Monday, March 31, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 31 March 2014

Nevada's renewable energy boom
March 26, 2014 - Since 2010, Nevada has invested $5.5 billion in clean energy, creating a renewable energy boom that includes the state's first utility-scale wind farm, according to a new report by the Clean Energy Project NV.

Clean energy investment in Nevada has accelerated rapidly in the past five years, leveraging national resources and the support and leadership of local, state and federal officials. Thanks to Nevada's widespread leadership and support for the clean energy economic sector, Nevada ranks sixth in the United States in installed solar capacity, representing an investment of more than $2.3 billion. As the sunniest state in the nation, Nevada has unlimited potential to expand its use of clean energy even further, creating more new jobs and drive the state's economy. read more>>>

A Clean Energy Economy and Jobs
March 27, 2014 - Ocean energy provides an exciting opportunity for the United States to help advance the goal of developing clean, renewable energy, lessening our reliance on foreign oil, and creating new industries and thousands of rewarding jobs. In my home state of Maine, tidal energy and deepwater, offshore wind are just two examples of ocean energy demonstration projects where inspiring vision and effort are helping to lead the way.

Two and a half centuries ago, the first settlements in Downeast Maine were powered by the massive tides generated in the Bay of Fundy. With 100 billion tons of water flowing in and out each day with clockwork regularity, the 25-foot tides drove lumber and grain mills, and communities prospered. read more>>>

Jack-Up Barge announces new offshore installation method
17 March 2014 - The offshore self-elevating platform supplier Jack-Up Barge, has announced the launch of a new cost-effective installation method that could revolutionise offshore wind turbine construction

The Netherlands-based company successfully completed sea trials on a new portable DP2 system at the beginning of March. The system is integrated to one of Jack-Up Barge’s platforms and enables the vessel to operate between work sites offshore without having to rely on a tug. This helps to make the platform more independent, ensuring the delivery of an extremely time-efficient installation process for offshore wind turbines. It also helps to reduce costs relative to current, conventional installation methods. read more>>>

Wolseley UK installs huge solar array on distribution centre roof
20 March 2014 - Eight thousand solar panels have been installed on the roof of Wolseley UK’s National Distribution Centre (NDC) in Leamington Spa, capable of generating enough electricity to power around 450 homes a year

Wolseley UK is part of the global plumbing and heating products company Wolseley PLC and is also a supplier of construction materials. It has launched a commitment to green energy solutions of which the new solar array is part.

The roof of the company’s UK National Distribution Centre, which at 13,113m² is around the size of two football pitches, has now been covered in 8020 PV panels, along with 24 inverters, at Wolseley UK’s head office site. read more>>>

Wind and Weather

What is a Green Building?
Green building or an eco-friendly building uses less water, optimises natural resources, saves energy, provides healthier space and generates less waste when compared with the conventional buildings.

Mar 21, 2014 - A green building is a holistic approach to design and construction that minimizes the building’s impact on the occupants, surroundings and the society. With the concept of green buildings gaining momentum among the developers, the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) is expecting around 2 billion sq ft of green buildings by 2015. Currently, around 1745 buildings spread over 1.21 billion are registered with IGBC. read more>>>

Wisconsin co-ops embracing community solar
March 21, 2014 - Wisconsin electric cooperatives Vernon Electric Cooperative (VEC) and Dairyland Power Cooperative (DPC) are setting the stage for increased community-owned solar, in partnership with the Clean Energy Collective (CEC). This distributed generation model enables any customer in a participating utility territory -- including renters, those with shaded roofs, and people with modest incomes -- the opportunity to own panels in a shared solar PV facility, scalable to a single panel, without having to build a stand-alone facility on their home or business.

The utility sector is quickly embracing the model because it is delivering reliable, long-term, in-network clean power at reasonable rates, paid for by participating ratepayers, that contributes to a utility's renewable portfolio standard (RPS) outside the limitations of net-metering. read more>>>

Utilities called upon to address energy-water nexus
March 21, 2014 - Water and energy are inextricably linked. Energy generation and transmission consume water resources, particularly for hydroelectric, nuclear, and thermal energy sources. Similarly, about 8 percent of global energy generation is used for pumping, treating and transporting water to various consumers. Water is required to produce nearly all forms of energy, and energy is needed at all stages of water extraction, treatment and distribution.

