Small wind turbine technology

Wind turbine system is sophistically designed & developed to fulfil the power requirements of developing regions of countries.

Small wind electric systems can:

  • Lower your electricity bills by 50%–90%
  • Help you avoid the high costs of having utility power lines extended to a remote location
  • Help uninterruptible power supplies ride through extended utility outages.

Small wind electric systems can also be used for a variety of other applications, including water pumping [10890] on farms and ranches.

Our pages on planning for a small wind electric system, and on installing and maintaining a small wind electric system have more information.

ABS Energy1

HOW A SMALL WIND ELECTRIC SYSTEM WORKS

Wind is created by the unequal heating of the Earth’s surface by the sun. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in wind into clean electricity. When the wind spins the wind turbine’s blades, a rotor captures the kinetic energy of the wind and converts it into rotary motion to drive the generator. Most turbines have automatic overspeed-governing systems to keep the rotor from spinning out of control in very high winds. Our wind power animation has more information about how wind systems work and the benefits they provide.

A small wind system can be connected to the electric grid through your power provider or it can stand alone (off-grid). This makes small wind electric systems a good choice for rural areas that are not already connected to the electric grid.

SMALL WIND ELECTRIC SYSTEM COMPONENTS

A wind electric system is made up of a wind turbine mounted on a tower to provide better access to stronger winds. In addition to the turbine and tower, small wind electric systems also require balance-of-system components.

TURBINES

Most small wind turbines manufactured today are horizontal-axis, upwind machines that have two or three blades. These blades are usually made of a composite material, such as fiberglass.

The turbine’s frame is the structure onto which the rotor, generator, and tail are attached. The amount of energy a turbine will produce is determined primarily by the diameter of its rotor. The diameter of the rotor defines its “swept area,” or the quantity of wind intercepted by the turbine. The tail keeps the turbine facing into the wind.

TOWERS

Because wind speeds increase with height, a small wind turbine is mounted on a tower. In general, the higher the tower, the more power the wind system can produce.

Relatively small investments in increased tower height can yield very high rates of return in power production. For instance, to raise a 10-kilowatt generator from a 60-foot tower height to a 100-foot tower involves a 10% increase in overall system cost, but it can produce 25% more power.

wind Turbine New copy

Most turbine manufacturers provide wind energy system packages that include towers. There are two basic types of towers: self-supporting (free-standing) and guyed. There are also tilt-down versions of guyed towers. Most home wind power systems use a guyed tower, which are the least expensive and are easier to install than self-supporting towers. However, because the guy radius must be one-half to three-quarters of the tower height, guyed towers require enough space to accommodate them.

While tilt-down towers are more expensive, they offer the consumer an easy way to perform maintenance on smaller light-weight turbines, usually 10 kilowatt or less. Tilt-down towers can also be lowered to the ground during hazardous weather such as hurricanes. Aluminum towers are prone to cracking and should be avoided.

BALANCE OF SYSTEM COMPONENTS

The balance-of-system parts you’ll need for a small wind electric system — those in addition to the wind turbine and the tower — will depend on your application. For example, the parts required for a water pumping system will be much different from what you need for a residential application.

The balance-of-system parts required will also depend on whether your system is grid-connected, stand-alone, or hybrid.

Most manufacturers can provide you with a system package that includes all the parts you need for your particular application. For a residential grid-connected application, the balance-of-system parts may include the following:

  • A controller
  • Storage batteries
  • An inverter (power conditioning unit)
  • Wiring
  • Electrical disconnect switch
  • Grounding system
  • Foundation for the tower.
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By ABS Energy

Small WInd Turbine Technology

If you have enough wind resource in your area and the situation is right, small wind electric systems are one of the most cost-effective home-based renewable energy systems — with zero emissions and pollution.

Small wind electric systems can:

  • Lower your electricity bills by 50%–90%
  • Help you avoid the high costs of having utility power lines extended to a remote location
  • Help uninterruptible power supplies ride through extended utility outages.

