Tag Archives: renewable

Wind Energy 101

 

Need a crash course in wind energy? The renewable is a hot topic when it comes to energy sources, especially in Kansas City where wind blows above average compared to most parts of the country.

 

But there’s still a lot that business owners don’t know about wind turbines, and how they can power enough electricity to power a building.

 

If you need a refresher on some common questions about wind energy, check out this list of answers from Clean Technica.

 

wind energy infographic

Is Solar Thermal the Next Big Renewable?

Concentrated solar power (CSP) could unlock a clean energy future – if it clears the regulatory, technological, and financial hurdles in its way.

The Center for American Progress recently released a white paper that estimates “CSP could add up to 16 gigawatts of baseload power globally within a few years, with a larger  return on investment and smaller environmental impact than most other energy technologies.”

The Center goes on to outline how low-cost policy solutions can help reduce financial risks and promote investment in CSP technology.

CSP electricity is generated by heat, and excess output can be stored for later use without intermittency concerns. Storing heat is also 20 to 100 times more cost-effective than storing electricity in batteries, like solar and wind currently do.

According to the CAP, solar thermal could meet about “7 percent of the world’s projected electricity needs in 2030, and 25 percent by 2050.”

Source: Climate Spectator

 

By Gaylen Davenport

U.S. Energy Independence Outlook Improving

The KPMG Global Energy recently found that a majority of energy executives believe the U.S. can reach energy independence by 2030. The Energy Industry Outlook Survey polled more than 100 senior executives representing global companies.

Of all the respondents, 62 percent believe the U.S. can attain energy independence by 2030, a ten percent increase from last year. Of those respondents, 23 percent believed energy independence can be achieved as early as 2020.

“The majority of respondents also believed the energy industry’s emphasis in developing environmentally friendly technologies should focus on natural gas, with 79 percent supporting that view.”

Nearly all respondents indicated they were expecting continued research and development  investment in alternative energy projects.

Source: Power Engineering

 

By Gaylen Davenport

Geothermal as a Growing Energy Source

geothermal energy source

Last year, U.S.-installed geothermal capacity grew by 147.05 megawatts, a 5 percent growth rate from the previous year.

Geothermal is a baseload, emissions-free energy source that continues to grow and develop in the renewable energy field.

In fact, between March 2012 and February 2013, seven U.S. geothermal projects came online. Last year, U.S.-installed geothermal capacity grew by 147.05 megawatts, a 5 percent growth rate.

The geothermal field is still growing though, and trying to gain traction compared to solar and wind. Unlike those types of renewable energy, geothermal runs 24/7 at 95 percent capacity factor, regardless of the weather, which makes it worth developing further.

Recent geothermal projects include a 49.9 megawatt (MW) plant in California, and a 30.1 MW hot spring in Oregon. Geothermal energy is often used to power commercial businesses and facilities.

Source: Green Tech Media

 

By Gaylen Davenport

Rise of Renewable Energy

Ratings agency Standard & Poor has said that the renewable energy market shows a promising future for solar and wind technology.

In fact, the oil and gas giant Shell forecasts that solar could become the world’s largest primary source of energy by 2070.

Take for example, Germany, which now has a cumulative capacity of 32.6 gigawatts, and will see its solar energy market become sustainable by 2014.

Other countries including India, China, and Mexico are increasing their solar energy markets.

“Worldwide, the 2012 investment total in clean energy was the second highest ever, and five times that of 2004.”

Source: Earth Techling

 

By Gaylen Davenport

Wind Energy in Kansas

Did you know that Kansas was named after the Kansa tribe, which means “people of the wind”? And rightly so.

Kansas has one of the highest levels of wind production. And according to several studies, “In Kansas, wind energy generation is at least equivalent in cost – and often cheaper – than traditional sources of energy.”

There are many benefits to renewable energy including utilizing an abundant and free power supply, whether it is wind or solar. Interestingly, 80 percent of the overall cost of most wind power is up front with buying and constructing the wind turbine. Only about 10 percent of the levelized cost is incurred during operations and maintenance.

Read more about wind energy in Kansas.

After Sandy, Wind Power Continues On

A photo of the University of Delaware’s wind turbine during and after Hurricane Sandy.

In the aftermath of Sandy, the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is examining the impacts of the hurricane to extreme weather and climate change.

According to their blog, about 3,500 megawatts of wind turbine capacity was in the path of Hurricane Sandy. Although, it wasn’t expected to cause much damage to the wind turbines. And so far, it hasn’t.

All of the wind turbines in Hurricane Sandy’s path did not suffer any catastrophic failure. In fact, the University of Delaware’s 2-megawatt turbine was prepared before the storm, having its blades feathered flat so it wouldn’t spin at high velocity.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, “It appears that Hurricane Sandy has had some, but minimal, impact on the wind turbines in its path, according to early reports this week from several operators of East Coast wind farms, most of which started generating electricity again after the storm passed.”

Source: CleanEnergy.org

Will Natural Gas Overcome Solar?

The Worldwide Energy car is powered by clean natural gas. If you see it driving around Kansas City, be sure to wave.

Is natural gas poised to overtake solar as the latest, most efficient renewable? That’s the question that some analysts are asking especially since natural gas is becoming increasingly inexpensive and abundant.

“The price of natural gas is at a 10-year low, and is roughly half of what it was this time last year due largely to technological advances.”

In a recent New York Times op-ed, analyst Thomas Friedman expressed concern “that the shale gas boom will significantly defer the transition to solar and other renewables.”

Friedman says, “We are in the midst of a natural gas revolution in America that is a potential game changer for the economy, environment and our national security – if we do it right.”

While natural gas is a fossil fuel, it emits only half as much greenhouse gas as coal, and it is inexpensive to deploy. But is it enough to overcome other renewable sources of energy?

We like to think that there’s room for all types of renewable energy sources including solar, natural gas, and wind. What’s more important is the application of these sources, and where would they fit best.

For example, solar is ideal for a business in Arizona, and wind is great for a production facility in Kansas. There’s room for all types of renewable energy, especially if reducing utility costs, and improving the environment are the end goals.

Source: AOL Energy

Google and Wind Energy

Google is looking to power their Oklahoma data center with renewable wind energy.

Google’s data center in Mayes County, Oklahoma will be running more efficiently soon.

The search engine giant announced last week that it would buy wind energy from the Grand River Dam Authority to purchase energy. This will be the first time Google has partnered with a utility to buy renewable energy.

The GRDA will provide 48 megawatts of wind power to the Google data center later this year. Google will pay more for the clean energy rather than power the data center by coal because of the company’s commitment to the environment.

“Google has hinted for some time that its ultimate goal would be to source clean energy from utilities to power its data centers. Google is working with other utilities to find ways to source renewables directly,” said Gary Demasi, Google’s global infrastructure director.

Environmental organizations have urged companies like Google, Facebook, and Apple to use more clean energy to power their data centers.

Source: Smart Planet

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