Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 7 May 2014

Two new solar industry guides released
30 April 2014 - The latest edition of the world’s only industry guide to focus on large-scale photovoltaic installations – PV Power Plants – will be published to coincide with Intersolar Europe in Munich.

In addition to presenting the sector’s key companies, the English-language industry guide contains useful information on the latest technologies, economic developments and legal conditions. The report is aimed at system integrators, project developers, project managers, investors and utility companies.

To provide readers with more relevant information, 2014 sees “PV Power Plants” published for the first time in three different editions covering the most important markets in Europe, North and South America and Asia. read more>>>

Mega solar power plant now operating in Japan
29 April 2014 - Marubeni Corporation’s fully-owned subsidiary ‘Oita Solar Power Corporation’ has officially opened a mega solar power plant in Oita City, Japan

Around 200 guests were present at the launch ceremony including Mr Hirose, the governor of Oita Prefecture and Mr Kugimiya, the Mayor of Oita City. The massive 82.2MW solar power plant was constructed in Coastal Industrial Area No 6 in Oita City and first began commercial operation in March 2014.

It is the largest individual company project at a single location and will be capable of generating an estimated 87 million kWh annually, corresponding to the annual power consumption of 30 thousand houses, together and displacing 35 thousand tons of carbon dioxide. read more>>>

Barnes & Noble

Solar Wind Downdraft Tower Now Under Construction in Arizona
April 29, 2014 - There is no doubt that now more than ever developing and exploring alternative energy sources is essential. This is why, innovations that combine efficiency with renewable energy production, are being stimulated and funded all over the world, to reach the common goal to cut down, and hopefully soon eliminate completely, harmful emissions.

One such project comes from Solar Wind Energy Tower, Inc., the inventors of the currently one and only hybrid solar-wind technology. The Solar Wind Downdraft Tower is a unique development, which has the potential to tackle all limitations currently associated with alternative energy sources, by combining solar rays with water in order to create power from a natural downdraft. read more>>>

Energy benchmarking law goes from cities to county
April 30, 2014 - Montgomery County, Maryland, has become the first county in the country to pass an energy benchmarking law, which requires commercial building owners to track and report the facility's energy use. Nine major cities -- Austin, Boston, Chicago, the District of Columbia, Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Seattle -- have, thus far, enacted similar laws to cut energy waste, lower utility bills, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Montgomery County's new law was part of a package of nine energy bills and unanimously passed to require the annual benchmarking of energy use in county-owned nonresidential buildings with an initial deadline of June 1, 2015; the benchmarking of privately owned nonresidential buildings of 250,000 or more square feet by December 1, 2016; and the benchmarking of private nonresidential buildings of 50,000 to 250,000 square feet by December 1, 2017. read more>>>

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Stream-reach hydropower still untapped
April 30, 2014 - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Oak Ridge National Laboratory estimates more than 65 GW of new hydropower development potential across more than three million U.S. rivers and streams -- nearly equivalent to the current U.S. hydropower capacity -- demonstrating one of the ways in which the United States can diversify its energy portfolio with sustainable and clean domestic power generation.

The United States has tremendous untapped clean energy resources. Hydropower makes up seven percent of total U.S. electricity generation and continues to be the United States' largest source of renewable electricity, avoiding over 200 million metric tons of carbon emissions each year, according to DOE. Hydropower also provides reliable baseload power day and night, providing greater flexibility and diversity to the electric grid and allowing utilities to integrate other renewable sources such as wind and solar power. read more>>>

Report Finds Major Potential to Grow Clean, Sustainable U.S. Hydropower
Apr. 29, 2014 - Building on the Obama Administration’s commitment to an all-of-the-above energy strategy, the Energy Department and its Oak Ridge National Laboratory released a renewable energy resource assessment today (April 29, 2014) detailing the potential to develop new electric power generation in waterways across the United States. The report estimates over 65 gigawatts (GW) of potential new hydropower development across more than three million U.S. rivers and streams –equivalent to the current U.S. hydropower capacity. These findings demonstrate one of the ways the United States can further diversify its energy portfolio with sustainable and clean domestic power generation.

“The United States has tremendous untapped clean energy resources and responsible development will help pave the way to a cleaner, more sustainable and diverse energy portfolio,” said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. read more>>>

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MIT team wins Clean Energy Prize for solving solar’s shade problem
Apr. 29, 2014 - An MIT team whose integrated chip restores lost power to partially shaded solar panels — achieving double the energy capture improvement of similar technologies — won big on Monday night at the seventh annual MIT Clean Energy Prize (CEP) competition.

Equipped with a promising business plan and a snappy catchphrase — “shade happens” — Unified Solar took home both CEP grand prizes: the DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Clean Energy Prize, worth $100,000, and the NSTAR MIT Clean Energy Prize, worth $125,000.

Solar panels on residential rooftops that are partially shaded by clouds or trees sacrifice as much as 30 percent of their energy potential over a year. Unified Solar’s technology, for the first time, integrates an entire power balance circuit onto a low-cost chip that can be integrated into a solar panel to regain that lost energy. read more>>>

N.Y. gets to work on 'grid of the future' with sweeping changes to come
April 29, 2014 - Energy regulators in Albany have been tasked by Gov. Andrew Cuomo with a daunting job over the next year: to fundamentally reshape how power is bought, sold and distributed in a high-cost, high-profile state that is quickly adjusting to new market realities.

Last week, the Democratic governor directed the New York Public Service Commission -- which oversees the private power sector and the grid -- to begin a proceeding meant to pave the way for distributed energy, smart-grid technologies, demand response, electric vehicles and, ultimately, the prospect of less hard infrastructure.

The proposal comes as the Empire State emerges from one of the coldest winters on record and, by some accounts, faces more than $1 billion in consumer debt linked to power bills people have been unable to pay. read more>>>

Cheap, environmentally-friendly method for making transparent conductive films for laptops, smartphones, solar cells
April 29, 2014 - Transparent conductive films are now an integral part of our everyday lives. Whether in smartphones, tablets, laptops, flat screens or (on a larger scale) in solar cells. Yet they are expensive and complex to manufacture. Now, researchers at Empa have succeeded in developing a method of producing such TCO films, as they are known, that is not only cheaper, but also simpler and more environmentally friendly.

It is a requirement of the touchscreens for all our everyday gadgets that they are transparent and at the same time electrically conductive. Solar cells are also unable to operate without such a film, which allows sunlight to pass through it, but can also conduct the current generated. Conventional "transparent conductive oxide" (TCO) films consist of a mixture of indium and tin oxide. Indium in very much in demand in the electronics industry, but is rare, and therefore expensive. read more>>>

Multilayer, microscale solar cells enable ultrahigh efficiency power generation
April 28, 2014 - Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign use a printing process to assemble tiny cells into multilayer stacks for extraordinary levels of photovoltaic conversion efficiency.

As an energy source, the Sun has always been a dependable provider. Although it freely shines on everyone, the ability to capture and convert the Sun's abundant energy is anything but free. However, new technologies aimed at achieving "full spectrum" operation in utility-scale photovoltaics may soon make solar energy a viable option.

"A few simple ideas in materials science and device assembly allow us to bypass many of the limitations of traditional photovoltaic technologies," explained John Rogers, whose research group is developing these concepts. read more>>>

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