Archive: Renewables

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A Winning Combination: Government and Utilities Partner on Renewable Energy Projects

Recent mandates require government facilities to develop energy policies that enable energy conservation, increase the use of renewable energy, and improve energy security. Utilities with government facilities in their service territory may have opportunities to develop solar and other renewable energy projects that help them meet state renewable portfolio standards while increasing a government facility’s usage of renewable energy. The key to such a win-win proposition is careful structuring of the project agreement to leverage each party’s assets.

Massive Energy Storage Facility Planned for Mexico-U.S. Border

Dubai-based energy firm Rubenius in October proposed to build a $4 billion energy storage facility based on sodium sulfur (NaS) technology on a 345-acre site in the Mexican state of Baja California, close to the U.S. border. If it comes to fruition, the facility—dubbed a “mega region energy warehouse” by Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon—will feature 1,000 MW of battery storage and offer “storage space” to energy companies and utilities in both Mexico and the U.S.

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New Design Tool Improves Manufacture of Composite Wind Turbine Blades

Composite materials are ideal for producing wind turbine blades because of their strength, light weight, and ability to be tailored to provide the precise mechanical properties needed for any blade design. Now, best practices originally developed for rotorcraft blade manufacturing can be applied to designing and manufacturing wind turbine blades that are constructed from composites.

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UK Cancels Tidal Barrage Plans, Approves Key Nuclear Sites

The UK government in late October shelved plans to build the Severn barrage—a project that would have involved building a 10-mile dam across the mouth of the Severn River—after a two-year-long feasibility study failed to convince ministers to use public funds to build it. The Department of Energy and Climate Change instead gave its long-awaited approval to eight sites for new nuclear reactors, saying that private companies could begin building the country’s new fleet of reactors, provided no public subsidy is involved.

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Top Plant: DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County, Florida

The forecast is looking sunny for the 25-MW DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, which has more than 90,000 photovoltaic (PV) panels and is the largest solar PV plant in the U.S. Completed in October 2009, it is a sustainable energy solution with minimal maintenance costs. The site uses no fuel, consumes no cooling water, has no air emissions, and creates no waste products.

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Could CAES Answer Wind Reliability Concerns?

As wind and solar energy capacity in the U.S. continues to grow, compressed air energy storage (CAES) and other bulk energy storage technologies will increasingly be used to help balance electrical supply and demand.

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MIT Researchers Invent Self-Renewing PV Technology

Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have a created a set of self-assembling molecules that can turn sunlight into power, and which can repeatedly be broken down and reassembled by adding or removing solution. The scientific breakthrough—inspired by a natural process used by plants to renew light-capturing molecules that have been degraded by the sun—could mean that researchers are closer to creating a self-healing photovoltaic (PV) technology that can keep repairing itself to avoid loss in performance.

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Top Plant: Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, Isle of Thanet, UK

In September, the 300-MW Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, the world’s largest offshore wind energy facility, began operation off the southeastern coast of England. The wind farm has 100 3-MW turbines manufactured by Vestas. The facility will generate electricity equivalent to the annual consumption of more than 200,000 British households.

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Wind Energy Soars Around the World

Denmark put into operation its 12th offshore wind farm this October. The €440 million Rødsand 2 wind farm, a 90-turbine installation with a nameplate capacity of 207 MW, was erected for owner E.ON by Siemens Energy—both German firms—over a mere 122 days. The wind farm joins Rødsand I, a 72-turbine installation that began operating nearby in the Baltic Sea in 2003.