Small wind electric systems can also be used for a variety of other applications, including water pumping [10890] on farms and ranches.

ettes-power-machinery-coltd-560x420

HOW A SMALL WIND ELECTRIC SYSTEM WORKS

Wind is created by the unequal heating of the Earth’s surface by the sun. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in wind into clean electricity. When the wind spins the wind turbine’s blades, a rotor captures the kinetic energy of the wind and converts it into rotary motion to drive the generator. Most turbines have automatic overspeed-governing systems to keep the rotor from spinning out of control in very high winds. Our wind power animation has more information about how wind systems work and the benefits they provide.

A small wind system can be connected to the electric grid through your power provider or it can stand alone (off-grid). This makes small wind electric systems a good choice for rural areas that are not already connected to the electric grid.

SMALL WIND ELECTRIC SYSTEM COMPONENTS

A wind electric system is made up of a wind turbine mounted on a tower to provide better access to stronger winds. In addition to the turbine and tower, small wind electric systems also require balance-of-system components.

TURBINES

Most small wind turbines manufactured today are horizontal-axis, upwind machines that have two or three blades. These blades are usually made of a composite material, such as fiberglass.

The turbine’s frame is the structure onto which the rotor, generator, and tail are attached. The amount of energy a turbine will produce is determined primarily by the diameter of its rotor. The diameter of the rotor defines its “swept area,” or the quantity of wind intercepted by the turbine. The tail keeps the turbine facing into the wind.

TOWERS

Because wind speeds increase with height, a small wind turbine is mounted on a tower. In general, the higher the tower, the more power the wind system can produce.

Relatively small investments in increased tower height can yield very high rates of return in power production. For instance, to raise a 10-kilowatt generator from a 60-foot tower height to a 100-foot tower involves a 10% increase in overall system cost, but it can produce 25% more power.

Most turbine manufacturers provide wind energy system packages that include towers. There are two basic types of towers: self-supporting (free-standing) and guyed. There are also tilt-down versions of guyed towers. Most home wind power systems use a guyed tower, which are the least expensive and are easier to install than self-supporting towers. However, because the guy radius must be one-half to three-quarters of the tower height, guyed towers require enough space to accommodate them.

While tilt-down towers are more expensive, they offer the consumer an easy way to perform maintenance on smaller light-weight turbines, usually 10 kilowatt or less. Tilt-down towers can also be lowered to the ground during hazardous weather such as hurricanes. Aluminum towers are prone to cracking and should be avoided.

BALANCE OF SYSTEM COMPONENTS

The balance-of-system parts you’ll need for a small wind electric system — those in addition to the wind turbine and the tower — will depend on your application. For example, the parts required for a water pumping system will be much different from what you need for a residential application.

The balance-of-system parts required will also depend on whether your system is grid-connected, stand-alone, or hybrid.

Most manufacturers can provide you with a system package that includes all the parts you need for your particular application. For a residential grid-connected application, the balance-of-system parts may include the following:

  • A controller
  • Storage batteries
  • An inverter (power conditioning unit)
  • Wiring
  • Electrical disconnect switch
  • Grounding system
  • Foundation for the tower.
By ABS Energy

New India renewable targets put country on path to 69GW of PV by 2019

Distribution Companies in India could be obliged to purchase 8% of their power generation from solar sources by March 2019, up from the original target of 3% by 2022, under a proposed policy amendment by India’s ministry of power.

A Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO) mechanism is in place to drive demand for solar power in India until parity in terms of landed cost of power between renewables and other energy sources is widely reached.

To comply with RPOs, electricity distributors or ‘discoms’ can either generate a minimum amount of renewable power or purchase renewable energy certificates (RECs) to make up for shortfalls.

The proposed amendments to the Tariff Policy, under the Electricity Act 2003, raise the minimum amount of renewable power to be purchased to meet the obligation.

According to consultancy firm Bridge To India, the new RPO target implies an aggregate solar capacity of 69 GW by 2019, which is equal to 87% growth per annum. Although this is compliant with the 100GW generation target by 2022, Bridge To India said this is “nonetheless extremely ambitious”.

renewable-energy-1

According to the consultancy, the country’s new government wants to implement stricter enforcement of the RPO to push the solar market.

