Renewable energy passes nuclear as U.S. power source

Renewable energy sources -- wind, water, solar and others -- passed nuclear generation as a share of U.S. power in September, according to the Energy Information Administration.  In the EIA’s latest report on energy sources and usage in the United States, which covers the nine months ended September, the nine-month total for both renewable production and consumption were higher than those for nuclear power.

Renewable energy projects in California go unused

Millions of dollars in renewable energy projects intended to provide power to facilities in California's national parks and forests are sitting idle because of a years-long squabble with Southern California Edison. A new $800,000 solar project at Death Valley National Park, photovoltaic panels at the state-of-the art visitors center at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and a solar power system at the U.S. Forest Service's new facility at Mono Lake are among dozens of taxpayer-funded projects in Southern California on hold as the federal agencies try to hash out an agreement with SCE to tie the projects to the state's electrical grid. The apparent stumbling block involves contract restrictions imposed by federal law, but utilities elsewhere in California have signed similar agreements with the agencies with few problems or delays.

Scientists work to help electric utilities forecast and handle 'ramp events'

Wind energy is notoriously mercurial, with patterns shifting drastically over the course of years, days, even minutes. These changes make scheduling power much more difficult for utilities that rely on wind turbines to serve an increasing percentage of their power demands. Because wind power in some places is now as cheap as or cheaper than coal-fired power, future profits and challenges for the industry will be written on the wind and how well they can use it. So scientists are stepping in with new measurements and models that may help them manage their power more effectively. "Wind energy often has ramp events where energy increases or decreases by a large amount or in a short time. If there is an overload, there is excess energy on the grid," explained Chandrika Kamath, a researcher at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Utilizing Panel-Level Monitoring to Improve Project ROI

Panel-level monitoring is a new and valuable weapon for array owners and O&M companies to improve financial performance and reduce risk in owning and operating large-scale solar arrays. The accuracy and insight from this new technology, coupled with intelligent Cloud-based analysis and diagnostics, bring many opportunities to improve energy output and improve efficiency in O&M activities.

Alternative Energy in Rhode Island

The Renewable Energy Fund (REF), managed and administered within the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (RIEDC), has historically been the state's sole, dedicated source for renewable energy funding. The program provides grants, recoverable grants and loans for commercial, municipal and housing projects, as well as feasibility studies.

Energy Storage for the Grid

Currently, the PowerCube™ is configured as a behind the meter resource. In essence this means that Axion acts as a virtual generator by curtailing load. When the PowerCube is commanded to take load from the grid it uses that power to charge its battery. When commanded to discharge, the battery is discharged into the plants load effectively reducing or curtailing its power consumption.

IHS iSuppli Teardown Analysis of Solar Inverter, Identifying the Cost-Reduction Opportunities

In its first-ever dissection of a solar power inverter, IHS has determined the bill of materials (BOM) of a major manufacturer's product, providing a path-setting benchmark for cost reduction in a market expected to undergo rapid price erosion in the coming years.

Massive battery energy storage station kicks off in China

China could be the largest market for grid energy storage technology, and now, according to battery maker BYD and China's State Grid utility, the country's potentially got the world's largest battery energy storage station in Zhangbei, Hebei Province. See photo above of the building with rows (bigger than a football field) of BYD's Iron-Phosphate batteries that make up the 36 MW-hours of energy storage along with what looks like rooftop solar panels. A lot of companies have been trying to break into China's grid energy storage market including lithium ion battery maker A123 Systems , flow battery marker ZBB Energy, and even U.S. power producer Duke Energy. China is expected to embrace grid energy storage, as a way to more reliably install the 100 GW of variable clean power that the country wants.

Solar Energy Industry: 2011 in Review Solar energy is one of the fastest growing industry in the United States.

Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the Solar Energy Industries Association, today published the following review of the U.S. solar energy market in 2011: "In contrast to some of the recent headlines, the solar energy industry is a strong, thriving industry in the United States that is creating jobs and lowering costs for the consumer. In 2011, a number of myths about the solar energy industry circulated nationally. Let's set the record straight. Here are seven truths about this thriving American industry:  

Obama Administration Approves 2 Huge Renewable Energy Projects

Other than the tremendously needed toxic pollution standards announced yesterday, the Obama administration has made three more big announcements this week that should make anyone who values clean air, clean water, and a livable climate happy. A 300-MW solar PV project in Arizona and a 186-MW wind project in California were approved for construction on public lands. Additionally, the "first step" of a major offshore wind transmission line (or ‘superhighway') in the Atlantic Ocean — the one Google has invested in — went forward. Together, the Sonoran Solar Energy Project and the Tule Wind Project will create enough power for nearly 150,000 homes and will create 700 jobs at peak.

Google investing $94 million in Sacramento-area solar plants

Google announced that it's investing $94 million in solar panel farms in the Sacramento area. The money will go toward four photovoltaic, or PV, panel farms built by San Francisco-based Recurrent Energy, owned by tech-giant Sharp, and will help fuel the project alongside funding from investment firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., said Axel Martinez, Google's assistant treasurer, in a company blog post Tuesday. The investment pushes Google's portfolio of clean energy investments to more than $915 million, $880 million of which has been invested since January, Martinez said. Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Recurrent and Google did not disclose how much Kohlberg Kravis Roberts was investing in the project.

Building Integrated Photovoltaics Impacts the Glass and Glazing Industry

Selling PV modules in their product package of glass and fenestration products represent a very significant sales potential increase for glass and glazing subcontractors. On a related matter, many PV modules can be glazed directly into the fenestration products without any modification to either product.

MIT Energy Initiative: With changes, U.S. electric grid can hold up to expected challenges

MIT report shows that with new policies, U.S. electric grid could handle expected influx of electric cars and wind and solar generation.

Solar Infrastructure Codes

Unirac is a strong advocate for developing new codes for solar infrastructure, and has been working closely with the International Code Council Evaluation Service to develop new performance standards for racking and mounting systems. Unirac's new SolarMount (E)volution residential roof mount PV racking system, launched at Solar Power International in October, is currently being evaluated by ICC-ES. Unirac is the first company to apply for an ICC ESR under ICC-ES AC428.

Striking Balance - How the Solar Industry Benefits From the U.S. & China

The solar industry is ready for its moment in the sun: Here at home, we hope fairness prevails so that the investigatory process proceeds without acrimony, political overzealousness or protectionism; at stake are U.S. jobs, U.S. exports, and U.S. consumer benefits for a strategically important U.S industry

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