Why you could soon be buying your electricity from Elon Musk

February 25th, 2014 § 0 comments § permalink

Having a fleet of electric cars plugged into the power grid is tremendously valuable. Power plants make up for their inability to store energy by ramping up their output at peak usage hours. Since wind and solar plants don’t have that luxury they are left at a disadvantage to coal and gas power plants. If, however, we stick a large battery in every driveway and hook it up to the gird we can level the playing field by drawing power from the idle cars during peak hours and charging them back up during off peak.

John McDuling over at Quartz points out that Tesla is poised to do just that.

Tesla doesn’t just make high-performance automobiles, Morgan Stanley analyst Adam Jonas argues, it’s also producing a mobile fleet of electrical grid storage.  The 40,000 Tesla vehicles already on the US roads contain about 3.3 gigawatts of storage capacity, roughly 0.3% of US electrical production capacity and 14% of US grid storage, he estimates. 

I’m not sure if it’s impressive for Tesla or pitiful for our electrical grid that the nascent car maker already makes up 14% of the electrical grid. Either way the potential upside for renewable energy is huge.

Leave a comment

World’s largest solar plant in pictures

February 13th, 2014 § 2 comments § permalink

The Verge has a nice collection of photos of the Ivanpah solar plant that officially started operations today in the Mojave Desert. Ironic that the latest high-tech power plant is really just a steam engine; technology that has been around for over 2000 years.

The mirrors on the ground reflect sunlight onto the tower to heat water which turns to steam and powers a turbine.

High tech steam engine: the mirrors on the ground reflect sunlight onto the tower to heat water which turns to steam and powers a turbine.

The rest of the photos can be found here.

Leave a comment