Illustrating the Wind Energy Story

As detailed in the recently released 2016 Revolution…Now report, the U.S. wind energy industry has forged a trajectory of sustained growth thanks to rapidly decreasing costs and increasing market demand.

Let’s take a deeper dive to better understand where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we’re headed in the near future.

1. The cost of land-based wind has dropped by 41% since 2008, and wind capacity has tripled in the same timeframe.

Chart 1.jpg

As you can see in the chart above, the cost of wind energy has decreased significantly in the past 35 years from more than 60 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 1980 to about 7 cents/kWh today, unsubsidized. Naturally, as wind energy has become less expensive, it has become an increasingly popular renewable energy option around the country. More than 35 years ago there was virtually no wind energy on the U.S. electric grid. Now, there is approximately 75 gigawatts (GW) of wind capacity in the United States. In the past seven years alone, wind power has tripled in capacity from 25 GW to 75 GW, providing more than 5% of our consumed energy.

2. Scaling up size to capture better wind.

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Another trend driving growth in wind farm installations across America’s landscape is the increasing size of wind turbines. As developers deploy larger wind turbines, they are able to generate even more clean electric power by tapping higher quality, steadier winds, which in turn makes more areas in more states attractive for wind deployment. And turbines are slated to grow even taller in the future, so we’ve got nowhere to go but up!

Continued investments in key technology improvements such as taller turbines and longer blades have helped drive down costs and improve performance. For example, wind energy has yet to reach its potential in the southeastern United States. However, by utilizing taller towers and longer blades to extract more energy from stronger winds at higher elevations, we can unleash cost-effective deployment in more regions of the U.S, including the Southeast.

3. The future is here for offshore wind.

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Photo by Dennis Schroeder/NREL

The oceans contain virtually unlimited potential for clean energy. Following on examples from abroad, the United States now (as of October 2016) has wind turbines installed off the coast of Rhode Island. This 30-MW offshore wind farm—America’s first—is slated to be fully operational by the end of the year. Last month, we released the National Offshore Wind Strategy in conjunction with the U.S. Department of the Interior. The strategy document details how the wind industry can accelerate the responsible deployment of offshore wind energy in the United States.

In fact, Revolution…Now states that “the technical potential of offshore wind resources is enough to generate more electricity than twice what the U.S. generated from all sources of electricity in 2015.” While the domestic offshore wind industry still faces challenges, the potential of this technology to capture high quality wind resources close to coastal load centers makes it a key future source of clean electricity for the nation.

4. Wind has great future potential by 2050.

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Wind still has massive untapped potential, as shown in a recent Energy Department report titled Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States, which outlines how wind energy could generate 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030 and 35% by 2050. Industry observers expect technological advancements to continue to drive down costs in the future. In fact, a recent survey of wind experts indicated that wind energy costs could fall another 35% by 2050. With continuous technological innovation, transmission expansion, and continued federal and state support, wind can continue to grow and unlock its wide array of benefits in all 50 states.

( Source: written by Jose Zayas Wind Energy Technologies Office Director)

New Funding to Advance Solar Technologies

Energy Department Announces Up to $107 Million for Innovative Projects and New Funding to Advance Solar Technologies

Today the Energy Department announced up to $107 million in new projects and planned funding in order to support America’s continued leadership in clean energy innovation through solar technology. Under the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) SunShot Initiative, the Department will fund 40 projects with a total of $42 million to improve PV performance, reliability, and manufacturability, and to enable greater market penetration for solar technologies. In addition to the new projects announced today, the Department intends to make up to $65 million, subject to appropriation, in additional funding available for upcoming solar research and development projects to continue driving down the cost of solar energy and accelerating widespread national deployment.

One of SunShot’s goals is to drive down the levelized cost of utility-scale solar electricity to $0.06 per kilowatt-hour without incentives by 2020. The projects and new funding announced today aim to reach costs well below that threshold, furthering the Obama Administration’s commitment to advancing solar technology as a resource for clean energy in America’s low-carbon economy.

