Energy Storage, Industrial, Finance, Hydro, Regulation, Solar - March 28, 2020
Weekend reads: Groups advocate for RE in stimulus package; Bill Gates invests in hydropower
It's the weekend! Kick back and catch up with these must-read articles from around the web.
Green groups push for environmental protections in stimulus package (The Hill) Green groups see the coronavirus stimulus package as a way to push for environmental measures, an idea that’s gaining traction in the Democratic-led House but contributing to stalled negotiations in the GOP-run Senate. Organizations are calling for checks on industries heavily involved in the production and use of fossil fuels and offering tax incentives to renewable energy producers. The House seems to be heeding their calls, with a proposal from the chamber’s Democrats including provisions that would crack down on pollution from the airline industry.
Bill Gates-led Fund Invests in Startup That Built a New Hydropower Turbine (Bloomberg) Hydropower—converting moving water into energy—is the single biggest source of clean power in the world, but relies on a 200-year-old technology that hasn't changed all that much. Natel Energy Inc., a California-based hydro power startup, has developed a new turbine that updates that technology, and now the company is raising $11 million in a funding round led by Schneider Electric Ventures and Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a fund helmed by Bill Gates.
China’s Coronavirus Lockdown Crushed Every Form Of Energy Generation Except Solar (Forbes) As China shuttered industries during its coronavirus lockdown in January and February, every form of energy production dropped from prior-year performance but one. Solar was up 12 percent. “In terms of varieties, thermal power and hydropower declined significantly, nuclear power and wind power declined slightly,” reported China’s National Bureau of Statistics, “and solar power generation grew steadily.” The Bureau neither explained nor speculated why, but at least one analyst had predicted it: “On the power supply side, we believe baseload generation resources such as coal, nuclear, and gas-fired combined heat and power (CHP) will be weaker than expected—with coal plants impacted the most in operation hours,” wrote Xizhou Zhou, vice president for global power and renewables at IHS Markit, in a Feb. 19 assessment of the impact of the lockdown.
Distributed storage could see growth in demand amid COVID-19 pandemic, analysts say (Utility Dive) The COVID-19 pandemic may cause short-term delays and hiccups for distributed energy projects — but some industry players are optimistic that unlike other sectors, demand for distributed storage and other systems will remain steady and even see an uptick in the long run. The circumstances of the outbreak and the raft of restrictions that states have implemented to prevent its spread could spur interest in distributed systems that provide resilience and self-reliance, experts think. When people are isolated they feel vulnerable and are more aware of the limitations of existing systems, Ashley Wald, a partner at Holland & Hart, who advises renewable energy developers, told Utility Dive. The coronavirus is "a glaring example of how our systems are lacking," she said.
California companies jump in to supply ventilators needed in coronavirus fight (Los Angeles Times) Last week, Bloom Energy Chief Executive KR Sridhar realized his fuel-cell business could help alleviate the state’s critical shortage of ventilators. The San Jose company repairs and refurbishes the fuel-cell power generators it sells to large companies and nonprofits, and Sridhar saw similarities with ventilators, which help patients breathe. After speaking with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s office, Bloom Energy would embark on refurbishing the state’s supply of 200 older ventilators. The ventilators are especially crucial now in treating cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, because critically ill patients often suffer severe respiratory symptoms.
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