From The New York Times, Wednesday, December 1, 2010:
The United States needs to more than triple its spending on energy research, development and demonstration projects, from about $5 billion now to $16 billion, and should institute a strategic review of national energy policy every four years, an advisory group of scientists and engineers said in a report to President Obama this week.
The United States lags behind other industrialized countries in public support for energy research and risks being overtaken in the development of new energy technologies if added support is not forthcoming, the group warned in the report, by the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. Security concerns arising from an overreliance on foreign oil and the environmental threat of climate change must also be addressed in a more comprehensive way, the report said.
Continue reading: U.S. Needs Critical Boost in Energy Research, Panel Tells Obama
From the U.S. Dept. of Energy, Wednesday, November 17, 2010:
When I think of wind technology, an image comes to mind of a towering fleet of turbines. Although I’ve never seen a wind farm up close, I’ve heard from several people that it’s an awe-inspiring sight. I may not have the chance to see a large-scale wind farm anytime soon, but I have had the opportunity to examine a small wind energy system—an alternative source of energy that can fully or partially provide power for the home.
During a recent visit to the U.S Botanic Gardens (USBG) in Washington, D.C., I noticed a vertical wind turbine on display. This single turbine, relatively small in stature, provides up to 2,000 kilowatt hours per year for the USBG. The Garden’s horizontal wind turbine provides an additional 2,500 kW hours per year. Although D.C. is not an ideal windy city, the USBG estimates that these turbines generate enough electricity to light its annual holiday show and power its electric utility vehicle.
In the same way, a small wind energy system can provide a significant amount of clean, renewable energy for your home. Wind turbines work by converting the kinetic energy of wind into electricity. The blades of the wind turbine are aero-dynamically designed to capture the maximum energy from the wind. The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft connected to a generator that in turn produces electricity. Check out our Energy 101 video series to learn more about wind energy basics.
Continue reading: Is a Small Wind Energy System Right for You?
From The Christian Science Monitor, Saturday, November 20, 2010:
“Tonight I want to have an unpleasant talk with you,” a somber President Jimmy Carter said gravely into a television camera on an April night in 1977.A series of oil embargoes and OPEC price hikes had hit the nation hard. Gasoline prices had tripled. Auto-dependent Americans had sometimes waited hours in line to buy the gasoline needed to get to work. The president, in an iconic fireside chat — in a beige cardigan — two months earlier had congenially urged Americans to turn thermostats down to 65 degrees F. by day, 55 by night.
But on this night, he ratcheted up his tone: Warning of an imminent “national catastrophe” and scolding Americans for selfish wastefulness, the president declared it time for Americans to curb consumption of oil, which he said had doubled in the 1950s and again in the ’60s — time to end their dependence on imports.
“This difficult effort will be the moral equivalent of war,” he said.
Mr. Carter created the Department of Energy. He called for energy conservation and increased production of coal and solar power. He installed solar panels on the White House.
But his vision — to push America and the world into a new energy era as significant as the shift from wood to coal that fueled the Industrial Revolution — never materialized.
Continue reading: New energy: climate change and sustainability shape a new era
From The New York Times, Tuesday, November 16, 2010:
On the eve of the market debut of the Nissan Leaf electric car, Carlos Ghosn, chief executive of the Renault-Nissan alliance, said the only constraint on sales for the next three years will be how many battery packs the factories could churn out.
Deliveries of the Leaf are scheduled to start next month. Mr. Ghosn, speaking to reporters in Washington on Monday afternoon, did not say just how many he expected to sell in the first three years. He said, however, that the Leaf would hit 500,000 units a year in three years. Mass production, he explained, would lower costs enough to make the car a sales success without subsidies sooner than once expected. He said he once thought that number was a million cars a year, but now believed it was from 500,000 to 1 million.
“We’re going to have to put some efforts into selling the car, but the kind of spontaneous demand is going to be driving the sales for the next three years,” Mr. Ghosn said. “There is such a curiosity about the car and attention to the car.”
He predicted that 10 percent of the world car market would be electric vehicles by 2020. “There is no doubt in the minds of anyone in the industry that this is going to be a big factor in the industry,” he said.
Continue reading: Nissan Will Sell 500,000 Electric Cars a Year by 2013, Says Chief
From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, November 12, 2010:
Analysts in state government who have spent months studying two options for a proposed large-scale hydroelectric dam in Alaska will recommend one next week.
The Alaska Energy Authority officials prefer one site over the other and will name that project as early as Tuesday.
A dam has long been discussed for Southcentral, which is connected to Fairbanks by electric grid. A year-old plan cited Chakachamna Lake, west of Cook Inlet, and the Susitna River as two top spots for the multibillion-dollar proposal.
