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Protesters Continue to Defy Shell by Occuping Plant in Nigeria

Oil Change International - 31 min 38 sec ago

C: Amnesty

The decades’ long struggle for social and environmental justice in the Niger Delta continues, largely unseen by the wider world.

On August 11th , hundreds of people from the Niger Delta stormed the Belema flow station gas plant owned by Shell in the Rivers State region of the Delta. The plant transports crude oil to the Bonny Light export terminal, from where it is shipped overseas.

Their list of demands could have been written by their parents and grandparents who fought the company before them. It is the same list of grievances for which the writer Ken Saro-Wiwa campaigned for – and ultimately died for – in the mid-nineties.

As Reuters reported earlier this month: “the protesters said they were not benefiting from the region’s oil wealth and wanted an end to the oil pollution that has ruined much of the land.”

One of the protest leaders, Anthony Bouye, told Reuters: “I am a graduate for about eight years without a job. Shell won’t employ me despite us having so much wealth in our backyard.”

In response to start with Shell spun its usual story of how it is shares a commitment “to the welfare of host communities in the Niger Delta remains unshaken.”

Some eleven days on and the protests are continuing with hundreds still occupying the plant, with Shell still not able to access the site.

And now Shell is beginning to put pressure on the protesters to leave, saying their safety could be at risk.

The company’s Nigerian subsidiary, Shell Petroleum Development Company, said in a statement on Sunday: “The illegal occupation of Belema Flow Station and Gas Plant in Rivers State has safety implications both for the people at the facilities and nearby communities.”

Shell added the occupation “exposes people at the plant to higher safety risks as anything could trigger a spill or fire with potentially serious consequences.”

In response the local community have vowed to stay until Shell hands over the operation of the plant to a locally-controlled company.

Community leader Godson Egbelekro told AFP that “We want Shell to hand over the operations of the flow station to Belema Oil Company because it appreciates our challenges and needs.”

However, Shell is unlikely to cede ownership of a key asset. So for the people of the Niger Delta, nothing changes. The vortex of pollution, injustice and poverty continues.

Hopefully Shell will not resort to violence and colluding with the military to clear the site. Otherwise once again, it will have blood on its hands.

The post Protesters Continue to Defy Shell by Occuping Plant in Nigeria appeared first on Oil Change International.

Solar-Plus-Storage Poised to Beat Standalone PV Economics by 2020

Greentech Media: Headlines - 1 hour 2 min ago

With so few utility-scale solar-plus-storage projects actually built, we don’t have much data on how their economics work.

Now those companies considering it -- a group that includes all major solar developers -- have a bit more insight, thanks to Paul Denholm and his colleagues at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Their new analysis models the benefit/cost ratio of several solar and storage configurations under present circumstances and projected cases in 2020.

In today’s market, under the assumptions of the model, standalone PV beats any of the hybrid combinations. Fast forward to 2020 with an assumed 15 percent solar penetration, and DC-coupled PV-plus-storage with the investment tax credit takes the lead.

In a 2020 scenario with 24 percent solar penetration, standalone PV plummets in value and all types of solar-plus-storage take the lead.

The real world economics will change from place to place, but the trend here is clear: as the share of variable solar generation increases, so will the payoff for siting storage in the same place.

That evidence suggests the data are catching up to the aspirations of the storage industry, which Denholm has been tracking for the last 15 years.

“The hype might actually be real,” he said. “If these somewhat conservative projections do come true, then yes, by 2020 solar-plus-storage will be a cost competitive source of dispatchable energy.”

Not just cost

It’s easy enough to calculate levelized cost of energy for a solar-plus-storage system, and it will always be more expensive than standalone solar. That metric fails to capture the additional value that can be gained by adding storage.

If the developer needs to deliver power for the evening peak, a storage-assisted PV plant will be significantly more valuable than the alternative.

The authors instead use a benefit to cost ratio found by dividing the annualized energy revenue and capacity value of the system by its annualized capital and operating expenses.

The system modeled is located in southern California and wields 50 megawatts AC of PV capacity with 30 megawatts of four-hour duration storage.

The researchers focused specifically on this asset’s value for energy and capacity, essentially pitting it against a gas peaker plant. They excluded other uses for storage, like ancillary services or transmission and distribution deferral, meaning the storage can likely deliver even more value than what was modeled here.

Market distortion

Here’s what the results look like for today’s grid:

Benefit/cost outcomes for PV+storage using 2014 electricity prices and 2016 estimated PV and battery costs. (Image credit: NREL)

The investment tax credit is working some mischief here.

Notice that without the ITC, the “tightly coupled” DC system, which only charges the batteries from the PV array, ranks among the worst paybacks. That configuration sacrifices revenue from arbitraging cheap grid power.

