Article | February 14, 2020
As anyone familiar with the saga of the Spotsylvania solar project knows, an inherent difficulty in developing renewable energy projects comes in finding the right project location, both in terms of size and siting. This is one of the topics analyzed in a new report released by The Brookings Institute: “Renewables, land use, and local opposition in the United States.” It’s a hard fact that renewable generation uses more land than fossil fuel systems, with solar having slightly lower median land use than both on- and offshore-wind, despite a large variance in total land density values. While this presents an issue for renewable developers, the silver lining is that renewable energy can be sustained indefinitely on the same land base, while mines and wells will eventually run out. As a solution, the study recommends greater development on brownfields, as well as floating PV, though the authors do recognize the capped potential of floating PV at around 10% of current U.S. electricity generation.
Article | February 28, 2020
Scientists and researchers around the world are increasingly turning to Artificial Intelligence (AI)and so called Robo-Scientists to help them discover everything from new anti-biotics and drugs, through to new spray-on solar panel materials and vaccines, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that AI is now being used to help develop new battery tech. “In battery testing, you have to try a massive number of things, because the performance you get will vary drastically,” said Ermon, an assistant professor of computer science at MIT, referring to how scientists traditionally hunt for new battery breakthroughs, and who led the new project to use AI to help them develop new promising batteries for Electric Vehicles.
Article | April 1, 2020
The U.S. renewables industry was left out of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill passed last week, but the battle is far from over. Congress is already considering further legislation to rescue the economy from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, and renewable energy groups are ready to bring their proposals back to the table. As with the last stimulus bill, the industry's plans center on securing changes to two federal policies: the Investment Tax Credit (ITC) for solar power and the Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind power. Renewables groups have a powerful claim to make as they push for those changes: Unlike many of the industries seeking hundreds of billions of dollars in collective aid, the desired tweaks to the renewable tax credits would not add significantly to the federal government's costs.
Article | March 10, 2020
In the longer term it is obvious that having significant manufacturing capacity in coastal US states makes more sense than making components elsewhere and sending them on long sea journeys to their installation site. However, in the short term the sector will require a great deal of imported machinery and skills. International free trade has been instrumental in creating a positive marketplace for offshore wind, by driving down costs and accelerating growth. Unfortunately, this has had contrary effects on local prosperity, where areas do not receive the benefits of investment. Public and political support for offshore wind developments can therefore be undermined.