In 2002 California set the target to increase to 20% by 2010 the share of renewables in total electricity production. In 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger has added to this a goal of up to 33% for 2020. But the current situation (ratio of 13% measured in 2008), made of hesitation about the best solution and lack of real incentive policy, calling questions about the feasibility of such an ambitious goal (recall for information the more modest 23% European of the same period).
The U.S. have no, properly speaking, a real energy policy in the sense that can be heard in Germany or France, probably being the one to try to keep the oil prices at the lowest possible… The market for solar photovoltaics in particular suffers from the severe lack of funding, local political and non-uniform, very restricted access to land and building permits issued once in a blue moon. Despite the California Solar Initiative, the advantage of solar, which consists of projects scattered power generation not connected to the transmission grid but the grid is not yet exploited. The distribution of “wholesale” (Whole-sale Distributed Generation) appears in this view to be the solution to the current situation in California.
One solution: Whole-sale Distributed Generation (WDG)
The WDG consists of generating facilities at most 20 megawatts (MW) and directly connected to the grid, all the energy produced is sold directly to a distributor. A 20 MW project has the advantage of occupying a relatively small space while delivering a considerable amount of electricity (it could while still achieving the requirements of peak consumption day supply enough power for 20,000 homes). This solution must be compared to its rival distribution “large scale” (Large Scale Distributed Generation). Indeed, this production suffers from the difficulty of connecting to transmission lines structures which generally take a decade to build (from the moment when the permit was granted …) and which results in many losses during transportation of energy, not to mention the environmental debate on the merits of the conversion of natural areas into huge energy farms caused and very often are due to such projects. The high cost of such projects related to construction of transmission lines is still a possibility too restrictive.
In addition, WDG projects, by their inclusion in the distribution network and moderate in size, can be hired and funded immediately. Their independence vis-à-vis the transmission network also avoids all the constraints of limited power output. A recent study by the California Energy Commission has updated the existence of 27,000 MW currently produced and potentially reliable distribution network in this way, this power is half of energy demand in California …
A catalyst: the advantageous pricing
One of the key factors that could encourage the development of this market lies in the establishment of an advantageous legislation whose example has been shown by Germany, first to establish such guidelines. These rates must meet the following three conditions:
1) guaranteed access to the grid,
2) a long-term contract guarantee,
3) a purchase price for any competitive project to generate cash.
This attractive pricing allow everyone to have its own source of renewable energy and sell the network. Currently, four tariff incentive policies have been implemented in North America, these four regions will see renewable energy projects bloom, confirming all the added value of the process …