When you add the 30 percent ITC, which is available to storage that only charges from renewable sources, the tight DC system jumps to second best, after standalone PV.

That’s evidence of market distortion at work. Congress has not passed a standalone ITC for storage. The policy on the books drives developers toward charging their storage from solar alone, even when it might make more sense to charge from cheap grid power at night, for instance.

“You’re probably not incentivizing the optimal way of using that resource for the ultimate benefit,” Denholm said.

That raises the chances of stranded assets: what if the industry chases the ITC, only to be stuck with a bunch of arbitrarily limited storage systems when the ITC runs out?

That’s not a concern, Denholm said, because in most cases it is possible to unlock grid charging with some tweaks to the storage hardware and software.

The future is hybrid

Standalone PV wins out in the current market context (as modeled; there are certainly cases where it already triumphs), which feature 6 percent solar penetration. The future holds a different outcome.

There’s a well established literature on the declining marginal value of additional solar power. As the amount of solar generation hitting the grid increases, so does the value of storing that power for use in the evening peak.

The 2020 case with a 30 percent investment tax credit. (Image credit: NREL)

Projecting storage and solar costs in 2020 with 15 percent solar penetration, the authors find standalone solar losing its edge. The nonexclusive DC coupled solar-plus-storage beats it, and the tight DC coupled system with the ITC takes first place, with its benefits almost doubling its costs.

At 24 percent solar penetration, standalone PV’s benefit-to-cost ratio sinks below one, meaning costs outweigh benefits. In that scenario, any combination of solar and storage beats the standalone solar.

In the same 2020 scenarios run without any ITC, all forms of solar-plus-storage beat standalone solar at 15 and 24 percent penetration.

In those cases, the unrestricted DC coupled system has the best value proposition, but it’s very close to the tightly coupled system. That’s because in that grid, much of the power charging the storage will be from solar; the value of flexible charging is not as pronounced as it is today.

The study fits into the broader body of work documenting how storage can make itself useful as the grid approaches higher renewable energy penetrations. It also jives with the market conditions we’ve seen so far: a lot of people are talking about pairing these two resources, but few have done it outside of the island grid context. Large-scale projects going through bidding right now would come online around 2020.

In that light, there’s a case to be made for building the hybrid systems before the ITC runs out, knowing that the operational value is only going to grow as solar penetration rises. Once that tax credit is gobbled up, the system can always be changed to operate more flexibly (some might say sensibly) down the road.

Categories: Renewable Energy

Equis Plans 1 Gigawatt Solar Plant In Heart Of Queensland’s Coal & Gas Region

CleanTechnica - 1 hour 7 min ago

Singapore-based renewable energy developer Equis Energy has announced plans to build a 1,000MW solar farm – which would be Australia’s largest – in the heart of Queensland’s coal and gas region in the Surat Basin.

Equis Plans 1 Gigawatt Solar Plant In Heart Of Queensland’s Coal & Gas Region was originally published on CleanTechnica.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

Masdar signs EPC contract for 50MW Halween

Wind Power Monthly - 3 hours 3 min ago
OMAN: Abu Dhabi renewables firm Masdar has awarded a consortium comprising GE and Spain's TSK the contract to engineer, procure and construct (EPC) the 50MW Halween project, the country's first industrial-scale facility.
Categories: Renewable Energy

FAQs About An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power

CleanTechnica - 4 hours 6 min ago

As An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power opens up in theaters, we know that people are going to have questions both before and after going to see it. So we decided to answer as many as we could ahead of time and compile them all here.

FAQs About An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power was originally published on CleanTechnica.

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Categories: Renewable Energy

California defies Trump claim that environmental regulation kills economic growth

Grist - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 22:01

The California economy is thriving, according to a new report released Monday — and that’s despite the state instituting relatively restrictive environmental rules.

According to the assessment, after the passage of California’s trademark — and controversial2006 cap-and-trade law, statewide per capita emissions fell by 12 percent. For every fossil fuel job in the state, California has 8.5 in solar and wind energy. (Compare that to the 2.5-to-1 ratio for the nation, overall.) Most notably, the report finds the state’s per-capita GDP grew by almost double the national average since cap-and-trade passed. In fact, the state is now the most energy-productive economy in the world — meaning it uses the least amount of energy to gain each dollar of GDP.

“Being a leader environmentally is something the state has done for half a century, and the state continues to prosper,” says Charles Kolstad, a Stanford University economist who was not involved in the new report.

The research, published by the public policy nonprofit Next 10, suggests California is emerging as the sixth largest economy in the world while becoming cleaner and greener. That fact sits in direct opposition to the principle now undergirding policy in Washington: that unbridled industry is a key ingredient to U.S. prosperity. “California, in many ways, is out of control,” President Trump has said, attacking the state’s policies straight on.

