Solar, Renewables Creeping up On Gas

June 5, 2018


Above, Minnesota solar farm optimized for pollinators.

PV Magazine:

In many ways California has led the transition to renewable energy in the United States. As the state continues to build more and more solar and modernizes its approach to electricity planning, it has even begun to deny the continuation of contracts to existing gas plants in favor of clean energy alternatives.

California was one of only three states in 2017 to get more than 10% of its power from solar, but has not stopped there. According to an analysis of data from California’s grid operator compiled by pv magazine collaborator and self-described data geek Joe Deely, in May solar generation in the area managed by the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) rose to a new record of 3.02 terawatt-hours (TWh), representing nearly 17% of in-state generation. With gas falling to only 2.67 TWh, or around 15%, this means that solar provided more electricity for Californians than gas – for the first time ever on a monthly basis.

It is important to note that as CAISO does not track rooftop solar or other solar generation behind a customer meter, all of the solar projects in the state actually generated as much as 50% more electricity than the CAISO figures show.

But as is usually the case, it is important to look beyond these two sources of generation to get a clear picture of what is going on here. While hydro generation has fallen from its high of 18% last May, it still provided 12% of electricity generation during the month, which is higher than in the drought years of 2014 and 2015.

Big gas turbine makers in the US and abroad are cutting staff with big layoffs, due to miscalculating both electrical demand growth, and the boom in renewable energy – driven by increasingly attractive economics.

New York Times:

The announcement is an acknowledgment that the company has not been properly positioned for where the energy market is headed. Oil and natural gas markets are dealing with a glut of supply and companies like General Electric have been forced to cut prices on their services. The long-term demand for renewable energy is growing globally, even as the American political climate damps its short-term prospects. And G.E. faces a raft of competition from international rivals in all those areas.

Just look at the company’s business for the big turbines at the heart of electricity-generating plants. Although more coal is being burned and shipped this year in much of the world, the trends favor renewable sources, where production costs are rapidly falling. Fewer coal and gas-fired power plants are being built, leaving more companies fighting over fewer projects. The result: G.E. is sitting on a pile of excess inventory.


2 Responses to “Solar, Renewables Creeping up On Gas”

  1. Sir Charles Says:

    Meanwhile, the powerful few who benefit from the fossil fuel status quo are exerting their influence…

    => The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

  2. lracine Says:

    So what does it take and how much will it cost to make France’s Electric Grid 100% renewable?

    This is a link to Jean Marc Jancovoici site, IMO this guy is not in anyone’s pocket, but an honest engineer who is looking at the big picture and what it would take to convert France’s electric grid to 100% renewable energy. It is a very good/honest technical read. (it is a translation from french to english so the sentence structure is awkward at times)

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