Weekend reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Storage, Solar, Sourcing Renewables, Wind  -  September 8, 2018

Weekend reads: Mercedes takes on Tesla; Could the Sahara go green?

It's the weekend! Kick back and relax with these must-read energy stories from around the web:

Mercedes to launch an all-electric vehicle in challenge to Tesla (CNBC) German carmaker Mercedes-Benz will unveil an all-electric vehicle (EV) at a launch event in Stockholm, Sweden, on Tuesday. The EQC is a battery electric vehicle and the first model from Daimler-owned Mercedes' new product and technology brand, EQ. It will be released on the market in 2019. The vehicle has undergone winter testing followed by summer trials in the heat of Spain. The car's unveiling is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. ET). Mercedes' launch of the EQC is the latest attempt by more established, traditional carmakers to challenge the dominance of Elon Musk's Tesla.  

Grid-connected battery energy capacity grew 68 percent last year (PV Magazine)  U.S. utilities increased their battery energy capacity 68 percent to 1.3 gigawatt-hours (GWh) by year-end 2017, according to a utility survey conducted by the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA).  While the increase in battery power capacity, measured in watts, was just 31 percent, the installation of longer-duration batteries last year helped produce the bigger jump in battery energy capacity, measured in watt-hours. The use of longer-duration batteries, able to discharge for several hours, has enabled balancing of solar with widespread storage, as in California and Hawaii, and with co-located solar + storage installations, as in Hawaii and Florida. 

Large-scale wind and solar power 'could green the Sahara' (BBC News) Installing huge numbers of solar panels and wind turbines in the Sahara desert would have a major impact on rainfall, vegetation and temperatures, researchers say. They found that the actions of wind turbines would double the amount of rain that would fall in the region. Solar panels have a similar impact although they act in a different way. The authors say their work reinforces the view that large-scale renewables could transform the Sahara region.

Clearway Energy Group Launches Operations (MarketWatch) Clearway Energy Group ("Clearway") began operations today as an independent enterprise.  The Company was formed with the completion of the sale of NRG Energy, Inc.'s ("NRG") renewables platform and NRG's controlling interest in NRG Yield, Inc. to Global Infrastructure Partners ("GIP"), a leading global, independent infrastructure investor.  The transaction was initially announced in February 2018. Clearway is one of the largest clean energy companies in the United States. 

In North Carolina, low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency is going to waste (Energy News Network)  A decade ago, energy conservation was widely viewed as the ‘low-hanging fruit’ of clean energy policy in North Carolina, the cheapest and easiest way to reduce fossil fuel consumption and cut pollution. Now, experts say too much of that fruit is rotting on the ground. According to data presented recently to a statewide energy policy panel, the Tar Heel state lagged behind 31 others in fulfilling its 2017 energy efficiency potential, a stark contrast to the state’s ranking of second in the country for solar power.

Butter sculpture becomes renewable energy (Genesee Country Express)  The Butter Sculpture at the New York State Fair is coming down, but it isn’t going to waste. American Dairy Association North East, in conjunction with Cornell Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners and Noblehurst Farms, dismantled the 800-pound sculpture today at the New York State Fairgrounds. Ultimately, the inedible butter will make its way to Noblehurst Farms in Linwood, N.Y., (Livingston County) where it will be recycled in the farm’s methane digester and converted into renewable energy to power the dairy farm and produce liquid fertilizer for crops. 

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