“The narrative that strict environmental policies that impact large parts of the economy are always bad is simply not the case,” says economist Adam Fowler, the report’s lead author. “These policies have pushed innovation, and innovation is always good in a capitalist system.”

The Trump administration’s MAGAnomics policy, introduced in July, promises to grow the U.S. economy by 3 percent annually in the coming decade through efforts such as welfare reform, renegotiating trade deals, and rolling back regulations. The last time the country grew at that rate was during the Reagan administration. During the Obama years, year-over-year GDP growth topped 2.5 percent only once, and economists predict actual growth in the near term at closer to 2 percent.

In trying to reach that 3 percent goal, Trump is rolling back several environmental regulations: The administration has already challenged the Clean Power Plan, attacked methane rules, and announced it would withdraw from the Paris agreement, among other measures.

But California is growing near the rate Trump desires while cutting emissions and putting more climate regulations in place. And Fowler asserts that environmental restrictions have actually opened up new markets for the state. According to the report, California leads the country in the number of clean-energy patents and has the most people employed in solar power generation of any state.

“That’s part of the California bet,” says Kyle Meng, an environmental economist at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who was not involved in the report. “If California can get it right here, domestically, these industries that are used to meet California’s climate policies can export these technologies.”

As California builds a profitable case for decoupling carbon emissions and growth, it could shift the global conversation about what conditions are necessary for economic progress. “That’s the number one purpose for California’s actions,” Kolstad says. “To demonstrate that you can stabilize carbon emissions and still have a prosperous economy.” (He does caution that any arguments suggesting that environmental regulations actually promote growth are probably exaggerated, as well.)

Still, California’s move toward a clean energy future is still a work in progress. Environmental justice groups oppose its recently extended cap-and-trade program, arguing it isn’t relieving the pollution burdening communities of color and low-income neighborhoods. And many environmentalists suggest the state needs to shed its reliance on natural gas.

Kolstad says California must strike “a happy medium” to plot the most economically favorable path forward. Emissions should be reduced at a steady pace, but it can’t result in job loss or cost too much, which might compel some Californians to turn against environmental action.

“Certainly Trump is trying to turn back things,” Kolstad says. “But this is a tide that’s not going to be turned back.”

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline California defies Trump claim that environmental regulation kills economic growth on Aug 22, 2017.

Categories: Green News

BOC to collaborate with CSIRO on revolutionary $3.4m hydrogen project

Renew Economy - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 21:51
BOC will support CSIRO during its $3.4 million ammonia to hydrogen cracking and membrane purification project that is set to revolutionise the global supply chain for hydrogen.
Categories: Renewable Energy

Know your NEM: Wind output and “baseload” renewables

Renew Economy - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 21:47
Are Australia's wind farms living up to expectations? Why the market preferred Origin's results to AGL's; and a dive into the Windlab prospectus and its "busload" wind and solar plant.
Categories: Renewable Energy

Battery install standard needs to change, not be thrown on scrapheap

Renew Economy - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 21:45
Changes to the draft Australian Standard for installing home battery units are essential, but it is also important to ensure appropriate technical standards are in place to ensure consumers are protected, the Clean Energy Council said today.
Categories: Renewable Energy

Victoria to unveil wind and solar tenders in push for 40% renewables

Renew Economy - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 21:43
Major renewable energy tender announcements expected from Victoria, along with more details of state renewable energy target architecture.
Categories: Renewable Energy

California grid survives solar eclipse, as Australia prepares for 2028

Renew Economy - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 21:01
California's solar-centric grid manages eclipse without a hitch. In Australia, preparations already being made for 2028 eclipse.
Categories: Renewable Energy

Super cheap solar – and why that’s good for Australia’s mining sector

Renew Economy - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 20:52
Solar pioneer Martin Green says solar PV will fall to $US10/MWh within a few years, but this will be good news for Australia's mining industry because the fall in Australia's thermal coal exports will be offset by a factor of more than 5 by demand for other resources.
Categories: Renewable Energy

AEMC backs down on rooftop “solar tax” proposal

Renew Economy - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 20:47
Energy market rule maker backs down on proposal to charge solar households to export excess PV generation back to the grid.
Categories: Renewable Energy

Nuclear and coal lobbies threaten to scupper renewables in South Africa

Renew Economy - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 19:21
South African power utility Eskom recently repeated that it will not conclude supply contracts with developers of new renewable energy power stations.
Categories: Renewable Energy

Air Quality In Northern China Continuing To Worsen At Rapid Rate

CleanTechnica - Mon, 08/21/2017 - 19:00

The first 7 months of 2017 has seen air quality in northern China continue to worsen at a rapid rate, going by newly released figures from the country's environment ministry

Air Quality In Northern China Continuing To Worsen At Rapid Rate was originally published on CleanTechnica.

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Categories: Renewable Energy