Victor Thamburaj chief executive of iPLON, a German technology firm supplying automated solar power equipment to Indian projects told PV Tech: “The lesson learned from Germany is that to enforce RPOs is very difficult, so the government should come up with a strategy on how to enforce it, and make this a little bit transparent, so people are aware of it over 3-5 years. They also have to explain why they want to do this in a white paper or in better communications with the people.”

Vineet Mittal, vice chairman for India-based renewable energy project developer Welspun Renewables, said: “RPOs should be made enforceable for state distribution licensees, open access consumers and captive consumers of power. The sector is not witnessing the percentage increase in solar energy consumption to the degree it should have experienced. Without a legal enforcement mechanism for RPOs, India will not be able to make a steady and sustainable transition to green economy.”

In further attempts to encourage renewable energy, the ministry of power’s proposed amendments state that coal-fired power plants installed after a specified date will have to be accompanied by a renewable power plant for at least 10% of their coal generating capacity.

Furthermore, discoms will be able to procure bundled solar power from existing conventional power generators on a cost plus basis to meet their RPOs.

However, Mittal said: “Renewable Generation Obligation (RGO) will increase the strain on the thermal generators. Approximately, 136GW of private sector capacity is in crisis. Implementing RGO will further increase the financial strain on these players, which in turn, will increase the systemic risk on the banking and financial sector. Hence, RGO is not a good thing given the current state of affairs. The priority should be to fix the RPO and have a periodic revision of REC.”

The proposed amendments would also exempt renewable sources of energy from inter-state transmission charges until further notice from central government.

Bridge to India said: “This would encourage a large concentration of solar plants in resource rich states, such as Rajasthan and Gujarat provided the transmission capacity is sufficiently boosted.”

The consultancy said all the proposed amendments could be a “very good driver” for boosting the renewable sector. However, it also warned that enforcement of RPOs has been weak and bringing all the country’s states on board will be challenging.

In February, PV Tech reported that the ministry for new and renewable energy would enforce the RPOs by introducing penalties for non-compliance as part of an impending new energy policy.

By ABS Energy

India’s solar-powered dreams

The Union government has ambitious renewable energy targets of 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar power and 60GW of wind power by 2022. However, the government is also facing large deficits and competing budget priorities, and will need cost-effective ways to achieve these targets.

There are three zero-cost solutions for the government, or ways to increase deployment of renewable energy which will not require subsidies for generation. These zero-cost solutions, when accompanied by support policies that would remove non-cost-related barriers, could lower the overall cost of meeting renewable energy targets and hasten their deployment.

In all three solutions, the cost of renewable energy can be compared to a baseline of the fossil fuel energy that additional renewable energy will likely replace. The government needs to subsidize additional renewable energy only if it is more expensive than the baseline.

sol-kG1E--621x414@LiveMint

First, for utility scale renewable energy, the government needs to focus on rapid deployment of onshore wind power.

The cost of wind power, at Rs.5.87/kilowatt-hour (kWh), is already cheaper than the unsubsidized cost of imported coal at Rs.6.81/kWh, which is the fuel it is most likely to replace. Thus, wind power does not require government subsidies. The technical potential of wind power is estimated to be at least 100GW. Thus, 100GW of wind power, which is higher than the 2022 target of 60GW, is a zero-cost solution for the government.

To ensure that India reaches 100GW, the government could encourage rapid deployment through policies which address non-cost-related barriers for project developers, such as land acquisition, resource assessment, transmission interconnection and guaranteed offtake.

Second, for distributed renewable energy, the focus should be on rapid deployment of rooftop solar power.

The unsubsidized levelized cost of energy from rooftop solar power, at less than Rs.7-8/kWh, is already lower than the retail rate of electricity for many industrial, commercial, and residential consumers, at up to Rs.10/kWh (or higher). The realizable potential of rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) system is at least 57GW by 2024. Though what is needed to realize the full zero-cost potential requires further investigation, approximately 15GW of rooftop solar PV is likely to be another zero-cost solution for the government. To ensure that India reaches 15GW, the government could encourage deployment through supporting policies such as net metering.

