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Adequate Transmission Among Options to Better Integrate Renewable Energy to Grid, Says NREL

Friday 14 02 14

Adequate transmission — building transmission to accommodate renewable energy, for instance — is an important component, as is energy storage, in integrating renewable energy sources to the grid, according to Lori Bird, senior analyst with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL).

New Battery Innovation Promising For Cheap Renewable Energy Storage

Monday 13 01 14

Harvard University researchers have invented an new kind of “flow battery” that could be used on large-scales, such as within electricity grids, to store intermittent renewable energy from sources such as wind and solar. The research describing the new “metal free organic-inorganic aqueous flow battery”, was published in the journal Nature on 9 January.

To create the battery, the Harvard researchers say they have been working with a previously overlooked group of organic compounds called quinones. These can be used to make inexpensive batteries that can charge and discharge renewable energy more quickly than current batteries are able to.

The researchers maintain that their new battery can work as well as existing batteries with chemistries based on metals, which are far more expensive to make. The new battery does not use a precious metal catalyst, it’s underlying chemistry is metal-free; instead, it uses the naturally abundant quinones.

Quinones are water-soluble compounds that store energy in plants and animals. They are found in all green vegetables, and the molecule the researchers used is almost identical to the one in rhubarb. Because quinones are naturally abundant and water-soluble, large, inexpensive tanks could be set up to store electricity, rather than using the traditional, and more expensive solid-state batteries.

New York Governor Announces $1 Billion For Solar Energy

Thursday 09 01 14

New York governor Andrew Cuomo delivered his State of the State address on Wednesday and announced an even greater commitment to clean energy, including $1 billion in new funding for solar energy projects.

Launched in 2012, Cuomo’s NY-Sun Initiative has already been a tremendous success, with almost 300 megawatts (MW) of solar photovoltaic capacity installed or under development, more than was installed in the entire decade prior to the program.

Now with another major financial boost, Cuomo aims to install 3,000 (MW) of solar across New York. “That’s enough solar to power 465,000 New York homes, cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2.3 million tons annually — the equivalent of taking almost 435,000 cars off the road — and create more than 13,000 new solar jobs,” according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

In addition to the ten-year financial boost for NY-Sun, Cuomo announced a new program entitled K-Solar, which will incentivize the deployment of solar energy by using the state’s 5,000 schools as “demonstration hubs” to increase the number of solar energy projects in their surrounding communities.

Wind power was Spain's top source of electricity in 2013

Monday 06 01 14

Remarkable new figures from Spain's grid operator have revealed that greenhouse gas emissions from the country's power sector are likely to have fallen 23.1% last year, as power generation from wind farms and hydroelectric plants soared.

Red Eléctrica de España (REE) released a preliminary report on the country's power system late last month, revealing that for "the first time ever, [wind power] contributed most to the annual electricity demand coverage". According to the figures, wind turbines met 21.1% of electricity demand on the Spanish peninsular, narrowly beating the region's fleet of nuclear reactors, which provided 21% of power.

In total, wind farms are estimated to have generated 53,926 gigawatt hours of electricity, up 12% on 2012, while high levels of rainfall meant hydroelectric power output was 16% higher than the historical average, climbing to 32,205GWh.

"Throughout 2013, the all-time highs of wind power production were exceeded," the report stated. "On 6 February, wind power recorded a new maximum of instantaneous power with 17,056MW at 3:49 pm (2.5 per cent up on the previous record registered in April 2012), and that same day the all-time maximum for hourly energy was also exceeded reaching 16,918MWh. Similarly, in January, February, March and November wind power generation was the technology that made the largest contribution towards the total energy production of the system."

An increase in wind power capacity of 173MW coupled with an increase in solar PV capacity of 140MW and solar thermal capacity of 300MW meant that by the end of the year renewables represented 49.1% of total installed power capacity on the Spanish peninsula.

Solar May Reach 49 Gigawatts in 2014

Friday 27 12 13

It’s close to the end of the year, and businesspeople are looking forward to 2014. Among them is the solar industry, which is anticipating continued growth into the new year as international markets continue to expand.  At least one company, NPD Solarbuzz has taken a bullish approach anticipating that the global level of solar installations could r

Wind Power Developers Race Clock to Secure Subsidy

Thursday 26 12 13

As the rest of the world prepares to toast the new year, the wind industry is hard at work on its own year-end tradition, rushing to make sure projects qualify for an important subsidy before it is set to vanish at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday.

Developers are signing deals, ordering equipment and lurching ahead with construction starts to qualify for a tax credit that is worth 2.3 cents a kilowatt-hour for the first 10 years of production. This month, giant turbine-makers like Vestas and Siemens have announced major new orders, including a deal worth more than $1 billion with MidAmerican Energy, an Iowa-based utility majority-owned by Warren E. Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, and another with the Cape Wind project in Nantucket Sound.

In previous years, the projects had to be in commercial operation by New Year’s Eve. This year, they need only have begun.

“What we see right now is a race to the finish line, where we’re trying to get projects signed,” said Mark Albenze, chief executive of the Wind Power Americas unit of Siemens Energy. “It’s a little bit of a different dynamic, whereas in ’12 our projects teams were the ones stressing out in December and now it’s our acquisition team.”

 

Dreaming Big: Six Really Far-Thinking Renewable Energy Plans

Thursday 26 12 13

Every day we applaud and encourage all types of renewable energy development and deployment, in whatever forms make the most sense for their application: distributed solar PV, offshore wind, biomass conversions, hydropower (and hydro storage), geothermal. But what about those at the edge of our universe, the ones really pushing renewable energy to its limits?

Siemens to Supply Turbines for $2.6 Billion Cape Wind Project

Tuesday 24 12 13

Siemens AG, Europe’s biggest engineering company, agreed to supply turbines to the $2.6 billion Cape Wind project, the first offshore wind farm planned in the U.S.

New Solar Panel Sensor Addresses Fire Risk

Thursday 19 12 13

“There was a fire on a building in Munich which had solar panels and the Munich Fire Department let it burn to the ground,” rather than risk injury to its fire fighters, said Henson.

Realizing that this could potentially become a recurrent problem in a geographic area that is  reliant on solar power, the fire department approached TOPinno and asked for its help finding a way that the solar panels could be disabled in cases of fire.

The result was a small sensor, or fuse, that is placed between the panels and monitors the heat of the photovoltaic unit while subbing as a manual shut-off switch for emergency situations.

“The moment the fuses are broken due to the heat, the voltage will go down to below 120V, which is the legal requirement to be able to use water to extinguish the flames,” says TOPinno GMBH’s  General Manager, Raymond Huwaë. But first responders needing to access the roof because of a fire inside the building (such as in Delanco, New Jersey or Munich, Germany) would also have the option of disengaging the fuse manually.

“Currently we are negotiating with the UL Laboratories in Illinois USA, to have the fuse UL certified,” said Huwaë.

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Graphene sees the light: Sheets of carbon just one atom thick could be used in photovoltaic cells

Thursday 19 12 13
Sheets of carbon just one atom thick could make effective transparent electrodes in certain types of photovoltaic cells.

 
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