Utilities can be part of addressing these challenges of the energy-water nexus by educating consumers on the important role that energy plays in water usage, as well as making adjustments to their own plants. That is the conclusion of Pure Energies and the Congressional Research Service on this World Water Day. read more>>>

Buyers' desire for green building can't keep pace with rebounding market
March 21, 2014 - Buyers' enthusiasm for green building has failed to keep pace with a recovering home-construction market, area builders say.

Instead, "customers' interests have gone from 'green' to energy efficiency," said Robin Hackney, who with husband Dean owns Horizon Builders in Wilmington. Coming out of a deep economic slump, buyers are seeking to save money – particularly to keep utility bills to a minimum.

That desire coincides with stricter building codes, adopted in 2012, that have builders constructing more efficient homes. read more>>>

Forests crucial to green growth
Mar 21, 2014 - The value of forests and tree-based ecosystems extends far beyond carbon sequestration; they are the foundation of sustainable societies.

A new report, launched in Jakarta, Indonesia on 21 March - the International Day of Forests – promotes REDD+ and the Green Economy as together providing a new pathway to sustainable development that can benefit all nations. It claims this approach can conserve and even boost the economic and social benefits forests provide to human society. read more>>>

NZ well positioned to be a green economy - Royal Society
21 March, 2014 - The Royal Society of New Zealand says environmental problems are beginning to threaten social and economic wellbeing and that New Zealand would benefit from a move to a green economy.

In a paper released today, Facing the future: towards a green economy for New Zealand, the Society highlights research on the resource and consumption challenges facing New Zealand and the rest of the world, and the opportunities for dealing with them. It concludes that New Zealand can have a number of economic, social and environmental gains by accelerating its move to a green economy. read more>>>

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 26 March 2014

Solar-Powered 3D Printer Turns Desert Sand Into Glass Bowls and Sculptures
03/19/14 - The sun's rays can be harnessed to power everything from homes to gadgets, but one graduate student is using the sun to create a super-printer capable of printing elaborate glassware. Markus Kayser took his graduate project all the way to the sands of the Sahara in Egypt to create his innovative idea dubbed the 'Solar Sinter'. The incredible design uses a 3D digital printer and the sun’s rays to turn the sand into incredible glass bowls and sculptures that are out of this world.

The Solar Sinter is made up of seven stations: a photovoltaic panel, the focal point for drawing the sun’s rays, a sun tracker, fresnel lens (for magnifying the rays), a battery, controlling electronics, and finally a silver tent dubbed the “office,” where Kayser can shield himself from the hot sun, while monitoring the process. read more>>>

Uruguayan Surfer-Girl Builds Charming Off-Grid Accommodation Powered by Nature
03/19/14 - Uruguayan surfer Victoria Gonzales has built the accommodation of her dreams. Located in a fishing village called Punta del Diablo north of Uruguay, the complex consists of three bright thatched-roofed cabins standing close to the sea. Both charming and self-sufficient, Solo Mare del Diablo comes with solar panels, a solar water heater, and a windmill.

Originally from Montevideo, Victoria Gonzales migrates every year between Punta del Diablo and the shores of L.A. She leads a healthy lifestyle full of surfing, yoga and raw food, a philosophy that is reflected in the accommodation. Built three years ago, Solo Mare del Diablo consists of three self-sufficient cabins painted in colorful shades, and they are located very close to the sea. read more>>>

Berlin can be climate-neutral by 2050: Feasibility Study
Mar. 17, 2014 - Berlin can reduce its CO2 emissions from presently about 21 million tons to 4.4 million tons in 2050 – despite economic growth and population increase. This would mean a reduction of about 85 percent compared to the basis year 1990 and complies with the ambition to make Berlin a climate-neutral city. As a positive side-effect, there could be a regional economic effect of up to 138 million euro from the shift in the energy supply from fossil to mainly renewable energy sources.

On behalf of the Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and the Environment, a consortium led by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) analyzed scenarios and developed recommendations how to achieve climate-neutrality. The study will be presented to the public today in the Berlin town-hall by Michael Müller, Senator for Urban Development and Environment, and Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, Director of PIK. read more>>>

A new algorithm improves the efficiency of small wind turbines
Mar. 18, 2014 - In recent years, mini wind energy has been developing in a spectacular way. According to estimates by the WWEA-World Wind Energy Association, the level of development of the mini wind energy industry is not the same as that of the wind energy industry, although forecasts are optimistic. The main reason is that the level of efficiency of small wind turbines is low. To address this problem, the UPV/EHU’s research group APERT (Applied Electronics Research Team) has developed an adaptative algorithm. The improvements that are applied to the control of these turbines will in fact contribute towards making them more efficient. The study has been published in the journal Renewable Energy.

