Semiconductor technologies, present in many modern day devices and systems, are so essential to advances in energy efficiency gains that the United States economy could expand by more than 70 percent through 2030 and still use 11 percent less electricity than it did in 2008, according to a new study by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE). The report estimates the cumulative net electricity bill savings enabled by semiconductors might exceed $1.2 trillion through 2030. With smart investments productivity gains could reduce electricity use to only 3,364 billion kWh by 2030. The resulting savings of 1,242 billion kWh means that the economy may actually consume 11 percent less electricity in 2030 than it did in 2008. Original Metering.com article.
A group of English engineers have built an advanced heat pump and connected it to an energy storage system using two silos full of plain old gravel that they say is as cheap as pumped hydro, as location-agnostic as a battery - and is super efficient. Using the heat pump as the key, the team built an energy storage system that compresses argon gas to produce a temperature differential and deposits heat and cold into two separate large silos of gravel. Energy is stored in the gravel and when the process is reversed, it can be released.
The contracts secure 1,310 megawatts of solar thermal power from seven projects, the first of which - a 110MW installation in Ivanpah, California - is slated to be online by 2012. Construction is set to begin in "about six months, following approval from the California Energy Commission and the Bureau of Land Management," says BrightSource chief executive John Woolard in an interview published on PG&E's Web site.
General Electric has announced that it plans to build a new battery factory in upstate New York with an "initial investment" of $100 million and additional funds requested under the stimulus package. First up for the New York plant, if all of the financing comes through: batteries for hybrid freight trains. It's looking at providing energy storage devices for other applications including utilities, telecoms and load leveling for the smart grid. At full capacity, the new plant is designed to produce 10 million battery cells, or about 900 MW-hours of energy storage per year.
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