Archive: Renewables

Global Monitor (Nov/Dec 2006)

Renewables require rethinking just about everything/Torque-splitting drive train improves wind turbine reliability/Waste gas–burning engines reach milestone/Hybrid power plant targets pipeline losses/Power from paint/Gulf Coast Power Association conference report/Pat Wood talks about the challenges facing ERCOT

Osmotic power from the ocean

In chemistry, osmosis refers to the movement of water molecules through a selective membrane from an area of low solute concentration to an area of high solute concentration, creating a pressure gradient. Researchers have recently demonstrated that exploiting this natural phenomenon could produce useful amounts of electrical power.

Wind power: Disruptive or not?

Harvard Business School Professor Clayton Christensen coined the term "disruptive technology" in his best-selling 1997 book, The Innovator’s Dilemma. According to Christensen, a disruptive technology unseats a dominant technology by creating products that are so much cheaper or better in one or more ways that they quickly become the new mainstream standard, transforming an entire […]

Turning the corner on global warming

In his keynote speech this May to the Global Roundtable on Climate Change, held in Iceland and hosted by the Earth Institute of Columbia University, Ólafur Ragnar Grimsson—the president of Iceland—challenged government and business leaders to take measurable steps now to build a prosperous and sustainable future through smart science and public policy. Grimsson’s call […]

Global Monitor (October 2006)

First live superconducting cable / Biggest CO2 storage project / Largest hydrogen-fueled plants / Record run for fuel cell cogen system / Largest PV plant still in Bavaria / Luz returns to U.S. / POWER digest

Global Monitor (September 2006)

Demand records fall nationwide;
GE’s ABWR to be STP’s edge; Entergy buys Palisades plant; Dithering over desert disposal; Tourist trash-to-energy plant;
Brooklyn says "Yo!" to microturbines; POWER digest

Renewable contracts merit longer terms

The length of term allowed for power sales contracts is a critical determinant of the ability of states to meet their increasingly ambitious renewable power targets. Many utilities advocate limiting terms to 10 or perhaps 15 years for renewable energy contracts, emphasizing the "flexibility" that shorter terms offer. In contrast, contract terms of 20 or […]

Kannagawa Hydropower Plant, Japan

With the commercial debut of the first of six planned 470-MW turbines in December 2005, the time has come to pay homage to the sheer size (2,820 MW) and longevity (13 years and counting) of TEPCO’s Kannagawa Hydropower Plant. By the time Unit 2 is commissioned in 2010, and Units 3 through 6 go on-line "in and after 2016," two generations of engineers, technicians, and builders will have worked on the "pure" pumped-storage project since its inception. As if those stats weren’t impressive enough, Kannagawa marks the debut of "splitter runners" for pump-turbines. They increase the effective head of the plant to the highest in the world: 2,142 feet, at a flow of 135,000 gallons/second. That’s a very large pump-turbine, indeed.

Saguaro Solar Power Plant, Red Rock, Arizona

We tend to forget that today’s super-sized power plant designs began life as small prototypes that grew in size only as fast as technology and economics allowed. Arizona Public Service, a long-time leader in solar energy development, has invested in the development of one such technology that is compatible with the sunny Southwest and certain to become more cost-competitive in the near future. This successful demonstration of a 1-MW concentrated solar power, trough-style energy system is the first to have put power on the grid since 1988. But it certainly won’t be the last.