FREEING ENERGY

November 2020 Clean Energy Headlines

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We read through all the clean energy news in November, pulled out the most interesting articles, and boiled them down for you below.

Expanding local solar and storage could save ratepayers nearly half a trillion dollars. A new grid-planning tool created by Vibrant Clean Energy LLC analyzed grid factors like affordability, availability, and existing capacity to model the most cost-effective way to transition the U.S. off of fossil fuels by 2050. The model explained in a report titled Why Local Solar for All Costs Less: A New Roadmap for the Lowest Cost Grid, compares several theoretical paths forward to highlight the benefits and downsides of each. One key takeaway is that expanding local solar and storage could save the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars while also creating over 2 million jobs. For everyone interested in local energy, this report is one of the most compelling we have seen. (PR Newswire)

New solar window tech from Australian startup. In a breakthrough that could open many doors (and windows) for the solar industry, Australian enterprise ClearVue PV is planning to debut its patented solar window technology in a greenhouse constructed on the campus of Perth’s Murdoch University. The windows allow most visible light to pass through, while infrared and ultraviolet light are reflected towards the edges and converted into energy by solar cells. This is the first time that the technology has been used on a commercial-scale agricultural structure, and if successful it could pioneer a brand new market for solar energy. (PV Magazine)

Shakeup for 720-MW nuclear SMR project as cities withdraw. Last month we wrote about the Carbon Free Power Project (CFPP), a plan by Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) to create a dozen small-module reactors (SMRs). Several cities have pulled out of the project in recent weeks, increasing the financial burden on the remaining members and throwing the CFPP’s future into question. Despite this, UAMPS is confident that membership in the project will remain strong enough to keep it viable financially. The CFPP, if successful, will bring the first SMRs into commercial operation in the United States. (Power Magazine)

An artist’s rendering of a NuScale SMR site. Courtesy of NuScale Power

As renewable power prices drop, researchers tally up their added costs. There are many factors that go into the price of renewable energy. While it’s difficult to wrangle them all into an accurate estimate of costs across the board, trends can help us make generalizations about the financial aspects of adding more solar or wind to the grid. Philip Heptonstall and Robert Gross of London’s Imperial College took a deep dive into the subject and found that, in most scenarios, renewables edge out fossil fuels in affordability. (ArsTechnica)

New documentary explores the battle for local solar across the United States. A new documentary on PBS follows Jonathan Scott, co-host of HGTV’s Property Brothers, as he travels across the U.S. exploring the front lines of the fight for local solar energy. Highly recommended by FE’s Bill Nussey, Jonathan Scott’s Power Trip provides a robust view of the real people and communities working to generate their own electricity and the obstacles being thrown up in front of them. (PBS)

Solar by the numbers

The cost of solar has dropped 400x.

The last four decades have seen an enormous drop in solar costs thanks to technological innovation. See more here

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Podcast #045 – Vikram Aggarwal: Why are millions of people putting solar on their roofs?

Freeing Energy Podcast Vikram Aggarwal EnergySage Rooftop Solar

Hurricanes, wildfires, and even forced outages are highlighting the shortcomings of our century-old grid. At the same time, a growing majority of people are looking to accelerate the shift towards cleaner energy sources like solar and batteries. Microgrids sit at the center of these two huge trends and they are becoming increasingly available and affordable. FEP host Bill Nussey talks with Ryan Goodman, CEO and Co-Founder of microgrid leader Scale Microgrid Solutions. Listen in as Goodman explains how new technologies, designs, and financing solutions are reshaping the commercial and industrial electricity industry and turning our outdated grid into an energy internet.

Podcast #046 – Ryan Goodman: Are microgrids the future of reliable, clean energy?

Ryan Goodman Scale Microgrids Freeing Energy podcast

Hurricanes, wildfires, and even forced outages are highlighting the shortcomings of our century-old grid. At the same time, a growing majority of people are looking to accelerate the shift towards cleaner energy sources like solar and batteries. Microgrids sit at the center of these two huge trends and they are becoming increasingly available and affordable. FEP host Bill Nussey talks with Ryan Goodman, CEO and Co-Founder of microgrid leader Scale Microgrid Solutions. Listen in as Goodman explains how new technologies, designs, and financing solutions are reshaping the commercial and industrial electricity industry and turning our outdated grid into an energy internet.

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