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Power


Monthly Issue | November 29, 2014

THE BIG PICTURE: Wind and Solar Variability


POWER Digest (December 2014)

EU Adopts Energy, Climate Targets for 2030. European Union (EU) leaders on Oct. 23 endorsed a binding target that will require all of the bloc’s 28 members to reduce greenhouse…


France Moves to Bid Adieu to Nuclear Dependency

France, which counts on nuclear energy for roughly 75% of its power needs and is a leading nuclear technology exporter, has embarked on an energy transition to substantially diminish its…


Floating Solar Arrays Take Shape in the UK, Japan, and India

Solar power has taken many forms in recent years—from giant concentrated solar power installations and solar towers spread out across deserts worldwide, to rooftop photovoltaic (PV) installations in urban settings,…


Nuclear Power’s Present and Future

William D. Magwood, IV, formerly head of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Nuclear Energy and commissioner at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and current director-general of the Organisation…


Nuclear Power Pivot Points

“Pivoting” is a popular business buzzword, particularly in the context of startups, which often quickly change strategic direction. The global nuclear industry isn’t exactly a startup, but it is at…


Australia’s Direct Action Plan Set to Replace Carbon Trading Scheme

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s Direct Action Plan, the policy mechanism proposed to replace the coal-rich country’s now-defunct carbon trading program, cleared the Senate despite staunch opposition on Oct. 31.…


Reforms on the Horizon for India’s Beleaguered Coal Sector

Recent months have seen a violent shakeup of India’s coal supply sector and may result in the end of a 40-year-old government monopoly on mining and selling coal. The development…


Inspecting Aberrant P91 Components for Integrity

Many utilities around the world have been discovering abnormal or aberrant P91 base and weld metal microstructures in their plants, leading to, or with a potential to lead to, early…


The NRC’s Collision Course

When Allison MacFarlane, the outgoing chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), abruptly announced her retirement in mid-October—leaving with almost four years left on her term—her stated reason was…


Top Plant: Agua Caliente Solar Project, Yuma County, Arizona

The 290-MW Agua Caliente Solar Project is the latest addition to the nation’s growing solar capacity and now holds the title as the largest photovoltaic plant in the world. The…


Top Plant: Ashta Hydropower Plant, Shkoder, Albania

Retrofitted to the outlet of a 30-year-old reservoir, the two-stage, 53-MW, 90-turbine Ashta Hydropower Plant on the Drin River in northwest Albania is a textbook example of how innovative run-of-river…


Top Plant: Hometown BioEnergy, Le Sueur, Minnesota

Using agricultural and food-processing waste products, Hometown BioEnergy is helping the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency meet state-mandated renewable energy standards while also providing a valuable fertilizer for area farmers and…


Top Plant: London Array Offshore Wind Farm, Outer Thames Estuary, UK

The 175-turbine London Array wind farm was built on schedule, on a scale once thought unfeasible for the emergent offshore wind sector—and despite economic headwinds of the global recession and…


Top Plant: Solana Generating Station, Maricopa County, Arizona

The 280-MW Solana Generating Station combines concentrating solar power (trough) technology with thermal energy storage, which allows the plant to operate after the sun goes down with up to a…


Wind Turbine Generator Maintenance: What to Expect and Why

When most of today’s wind projects were developed, first costs were the focus; operations and maintenance (O&M) costs were largely unknown. Now, with hundreds of turbine models in operation—sometimes at…


Coal-Fired Power Plant Heat Rate Improvement Options, Part 2

Even without regulatory considerations, there are good reasons for virtually every coal-fired power plant to improve its heat rate. The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) has looked at dozens of…


Construction Considerations Are Key in Closure Planning for Coal Ash Ponds

When faced with a variety of options for coal ash pond closure, use a holistic approach rather than choosing what seems to be the quickest or cheapest on paper. Closure…


Tricky Business: Taking Down Old Coal Plants

With the advance of natural gas, increasing regulatory challenges, and anti-coal politics, U.S. coal-fired power plants are facing unprecedented retirements. A key question is what to do with them once…


Assessing and Prioritizing Structural Repairs to Material-Handling Systems

With more-urgent issues frequently demanding staff attention, it is easy to overlook corrosion and minor structural damage on coal-conveying systems. If ignored for too long, however, small problems can develop…


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