Stealth Wind Turbines For 96 MW French Wind Farm

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If you know what makes a stealth bomber stealthy, you might already have an understanding of a what a stealth wind turbine is just from reading the article title. Similar to the very low radar profile of a stealth bomber, stealth wind turbines don’t reflect radar signals as much as the typical kind do. Some wind farms have been rejected for development because of their impact on aviation radar systems.
Many proposed wind turbine locations have been blocked by the French military over radar concerns. However, the military also developed a way to treat wind turbine surfaces so that they don’t interfere as much with radar systems. Vestas is manufacturing the stealth wind turbines for a 96 MW wind farm in France, which will be the largest in the country. All wind turbines located there will be stealthy.
Stealth wind turbines are not entirely new. Vestas made an announcement in 2011 about their work in this area, after completing a successful test of a new wind turbine with less radar reflectivity.
Although the development of stealth wind turbines might seem somewhat of a tangent to the wind power industry, it should be noted that an estimated 20 GW of potential wind power has been shelved due to radar interference concerns.
In developed countries with limited space for very large wind farms, there is a real concern for the disruption of air traffic control systems. Military and civilian radar systems might also be compromised by placing wind farms with conventional turbines too close. Wind farms are composed of wind turbines that turn in wind, and that are reflective. On radar screens they show up as confusing images that can cause human viewers to lose track of planes as they are flying.
Onboard navigational systems for airplanes and even marine vessels can also be confused by the presence of large wind farms. For these reasons, it makes very good sense that Vestas undertook the project to reduce the reflectivity of wind turbine blades, nacelles, and towers.
Applying the reducing materials used on stealth airplanes to entire turbine blades did not work because it reduced wind turbine performance too much. Adding the materials to the leading and trailing edges of the blades was a better solution. Replacing glass composites with radar-absorbent materials also helped. However, covering the nacelle and tower with these same materials was a good idea because this approach did not reduce wind turbine performance.
Ferrite paints and crystalline graphite are two of the radar absorbing materials that were used to make a conventional wind turbine stealthy.

This article is reposted from Clean Technica Author credit goes to Jake Richardson Images credit goes to Vestas

Climate Change Report: Prevent Damage By Overhauling Global Economy

The world can still act in time to stave off the worst effects of climate change, and enjoy the fruits of continued economic growth as long as the global economy can be transformed within the next 15 years, a group of the world's leading economists and political leaders will argue on Tuesday.
Tackling climate change can be a boon to prosperity, rather than a brake, according to the study involving a roll-call of the globe's biggest institutions, including the UN, the OECD group of rich countries, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and co-authored by Lord Stern, one of the world's most influential voices on climate economics.
The report comes ahead of a UN-convened summit of world leaders on global warming next week at which David Cameron has pledged to lead calls for strong action.
"Reducing emissions is not only compatible with economic growth and development – if done well it can actually generate better growth than the old high-carbon model," said Stern.
It is his most significant intervention in climate politics since the landmark2006 Stern review of the economics of climate change, which made the case that tackling climate change as a matter of urgency will be cheaper than attempting to deal with the effects of the problem decades in the future. That report marked a revolution in thinking on global warming, and was a major factor in the agreements forged in Copenhagen in 2009 by which developed and major developing countries for the first time set out joint measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The economic transformation proposed in the new report will improve the lives of billions, the authors argue, from people suffering from air pollution in crowded cities to farmers struggling with poor soils in developing countries, the authors found. But achieving this change will require strong political action to set limits on carbon dioxide emissions, while promoting alternatives such as renewable energy, sustainable cities, teaching modern farming techniques and better-designed transport.
The world is expected to add billions of people to the global population in the next two decades, and trillions of dollars in economic growth – but if the massive expected growth of developing world cities is poorly managed, and global investment is poured into existing high-carbon infrastructure, then a unique opportunity to change the pattern of prosperity will have been lost, and billions of people will be left the poorer as a result, the report warns.
Stern gave the example of cities, which if designed on public transport can have more efficient economies – because people aren't spending hours commuting and polluting, with its attendant effects on health – as well as better quality of life and lower carbon emissions.
The energy and climate change secretary, Ed Davey, told the Guardian that the UK has already seen benefits from focusing on clean development, and was committed to helping developing countries do the same. He said: "It has required UK business and international investors to recognise the costs of failure and the benefits of change and it has been sustained by a strong, vocal and committed network of NGOs, pressure groups and activists who have been instrumental in sustaining political will and public acceptance."
Cutting Co2 pollution : solar panel on the rooftop of a house in India

