Archive: Renewables

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Transmission and Distribution in Canada

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.

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Canada’s “Clean” Image Extends to Clean Power

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.

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Brazil Greenlights 11-GW Belo Monte Project

Brazil’s environment agency, IBAMA, in January issued a partial installation license that allows for construction of the controversial Belo Monte dam complex, an 11,233-MW project estimated to cost some 19.6 billion reals (US$11.7 billion), to begin on the margins of the Amazon’s Xingu River. Saying the project is needed to meet soaring electricity demand when completed, as planned in 2015, the government gave license to dam-building consortium Norte Energia to begin clearing 238.1 hectares (588 acres) of forestland.

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Marine Power Developments Move Forward in North America

In early January, Verdant Power—a decade-old company based in New York—made headlines for filing an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for a project that could allow it to install up to 30 new tidal power turbines in the East Channel of the East River in New York City.

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Designing Fuel Systems for Large Biomass Plants

Compared with other solid fuel–fired plants, the systems and components required for handling and processing biomass appear quite familiar, but important fuel differences must be considered. A successful biomass plant design must provide flexibility for handling the expected wide range of biomass fuel properties and characteristics.

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Laos Inaugurates Major Revenue-Generating Hydropower Plant

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), the tiny landlocked country in Southeast Asia of just 6.3 million people, in December inaugurated the 1,070-MW Nam Theun 2 Power Station, a hydropower project in Khammouane Province.

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Construction of Tibetan Dam Sets Off Cross-Border Tensions

China in mid-November embarked upon building the first massive hydropower project in Tibet, a 6 x 85-MW plant straddling the middle reaches of the mighty Yarlung Tsangpo River (Figure 2). According to the Hunan Daily, a Chinese state-owned enterprise, Sinohydro began damming the river in Shannan Prefecture, Tibet, on Nov. 8, kicking off the 7.9 billion yuan ($1.2 billion) “run of the river” project that is estimated to generate electricity for the surrounding region by 2014.

Solving the Renewable Integration Puzzle

In November, California voters overwhelmingly rejected an initiative that would have put the brakes on AB 32, the state’s ambitious greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction law. Given the role that California has played in climate change policy, that such a vote took place only four years into the law’s implementation process and 10 years before the emissions reduction targets were to be met was a reality check on climate change policy for those on both sides of the issue.

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IEA: Global Power Demand to Surge 2.2% Annually Through 2035

Though electricity generation has entered a key period of transition—as investment shifts to low-carbon technologies—world electricity demand is set to grow faster than any other “final form of energy,” the International Energy Agency (IEA) says in its latest annual World Energy Outlook.