July 22, 2016: Energy Matters: Renewables

Courtesy of American Energy Society and Eric Vettel


- Investments in renewable energy are declining in 2016:

* China’s investments fell 34 percent, down to $33.7 billion. 

* In Africa and the Middle East, investment fell 46 percent, to $4.2 billion. 

* The United States saw a drop of 5 percent, to $23.1 billion.

Note: Brazil and Europe were the only regions to see an increase, led by Europe’s 4 percent gain.

 - The prevailing theory about renewable energy is that “variability” or “intermittency” caps the amount of electricity that wind and solar can contribute to the grid at 15 to 20 percent of the total (the sun and wind are not constant sources of energy). However, there is new evidence that renewables are beginning to break through that barrier. AES Premium Members have access to the report by the White House Council of Economic Advisors.

 - The total number of electric vehicles worldwide has tripled since 2013.

 - Without question, battery storage is a hot topic, with some calling it the "Next Big Thing." However, consider the future promise of the technology in the current context: in 2015, a record 221 megawatts (MW) of storage capacity was installed in the US, more than three times as much as in 2014 (65 MW). But more than 160 MW of the 2015 total was deployed by a single regional transmission organization (the PJM Interconnection market). And 221 MW is not much in the context of a total US generation capacity of more than a million megawatts. Storage might be the "Next Big Thing," but there is a lot of work to be done.

 - The top 3 largest rooftop photovoltaic installation projects in the world:

* 11.5MV rooftop solar plant at Beas Dera, India (spread over 42 acres on the Dera Baba, the plant has the capacity to produce 11.5MW electricity).

* 8.1MW in Pfenning Logistics distribution centre in Germany. 

* 6.4MW solar array on the rooftop of the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino campus in Las Vegas.

(Note: for the rest of this list and similar stories, visit your AES website account).