Discusses the recent news that renewable energy (including hydro as well) now supplies more electricity to the US grid than does nuclear power. The post then goes on to list some large solar and wind projects in advanced stages of the development pipeline as a reason for being optimistic that the solar and wind side of the renewables is rapidly growing in scale.
Solar power continues along its firmly established downward cost curve and edges ever closer to achieving the historic milestone of grid parity. Today it just got a huge boost that will help it scale out in this country and will go a long way towards tipping the long term balance in favor of solar. In fact as the industry achieves scale it is cutting per unit costs down. This post outlines the announcement of a large DOE initiative to promote rooftop direct grid connected solar power in the US.
This post answers the recently much hyped focus on wind’s variability problem, quantifying it in clear cost terms that put it in perspective. The post helps clarify the differences between energy, capacity and the ancillary services surrounding ensuring capacity and goes on to answer some of the other related problems that have been alleged for wind energy as its penetration level increases.
This is my fourth annual list of renewable energy and energy efficiency stocks since I began the series in January 2008, which I expect to outperform in 2011.
What is the variability problem of wind and solar energy, how serious of a problem is this and what can be done to fix it? This article examines this issue of variability, describing and defining it and listing some of the ways in which the unique challenges of wind and solar energy is being or can be addressed.
The Department of Energy is awarding $47 million to support the development of new technologies and knowhow aimed at improving energy efficiency in the information technology (IT) and communication technology sectors. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced that 14 projects across the country will share in this award. Information technology and telecommunications are vital and rapidly growing sectors of our overall economy and will become even more central as the smart grid is deployed. As our country increasingly comes to rely on an information economy in sector after sector the underlying physical infrastructure that supports it, such as the data centers, networks, routers and so forth, is expected to continue to rapidly grow.
Anaerobic Digestion is one of the more promising biological technologies for sustainable waste management and has the potential to turn a large and worsening agro-headache into a growing opportunity for sustainable farming. It can extract useful biogas energy and high quality fertilizer from manure and other problematic agro waste products while also reducing the air and water pollution and emissions of greenhouse gases from a farming operation. Anaerobic Digestion harnesses natural living biological processes to maintain the natural carbon cycle and extract useful energy and fertilizer byproducts from what had been problematic waste streams. It is well suited for many types of farming operations and is an important sustainable farming practice.
UPDATE: Department of Agriculture announced a public/private partnership to help spread the use of anaerobic digester technology in dairy operations with the goal of reducing their greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by 2020.
The recent announcement of billions of dollars of federal funding for smart grid demonstration projects is of particular interest to people who have been involved in thinking about how modernizing the electric grid can bring new benefits to consumers. Many projects awarded have a dynamic pricing option that gives customers access to an electric rate that varies across each day, and provides incentives to manage peak electric demand; and some projects feature a real-time pricing model based on the wholesale electricity market prices. For these projects to truly benefit consumers, it is essential to think about dynamic pricing from the consumer’s point of view.
The Green (or Sustainable) Building: Part III – The Importance of Location, Orientation and Landscaping
For new projects where the building site is not already decided, an important green consideration is the selection of a location for the building that fits into the existing urban fabric, especially the existing mass transit network of the city. Prospective sites should also be selected based on how easily they can integrate into the existing electric, gas, water, and sewage utilities. Fitting into a city’s existing infrastructure so that a project has the smallest impact on the existing energy, water, sewage and road systems is the first point at which the green decision making process comes into play. In addition to siting a green building should be oriented and landscaped to make the most of its site ant to integrate into the urban fabric so that it organically fits into it and enhances its surroundings. Orientation and landscaping can have major impacts on a buildings water and energy efficiency as well as on its environmental impact.