In addition, innovative business models will enable financing of the initial costs of solar panels. The government could help create the market by facilitating these models, and also by establishing reasonable technology performance standards and informational platforms to ensure product and business quality.

The third area of focus can be on rapid deployment of off-grid solar power.

Distributed solar PV power is cheaper than diesel generation in most cases, which is the fuel it would likely replace. The realizable potential of distributed off-grid solar PV is estimated to be 15GW by 2022. While additional research is still needed, a significant fraction of this is likely to be another zero-cost solution for the government. Similar to rooftop solar PV, business innovation to finance upfront costs, along with a supportive policy environment, can encourage the deployment of off-grid solar PV power.

In addition to these three zero-cost solutions, there are other ways to significantly reduce the cost of government support for renewable energy. One way is to shift policies to reduced cost, extended tenor, debt. For example, for utility scale solar power, this could reduce the cost of government support by up to 96%.

These are some options available to India that will help it accelerate renewable energy deployment at a zero or low cost for the government.

India unveils annual solar goals towards 2022 target

India’s Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has released details of just how ambitious its solar installation targets are set to be over the next seven years as the country embarks on an aggressive program of PV deployment.

The country is aiming to install 100 GW of solar PV capacity by 2022, and needs to add more than 95 GW between now and then to hit that goal. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission (JNNSM) was created with the intent aim of reaching this target, and the MNRE has now provided a breakdown of exactly how India will seek to transform its renewable energy sector.

According to the details released in the roadmap, 40% of capacity will be added in the rooftop sector (both residential and larger commercial), with grid-scale projects making up the remaining capacity.

Between 2015-2016, India’s target is to add 200 MW of rooftop solar and 1.8 GW of ground-mounted projects – a total of 2 GW. However, the pace of installation is projected to accelerate rapidly between 2016-17, with an annual target of 12 GW set (4.8 GW for rooftop, 7.2 GW for ground-mount), and then increasing slightly each year (15 GW, then 16 GW, then 17 GW) before both 2020-21 and 2021-22 outline 17.5 GW annual solar targets each.

These ambitious targets look just about feasible in the ground-mount segment, but reaching 4.8 GW of distributed solar PV by 2017 looks a tad ambitious, as is the wider goal of 40 GW of rooftop solar PV by 2022.

Currently, India’s cumulative solar PV capacity stands at just over 4 GW, but there remain structural and investment challenges that the country must overcome if it is to build substantially on that figure every year.

Leading analysts au fait with the Indian solar market expect the country to enjoy impressive growth over the next few years, but to likely fall short of its intended goal. Deutsche Bank, for example, anticipates a sum of 34 GW of capacity by 2020, while Bridge to India expects around 31 GW by 2019.

Substantial investment is required in the electrical grid to support the anticipated ramp-up of renewable energy sources, especially that of a distributed nature, currently planned, and with more than 400 million households currently lacking electricity, that goal represents one of Prime Minister Modi’s greatest challenges.

Even with current grid capacity expansions, India may still have around 75 million of its population remaining off the grid by 2024, found a recent report by Goldman Sachs.

Interest in the solar opportunities that exist in the country has been brisk, however, with an estimated $300 billion of foreign investment planned throughout India’s renewable energy sector over the next ten years. This figure includes a $20 billion pledge by Japan’s SoftBank Corp and Taiwain’s Foxconn to establish a range of solar PV projects across the country.

