Five Characteristics of Great Utility Customer Engagement

The evolution of the energy industry that is enabling customers to engage with their energy use is opening up new opportunities-and new challenges-for utilities.

Fact Sheet: President Obama to Announce Historic Carbon Pollution Standards for Power Plants

The Clean Power Plan is a Landmark Action to Protect Public Health, Reduce Energy Bills for Households and Businesses, Create American Jobs, and Bring Clean Power to Communities across the Country

Japan Builds World's Largest Floating Wind Turbine off Fukushima

by ARATA YAMAMOTO for NBC News:  Engineers in Japan have installed the world's largest floating wind turbine, a towering 344-foot structure that is billed as being able to withstand 65-foot waves and even tsunamis. The 7 megawatt turbine was fastened to the seabed last week by four 20-ton anchors about 12 miles off the Fukushima coast. Its installation was delayed four times because of consecutive typhoons in the region. But one of its chief engineers, Katsunobu Shimizu, told NBC News that the turbine — which is about the same height as London's St. Paul's Cathedral — would be able to withstand even the most extreme conditions. "These turbines and anchors are designed to withstand 65-foot waves," Shimizu said during a sea tour of the turbine given from a boat off the coast. "Also, here we can get 32-foot-tall tsunamis. That's why the chains are deliberately slackened." If a large wave were to push the turbine up, down or to the side, the loose chains connecting the structure to the seabed would give it the freedom to move without being damaged, he said.   Cont'd...

European offshore wind industry smashes installation record

By Madeleine Cuff for Business Green:  The offshore wind industry is set for a bumper 12 months, as the latest figures from the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) reveal installations in the first half of this year hit record levels. As several projects reached completion and larger, more powerful turbines were deployed, new installations hit 2,342.9MW, triple the grid-connected capacity added in the same period last year. The surge in new projects makes the first six months of 2015 more successful than any other full year on record, in terms of installed capacity. Some 584 new offshore wind turbines have been connected to the European grid so far this year, while the average turbine size has risen from 3.5MW to 4.2MW as manufacturers continue to develop more powerful turbines capable of capturing greater amounts of wind energy, the report said. Total offshore wind capacity across Europe has now reached 10,393.6MW, it added.   Cont'd...

Technology Supports Global Sustainability

Cloud-based software is one technological advancement that can pay dividends in the development and management of a wide variety of renewable energy projects, from wind farms, solar farms and geothermal plants to hydropower and biomass facilities.

Offshore wind power gets foothold in US with Rhode Island project

By Richard Valdmanis for Reuters:  Rhode Island's Deepwater Wind began installing the foundations for North America's first offshore wind farm on Monday, a milestone the company says could pave the way for an industry long established in Europe but still struggling with opposition in the United States. The 30-megawatt wind farm, which will include five turbines located three miles (4.8 km) off the coast of the bucolic summer tourist destination of Block Island, will take more than a year to build and is scheduled to produce electricity for the tiny island community and the mainland by the end of next year. "Our belief is once Block Island is up and running, it will bring offshore wind from theory to reality in the United States and open up opportunities to build larger projects," said Jeffrey Grybowski, Deepwater Wind's CEO.   Cont'd...

IBM Uses Machine Learning to Boost Solar for Dept of Energy

While other solar forecasting systems take more narrow location and timeframe views, what's different about the IBM approach is that we incorporate a great number of weather and solar energy prediction models. We then blend those using historical data as a function of weather situation, forecast horizon and location to create what we call a supermodel.

The Nature Conservancy Installs Bird Safe Wind Power

The Nature Conservancy has completed its first phase of installation of SheerWind's INVELOX funnel-based wind power technology. Because Palmyra is home to a national wildlife refuge and more than a million nesting seabirds, conventional wind turbines were not an option due to the risk of bird strikes. What's more, the low wind speeds on the island would provide little to no energy production with traditional turbines.  The Conservancy turned to the Minnesota firm SheerWind to design the system resembling an hourglass turned on its side. Extending 83 feet horizontally with a big wind scoop at one end, an exhaust on the other, a Venturi section in the middle increases wind speed potentially three to six times. Nets over the intake and enclosed blades keep it bird friendly. The first phase of the installation includes a single turbine inside the Venturi, allowing for two additional to be installed in the near future.  The first phase of the INVELOX project is successfully charging batteries at night and on cloudy days to supplement the photovoltaic system also installed on Palmyra.   

