The U.S. has taken a shortsighted approach to "financing" our energy future for decades. We are rapidly depleting our energy capital of oil, gas and coal at greater rates each year, and giving very little thought to the long-term (20-50+ years) consequences.
Consumer attitudes about the benefits of smart grid technology are still in a formative stage. Most consumers are not aware of the term, much less the capabilities smart grid technologies will be bringing in the next few years. Several conditions are clear: * Consumers are very interested in learning how they can cut their electricity costs * Most are willing to pay to save * Some consumers would allow utilities to control systems in their home, but many are not willing to relinquish control even if they can override utility commands
Growth Spurred by Improved Financing Conditions and a Rush to Beat Feed-in Tariff Cuts in Europe
Sunnovations is a classic entrepreneurial story: a technically savvy consumer went to purchase a product and found what was in the market lacking and decided to build a superior solution himself. Arnoud van Houten founded the company in March 2008 and partnered with angel investors Solaq BV (who advised van Houten's previous start-up) for development and early-stage financing.
Solaire's mission is to dramatically increase the use of solar power by providing a mounting canopy for every commercial solar parking lot. Our goal is to revolutionize the solar parking installation market and minimize its environmental impact through our product line, which delivers Architecturally Integrated Renewable Energy.
The company has had 12 fuel cell systems installed that will turn air and methane into a third of the electricity supply for Adobe’s campus in downtown San Jose. The 1.2-megawatt project is the largest installation to date for Bloom Energy Corporation, the fuel cell specialists based in Sunnyvale, California. The 12 Bloom Energy Servers, which are also known as Bloom boxes, have been installed on the fifth floor of Adobe’s West Tower building. Each 100-kilowatt server is the size of an average parking space, containing thousands of fuel cells that generate electricity from methane and air. Typically, one server generates enough power to supply 100 average homes with electricity, Adobe said. Randall H Knox III, senior director of Global Workplace Solutions at Adobe, said the methane gas is being sourced from out of state from a landfill in Pennsylvania. Methane is produced when organic materials in landfills break down. Adobe pays for the gas to be put into the pipeline, offsetting the methane used in California. “Installing Bloom Energy fuel cells supports Adobe’s efforts to remain at the forefront of utilizing impactful, clean technologies to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Mr Knox. “We hope to be an example to other companies considering cleaner, more affordable energy sources for their operations.” Source: BrightEnergy.org
Google's Project 10^100, the search engine giant announced on Friday that it's given $1 million to Shweeb, which makes a transportation system based on pedal-powered pods that zoom around a monorail track about 20 feet above the ground. If that sounds like a crazy but kinda cool concept, that's because it is. The original prototype was built as a ride in an amusement park in New Zealand, where pod pedalers race each other on a side-by-side track for a fee of $35. Google is funding the company to help it test the system as public transportation in an urban setting. Shweeb hasn't announced the location of the planned first transit system (please make it in the Bay Area), but says on its website it will disclose the location shortly. Here's some characteristics of the Shweeb that likely attracted Google: It requires practically no energy other than human pedaling so it's a fossil-fuel-free transportation, and it's really efficient, requiring "less energy to cover a given distance than any other vehicle on earth," according to the company. The pedaled pods are also based on recumbent bikes (the bikes where you sit back and relax), which I could imagine Google's young outdoor enthusiast types identified with... Source - Gigaom
LONDON — The world's largest offshore wind farm had its grand opening Thursday — and its location on the estuary of the Thames River makes it a showcase for Britain's push to move beyond fossil fuels. So far, 100 wind turbines have been planted in waters up to 80 feet deep across the estuary in southern England. The idea is to produce enough electricity, 300 megawatts, to power the equivalent of 200,000 homes. Each turbine is nearly as tall as a 40-story building and the blades are at least 65 feet above the water for clearance with vessels. No turbine is closer than 1,600 feet to another and the entire "farm" covers an area of 22 square miles. Up to 341 turbines will be installed over the next four years. With Thursday's opening, which tops a 91-turbine farm off Denmark, Britain now has more offshore wind capacity than the rest of the world combined. in now gets three percent of its electricity from renewables but aims to get 15 percent by 2020. As part of that, the government this year awarded licenses to wind farm developers in a program that could deliver up to 32 gigawatts of generation capacity and require investment of more than $117 billion. MSNBC
The green energy future envisions a technological road that leads to an infinite supply of power, independence from potentially hostile nations and an atmosphere cleared of the excess heat-trapping gases that are blamed for warming the planet. The track to this future, however, is full of technological and policy hurdles. Clean up the existing supply with a price on carbon Store wind and solar energy for later use Limit impact of transmission lines Drive down costs of electric cars Build a portfolio of transportation options Mine the earth for rare minerals Grow energy crops; save the food Bury hang-ups on nuclear waste Read full article at MSNBC
With four scrawny fuselages and wings stretching more than the length of a football field, Boeing Co.’s solar-powered drone looks a bit like a flying antenna. But the government is hoping that the aircraft, dubbed the SolarEagle, will one day be capable of flying for five straight years at 60,000 feet. Last week, Boeing announced it had won an $89-million contract with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop a prototype of the SolarEagle that can demonstrate it can stay aloft for 30 days by 2014. Eventually, Chicago-based Boeing sees the SolarEagle hovering at stratospheric altitudes for at least five years. "That's a daunting task, but Boeing has a highly reliable solar-electric design that will meet the challenge,” Pat O'Neil, the plane’s program manager, said in a statement. The SolarEagle will draw on solar energy through panels affixed to the wings. The power will be stored in fuel cells and used through the night. The plane will also feature electric motors and propellers. Much of the design work is being done by Boeing engineers at its Phantom Works facility in Huntington Beach. Boeing expects the plane to be ultimately used as a spy and communication aircraft. Source - LATimes Blog
New technology was unveiled last week that allows ordinary everyday surfaces like windows to be converted into solar panels by spraying on a special coating. Maryland-based technology developers New Energy Technologies, Inc., said their spray-on solar panels could even generate power from artificial light on glass surfaces inside commercial buildings. The company showcased a small-scale working prototype of its "SolarWindow" system at a public demonstration on Thursday at the University of South Florida, in Tampa. Less than a tenth the thickness of solar thin-films, SolarWindow makes use of some of the world's smallest functional solar cells, as developed by University of South Florida physicist Xiaomei Jiang. Researchers are currently working toward lower production costs and increased power performance, along with methods for applying power-producing coatings to glass surfaces. John A. Conklin, the firm's President and CEO said: "Today's public demonstration is a pivotal milestone not only for the dedicated research team, but for our external stakeholders as well, including our investors who are keenly aware of how the development of the highly-anticipated SolarWindow technology has the potential to create a fundamental paradigm shift in the way we produce power worldwide." Source - BrighterEnergy.org
After a successful start last December in 21 California stores, Lowe’s today announced it has brought the one-stop destination for energy-saving products to all U.S. stores. The Energy Center is retail’s first truly integrated energy solution, bringing products that measure, reduce and generate energy to one convenient location to meet consumers’ individual energy needs. “The Energy Center builds on Lowe’s commitment to bring more innovative products and services to our customers,” said Nick Canter, Lowe’s executive vice president of merchandising. “By pulling together comprehensive options to help them manage their energy use, the Energy Center makes it easier for customers to become more energy efficient while putting money back in their pocket.” Lowe’s is the first major retailer to offer many of these products in one place, putting solar technology alongside ENERGY STAR® qualified CFLs to provide a wide range of solutions that empower consumers to measure their energy use, reduce energy consumption and generate renewable energy.
The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) today released a report, Renewable Energy in America: Markets, Economic Development and Policy in the 50 States, as an online resource and a product of ACORE’s mission to bring renewable energy into the mainstream. Compiling financial, renewable energy resource potentials, market and policy information in one easily-accessed, online format, the report is intended to be an executive summary for all who are interested in the highlights of the renewable energy sector in every state. The report notes each state’s highlights regarding their renewable energy market and recent economic development activity. Installed capacity and projects in development are provided for each state and provide a further picture of which renewable resources are actually in development. Resource maps highlight selected renewable resources within each state. Finally, the Report includes a list of key policies in place within each state.
Like the little engine that could, the University of Nevada, Reno experiment to transform wastewater sludge to electrical power is chugging along, dwarfed by the million-gallon tanks, pipes and pumps at the Truckee Meadows Water Reclamation Facility where, ultimately, the plant’s electrical power could be supplied on-site by the process University researchers are developing. “We are very pleased with the results of the demonstration testing of our research,” Chuck Coronella, principle investigator for the research project and an associate professor of chemical engineering, said. “The process to dry the sludge to make it burnable for a gasification process, which could then be transformed into electricity, is working very well. This is an important step for our renewable energy research, processing about 20 pounds an hour of sludge in a continuous-feed system to produce about 3 pounds an hour of dried powder.” The team of researchers custom built the processing machine in a lab at the University and brought it to the plant for testing. It uses an innovative process with relatively low temperatures in a fluidized bed of sand and salts to economically produce the biomass fuel from the gooey sludge. Read full release here.
As the need for reliable, real-time data communication in mission-critical SCADA systems continues to increase for monitoring and control distribution automation as part of the "Smart Grid," electric power utilities are looking for new and better ways to improve their communication infrastructure, making it more reliable and secure.
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The NeON R module features "Back Contact" cell technology delivering an entirely black panel that is aesthetically pleasing and energy efficient. The cell's seamless, surface blends perfectly into nearly all rooftop designs while the module's electrodes are positioned on the rear of the cell. Using LG's N-type cell structure, the panels produce 365W of energy, up to 7.3kWp, compared to 5.8kWp of the p-type cell. The module's new design minimizes LID, thereby delivering a longer lifespan and increased energy output.