By ABS Energy

Best place to invest in Energy market – INDIA

India is the second most populous country with population of over 1.272 billion(17.6 % of world population) only next to China with population of 1.37 billion and as per reports, India will become the most populous country by 2028 – after 13 yrs from now. Now we have an index which is electric power per capita which shows that how much electric power(watts) a person has consumed in an year. For India the average power per capita is less than 100 watts per person which is very less as compared to China(458),US(I683) & EU(688) but at the same time if you multiply it with the total population, India is the fourth largest consumer after China, USA ,Russia. So with this relationship, the energy consumption of a country is directly proportional to its population and since I just mentioned that India is edging towards becoming the most populous country by 2028, hence its thirst for more electricity will also increase accordingly. Now I tried to analyze why do we have such low energy consumption in today’s age where we are so much dependent on energy for each and every activity, I came up to the fact that still 35.5% population in India is without electricity. Means that the figure I just mentioned for power consumption is for only 64.5% of Indian population. But I am confident that with the coming years it will increase and with more access to electricity to the people in rural areas the consumption will increase more.Now the factors that drive an economy or a country toward power production are

energy

In India, the total primary energy consumption sector wise is

Crude Oil  – 29.45%

Natural gas –  7.7%

Coal – 54.5%

Nuclear energy – 1.26%

Renewables (hydro electricity , wind power, biomass electricity and solar power) – 5.0 %

is 595 Mtoe in the year 2013. In the year 2013, India’s net imports are nearly 144.3 million tons of crude oil, 16 Mtoe of LNG and 95 Mtoe coal totalling to 255.3 Mtoe of primary energy which is equal to 42.9% of total primary energy consumption. Means India as of 2013 had a deficit of 43% of energy and it was importing these fuels so that it can produce energy for its consumption .This indicates that if we keep the production capacity of the fuels as constant(not considering any new projects or increase in capacity)  and with the growing population and more access of electricity to the rural areas, India will surely need to Import more and more fuels to meet the increasing demand of electricity consumption and as per data, India’s dependence on energy imports is expected to exceed 53% of the country’s total energy consumption by 2030.

Hence due to rapid economic expansion, India has one of the world’s fastest growing energy markets and is expected to be the second-largest contributor to the increase in global energy demand by 2035, accounting for 18% of the rise in global energy consumption.

I would like to end with the statement by the chief economist of International Energy Agency “India needs three things for its energy sector:  investment, investment and investment,” and hence it is a call for all those entrepreneurs and investors out there who want to start investment in energy sector and have new and innovative ideas that this is the best time for you to enter into the Indian energy market.

By ABS Energy

Renewables- The Knight in the Silver Armor for Power famished India

India is a land of tremendous opportunities, and the booming power industry has been a witness to it for decades now. Humongous energy needs, varied potentials and abundant reserves lays down a natural road map for investors and consumers alike.

Electricity consumption in the country has been growing at one of the fastest proportions globally due to its tremendous economic waves and blasting population growth. Consumption requirements have increased at an average CAGR of 7.2% from 2007-08 to 2011-12. Indian economy faces an increasing challenge as the country is struggling to bridge the gap (6.7% on an average, annually) between the supply and demand. Such lingering lack of energy and unreliable supplies threaten India’s economic growth.

The prevailing chronic energy deficit situation hampers the industrial growth, forcing industries to look for an expensive alternate source of power generation – Diesel. So, what can India do to meet its future energy demands and help eliminate wide-ranging power outages in the future? Renewables presents an opportunity to bucket in the opportunity with added advantages of –

  • Sustainability
  • Minimal operational costs
  • Environmental Friendliness | Green adavantage

Renewable energy also has the advantage of allowing decentralized distribution of energy — particularly for meeting rural energy needs, and thereby empowering people at the grass roots level. For quite a long time (over 3 decades), the utility-scale renewable based (Solar/Wind) electricity has been termed as too pricey. But with the advent of technology, costs of electricity generated through these resources have shown a consistent drop, while the costs of conventional electricity have

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Factors driving renewable energy growth in India

Energy Security

India ranks fourth and sixth globally, as the largest importer of oil, and of petroleum products and LNG, respectively. Intense competition for the procurement of fossil fuels has been sharply driving the prices with considerable volatility.

Government Support

Government is encouraging the use of renewable energy resources by extending support to private players and mandating the use of renewables. It offers incentives like GBIs and tax holidays and other import duty exemptions

Climate change

India is most vulnerable country to the impact of climate change and government is responding sharply to it by releasing NAPCC which comprises of actions aimed at mitigating climate change.

