Library filed under Technology from USA

Tech could reduce coal facilities' emissions

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, such gasification plants emit about 65% less mercury and 75% less sulfur dioxide than conventional plants, while nearly eliminating particulate matter, the fine particles linked to heart and lung disease. But perhaps more important, coal-power experts say, the Edwardsport plant's gasification design would enable Duke to capture the plant's carbon-dioxide emissions, then inject them underground where they cannot affect the atmosphere, a process known as carbon capture and sequestration. Coal-fired power plants account for a third of U.S. CO2 emissions, the primary gas blamed for global warming, about as much as every plane, train and automobile in the country combined. Yet, most energy experts say the nation can't meet its energy demand for decades, at least, without a lot of coal. Deploying coal gasification technology at power plants such as Edwardsport could be a crucial first step toward solving that conflict ...
26 Dec 2007

Letter: Governor Don Quixote tilting at windmills

The Florida Public Service Commission demands that electrical utilities provide reliable power at reasonable rates. Despite this mandate, Gov. Charlie Crist signed a series of executive orders requiring utility companies to begin work by Sept. 1 towards generating at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources with an emphasis on solar and wind energy. Although well-intentioned, these executive orders were apparently signed without considering that Florida does not have high-intensity sunlight as found in low-humidity deserts and lacks sufficient wind energy to make wind turbines feasible.
17 Dec 2007

Coal power potential

More than half of our electricity comes from coal. Gas and nuclear generate 36 percent of our electricity. Barely 1 percent comes from wind and solar. Coal-generated power typically costs less per kilowatt-hour than alternatives - leaving families with more money for food, housing, transportation and health care. By 2020, the United States will need 100,000 megawatts of new electricity according to forecasts from the Energy Information Administration, and industry and utility company analysts. Unreliable wind power simply cannot meet these demands. ...We cannot afford to trash the energy we have, and substitute energy that exists only in campaign speeches and legislative decrees. Doing so would leave a huge Energy Gap between what we need and what we have. Poor and minority families can least afford such "energy policies."
12 Dec 2007

Hopkins studying efficacy of wind

Researchers are using a wind tunnel to help develop computerized models they hope will make wind energy projects more efficient. While many are studying the aerodynamics of the blades used on the giant turbines, few are looking at the interaction with local wind conditions, said Charles Meneveau, who is leading the research at Johns Hopkins University's Whiting School of Engineering. ...While touted as a clean energy alternative, critics have complained about the impact wind energy farms have on birds, which can be killed if they fly into the blades, and the aesthetics of dozens of turbines stretching across the landscape. Wind turbines, with blades up to 330 feet across, are the largest rotating machines ever built, said Mr. Meneveau, a turbulence specialist. ...Mr. Cal said the researchers hope to be able to better understand those factors "rather than just go out there and build these massive structures, implementing them and not knowing what's going to happen."
12 Dec 2007

Stanford eyes offshore wind farms for Calif.

Stanford research team has concluded that the ocean not far off the Northern California coastline is the most promising spot for an offshore wind farm to generate power. Specifically, the researchers concluded that the sea off Cape Mendocino, roughly 150 miles northwest of San Francisco, was their top pick. Wind turbines there could supply 5 percent of California's electrical power needs, they projected. ...Most of the Southern California coast isn't windy in the summer, so it, too, was scratched from the list. That left the sea off Cape Mendocino, north of San Francisco. ...No doubt that wouldn't sit well with some folks who appreciate their pristine Pacific views today, the researchers acknowledged in a statement.
10 Dec 2007

Kalama plant neither coal nor defeated

As the economy expands and the population grows, so does the demand for power. Even a cursory review of available options shows how few real choices we all have. For example, all our major hydropower sites are built, coal power is environmentally unacceptable (by Energy Northwest and many others), new nuclear in the region is still 20 years away, wind power is intermittent and expensive, solar power lacks output, tidal and wave power are undeveloped and environmentally suspect, and natural gas supplies are dangerously close to shortages. Any claims that the region can meet its future power needs with wind power and conservation alone are woefully misguided and overstated. As wind power developers we have first-hand knowledge of wind powers benefits and limitations. Shunning promising technologies like Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle without understanding them is the first step toward blackouts, sky high prices, and power-shortage panic like we saw in 2000-2001.
9 Dec 2007

