The clean energy sector is entering a phase of dramatic change in which business models are being transformed against a backdrop of regulatory uncertainty, as the industry emerges from a challenging period caused by the global economic downtown. Technologies and business structures that were once abandoned, are now being revived in several key sectors.
In the race for the title of the world’s greenest data center a lot of perhaps overly optimistic PUE claims have been made. Power usage effectiveness (PUE) is a measure of how efficiently a computer data center uses its power. While it is a step in the right direction it still fails to capture the complete picture of the data center’s energy and resource efficiency. It goes on to point out ten areas that are not being captured; some of which have significant implications.
In this post Julius discusses some of the innovations that are cropping up in forward thinking data center design ranging from the adoption of Yahoo’s chicken coop architecture that is suited for utilizing ambient air cooling; new server designs optimized for hot aisle/cold aisle architecture; and innovative approaches to power supply. While most operators do not have the deep pockets and resources of players like Facebook, Google, Yahoo or Amazon — all mentioned in this post — the kinds of forward thinking innovations being pioneered by these companies are bound to have a wider impact.
Wind farms up here in the Pacific Northwest may soon be shut down temporarily because there is no transmission capacity to move this green renewable power to where it is needed. A record snowfall in the mountains at the headwaters of the Columbia river system is about to begin melting and will send a surge of water down the river. Because this water cannot be sent over the spill ways without endangering already endangered Salmon and Steelhead fish it needs to be run through the turbines. There is just too much power for the regional markets and the existing transmission infrastructure to handle and thus wind farms are likely to be idled. What this exposes is the need for an improved Ultra high voltage long distance electric transmission network that is capable of moving surplus power from one region to another.
Overtopping wave energy systems are one of the pathways being investigated to capture this potential renewable energy source. An interesting an innovative approach has been adopted by the Norwegian company Wave Energy, which is now doing a technical feasibility study for building such a system in Oregon’s famous and famously stormy Tillamook Bay. Waves form a potentially large world-wide energy resource, estimated at more than 2 Terawatts, but formidable technical challenges have long stood in the way of realizing this potential.
Streamlining the building code process for solar installation could help rooftop solar reach price parity with the average price for electric power on the grid. This key price point is also known as grid parity. Permitting costs will add $1 billion to the price structure of solar over the next five years. This article poses the following question: With widely adopted standardization of best practices in solar system construction/installation in place and the 10-20 years of performance certification on actual operating systems in the field, why then is the permitting process stuck in time and why is solar treated as if it were still an experimental niche rarity that needed to prove itself before the building code bureaucrats can give it their thumbs up.
Long a proven technology in Europe, green roofs are becoming increasingly common in U.S. cities, with major initiatives in Chicago, Portland, and Washington, D.C. While initially more expensive than standard coverings, green roofs offer some major environmental — and economic — benefits. by Bruce Stutz The low scrubland of densely packed succulents is in full […]
General Electric (GE) one of the world’s largest manufacturers of wind turbines has landed a $1.4 billion contract to supply wind turbines and related services for Caithness Energy’s Shepherds Flat 845MW capacity wind farm. The Shepherds Flat project when completed will cover an area of 30 square miles, in Morrow County, in the Northeast portion of Oregon, near the town of Arlington and will feature 238 GE 2.5xl wind turbines to be installed in 2011-2012.
Are you a recent graduate discovering how difficult the current market is, unemployed, worried you might soon lose your job or just feel that your career seems stuck in place? Are you thinking that now may be the best time to re-tool your career? Going for a green MBA, now, while the job market is stagnant may be a smart move; both for recent graduates, currently unemployed (or underemployed) professionals as well as for those who want to forge a path into a career in corporate sustainability. But what is a Green MBA, why is it important and what schools are offering them? These are the questions this post delves into.