What would it take to power the entire U.S. economy on renewable resources alone? Three big things: Only build wind, solar, or hydro power plants after 2020 Reduce energy use compared to business as usual by 40% Electrify everything It’s the last that may be the most complicated, since it means a complete overhaul of… Continue reading
Viewing the hydro tag archive
A 5-minute video explaining CLEAN Contracts (a.k.a. feed-in tariffs) in simple terms. It’d be great if it used a name for the policy that’s in common circulation, but since I was guilty of using Renewable Energy Payments, too, I shouldn’t complain. [vimeo 11553961 w=500 h=281] How Renewable Energy Payments (REPs) Work. from Chris Neidl on… Continue reading
Few policies make renewable energy production easier than CLEAN (Clean Local Energy Accessible Now) Programs, also known as feed-in tariffs. The basic premise is to require utilities to buy renewable energy from individuals or businesses on long-term, fixed price contracts at prices sufficient to encourage them to invest. The most robust policies span multiple technologies… Continue reading
Over at Climate Progress, Stephen Lacey recently asked why there isn’t more development of micro hydro in the U.S., given its potential to provide more than 30,000 low-cost megawatts of power to U.S. states (and bipartisan political support).
We can’t answer that question any better than Stephen, but we can provide a good illustration of that potential, replicating a map from our 2010 report Energy Self-Reliant States (click here for a larger version):
New Micro Hydro Power Potential (Percent of State Electricity Sales)
A nice, short comparison of the cost of electricity storage with pumped hydropower and batteries.
Using pumped hydro to store electricity costs less than $100 per kilowatt-hour and is highly efficient, Chu told his energy advisory board during a recent meeting. By contrast, he said, using sodium ion flow batteries — another option for storing large amounts of power — would cost $400 per kWh and have less than 1 percent of pumped hydro’s capacity.
Of course, you need to have a river with a likely reservoir location to have any significant quantity of pumped storage, making the article’s reference to Texas a bit ironic.
For those unfamiliar with the concept, here’s a nice diagram of pumped storage from Consumers Energy: