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Tag: renewable energy

35% Renewables – The Good News and the Better News

35% Renewables – The Good News and the Better News

The Western Wind and Solar Integration Study (WWSIS), released yesterday by the National Renewable Energy Lab, proclaims the good news: integration of 30% wind and 5% solar is “feasible” in the west. There are some minor caveats, notably a dramatic increase in forecasting accuracy along with increasing generator scheduling granularity from hourly to several times an hour. Conspicuous in absence is the lack of extensive discussion on the role of energy storage for regulation. (The authors admit, Read more [...]
Cow Computing

Cow Computing

In a Disney-esque circle-of-life marriage between high tech and big agriculture, researchers from HP have proposed powering server farms with waste from dairy farms. In a nutshell, methane from bacteria-digested cow manure would be used to generate electricity. About 10,000 cows could supply enough juice (milk?) for a 1MW data center. While co-located power solutions are not new to data centers or industry, the HP proposal is a reminder us that everything has a carbon footprint, and we’ll Read more [...]
Nanotechnology for energy to be a major innovation in the coming decade, if…

Nanotechnology for energy to be a major innovation in the coming decade, if…

I read an interesting article by Robert Nelsen, co-founder and a Managing Director of ARCH Venture Partners, with his view on the Top 5 innovations to watch in the coming decade. I didn't have to get very far into the piece to get his take on nanotechnology when Mr. Nelsen declared nanotechnology as No. 1 on the list.  He foresees major innovations in solar energy "that can produce electricity at 6 cents per kilowatt hour and which will compete with conventional power Read more [...]
Congressional Unveiling of Major Energy Savings and Carbon Reduction…

Congressional Unveiling of Major Energy Savings and Carbon Reduction…

Do you want to save 4.48-7.95 million metric tons (MMT) of carbon annually (equivalent to removing approximately between 3-5.4 million automobiles annually)? Do you want to save 25 to 42 Terawatt hours (billion kWh) per year (equivalent to 3 to 6 nuclear power plants or 6 to 10 coal-fired plants)? Do you want to drive innovation and spur technology? If you do, see NEMA’s newly unveiled consensus agreement outdoor lighting standard. Today, Senator Bingaman, Senator Murkowski, Senator Read more [...]
World’s Largest Pedestrian Bridge Soaks up Rays

World’s Largest Pedestrian Bridge Soaks up Rays

A few days ago, The Kurilpa Bridge in Brisbane officially opened, and it’s been referred to as the “largest pedestrian and cycle bridge.” It’s 470 meters long, and around 36,500 people will use the bridge each week. It features a programmable LED lighting system that can be adjusted for different effects and events. What’s really cool, though, is that the bridge has 84 solar panels that can fully power the bridge in most lighting configurations, and provide 75% of Read more [...]
Even the Wind Farms are Bigger in Texas

Even the Wind Farms are Bigger in Texas

The turbines started turning on the world’s largest wind farm yesterday in Texas. According to an article from the AP, the 627 turbines cover 100,000 acres over four counties, with a record-setting capacity of 781.5 megawatts. I didn’t realize that Texas is #1 in wind generation in the U.S. (go here to check out a map showing wind generation by state). Interestingly, the land also functions as cotton fields.  The Dallas Morning News reported that a lack of transmission lines makes Read more [...]
Stimulus, Clean Energy, and Democracy

Stimulus, Clean Energy, and Democracy

In my last blog I mentioned Tom Friedman's suggestion that clean energy policy might benefit from a less than democratic policy-making process.  My own opinion was that we did not need to throw out the Constitution for one issue, but within our constitutional framework the legislature could structure the public debate proceedings --- in rulemakings and in the courts --- so that bureaucratic and litigation delay was not the devil we forgot to deal with.  Friedman, in both Read more [...]
Let’s Not Slip on the BANANA Appeal

Let’s Not Slip on the BANANA Appeal

BANANA.  The acronym, not the fruit.  Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything.  I first saw the acronym in Tom Friedman's tome to clean energy development, Hot, Flat, and Crowded (2008).  Friedman's reaction to the BANANAs:   As a democracy, we in America have increasingly become that kind of Banana republic.  We need more nuclear power, no one wants the waste stored near them. We think wind turbines could provide a huge boost to our power grid, Read more [...]
A Little Ol’ Transmission Fable

A Little Ol’ Transmission Fable

At a meeting of western states on the subject of renewable transmission, one state official lamented that the major obstacle to new lines, in some specific cases, was the federal government itself, with disparate agencies creating multiple hurdles. I found the comment non-intuitive. Isn’t transmission siting primarily restricted by disagreements between states on cost recovery and a NIMBY mentality? Since the comment was made in an off-the-record setting, I filed it and moved on until substantial Read more [...]
Fact Versus Fiction on Energy Storage Systems

Fact Versus Fiction on Energy Storage Systems

Often, important emerging technologies get caught up in misconstrued facts and misunderstandings of capacities and roles in an already technology-driven and confusing world. An example of this can be found in a recent op-ed in the Washington Post, "Getting Real on Wind and Solar" by James Schlesinger and Robert Hirsch. It's great they included a reference to energy storage systems (ESS) as a necessary component of the smart grid architecture for renewable energy. And they're right Read more [...]