QUICK NEWS, April 2: THE BIGGER BENEFITS OF OFFSHORE WIND; OFFGRID SOLAR GOES HIGH TECH; WORLD STILL GETTING SMART BUT MORE SLOWLY
THE BIGGER BENEFITS OF OFFSHORE WIND
Study: Cape Wind Will Reduce Regional Electricity Prices by $7.2 Billion
March 31, 2012 (Cape Wind)
"Cape Wind will reduce wholesale electric prices for the New England region by $7.2 billion over 25 years, according to…Charles River Associates, a leading economic consulting firm…
"…[Update to the Analysis of the Impact of Cape Wind on Lowering New England Energy Prices] shows that ISO New England, the electric grid operator, first dispatches electric generating units with the lowest cost fuel. Since Cape Wind’s fuel – wind – is zero cost…Cape Wind will displace higher priced and polluting fossil fueled units resulting in average savings of $286 Million per year in New England…"
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"…The original report was published in February, 2010…The increase in price suppression in the report update was attributed primarily to an increase in power plant retirements and a larger price difference between natural gas and fuel oil.
"Price suppression in wholesale electric markets occurring as a result of wind power projects has been documented in Europe and in several U.S. power markets. Price suppression from wind power was noted in [a 2009 New England Governors repot], which stated…[that] the wind resource potential could provide downward pressure on the marginal prices for energy within the New England electricity market…[and] benefit New England consumers…"
OFFGRID SOLAR GOES HIGH TECH
SMA Introduces Off-Grid Photovoltaic System Configurator
30 March 2012 (Solar Industry)
"SMA has introduced the Off-Grid Configurator, a customizable product designed to help solar professionals design the ideal off-grid photovoltaic system. The software analyzes each design aspect from sizing the PV array to preparing a final cost analysis, thereby providing the user with comprehensive planning assistance that saves time and reduces costs, according to SMA…
"The exact level of assistance provided by the Off-Grid Configurator is decided by the user. Project details (such as location data, consumption and AC/DC system components) can be manually defined or selected from the software's databases of location-specific climate information, prefabricated load profiles, PV modules, inverters and batteries…"
An SMA Configurator screen (click thru for more info)
"…The software then presents an optimal system configuration, designs the generator operation, and determines the ideal combination of Sunny Island battery-based inverters.
"Using this data, a system simulation is performed and a financial analysis is prepared to calculate the system's cost effectiveness. All results are displayed graphically and can be printed as Microsoft Excel or Word documents or as a PDF…"
WORLD STILL GETTING SMART BUT MORE SLOWLY
Nearly 73 Million Smart Meters Were Shipped in 2011, But Deployments Slowed in the Fourth Quarter
March 28, 2012 (Pike Research)
"Overall, 2011 was a huge year for smart grid deployments, as global full-year shipments of smart meters reached nearly 73 million endpoints. Deployments in China drove most of this annual volume (71%), as the Asian juggernaut continued to build out its electrical infrastructure. Meanwhile, utilities in other countries made significant smart meter announcements during 2011…
"…In Canada, Hydro-Quebec chose Landis+Gyr to supply most of its planned 3.75 million smart meters, while BC Hydro selected Itron to provide 1.8 million OpenWay meters over the next two years. In the United States, Consumers Energy announced that it would use SmartSynch’s communications network technology for 1.8 million smart meters to be deployed starting in August 2012. The pace of smart meter and smart grid deployments slowed in the fourth quarter of 2011, however, as some projects wound down and fewer new big projects were announced…"
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"According to…Pike Research, overall smart meter shipments in the last three months of the year slipped nearly 8% from 3Q 2011. Global smart meter shipments reached 17.8 million in 4Q 2011…with China accounting for 12.3 million of these…
"Several new smart grid deployments announced during 4Q 2011 came from medium-sized and smaller utilities…But these are rather small volumes when compared to projects announced in previous quarters of 2011, when millions of endpoints were involved. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, British Gas said it was halting further installations of smart meters until the government clarified its smart meter plans…"