At next week's climate summit, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, will convene heads of state and government from around the world to discuss climate change for the first time since the 2009 Copenhagen conference, which produced the first commitments from major developing countries such as China and India to curb emissions, and marked the first time the US agreed to binding emissions targets, but was widely derided for the scenes of chaos that accompanied it.
Convening world leaders again is a risky strategy, but is seen by the UN as essential to lay the ground for a crunch meeting in Paris next year, at which world governments will attempt to forge a new agreement that will cut global greenhouse gas emissions after 2020, when current pledges run out. The EU has vowed to cut emissions by 40% by 2030, compared with 1990 levels, but is the only major developed country bloc to have laid out clear plans.
Today's report, the New Climate Economy, from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, says that although technological "fixes" to climate change – such as renewable energy, low-carbon fuels, better urban design and better use of agricultural land – are growing fast, they are currently nowhere near enough to produce the transformation needed. As new power stations, cities and transport networks are built today, they are still being engineered on a high-carbon basis – coal-fired power plants, roads rather than public transport, slums without facilities rather than planned developments – and once these are built they lock in high carbon emissions for decades to come. Breaking that cycle requires a coordinated effort, from rich and poor countries, that prioritises sustainability and penalises high-carbon growth, for instance through a price on carbon.
Such efforts will come at a price, but this is far outweighed by the benefits in economic growth and improvements in health, the report suggests. For instance, reducing the world's dependence on coal and other dirty fuels will cut air pollution and remove a key source of strain on healthcare systems.
The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, launched a year ago by the UK along with six other countries, has involved the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the OECD, the International Energy Agency and the UN, as well as several research institutes, and former world premiers. It has been chaired by the Mexican president, Felipe Calderón, and advised by leading economists including Lord Stern and Nobel prize winners Daniel Kahneman and Michael Spence.
Ottmar Edenhofer, chief economist at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and an adviser to the report, said: "Economic growth and emissions reductions can be achieved together, the report clearly confirms … Pricing CO2 is key. The heaven above us today is a waste dump for gases that harm our climate system. Wealthy states are disposing of them, free of charge, at the expense of all of us. If emitting CO2 came at a reasonable price, this would stabilise investors' expectations so they can push forward the innovation of climate friendly technologies."


This article is reposted from TheGuardian Author credit goes to Fiona Harvey Images credit goes to Peter Andrews / Rafiq Maqbool

What Can Small Cities Do To Fight Climate Change?

