DC-to-AC inverter, a DC-to-DC converter, an intelligent battery management system, and a high frequency energy meter all wrapped up in a single package.
The IQ System is paired with a cloud-based dashboard that allows customers to monitor energy use and make informed decisions about their consumption. The embedded software system can also learn usage habits and automate home energy savings.
Additions this year to the ERCOT grid in Texas are expected to be dominated by ⅔ from wind and solar PV, according to energy research from SNL. If SNL research proves true, this will be a huge boost to the generation of renewable electricity within this historic oil-producing state.
As Christian Roselund has written for pv magazine, “This is the beginning of a boom anticipated in Texas over the next 15 years.”
In spite of its abundant sunshine and massive open spaces, Texas has long trailed in the US solar market, a trend now changing, ElectricityPolicy concludes:
Total U.S. electricity sales in 2015 fell 1.1 percent from the previous year, representing the fifth time sales have fallen in the past eight years, according to a report published by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).
The slump reflects declining electricity sales in the industrial sector and little growth in sales to the residential and commercial building sectors, despite growth in the total number of households and commercial buildings. The report also cites market saturation, increased-efficiency electrical equipment, slowing economic growth and the changing composition of the economy as drivers in the current down trend.
Where does the lithium-ion battery industry — and most notably, Tesla/Panasonic — stand today on battery costs?
Solar veterans will recall a time not so long ago when the industry’s biggest dream was a PV module with a cost of 99 cents per watt. Obviously, the solar industry has long left that figure in the dust — module costs of 40 cents per watt are a reality in today’s market.
In fact, the 99-cent figure was more a VC-funding, press-ready construct than a real economic calculation.
While wind energy has thrived in Europe, US developers struggled to put steel in the water due to high construction costs, Bloomberg noted.
Previously, developers offered their energy at a levelized cost of energy (LCOE) at $0.24/kWh or more, more than double the market rate, Bloomberg reports, which hurt development even more. But developing 2,000 MW could incentivize wind energy as a major clean resource in the New England region, the study said.
“An important policy finding of this study is U.S. states can, with thoughtful but straightforward policy, lower the cost of power from offshore wind,” the study noted.
Researchers at WMG, University of Warwick have formed a new research partnership with battery technology innovators Faradion, and smart energy storage specialists Moixa Technology, to develop sodium-ion cells as a significantly lower cost alternative to lithium-ion batteries for solar energy storage. This collaboration is being part funded by Innovate UK, the UK’s innovation agency.
A significant proportion of the cost of current solar energy storage systems comes from the commonly used lithium-ion battery. However by using highly abundant sodium salts rather than lithium, Sodium-ion cells are anticipated to be 30% cheaper to produce. This makes solar storage more accessible and opening up the possibility of domestic renewable energy storage to a greater number of households and businesses worldwide. Developments in this area could lead to a CO2 reduction of 500,000 tonnes each year.
ERCOT said last week it continues to expect to have sufficient resources to meet projected peak-demand during the spring and summer, with more than 79,000 MW of generation capacity available.
The Texas grid operator is projecting a spring demand peak of 58,279 MW, a 700-MW increase from last November’s preliminary spring assessment, said Pete Warnken, ERCOT’s manager of resource adequacy, during a March 1 conference call. The revised peak is based on weather conditions from May 2006; the previous estimate used average weather conditions from 2002 to 2014.