Friday, June 26th, 2009
The US EPA issued a report that outlines a strategy to deliver clean, low-cost, and reliable energy to state residents through the use of energy efficiency, renewable energy, and clean distributed generation. The intent is to provide states with the information they need to determine what energy options would be the most beneficial, practical, and cost-effective.
The potential energy savings achievable through state actions is significant. EPA estimates that if each state were to implement cost-effective clean energy-environment policies, the expected growth in demand for electricity could be cut in half by 2025, and more demand could be met through cleaner energy supply.
This would mean annual savings of more than 900 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) and $70 billion in energy costs by 2025, while preventing the need for more than 300 power plants and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to emissions from 80 million of today’s vehicles.
Thursday, June 25th, 2009
When we talk about wind, solar and geothermal power, geographical conditions such as surface areas and sunny latitudes are very important. Turkey offers excellent conditions for all of these renewable energy sources. Its young population of 70 million – 61% are under the age of 35 – and its strategic location between Europe and the Middle East, add to Turkey’s potential for a leading green power nation.
As Turkey aims at taking its place among the top-ten biggest economies by 2050, an increase in its energy consumption is inevitable. Electricity demand has been growing with an annual rate of 6.5% since 2002, up to current levels of 198,000 GWh/y. Scenarios forecast a 6% growth rate until 2020, compared to growth rates of 1-3% in developed countries. However, Turkey’s growth of electricity supply barely matches its fast growth of demand. The country began experiencing shortages already, and power has become a more popular daily topic. (more…)
Monday, June 22nd, 2009
Southern Italy, with it abundant sunshine and high electricity tariffs from coal-generated power plants, could by 2010 produce solar power that is economically competitive with conventional power. That’s the assessment of Winfried Hoffmann, president of the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, who also predicted that solar power could meet 12 percent of Europe’s electricity demand by 2020.
Hoffman said that the cost of producing power from photovoltaic cells is steadily declining, so much so that by next year solar power in southern Italy could be produced as cheaply as the 25 euro cents ($.35) per kilowatt hour that residents there now pay for coal-generated electricity. Hoffmann asserted that 12 percent of the continent’s electricity could come from solar power by 2020 if the European Union enforces rules on renewable power quotas and continues state-subsidized programs that pay generators of renewable power a premium for channeling their electricity into centralized power grids.
Friday, June 19th, 2009
Are we ready for a biobased industry? That’s the question the Biopolymer Symposium 2009 wants to address. The use of biopolymers is growing, and an increasing number of applications to commercialize these materials are on the market. Most biopolymers are found in packaging – food trays, blown starch pellets for shipping goods, thin films for wrapping – but they are also being used on the industrial side. Biopolymers are produced from biomass – such as sugar beet, potatoes or wheat – and have important environmental benefits: They can be biodegradable, renewable, sustainable, carbon neutral, and even compostable.
Wednesday, June 17th, 2009
One of the more interesting subtexts in the ongoing Waxman-Markey negotiations is the irony that as the bill gets closer to garnering the support it needs for passage — through horse trading, earmarking, compromise and watering down — it looks less and less like a positive step for renewable energy advocates to have a federal regime at all.
Thanks to preemption doctrine, whatever does emerge from Congress will likely trump much of what already exists at the state level for energy-environment regulation. Sure, the bill may hold out state autonomy to set higher renewable standards or more ambitious target dates than those federally prescribed, and that kind of dual sovereignty — especially where expressly permitted by Congress — has long been held constitutional. But, for a “progressive” energy state like Massachusetts, there are likely to be direct conflicts with the federal law, and in those cases the state standard (in many cases the more aggressive one) will be preempted.
Monday, June 15th, 2009
As the world celebrates Global Wind Day on June 15th, we are reminded of the economic, political, and legal issues that must be addressed to further advance wind technology. With regard to the legal issues, consideration must always be given to the patent landscape. In the past twenty years, nearly 500 U.S. patents have issued with the words “wind turbine” in the claims; 123 patents issuing in 2008 alone. The technologies covered vary from improvements in blade design to methods for detecting ice on a wind turbine. Patents are government validated assets. For those who do not own the assets, patents become economic roadblocks. Companies in the wind-energy industry must face the reality: You either own the assets, or are subject to the roadblocks.
Before bringing a new product to market, every wind energy company should ask itself two important questions:
Monday, June 15th, 2009
The New York Times’ Kate Galbraith had an interesting piece on the internecine warfare in the green movement that pits renewable advocates and environmental groups against hydro dams — right now the country’s predominate renewable technology. This piece follows on several in the past few weeks talking about a nuclear resurgence and what that may mean in the green power and environmental advocacy communities.
Long story short, in spite of the fact that it is cost competitive, non-GHG emitting, renewable and technologically deployable, there is A LOT of resentment against hydro dams. (more…)
Thursday, June 11th, 2009
…to build? NO! To permit!
This report from SoCal on Newshour last night (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/science/jan-june09/grid_06-09.html) is worth a look.
I deal with public opposition to transmission upgrades and build outs a lot in my professional life, and this piece focuses on how the difficulties in siting lines are now posing problems to deployment of renewables located remotely.
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
In a sign of the growing importance of renewable sources of energy, global investment in wind power, solar power, and other alternative forms of energy last year exceeded investments in coal, oil, and carbon-based energy for the first time.
Monday, June 1st, 2009
HCL CleanTech Ltd., a biofuels start-up based in Tel Aviv, announced today a $5.5 million Series A financing led by Khosla Ventures, Burrill & Company, and angel investor Zohar Gilon.
HCL CleanTech has developed a proprietary technology to make an old, industrially proven German process converting lignocellulosic biomass to fermentable sugars economically attractive. According to the company, it is these fermentable sugars which are considered the gateway to advanced biofuels (biobutanols, biodiesel, jet fuel etc) and biochemicals (bioplastics etc). (more…)