Welcome to our November Newsletter! Here we dish out all of the renewable energy industry news, and because we’re an EcoXpert, the latest news with Schneider Electric! Read on for the full article:

Renewable Energy Industry – What’s Happening?

Tesla Model 3 Breaks Records in Hot Market

The European passenger plug-in vehicle market scored some 59,000 registrations in September (+76% year over year), with fully electric vehicles (BEVs) stepping up the pace and reaching a record score of 41,001 units, earning its first three-digit growth rate since July 2014 (+109%). Tesla Model 3 scoring a new all-time record (17,490 units), beating its own March record (15,768 units), but this might not be the end of it, as December could see yet another record score from the Tesla midsizer. 1

All-electric BC transport economical, thanks to low-cost renewables

By 2055, BC will need to increase its electrical production capacity from a 2015 baseline of 15.6 gigawatts (GW) to 23 GW to meet forecast economic and population growth. Factor in all-electric road transportation as well, and up to 60 per cent additional capacity will be needed. This would more than double BC’s electricity generation capacity to 37 GW. Surprisingly, the cost of generating the extra electricity would be relatively cheap. 

Crunching the numbers, the team found that the 60 per cent capacity boost for transport would raise the average unit cost of electricity by only nine per cent due to availability of low cost, renewable energy options. Furthermore, the costs would only rise by five per cent if at least half of drivers charged their vehicles at off-peak times. Spreading the demand means less need for capacity build-out.2

Largest floating solar farm in the Netherlands switched on

German energy company BayWa’s renewable energy subsidiary BayWay.re, which undertook the development, said the 40,000 solar panels took just six weeks to complete in partnership with Dutch firm GroenLeven. Dr. Benedikt Ortmann, Global Head of Solar Projects said: “In only a few months we built 25MW of floating PV projects in the Netherlands, which made us one of the biggest floating solar developers in Europe.3

Australian grid hits 50% renewables for the first time

It only lasted for 10 minutes, but renewables provided 50.2% of the electricity available on Australia’s National Energy Market in the first week of November. “We will start to see this happening more frequently. It was just a snapshot in time, but it’s indicative of an underlying trend in the system,” Dylan McConnell of the University of Melbourne’s Climate and Energy College states.4

Berkeley scientists develop better batteries for storing renewable energy

Switching to renewable energy sources is key for lessening our dependence on fossil fuels and protecting the environment, but there’s a catch with deploying greener solutions at scale. When the wind drops or the sun sets for the night, we need a way to store energy as part of the electrical grid so it’s available for use.

Most renewable energy researchers are focusing on a type of battery called a flow battery for storing energy, in which electricity is stored in a tank of liquid electrolyte. However, making this technology cost-effective on the scale required for the power grid has proven challenging.

Researchers at Berkeley are helping with this problem through the development of an affordable battery membrane, which is the part of the battery that separates the cathode and the anode. Traditional fuel cells use a fluorinated membrane, but these membranes are expensive and aren’t designed for a flow battery. The researchers have created a new type of membrane specifically for flow batteries made from polymers called AquaPIMs, or aqueous-compatible polymers of intrinsic microporosity.5

U.S. readies first wind-powered steel plant

Access to cheap coal-fired electricity caused an industrial expansion across the Midwest. Nowadays, wind power is a cleaner and cheaper energy source. A mill in Sedalia, Mo., will be the first U.S. steel production plant that will run on wind energy. The plant is indicative of what Midwest utilities and clean energy advocates alike see as new potential for economic expansion.6

This single shipping container can start powering a small renewable grid in less than a day

Inside a shipping container currently en route to a school in Puerto Rico, a solar microgrid is ready for deployment: As soon as the container arrives, the system, from a startup called BoxPower, can be assembled and begin providing power in less than a day.

The system, designed for use both immediately after disasters and to make communities more resilient to future disasters, is easy to rapidly install. “We jokingly call ourselves the Ikea of microgrids because there is some assembly required, but it is color-coded, pre-cut, and pre-drilled,” says Angelo Campus, CEO and founder of California-based BoxPower. “And anyone who can assemble an Ikea dresser can assemble our solar array on top of the container. It doesn’t require any heavy equipment or machinery.”

“The incentives for distributed generation microgrids isn’t just about disasters and isn’t just about resiliency,” he says. “It’s quickly being proven to be actually the most cost-effective and reliable way to deliver power to communities, facilities, residences, businesses, and so. Driven by that, I think over the next five to 10 years, we can expect to see a massive adoption of microgrid technologies across the U.S. and across the world.”7

Renewable power will grow 50% in next 5 years, IEA says

Global renewable energy capacity is set to rise by 50 per cent in five years, driven by solar photovoltaic (PV) installations on homes, buildings and industry, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). Total renewable-based power capacity will rise by 1.2 terawatts (TW) by 2024 from 2.5 TW last year, equivalent to the total installed current power capacity of the United States. Solar PV will account for nearly 60 per cent of this growth and onshore wind 25 per cent, the IEA’s annual report on global renewables showed. The share of renewables in power generation is expected to rise to 30 per cent in 2024 from 26 per cent today.

