Map of Renewable Power Generation in the United StatesFor a full-size map, contact Platts. Courtesy: Platts Data source: POWERmap All rights reserved. No reproduction allowed.
Top Plant: Blue Mountain Faulkner 1 Geothermal Power Plant, Humboldt County, NevadaCompleted in 2009 and partially funded under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, the 50-MW Blue Mountain Faulkner 1 Geothermal Power Plant is harnessing large amounts of renewable energy by tapping into an underground geothermal reservoir in northern Nevada. This subterranean source of heat allows the binary plant to generate pollution-free baseload electricity.
Top Plant: Colmac Energy Inc.’s Biomass- Fueled Power Plant, Mecca, CaliforniaThe 47-MW Colmac Energy facility is the largest biomass-fueled power plant in California. Colmac operates with a capacity factor consistently in the 92% to 95% range and at a net plant heat rate comparable to waste coal facilities. Colmac Energy has demonstrated that biomass plants using urban wood wastes as fuel can generate significant environmental benefits, including reduced air pollutants from open-air burning and lowered demand for landfill space.
Top Plant: DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, DeSoto County, FloridaThe 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.
Top Plant: Kajang Waste-to-Energy Plant, Semenyih, MalaysiaAt Malaysia’s first waste-to-energy plant, municipal solid waste (MSW) is converted into refuse-derived fuel for use in an integrated steam power plant. This facility was designed to achieve the twin objectives of environmentally friendly MSW disposal and generating renewable power.
Top Plant: Kaukaan Voima Oy Biomass-Fired Power Plant, Lappeenranta, FinlandLocated in the heavily forested country of Finland, the Kaukaan Voima biomass-fueled power plant produces process steam and electricity for UPM’s Kaukas pulp and paper mill as well as electricity and district heating for Lappeenrannan Energia, a city-owned power company. Launched in 2009, the plant can provide 125 MW of electricity, 110 MWth of district heat, and 150 MWth of process steam thanks to one of the world’s largest wood-fired fluidized bed boilers.
Top Plant: Thanet Offshore Wind Farm, Isle of Thanet, UKIn 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.
A Winning Combination: Government and Utilities Partner on Renewable Energy ProjectsRecent 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.
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.
Investigating the Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydro Power Plant DisasterThe destruction of the turbines and auxiliary equipment at Russia’s Sayano-Shushenskaya Hydro Power Plant in August 2009 claimed the lives of 75 workers and wrecked an indispensable source of electricity that will take years to fully restore. The disaster, as this report explains, was predictable and preventable.
New Design Tool Improves Manufacture of Composite Wind Turbine BladesComposite 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.
The Rush to RenewablesIn 2010 investment in wind power continued to accelerate, particularly in California and Texas. California also entered several solar projects in the race for financing. The finish line that renewable power developers and their partners are racing to meet is a December 31 deadline to qualify for federal cash grants.
While Congress Bickers, Solar Industry Holds Its BreathEnergy is the most regulated sector of the American economy, making public-private partnerships essential to scaling the solar industry. Such partnerships have helped other energy sectors to reach scale over the past hundred years.
Bolt Load and Elongation Measuring DeviceBoltight has developed a fast and accurate device for measuring bolt load and bolt elongation that uses the latest ultrasonic technology. Called the Boltight Echometer, the device is used for…
Containment Bags for Safe Transformer TransportNew Pig Corp. recently introduced PIG Transformer Containment Bags, carriers designed exclusively for the safe transport of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and mineral oils. The bags feature high-capacity straps to ensure…
Extended Control Valve RangeSpirax Sarco released a new control valve range, SPIRA-TROL, in 6- and 8-inch sizes and with more control options. The company says the valves are easy to maintain and do…
Mixers for IBC and Tote ApplicationsNeptune Mixer Co., a division of Neptune Chemical Pump Co., announced that its Series HGL mixers are now available in both electric and air-driven models. The Series HGL mixers are…
Shaft-Grounding Ring for Wind TurbinesElectro Static Technology’s AEGIS WTG wind turbine grounding ring seeks to prevent bearing damage that could otherwise cause generator failure by safely channeling harmful shaft currents away from bearings to…
Total Biogas PackageGerman company MWM introduced the new MWM container, which it says is a highly efficient and economic distributed generation system designed for natural gas and biogas applications. The package, which…
Updated Tube Expansion SystemAn updated HydroSwage Tube Expansion System featuring new ease-of-use and data collection features is being offered by Haskel International. The compact Mark V system provides high accuracy, speed, and repeatability…
Legal & Regulatory
Regulatory Options for Feed-in TariffsFeed-in tariffs (FITs) have been used by European countries to foster the growth of renewable generation resources, notably solar. These tariffs generally require electric distribution companies to purchase power produced by a specified class of generators at above-market rates. The object of the tariffs is to encourage development of the favored generation resources by ensuring the existence of a profitable market for their power production.
Focus on O&M
Expanding the Use of Predictive Maintenance as a Business StrategyThe Linde Group is a world-leading gases and engineering company operating in more than 100 countries. It’s no surprise that the company uses a variety of advanced monitoring techniques and equipment to keep its plants operating reliably. In the U.S. and UK particularly, Linde plants have used online machine condition monitoring for a number of years. At its Shanghai headquarters, Linde has formed a large and impressive remote operations center where it monitors and tracks the process operations of all its major gas plants in China 24 hours a day.
Finding Fault: Improving Wind Farm AvailabilitySurvey wind turbine manufacturers about how to calculate wind farm availability and you will get countless different definitions and exceptions to the rule.
Keeping Condensers CleanThe quality of the cooling water intake and the amount of debris in that water affects the operation and performance of the condenser and therefore the thermal performance of the typical steam plant.
GE Launches 9.5-MW Engine for Distributed GenerationA 9.5-MW gas engine unveiled by GE this October for decentralized, independent power producers in remote, hot, or high-altitude regions features a 48.7% electrical efficiency and promises to reduce lifecycle costs by lowering fuel consumption.
How the U.S. Grid’s Unpredictability Increases Its SecurityExperts have decried congressional and academic reliance on a mathematical model for understanding complex systems that suggests an attack on a small part of the U.S. power grid could disrupt the entire power system network.
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.