Spain in July inaugurated another major concentrated solar power (CSP) power station. The 50-MW La Florida parabolic solar trough plant in Alvarado Badajoz (in the west of the country), increases Spain’s solar nameplate capacity to 432 MW—beating out the U.S., which produces 422 MW from solar installations.
At the end of June, Xcel Energy fired up a demonstration project that integrates a 4-MW parabolic trough solar technology with an existing 44-MW coal-fired power plant.
A £42 million marine power infrastructure project that will function as an “electrical socket” in waters 50 meters (m) deep and nearly 16 kilometers (km) off the coast of Cornwall in South West England set sail toward its proposed location this July.
Renewable energy information services provider 3TIER in July confirmed with its publication of wind performance maps what U.S. wind developers with poor generation numbers had been suggesting earlier this year: A long-lasting El Niño event paired with a North Atlantic Oscillation event caused wind speeds to slump abnormally from the fall of 2009 through spring 2010.
This summary of results from a recent Platts/Capgemini survey of North American utility executives looks at what respondents had to say about all things related to the smart grid. Nearly half of respondents’ utilities have a smart grid strategy in place, while the other half said their utility has one in development.
Feed-in-tariffs (FITs)—above-retail rates paid for renewable power that producers "feed" into the grid—are gaining momentum all over the world as a means of driving project growth. Here are some of those established and proposed FITs.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers earlier this year awarded its first Section 10 permit ever to a commercial wave-powered demonstration facility planned for installation in the Gulf of Mexico. The novel offshore platform, dubbed the SEADOG, will use a buoy and piston mechanism combined with a water wheel to generate electricity and desalinate water.
Power plant operators, especially those located in countries with enforceable carbon emissions standards, are concerned about their CO2 emissions. But for Helsingin Energia—which provides power, heating, and cooling for Helsinki, Finland’s 300,000 residents—the main concern is local warming, not global warming. In Helsinki, temperatures on midsummer afternoons only reach an average 21C, and for half the year daytime temperatures are below 10C.
As U.S. utilities increase the percentage of renewable energy in their generation portfolio, they must deal with a number of key issues related to selecting specific technologies. Additionally, they must figure out what it will take to make renewables emerge as a mainstream generating option in the future.
One of the world’s largest geothermal power stations was officially opened this May on New Zealand’s North Island. A joint venture between Mighty River Power and Tauhara North No. 2 Trust, the new 140-MW Nga Awa Purua Geothermal Power Station increases geothermal’s share of power in New Zealand to around 14%—a proportion that has more than doubled since 2005.