Everyone should know by now that the U.S. needs to adopt policies to restrain its profligate energy use. Per capita, we use the most of any country except Iceland. And no, it’s not just because we’re richer: Adjusted for GDP, we still use more than everyone except for Australia, Canada, and a few frigid countries in northern Europe.
Our huge and wasteful appetite for energy sucks money out of the economy and produces greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. But Congress won’t pass a cap-and-trade bill, carbon tax, or any other policy to address it. Senate Republicans even blocked a bill that would have assisted the private sector in purely voluntary conservation measures and saved money by increasing efficiency in federal agencies.
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) articulated a common attitude toward energy conservation when he told me recently that we use the most energy per capita because we’re the greatest country in the world. Consumption, to many Americans, equals greatness.
Some more progressive communities, though, are stepping into the breach left by Washington. But whereas the most efficient government policies would simply require less energy usage and let the market figure out how to achieve it, that’s economically unfeasible for small cities and counties. As with local tax rates, mandatory energy efficiency is limited to how much you can get away with before you start pushing residents and businesses into neighboring towns. So most municipalities are restricted to encouraging and assisting in voluntary efficiency and renewable-promotion efforts.
Consider Eugene, Ore., a hippie-ish college town of 158,000. The city council recently passed an ordinance to achieve steep reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in both the public and private sectors, which essentially gives legislative force to the city’s 2010 Community Climate and EnergyAction Plan. The goals are to reduce community-wide greenhouse gas emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and to reduce community-wide fossil fuel use 50 percent by 2030. And Eugene’s plan applies these targets to the private, as well as public, sector.
Can Eugene actually meet these goals? The only way to guarantee reductions in private sector emissions or energy usage is to require them. The next most efficient way is to tax emissions so that they become prohibitively expensive and companies and consumers adjust accordingly. Eugene is doing neither, at least not yet.
Currently, Eugene is working on an energy inventory for its whole economy. It will then consider voluntary energy-saving measures in the private sector, such as easier permitting for energy-efficient construction and energy performance scores for commercial buildings so tenants know what they’ll be paying for electricity. The city will also look at ideas like commercial food-waste composting in restaurants and grocery stores to reduce methane emissions from landfills.
One area in which Eugene is doing well, largely without even trying, is reducing its emissions from transportation — they’ve dropped 2.5 percent per year since 2010, despite population growth. This is largely due to larger economic and cultural shifts — the recession, the rise of telecommuting, online shopping and entertainment, transit and biking, more efficient cars and higher gasoline prices — many of which are especially pronounced in a liberal college town. “People have been shifting to walking, biking, and busing,” says Matt McRae, a climate and energy analyst in the Eugene City Manager’s Office. “We’re seeing some loss of trips altogether. Vehicle miles traveled has been flat or dropping slightly. Our fuel consumption has dropped 16 percent [since 2010] while our population has grown 13 percent, so it’s a really substantial drop.” Eugene has attempted to encourage these trends with improved bus service and a master plan for improving sidewalks and bike corridors.
McCrae is optimistic about the city’s climate and energy goals, but aware that without binding emissions limits there is no guarantee they will be hit. “There is a plan to reach the targets, but we’re not positive it will get us there,” he says. “We just threw our cap over the wall and said we have to get there. There are no regulations on the private sector or residents. However, it’s possible the council, as it looks into how we get there, may make regulations.”
But, he cautions, “They’re interested in carrots, not sticks. The solutions will look more like incentive programs to use less energy.”
Their aversion to hard caps on emissions or energy usage is understandable. Absent federal or even statewide regulations, one city cannot necessarily go it alone.
Pitkin County, Colo., home to the ski resorts of Aspen, is a bit unusual in that it crafted a policy that would serve as a stick anywhere else, but because the area has such incredibly rich homeowners — there are at least 50 billionaires with property in Pitkin County, including the Koch brothers, Jeff Bezos, and Michael Dell — it functions as more of a mandatory donation to a program that provides community-wide carrots.
The super-wealthy owners of vacation homes in the Aspen area are especially profligate with their energy use. Drive around and you’ll see massive houses with the lights on, the hot tub bubbling, the driveway free of snow thanks to a dedicated heating system, even though no one is home. The super-rich, you see, like to have their houses kept ready for them at all times, even if they only pop in occasionally.
The area’s progressive residents decided in 1999 to charge a fee for such indulgences. Every new house over 5,000 square feet is required to mitigate its presumed electricity consumption with on-site renewable generation, or pay a fee. Mitigation is also required for each hot tub, outdoor pool, and snow-melting system. The fee calculation is complex, depending on each amenity’s size. But, say, a 6,000-square-foot house with an average-sized hot tub and pool can trigger a fee of about $100,000. That fee can be reduced substantially, or even wiped out entirely, though, by building a large enough solar array, geothermal heat pump, solar heat pump, or a combination thereof.
One might expect that the threat of a steep cost would mean that owners would forgo some luxuries or avoid the fees by building renewable energy installations on their properties. After all, $100,000 is a big sum of money to any normal American. But some multimillionaires are willing to simply pay the extra cost. The money generated by the policy — roughly $1 million per year, on average, though it fluctuates with the economy — goes to help other area residents and businesses retrofit their buildings for energy efficiency and invest in renewables.
The local Community Office for Resource Efficiency (CORE) uses the money for primarily two purposes: one, grants to businesses and institutions like schools to cover up to 50 percent of the cost of building a renewable energy project, like a solar array; and two, the Energy Smart program of cash rebates to home and business owners who adopt energy-saving measures like better insulation of windows and attics. In the last three years, Energy Smart has performed 994 home energy assessments and 920 home energy improvements. CORE estimates that every year this saves more than 22.5 million kilo-BTUs of energy, worth $323,000, and prevents more than 2,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
“What made this a palatable policy from a political standpoint is that it acknowledged that people building homes here in Aspen have the appetite and budget for luxury amenities and the resources to mitigate those impacts,” says Jason Haber, director of grants and community programs at CORE. “It was designed to live in harmony with that paradigm. It wasn’t necessarily designed as a deterrent.” The logic of the program is that it will help to offset the environmental impact of Aspen’s super-rich, whereas simply outlawing oversized houses and hot tubs might drive them off and damage the local economy. “You don’t want to do something necessarily to encourage those [rich] people not to come,” says Haber.
In an economy where 75.4 percent of the wealth is owned by the richest 10 percent of Americans, this is an understandable concern. Without the wealthy, who would ride Aspen’s ski gondolas, drink its $7 craft beers, or shop at its Gucci store?
Pitkin County deserves kudos for getting creative, but it can only go so far on its own without undermining its economy. That’s why we need national policies to comprehensively address climate change and energy use, not to mention economic and environmental injustice. But good luck getting any of that through this Congress. Towns like Aspen and Eugene are doing what they can, but they need the rest of the country to come along with them.

