Siemens has conducted a review of its wind turbine technology to determine the actual environmental impact of wind energy, from manufacturing through construction and operation. The company’s study found that both onshore and offshore “showed outstanding results."
The study investigated two offshore wind farms comprising 80 turbines, and two onshore wind projects comprising 40 turbines.
The initial findings are that land-based wind farms pay off faster than their more powerful-yet-construction-intensive offshore cousins.
A major new study from a leading German think tank and renewable energy specialist says the cost reduction potential of large scale solar is still misunderstood, and predicts that solar PV will be the cheapest form of power within a decade, and cost less than $US0.02/kWh by 2050. The study by the Berlin-based Agora Energiewende says that the end to cost reductions from solar plants is “not in sight”, even after falling more than 80 per cent in recent years.
Critics of renewable energy have mocked the Energiewende, claiming that it has led to an increase in coal power and related CO2 emissions in Germany. But Conrad Kunze and Paul Lehmann of the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ show that this is a myth. German coal generation and CO2 emissions rose not because of but in spite of the Energiewende. They would have been even higher if Germany had not phased out its nuclear power and embarked on its remarkable renewable energy path. “There is no dark side to the Energiewende”.
Deutsche Bank says that solar electricity in the US is on track to be as cheap or cheaper than average electricity-bill prices in all but three states by 2016—assuming that the federal government maintains the 30% solar investment tax credit it currently offers homeowners on installation and equipment costs.
But even if the credit is reduced to 10%, solar power would still achieve price parity with conventional electricity in some 36 states by 2016.
Swanson's law states that with every doubling in the production and shipments of solar PV panels, there has been a 20% reduction in their cost. By getting to scale, with solar installations becoming widespread and common, Germany has reduced the cost of installed solar to half of what it is in North America. So we can observe, learn, and do the same.
For the nuclear industry and the pro-nuclear lobby, France is held out as the text book model of how an energy system should work: More than 70 per cent of electricity needs supplied by nuclear, relatively cheap electricity for customers, investment in the next generation technology.