One thing is certain: the energy industry is undergoing rapid and dramatic change, and mostly to our collective benefit!
There are too many developments to mention, but here are a few of the most interesting from the last few weeks:
- The UK (2040) and France (2040) have both joined Germany (2030), Norway (2025), the Netherlands (2025) and India (203) in announcing plans to completely ban petrol & diesel vehicle sales. This is driven partly by renewable energy and climate change goals, but the main concern is actually nitrogen oxide pollution and its negative health effects on urban populations.
- These developments will provide further impetus to the growth of electric vehicle sales. Bloomberg New Energy Finance predicts that over half of all new car sales will be electric by 2040. They also predict that electric vehicles will cost less than internal combustion engine vehicles by 2025 – 2029 in most countries.
- That should make Tesla’s shareholders happy! What is also making them happy, is Tesla securing an order from South Australia for the world’s largest lithium ion battery of 100 MW. The battery will be paired with a Neoen wind farm.
- Speaking of wind farms, it seems that two-bladed wind turbines are much more cost-effective than three-bladed turbines. A slightly lower efficiency (about 2% lower) is more than off-set by an approximately 50% reduction in total cost of energy (capital & operating cost) over the lifetime!
- And a floating wind farm has been proposed off California’s coast, where a steep continental shelf makes traditional underwater foundations for offshore wind farms prohibitively expensive.
- Fossil fuel power generation continues to experience headwinds. A large Mississippi flagship clean coal project is experiencing large cost overruns (their US$2.4bn budget is heading to US$7bn!), putting the feasibility of clean coal in question.
- … And similar huge cost overruns have led to a nuclear reactor construction project in California to be aborted unfinished.
The fact that even in the USA coal and nuclear power projects continue to experience huge cost overruns should be a major red flag for South Africa’s nuclear power plant ambitions. Let’s hope that the powers that be start accepting our inevitable solar future!
Until next time
The PowerOptimal team
Image below: China’s Panda Green Energy Group has been creative with a new 100 MW solar farm…