This article is reposted from Grist Author credit goes to Ben Adler Images credit goes to Grist

Carbon Price Repeal A Victory For Fossil Fuels, Ideologues And Climate Science Denial.

It has been an historic week for climate change policy as Australia becomes the first nation in the world to repeal laws that had put a price on greenhouse gas emissions.
The Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his Government’s supporters are claiming a key victory.
But who actually won?

Science denial, so-called “free market” ideology and the interests of the fossil fuel energy industry are the termites chewing away at the base of all efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

They are the winners. The lobbyists, the ideologues and the fossil fuel industry.
Let’s first remember the nuts and bolts of all this.

The price on greenhouse gas emissions that came into force in 2012 was a long overdue acknowledgement that you shouldn’t be able to dump industrial waste products into the atmosphere for free.

The idea is to give companies and societies an incentive to cut down on fossil fuel use.
Removing the price means the atmosphere can again be used with impunity as an open sewer for the disposal of carbon dioxide and methane.

Of course, there really is no “disposal” as the gases hang around to accumulate in an atmosphere that now holds about 40 per cent more carbon dioxide than it did before the industrial revolution.

The symbolism of a price on emissions wasn’t lost on Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

Only months ago, he told a mining industry celebratory dinner that the “one fundamental problem, above all else, with the carbon tax” was that it served to “demonise the coal industry”.

Given that continued use of coal around the globe now and in the future risks serious implications for human civilization, the fact that coal is being “demonised” is perhaps understandable.

But the response from the vested interests and the majority of the political right in Australia was to demonise the price on the use of this demon coal.

It became a “toxic tax” that would be an economic “wrecking ball” that would make joints of lamb unaffordable and wipe out entire towns. Alarmist, much?

When opposition leader Bill Shorten pledged this week Labor would stand by the party’s position of pricing greenhouse gas emissions, Education Minister Christopher Pyne described the policy as “a rotten, stinking carcass” that he would hang around Shorten’s neck until the next election in 2016.

Lobby Power

In an attempt to push back against this “demonisation” of coal, some of the world’s biggest fossil energy companies had been targeting Australians with a barrage of public relations and advertising.

Coal was the answer to ending global poverty, we are now being told, and anyone standing in the way is morally dubious.
The ABC revealed last year that the coal industry had tweaked its Coal 21 fund – originally plugged as a cash pot to research lower-emissions coal technologies – to allow the money to also be used simply to promote the use of coal.

The fossil fuel industry continues to utilise the revolving lobby doorwhere high ranking government officials and politicians step out from years navigating the inner workings of government to land jobs as advocates and lobbyists.

One recent example of this would be Martin Ferguson, who after spending six years as the Labor government’s resources minister took a job as chairman of APPEA, the peak body for the oil and gas industry (as I’ve mentioned here before, Abbott advisor and Liberal Party polling guru Mark Textor owns a company that is registered as a lobbyist for APPEA).
Another example of the revolving lobby door in action is Stephen Galilee, a former advisor to several Liberal Party politicians (including Tony Abbott and the now Premier of New South Wales Mike Baird) who now heads the New South Wales Minerals Council representing the interests of coal miners.

In coal friendly Queensland, coal company employees are asked to draftthe state's environment policy.

The opaque state lobby registers, together with the Federal register, are littered with former government staffers, high ranking political advisors and former politicians whose experience is now being put to good use by the resources and energy majors.

Carbon pricing matters to the fossil fuel industry in Australia because so much of the energy we use comes from burning their products.

About 69 per cent of Australia’s electricity comes from burning coal, followed by gas (20 per cent) and then hydro (six per cent) with the rest coming from wind (two per cent). Solar power currently makes up a tiny percentage.

Neither does Australia want the world to think that one of its biggest exports is in any way demon-like.

So as the debate over carbon pricing has burned continually hot, there have been concerted attempts to undermine the science linking human activity to climate change and undermine the impacts.

