Tuesday, August 4th, 2009
When Congress returns from its summer vacation it will consider legislation that could energize investment in renewable energy projects with an almost “cash for clunkers”-like fervor.
Like the cash for clunkers legislation (and American Idol, and The Office), a feed-in tariff bill would be a ripoff of a European idea modified for American consumption. Bills that would require utilities to pay a premium for renewable power have been tried and failed here before, but the time (and composition of the Congress) may be right for the fight to take flight.
Introduced by Democratic Senators Jay Inslee (WA) and Bill Dellahunt (MA), the bill would guarantee a market for the renewable power projects and would do much to calms fears in today’s skittish investment arena. Feed-in tariffs have been overwhelmingly successful in Germany and Spain, basically creating the solar industries in both those countries.
Because a feed-in tariff promises American jobs and reduces foreign energy dependency, Congress will likely give the idea more of a fair hearing when the leaves begin to turn in DC.
Saturday, August 1st, 2009
The Pacific Northwest just finished four days of triple digit temperatures, which put the heat on renewable energy sources to keep up with demand. Just as records were being set for power consumption, wind power generation slowed due to the calm air from the locked-in high pressure system.
The extreme weather highlights the reality that wind — and to a lesser extent hydropower — may not be a panacea for power production.
Southern Washington and the Portland metro area had a record breaking streak of warmth that pushed energy demand to record highs, but the high pressure system also featured calm breezes. The local utility Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) had to quickly balance the reduction in wind power with increases in hydropower.
Friday, July 31st, 2009
The goal is to enable power generation from low-temperature geothermal resources at an economical cost. In addition to being a clean energy source without any greenhouse gas emissions, geothermal is also a steady and dependable source of power.
A new method for capturing significantly more heat from low-temperature geothermal resources holds promise for generating virtually pollution-free electrical energy. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are testing a new innovative approach to safely and economically extract and convert heat from vast untapped geothermal resources.
Friday, July 31st, 2009
A crash program to improve the energy efficiency of American homes, offices, and factories could slash energy consumption by 23 percent by 2020 and produce $1.2 trillion in savings, according to a report by the McKinsey consulting firm. McKinsey said that taking steps such as better insulating buildings, replacing old appliances, and sealing ducts is the fastest and best way to cut the country’s energy consumption. The firm recommended an investment of $520 billion in energy efficiency programs over the next 10 years, an amount that dwarfs the $10 billion to $15 billion included in the Obama administration’s economic stimulus package.
Thursday, July 30th, 2009
The Turkish Statistical Institute announced that the Turkish economy shrank 13.8% and that the unemployment rate increased to 14.9% in the first quarter. Despite these difficult economic conditions, the Turkish wind industry is still one of the fastest growing industries in the country. One reason is that Turkey may face electricity shortages in the near future, furthermore Turkey has just ratified [the] Kyoto agreement which is going to result in carbon emission reduction targets for the post 2013 period.
Among other renewable resources, wind has been the most popular and most approachable power source in the last four years. The use of wind power started around 1,000-1,200 AD in Anatolia, as early as in other European countries. However, Turkey’s development throughout the centuries has not been as fast as that of its counterparts. At the time when Turkey installed its first 0.5 MW wind turbine in Izmir in 1998, Germany had already installed almost 3,000 MW.
Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
As media sponsor of the 5th Germany California Solar Day that took place in San Francisco last month, CleanTechies is pleased to announce another exciting green tech event organized by the German American Chamber of Commerce:
Mobility 2030: Transportation Technologies & Lifestyles of the Future
Monday, July 27th, 2009
The “locavore” movement is big, especially in California. With the bounty of food found locally in the Bay Area, living off the land — and sea — is not only possible, but also a delicious exercise.
But there’s another, less obvious, revolution brewing here in the Bay Area: the “locavolt” movement. In response to high gasoline and natural gas prices, global warming and an increasingly unstable, scary world, people are looking to generate power right in their own homes and neighborhoods with free energy from nature.
Technology advances in computers, telecommunications, generators, inverters, and even cars, are all giving the locavolt new tools to harness renewable energy and lead a fairly normal life.
Within the next few years, plug-in hybrid cars in California will be able to serve as a mini-power generator for your home and store renewable energy from your solar photovoltaics system or your small wind turbine. Plug-in hybrids may also help balance out a smarter electricity grid capable of easily sending power back and forth between generators and consumers, much like we send and receive e-mails on the Internet today.
Friday, July 24th, 2009
BrightView Systems, a Petah Tikva, Israel-based start-up developing production process optimization tools for the solar industry, and the Thin-Film Photovoltaics Laboratory at IMT, a world leading lab in silicon-based thin-film solar cells research, part of the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL), are joining forces to introduce novel solutions for the optimization of next generation thin-film solar cells production.
According to a joint press release, BrightView’s advanced solutions will be utilized to provide real-time feedback to encompass a complete framework for process optimization that is scalable from pilot line to mass production of large area panels.
In January 2009 BrightView finalized a $6 million Series A financing by Israel Cleantech Ventures and Hasso Plattner Ventures. (more…)
Monday, July 20th, 2009
The earth is the water planet, so it should come as no great surprise that forms of water power have been one of the world’s most popular “renewable” energy sources. Yet the largest water power source of all – the ocean that covers three-quarters of earth – has yet to be tapped in any major way for power generation. There are three primary reasons for this:
The first is the nature of the ocean itself, a powerful resource that cannot be privately owned like land that typically serves as the foundation for site control for terrestrial power plants of all kinds;
The second is funding. Hydropower was heavily subsidized during the Great Depression, but little public investment has since been steered toward marine renewables with the exception of ocean thermal technologies, which were perceived to be a failure.
The third reason why the ocean has not yet been industrialized on behalf of energy production is that the technologies, materials and construction techniques did not exist until now to harness this renewable energy resource in any meaningful and cost effective way.
Friday, July 17th, 2009
Energy demand in Europe is not growing as fast as in other parts of the world but it still constitutes a significant portion of global energy demand. Europe’s share of global primary energy demand is around 14%, although it is likely to decrease to 11-12% by 2030 according to IEA forecasts. While growth is slower than 50 years ago, energy for Europe continues to be a strategic issue.
On July 13 2009, the first international agreement on the Nabucco project was signed in Ankara to ensure gas supply for Europe from the Caspian Region to Austria through Turkey and Eastern Europe. Europeans are to almost 50% dependent on foreign resources for their primary energy demand. Having experienced gas cuts in recent years, resulting in hard times for their industries and residents, Europe would like to become less dependent on Russia by securing its supply from different sources.