Weekend reads: Germany's giant windmills; - Smart Energy Decisions

Energy Efficiency, Microgrids, Regulation, Solar, Wind  -  November 2, 2019

Weekend reads: Germany's unpopular windmills; Calif.'s distributed energy crisis

It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web:

Germany's Giant Windmills Are Wildly Unpopular (Bloomberg) Despite their surging popularity in Germany and elsewhere in Europe, the Greens did badly in last Sunday's election in the German state of Thuringia, and the nationalists from the Alternative for Germany Party (AfD) did very well. An important reason is that the Greens support wind energy and the AfD militates against wind turbines. The giant windmills have grown so unpopular in neighboring communities that their construction in Germany has all but ground to a halt.

Wildfires and blackouts mean Californians need solar panels and microgrids (Vox) California’s electricity system is failing. Earlier this month, in order to prevent wildfires, some 2 million people had their power cut by the state’s biggest utility provider, PG&E. It was the biggest deliberate blackout in history. Meanwhile, it turns out the Kincade Fire, which currently has 180,000 people evacuating Sonoma County and is only 5 percent contained, may have been started by one of PG&E’s transmission lines. This, it seems, is what many California electricity customers can expect from now on: blackouts or fires. That is failure. This post is about a way to make California’s electricity system cleaner, more reliable, and more resilient. It is, I believe, the only way to truly vouchsafe the promise of safe, reliable electricity in a warming century.

Green networks: Incorporating energy efficiency into 5G (The Hill) With major companies announcing new initiatives to reduce their carbon footprints and cut their environmental impacts, one key note remains unstruck – namely the vital role that next generation communications networks will play in nearly every aspect of our environmental efforts. With the right approach, 5G wireless communications networks could be “green networks” that unlock energy-efficient technologies to save Americans money, maintain our energy independence, and cut carbon emissions.

St. Johns County solar facility just part of FPL’s transition to renewable energy (The Florida Times-Union)  Florida Power & Light’s plans for the expansion of its solar program are clearly ambitious. The utility company will add 30 million solar panels to its power grid over the next 10 years — approximately 300,000 of them at a plant it will begin building in St. Johns County sometime over the next year or so, according to FPL spokesman Stephen Heiman.

New Battery Design Can Charge an Electric Car in 10 Minutes (Vice) A new lithium-ion battery design makes it possible for electric vehicle drivers to charge their cars and hit the road in as little as ten minutes, according to a new study. The quick charge gives drivers up to 200 miles per ten minute charge while maintaining 2,500 charging cycles, the researchers behind the study say. That is equivalent to over half a million miles throughout the battery’s life, a press release notes. All that happens in the time it takes you to brew a morning coffee.

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