A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.
Carbon tax fails — again — in Washington state – I’ve not seen any details from any article specifically stating why the legislation failed, only quotes from the Governor and one of the bills supporters speaking of the ‘inevitable’ coming of a carbon tax. The one data point that stood out – only 42% of voters supported the idea when it was on the ballot when last voted on. A carbon tax seems an idea on the bubble nationally, plus or minus 50% in some areas – some places higher. If a carbon tax is put in place, one study suggests we’d be willing to put up $177/year to cover our climate actions. Oregon is taking up a cap and trade conversation right now.
NY Task Force Takes on Carbon Pricing Mechanics – And while Washington doesn’t vote, New York debates, ‘On pricing, stakeholders at the IPPTF debated whether to use a nominal value of $1/ton or $40/ton in their calculations for a carbon charge — or whether the debate was a waste of time given that the state’s Public Service Commission (PSC) would ultimately decide the number.‘ Electric utility National Grid said, the price should be based on the cost of abating emissions, since abatement is the goal of the public policy. New York City representative said, “If we’re trying to get something that is valid through time, not just through two or three years, but over a longer time period, hopefully we can look at what the different sources are and come up with something that is a little bit more rational and perhaps a little more stable or less volatile than politically influenced numbers.” Politics and vested interests. The nature of our climate reality.
Finance, not technology, could be the key innovation for flow batteries – The challenge for this and other flow battery contenders is to convince large, conservative customers that a young upstart with a new chemistry can fulfill its promises of 20-year performance without degradation, and will be around long enough to keep that promise. This had to happen in the solar power world as well. It took a while for banks to trust that we could actually deliver a solar panel for 25 years and a predictable failure rate on inverters in 10-20 years. And right now, it’s still the case that the largest global investors – pension funds – don’t see solar in its proper light. It’ll take a bit for newer technology like flow batteries get hundreds of billions.
Czochralski process – See image above for the DIY at home silicon model. It’s how we make monocrystalline solar cells. One of the big differences in the cost of mono vs lower efficiency poly is the extra step, and the electricity needed, needed to purify the electricity a bit more. Now a days though, the Chinese are building monocrystalline plants near the cheap solar power. Smart, real smart.
Utility Industry Contributing Millions to National Political Party Groups – At the end of 2017, the Republican Governors Association had received nearly $1.8 million from utility companies while the Democratic Governors Association received less than half that amount. NextEra led all utilities with a contribution total of $584,196 ($316,639 went to RGA). The industry’s trade association, the Edison Electric Institute, was also a big spender. It contributed $363,100 to the groups ($166,173 went to the RGA). Southern Company and Xcel Energy reached deep into their bank accounts as well to donate a total of $297,519 and $251,629, respectively (again, most went to RGA). It’s good and its bad. On one level, its important that those who are in the industry give their opinions. They truly are the experts on the industry – but they’re not necessarily the only experts. So we gotta make sure their money isn’t the only influence we have when we structure our laws.
China Connects World’s Largest (40MW) Floating Solar Farm to Grid – I like seeing the installation process up close. I wonder how long the plastic can last. I saw a boat that slowly slid out the last row, as they built the next row. Here they’re doing it on the shore.
Feature image comes from the Department of Energy. Photo by Emily Bedenkop.
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