TOP PLANT: Alamosa Solar Project, San Luis Valley, ColoradoAs the largest solar plant of its type in the world, the 30-MW Alamosa Solar Project is currently enjoying its place in the sun. The innovative project consists of 504 concentrating photovoltaic (CPV) solar trackers, each featuring a CPV solar cell panel assembly mounted on a support column. The modular design of the assembly allows the project to easily accommodate future improvements in cell technology.
TOP PLANT: Coca-Cola/Mas Energy Trigeneration Facility, Atlanta, GeorgiaBy taking a waste product and converting it into a fuel source, the 6.5-MW Coca-Cola/Mas Energy Facility became the first U.S. operational trigeneration project fueled by landfill gas. Since March, the new system has provided electricity, steam, and chilled water to the adjacent Coca-Cola Syrup Plant, satisfying most of the plant’s energy requirements and reducing its long-term energy costs.
TOP PLANT: Gujarat Solar Park, State of Gujarat, IndiaSet up by the Gujarat government, the Gujarat Solar Park is actually a group of solar parks that provide dedicated common infrastructure for photovoltaic-powered projects owned and operated by numerous individual companies. When construction at all the parks is completed by the end of 2013, the Gujarat Solar Park is projected to reach a combined capacity of almost 1,000 MW, which will make it the world’s largest solar energy generation installation.
TOP PLANT: Stillwater Solar-Geothermal Hybrid Plant, Churchill County, NevadaThe Stillwater hybrid facility is the world’s first renewable energy project that pairs geothermal power’s baseload generation capacity with solar power’s peak capacity. Inaugurated in May, the 26-MW solar plant is integrated with the adjacent 33-MW geothermal plant, which began operations in 2009, and provides energy to run the geothermal plant’s auxiliary loads.
TOP PLANT: Three Gorges Dam, Yangtze River, Hubei Province, ChinaAfter nine years of construction, installation, and testing, the Three Gorges Dam is now complete. On May 23, 2012, the last main generator finished its final test, increasing the facility’s capacity to 22.5 GW and making it the world’s largest capacity hydroelectric power plant.
TOP PLANT: Walney Offshore Windfarms, Irish Sea, UKOfficially commissioned in February 2012, the two Walney Offshore Windfarms—Walney 1 and Walney 2—together have 102 wind turbines with a total capacity of 367.2 MW. With their combined capacity, the windfarms qualify as one of the world’s largest offshore wind energy facilities and provide clean electricity to approximately 320,000 UK households.
China Leads the Global Race to Cleaner Coal
Coal used for power generation has been the cornerstone of economic development, social progress, and a higher quality of life around the globe and is now fueling the 21st-century economic miracle rapidly unfolding in China. Meanwhile, China is leading the world in coal-fired plant efficiency and the deployment of clean coal technologies.
Distributed Solar Challenges Utilities, Markets, and Regulation
Electricity produced from solar energy is being added to the grid—before and after the meter—in greater amounts each year. The uniqueness of this resource is pushing utilities, developers, users, and regulators to develop new and innovative interconnection rules and to rewrite some old rules that balance the costs and rewards among stakeholders.
Is Shale Gas Shallow or the Real Deal?
The de facto U.S. energy policy is to burn more gas, much of it produced using “fracking” technology. Huge volumes of low-priced natural gas have caused coal plant shutdowns, slowed renewable development, and undercut new nuclear plant development. Using more gas has also sent the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions into a downward spiral. Is the glut of natural gas too good to be true?
LIDAR and 3D Modeling Produce Precise Designs
Retrofit projects are often very time-consuming, both for the engineers who must take numerous field measurements to produce drawings and for the contractor that must fabricate each assembly on site. A more cost-effective approach is to begin with a highly accurate set of as-built 3D models produced by laser scanning technology.
Mercury Regulations Up in the Air
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency efforts to regulate mercury emissions from coal- and oil-fired power plants have spanned nearly two decades. In February of this year the agency promulgated the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards, but changes to the standards continue.
MOX Fuel Fabrication Facility: Turning Swords into Plowshares
The U.S. Department of Energy contracted Shaw AREVA MOX Services LLC to design, construct, and operate a Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) at its Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The MFFF will convert depleted uranium and excess weapons-grade plutonium stockpiles, equivalent to approximately 17,000 nuclear weapons, into MOX fuel assemblies that will be used in U.S. nuclear power plants by 2018.
Renewable Energy Development Thrives During China’s 12th Five-Year Plan
China’s 12th Five-Year Plan calls for expanding the use of renewable energy in all forms throughout the country. From solar and wind to biomass gas and briquettes, China has a true “all of the above” renewable energy policy.