QUICK NEWS, March 12: CHINA’S NEWEST SUN PLAN; TEXAS GETS 22% WIND, A NEW RECORD; DROUGHT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
CHINA’S NEWEST SUN PLAN
China releases 2011-2015 plan for solar photovoltaic industry
1 March 2012 (World of Photovoltaics)
"China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) has released the 12th Five-Year Plan for the solar photovoltaic industry (2011-2015)…[T]he solar photovoltaic industry is expected to enjoy a stable and fast growth…[R]equirements on installed capacity [for products like polysilicon and solar batteries were] set by the [renewable energy resources] development plan…
"…By 2015, leading producers of polysilicon are proposed to achieve a capacity of 50,000 tonnes, and major producers 10.000 tonnes. Leading producers of solar battery are expected to achieve a capacity of 5 GW, and major producers 1 GW…[The plan’s goal is to have] 1 photovoltaic company realizing sales revenue of over 100 billion yuan annually, 3-5 photovoltaic companies having annual revenue of more than 50 billion yuan and 3-4 producers of specialized photovoltaic equipments achieving an annual revenue of 1 billion yuan."
click to enlarge
"The plan also points out that the main theme of the industry is to reduce the cost. By 2015, the cost of photovoltaic module should be lowered to 7,000 yuan/KW and the cost of photovoltaic power generation is expected to fall to 0.8 yuan/KWH.
"…[Goals were also set for PV industry technology advances in the 2011-2015 period including increasing the] recycling ratio of silicon tetrachloride, hydrogen chloride and hydrogen in the polysilicon production…[to] at least rise to 98.5 per cent, 99 per cent and 99 per cent respectively…[and the] efficiency of industrialization…to 21 per cent for monocrystalline cells, 19 per cent for monocrystalline silicon cells, 12 per cent for amorphous silicon thin film cells…"
TEXAS GETS 22% WIND, A NEW RECORD
Texas sets wind power records with new grid analysis
March 9, 2012 (Reuters)
"Texas set new records for wind-power output…using a new transmission analysis tool that allows more wind to flow on power lines from west Texas to power-consuming cities hundreds of miles away…The amount of electricity produced from wind on [Wednesday night, March 7] set a record at 7,599 megawatts, up 196 MW from the previous day, which eked past a 7,400-MW record set last October, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) said…
"…[E]lectricity was being produced by more than 77 percent of the 9,838 MW of ERCOT's installed wind capacity, well above the average 30 to 40 percent of nameplate electric capacity that wind farms typically produce…[and ERCOT had just begun using] a new tool…to calculate day-ahead and real-time limits on power lines from west Texas to the Dallas-Fort Worth area…[and analyze] real-time conditions every 30 minutes…"
click to enlarge
"With more than 9,800 MW, Texas leads the nation in carbon-free electric capacity from wind turbines. More than 7,500 MW are located in west Texas, where the wind generally blows the strongest during the evening hours and in the spring and fall months when power demand is low…Recent wind-farm additions, now totaling nearly 2,100 MW, or 21 percent, have been built closer to the Texas coast…where wind patterns differ from west Texas…About 13 percent of the record 7,599 MW produced March 7 came from the coastal wind farms…
"At the time of the latest record, wind generation accounted for 22 percent of the power demand of 34,318 MW…Wind farms expanded rapidly in Texas until 2009 when production began to overwhelm the existing transmission capacity…Texas is building more than 2,300 miles (3,700 km) of high-voltage transmission in a $6.5 billion plan to expand the grid by late 2013 to accommodate wind-farm growth of up to 18,500 MW…Current wind-farm construction has slowed…[but developers] are studying the addition of 18,000 MW…down from 34,000 MW of wind last fall."
DROUGHT AND CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change made the drought worse, scientists say
Colin McDonald, March 5, 2012 (San Antonio Express-News)
"Several scientists at NASA and the state climatologist say the record-setting heat and drought of last summer in Texas was made worse by climate change…[T]hat conclusion adds another layer of uncertainty for water planners.
"Some water utilities across the state are still struggling to meet demand because of the drought, which set the record for a single year. But many more are not ready for a repeat of the drought of the 1950s, which lasted seven years and is considered the worst long-term one on record. Adding climate change on top of that will make planning more difficult, as high temperatures mean more evaporation and less water going into rivers, reservoirs and aquifers."
click to enlarge
"…The San Antonio Water System, Edwards Aquifer Authority and the state use [the 1950s drought] to model what is considered the worst-case scenario and then plan accordingly…[but studies show more severe droughts have occurred…Last summer is held up as evidence that climate change is already making droughts more extreme] by state climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon and [climate scientist James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University's Earth Institute]…Both scientists agree that the year would have been hot and dry no matter what, but that climate change made it worse…
"Across the Panhandle, reservoirs went dry as increased temperatures accelerated evaporation, and rains have not been enough to refill them…And that was just from a one-year drought…The 2012 State Water Plan projects losses of $11.9 billion if a drought similar to the 1950s were to occur and projects in the plan are not funded. The estimated cost rises to $115.7 billion annually by 2060, with more than 1 million jobs lost…[T]he Legislature has not funded the $53 billion plan, which covers only a quarter of the state's [50 year] needs…"