Denying the science

Abbott's own position on the science of climate change has changed very little since he declared it was "crap". His coalition party room is well attended by climate science deniers.
One MP recently returned from a US conference for sceptics - a visit paid for by the notorious Heartland Institute - declaring climate scienceto be more like "fiction dressed up as science".
Chief protagonist in the pushing of climate science denialist talking points into the public discourse in Australia is the Institute of Public Affairs, a Melbourne-based “free market” think tank.

Last year the IPA issued a wish list of public spending cuts including the gutting of most climate change functions across multiple government agencies. The group has long campaigned to “axe the tax”.

The IPA promotes climate science denialist books with city-hopping tours for authors and organises speaking tours for international climate science denialists.

In recent years the IPA has sponsored tours and visits from the likes of UK blogger and anti-wind activist James Delingpole, the US Cato Institute’s Pat Michaels (who once estimated 40 per cent of his income came from the oil industry), Canada’s Donna Laframboise, Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg (whose US think tank paid him $775,000 in just one year) and former Czech president Vaclav Klaus.

All these international guests have poured scorn on efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions or claimed the science of climate change is alarmist.

In the 2013 book Big Coal, authors Guy Pearse, David McKnight and Bob Burton explain their view of the role of think tanks in the climate and energy debate.

"What think tanks such as the IPA and like-minded groups effectively do is free up the coal industry’s primary lobby groups, such as the ACA (Australian Coal Association, which is now part of the Minerals Council of Australia) and the companies themselves, from damaging their own credibility by being publicly identified as rejecting the scientific consensus on climate change."

Like other Australian think tanks, the IPA isn’t required to disclose its funders, even though it is looking to influence public policy.
The IPA is allowed, however, to use its privileged tax status to encourage supporters to claim tax breaks in return for donations to fund a climate science denial book.

Other anti-climate science groups have emerged, such as the Galileo Movement (the patron is the combative radio host Alan Jones) and even a political party devoted to “axing the tax”.
British climate science misinformer Lord Christopher Monckton has been flown in three times for speaking tours, two of which were aided by mining billionaire Gina Rinehart. All to undermine public concern and foster antagony between climate science and the public.

Media denial

Another key to the Abbott’s “victory” in the carbon price repeal has been the role of the Rupert Murdoch-owned media in Australia.

In 2007 Murdoch said in a webcast that the planet should be “given the benefit of the doubt” on climate change as he launched an initiative to make News Corp “carbon neutral” (I remember the webcast well as I was a News Ltd journalist at the time when we were all encouraged to down tools and watch).

Murdoch’s “conversion” was said to have been heavily influenced by his son James. But the media mogul’s apparent new concern for the climate didn’t last.

When Murdoch joined Twitter in January 2012, his first tweet was to recommend people read a book by Sir Matt Ridley, an advisor to UK-based climate sceptic group the Global Warming Policy Foundation.

When Tony Abbott became Prime Minister, Murdoch tapped out a congratulatory tweet pre-empting how Abbott would be “killing the carbon tax”.

Murdoch isn’t a fan of wind energy either. On Twitter, he unleashed his wisdom on his followers (now numbering more than half a million) to say “let's stop wasting money on ridiculous windmills”, “stop wasting billions on windfarms now!” and describing turbines as “uneconomic ugly bird killing windmills”.

The vast majority of news stories and opinion columns published by the dominant Murdoch press in Australia, as one study has documented, promote long-debunked fringe views on climate science.

In a recent cringe worthy interview on Sky News, Murdoch showed just how personally misinformed on climate change he actually is.

Murdoch’s newspapers have provided the main public forum for the fringe opinions of climate denialists.

International impact

Yet the most telling impact globally of the Abbott Government’s position on greenhouse gas policy may still be to come.

Like any other country, Australia can choose to be a blocker in international climate change negotiations at UN meetings in Peru later this year, where a new global deal to cut emissions will start to take shape.

Because the UN process relies on agreement among all parties, it only requires one fly to spoil the ointment.

The plan for Peru is that a new deal will be progress ready to sign at the following year’s meeting in Paris.

Based on its record, any world leaders claiming to want genuine action to cut emissions might now have to work out how to cut Australia out of the equation.

This article is reposted from the Guardian Author credit goes to Graham Readfearn Images credit goes to Gary Ramage 




What Does Solar Energy Mean To Germany’s Big Utilities?

