Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Alternative Clean Energy Roundup: 7 October 2014

To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore
Oct. 1 2014 - As recently as a few years ago, companies wanting to undertake extremely risky, ambitious, never-been-done energy projects—a 290 megawatt utility-scale solar plant in the California desert, for example, or an all-electric sports car—had one big option: to get direct support from the government through the controversial Energy Department Loan Program.

But thanks in part to the success of that program, renewable energy and low- and no-carbon ventures have quickly become big business. While many of them still rely on indirect government support, in the form of tax credits for energy producers and purchasers of electric vehicles, the private sector is increasingly the funder of energy-related moonshots. read more>>>

South Florida at forefront of climate planning, top U.S. scientist says
10/01/2014 - A week before a seasonal high tide is expected to soak Miami Beach, the White House’s chief science adviser visited the city Wednesday to praise regional leaders for their work on climate change.

“What’s going on... here is really a model for what we need to see going on around the country,” John Holdren told an audience of about 650 at the Sixth Annual Southeast Florida Climate Leadership Summit at the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Holdren, who last month landed on The Daily Show after skirmishing with the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology over polar ice melt, got a decidedly warmer welcome at the gathering that drew a wide audience from government, private industry and nonprofits. read more>>>

Sun Jack - world's most powerful solar charger!

DOE: 54-GWs of Untapped Offshore Wind Power
October 6th, 2014 - At least 54-gigawatts (GW) of U.S. offshore wind energy generation capacity could be deployed by 2030, according to a new study funded by the Department of Energy (DOE). The “National Offshore Wind Energy Grid Interconnection Study” (NOWEGIS) focused on helping DOE achieve two goals: reducing the cost of offshore wind energy and shortening the time required to deploy offshore wind generation capacity.

Researchers from ABB, the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), Duke Energy, AWS Truepower and the University of Pittsburgh’s Swanson School of Engineering joined to produce NOWEGIS. The research team used NREL’s Regional Energy Deployment System (ReDS) model for electricity generation and transmission to survey suitable offshore wind energy asset locations, calculated timelines for deployment of 54 GWs of clean, renewable electricity generation. read more>>>

Tougher energy efficiency target would boost UK economy by £62bn – study
Environmentalists cite unpublished EU figures in call for a more ambitious goal for reducing energy use by 2030

5 October 2014 - A 40% cut in energy use by 2030 through efficiency measures would increase the UK’s GDP by £62bn and create 40,000 new jobs, according to unpublished EU figures.

Hitting a lower target of 30% would create 13,000 jobs and boost the economy by £17.3bn, says the study by independent consultancy Cambridge Econometrics, obtained by WWF after an access to information request.

The study underlines the impact of engineering the economy to use less energy. read more>>>

REC launches high-performance TwinPeak panels for major worldwide markets
25 September 2014 - European solar manufacturer REC has announced it will begin production of a new high-performance solar panel called the TwinPeak series, introduced this week in Munich.

The new panel, which was launched at REC’s annual partner event in Munich, will be rated up to 275 watt peak (Wp) resulting in a 17 percent panel efficiency. It will be targeted at rooftops in the growing residential, commercial and industrial markets.

The panel is based on an innovative design that provides more power output per square metre. It features 120 half-cut multicrystalline cells, four bus bars, passivated emitter rear cell (PERC) technology and a split junction box. read more>>>

How this New York utility plans to own and operate microgrids
Central Hudson Gas & Electric's microgrid proposal is a bold step towards a more distributed energy future

September 29, 2014 - Utilities have come a long way from the days when distributed generation was only considered a threat to the industry model.

In New York, regulators are considering a plan to reinvent the electric utility and the grid it operates. Under the state's Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) initiative, utilities are being asked to consider how microgrids, distributed generation and increasing amounts of renewables might all fit together. The vision being developed calls for widespread resources and greater coordination, with utilities at the forefront of making that happen — at least initially. read more>>>

Solar cells cheap enough to quickly cover their cost: Could double as semi-transparent blinds for windows
September 24, 2014 - One of the most common complaints about solar power is solar panels are still too expensive to be worth the investment. Many researchers have responded by making solar cells, the tile-like components of solar panels that absorb and transfer energy, more efficient and longer lasting. But even the longest living solar cells that most effectively convert sunlight to energy will not become common if they are prohibitively expensive. Therefore, Professor Yabing Qi, the head of the Energy Materials and Surface Sciences Unit at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University, has a different idea: make solar cells using a type of semiconductor called perovskite materials, which are, in Qi's words, "dirt cheap."

