Archive: Renewables

New Technologies Could Improve Solar Cell Efficiencies

Declining oil prices, supply issues, and dwindling financing may have battered solar energy in recent months, but the industry seems to have sparred well in the research arena. An assortment of institutions separately announced breakthroughs in their quests to boost the efficiency of solar cells. The technological advancements ranged in approach, from the development of an antireflective coating to the formulation of more efficient solar cell materials, but all point to promising possibilities for the industry.

New Zealand Geothermal Station Opens

New Zealand’s biggest geothermal energy project in 20 years was officially opened in Kawerau in late November. The state-owned Kawerau Geothermal Station (Figure 5), on the North Island, adds 100 MW to the national grid.

Landfills: From Trash to Treasure

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has described landfills as an "effectively untapped resource" for renewable energy. The agency estimates that landfills are the source of about 12% of global methane emissions. (Methane is about 21 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO2.) The EPA estimated that there were some 1,000 projects around […]

Brazil Approves Hotly Contested Construction of Amazon Dam

In an effort to more than double its power capacity by 2030, the Brazilian government in November approved construction of a controversial $3.9 billion hydroelectric dam on the Madeira River, in the Amazon. When completed in 2013, the Jirau hydroelectric plant could add 3,300 MW to the country’s already massive 59 GW hydroelectric capacity.

Banking Wind

This spring, Xcel Energy, along with state and technology partners, is set to test what the utility says is the first battery capable of storing wind energy. The ability to store energy from renewable generation sources with variable output is key to maximizing the value of renewable power in general and to Xcel’s “smart grid” plans in particular.

2009 Industry Forecast: New Power Politics Will Determine Generation’s Path

The U.S. power industry’s story in 2009 will be all about change, to borrow a now-familiar theme. Though the new administration’s policy specifics hadn’t been revealed as POWER editors prepared this report, it appears that flat load growth in 2009 will give the new administration a unique opportunity to formulate new energy policy without risking that the lights will go out.

Oregon wind turbine loses its bearings

The generator bearings on a wind turbine located in Oregon (Figure 1) first failed in May 2006, only 11 months after the tower was brought on-line. The company that owns and operates the wind farm replaced the bearings and slip rings, but the new bearings failed only five months later. Once again, new bearings and […]

The return of the Clipper Liberty wind turbine

The Steel Winds project in Lackawanna, New York, was selected as a POWER 2007 Top Plant because of its unusual location (a former steel mill and Superfund site) and because it was the first commercial deployment of the Clipper Windpower 2.5-MW turbine. That report was written just as the project entered commercial service but before a major gearbox problem was identified. For many new designs, it isn’t a question of if problems will occur but of how the manufacturer responds when problems inevitably do occur. For its handling of Liberty’s problem, Clipper Windpower gets an "A."

Prevailing winds: Trends in U.S. wind energy

Wind power is becoming a mainstream energy source that U.S. utilities are tapping into nationwide as a means of adding clean, domestically sourced energy to balance their generating portfolios. To identify where wind will take us,POWER’s senior editor talked to experts from diverse industry stakeholders about current and future developments.