Cheapest Solar on Record Offered as Abu Dhabi Expands Renewables  

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Bloomberg reports that a new record low price for large scale solar power of US2.42 cents per kilowatt-hour has been set in Abu Dhabi - Cheapest Solar on Record Offered as Abu Dhabi Expands Renewables.

The bid marks another record for solar technology prices, which have fallen almost 70 percent in the past five years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Competition among Chinese solar manufacturers including Jinko has brought down the cost of delivering panels while more investors have become comfortable with backing the technology, reducing borrowing costs.

Ready Player One  

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1980's nostalgia seems to be getting popular lately, with TV series like Stranger Things strip mining 80's pop culture references.

I recently read a book that manages to combine vast amounts of 1980's movie, book and video game references with some good old fashioned circa 2005 peak oil doomerism - Ernest Cline's book Ready Player One.

The book is set in 2044, and envisions a world that would make James Howard Kunstler shed (some) tears of Joy. Resource limits have hit hard and the US population has converged from the suburbs and rural areas into multi-storey trailer parks on the edges of the big cities where they eke out a meagre existance.

The population has largely decided to follow the Japanese example and have retreated into a global virtual reality game known as OASIS.

I enjoyed it - but I'd concede that I'm in the sweet spot as far as potential audience goes, having been a teenager in the 80s.

How the London Array blows away the competition in green energy  

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The Guardian has a look at the world's largest offshore wind farm - How the London Array blows away the competition in green energy

At the widest point of the Greater Thames estuary, 12 miles north of the Kent coast and 12 miles south of Essex, lies the London Array – the largest operational offshore wind farm in the world. Completed in 2013, after 10 years of planning and construction, it covers an area of 40 square miles – roughly the same size of Bristol – and comprises 175 individual turbines laid out in neat rows like an enormous nursery flower bed.

August 2016 Is the 11th Temperature Record-Breaking Month in a Row  

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SLate notes that for the 11th month in a row, August was the warmest month on record globally - March … I Mean April … I Mean May … I Mean June … I Mean July... I Mean August 2016 Is the Sixth … I Mean Seventh … I Mean Eighth … I Mean Ninth … I Mean 10th … I Mean 11th Temperature Record-Breaking Month in a Row.

According to NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, August 2016 was the hottest August on record, going back 136 years. It was a staggering 0.98° C above average across the planet.* The previous August record, from 2014, was 0.82° above average; the new record beats it by well over a tenth of a degree.

The 'Tesla of buses' just made a big move to eliminate diesel buses forever  

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Business Insider has a look at electric bus manufacturer Proterra - The 'Tesla of buses' just made a big move to eliminate diesel buses forever

Proterra’s Catalyst E2 is 40-foot long bus with a range of 350 miles under typical test track conditions. That’s a big deal, considering Tesla only recently announced a battery upgrade for its Model S and Model X Ludicrous options that can achieve 315 miles of range — making it the first electric car on the market to exceed 300 miles of range.

What Hubbert And Pickens Got Right About Oil, And What's Next  

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Forbes has an interview with peak oiler Bruce Pile - What Hubbert And Pickens Got Right About Oil, And What's Next.

Kam: So that was Hubbert’s prediction for the US. What about his prediction for a global peak?

Pile: As Hubbert’s projection for a global peak approached in the early 2000s (he had calculated around 2000), slightly fewer considered him a lunatic because his US prediction had been so accurate. His global peak prediction was refined mathematically by Ken Deffeyes, a Shell associate of Hubbert’s, as being 2005. And he was right.

We’ve been on an undulating plateau since that peak of about 74 mb/d and are now down to about 70 mb/d depending on whose numbers you go by and what they have added to straight conventional. Deffeyes pegged it in his 2005 book “Beyond Oil” and in his 2001 book “Hubbert’s Peak: The Impending World Oil Shortage.”

Kam: So why do we constantly hear that peak oil was baloney?

Pile: This chart explains it.

