ELECTRICITY

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Coût réel de l'électricité : l'audition d'Henri Proglio (II) > Electricité. Ground-breaking French Study should stop further expenses on the so-called super-grid. The purpose of the "super-grid", of which in a very small way the new Irish inter-connector is an example, is that wind power (and PV) surpluses in one part of Europe will find value and be exported to other parts of Europe where and whenever there is a dearth.

Ground-breaking French Study should stop further expenses on the so-called super-grid

Hubert Flocard's comprehensive analysis (download here) shows the extent to which the whole concept is invalid. His empirical analysis across all Western Europe, shows that wind power peaks and troughs are pretty much simultaneous. It is disappointing that the EU-sponsored "Trade winds" study, commissioned to promote the idea, did not pick up on this perfectly obvious flaw. Return of the P-Word.

Transparency

Electricity. Britain may need national 'energy buyer' to avoid shortages, reg. Electric output dips 3.7% in 2009 - Jan. 12, 2010. By Hibah Yousuf, staff reporterJanuary 12, 2010: 5:39 PM ET NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The nation's economic decline led to the biggest drop in electric output since 1938, according to an industry trade group.

Electric output dips 3.7% in 2009 - Jan. 12, 2010

A new report released Tuesday from the Edison Electric Institute says output fell by 3.7% for its second year of declines in a row. The group said the fall was triggered by the recession and cooler summer temperatures, which were more than 20% lower than normal in many parts of the country.

Prices

What is energy efficiency doing to power demand? Maybe something real. Macquarie Equities Research said in a client note several days ago that energy efficiency measures really do seem to be having an impact on electricity demand, and the effect is likely to continue.

What is energy efficiency doing to power demand? Maybe something real

It’s not just theoretical or wishful, the analysts said. “Unfortunately for investors,” the firm said, “utilities expect this demand destruction to continue or even accelerate.” A couple of electric utilities said pretty much the same thing. According to a Macquarie survey of utilities, to which 43 responded, most expect slow demand growth, less than 1% a year, significantly less than the historical rate of about 2%.

The economy is partly to blame for flat or small growth in demand over the last several years — and some respondents see the economy as the bigger driver — but “more than half of utilities estimate that energy efficiency has reduced their load growth by up to 1% per annum, with nearly an additional quarter estimating a reduction of up to 0.5%.” Five big energy problems for the 21st century. A piece by academic and author Vaclav Smil in the OECD Observer (undated, unfortunately) paints a gloomy picture of energy transition this century: An impartial examination of some basic principles reveals five factors that will make the transition to a non-fossil world far more difficult than is commonly realised.

Five big energy problems for the 21st century

These are: the scale of the shift; the lower energy density of the replacement fuels; the substantially lower power density of renewable energy extraction; intermittency of renewable flows; and uneven distribution of renewable energy resources. More on those points: 1. What It Takes to Power Google. Google is the first major Web company to reveal exactly how much energy it uses—information that will help researchers and policy makers understand how the massive explosion of Internet usage and cloud computing is contributing to global energy consumption.

What It Takes to Power Google

Google uses 260 million watts continuously across the globe, the company reported on Wednesday. This is equivalent to the power used by all the homes in Richmond, Virginia, or Irvine, California (around 200,000 homes), and roughly a quarter of the output of a standard nuclear power plant. By far, the majority of Google’s energy use is associated with its data centers, according to Jonathan Koomey, a professor at Stanford University and a researcher who focuses on energy and IT. He says that 80 to 90 percent of those watts are used solely by the company’s data centers, based on estimates he made of Google’s power use in an August 2011 report. Most of this energy is used in powering the IT equipment in Google’s data centers. Super-grid gets super-serious, but does it rely too much on Norw. The plan for a European ‘super-grid’ being proposed today by 10 companies, including Siemens of Germany and France’s Areva , might sound ridiculously over-ambitious.

Super-grid gets super-serious, but does it rely too much on Norw

Cynics are already noting that most of the members of the group would be direct beneficiaries of the vast amounts that would have to spent building the super-grid. But this is a project that has already won serious political backing from nine EU member states and Norway, and, at least in its most modest version, looks like a realistic prospect. The 10 companies comprising the ‘Friends of the Super-grid’ group would like the connections eventually to encompass most of the countries of north-west and south-west Europe, like this:

Russia Green Lights $65 Billion Siberia-Alaska Rail and Tunnel to Bridge the Bering Strait! In what could certainly be one of the boldest infrastructure developments ever announced, the Russian Government has given the go-ahead to build a transcontinental railway linking Siberia with North America.

Russia Green Lights $65 Billion Siberia-Alaska Rail and Tunnel to Bridge the Bering Strait!