Falling technology costs and more effective government policies have helped to drive the higher forecasts for renewable capacity deployment since last year’s report, the IEA said.8

Tesla Cybertruck First Ride: inside Elon Musk’s electric pickup truck

Perhaps one of the most significant electric vehicle releases this past month was Tesla’s introduction of the Cybertruck. When the truck initially drove onto the stage, many in the crowd clearly couldn’t believe that this was actually the vehicle they’d come to see. The Cybertruck looks like a large metal trapezoid on wheels, more like an art piece than a truck. The exterior is made from a newly developed stainless steel alloy, the same metal that’s used for SpaceX rockets, Musk said. That alloy enables the car to be “literally bulletproof” against at least smaller firearms, including 9-millimeter handguns, Musk said.

Musk has made striking claims about the truck’s capabilities. Among them, he has said the Cybertruck would be more capable, in terms of towing and hauling, than a Ford F-150 and perform as a better sports car than a Porsche 911.

The most expensive version of the truck, the Tri Motor All-Wheel-Drive, will be able to carry 3,500 pounds, tow up to 14,000 pounds and go from zero to 60 in 2.9 seconds. It will also be able to drive up to 500 miles on a full charge. Base models will have a range of 250 miles.9

Schneider Electric News

Schneider Electric grows global network of Smart Distribution Centers with new UAE facility

Schneider Electric, the leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, has opened its new Smart Distribution Center in Dubai. It is the first Smart Distribution Center in the region and becomes the latest addition to the company’s growing worldwide network of smart operations facilities. These centers feature innovative digital technologies that can be leveraged to support a host of industries as they pursue their path toward greater integration and digitization.

The Smart Distribution Center is a model for industrial digitization, supporting the development of the UAE’s national Industry 4.0 agenda as it works towards a future based on harnessing the power of the Industrial Internet of Things and Smart Manufacturing. This is Schneider Electric’s sixth Smart Distribution Center launched in 2019, following inaugurations in Australia, China, Brazil, France, and India. Smart Distribution Centers are fundamental to Schneider Electric’s Tailored Sustainable Connected 4.0 supply chain digital transformation where the company leverages its EcoStruxure platform and architecture across its supply chain operations to deliver end-to-end integration and visibility to improve performance.

Schneider Electric Completes its Global Web Domain Change to se.com

Schneider Electric achieved its web domain from www.schneider-electric.com to www.se.com by migrating today its global website. This is to simplify website access and improve user experience on the digital channels. Easier to write and to remember, the new web address ensures quicker access to Schneider Electric online platforms. So if you’re trying to find their new website – now you know!

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1Pontes, Jose. (October 30, 2019). Tesla Model 3 Breaks Records in Hot Market – Europe EV Sales Report. Retrieved from cleantechnica.com: https://cleantechnica.com/2019/10/30/tesla-model-3-breaks-records-in-hot-market-europe-ev-sales-report/

2University of Victoria. (October 30, 2019). All-electric BC transport economical, thanks to low-cost renewables. Retrieved from uvic.ca: https://www.uvic.ca/news/topics/2019+lowcost-renewable-vehicles-crawford+media-release

3Gordon, Philip. (November 6, 2019). Largest floating solar farm in the Netherlands switched on. Retrieved from smart-energy.com: https://www.smart-energy.com/regional-news/europe-uk/largest-floating-solar-farm-in-the-netherlands-switched-on/

4Hanley, Steve. (November 10, 2019). Australian Grid Hits 50% Renewables For First Time. Retrieved from cleantechnica.com: https://cleantechnica.com/2019/11/10/australian-grid-hits-50-renewables-for-first-time/

5Torbet, Georgina. (November 9, 2019). Berkeley scientists develop better batteries for storing renewable energy. Retrieved form engaget.com: https://www.engadget.com/2019/11/08/battery-membranes-renewable-energy/

6Tomich, Jeffrey. (November 15, 2019). U.S. readies first wind-powered steel plant. Retrieved from eenews.net: https://www.eenews.net/stories/1061552453

7Peters, Adele. (November 18, 2019). This single shipping container can start powering a small renewable grid in less than a day. Retrieved from fastcompany.com: https://www.fastcompany.com/90431566/this-single-shipping-container-can-start-powering-a-small-grid-in-less-than-a-day?partner=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=rss+fastcompany&utm_content=rss

8Reuters, Thomson. (October 21, 2019). Renewable power will grow 50% in next 5 years, IEA says. Retrieved from cbc.ca: https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/renewable-growth-1.5328624

9Valdes-Dapena, Peter. (November 25, 2019). Tesla reveals Cybertruck, but breaks its ‘unbreakable’ windows during unveiling. Retrieved from cnn.com: https://www.cnn.com/2019/11/22/cars/tesla-cybertruck-electric-pickup-truck/index.html