Increasing cost competitiveness of renewable energy technology

Prices of renewable energy technologies especially solar and wind are plummeting because of technological innovation, increasing manufacturing scale and experience curve gains.

Favorable foreign investment policy

The government has allowed 100% FDI in renewable energy sector and encourages investors to set up renewable energy plants under BOO basis in the country.

Vast untapped potential & Government regulations

India possess abundant untapped potential of renewables being one of those few countries receiving highest solar radiations, having high wind potential and abundant biomass resources. The government regulations like setting up RPOs etc. play a very effective role in attracting investors into renewable energy

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Credits- Chandramouli | MNRE

Conclusion

Renewable forms of energy (especially solar and wind) could enhance India’s energy security and represent a bright spot in its economic and environmental future. If India switched from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants, it is possible that 70% of the electricity and 35% of its total energy could be derived from renewable resources by 2030.

India can ramp up its efforts to develop and implement large utility-scale solar energy farms to meet the country’s economic development goals, while creating energy independence and bringing potentially enormous environmental benefits. Both issues have a direct influence on national security and the health of the Indian economy.

A future powered by renewable energy is already here, not decades away. Comparisons of costs per kilowatt-hour of electricity produced show that newly built solar and wind plants are already considerably cheaper than new nuclear plants. In coming years solar and wind energy will compete more and more favorably with conventional energy generation and, in places such as California and Italy, have already reached so-called “grid parity.”

Renewable Energy (especially solar and wind) is a game-changer for India: It has the potential to re-energize India’s economy by creating millions of new jobs, achieve energy independence, reduce the trade deficit and propel India forward as a “Green Nation.” Providing 100% renewable energy is not a fantasy for someday, but a reality today. India has a golden opportunity to solve three huge problems – reducing poverty, ensuring energy security and combating climate change. But it must act soon! India can no longer afford to delay renewable energy deployment to meet its future energy needs.

P&G, GE, Tata & Infosys are some of the few pioneer players who have realized the potential and are vigorously trying to tap this for the greater good.

For all others the clock is ticking! Tic-Toc! Tic-Toc!

By ABS Energy

How Wind and Solar Will Blow Up Power Markets

Many people are asking how much of our power we can get from wind and solar. With ongoing double-digit growth rates, optimists are starting to get very excited. Pessimists are looking for flaws in the argument. And pragmatists are making plans for accommodating wind and solar in the power mix.

Firmly in the optimist camp is Mark Jacobson, the Stanford professor who has been modeling a “wind-water-sun” system to see what it would take to run states and countries on just those three resources.

In the pessimist camp would certainly be some big players in the fossil industry, including ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who recently told shareholders that the company isn’t getting into renewables because “we choose not to lose money on purpose.”

And while the Breakthrough Institute often puts itself into the pessimist camp when it comes to renewables, a recent essay by Alex Trembath and Jesse Jenkins could be regarded as inching closer to the pragmatist camp.

In the essay, Trembath and Jenkins highlight findings from a report recently released from MIT (where Jenkins is a grad student) on the future of solar. The MIT report finds that even though solar has boundless technical potential and very significant economic potential, it may be limited by its impacts on electricity markets.

“It is worth noting that price reductions from solar PV production are systematically most significant during the same hours when solar generators deliver maximum output,” the report says. “As a consequence, higher levels of solar penetration lead to lower revenues per kW of installed solar capacity. For this reason, at any given per-kW installation cost of solar PV, there is a system-dependent threshold or limit beyond which adding further increments of PV capacity will not break even from a cost perspective.”

Trembath and Jenkins expand on this issue, saying that as the penetration of solar and wind reach a percentage of peak demand that is roughly equal to their capacity factors, they will experience periods where they produce 100 percent of the power demand on the grid. So if solar capacity is equal to 15 percent or 20 percent of the peak demand on a grid, it will be able to produce all power needed at certain moments.

