Energy Efficiency, GHG Emissions, Microgrids, Solar, Wind  -  May 19, 2018

Weekend reads: Apple's latest investment; Pop-up EV chargers & more

Kick back and relax with these must-read energy stories from around the web:

Apple paves the way for breakthrough carbon-free aluminum smelting method (Apple Newsroom)  Aluminum is a key material in many of Apple’s most popular products, and for more than 130 years, it’s been produced the same way. But that’s about to change. Aluminum giants Alcoa Corporation and Rio Tinto Aluminum today announced a joint venture to commercialize patented technology that eliminates direct greenhouse gas emissions from the traditional smelting process, a key step in aluminum production. This is a revolutionary advancement in the manufacturing of one of the world’s most widely used metals. 

Tesla’s Microgrid (Comstock’s) A fleet of Teslas are headed to Squaw — and not just to the parking lot. As part of its ongoing renewable energy efforts, the resort is partnering with Liberty Utilities and the electric car (and rocket) company on a proposal to install battery units for storing power generated by solar and other sources. The proposed partnership, dubbed the Olympic Valley Microgrid Project, will create an energy “microgrid” that allows the resort, and the surrounding community, to keep the lights on when power outages hit. 

World first: Pop-up EV charger touches down in Oxford (Business Green) Convincing motorists without off-street parking to take the plunge and purchase an electric vehicle (EV) is a tall order, reliant on responsive councils installing on-street charging bays where and when they are requested. But the process of rolling out new charging bays is often something of a bureaucratic nightmare, requiring grid reinforcements, 'street clutter', and restricted parking bays for EVs. Now Oxford is set to become the first city in the world to trial new pop-up electric charging posts, that appear via retractable bollards on urban streets. 

High values are blowing in offshore winds; policymakers may need more (Utility Dive) Offshore wind attracted as much attention at the just-completed national wind energy conference as a Kardashian at a trendy Hollywood night spot. New numbers show its value warrants the attention. Building wind turbines to operate in harsh ocean conditions costs more and takes longer than building on land. The permitting process can be rigorous and lengthy. Construction requires special vessels and equipment and interconnection requires subsea engineering.

How much space would it take to solar-Power the United States? (Sierra Club) Well, it depends a lot on the region where you install those solar panels. Las Vegas gets almost twice as much solar energy as some other places, with 26.8 kilowatt-hours per day in a five-kilowatt system, compared to 14.9 kWh per day in Seattle. The figure that’s been bandied about is that it would “only” take 17,500 square miles to generate the 4 trillion kilowatt-hours of energy we burn through every year. If you put those miles in a single place, you’d have a square that’s 132 miles on each side, in the most solar-friendly climate. 

Keywords: Weekend reads

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