Archive: Renewables

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Investment in generation is heavy, but important needs remain

Forecasting the direction of the U.S. electric power industry for 2007, much less the distant future, is like defining a velocity vector; doing so requires a direction and speed to delineate progress. In this special report, POWER’s first stab at prognostication, the editors look at current industry indicators and draw conclusions based on their more than 100 years of experience. To borrow verbatim the title of basketball legend Charles Barkley’s book: I May Be Wrong but I Doubt It.

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Burning landfill gas has environmental and economic benefits

The conflicting challenges of operating a plant beyond its prime and Exelon’s commitment to manage carbon emissions from its power system are pushing the company’s plant engineers to innovate. An example: Fairless Hills Generating Station was given a complete overhaul and now burns landfill gas that otherwise would be treated as waste.

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Focus on O&M (January 2007) 

Mandatory standards advance / To drain or not to drain / Practical aspects of burning landfill gas / Time management

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Wind farmers: Heed the lessons of the merchant gas-power business

The wind energy business is beginning to look as frenetic as the merchant gas-fired power business in the late 1990s—with some critical differences. If the 10 issues listed here are addressed soon, wind power may avoid a crash and burn similar to the one that beset the gas turbine business.

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Unique challenges face wind power developers, buyers

Utility resource planners are used to viewing new generation in terms of firm, dispatchable capacity. Dispatching a renewable resource such as wind requires a different perspective. Wind capacity can serve as a hedge against fossil fuel price risks and perhaps future emissions restrictions, but it requires a much more structured planning horizon. Integrating wind farms into their portfolios may be the most difficult challenge utilities face today.

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Wind power: Disruptive or not?

Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen coined the term "disruptive technology" in his best-selling 1997 book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. According to Christensen, a disruptive technology unseats a dominant technology by creating products that are so much cheaper or better in one or more ways that they quickly become the new mainstream standard, transforming an entire […]

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Global Monitor (Nov/Dec 2006)

Renewables require rethinking just about everything/Torque-splitting drive train improves wind turbine reliability/Waste gas–burning engines reach milestone/Hybrid power plant targets pipeline losses/Power from paint/Gulf Coast Power Association conference report/Pat Wood talks about the challenges facing ERCOT

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Osmotic power from the ocean

In chemistry, osmosis refers to the movement of water molecules through a selective membrane from an area of low solute concentration to an area of high solute concentration, creating a pressure gradient. Researchers have recently demonstrated that exploiting this natural phenomenon could produce useful amounts of electrical power.

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Global Monitor (October 2006)

First live superconducting cable / Biggest CO2 storage project / Largest hydrogen-fueled plants / Record run for fuel cell cogen system / Largest PV plant still in Bavaria / Luz returns to U.S. / POWER digest