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Susan Kraemer Verified

Freelance Journalist

Independent renewable energy correspondent. Exclusive in-depth coverage for @cleantechnica @CSPToday @REWorld @PVInsider @W_E_Update and more

One weird trick prevents bird deaths at solar tower power plants — Sorry about the clickbaity title, but as it turns out, the solution to a serious problem discovered last year at Ivanpah - the first solar power tower in the US - actually has turned out to be "one weird trick." Below is the exact problem, and how the problem was solved.

Designing renewable contracts that value CSP storage — Instead it is testing pilot projects using batteries at utility-scale, even though it must be obvious to bean counters at utilities that batteries are never going to compete with utility scale CSP storage. By Susan Kraemer The 32 MWh battery storage pilot for USD$49.9 million at Tehachapi works out to $1,500 dollars per kilowatt hour.

Plant Upgrades: the case for repowering PV installations early — Everyone is aware that PV panel output can be expected to be reduced by an estimated half percent each year, and power contracts and tariffs take account of this gradual and predictable decline in generation over time. But what about when output falls short of expectations? Plants not performing to expectations?

Can rooftop solar and utilities get along? — Talk of a "utility death spiral" in Germany, Australia and the US as rooftop solar grows has put a blockade between the two factions. We look at collaboration options that could keep residential solar and utilities united. Distributed solar advocates have been cheering the 'utility death spiral' hastened by the increasing adoption of behind-the-meter solar.

New potential source of CSP finance: Pension funds buy in — Two big Canadian pension funds that recently toured SolarReserve's Crescent Dunes solar facility are now in the process of buying out part of Banco Santander's 26.8% stake in the project. By Susan Kraemer SolarReserve's project development company, Tonopah Solar Energy was formed to develop the 110 MW Crescent Dunes Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project in Tonopah, Nevada.

An inside look at the development of the Mojave CSP project — The US Department of Energy had made the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) project possible through its Loan Guarantee Program; guaranteeing $1.2 billion of project's $1.6 billion investment. By Susan Kraemer Mojave is now the fourth CSP project over 250 MW to come online in the US, and the third using parabolic trough CSP.

Novel financing of CSP as publicly owned infrastructure — Two CSP projects have just been financed as 'public goods' whereby the state guarantees their investors will get paid off within 25 years, but in return it gets to own the projects from then on. It's an old idea that gains new relevance in the age of climate mitigation.

Abengoa building on storage expertise in smaller Palen proposal — Abengoa is now evaluating a new design that could reduce proposed capacity but plans Palen as a single tower including thermal energy storage. By Susan Kraemer After 4 years, the 500 MW Palen tower project being carefully shepherded through California's exacting solar permitting process by BrightSource Energy and Abengoa as Palen Solar Holdings (PSH) was unexpectedly withdrawn in its final iteration two months ago.

Offshore wind farm lifetime extensions: why the ‘beyond 2020’ energy policy dialogue must start now — By Susan Kraemer Engineers design turbines for a specific lifespan and have to prove that components will not fail within that time. The agreed 20-year design lifetime means engineers can design to meet one consistent requirement, ensuring that new components can be guaranteed to work reliably and be insured for that period.

Huge CSP opportunity in China’s new market — Noting that BrightSource's CSP technology has shown "good stability in commercial operation" at its 392 MW tower project at Ivanpah; Shanghai Electric Group Company just signed a joint agreement with BrightSource to construct two tower CSP projects in the Qinghai province. These herald a huge new market for CSP in China.
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