Published on June 10th, 2011 | by Zachary Shahan1
Cleantech Weekly Roundup
June 10th, 2011 by Zachary Shahan
Some more great cleantech stories from the week that we haven’t yet covered. This week, I decided to just organize them by topic (note, of course, that some topics overlap — in such cases, I put a little note about which other categories each article could be filed under after titles for those of you only interested in a particular topic). Check out these other interesting cleantech stories:
Clean Energy Politics
“There is no doubt that renewable energy is the future here in New Jersey,” Chris Christie said when running for the governorship in 2008, comparing himself to Barack Obama. Now, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) is on a Koch binge, gutting his state’s investments in clean energy to reward right-wing polluter interests like the Koch brothers. At the end of May, Christie announced that he will pull New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, even though it has strengthened the state’s economy while reducing carbon pollution. He has siphoned hundreds of millions of dollars from clean energy programs to pay for corporate boondoggles. Yesterday, Christie unveiled a new version of his state’s energy master plan that slashes goals for renewable electricity generation….
The presumptive front-runner is a professional flip-flopper, from his opposition to the Obama healthcare reform bill that his Massachusetts plan inspired to his embrace of the car company bailout he once rejected.
I’m coining a new term for the politician who points in all directions simultaneously, who is omni-directional.
What’s interesting is that in contrast to the large group of national GOP climate zombies who reject the science and don’t want to take action, there is an emerging Romney-directional group who claim they believe in climate science but don’t want to take action….
At the first town hall event of his 2012 presidential campaign, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said he envied European-style energy efficiency. After he told the audience in Manchester, NH that it was “important” to reduce global warming pollution, he said that American energy policy needs to include increased energy efficiency….
Drastic cuts for large-scale solar power subsidies in UK (also file under (afu): Solar Power)
Subsidies for large-scale solar power installations are to be cut drastically, in a move that ministers said would preserve funds for households to put up panels, but industry warned would mean a slower uptake of renewable power.
The government said its long-awaited review of feed-in tariffs forrenewable energy would divert funds from field-sized solar power plants to panels on house roofs.
But the renewable energy industry and green campaigners said the change of heart would mean community schemes, put forward by housing associations, schools and hospitals, would not go ahead….
Same story covered on Reuters: UK cuts support for large solar power plants
China agrees to halt subsidies to wind power firms (afu: Wind Power)
China has agreed to stop subsidizing wind power companies that use home-made parts rather than imports, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office confirmed late on Monday….
GM’s Akerson pushing for higher gas taxes (afu: Clean Transportation)
General Motors Co. CEO Dan Akerson wants the federal gas tax boosted as much as $1 a gallon to nudge consumers toward more fuel-efficient cars, and he’s confident the government will soon shed its remaining 26 percent stake in the once-bankrupt automaker….
AEP to retire 6,000 MW of U.S. coal generation (don’t really have a better place to stick this one, but big news worth a share)
Note: Climate Progress now has a piece up on this, much better: American Electric Power Takes Workers Hostage to Stop Pollution Controls.
American Electric Power, one of the country’s largest coal-burning utilities, said on Thursday it plans to retire nearly one-quarter of its coal fleet and retrofit other units at a cost of as much as $8 billion to comply with proposed environmental regulations.
Siemens Energy has installed the first prototype of its next generation offshore wind turbine in Høvsøre, Denmark, and has today initiated the first trial operation. The new SWT-6.0-120 wind turbine with a power rating of 6 megawatts (MW) and a rotor diameter of 120 metres uses the innovative Siemens direct drive and proven rotor technology. Nacelle and rotor of the SWT-6.0-120 weigh together less than 350 tons, setting a new low-weight standard for large offshore machines….
THE thought of wind power brings visions of giant turbines, high-altitude kites and graceful sailboats to mind. But the breeze has a more sinister side, full of turbulence that can wreak havoc with bridges and other structures.
Now Hyung-Jo Jung and Seung-Woo Lee at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology in Daejeon, South Korea, plan to harness these destructive forces to generate energy. They have built a prototype that produces energy using a specific type of unstable airflow called wake galloping.
Wake galloping is a form of vigorous vibration that affects cylindrical parts of structures, such as the cables on suspension bridges, exposed to seemingly harmless airflow. When the wind passes a horizontal cylinder, eddy currents called wake vortices are created on the lee side. These induce a lifting force on a cylinder in the path of these eddies – but only if the two have the same diameter and the second cylinder is three to six diameters away from the first….
