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.
As early as the first century A.D., wind energy was harnessed for practical purposes. Since then, turbine designs have come a long way from the archetypal post-mounted four-bladed devices. Today’s ubiquitous three-bladed designs will soon be evolving in many unexpected directions.
Biomass cofiring has the potential to cut emissions from coal-fueled generation without substantially increasing costs or infrastructure investments. Research shows that when implemented at relatively low biomass-to-coal ratios, energy consumption, solid waste generation, and emissions are all reduced. However, mixing biomass and coal does create some challenges that must be addressed.
This web supplement to "Changing Winds: The Evolving Wind Turbine" examines the debate over the merits of the two most common wind turbine axis orientations.
Electricity grids are slowly getting smarter. Simultaneously, the use of distributed generation is increasing. Though smart grid advocates tout the ability of a smarter grid to enable greater deployment of distributed resources, the benefits could flow in both directions.
One of the main criticisms of renewable energy facilities is that they are unable to dispatch electricity when it’s needed. The great game-changer is low-cost energy storage, which would enable renewable energy production to be stored and rapidly released when needed. Here are seven promising distributed energy storage technologies that could be commercialized in the near future.
Geologists drilling an exploratory well in Iceland’s Krafla volcano in search of supercritical geothermal resources in 2009 unexpectedly uncovered a new way to harness energy from deep within Earth’s crust. It involves accessing shallow bodies of molten rock, which the geologists say could likely be found elsewhere in Iceland and around the world, wherever young volcanic rocks occur.
Fire protection systems for air-cooled hydroelectric generators have several special requirements due to these generators’ unique geometries. This survey of options will help plant owners and operators make the best equipment selections for their plants and thereby avoid unexpected surprises.
Like its neighbor to the south, Canada faces enormous costs to upgrade and expand its transmission and distribution system. The desire to integrate more renewable power into the grid, build a smarter grid, and export more power are providing the rationale for action, but capital and political will lag behind.
Canada’s extensive natural resources are the driver of its powerful economy, and energy is Canada’s single most important export. Yet policy makers across the nation are currently dealing with the consequences of a generation of under-investment in the electricity system and deciding what the new grid and supply mix should look like. Several provinces are competing to lead the charge in renewable energy and grid intelligence. Policy makers hope that such efforts will not only provide for Canada’s electricity needs but also create the green economy jobs that will drive the nation’s next generation of economic development.