Small wind turbines tend to be located in areas where wind conditions are more unfavourable. “The control systems of current wind turbines are not adaptative; in other words, the algorithms lack the capacity to adapt to new situations,” explained Iñigo Kortabarria, one of the researchers in the UPV/EHU’sAPERT research group. read more>>>

Wind and Weather

Want a competitive Europe? Embrace renewables
Mar. 19, 2014 - One day ahead of the European Heads of States and Governments’ discussions on the 2030 climate and energy framework proposals, the European renewable energy associations jointly call on EU leaders to fully grasp the long-term benefits of an ambitious nationally binding EU renewable energy target.

The European economy is exposed to volatile fossil fuel prices and insecure fossil fuel imports, especially in these days of geopolitical turmoil at our borders. It must confront climate change. It is facing international competition in sectors of strategic importance for Europe’s growth. In view of the European Council meeting tomorrow, the renewable energy associations emphasise the need for a sustainable and cost-efficient energy mix that can help Europe tackle these challenges. read more>>>

Concentrated Solar Power leading energy storage race in 2014
Mar. 18, 2014 - Regulatory bodies including CPUC and FERC continue to roll out requirements supporting the development of energy storage technologies to deal with the problem of grid intermittency created by high levels of renewable integration. As a result of this there is growing interest in concentrated solar power (CSP) as a procurement option.

The strongest storage mandate to date has been set out by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The 1.3GW storage requirement which must be met by three major investor owned Californian utilities by 2020 has driven investment into a vast array of storage technologies. read more>>>

European fuel cell cluster to be highlighted at the Hanover Trade Fair
19 March 2014 - The activities of Europe's burgeoning, next generation automotive fuel cell cluster, an initiative being coordinated by the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Württemberg, will be highlighted at the upcoming Hanover Trade Fair.

The Fair is being held 7-11 April 2014.

The fuel cell effort, called the "Auto-Stack CORE" network, includes nine European automobile manufacturers, system integrators and component suppliers, along with five research institutes. read more>>>

Wind farms can provide society a surplus of reliable clean energy
March 20, 2014 - The worldwide demand for solar and wind power continues to skyrocket. Since 2009, global solar photovoltaic installations have increased about 40 percent a year on average, and the installed capacity of wind turbines has doubled.

The dramatic growth of the wind and solar industries has led utilities to begin testing large-scale technologies capable of storing surplus clean electricity and delivering it on demand when sunlight and wind are in short supply.

Now a team of Stanford researchers has looked at the "energetic cost" of manufacturing batteries and other storage technologies for the electrical grid. read more>>>

Green Living Everyday

United States Navy Unveils Plan to Beam Solar Power from Space to Earth
03/20/14 - The United States Navy Research Laboratory has unveiled two modules they are testing to capture solar energy from space and divert its power to earth. The two designs would use reflectors to concentrate sunlight to a satellite that would project the power to a receiver on the earth’s surface. If the plans are approved, the components would be assembled in space by a team of robots.

The futuristic plans headed by Dr. Paul Jaffe comprise two different designs that could create enough solar energy to power a city or a military plant. The first is a sandwich module that keeps electrical components between one enormous square photovoltaic panel that faces the sun and a square base with an extending antenna that directs the powered collected toward the earth. The electronic system in the center transforms the collected solar energy into radio frequency that can be easily beamed to the receiver. read more>>>

On-site solar power could hasten US utility ‘death spiral’, report finds
20/03/2014 - Rooftop solar power coupled with battery energy storage could enable ‘widespread customer defection’ from the US electric grid by 2025, new analysis has found.

A new report from the Rocky Mountain Institute energy think tank, microgrid modeling software companyRooftop solar Homer Energy and renewable energy consultancy CohnReznick Think Energy looked at five US states (Hawaii, California, Kentucky, Texas and New York) in different regions of the country to identify when and how combined rooftop solar and battery storage could disrupt existing utility business models. read more>>>