Archive: Renewables

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The Odd Couple: Renewables and Transmission

The tension between the growing number of renewable energy projects and limited transmission capacity is reflected in Washington’s legislative agenda of establishing a national renewable portfolio standard and new transmission lines dedicated to moving renewable energy coast-to-coast. Even if those ideas become law, hurdles to the happy marriage of renewables and transmission remain.

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Ethiopia Completes Construction of Africa’s Tallest Dam

Ethiopia, the landlocked nation in East Africa from which key tributaries to the Nile River originate, completed construction of the continent’s highest dam, the 188-meter Tekezé Arch Dam (Figure 3) in February.

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Biomass Cofiring: Another Way to Clean Your Coal

Demand for renewable power is burgeoning as state governments (and maybe soon the U.S. federal government) impose increasingly rigorous environmental and procurement standards on the energy industry. Surprisingly, biomass cofiring has yet to attract much attention, even though it could help many utilities meet their renewable portfolio requirements, reduce carbon emissions, and solve other regional environmental problems. U.S. developers, investors, and regulators should consider including cofiring as part of the energy mix going forward.

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The Growing Role of Waste-to-Energy in the U.S.

Using nonhazardous waste for power generation is a trend that’s gaining steam for several reasons. Though there are several environmental reasons, another is the reliability of the fuel supply.

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CHP: Helping to Promote Sustainable Energy

Because combined heat and power (CHP) plants optimize energy use, they cut fuel costs and pollution. Even though U.S. power plants have been using CHP for decades, today’s energy experts have a newfound appreciation for its ability to promote sustainable energy use.

Energy R&D: The Missing Link to a Sustainable Energy Future

Q: What do you get when you gather roughly two dozen top researchers from academia, government, and industry to speak on interdisciplinary energy-related issues for a week?
A: A lot of informative but crowded slides, high-octane brain power, fact-based analysis of where we are and we’re headed globally, informed questions, and surprisingly practical answers.

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Canada Moves to Rebalance Its Energy Portfolio

Though Canada is rich in fossil fuels, nuclear power may fuel a significant portion of the nation’s future electrical generation needs, especially in provinces that have traditionally relied on hydropower and fossil fuels.

Gone with the Wind

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, speaking in Atlantic City on April 6, added more hot air to the discussion about offshore wind when he stated that windmills off the East Coast could generate enough electricity to replace most, if not all, of the coal-fired power plants in the U.S. I’m disappointed Salazar didn’t take a few minutes for fact-checking and back-of-the-envelope ciphering before his speech.

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Major Advancements for Polymer Solar Cell Technology

Denmark’s Risø DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy in late April announced it had connected the world’s first polymer solar cell plant to the grid. The achievement follows years of research into the novel photovoltaic (PV) technology that has been touted as a future inexpensive, flexible, and customizable alternative to silicon crystal solar cells. The […]