German Green Energy Bluster Running Out Of Wind

Although blades on the 150-meter wind turbines at the new German offshore Riffgat power plant nine miles off the North Sea island of Bokum are finally turning, there is one big problem. They are doing so only because they are being powered by onshore fossil-fueled generators to prevent the rotors from corroding in salty air. And why might that be? Well although they otherwise function perfectly, the underfinanced grid operator hasn’t yet connected a power line because of problems attracting investor financing. Prospective investors attribute their reluctance to a lack of market confidence.

While half a dozen wind farms are still being built in the North Sea, there are no follow-up contracts. As Ronney Meyer, managing director of Windenergie Agentur (EWE) based in the northern port city of Bremerhaven said, “The market has collapsed.” EWE developer Riffgat reportedly doesn’t plan to invest in any more offshore turbines.

There is little mystery regarding a clear lack of clamor for wind in the energy marketplace. Namely, taxpayers and ratepayers are recognizing that the subsidy-dependent and performance-costly industry makes no economic sense.

Written by Larry Bell. To read the full article, click here.

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Solar Power In The U.S. Becoming A More Popular, Cost-Saving Option For Homeowners

Ben Kunz wanted to do “the green thing” and save on his electric bill without paying a lot of money up front. So instead of buying a solar system for his house in Cheshire, Connecticut, he leased one.

“I thought it was a pretty good deal,” he said. “I lean a little environmentalist so I’m concerned about global warming.”

Increasing numbers of U.S. homeowners are relying on the sun to meet much of their hot water and electricity needs. In fact, residential electricity produced by solar in the first quarter of 2013 was almost 10 times higher than that generated in 2008, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.

But the potential for more is huge.

Consider this: “The amount of solar energy falling on the United States in one hour of noontime summer sun is about equal to the annual U.S. electricity demand,” the Energy Department says in its SunShot Vision Study.

Written by Carole Feldman. To read the full article, click here.

Opening the Roof for Affordable Solar

The high upfront cost of solar has always been a barrier to participation for many who would otherwise welcome the chance to green their energy supply. So has a lack of roof ownership for renters. These factors, along with other barriers have given solar somewhat of a reputation — that it’s really only a feasible option for the wealthier homeowner. Many organizations, including IREC, are working to change this by offering solutions to break through these economic barriers.

After all, renewable energy could theoretically be viewed as a great equalizer. Like many energy efficiency programs, solar can be an excellent way to reduce long-term energy costs. But it also goes a step further by providing a hedge against rising energy prices, which often represent a disproportionately large line item on low-income budgets.

States have tried a number of different approaches to facilitating solar development among low-income residents. Massachusetts, for example, provides a “Moderate Home Value” and “Moderate Income Adder,” each equaling an additional $0.40/watt onto the existing state rebate. Vermont also provides an incentive adder under its rebate program for low-income households, schools and non-profits, which can equal up to $1.50/watt higher than would be available for other customers. And in Denver, Colorado, the Clean Energy Collective (CEC) has recently pledged to devote five percent of the power produced by three community solar facilities to low-income residents under a new partnership with the Housing Authority of the City and County of Denver. This Community Solar Low-Income Residential Program will offset the electric bills for approximately 35 families living in the housing authority’s facilities.

Written by Laurel Passera. To read the full article, click here.

ABB helps harness solar energy in the land of the rising sun

In addition to the design and engineering, ABB was also responsible for the supply of key products and systems including the control and protection as well a range of medium- and low-voltage switchgear, inverters and distribution transformers. ABB’s ability to fulfill the requirements of the higher-voltage system (DC 1,000V), which complies with IEC standards, was also a key differentiator.

“We are delighted to contribute to Japan’s efforts to redress its energy mix,” said Massimo Danieli, head of ABB’s Power Generation business, part of the company’s Power Systems division. “ABB’s vast power and automation portfolio, combined with domain expertise and global experience in the photovoltaic solar plant sector, enables us to provide an integrated and optimized solution that helps harness the maximum amount of energy and lower environmental impact.”

In the wake of its recent nuclear experience, Japan is making a concerted effort to increase the share of renewable energy in its mix. One initiative is a feed-in-tariff policy to facilitate solar energy deployment, which could make the country one of the world’s fastest-growing users of solar energy.

Written by ABB Communications. To read the full article, click here.

Solar Boat Harnessed for Research

Last year, after it became the first solar-powered boat to circumnavigate the globe, the Turanor Planetsolar could have taken its 5,500 square feet of photovoltaic cells and eight tons of lithium-ion batteries and sailed off into the sunset.

Instead it is becoming a scientific research ship, at least for the summer. The boat, a 100-foot, $17 million catamaran that was dreamed up by a Swiss eco-adventurer and bankrolled by a German businessman, will cruise the Gulf Stream studying the role of atmospheric aerosols and phytoplankton in regulating climate, under the direction of Martin Beniston, a climatologist at the University of Geneva.

The research cruise, with five crew members and up to four researchers aboard, began in Miami several weeks ago and will stop in Newfoundland and Iceland as it tracks the northeasterly current. The voyage is expected to end in Bergen, Norway, in August.

Written by Henry Fountain to read the full article, click here

Solar Tracking Systems Gain Ground

“It sounds obvious: put solar panels on a movable mount to follow the sun and catch as much sunlight as possible. But applying solar trackers to a project is not clear cut. Developers not only have to consider cost and location but the type of tracker that best suits the project. Yet as innovations in technology continue, trackers are starting to play a larger role in the industry.

Fixed, Single or Dual

Solar panels are typically mounted at a fixed angle. Such systems have few parts, so are less costly than those with trackers and have fewer operations and maintenance (O&M) considerations.”

Written By: Meg Cichon To read full article click here

Solar park at SDSU’s Brawley campus gets funding

“A five-megawatt solar project planned on 40 acres at San Diego State University’s Imperial Campus in Brawley has secured a $19.2 million construction loan from North American Development Bank.

NRG Solar will supply renewable power from the project to the Imperial Irrigation District under a 25-year power purchase agreement. NGR has hired Boeing to engineer and construct the solar park.”

Written By:  Mike Freeman To read full article click here