Germany’s renewable sector (RE) is flexing its muscles, with solar production up 28% and wind up 19% during the first half of 2014. As a result, the renewable sector accounted for 31% of the nation’s electricity. If this trend continues, this may be the third year in a row that Germany sets a record for energy exports. The increase in renewables has also been accompanied by a decrease in fossil fuel usage. Gas-fired power plant production is down 25%, compared to last year, and hard coal production fell 11%. Only lignite power usage rose. So what does solar energy mean to Germany’s utilities?

In the video Birthing a Solar Age, Jerry Rifkin points out that so much renewable energy was fed into the grid one day last month that the price of electricity fell below zero. He predicted there will be more days like this, and in the future Germany’s utilities will not want to sell electricity, as they lose too much money!
Max Hildebrandt, renewables expert at Germany Trade & Invest, points out that it is important to distinguish between the wholesale spot market price and the consumer market price, and to note that utilities in the EU have seen gradual unbundling into grid-side and generation and supply operations.
“Negative prices on the EPEX spot exchange are a relatively rare but not unusual phenomenon,” he said. “They occur only during short peak periods – usually around noon when solar radiation is highest – and not for entire days. They are merely a signal for the large-scale spot market participants and do not have an immediate effect on the more rigid prices in the consumer market.”
When spot prices are negative, power generators can choose whether to cut production or briefly accept negative prices for their electricity. Although there is a general tendency for greater fluctuations in demand and supply with an increased share of renewables, Hildebrandt notes that this can be countered “by expanding the grid so that it is more flexible geographically, by increasing energy storage capacity to increase flexibility in terms of time, and by employing demand response approaches. Germany does all of the above and there are large business opportunities in these areas.”
There are more than 1.4 million PV systems in Germany, according to figures from Germany Trade and Invest. The transformation of the German energy market, now known as the Energiewende, began with the first EEG legislation and has seen PV prices drop from over EUR 0.50/kWh in 2006 to around EUR 0.15/kWh in 2014. PV systems have nearly no operational costs meaning that once the initial capital investment has been paid back they produce power extremely cheaply. German legislators and regulators are currently revising their approaches toward the energy market as new business models evolve.
“Some utilities have entered the renewables business themselves, especially in capital-intensive offshore wind, which benefits from near constant and stronger wind than onshore systems thus providing a more stable supply,” Hildebrandt noted.
In his book Sun Above the Horizon, Meteoric Rise of the Solar Industry (pp. 452-57), Peter Varadi suggests that the corporate culture of Germany’s four big utilities is much more amenable to wind than solar energy.
They have only recently come to terms with solar energy’s existence, and Varadi suggests this is because the utilities are both centralized and largely reliant on fossil fuel plants. As of 2011, they had not contributed a penny of the $80 billion invested in Germany’s solar sector. Now they have all launched solar arms that encourage customers to install solar plus battery.
Hildebrandt said, “a lot of industry players expect a boom in solar storage system sales as modern and cheaper battery technology becomes available. Additionally, virtual power plant business models are already generating and storing electricity in Germany. Under this model, owners of small-scale storage systems allow a certain percentage of their storage capacity to be controlled remotely and bundled with capacity from other systems. This combined capacity can then be auctioned on the primary control market and is used to provide balancing energy as required.”
“Promising grid-scale solutions are being experimented with by leading German SMEs. Younicos, for example, is focusing on lithium-ion, sodium-sulfur and vanadium-redox-flow storage systems. Biogas and wind-to-gas applications, for example RH2-WKA in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, also show great potential. Compressed air is another area being investigated.”
Varadi suggests the utilities may have mixed motives for promoting battery storage for rooftop solar. One of RWE HomePower solar’s ads (Varadi, p 475) points out that most home owners are not getting the full benefit of this technology. It is produced during the day, when most of the family is at work or school, and most of this electricity is fed directly into the grid!
“What you should have is a solar electricity storage that makes it possible to utilize the solar electricity exactly when you need it. This Independence offer you as of now the RWE HomePower Solar.”
Is this an attempt to move Germany’s solar users off the grid, where they will be less disruptive?
Those coal and gas fired power plants would not have taken such a hit during the first half of 2014 if homeowners had stored their surplus energy rather than feeding it to the grid.
Varadi suggests there will soon be 3 million German solar owners, but notes (p 457) that none of the big four utilities have expressed plans to among them.

This article is reposted from Clean Technica Author credit goes to Roy Hales Images credit goes to Tim Fuller,