General and Technology
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded Northern Power, a subsidiary of Distributed Energy Systems Corp. (Nasdaq: DESC - News), a Phase 2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to continue development of key modular construction technologies necessary to build 5-megawatt to 8-megawatt wind turbines. In announcing the $750,000 award, Northern Power said the project builds on a Phase 1 SBIR design study recently completed by the company, which confirmed the viability of these enabling, modular construction approaches.
George Gantz, a Unitil vice president, unveiled some company dreams this past week to reinvent the big regulated utility.
He told Rep. Naida Kaen, D-Lee, and other stakeholders for "distributed energy" that Unitil would like to work itself out of business as a traditional energy retailer.
Distributed energy, a new buzz word, is made by small generators scattered across the electric grid, often remote from the big power plants. ...Under existing law, that would be like McDonald's buying burgers from its patrons. But everybody would win if Unitil could claim the renewable energy credits a business or homeowner can earn under a new state law also sponsored by Fuller Clark. It rewards sustainable energy sources.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - A group of utilities in Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas plan to spend $200 million on a project in Iowa that would store energy generated by wind turbines.
The Iowa Stored Energy Park would essentially act as a "battery" for wind energy, said Bob Haub, executive director of the Iowa Association of Municipal Utilities. Wind farms in Iowa, Minnesota and the Dakotas would ship energy over the power grid to the storage park near Des Moines.
Xcel Energy and the federal government are experimenting with ways to "store" wind power in the form of hydrogen, but the Iowa project would employ a far simpler strategy that would include the following steps:
Electricity distributor NorthWestern Energy is seeking approval from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to conduct "open-season" bidding from developers to gain access to two proposed electric transmission lines costing at least $1 billion.
The power lines, if approved, could kick start wind farm development in Montana and deliver the renewable electricity produced by wind farms to markets across the West, according to NorthWestern officials.
"We want to be the highway," NorthWestern spokeswoman Claudia Rapkoch said.