Thursday, August 7, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 7 August 2014

People want smarter energy choices
August 05, 2014 - If you think backing renewable energy might be a good idea for the U.S. economy, then you’re not alone—not by a long shot.

A slew of studies have emerged recently, painting a clear picture of public opinion on renewable energy. Though the positive findings from both the public and business leaders are not surprising to many, the broader conclusions tell a great deal about the growing prominence of the clean energy economy: renewable energy deployment in the U.S. is now drawing overwhelming support.

Let’s take a quick look at the latest numbers: read more>>>

Lake Erie Algae Bloom Matches Climate Change Projections
The bloom that poisoned Toledo's waters may become more common as the waters of the Great Lakes warm

Aug 5, 2014 - A two-day ban on drinking water has been lifted in Toledo, Ohio. But the toxic algae bloom that led to the ban is still floating around Lake Erie and ones like it could become more common as the climate continues to change in a warming world.

Nutrients in agricultural runoff is the biggest contributor to algae blooms in Lake Erie. What brings that runoff from farm fields to the lake is rain, and lots of it.

“It’s a combo of more rainfall; that climate change is predicted to cause more severe rain events. And more rainfall means more nutrients and higher nutrients mean more toxicity,” Timothy Davis, an ecologist at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, said. read more>>>

Solar Royal Solar Ventilation Attic Fan

Northern Nevada leading conversations about renewable energy
8/05/2014 - Geothermal experts and policymakers from across the country are in Reno this week, and they are making northern Nevada the center of renewable energy conversations.

The Geothermal Energy Association is having its annual summit here, for the fourth year in a row. As part of the event, News 4 toured two local facilities that are making the Silver State a little greener.

"Nevada is the home for geothermal and the geothermal industry," said Karl Gawell. "I mean, Reno is really a microcenter for not just the geothermal industry in the United States, but around the world." read more>>>

Powering sub-Saharan Africa
August 6, 2014 - This week’s U.S.-Africa summit gives leaders in governments and the private sector the opportunity to catch up on efforts to increase access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa, just over a year after President Obama launched a major effort toward that goal.

About 70 percent of residents in sub-Saharan Africa lack reliable access to electricity, according to the White House. Beyond the humanitarian goal of improving people’s well-being, gaps in electricity availability make it difficult for companies, whether domestic or foreign, to operate in those countries. read more>>>

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Renewable energy recipe: one part Earth, two parts sun
August 6, 2014 - Energy from the Earth's core will combine with two sun-flavored sources this month to help power Nevada.

The Enel Green Power geothermal-solar hybrid plant at Stillwater is the first of its kind because it's adding thermodynamic solar power to its current mix of geothermal and photovoltaic solar.

Project managers hope the plant, which will turn on its thermodynamic units later this month, will blaze a trail for local power grids. read more>>>

Large-scale renewables driving flexible AC transmission systems
July 30, 2014 - Flexible Alternating Current Transmission Systems (FACTS), which mitigate voltage drops on the power grid, have evolved significantly during the past 40 years. With the rapid growth of large-scale renewable energy projects, which often supply intermittent power, demand is driving the need for FACTS, according to Navigant Research.

Complex engineered solutions such as static VAR compensators (SVC) and static synchronous compensators (STATCOM) have been developed to address emerging local transmission grid conditions and improve the reliability and stability of the high-voltage (HV) transmission grid. read more>>>

National Green Building Standard Usage Grows to 30%
August 6, 2014 - The U.S. National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) reports that usage of the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) grew from 2011 to 2013. Among builders of single-family homes, the number using the NGBS grew from 21 per cent to 30 per cent.

Among builders who focus on green construction, which means more than 30 per cent of their work is green construction, nearly 50 per cent use the NGBS. LEED, in comparison, was used by 13 per cent of single-family builders. The survey was conducted by McGraw Hill Construction’s data and analytics team of a set of NAHB single-family and multi-family members in 2013. read more>>>

DNV GL confirms safety and reliability of turbines at Africa's largest wind farm
25 July 2014 - As part of the installation phase at one of Africa’s largest wind farms Ashegoda in Ethiopia, DNV GL has inspected wind turbines of the French manufacturer Vergnet.

DNV GL confirmed the compliance of the installed wind turbines with DNV GL’s A-Design Assessment. The wind farm shall help to reduce the occurrence of blackouts in Ethiopia. The country has some of the best wind resources in the world and has a fully developed plan to get up to about 7 GW of wind energy by 2030.

“Certification and design validation are essential for technically reliable wind turbines”, said Mersudin Bajric, Project Manager for Renewables Certification at DNV GL. read more>>>

RenewableUK poll finds investing in renewables is a top priority
30 July 2014 - Investing in renewables is seen as the top priority for maintaining energy security by nearly half the British population – a view reflected across voters of all four major political parties.

The opinion poll was conducted by ComRes on behalf of trade association RenewableUK following research published last week finding that politicians opposing wind development are a turn off for voters.

Investing in renewables was the top priority for 48 percent of respondents, far ahead of the next most popular choice – building new nuclear reactors – which came in at 15 percent. Fracking came a distant fourth behind reducing consumption, including for half of people living in the 40 most marginal Labour/Conservative constituencies. read more>>>

Solar cells: Powered by nanoholes
July 8, 2014 - A simple and inexpensive fabrication procedure boosts the light-capturing capabilities of tiny holes carved into silicon wafers.

Increasing the cost-effectiveness of photovoltaic devices is critical to making these renewable energy sources competitive with traditional fossil fuels. One possibility is to use hybrid solar cells that combine silicon nanowires with low-cost, photoresponsive polymers. The high surface area and confined nature of nanowires allows them to trap significant amounts of light for solar cell operations. Unfortunately, these thin, needle-like structures are very fragile and tend to stick together when the wires become too long.

Now, findings by Xincai Wang from the A*STAR Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology and co-workers from Nanyang Technological University could turn the tables on silicon nanowires by improving the manufacturing of silicon 'nanoholes' -- narrow cavities carved into silicon wafers that have enhanced mechanical and light-harvesting capabilities. read more>>>

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