Big business: Size of turbines requires manufacture in Midwest

The top executive of a Warren-based wind-turbine blade maker said the decision to build a new manufacturing facility in Iowa, rather than in Rhode Island, was based on that state's proximity to the market in which the blades will be used. The blades made by TPI Composites are typically 35 meters to 40 meters long, and can weigh 10,000 to 20,000 pounds each, said Steven C. Lockard, chief executive officer of the company. Transportation costs for these blades, which are typically shipped by truck, can run into the "tens of thousands" of dollars, he said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "In this case, there really wasn't an option for this particular factory to be located in Rhode Island," he said.
1 Dec 2007

Big business: Size of turbines requires manufacture in Midwest

The top executive of a Warren-based wind-turbine blade maker said the decision to build a new manufacturing facility in Iowa, rather than in Rhode Island, was based on that state's proximity to the market in which the blades will be used. The blades made by TPI Composites are typically 35 meters to 40 meters long, and can weigh 10,000 to 20,000 pounds each, said Steven C. Lockard, chief executive officer of the company. Transportation costs for these blades, which are typically shipped by truck, can run into the "tens of thousands" of dollars, he said in a telephone interview Wednesday. "In this case, there really wasn't an option for this particular factory to be located in Rhode Island," he said.
1 Dec 2007

Company taking steps to double renewable energy generation

Consumers Energy plans to develop as many as eight windmill farms in Michigan, officials say. The move is part of the utility's Balanced Energy Initiative, which aims in part to double the amount of renewable energy the company generates from 5 percent to 10 percent by 2015. ...''We need to add 3 million megawatt hours per year ... to go to 10 percent by 2015,'' Rasher said. For the wind farms, Consumers is looking at installing large turbines that generate up to 2.5 megawatts each. Each wind development will generate up to 100 megawatts. But Rasher said the wind farms can only be expected to generate power about 25 percent of the time. That's why Consumers also is planning to build an 800-megawatt coal-fired plant at its Karn-Weadock complex in Bay County's Hampton Township. ''We need some other resource that's dispatchable,'' Rasher said. ''You can't put all your eggs in one basket.''
29 Nov 2007

Vestas plans to build research and development center in U.S.

A major blade manufacturing plant in east Windsor appears to be only a starting point for global wind-power giant Vestas Wind Systems. The company, based out of Denmark, announced Thursday that it now has intentions to build a research and development center in the United States. "Today, Vestas is a technology enterprise. If we want to be market leaders, we have to be present and drive the development, where the market is. And that is, amongst other places, in the U.S.," said Finn Strom Madsen, president of Vestas Technology R&D in a press release. The center is expected to be operating in 2009 and could employ up to 80 people at full capacity in 2010.
27 Nov 2007

Vestas plans to build research and development center in U.S.

A major blade manufacturing plant in east Windsor appears to be only a starting point for global wind-power giant Vestas Wind Systems. The company, based out of Denmark, announced Thursday that it now has intentions to build a research and development center in the United States. "Today, Vestas is a technology enterprise. If we want to be market leaders, we have to be present and drive the development, where the market is. And that is, amongst other places, in the U.S.," said Finn Strom Madsen, president of Vestas Technology R&D in a press release. The center is expected to be operating in 2009 and could employ up to 80 people at full capacity in 2010.
27 Nov 2007

Tyrone Borough forester's report suggests erecting wind farm on watershed property

In 2005, Tyrone Borough Forester, Paul Noll, of Noll's Forestry Services, Inc. wrote the Pennsylvania Forest Stewardship Plan based on the 3,800 acre borough watershed property. Recently, Noll issued a recommendation/ suggestion summary report on the property concerning the possible Gamesa Energy USA wind farm installation and the issues that need to be addressed at the watershed property as a whole. ...In Noll's recent report, he stated that he would be "in favor of having the wind towers erected on the watershed property because you will be disturbing only a small area of the property, but the money you receive from the towers can be used to improve other areas of the watershed property."
27 Nov 2007

