Articles filed under Technology

Renewable energy plan hinges on Utah caverns

A proposal to export twice as much Wyoming wind power to Los Angeles as the amount of electricity generated by the Hoover Dam includes an engineering feat even more massive than that famous structure: Four chambers, each approaching the size of the Empire State Building, would be carved from an underground salt deposit to hold huge volumes of compressed air.
25 Sep 2014

Feds fund research into taller wind turbines

Offshore construction is really expensive, and even a costly tower might account for just a small fraction of installation costs. Onshore, however, the basic costs of construction are much lower, and taller towers eat up a much larger percentage of a construction budget, making taller turbines less competitive.
18 Sep 2014

Stay granted: Work at Ostrander Point is stopped until an appeal decision is rendered

In a surprising twist of the plot, the Ontario Court of Appeal granted a stay last week, barring a developer from proceeding with construction of an industrial wind turbine project at Ostrander Point in North Marysburgh. The court went further—seemingly pushing open a wide doorway through which the Prince Edward County Field Naturalists will pursue an appeal to a Divisional Court decision in February that restored the Renewable Energy Approval (REA) permit to a unit of Gilead Power Corporation.
4 Apr 2014

Reported wind turbine blade breaks apparently relates to spar failures

Prior to the failures, the GE 1.6-100 turbine was touted as the most popular U.S. wind turbine installation in 2012 by Navigant Research (Boulder, Colo.) and was named 2012 Turbine of the Year by Windpower Monthly (Hammersmith Media Group Ltd., London, U.K.) for kickstarting the large-rotor trend, which, when combined with modest generator power, has reduced the cost of energy. The turbine also helped GE surpass Vestas Wind Systems A/S (Aarhus, Denmark) as the number one turbine supplier in the world.
9 Jan 2014

Great Lakes ice shouldn't stop wind turbines but will increase costs, engineering professor says

Already offshore wind production is three times the cost of onshore wind farms such as the Consumers Energy Lake Winds Energy Park now producing electricity in Mason County south of Ludington, according to MAREC Director Arn Boezaart. Factoring in the cost of engineering wind tower protection against the ice is just one more reason that Great Lakes wind farms are likely more than a decade away, if the political will for such installations ever materializes, he said.
23 Oct 2013

California poised to adopt first-in-nation energy storage mandate

On Thursday, the California Public Utilities Commission is expected to vote on a groundbreaking proposal that would require PG&E, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric to collectively buy more than 1.3 gigawatts of energy storage by 2020 -- roughly enough electricity to supply nearly 994,000 homes. The first-in-the-nation mandate is expected to spur innovation in emerging storage technologies.
18 Oct 2013

Arizona utility tries storing solar energy for use in the dark

Solana is not the first renewable energy plant with storage; several have added banks of electric batteries. But battery storage is so expensive that these have been used mostly to smooth the output of the plant, not to store huge amounts overnight. Batteries are expensive and have a limited lifetime. They are more economical in a car, where they help electricity substitute for something more expensive, like gasoline. But for utilities, they are nowhere near cheap enough to justify using them to avoid buying high-priced, late-afternoon electricity.
18 Oct 2013

Navitus Bay windfarm could be “iceberg waiting for a Titanic”, says Poole councillor

Poole councillor Tony Woodcock said although the consultation report mentioned clutter on radar displays at the airport, there was no clear mention of any effect on ships radar and navigational systems. He said there was no study of the effect of the blade noise carried ashore by prevailing winds and no mitigation for 1.2 million migrating birds.
9 Oct 2013

Grid-scale batteries work well for storing solar power, but not wind

"Ideally, the energetic cost of curtailing a resource should at least equal the amount of energy it cost to store it," Dale said. "That's the case for photovoltaics, but for wind farms, the energetic cost of curtailment is much lower than it is for batteries. Therefore, it would actually be more energetically efficient to shut down a wind turbine than to store the surplus electricity it generates."
9 Sep 2013

Wind power will return to Kahuku

A fire on Aug. 1, 2012, destroyed the battery storage building at the 30-megawatt wind energy proj­ect, forcing First Wind to shut down the entire facility. The battery maker, Xtreme Power Solutions, said the fire was caused by defective parts in inverters supplied by another company. HECO signed a 20-year agreement to pay First Wind an average of 22.9 cents a kilowatt-hour for electricity produced by the Kahuku wind proj­ect.
18 Aug 2013

Solar industry anxious over defective panels

The quality concerns have emerged just after a surge in solar construction. In the United States, the Solar Energy Industries Association said that solar panel generating capacity exploded from 83 megawatts in 2003 to 7,266 megawatts in 2012. "We need to face up to the fact that corners are being cut," said Conrad Burke, general manager for DuPont's billion-dollar photovoltaic division, which supplies materials to solar manufacturers.
29 May 2013

Wind Energy's Shadow: Turbines Drag Down Power Potential

In several recent published studies, Adams and other researchers have explored the issue of turbines stealing energy from the wind, creating drag or a "wind shadow" of air slowed by the spinning blades. Each turbine added to a particular landscape captures less energy. "You reach a point that if you add any more turbines, you get no more energy," Adams said.
16 May 2013

A problem for gigantic wind power installations

Each row of turbines dramatically effects the turbulence in the wind stream downwind ...Complicating the modeling is the fact that wind isn't all that predictable even without the turbines there. Wind can blow steadily or change its speed and direction constantly, and predicting the interactions of such a variable entity with turbines is beyond the grasp of even the most sophisticated computer models at presewnt.
18 Apr 2013

Rethinking wind power as the latest, greatest thing

Claims that there is no upper bound for wind power, that it is scalable because gusts and breezes don't seem likely to "run out" on a global scale, are not based on reality. And neither are claims that the generating capacity of large-scale wind farms is unlimited. The generating capacity of very large wind power installations ...may peak at between 0.5 and 1 watts per square meter. Previous estimates put that figure at between 2 and 7 watts per square meter.
25 Feb 2013
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