Thursday, May 27th, 2010
Whenever you suggest that renewables could one day supply a large proportion of our electricity, scores of people jump up to denounce it as a pipedream, a fantasy, a dangerous delusion. They insist that the energy resources don’t exist; that the technologies are inefficient; that they can’t be accommodated on the grid; that the variability of supply will cause constant blackouts.
I suspect that no amount of evidence will sway some of these people. There’s a large contingent which seems to hate renewables come what may. (more…)
Thursday, May 27th, 2010
The widespread adoption of energy efficient light bulbs, fans, refrigerators, air conditioners, and irrigation pumps can overcome India’s electricity shortage by 2013 and significantly reduce the country’s rapidly growing carbon dioxide emissions, according to a new report. The study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory said such simple energy efficiency measures could add $608 billion to India’s gross domestic product by 2020 because they would eliminate the chronic energy shortages that frequently force businesses and factories to reduce production. (more…)
Monday, May 24th, 2010
Imagine a world where you can buy electricity from your choice of vendor (not the utility) at prices that can be negotiated with the vendor. Kind of like shopping at eBay or Amazon. Want to buy a week’s worth (1,000 kWh) of power from SebaSolar at 9 ¢/kWh? Just click here. How about switching to WindyWelly for the weekend (300 kWh) at 8.5 ¢/kWh? Click! Wait, NeoGeo just announced it has a ‘fire sale’ at 7 ¢/kWh for next Tuesday through Thursday. Click!
Well, imagine no more. This electricity world exists today. To see this new architecture of energy at work I went to Wellington, New Zealand.
Powershop is a unit of Meridian Energy, the largest electricity generator and retailer in New Zealand. “The vision of Powershop is to be like eBay for electricity,” says CEO Ari Sargent. “Any electricity generator in New Zealand, including Meridian’s competitors, can offer their own brands of electricity at different prices and different times.”
Friday, May 14th, 2010
The Oil Spill’s Unlikely Victim: As oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill continued to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, it tarred the feathers of an endangered creature: the climate bill. Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman introduced a retooled American Power Act on Wednesday to little fanfare. Perhaps that’s because the media’s klieg lights were already divided between the grilling of oil executives on Capitol Hill or the so-far hapless efforts to plug the leak. Or maybe it’s because the two senators took to the dais without their erstwhile Republican ally, Lindsey Graham. Nevertheless, it was ironic to see a solution to our fossil-fuel addiction pushed to the side because of a fossil-fuel disaster. Must we cap the gusher before we get a cap on CO2?
More Electric Cars Roll to the Starting Line: You’ve heard that the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt are on the way, but how about the Think and the Wheego? Wheego, a maker of electric putt-putt vehicles based in Atlanta, hopes that 200 highway-ready copies of its Whip Life will roll off the assembly line by August, months ahead of the well-publicized launch of the Leaf. Meanwhile, the Norwegian carmaker Think raised $40 million this week and plans to start assembly of the tiny Think City in Elkhart, Indiana in early 2011.
Tuesday, May 11th, 2010
Emefcy, a microbial fuel cell startup based in Caesarea, Israel, has raised $5 million at a company value of more than $10 million, post-money.
UK investment fund Pond Venture Partners led the round, joined by current Emefcy investors Israel Cleantech Ventures Funds and Plan B Ventures, according to Globes and IVC Online.
Emefcy, co-founded by serial entrepreneurs Eytan Levy and Ronen Shechter, is developing the MEGAWATTER™ technology. This technology produces low cost electricity (at $0.10/kWhr) and hydrogen in a bio-electro-chemical process from wastewater treatment by leveraging Microbial Fuel Cell (MFC) technology.
Tuesday, April 27th, 2010
CleanTechies caught up with Maurice Gunderson, senior partner of energy and materials at CMEA Capital, for some energy storage perspectives.
CleanTechies: You were an investor in A123 Systems. When will bulk storage arrive?
Maurice Gunderson: Bulk storage needs a little bit of definition. The kind of thing that A123 is doing is here now, and that’s a very high power storage for grid stabilization. And that makes sense in a lot of parts of the country. I make a distinction between that and very large bulk energy storage, which is intended to store power for very long periods of time, such as from wind turbines, and then release it over relatively long periods of time.
So the answer is there’s no real good battery solutions yet, but there’s a lot of smart people and a lot of money working on the problem and we’re going to see things emerging here within the next few years. The really practical ways to do very large storage right now come down to pumped storage. If nature gives you a canyon and environmental considerations don’t stop you from damming it up, you can make a very nice pumped storage facility. But that only exists when it occurs naturally. So there’s not a lot of places where you can count on building out new capacity of that type. (more…)
Wednesday, April 14th, 2010
Stanford University scientists have created a tiny electrode that can harness an electric current from a single algae cell, a breakthrough they hope will one day lead to the creation of an inexpensive source of renewable energy.
The nanoelectrode, made of gold and specifically designed to probe inside cells, is so sharp that it is able to penetrate the algae cell membrane without killing the cell.
And once inside the cell, it can intercept electrons just after they are energized by sunlight by the photosynthesis process.
Researchers hope it is the first step toward developing a “high efficiency” form of bioelectricity. (more…)
Friday, March 12th, 2010
(Reuters) – British Columbia has given the green light to 19 private-sector clean energy projects that will generate enough power to supply nearly 218,000 homes in Canada’s Pacific Coast province.
The approvals, announced late on Thursday by BC Hydro, the government-owned electricity utility, mark the first phase in the provincial government’s long-delayed push to generate more green power.
Fourteen of the 19 proposals are 14 run-of-river hydroelectric projects, in which river water is diverted through turbines to produce power without the use of dams. The remainder are wind power projects. (more…)
Wednesday, January 20th, 2010
Wind energy could provide 20 percent of the electricity for the eastern half of the United States by 2024, but only if the nation makes a significant financial investment, according to new government report.
About $90 billion would be required to install a network of land- and sea-based wind turbines and about 22,000 miles of new power lines, according to the study published by U.S. Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
The report said that the government would have to provide a significant portion of that investment through programs such as loan guarantees.
Thursday, January 14th, 2010
A period of extremely cold, windless weather has brought home to the British the drawbacks of relying on wind power and the need to keep a supply of natural gas in reserve. While the cold spell has strained natural gas supplies, leading in some cases to cutoffs to industrial users, it also has highlighted the unpredictability of wind power. Although Britain’s wind farms are supposed to provide 5 percent of the country’s electricity, they were in fact only providing 0.2 percent during the recent run of frigid, still days.