Archive: Renewables


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.


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.


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 […]


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


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.


Turning the corner on global warming

In his keynote speech this May to the Global Roundtable on Climate Change, held in Iceland and hosted by the Earth Institute of Columbia University, Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson—the president of Iceland—challenged government and business leaders to take measurable steps now to build a prosperous and sustainable future through smart science and public policy. Grimsson’s call […]


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


Global Monitor (September 2006)

Demand records fall nationwide;
GE’s ABWR to be STP’s edge; Entergy buys Palisades plant; Dithering over desert disposal; Tourist trash-to-energy plant;
Brooklyn says "Yo!" to microturbines; POWER digest


Renewable contracts merit longer terms

The length of term allowed for power sales contracts is a critical determinant of the ability of states to meet their increasingly ambitious renewable power targets. Many utilities advocate limiting terms to 10 or perhaps 15 years for renewable energy contracts, emphasizing the "flexibility" that shorter terms offer. In contrast, contract terms of 20 or […]