The massive undertaking would traverse the Bering Strait with the world’s longest tunnel – a project twice the length of the Chunnel between England and France. The $65 billion project aims to feed North America with raw goods from the Siberian interior and beyond, but it could also provide a key link to developing a robust renewable energy transmission corridor that feeds wind and tidal power across vast distances while linking a railway network across 3/4 of the Northern Hemisphere. Photo by Wikicommons. Promoting Microgeneration: A Challenge For Europe. During the EU Sustainable Energy Week hold in March 2010 in Brussels, Europe multiplied conferences on those topics and tried to stimulate concrete actions based on last year’s directives on renewable.

Promoting Microgeneration: A Challenge For Europe

Low carbon energy with sustainable benefits is the target objective for Europe. Microgeneration is one of the leading options; the customer base can have quite easily access to it. However, some strategic thinking is needed to define the necessary guidelines so as to maximize the outcomes of potential wider actions directed to the member citizens. Euro deputies are convinced that a lot has to be done to change the psychological mindset of the European citizens and the next step in the “green revolution” is to convince the population of the conviviality of microgeneration. Smarter Chargers for Electric Vehicles. The Power of the Smart Grid - Environment. The "smart grid" is an electric system that includes information and communications technologies to turn the traditional “one-way” grid into a more dynamic “two-way” system.

The Power of the Smart Grid - Environment

The point is to improve the way electricity gets distributed and used across the entire power grid, from where power is generated to our homes, and back again. A smart grid lets power companies and consumers see more about how power is being used—in near-real time. With that kind of information, the power company can better match supply to the demand, to increase efficiency, and consumers can make more informed decisions about when and how they use energy. For example someone could run appliances at times when demand is low and pay less on their electric bill.

Energy Storage. The Sun Rises in the East: German Solar Firms Eclipsed by Chinese Rivals - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International. The mayor of the eastern German town of Bitterfeld-Wolfen, Petra Wust, is all too familiar with booms and busts.

The Sun Rises in the East: German Solar Firms Eclipsed by Chinese Rivals - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

The region was a center for the chemical industry in communist East Germany. Wust experienced at first hand how the industry was wound down after the fall of the Berlin Wall, putting about 50,000 people out of work. Wust was also there when the region experienced rapid growth, earning it the nickname "Solar Valley. " In 1999, as the town's then-treasurer, she helped persuade Q-Cells, a manufacturer of photovoltaic cells, to locate its headquarters in Bitterfeld-Wolfen. Wind resistance: Analysis suggests generating electricit. Wind power has emerged as a viable renewable energy source in recent years -- one that proponents say could lessen the threat of global warming. Although the American Wind Energy Association estimates that only about 2 percent of U.S. electricity is currently generated from wind turbines, the U.S.

Department of Energy has said that wind power could account for a fifth of the nation's electricity supply by 2030. But a new MIT analysis may serve to temper enthusiasm about wind power, at least at very large scales. Ron Prinn, TEPCO Professor of Atmospheric Science, and principal research scientist Chien Wang of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences, used a climate model to analyze the effects of millions of wind turbines that would need to be installed across vast stretches of land and ocean to generate wind power on a global scale.

Such a massive deployment could indeed impact the climate, they found, though not necessarily with the desired outcome. Wind Energy: Freedom From Fossil Fuels or Tempest in a Teapot? - I’m a realist. No matter how many times one wishes snowflakes were dollar bills and soot was green, it isn’t going to happen. Get over it. Soot is dirty and, while technology is likely to make it cleaner, it’s never going to be squeaky clean. Where Wind Power Is Blowing Away Profits. • That in turn "has an effect on investors" and profit On some nights in northern Germany, utilities pay customers to keep their lights on. In a country with deep green roots, it's an odd fix for an odd problem: Local distributors have no place to store wind energy and no way to dispatch it to areas that need it. That's led to so-called negative pricing, where grid operators pay utilities to take the unneeded power.

Then utilities like RWE and EnBW of Germany give rebates to customers who use power during periods of excess. Sometimes wind farm operators are even asked to take their turbines offline to trim supply, lowering green operators' profitability. Mixed messages on offshore wind’s future. Mixed reports have been published recently about the current state and future potential of the UK offshore wind industry. While one paper last week suggested offshore wind could provide all our electricity needs by 2050, another recently commissioned report is looking into the threat posed by escalating costs of the technology. First, the bullish view. This comes from the Offshore Valuation Group, a coalition of government and industry organisations including The Department for Energy and Climate Change, the Welsh and Scottish governments and companies active in offshore wind such as E.on and DONG Energy. Flying Windmills. Wind harvester: The Makani Airborne Wind Turbine sits on a runway outside of Oakland, California.

The craft generates electrical power during flight. In a concrete control tower of a decommissioned naval air base just outside Oakland, California, a team of engineers is building what might best be called a hybrid of an unmanned aerial vehicle and a wind turbine. The 120-pound craft has rotors on its wings to lift it into the sky helicopter-style; a thin tether attaches it to a platform.

Once in the air, the craft begins to glide like a kite, its 26-foot wingspan tracing circles 250 feet overhead. Now the propellers become generators, spinning freely and generating electricity that flows down the taut tether—and, someday, into the local grid. Wind Costs: Connecting Some Dots.