Geothermal Heating and Cooling

Geothermal heat pumps are ideal for use in buildings looking to reduce consumption to net zero.

A Proven Approach To The Challenge Of Building A Leak-proof Array

The current suggested guideline by the NRCA (National Roofing Contractor Association) for the installation of a PV system on a steep slope asphalt shingle roof as far as the flashing of the PV system stanchions, shows the metal flange to be applied underneath the roofing paper.

Acquisition announced for solar power supplier Vivint Solar

On July 20, SunEdison, the world's biggest renewable energy development firm, along with TerraForm Power, an owner and operator of clean energy power plants, announced the acquisition of Vivint Solar, a major supplier of residential solar systems in the U.S. The merger will be worth approximately $2.2 billion in cash as the two major solar companies acquire the residential solar firm. Additionally, SunEdison has agreed to enter a power purchase agreement with TerraForm Power. Roughly 523 megawatts of solar power will be installed by Vivint Solar by the end of 2015, which will now all be moved over to SunEdison. Through the $922 million power agreement, TerraForm Power will install the solar panels for residential solar protections through a "10-year average levered cash-on-cash yield of 9.5 percent," the release stated. Also, TerraForm Power will obtain future small commercial solar and completed residential projects from SunEdison's Residential and Small Commercial business unit.   Cont'd...

Leveraging Simple Solar Installations for Optimized Land Use

Featuring the Cap-Rack™ System by DCE Solar

New Material to Increase Solar Cell Efficiency

A team of researchers has come up with a solar cell that produces fuel rather than electricity. A material called gallium phosphide enables the solar cell to produce clean fuel hydrogen gas from liquid water. To connect an existing silicon solar cell to a battery that splits the water may well be an efficient solution; but it is very expensive. So, researchers were streamlining their search to a semi-conductor material that is able to both convert sunlight into an electrical charge and split water. The team found gallium phosphide (GaP), a compound of gallium and phosphide, useful in this respect. GaP has good electrical properties but the drawback is that it cannot easily absorb light when it is a large flat surface as used in GaP solar cells, said the study thatappeared in Nature Communications. The researchers overcame this by making a grid of very small GaP nanowires, measuring five hundred nanometres (a millionth of a millimetre) long and ninety nanometres thick. "That makes these kinds of cells potentially a great deal cheaper," said lead author Erik Bakkers from Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands.   Cont'd...

President Obama's Low-Income Solar Initiative

There have been enough successful low-income solar pilot programs at the state and federal level that it is now possible to launch a larger initiative with confidence that it can succeed.

Renewable energy boom will mean vastly cheaper electricity

By Lucas Mearian, ComputerWorld:  Renewable energy, combined with prolific battery storage, will soon result in vastly cheaper electricity -- and solar power that's less expensive than what fossil fuel-based power plants can produce. Additionally, solar power with lithium-ion and flow-battery storage systems will make the combination of renewable energy so inexpensive that it will surpass nuclear power and obviate the need for futuristic power sources such as fusion. That was consensus view from a several keynote speeches delivered at the Intersolar Conference in San Francisco this week. Eicke Weber, director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, said that in sun-rich countries, the cost of solar power is already below 5 cents per kilowatt and it will continue to plummet as battery storage systems become more prolific and less expensive. Cont'd...

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Other Energy Topics - Featured Product

Sierra Instruments, Inc.- InnovaMass. Reinvented.

Sierra Instruments, Inc.- InnovaMass. Reinvented.

Sierra was the first to introduce a combination volumetric vortex and multivariable mass flow meter in 1997. Today, Sierra's completely redesigned InnovaMass® iSeries™ 240i/241i builds on two decades of success measuring five process variables for gas, liquid and steam with one connection. Now, with the latest hyper-fast microprocessors, robust software applications, field diagnostic and adjustment capability, and a new state-of-the-art flow calibration facility, Sierra's vortex iSeries delivers precision, performance, and application flexibility never before possible.