Tesla Motors Inc. is making a huge bet that millions of small batteries can be strung together to help kick fossil fuels off the grid. The idea is a powerful one—one that’s been used to help justify the company’s $5 billion factory near Reno, Nev.—but batteries have so far only appeared in a handful of true, grid-scale pilot projects.
That changes this week.
Three massive battery storage plants—built by Tesla, AES Corp., and Altagas Ltd.—are all officially going live in southern California at about the same time. Any one of these projects would have been the largest battery storage facility ever built. Combined, they amount to 15 percent of the battery storage installed planet-wide last year.
Ribbons will be cut and executives will take their bows. But this is a revolution that’s just getting started, Tesla Chief Technology Officer J.B. Straubel said in an interview on Friday. “It’s sort of hard to comprehend sometimes the speed all this is going at,” he said. “Our storage is growing as fast as we can humanly scale it.”
See more here.
From: Bloomberg Technology
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Two new records for Scottish wind power ‘underline the massive progress Scotland is making in securing an ever increasing proportion of its electricity needs from wind power and other clean renewable sources’, says WWF Scotland director Lang Banks Scotland’s wind turbines have generated more electricity than the country used for a record four days in a row.
The total amount of wind energy produced on Christmas Eve was also the highest ever, with more than 74,000MWh sent to the National Grid – equivalent to the average daily electricity needs of 6.09 million homes. And, as energy use fell on Christmas Day, wind turbines provided 153 per cent of Scotland’s electricity needs.
Karen Robinson, of WeatherEnergy, which analysed the figures, said: “It was only as recently as August 2016 that we first recorded a day where wind-powered electricity generation exceeded demand.
“However, thanks to increasing levels of renewables capacity and improved energy efficiency reducing power demand, we’re starting to see more and more such days.
“Given these figures, now is the time for serious consideration to be given to using more of this excess renewable electricity to help de-carbonise other areas of society, such as powering electric vehicles or heating our homes and businesses using non-fossil fuel technologies.”
Wind energy provided more electricity than Scotland used on 23, 24, 25 and 26 December, according to WeatherEnergy.
At times in Germany and other countries, renewable energy has produced so much power that electricity prices have turned negative, with customers paid to use it.
The low cost of renewables is also driving down the oil price, with a senior executive of the world’s largest private power production company saying it could get as low as $10 a barrel for this reason within 10 years.
The excess would have been sold through the National Grid to customers in the rest of the UK.
The two new records were hailed as “spectacular achievements” by a leading environmental group.
WWF Scotland’s director Lang Banks said the new figures “underline the massive progress Scotland is making in securing an ever increasing proportion of its electricity needs from wind power and other clean renewable sources”.
“Scotland can be proud that its record-breaking wind power output at the end of December, and resulting export of excess electricity through interconnectors to England, greatly contributed to what also proved a record-breaking week for wind power across the entire UK,” he said.
“By reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, we’re also helping to address the threats posed to people and nature by climate change.
“That is why we must continue to take steps to reduce our overall energy demand and harness more of what we do use from the wide range of renewable energy sources now available.
“Later this month, the Scottish Government is expected to publish its new energy strategy. We hope these latest wind power records embolden ministers to aim high when it comes to the role renewables play in their forthcoming strategy, especially in areas beyond the power sector, such as heat and transport.”
For the month of December, wind turbines in Scotland provided 1,154,864MWh of electricity to the National Grid, the equivalent of 53 per cent of the amount used in the country.
The Acciona 100% EcoPowered rally car powered its way to the finish of the world's toughest motor event without burning a drop of fuel and with no tailpipe emissions.
The iconic Dakar rally (formerly known as the Paris–Dakar Rally before its move to South America) is a grueling race that covers some 5,600 miles of rough terrain, and it chews up and spits out drivers and vehicles at every chance. It's also a decidedly petroleum-centric competition, with gas-powered motorcycles, rally cars, and trucks all competing for a chance to top the podium in their respective categories. But a few years ago, a new entry in the Dakar rally took a totally different approach, and instead brought an electric vehicle to compete.
The first two attempts, in 2015 and 2016, weren't successful, but this past week, the Acciona 100% EcoPowered vehicle became the first zero-emissions vehicle to finish the Dakar. It didn't win the race, and in fact didn't even place (the team actually came in last, but then again, 26% of all entries didn't even finish), but considering the incredibly challenging conditions of this epic rally, just finishing it was enough, and in doing so, it made history.
"The 4x4 vehicle, crewed by Ariel Jatón and Tito Rolón, completed the world's most arduous motor event to reach the finish line in Buenos Aires — the only one of over 18,000 vehicles in the history of the Dakar Rally to complete the event without consuming a drop of fuel or emitting a single molecule of CO2." - Acciona Dakar
Built entirely in Spain, the home of Acciona (which is a leading Spanish renewable energy and infrastructure firm), the EcoPowered rally car is said to be "the most powerful electric car in the world" thanks to a 250 kW electric motor capable of producing 340 horsepower, coupled with six "ultra-fast charging" lithium battery packs with a 150 kWh capacity, and an onboard 100 W solar panel. With that battery and motor combo, the vehicle can run for about 200 kilometers "in race conditions," with a 60 minute charge time to 'refuel' the batteries.
Although this electric car is something way above and beyond what most (non-racing) drivers need, and isn't likely to ever be a production car, the research and development of a rugged and reliable electric vehicle that can charge in about an hour is yet another nail in the coffin for petroleum vehicles. Learn more about this history-making vehicle at Acciona Dakar.
From: Tree Hugger