Here we see just what is propping us up from the disasters of peak oil. The two big props are the pale green one and especially the pink one – that is fracked gas liquids (NGL, actually from natural gas production) and shale oil (unconventional crude).

This difference in conventional crude and total liquids is behind all the arguing. “Peak total liquids” has not happened yet, and with shale, may not happen for a long time.

Peak conventional crude did happen, and it happened exactly as Hubbert and Pickens said. Without the pink prop, we would be back on Hubbert’s curve, and Pickens estimates something like $175 oil. And without the natural gas shale fracking giving us the green prop, total “oil” price would go even higher.

World first for Shetlands in tidal power breakthrough  

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The Guardian has a report on the first fully operational array of tidal power turbines in Scotland's Bluemull Sound - World first for Shetlands in tidal power breakthrough

Nova Innovation said it had deployed the world’s first fully operational array of tidal power turbines in the Bluemull Sound between the islands of Unst and Yell in the north of Shetland, where the North Sea meets the Atlantic. It switched on the second of five 100kW turbines due to be installed in the sound this month, sending electricity on a commercial basis into Shetland’s local grid.

Existing tidal schemes use single power plants or installations rather than a chain of separate turbines. A French company, OpenHydro, says it too is very close to linking two tidal machines, off Brittany, to build a more powerful 1MW array.

US solar PV prices hit “all-time low”, at rooftop and utility-scale  

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ReNew Economy has a look at the ever decreasing price of solar power - US solar PV prices hit “all-time low”, at rooftop and utility-scale.

Solar PV prices hit a new “all-time low” in the US in 2015, a new report has revealed, with some residential systems installed for as little as $3.30/W, and the cheapest utility-scale PV coming in below $1.60/W, while four out of five regions had PPA prices of less that $50/MWh.

RNE also notes that solar PV prices have hit a record low in Chile - Solar PV strikes new record low in Chile.

The solar PV cost reduction spiral reached its lowest point yet at an auction in Chile last week where Spanish developer Solarpack Tecnologica won contracts to sell power from a solar plant high in the Andes for $29.10/MWh. The 120MW plant to be built in Chile’s sunny Atacama desert surpassed the previous record-low for solar PV brokered in Dubai in May, and was priced at almost half the cost of coal power in the same event.

World’s largest solar power plant planned for Chernobyl nuclear wasteland  

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Electrek has a post on a plan to build a solar power plant at Chernobyl - World’s largest solar power plant planned for Chernobyl nuclear wasteland.

The proposed 1GW solar plant, if built today, would be the world’s largest. There are several plans for 1GW solar plants in development (Egypt, India, UAE, China, etc) – but none of them have been completed yet. One financial benefit of the site is that transmission lines for Chernobyl’s 4GW nuclear reactor are still in place.

Doubling the battery power of consumer electronics using lithium metal batteries  

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MIT News has a report on "new lithium metal batteries could make smartphones, drones, and electric cars last twice as long" - Doubling battery power of consumer electronics.

Founded in 2012 by MIT alumnus and former postdoc Qichao Hu ’07, SolidEnergy Systems has developed an “anode-free” lithium metal battery with several material advances that make it twice as energy-dense, yet just as safe and long-lasting as the lithium ion batteries used in smartphones, electric cars, wearables, drones, and other devices.

“With two-times the energy density, we can make a battery half the size, but that still lasts the same amount of time, as a lithium ion battery. Or we can make a battery the same size as a lithium ion battery, but now it will last twice as long,” says Hu, who co-invented the battery at MIT and is now CEO of SolidEnergy.

The battery essentially swaps out a common battery anode material, graphite, for very thin, high-energy lithium-metal foil, which can hold more ions — and, therefore, provide more energy capacity. Chemical modifications to the electrolyte also make the typically short-lived and volatile lithium metal batteries rechargeable and safer to use. Moreover, the batteries are made using existing lithium ion manufacturing equipment, which makes them scalable.

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