(Just to clarify, the system, they say, has to be the whole system, with no opportunity to export surplus power to a neighbor. Popular reports like this one about Denmark, where wind output recently hit 140 percent of the country’s demand, are misleading, since Denmark is part of the larger Nordic power pool and has transmission connections to Germany.)

The research highlights that large amounts of wind and solar will cause some peculiar effects in traditional electricity markets designed for dispatchable power plants.

In a typical market, generators place bids to supply power during a future hour or day. The bids are lined up by price, and selected in order (the “merit order”), from low to high, until demand is met. That last winner sets the price for power for that hour, and all the winners get that price.

This fun merit order calculator from the University of Texas Energy Institute illustrates how it works.

Because wind and solar plants will generate regardless of price, they bid into the market at zero, and take whatever the clearing price is.

If there is enough wind and solar, they start pushing other bidders out of the market due to what is called the “merit order effect.”

But with large amounts of wind and solar, the system breaks down. Imagine an hour when the whole system runs on wind and solar, all bidding zero — the clearing price would be zero! Nobody would get paid, including the wind and solar generators.

As Trembath and Jenkins put it, “Solar eats its own lunch.”

Of course, this is not a new finding for those that have explored the outer reaches of energy futures. Andrew Mills and Ryan Wiser identified the problem in a 2012 report from the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. The report found that while solar has high value at low levels, the value drops off as more solar comes on the system. By the time it reaches 15 percent, it has half the value; at 30 percent, only a quarter.

Concentrating solar with storage fares better, keeping two-thirds of its value at 30 percent penetration. Wind, since it gets most of its value from displacing energy instead of capacity, retains more value even at levels over 40 percent.

“More solar — absent storage — means less marginal value, in part because more solar doesn’t provide any more peak reduction benefit,” Ryan Wiser said in a recent interview. “At high levels of solar penetration, solar has already wiped out the daytime peak, shifting it to non-solar times, so the marginal value of the next kilowatt-hour of solar, at least for offsetting generating capacity, approaches zero.”

“We’re beginning to see this effect in California now,” he added. “Utilities are still interested in solar, but are also looking toward other kinds of renewables. At lower levels of penetration, solar was more attractive, even at higher prices than wind.”

To simplify their studies, both MIT and Trembath and Jenkins predicate their assumptions on a “free competitive market” — that is, a short-term energy-only market. To compensate for the merit order effect, they assume increasingly large — and ultimately unaffordable — subsidies would be necessary to make solar viable.

But there is another, more viable solution.

“The spot market just reveals market fundamentals,” said Wiser. “The actual payments to solar generators is a policy question, whether they get paid through the market or through a feed-in tariff or a power-purchase agreement.”

This is clear in the short term, where wind and solar can simply be sold directly to buyers for their revenues, and stay out of the daily markets. There are plenty of buyers who don’t want to be exposed to the risks of spot markets.

But in the long term, as spot market prices fall due to large amounts of wind and solar energy, more buyers will be tempted to play in short-term markets. This will begin to drag down the value of long-term contracts.

“All the markets will converge over time,” says Wiser. “Without a policy motivation, in the long term, the markets will tend to value solar like the spot market does.”

In other words, if there is enough solar, the market will no longer pay for it, and the system will break down. No more investment in solar.

This suggests a need for different market design for electricity, where wind and solar are paid by other means. The German feed-in tariff is the classic example, where renewable generators are paid a fixed price through 20-year contracts, regardless of daily market conditions. Power-purchase agreements can be a similar tool, as long as buyers are willing (or obligated) to sign them at a viable price.

There would be two streams of payments — one for wind and solar, the other for what is left over, a residuals or “net demand” market. In this residual market, dispatchable power sources, demand response, and storage would compete by bidding in the conventional way. Load shapes would look completely different.

A great irony, given Breakthrough Institute’s usual preferences, is that this market design failure is equally true for nuclear power. Due to their high investment risks, nuclear plants cannot be financed in a normal competitive market. Their long lead times and massive capital costs expose investors to the risk of changes to markets, prices and regulations, before the plant comes on-line. The back-end risks of equipment failure, catastrophe, waste disposal, and decommissioning add further red flags.

