Sunday, January 19, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 19 January 2014

Manufacturing key industry for energy efficiency programs
January 15, 2014 - The manufacturing sector, which accounts for about one-third of the energy consumed in the United States, is increasingly relying on generating energy savings to meet efficiency targets set by states and energy utilities, and more energy efficiency programs are beginning to address the needs facing small to medium-sized manufacturers (SMM), according to a new report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

SMM make up about 90 percent of manufacturing establishments and use about 50 percent of the energy consumed by industry, according to ACEEE. read more>>>

Ameren MO Outlines Plans For Solar Energy Center In O’Fallon
January 13, 2014 - Ameren Missouri officials are casting their eyes skyward to enhance power production.

President and CEO Warner Baxter made the announcement Monday morning at Ameren headquarters in St. Louis.

“This announcement involves our newest venture into renewable, clean-air energy,” Baxter said. “It’s about an energy source that has been with us quite literally since the beginning of time. This source is one of the most powerful forms of energy known to us today, and of course we’re talking about the sun.” read more>>>

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UN climate chief calls for tripling of clean energy investment
Christiana Figueres says $1 trillion a year is required for the transformation needed to stay within 2C of warming

14 January 2014 - The United Nations climate chief has urged global financial institutions to triple their investments in clean energy to reach the $1 trillion a year mark that would help avert a climate catastrophe.

In an interview with the Guardian, the UN's Christiana Figueres urged institutions to begin building the foundations of a clean energy economy by scaling up their investments.

Global investment in clean technologies is running at about $300bn a year – but that is nowhere where it needs to be, Figueres said. read more>>>

Solar panels on half a million UK buildings, figures suggest
Industry hails 'quiet revolution' as milestone is passed under feed-in tariff scheme.

14 January 2014 - The solar power industry appears to have installed its 500,000th set of panels in the UK in recent days, in a move that marks a major milestone for the burgeoning sector.

According to figures by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, 499,687 solar schemes had been installed by 5 January under the feed-in tariff scheme that supports solar arrays with a capacity smaller than 50kW.

With the solar market installing around 1,900 schemes on average per week over the past year and work now picking up after the Christmas holidays it is highly likely more than 313 would have been installed last week, taking the industry past the half a million mark. read more>>>

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Battery development may extend range of electric cars
January 09, 2014 - It's known that electric vehicles could travel longer distances before needing to charge and more renewable energy could be saved for a rainy day if lithium-sulfur batteries can just overcome a few technical hurdles. Now, a novel design for a critical part of the battery has been shown to significantly extend the technology's lifespan, bringing it closer to commercial use.

A "hybrid" anode developed at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory could quadruple the life of lithium-sulfur batteries. Nature Communications published a paper today describing the anode's design and performance.

"Lithium-sulfur batteries could one day help us take electric cars on longer drives and store renewable wind energy more cheaply, but some technical challenges have to be overcome first," read more>>>

AnalySwift partners with Altran to release optimization code for wind turbine blades
09 January 2014 - The modelling software provider AnalySwift has partnered with Altran in the release of Altran’s optimization code for the design of composite wind turbine blades

AnalySwift’s VABS and PreVABS software will play a key role in combination with other optimization and mathematical tools developed in-house by Altran as part of their new optimization code. The code is a generalistic tool based on aerodynamic and structural calculations which is still under development. It will include an optimization loop to modify structural pre-design and will address aerodynamics structural modelling and optimization of emerging wind turbine blades. The VABS and PreVABS software will interface with and complement Altran’s code. read more>>>

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New US test facility to improve wind turbines
06 January 2014 - Premature failures of mechanical systems have a significant impact on the cost of wind turbine operations and thus the total cost of wind energy.

Recently, the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory took a giant step forward in the quest for more reliable, lower-cost wind power with the addition of the new 5 MW Dynamometer Test Facility at its National Wind Technology Center.

The new facility dramatically expands the capability of NWTC engineers and their industry partners to verify the performance and reliability of wind turbine drive-train prototypes and commercial machines. read more>>>

Doing it right: Top 6 things to consider when developing microgrids
Jan 14, 2014 - As the technology matures and the risks decrease, microgrids continue to be one of the most exciting and talked-about opportunities for companies, campuses, utilities, and government. Microgrids offer a variety of compelling business opportunities to help meet organizational mission requirements, participate in the electricity markets, increase energy surety/resiliency, and incorporate renewable energy resources.

The conundrum is that there are many, many ways that a microgrid could be designed, and a design that was optimized for one organization in one location is highly unlikely to be optimal somewhere else. read more>>>

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Proposed R2bn fund aims to boost bio-economy
14 January 2014 - THE government on Tuesday released a new bio-economy strategy that proposes setting up a R2bn venture-capital fund to support initiatives that aim to extract economic value from South Africa’s rich biological resources.

"The vision is for South Africa’s bio-economy to be a significant contributor to the country’s economy by 2030 … through the creation and growth of novel industries that generate and develop bio-based services, products and innovations," says the strategy, launched in Pretoria by Science and Technology Minister Derek Hanekom.

In a prepared speech, he said the government was confident the strategy would "address the full value chain, going beyond the mere generation of new technologies to ensuring that technology development is informed by the needs of the country and people, and that social and economic value is generated". read more>>>

SA missing 'green growth' opportunities
14 Jan 2014 - South Africa is missing opportunities to promote effectively the "green growth" that the New Growth Path (NGP) projected would deliver 300 000 jobs between 2010 and 2015, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says in its first environmental performance review of the country.

Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Minister Collins Chabane launched the NGP in November 2010 as South Africa’s new economic framework in a bid to create 5-million jobs and reduce unemployment from 25% to 15% over the 10 years to 2020.

Saliem Fakir, the head of the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Living Planet Unit, says the assessment is a useful review of what has been done about the environment in South Africa in the 20 years of democracy. read more>>>

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