Friday, August 1, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 1 August 2014

Iowa’s largest solar farm in operation
July 30, 2014 - A half dozen years ago, little solar energy was generated in southeast Iowa, said Warren McKenna, CEO of Farmers Electric Cooperative.

Today, the rural utility, along with local, state and federal leaders, will celebrate the operation of the state’s largest solar farm near Kalona, just south of Iowa City.

“In 2008, there was just one little bitty array in Johnson, Washington and Iowa counties. There were four modules. I don’t know how many modules there are now, but it’s in the thousands” — on homes, businesses, and pig and cattle operations, McKenna said. “It’s really grown here.” read more>>>

FERC Commissioners at Hearing Agree on Need for U.S. Climate Action
In a surprise, several FERC commissioners at a Tuesday hearing went easy on EPA's new power plant rule, and all supported global warming action.

Jul 30, 2014 - There are many reasons why members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the regulator of the nation's electric grid, might bristle at the Obama administration's new climate rule for power plants.

It could happen out of dismay at the complexity of a regulatory scheme that the Environmental Protection Agency proposed—but FERC must help untangle. read more>>>

How to power California with wind, water and sun
July 24, 2014 - New Stanford research outlines the path to a possible future for California in which renewable energy creates a healthier environment, generates jobs and stabilizes energy prices.

Imagine a smog-free Los Angeles, where electric cars ply silent freeways, solar panels blanket rooftops and power plants run on heat from beneath the Earth, from howling winds and from the blazing desert sun.

A new Stanford study finds that it is technically and economically feasible to convert California's all-purpose energy infrastructure to one powered by clean, renewable energy. Published in Energy, the plan shows the way to a sustainable, inexpensive and reliable energy supply in California that could create tens of thousands of jobs and save billions of dollars in pollution-related health costs. read more>>>

Australia's Sunswift claims new EV distance speed world record
Jul 24th 2014 - With a name like Sunswift, optimism must abound. So let's start with the fact that the team behind it has built a great looking solar-powered car. And Australia has plenty of road and more than enough sun, the pieces are coming together.

Australia's University of New South Wales first put together its Sunswift team of vehicle builders in 1995 and students and other volunteers have been churning through the program ever since. The team, which continues to crowdfund in an effort to raise cash for more research, set a land-speed record in 2011 for a solar-powered vehicle, which was 55 miles per hour at the time. That may not please Sammy Hagar but we're impressed. read more>>>

Spring2012 428 x 60 - Outdoor Solar Lighting

NV Water Authority turning to solar for energy, water savings
July 24, 2014 - The Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA) has locked in a significant portion of its energy costs at a fixed rate, with a 20-year power purchase agreement with solar company SunEdison. The power purchase agreement provides SNWA with an effective hedge against future increases.

As part of the agreement, SunEdison will develop, construct, own and operate a 14 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant, located in Clark County.

"This partnership with SunEdison expands our renewable energy portfolio to about 18 percent of our total power mix, and it provides additional stability to power costs, which ultimately benefits Southern Nevada's municipal water users," said John Entsminger, Southern Nevada Water Authority general manager. read more>>>

Steam from the sun - New spongelike structure converts solar energy into steam
Jul. 21, 2014 - The structure — a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam — is a porous, insulating material structure that floats on water. When sunlight hits the structure’s surface, it creates a hotspot in the graphite, drawing water up through the material’s pores, where it evaporates as steam. The brighter the light, the more steam is generated.

The new material is able to convert 85 percent of incoming solar energy into steam — a significant improvement over recent approaches to solar-powered steam generation. What’s more, the setup loses very little heat in the process, and can produce steam at relatively low solar intensity. This would mean that, if scaled up, the setup would likely not require complex, costly systems to highly concentrate sunlight. read more>>>

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New Jersey Launches $200M Energy Resilience Bank for Microgrids and Distributed Generation
July 24, 2014 - Following in the footsteps of its tri-state neighbors, New Jersey is establishing an infrastructure bank that is focused on energy resiliency.

The names of these institutions vary across Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, but the idea is similar: leveraging public and private capital and the authority of the state to fund energy projects that provide cleaner, more reliable sources of electricity.

The $200 million for New Jersey’s Energy Resilience Bank will come from the state’s Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery allocation. read more>>>

Michigan lawmakers launch bipartisan search for energy freedom
31 July 2014 - A bipartisan group of Michigan lawmakers has introduced a bill package meant to encourage renewable and distributed energy development for utility customers.

The four-bill package, dubbed “Energy Freedom” by its sponsors, tackles issues like net metering, microgrids, fair-value pricing and community renewable-energy gardens.

Its sponsors, which include 12 Democrats and five Republicans, say it’s a different approach to expanding Michigan’s renewable energy portfolio, doing so on a small-scale level rather than a statewide mandate to be achieved by utilities. Utilities here are on track to meet the state’s 10 percent renewable standard by 2015. read more>>>

New world record set for concentrator photovoltaics
14 July 2014 - The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has been successfully developing concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) technology for many years. Now with their newest CPV module technology, the Freiburg researchers announce a world record module efficiency of 36.7%, achieved by adapting the concentrating lens to a new solar cell structure.

The high module efficiency was measured under Concentrator Standard Testing Conditions, or CSTC, and marks the best value ever achieved for a photovoltaic module.

Decisive in this achievement was Soitec’s newly developed four-junction solar cell based on the wafer bonding technology and developed in cooperation with Fraunhofer ISE. read more>>>

Juwi Group develops solar and agricultural park in the French Pyrenees
14 July 2014 - Renewable energy company Juwi Group has constructed a unique solar and agricultural park in the French Pyrenees consisting of nearly 30,000 panels and which maintains the ecological heritage of the area.

The solar and agricultural park covers a total size of 87 hectares at Ortaffa in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of southern France, close to the Spanish border. The solar plant, with a total module surface of 21 hectares, will provide clean energy for 10,000 households and is the largest PV plant Juwi has built in France so far. Special measures incorporated into the plant’s design mean that the local tradition of sheep farming and beekeeping has been revived on site and has also enabled the region’s agricultural heritage of wind-growing to rise again. read more>>>

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