Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 26 February 2013

As economics shift, wind developers see the light on solar power
02/25/2013 - Wind energy companies are getting into the solar game.

An ongoing lull in wind projects and falling solar panel prices has wind companies looking to add solar projects to their portfolios.

In the U.S., 2013 is projected to be a lost year for the wind industry, which added more than 13 gigawatts of capacity in 2012 but could do as little as 3 gigawatts this year in the aftermath of the latest uncertainty over the federal wind production tax credit.

Meanwhile, solar is surging. Duke Energy President Gregory Wolf recently predicted that U.S. solar installations could surpass new wind additions this year for the first time ever. read more>>>

Wisconsin utilities focusing on energy efficiency
February 25, 2013 - Wisconsin's energy-efficiency is set for growth this year with the help of the utilities' statewide energy-efficiency and renewable energy program Focus on Energy.

Focus on Energy develops and implements creative energy programs for homeowners, building owners, small businesses and large energy users. Fifteen new energy efficiency and renewable energy programs were launched in 2012 alone, and new programs are expected in 2013.

In 2012, the program reached the most energy savings and customer participation since its inception more than 10 years ago. read more>>>

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The way forward: MISO ruling was 'only regulatory hurdle' to shutting down Kewaunee Power Station
Feb 21, 2013 - The organization that manages the Midwest’s power grid has ruled that closing the Kewaunee Power Station would not affect the overall reliability of electric power to customers.

As a result of the Midwest Independent System Operators (MISO) ruling, Dominion Resources Inc. announced Feb. 19 that it will proceed with shutting down the nuclear plant during the second quarter of this year.

“That was the only regulatory hurdle. No other approvals are necessary,” said Mark Kanz, Kewaunee Power Station spokesman. “We just need to alert the Nuclear Regulatory Commission 30 days before we shut down.” read more>>>

Uruguay To Buildout 200 MW of Solar
February 25, 2013 - Uruguay will offer contracts next month to buy power from 200 megawatts of solar farms at the world’s cheapest rates as the South American nation seeks to add low-cost generation.

President Jose Mujica plans to sign a decree in two weeks that will require Uruguay’s national power utility Administracion Nacional de Usinas y Transmisiones Electricas to purchase electricity from the projects at a set rate of about $90 a megawatt hour, Ramon Mendez, director of energy at the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining, said today in a telephone interview.

Uruguay will produce some of the world’s cheapest wind energy and expects to do the same with solar power as the cost of photovoltaic panels fall, he said. read more>>>

Homewind: Wind Turbines, Power Kits & Components

Solar Power Generation to Increase by 35 Times in Argentina
02/25/13 - There is a good reason why Argentina’s flag sports a shining sun. At present, Argentina only produces about 10MW of solar power, but that figure is soon about to receive a giant boost as the country plans to increase its capacity by 35 times and the government begins to hand out incentives to private companies. International developers are looking to the western regions where projects are estimated to produce over twice the amount of energy coming from solar in Germany, the world’s current market leader. The plans would assist in the efforts of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to increase the amount of energy generated by renewables from 2 percent to 8 percent by 2013.

In total, Argentina is hoping to produce 3,000 MW from clean energy, where 10 percent could come from solar. The country may have some trouble finding international capital as the nation defaulted on its debts in 2001 and so far has been relying on domestic funding for energy projects. The country also claims a rate of inflation of about 11.1 percent, but could in reality be as high as 26 percent. read more>>>

Scientists Develop a Whole New Way of Harvesting Energy from the Sun
click to enlarge graphic

Feb. 24, 2013 — A new method of harvesting the Sun's energy is emerging, thanks to scientists at UC Santa Barbara's Departments of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Materials. Though still in its infancy, the research promises to convert sunlight into energy using a process based on metals that are more robust than many of the semiconductors used in conventional methods.

The researchers' findings are published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology. "It is the first radically new and potentially workable alternative to semiconductor-based solar conversion devices to be developed in the past 70 years or so," said Martin Moskovits, professor of chemistry at UCSB. read more>>>

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