The only plants being built now are in competition-free zones, and require heroic measures such as loan guarantees, production tax credits, and most important of all, a captive customer base that is financing the plants through Construction Work in Progress (CWIP) charges.

If nuclear plants are to succeed, they will need to be sheltered from market forces through a separate payment mechanism. The U.K.’s feed-in tariff of 14.4 cents per kWh for 35 years for the Hinkley nuclear plant is an expression of this idea, but is proving very controversial in the EU, as other states argue that it provides excessive “state support.”

As a final point, both MIT and Trembath and Jenkins make a number of simplifying assumptions, notably that demand is a given. But in the long run, the shape of demand will change, as consumers are attracted to low-cost periods of abundant wind and solar power. Electric vehicles, heat pumps, power-to-gas, and the myriad forms of storage, from batteries to precooled homes, will emerge in response to nature-driven supply.

Mills and Wiser of LBNL did a follow up study in 2014 looking at ways to mitigate the declining marginal value of solar and wind. They found a wealth of options, including geographic diversity of wind siting, technological diversity (through simultaneous combinations of variable generation technologies), more flexible new conventional generation, bulk power storage, and shifts in demand subject to real-time pricing.

“If solar is going to be big, we will necessarily have a completely different temporal pattern of demand and prices,” said Wiser. “The potential decline in value is real, but it is also a clarion call for how and when and where we use energy.”renewables_N

By ABS Energy

Attaining India’s Solar Power Target Efficiently

India has been reeling from power shortages for a long time. We have never been power surplus since our independence. With the power sector in disarray and the domestic energy sector facing a threat of becoming slave to global fluctuations in prices of energy commodities, pushing renewable energy sector was the most logical things to do. This step is a crucial piece of the “Make in India” maze. India is faced with a challenge of satisfying its quick economic growth while dealing with the global threat of climate change. It is difficult for India to rely heavily on thermal power resources. And both solar and wind sector will play a very important role for India’s energy security strategy in the long run. With the earlier target being revised to 100,000MW by 2022, the Indian government has planned to take its solar investment to $100 billion. Besides massive solar plans, the government has also thought of generating 60,000 MW through wind which will require an overall investment of Rs 10 trillion in the renewable sector. The new Indian government has delivered on its promise to enhance the solar power capacity addition targets under the ambitious National Solar Mission announcing revised guidelines for capacity allocation.

pic2_411Over the past few weeks, India’s minister for power, coal and renewable s, Mr. Piyush Goyal stated that he envisions India to have 100 GW of solar capacity by 2022.

There are three key points that may help in lowering the cost of achieving India’s solar power target.

1. Imported coal is the likely fossil fuel because domestic coal and natural gas are both limited in supply, and because imported coal currently accounts for 18 per cent of India’s total power generation, higher than India’s target of 15 per cent of generation from renewable energy by 2020.

2. Solar power will be competing with imported coal by 2019. The installation cost of solar power will continue to decrease, as developers will become more efficient with experience. Simultaneously, fossil fuels will become more expensive, mainly, due to inflation and increased transportation costs.

3. Government needs to support developers with efficient policies that could significantly reduce the cost. The government can provide direct loans to project developers below the commercial rate of interest for longer than the usual commercial time.

Likewise, wind power is (already) cheaper than power from imported coal, and will remain competitive beyond 2022. The government should encourage rapid deployment of wind power through policy measures which ultimately addresses noncost related barriers to wind power like challenges in land acquisition and delays in environmental clearances.

Currently, growth in the solar power sector can be associated with various promotional policies both at the national and state levels. The government is also looking to push for ultra-mega solar power profitable projects with capacities of up to 4 GW.

While policies and regulations are in place and the industry is also responding positively to the increased installation targets, whether the 100 GW target will be achieved or not would also depend on the removal of bureaucratic hurdles, availability of low-cost and sustained finance, and attractive tariffs. If the above points are addressed in a structured and phased manner, then India’s solar ambition (100 GW for 2021-22) is certainly desirable and achievable

By ABS Energy