Virginia Conference speakers tout the benefits of wind power (afu: Clean Energy Politics)
Virginia’s greatest energy resource is its coastal winds, but the state isn’t doing enough to harness that power, a group of environmental activists and some businesspeople said at a conference on offshore wind power Saturday in Richmond.
Virginia has “one of the windiest coastlines on the planet,” said Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, a group that advocates development of offshore wind farms.
“It’s windy, it’s shallow, and it is really close to consumers, which makes it a good place for offshore wind power,” said Tidwell, whose group organized the conference attended by more than 100 people and sponsored by several environmental groups….
Regulations and technological restrictions suggest it may not happen very soon, or at all, but some researchers believe aerial turbines will be tapping high-altitude winds for power generation sometime in our future and perhaps within the decade. For researchers, the mother lode would be to maintain flying electric generators in the jet stream. Scientists estimate the energy there could provide for current worldwide power needs 100 times over, annually. That doesn’t mean it could happen and, for now, developers are focusing on developing tethered products for deployment at altitudes below 2,000 feet. According to some, the question isn’t “if” these products will start popping up, it’s “when.” And, for proponents of the technology, the answer to that is sometime within the next five or six years….
The United States is ripe for a boost in wind power that would create domestic manufacturing and maintenance jobs as long as the right policies are adopted, said the chief of Denmark’s Vestas Wind Systems, the world’s top supplier of wind turbines….
Oil and gas giant Total is set to buy 60 percent of solar panel maker SunPower on June 14 after the companies received approval from the European Union. The great unknown is whether this combination changes the energy industry or merely gives SunPower some cover as the solar industry enters a rocky period….
Google Maps is the best (double true) and it just got a little better. The service already tells you when public transit is scheduled to arrive at a location, but now Google has incorporated real-time data to tell you when that late bus or subway car actually will. It even throws in service alerts….
Ford Motor Co plans to sell a five-passenger plug-in hybrid crossover vehicle that will have a range of 500 miles, which the No. 2 U.S. automaker sees as its answer to General Motors Co’s Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid.
Google today said that it counts itself as the largest electric-vehicle charging station operator with about 200 chargers installed and another 250 ordered. The company’s goal is to have 5 percent of its parking spaces equipped with electric-vehicle chargers, made available for free to Googlers….
Gatwick Airport’s CEO, Stewart Wingate, today drove a Nissan LEAF – the first mass-produced, 100% electric family car through North Terminal check-in to mark the airport’s new partnership with the innovative vehicle manufacturer. This is the first time that a car has ever been allowed to drive inside an airport terminal building – made possible because of the zero-emissions omitted by the Nissan LEAF….
Heidi Bray’s trip to Seattle Thursday morning was well-planned — she had to be in the city for at least five hours, or she wouldn’t be able to make it back to Olympia.
The electric-car owner’s 120-mile round trip just became possible, and it’s about to get a whole lot easier.
Her car was one of many charging up in the parking lot of Qwest Field on Thursday at the debut of commercial chargers in Seattle. About 2,000 chargers will be installed in the Puget Sound area by the end of the year through a federally funded initiative called the EV Project….
The government may act to force local authorities to ban heavily polluting traffic in most British cities to try to control deadly nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions and avoid unlimited fines from Europe….
‘m pedalling down the driver’s lane of the dual carriageway with Jermaine Stewart blaring in my ear at 8.30am. But this isn’t one of my anxiety dreams about losing control and being late for work. It’s the very real – and far more enjoyable – experience I’m having with Bike Train, an innovative, volunteer-run project which operates group rides between central Brighton and Sussex University, along the notoriously busy A270….
In order to balance out varied frequencies on the grid caused by changing power supply, grid operators often ramp up natural gas plants for short periods of time. But one company believes this “spinning reserve” doesn’t need to be fossil based – maybe it could be truly spinning….
New wind farm to study energy storage (afu: Wind Power)
The Wind Energy Institute of Canada on P.E.I. is building a new wind farm to study how to use the electricity it generates when the wind is not blowing.
There are currently no commercial-scale storage solutions for wind energy operations, meaning the electricity must be used as it is generated.
The Institute is building a five-turbine, 10-MW wind farm near North Cape, and will test whether it can successfully store some of the electricity for future use….
ABB pioneers wind power storage device (afu: Wind Power)
A POWER company in Stone is piloting the first device in the UK that can store energy produced by wind turbines.
ABB, based on Oulton Road, has constructed a “dynamic electrical energy storage device”, at a site north of Hemsby on the Norfolk coast.
The high-tech substation can harness power from local turbines and store it in high performance lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, so it can be returned into the electricity distribution network when it is needed – not just when the wind blows….
Photo via Bob Jagendorf