Archive: Renewables


Hydro: The Forgotten Renewable Rebounds

When President Obama unveiled his “clean energy standard” in the 2011 State of the Union address in February, and again when he spoke of his administration’s energy policy in late March, one form of electrical energy was conspicuous by its absence: hydropower. Hydro is the forgotten form, the politically incorrect renewable, the invisible generation. To borrow the complaint of comedian and Caddyshack movie star Rodney Dangerfield, hydro projects “don’t get no respect.”


Solid Fuels: Moving Material and Managing Emissions

In today’s solid-fueled power plant, managing emissions and moving materials more defines the task than the traditional work of making megawatts. That’s the message that emerged from the coal and solid fuels track at this year’s ELECTRIC POWER.


Carbon Trust: Marine Energy Has High Potential but Faces Several Challenges

In a an analysis released this May, nonprofit UK group Carbon Trust admits that there is “still considerable uncertainty as to whether wave and tidal systems will play a meaningful role in meeting global energy needs,” but it suggests, based on high and low scenarios, that up to 240 GW of marine capacity could be deployed globally by 2050. Roughly 75% of this capacity will come from wave and the remainder from tidal energy.


Spain: A Renewable Kingdom

Spain has served as both exemplar and scapegoat when it comes to renewable energy policy. Though power policy must necessarily accommodate specific national resources and goals, Spain’s experience as an early and eager adopter of renewable energy technologies and subsidies is a cautionary tale of how the best intentions can have unintended consequences.


Seven Charged in Siberian Hydropower Plant Accident

The Russian Investigative Committee has completed a probe into the August 2009 accident at the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydro Power Plant in Siberia that killed 75 people. The committee has charged seven people—including the plant’s former head, Nikolai Nevolko, his deputies, and the plant’s former chief engineer, Andrei Mitrofanov—for violating safety rules. If found guilty, the officials could face five years in jail.

Countries Abandon Subsidies for Renewables en Masse

Stricken by the economic crisis and forced to implement austerity measures, several countries around the world have been forced to abandon or slash subsidies for renewable power producers.


New York City Backs Tidal Power

The Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy (RITE) pilot project used six full-scale hydrokinetic turbines to capture the power of river tides and currents and convert it into electricity. Located in New York City’s East River, it is the first and only grid-connected tidal array project in the world. RITE project developers are seeking approval to install up to 30 additional turbines in the near future.


China Dam Gets World’s First Self-Closing Ring Gate Control System

A major technical advance in hydroelectric dam safety was achieved this March as Alstom’s Chinese arm, the Tianjin Alstom Hydro Co. (TAH), delivered what it called “the world’s first self-closing electronic ring gate control system” to the Ahai hydropower project in China.


China’s Five-Year Plan Is Heavy on Non-Fossil Generation

The People’s Republic of China’s Congress approved a much-anticipated draft of the country’s 12th Five-Year Plan (2011–2015) on March 14. Along with key objectives that included boosting its gross domestic product (GDP) by 7% annually on average, the country for the first time in a five-year plan established targets to tackle climate change. It plans to reduce carbon dioxide emissions per unit of GDP by 17% from 2010 levels by 2015 and to reduce energy consumption per unit of GDP by 16% from 2010 levels by 2015.