Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 8 April 2014

China Bets On Harnessing The Ocean For Clean Energy
April 1, 2014 - China is chasing Europe’s lead and wants to capture the ocean’s waves and tides for clean and renewable energy.

The country is investing large amounts of money and entering into ventures with Lockheed Martin and partnering with the Netherlands to develop various tidal power projects.

China has 11,000 miles of coastline and, if it becomes affordable, harnessing the sea could be the key to reducing pollution and advancing the renewable energy sector in Asia and elsewhere.

The Wall Street Journal’s Jason Bellini joins Here & Now’s Robin Young with details. read more>>>

Going Under the Sea for Clean Energy
APRIL 2, 2014 - A black-and-red tower with what look like white wings juts out of the water in Strangford Lough, a fjord that runs from the Irish Sea deep into the farm country of Northern Ireland.

Curious seals stick their heads up as a boat draws close, but they don’t seem to be bothered by the strange-looking device, which is actually a windmill, except its blades are under water.

SeaGen, as the machine is called, might be the most convincing evidence available that the large-scale harnessing of tidal power is becoming more than just an engineer’s fantasy.

Since 2008, SeaGen has been fixed to the sea bottom about 80 feet below the surface in a narrow channel where the tides race in and out of the 18-mile-long Strangford Lough. The fast-moving currents spin the machine’s twin propellers. When they are operating, lowered into the water along the shaft of the tower, they generate enough electricity to power more than 1,000 homes, producing an estimated 3,000 pounds, or $5,000, per day in revenue.

With the wind and solar energy industries well advanced, the oceans are looking more attractive as a new source of clean energy to help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. There are obvious pluses: The tides, especially along the coasts of some countries, including Britain, are powerful and more predictable than wind. read more>>>

Wisconsin utilities celebrating energy efficiency savings
March 28, 2014 - Focus on Energy, Wisconsin utilities' statewide program for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects funded by the state's investor-owned utilities and participating municipal and electric cooperatives, has released the 2013 results of their Multifamily Energy Savings Program. Focus on Energy works with eligible Wisconsin residents and businesses, providing information, resources and financial incentives to help implement projects that otherwise would not be completed.

In 2013, 89 properties took advantage of the Common Area Lighting Package (CALP), designed to help multifamily buildings lower electricity bills through lighting upgrades in common area spaces. THE CALP collectively saved the state of Wisconsin 1.7 million kilowatt hours, and on average, it will save each property owner nearly $2,000 over the life of the upgraded equipment. read more>>>

Wind Energy 2014 Outlook: Major Markets Recover, Battling Policy and Grid Concerns
Wind demand in 2013 ended up much softer than 2012's record-setting performance, but 2014 promises to be significantly better with expectations of stabilization and growth in both the US and China, and continued strength building in some emerging markets.

February 13, 2014 - Preliminary estimates suggest worldwide wind energy installations were 34-35 GW in 2013, "a substantial dropoff" from a record-setting 2012, according to Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). In fact 2013 will have been the first time in nearly a decade where global demand contracted, almost entirely because of softness in demand in the U.S. and China, added Steen Broust Nielsen, partner with Make Consulting.

This year promises to be significantly better (though perhaps not quite so good as 2012), with expectations of stabilization and growth in both the U.S. and China, and continued strength building in some emerging markets. GWEC's initial expectations for 2014 are for 45-48 GW, and with some upside. The largest variable, as has been the case for several years now, is the extent of the U.S. recovery. In Europe, Germany and the U.K. continue to drive the market, with emerging growth in countries like Sweden, Denmark, and Finland, and some eastern European countries like Poland and Turkey. And China, like the U.S., is showing signs of reawakening as one of the bigger influences on the global industry. read more>>>

Cheapest energy is what you don't have to produce
March 27, 2014 - Energy efficiency is the least expensive method of providing U.S. energy consumers with electricity. So says the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE).

"The cheapest energy is the energy you don't have to produce in the first place," said ACEEE Executive Director Steven Nadel. "When utilities are examining options on how to provide their customers with cheap, clean electricity, energy efficiency is generally the best choice." read more>>>

Hydropower needs ‘new climate knowledge’
Mar. 26, 2014 - In a region where on average more than 60 per cent of electricity is provided by hydropower facilities — in contrast to a less than 20 per cent globally — the future of water availability matters.

So, this issue dominated the second day of the Conference for Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC): Developing, linking and applying climate knowledge, organised by the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) that took place in Montevideo, Uruguay last week (17-21 March).

The idea that emerged was to create a “new climate knowledge” for the hydropower sector, one that would help protect hydropower projects from future climate variability, said Sebastian Vicuña, researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center for Global Change at the Pontificial Catholic University of Chile. read more>>>

First Round Grand Challenge Projects for Innovative Carbon Uses Chosen
Mar. 21, 2014 - The Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation has confirmed the finalists for the first round of the CCEMC Grand Challenge: Innovative Carbon Uses. The successful projects will be announced in Edmonton at Zero 2014: A Conference for a Low Carbon Future, on April 15. The finalists were selected from 344 submissions, from 37 countries, on six continents and will each receive $500,000 to help develop their technologies.

Grand Challenge Round One finalists are diverse and include innovative projects linked to fertilizers, concrete, building materials, fuels and a variety of chemicals used to produce consumer goods, such as ski boots, fishing rods, clothing and inks. read more>>>

New Energy unveils high performance solar window
25 March 2014 - New Energy Technologies Inc has developed a new high-performance SolarWindow array in association with researchers at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

New Energy is a developer of see-through solar window coatings which generate electricity on glass and flexible plastics. Its new SolarWindow measures over 232 square centimetres, an improvement upon previous achievements by the company at NREL. As with the company’s other products, the window features the highly-uniform coloured tints preferred by window manufacturers for installation on skyscrapers worldwide. read more>>>

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Scientists develop silicon cells capable of absorbing infrared radiation from the sun
March 25, 2014 - Researchers of the Universitat Politècnica de València, the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC, in Spanish), the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya-BarcelonaTech (UPC) and the Universidad Rovira i Virgili de Tarragona have developed a silicon photovoltaic cell capable of turning infrared radiation into electricity.

Nature Communications magazine has published this new development led by Francisco Meseguer professor from the CSIC, at the joint lab UPV/CSIC.

The sun is an inexhaustible source of energy which well-exploited, could solve many of the energy suply problems we have today. read more>>>

Managing renewable energy intelligently
March 25, 2014 - Although more and more of our electrical energy is coming from sources where supply is variable -- whether from wind turbines, solar parks or biomass facilities -- grid structures, industry and private households alike are not yet prepared to deal with the inevitable fluctuations. Smart energy management systems are the way to put robust supply networks in place and to ensure that renewables are harnessed as efficiently as possible. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance will be showcasing their energy solutions for energy providers, small and medium-sized enterprises and homes at this year's Hannover Messe.

"Wind, solar and biogas are all energy sources with their own strengths and weaknesses. And it's by combining the strengths of each in a smart way that we'll be able to guarantee Germany's energy supply into the future," says Dr. Kurt Rohrig, deputy director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology IWES in Kassel. read more>>>

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