Activists, utilities duel over powerlines, again

It's back to the '70s for the south metro, as a new generation of major powerlines is being proposed for rural land -- and activists and farmers begin to meet. ...The companies are seeking state approval for a cluster of major lines. Two of them -- 345-kilovolt lines with towers as high as 150 feet, one stretching 230 miles west to South Dakota and the other 150 miles southward to Wisconsin -- would cross Dakota County. No specific pathway has yet been laid down, but the general outlines of the corridors -- mostly 10 to 12 miles wide -- are clear. Points of controversy are expected to include whether the lines are needed, whether they pose health risks and how much landowners should be paid.
24 Nov 2007

Byron King, with a few notes on geothermal energy...

The utilities of the US, if not those in many other parts of the world, have pressing needs not just to supply power to energy-hungry consumers. But more than that they must meet both public and political pressures for using renewable energy sources. Apparently heedless of the impact to the environment of the Middle Kingdom and abroad, China commissions a new coal-fired plant every 5 days. Yet in the US there has not been a new coal-fired power plant permitted in about a year. So over time in North America, the older systems are passing away. The question is, what will take their place? To the extent that the public envisions renewable energy systems, the image it holds is of tall poles with windmill systems on top with blades turning. Or there is an expectation of solar systems mounted on rooftops, facing the sun. But these are intermittent sources of energy production. Some of the time - most of the time, really - the wind does not blow. And at least in the nighttime, the sun does not shine. So for each Megawatt of power that moves through the grid, down to meet the load, the requirement is for three megawatts of installed capacity of wind and solar. Build three, get one. In the big picture, this is not a good use of resources.
19 Nov 2007

Byron King, with a few notes on geothermal energy...

The utilities of the US, if not those in many other parts of the world, have pressing needs not just to supply power to energy-hungry consumers. But more than that they must meet both public and political pressures for using renewable energy sources. Apparently heedless of the impact to the environment of the Middle Kingdom and abroad, China commissions a new coal-fired plant every 5 days. Yet in the US there has not been a new coal-fired power plant permitted in about a year. So over time in North America, the older systems are passing away. The question is, what will take their place? To the extent that the public envisions renewable energy systems, the image it holds is of tall poles with windmill systems on top with blades turning. Or there is an expectation of solar systems mounted on rooftops, facing the sun. But these are intermittent sources of energy production. Some of the time - most of the time, really - the wind does not blow. And at least in the nighttime, the sun does not shine. So for each Megawatt of power that moves through the grid, down to meet the load, the requirement is for three megawatts of installed capacity of wind and solar. Build three, get one. In the big picture, this is not a good use of resources.
19 Nov 2007

Z4 seeks compressed air energy storage

Kevin Luke of Buford-based Z-4 Energy Systems wants to develop a way to save wind energy for when the wind's not blowing. He's working on a commercialization plan for wind-powered water pumping, incorporating compressed air storage. Luke points out that wind is variable and energy storage is needed to provide controlled, consistent water pumping. He seeks to use air compressors, similar to those found commercially, powered by a wind turbine rotor. The driving force behind his efforts is that the wind blows at variable speeds and when there is not enough wind to turn the turbine, the stored air can continue to be used to pump the well. Currently, wind electric and solar powered systems use lead acid batteries for storage, which don't perform well in the cold weather and have a short lifespan.
19 Nov 2007

Z4 seeks compressed air energy storage

Kevin Luke of Buford-based Z-4 Energy Systems wants to develop a way to save wind energy for when the wind's not blowing. He's working on a commercialization plan for wind-powered water pumping, incorporating compressed air storage. Luke points out that wind is variable and energy storage is needed to provide controlled, consistent water pumping. He seeks to use air compressors, similar to those found commercially, powered by a wind turbine rotor. The driving force behind his efforts is that the wind blows at variable speeds and when there is not enough wind to turn the turbine, the stored air can continue to be used to pump the well. Currently, wind electric and solar powered systems use lead acid batteries for storage, which don't perform well in the cold weather and have a short lifespan.
19 Nov 2007

Unitil explores nontraditional energy frontier

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.
11 Nov 2007

http://www.windaction.org/posts?location=USA&p=9&topic=Technology
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