If solar cells are cheap enough, Qi reasons that people will want to use them for the immediate payback in energy savings. Now Professor Qi and members of his research unit have developed a new method for making perovskite solar cells worthy of attention, and The Royal Society of Chemistry published their findings September 5, 2014 in their journal, Energy & Environmental Science. read more>>>

China to promote green materials in affordable housing
2014-09-28 - China will stress the use of environment-friendly materials in building affordable housing in major cities starting this year in an effort to promote greener homes.

Yang Rong, an official with the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, said that under the national plan, more than 70 percent of affordable housing will be constructed under the green standards by 2020.

China has been plagued by high energy cost of its constructions, which consume around a third of the country's total energy use.

The country released the first green home standards in as early as 2006, which require the houses be both water and energy-saving, friendly to the environment and with less land use. read more>>>

A first for renewable energy in the CA desert
September 29, 2014 - The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) and the California Department of Natural Resources have released what is being called a first-of-its-kind plan for conservation and renewable energy development in the California desert.

The draft of the long-awaited Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) is "an unprecedented opportunity to provide a framework for "smart from the start" planning efforts that guide renewable energy development to areas with low environmental and wildlife risk, and conserve the desert's wildlife, wilderness and treasures landscapes," according to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) who has been engaged in the draft process for more than four years. read more>>>

Research collaboration addresses green building technology
September 29, 2014 - Lux Research has entered into a collaboration that will address the lack of information available about green building technology and how it can reduce the world's electricity consumption.

As buildings are responsible for 70 percent of global electricity consumption, Lux Research will partner with Dr. Richard Freeman, co-director of the Harvard Center for Green Buildings and Cities (HCGBC) in developing a database of green building innovations. Freeman also holds the Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics at Harvard University and directs the National Bureau of Economic Research/Sloan Science Engineering Workforce Projects. read more>>>

Microgrid Enabling Technologies Are Expected to Exceed $26 Billion in Annual Revenue by 2023, According to Navigant Research
Advanced energy storage on track to become a key emerging technology for the microgrid market, report concludes

September 29, 2014 - A new report from Navigant Research analyzes the global market for significant microgrid enabling technologies, including diesel generators, natural gas generators, fuel cells, solar photovoltaic (PV), distributed wind, advanced energy storage, and others.

Dramatic change is occurring in the microgrid market, as a greater emphasis is being placed on the economic value that these systems bring to the overall power grid. At the same time, new business models, designed to support full commercial deployment of microgrid systems, are being investigated and implemented. Click to tweet: According to a new report from Navigant Research, worldwide vendor revenue from microgrid enabling technologies (METs) is expected to grow from $5.5 billion annually in 2014 to $26.3 billion in 2023.

“Microgrids are emerging as a global phenomenon,” says Peter Asmus, principal research analyst with Navigant Research. “These systems offer compelling features, including the ability to isolate themselves from the utility distribution system during power outages, as well as a high capacity to integrate diverse distributed energy resources, such as wind, solar PV, and conventional generation from diesel generators.” read more>>>

Creating an Integrated Grid: Regulators, Legislators Can Help
September 28, 2014 - Integrating more distributed power generation and energy storage can help make a grid more flexible, resilient, sustainable and environmentally friendly. But in the U.S., there's a catch -- so far, utilities here are effectively barred from owning generation and storage assets at the distribution level.

Legislators and regulators, at the federal and state level, have an opportunity to craft policy solutions that would make these advanced strategies more feasible -- thus empowering utilities to support broader long-term goals.

In several states, one form of distributed generation -- rooftop solar -- is growing fast, thanks largely to state incentives. This capacity is primarily installed by third-party providers and is not controlled in any way by utilities. Many utilities are struggling to adapt their distribution networks to accommodate this uncontrolled influx of variable power. read more>>>

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