Batteries, and the raw materials that make them, are a frequent target of public criticism. The high water consumption required for lithium extraction is speeding up desertification around the salt lakes of Latin America’s “lithium triangle”, for example. The mining debate highlights general problems with the extraction of raw materials including copper, crude oil and lithium but international companies can still influence extraction methods – and there are plenty of different approaches.
The ‘deep photovoltaic nowcasting’ project developed by Chile’s Institute of Engineering Sciences of the University of O’Higgins, Canada’s Laval University and Japan’s Kyoto University, seeks to make short-term, high-resolution projections of solar energy generation.
By this time next year we may be able to wave goodbye to that old chestnut about renewables endangering security of supply. Elsewhere, the price of lithium – and the products it goes into – could go either way after tanking this year.
Battery innovations started to come thick and fast this quarter as the hunt for alternatives to lithium-ion intensified and the latest slew of solar tenders indicated the relentless pressure on solar power generation costs was showing no sign of abating.
The first part of pv magazine’s review of 2019 considers Q1, when solar early adopter Italy offered an optimistic start to the year by fleshing out its plans for PV but uncertainty still clouded the world’s biggest solar market. The potential for household solar installations to rocket the world over – helped by ever cheaper panels – prompted strategic decisions in the inverter market and analyst expectations were confounded as the cobalt and lithium price plummeted, bringing the EV revolution a big step nearer.
At the ongoing COP25 summit in Madrid, the French energy group announced the closure of nearly 1 GW of coal assets in Chile and Peru between 2019 and 2024. It also secured a PPA for an 18 MW solar park that will come online in southern France in June 2021.
According to the bidding terms published by the National Energy Commission, project proposals may be submitted by June 11 and the results will be announced on June 19. Successful bidders will secure a 15-year power supply deal and some 5.6 TWh of electricity is expected to be generated annually as a result of the new capacity.
The latest study published by the International Renewable Energy Agency says the average solar electricity cost of $0.085/kWh produced by projects commissioned last year is set to fall to $0.048 next year, and $0.02-0.08 by 2030.
The latest figures released by BloombergNEF show new solar and onshore wind power plants have reached parity with average wholesale prices in California, China and parts of Europe. The technologies are winning the race to be the cheapest sources of new generation for two-thirds of the world’s population.
The World Climate Summit in Santiago de Chile, set to be held in just a few weeks, has just been cancelled. Against a background of social protests in the country, concerns have recently grown as to whether logistics and security could be guaranteed for the event. Nevertheless, social problems and environmental protection must not be played off against each other: Both are closely linked to the economic paradigms of recent decades.
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