Fisticuffs Over the Route to a Clean-Energy Future

“Could the entire American economy run on renewable energy alone?

This may seem like an irrelevant question, given that both the White House and Congress are controlled by a party that rejects the scientific consensus about human-driven climate change. But the proposition that it could, long a dream of an environmental movement as wary of nuclear energy as it is of fossil fuels, has been gaining ground among policy makers committed to reducing the nation’s carbon footprint. Democrats in both the United States Senate and in the California Assembly have proposed legislation this year calling for a full transition to renewable energy sources.

They are relying on what looks like a watertight scholarly analysis to support their call: the work of a prominent energy systems engineer from Stanford University, Mark Z. Jacobson. With three co-authors, he published a widely heralded article two years ago asserting that it would be eminently feasible to power the American economy by midcentury almost entirely with energy from the wind, the sun and water. What’s more, it would be cheaper than running it on fossil fuels.

And yet the proposition is hardly as solid as Professor Jacobson asserts.”

Read more at: https://nyti.ms/2tK2lT4

Building the next generation of lithium-ion batteries

Recently the Anthropocene Institute asked Cypress River Advisors to discuss the future of battery technology and venture capital investment.  In 2016, lithium-ion received the bulk of the industry’s applied research dollars – focused on driving incremental improvements. Venture capital, on the other hand, invested over a half billion dollars into exploring solutions which addressed lithium-ion’s challenges through new chemistries or new technology paths to solve our global energy storage problem.  Through these conversations with various investors, we noted an inconsistent understanding of battery technologies and the challenges that the industry faces.  

To help get the public and investors on the same page, Cypress River Advisors sat down with William Chueh, a leading material science and engineering researcher at Stanford University and his team of Ph.D.  He and his team are at the forefront of materials research into battery technology, tackling the question: “How to build a better battery?”  

While there are many different kinds of energy storage systems, the rise of mobile devices has made lithium-ion the incumbent technology for consumer electronics, electric vehicles and even the grid.  It serves as one of the major benchmarks for which all other battery technologies are compared to today. We hope that this article and its related videos will give industry observers an overall sense of the challenges for the market ahead.  – Jason Wang, Partner, Cypress River Advisors.

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ESRI: Global Risk of Deadly Heat Waves

Ars: In March, wind and solar generated a record 10% of US electricity

And stationary storage batteries had a booming quarter, too.

According to the Energy Information Administration’s Electric Power Monthly, a bit more than 10 percent of all electricity generated in the US in March came from wind and solar power (including both distributed residential solar panels and utility-scale solar installations). That’s a record number for the country, and it reflects continuing effort to install more renewable capacity across the nation.

The EIA shows that eight percent of total electricity generation that month came from wind, and the other two percent came from solar. The administration also predicts that wind and solar will contribute more than 10 percent of the total electricity produced in April, although numbers for that month aren’t out yet.

Renewables have tended to hit records in spring and fall—often called shoulder seasons—because wind is plentiful and the northern hemisphere receives a more even amount of sunlight during those seasons than it does during winter. In addition, electricity consumers tend to use less during the shoulder seasons (mild weather means they’re usually not running air conditioners or space heaters, for example). That means overall energy use is low and peak-demand fossil fuel-burning plants don’t need to come online. All these factors together make it easy for renewable energy to shoulder a larger and larger share of the work. Read more