“Since 2008, the commitments made by the Department of Energy have contributed to solar PV’s deployment growing 30-fold and overall costs falling more than 60%,” said Under Secretary for Science and Energy Franklin Orr. “Continuing to invest in solar technologies will help to drive down costs even further for American consumers and ensure that the U.S. maintains global leadership in this century’s clean energy economy.”

Today’s announcements encompass several programs within EERE’s SunShot Initiative. Additional details on the announcements are below:

PV Research and Development Program: $17 Million for 19 Advanced PV Technologies

SunShot selected 19 projects to receive a total of $17 million under the PV Research and Development Program to improve the performance, reliability, and manufacturability of existing PV technology while seeking to advance next generation solar technology development. The new research and development projects focus on both current and emerging PV technologies aimed at improving power conversion efficiency and energy output, while also enhancing service lifetime and decreasing hardware costs. These projects could significantly lower solar PV costs from SunShot’s 2020 targets to support even more widespread deployment of PV technologies across the nation. Click here to view the list of awardees.

Technology to Market Program:  $25 Million for 21 Rapid Solar Innovation Projects

To accelerate the current growth trajectory of solar energy in America, the Department is also announcing nearly $25 million for 21 new projects under SunShot’s Technology to Market Program. The funding will support the development of new tools, technologies and services for the solar industry by helping to reduce hardware costs, improve business operational efficiency, and broaden the investor pool for project development. Additionally, the projects will yield products that can leverage new, emerging technologies and assist in streamlining regulatory processes. Click here to view the list of awardees.

Future Funding for PV Technology, Technology to Market and Systems Integration Programs

Later this year, SunShot intends to make up to $65 million, subject to appropriation, in additional funding available under the PV Research and Development Program, Technology to Market Program, and its Systems Integration Program. The PV Research and Development Program is expected to make up to $25 million available in funding to improve PV module and system design, including hardware and software solutions that facilitate the rapid installation and interconnection of PV systems. The Technology to Market Program expects up to $30 million to be made available for projects that accelerate the commercialization of products and solutions that can help to drive down the cost of solar energy. Finally, SunShot will make up to $10 million available under its Systems Integration Program for projects that are focused on improving solar irradiance and power forecasts that will accelerate data integration into energy management systems used by utilities.

(Source:  Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy)

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Get Out is a movie genre Horror, was released in February 24, 2017. Jordan Peele was directed this movie and starring by Daniel Kaluuya. This movie tell story about A young African-American man visits his Caucasian girlfriend’s cursed family estate. He finds out that many of its residents, who are black, have gone missing in the past.

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Solar cells as light as a soap bubble

The MIT team has achieved the thinnest and lightest complete solar cells ever made, they say.

Imagine solar cells so thin, flexible, and lightweight that they could be placed on almost any material or surface, including your hat, shirt, or smartphone, or even on a sheet of paper or a helium balloon.

Researchers at MIT have now demonstrated just such a technology: the thinnest, lightest solar cells ever produced. Though it may take years to develop into a commercial product, the laboratory proof-of-concept shows a new approach to making solar cells that could help power the next generation of portable electronic devices.

The new process is described in a paper by MIT professor Vladimir Bulović, research scientist Annie Wang, and doctoral student Joel Jean, in the journal Organic Electronics.

Bulović, MIT’s associate dean for innovation and the Fariborz Maseeh (1990) Professor of Emerging Technology, says the key to the new approach is to make the solar cell, the substrate that supports it, and a protective overcoating to shield it from the environment, all in one process. The substrate is made in place and never needs to be handled, cleaned, or removed from the vacuum during fabrication, thus minimizing exposure to dust or other contaminants that could degrade the cell’s performance.

“The innovative step is the realization that you can grow the substrate at the same time as you grow the device,” Bulović says.

