Thursday, April 24, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 24 April 2014

Lights Would Stay On With More Flexible, Distributed Microgrids
04/14/2014 - It's probably not a surprise to many of you that microgrids make a lot more sense than one big interconnected national grid.

We've been saying for decades that we need to move to distributed energy rather than relying on centralized control.

It turns out this would also be much easier for utilities to manage. If grids were in chunks of 500-700 connections, they would be big enough to stabilize local fluctuations in power generation, but small enough to avoid large-scale failures, according to research by the American Institute of Physics. read more>>>

Securing the US Electric Grid with Distributed Energy and Microgrids
April 23rd 2014 - On March 13, 2014, the Wall Street Journal ran a story describing how a strategically placed attack on a few substations—in each of the three major US regional electric grids—could take down the entire US electric system. Even worse, the blackout could last for months, because our electric system depends on large transformers, some of which are only manufactured in foreign countries. Publication of this story, which was based on a “sensitive” internal memo from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), is continuing to create a ruckus weeks later. Now, the US Senate is getting into the act with Senators Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska),leaders of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, demanding that the Department of Energy’s (DOE) inspector general investigate how the study was leaked and what the consequences might be. read more>>>

Energy efficiency crystal ball
April 14, 2014 - A business customer segmentation solution will help utilities predict who's most likely to participate in their energy efficiency programs and prioritize their efforts based on a customer's energy saving potential. E Source's Energy Efficiency Predictor will offer insights about business customers that will enable utilities to improve their energy efficiency portfolio development, program design, and marketing planning.

By better understanding their customers, utilities will be able to more effectively allocate marketing resources and develop strategies that make sense for business customers. read more>>>

Legacy of technology innovation could sustain CA water future
April 14, 2014 - California's sustainable water future would be achieved through a system management approach utilizing innovations in science, technology and management, according to a report from the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST), conducted at the request of a bipartisan group of legislators. The approach would rely on both currently available and new science and technology, yielding greater efficiencies and opening new sources of supply for managing California water through future multi-year cycles of drought and flooding.

This approach wouldn't reinvent the wheel, but would complement California's already significant investment in large-scale engineering solutions to meet water needs through dams, canals and pipelines. The report complements the governor's California Water Action Plan and the 2013 Update of the California Water Plan by the California Department of Water Resources. read more>>>


Green Living Everyday

$1.3B FPL clean energy center enters operation
April 14, 2014 - Florida Power & Light Company's (FPL) Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center has officially entered commercial operation, replacing the previous Riviera Beach facility. FPL calls the new plant one of the cleanest, most energy efficient in the nation. The new energy center can produce more than 1,250 MW -- double the amount generated by the previous plant -- without using any additional water or land.

The Riviera Beach Next Generation Clean Energy Center is part of FPL's ongoing effort to modernize its power generation fleet in order to continue providing clean, affordable, reliable electricity for its customers. FPL invested approximately $1.3 billion to build the new plant on the same site where the previous 1960s-era oil-burning plant was dismantled in 2011. The center was completed two months early and under budget. FPL expects to provide approximately $25 million in new local tax revenue during the energy center's first year of operation. read more>>>

New Report Shows Clean Energy Has Positive Impact on North Carolina’s Economy
April 14, 2014 - Today, RTI International, a leading national research institute, released a new study, The Economic Impact Analysis of Clean Energy Development in North Carolina, that reveals sizeable contributions that clean energy development is making to the North Carolina economy. The analysis also focuses specifically on the clean energy policies that have had a proven positive economic impact in the state.

The North Carolina Sustainable Energy Association (NCSEA) commissioned the group to conduct an independent analysis focused on key clean energy policy drivers and the economic and fiscal impacts that result. The study found that the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), renewable energy investment tax credit, and Utility Savings Initiative were significant drivers of clean energy development in North Carolina. read more>>>

NC must continue its support for renewable energy
April 12, 2014 - Duke Energy’s troubles with coal ash illustrate the hazards of burning fossil fuels and disposing of the byproducts. But another hazard lies in efforts to snuff out a trend that’s decreasing North Carolina’s dependence on fossil fuels: the state’s rising production of renewable energy.

That trend has been fed by a state law requiring utilities – which now effectively means Duke Energy – to get a portion of their electric power from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and livestock waste methane. The Renewable Energy Portfolio Standards law (commonly known as Senate Bill 3) requires that renewable energy sources account for 3 percent of a utility’s sales this year with the standards rising to 12.5 percent of total retail sales by 2021.

The requirement creates a market for renewable energy sources and has accounted for a boom in the solar energy industry in North Carolina. But building one market takes from another, and the fossil fuel industry is mounting an effort to reduce or repeal the standards. read more>>>

Passive houses save lots of energy
April 11, 2014 - Housing is the easiest sector to change if we are to reach the climate targets, experts say.

By 2050, 7 million people will live in Norway instead of the 5 million that live here today. In spite of this growth, Norwegian energy consumption for housing could be 75 per cent lower than it is today, which would drop carbon emissions from the sector by as much as 70 percent.

So says Stefan Pauliuk, a postdoc in the Industrial Ecology Programme at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU).

Pauliuk estimated how Norway could reduce its emissions and energy consumption using several different scenarios as a part of his doctoral dissertation. read more>>>

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Better solar cells, better LED light and vast optical possibilities
April 11, 2014 - Changes at the atom level in nanowires offer vast possibilities for improvement of solar cells and LED light. NTNU-researchers have discovered that by tuning a small strain on single nanowires they can become more effective in LEDs and solar cells.

NTNU researchers Dheeraj Dasa and Helge Weman have, in cooperation with IBM, discovered that gallium arsenide can be tuned with a small strain to function efficiently as a single light-emitting diode or a photodetector. This is facilitated by the special hexagonal crystal structure, referred to as wurtzite, which the NTNU researchers have succeeded in growing in the MBE lab at NTNU. The results were published in Nature Communications this week.

The last few years have seen significant breakthroughs in nanowire and graphene research at NTNU. In 2010, Professors Helge Weman, Bjørn-Ove Fimland and Ton van Helvoort and their academic group went public with their first groundbreaking discoveries within the field. read more>>>

WB commends Bangladesh
2014-04-11 - The World Bank has expressed satisfaction at Bangladesh’s significant progress in introducing green economy.

Its Vice-President for Sustainable Development Rachel Kyte and Vice-President for South Asia Region Philippe Le Houerou lauded Dhaka at separate programmes in Washington on Thursday (local time).

They held meetings with Finance Minister AMA Muhith and Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman. Top IMF officials and finance ministers of several other countries attended the meeting.

Rahman said the top World Bank officials told him that the international community’s concerns over Bangladesh were easing off. read more>>>

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