Weekend Reads: - Smart Energy Decisions

August 7, 2021

Weekend Reads: A Space-Based Solar Power Project; What the Infrastructure Deal Would Do For EVs

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

One policy that could challenge a century of fossil-fuel dominance (Vox) A time when the United States runs mostly on wind- and solar-powered electricity could be a reality in only a few years. It wouldn’t require any scientific breakthroughs or technological leaps for clean energy to overtake coal and natural gas, which still dominate 60 percent of the US power sector. What it would take to challenge a century of fossil-fuel dominance in record-breaking time is one sweeping, underappreciated policy: a clean electricity standard. This policy could be “the biggest change in our energy policy since the lights went on,” Minnesota Sen. Tina Smith told Vox in an interview. She called it the “centerpiece” of Democratic climate policy under President Joe Biden.

Here’s what is (and isn’t) in the new bipartisan infrastructure bill for EVs (Electrek) After months of horse trading, a bipartisan group of US senators unveiled the legislative text of a 2,700-page, $1 trillion infrastructure bill last night. Here’s what’s in it for all things electric vehicle and clean energy – and what got the chop. What’s included in the infrastructure bill? Electric vehicle charging stations: $7.5 billion for electric vehicle charging stations, with a focus on highways and routes that connect rural and disadvantaged communities. The good news? It’s the first-ever US investment in EV chargers. The bad news is it’s only half of what President Joe Biden wanted in order to build a national network of 500,000 charging stations.

Webinar: Assuring Optimal O&M Performance for Solar Assets (EDF Renewables) Wednesday, August 11, 2021. 2:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time. As the digital transformation sweeps across the renewable energy industry, every corner of the industry is impacted. Unlike other sectors, Operations & Maintenance (O&M) of solar assets remains a very nuts and bolts endeavor, with performance outcomes still reliant on the hands of dedicated technicians. The question then, is how to best equip site personnel with the data and analytics to generate the best operational and financial performance possible of solar assets as well as ensuring NERC compliance. This webinar is must attend for all solar asset owners and operators. REGISTER HERE

Caltech Announces Breakthrough $100 Million Gift to Fund Space-based Solar Power Project (California Institute of Technology) Today, Caltech is announcing that Donald Bren, chairman of Irvine Company and a lifetime member of the Caltech Board of Trustees, donated over $100 million to form the Space-based Solar Power Project (SSPP), which is developing technology capable of generating solar power in space and beaming it back to Earth. The donation was made anonymously in 2013, but the gift is now being disclosed as SSPP nears a significant milestone: a test launch of multifunctional technology-demonstrator prototypes that collect sunlight and convert it to electrical energy, transfer energy wirelessly in free-space using radio frequency (RF) electrical power, and deploy ultralight structures that will be used to integrate them.

California speeds up energy transition to face immediate energy crisis and long-term climate goals (Energy Storage News) California’s government has issued a roadmap for the US state to achieve its long-term goal of 100% clean energy, while an immediate State of Emergency has been declared over concerns the electric system will struggle under heat waves this summer. Energy storage, renewables and demand response are at the heart of measures to address both. The long-term roadmap also recognises the important role long-duration energy storage will play in California’s clean energy future, putting it as one of five pillars the state’s energy system will rely on in decarbonising while delivering reliable and secure service.

Wafer-thin solar film could be a game-changer for harnessing British sunshine as renewable power (i News) Covering the roof of every south-facing warehouse, factory and office with solar panels would satisfy the UK’s entire electricity demand. But the country generates barely 1 per cent of its energy this way – a massive missed opportunity considering it is meant to be carbon neutral by 2050, advocates say. While total coverage of south-facing commercial building roofs is clearly unfeasible, a major barrier to a more realistic figure of 10 to 50 per cent has been that existing solar technology is often too heavy for them. And although lighter, more flexible alternatives have been developed, they are relatively rare as they are less efficient and a lot more expensive.

Keywords: Weekend reads

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