In this initial proof-of-concept experiment, the team used a common flexible polymer called parylene as both the substrate and the overcoating, and an organic material called DBP as the primary light-absorbing layer. Parylene is a commercially available plastic coating used widely to protect implanted biomedical devices and printed circuit boards from environmental damage. The entire process takes place in a vacuum chamber at room temperature and without the use of any solvents, unlike conventional solar-cell manufacturing, which requires high temperatures and harsh chemicals. In this case, both the substrate and the solar cell are “grown” using established vapor deposition techniques.

One process, many materials

The team emphasizes that these particular choices of materials were just examples, and that it is the in-line substrate manufacturing process that is the key innovation. Different materials could be used for the substrate and encapsulation layers, and different types of thin-film solar cell materials, including quantum dots or perovskites, could be substituted for the organic layers used in initial tests.

But already, the team has achieved the thinnest and lightest complete solar cells ever made, they say. To demonstrate just how thin and lightweight the cells are, the researchers draped a working cell on top of a soap bubble, without popping the bubble. The researchers acknowledge that this cell may be too thin to be practical — “If you breathe too hard, you might blow it away,” says Jean — but parylene films of thicknesses of up to 80 microns can be deposited easily using commercial equipment, without losing the other benefits of in-line substrate formation.

A flexible parylene film, similar to kitchen cling-wrap but only one-tenth as thick, is first deposited on a sturdier carrier material – in this case, glass. Figuring out how to cleanly separate the thin material from the glass was a key challenge, explains Wang, who has spent many years working with parylene.

The researchers lift the entire parylene/solar cell/parylene stack off the carrier after the  fabrication process is complete, using a frame made of flexible film. The final ultra-thin, flexible solar cells, including substrate and overcoating, are just one-fiftieth of the thickness of a human hair and one-thousandth of the thickness of equivalent cells on glass substrates — about two micrometers thick — yet they convert sunlight into electricity just as efficiently as their glass-based counterparts.

No miracles needed

“We put our carrier in a vacuum system, then we deposit everything else on top of it, and then peel the whole thing off,” explains Wang. Bulović says that like most new inventions, it all sounds very simple — once it’s been done. But actually developing the techniques to make the process work required years of effort.

While they used a glass carrier for their solar cells, Jean says “it could be something else. You could use almost any material,” since the processing takes place under such benign conditions. The substrate and solar cell could be deposited directly on fabric or paper, for example.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

While the solar cell in this demonstration device is not especially efficient, because of its low weight, its power-to-weight ratio is among the highest ever achieved. That’s important for applications where weight is important, such as on spacecraft or on high-altitude helium balloons used for research. Whereas a typical silicon-based solar module, whose weight is dominated by a glass cover, may produce about 15 watts of power per kilogram of weight, the new cells have already demonstrated an output of 6 watts per gram — about 400 times higher.

“It could be so light that you don’t even know it’s there, on your shirt or on your notebook,” Bulović says. “These cells could simply be an add-on to existing structures.”

Still, this is early, laboratory-scale work, and developing it into a manufacturable product will take time, the team says. Yet while commercial success in the short term may be uncertain, this work could open up new applications for solar power in the long term. “We have a proof-of-concept that works,” Bulović says. The next question is, “How many miracles does it take to make it scalable? We think it’s a lot of hard work ahead, but likely no miracles needed.”

“This demonstration by the MIT team is almost an order of magnitude thinner and lighter” than the previous record holder, says Max Shtein, an associate professor of materials science and engineering, chemical engineering, and applied physics, at the University of Michigan, who was not involved in this work. As a result, he says, it “has tremendous implications for maximizing power-to-weight (important for aerospace applications, for example), and for the ability to simply laminate photovoltaic cells onto existing structures.”

“This is very high quality work,” Shtein adds, with a “creative concept, careful experimental set-up, very well written paper, and lots of good contextual information.” And, he says, “The overall recipe is simple enough that I could see scale-up as possible.”

The work was supported by Eni S.p.A. via the Eni-MIT Solar Frontiers Center, and by the National Science Foundation.

(Source: MIT Energy Initiative)

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