Karsten Rodvick, a spokesman for the authority, said the agency plans to release its preference in a detailed recommendation next week. It will compare cost estimates, outline detailed construction plans, cite risks expected through permitting processes and list environmental concerns linked to both options.
“The intent of this is not only ultimately to be providing affordable, reliable, sustainable power to the Railbelt,” but also to meet the state’s goal of producing half its power from renewable resources by 2025, he said. He said the agency will post more information about the recommendation on its website following next week’s announcement. It will hold public workshops later this winter
From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Friday, October 28, 2010:
The borough wants to know if geothermal energy can be captured in Fairbanks for large-scale power production.
A $1 million federal grant is available to help answer the question. But there’s a catch.
Whoever wins the grant must contribute a million dollars of their own.
The assembly on Thursday voted unanimously to hold a competitive process to distribute the grant.
The project must include modeling of a deep geothermal reservoir system or “hot zone” and drilling of a test well.
A successful grant recipient would also analyze and map the borehole and surface geology.
The goal is to determine whether sustainable heat flow can be maintained and whether potential exists for geothermal energy production in the borough.
From The Tundra Drums, Wednesday, October 27, 2010:
There are plenty of reasons to visit the 2nd YK Delta Regional Alternative Energy and Energy Conservation Fair on Saturday, Oct. 30, at Bethel’s Yupiit Piciryarait Cultural Center.
Vendors greet attendees starting at 10 a.m. and presenters begin at 10:30 and continue until 4 p.m. Admission is free and tables are provided at no charge to vendors thanks to sponsorship by UAF’s Kuskokwim University Campus (KUC), the City of Bethel, Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation (YKHC), and Yuut Elitnaurviat, The People’s Learning Center.
Sign up for a ride to visit two working residential wind turbines with Kirk Garoutte of Susitna Energy Systems who will answer your questions about feasibility for your location, cost recuperation, and shipping and installation logistics. The number in Anchorage is 877-485-1100 or 907-222-3992, email email@example.com, web site www.susitnaenergy.com.
Continue reading: Energy fair offers chance to learn about renewables
From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Tuesday, October 26, 2010:
The students at Weller Elementary School initially had mixed emotions about the renewable energy project in their backyard because it caused some trees to be cleared outside their windows. But they seemed to have come around by last Thursday, when engineer Robbin Garber-Slaght gave an interactive presentation to about 100 fifth and sixth graders on the ins and outs of the ground source heat pump and solar thermal system installed in September.
“I learned that it was worth it to destroy the trees,” said fifth grader Chase Wagner. “It will help the school be green. I’m worried about the planet. It will cut down on oil and it will save money.”
Students showed their impressive knowledge of energy efficiency and power generation, as dozens of hands waved in the air to offer thoughts and ask questions in the school’s common area.
“That was a really fun group. They’re up on their science,” said Garber-Slaght of the Cold Climate Housing Research Center, which collaborated with the school district and other contractors on the experimental project.
From The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Tuesday, October 26, 2010:
Doyon Ltd. wants to build a micro-hydroelectric project inside Denali National Park and Preserve to power Kantishna Roadhouse, a backcountry lodge the Fairbanks Native Corporation owns 100 miles inside the park.
The National Park Service supports the project, and Alaska’s two senators, Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski, introduced legislation last month — the Kantishna Hills Renewable Energy Act of 2010 — that directs the park service to issue a special-use permit to speed construction of the project and authorizes a 10-acre land exchange between Doyon and the NPS.
Doyon is proposing to build the hydro project on Eureka Creek, a small fishless creek near the roadhouse in the non-wilderness section of the 6 million-acre park. The project would include a 50-kilowatt power plant, a small impoundment dam and a small pipeline to carry water. Doyon currently uses a diesel generator to power the roadhouse.
From The New York Times, Tuesday, October 12, 2010:
Google and a New York financial firm have each agreed to invest heavily in a proposed $5 billion transmission backbone for future offshore wind farms along the Atlantic Seaboard that could ultimately transform the region’s electrical map.
The 350-mile underwater spine, which could remove some critical obstacles to wind power development, has stirred excitement among investors, government officials and environmentalists who have been briefed on it.
Google and Good Energies, an investment firm specializing in renewable energy, have each agreed to take 37.5 percent of the equity portion of the project. They are likely to bring in additional investors, which would reduce their stakes.
If they hold on to their stakes, that would come to an initial investment of about $200 million apiece in the first phase of construction alone, said Robert L. Mitchell, the chief executive of Trans-Elect, the Maryland-based transmission-line company that proposed the venture.
Marubeni, a Japanese trading company, has taken a 15 percent stake. Trans-Elect said it hoped to begin construction in 2013.
Continue reading: Offshore Wind Power Line Wins Backing