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Alternative Wind Power Experiments – SkySails and Airborne Wind Turbines

Big Gav, Peak Energy (Australia)
Wind power is currently the fastest growing renewable energy source (in terms of capacity – solar has a faster percentage growth rate), and looks like remaining so into the next decade. While most attention is focussed on the mainstream approach of generating power using large wind turbines – both onshore and, as Jerome recently looked at, offshore – there are a wide range of alternatives being considered for harvesting energy from the winds. In this post I’ll look at 2 approaches that have received some attention in the press recently – attaching kite sails to ships and airborne wind turbines.
(13 January 2008)
Big Gav is posting regularly these days. He seems to be emphsizing technical solutions (“going Viridian Green on us”), but also keeping watch on peak oil, politics and offbeat news items. He posts some striking images at Hot Swedes. -BA

China poised to be world leader in renewable energy, expert predicts

China is poised to become a global leader in renewable energy in the next few years, the head of environmental research group Worldwatch said Wednesday.

“I think China will be number one in less than three years in every renewable energy market in the world,” Worldwatch president Chris Flavin told reporters at the launch of the annual “State of the World” report.
(9 January 2008)

A Solar Grand Plan

Ken Zweibel, James Mason and Vasilis Fthenakis, Scientific American
By 2050 solar power could end U.S. dependence on foreign oil and slash greenhouse gas emissions

Key Concepts:

  • A massive switch from coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power plants to solar power plants could supply 69 percent of the U.S.’s electricity and 35 percent of its total energy by 2050.

  • A vast area of photovoltaic cells would have to be erected in the Southwest. Excess daytime energy would be stored as compressed air in underground caverns to be tapped during nighttime hours.
  • Large solar concentrator power plants would be built as well.
  • A new direct-current power transmission backbone would deliver solar electricity across the country.
  • But $420 billion in subsidies from 2011 to 2050 would be required to fund the infrastructure and make it cost-competitive.

(January 2008)

Sustainable energy grad school in Iceland

Edda Lilja Sveinsdottir, REYST (Iceland)
Reykjavik Energy Graduate School of Sustainable Systems (REYST) was officially launched December 3rd 2007 at Reykjavik Energy headquarters in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Sustainable use of energy resources is the basis for future economic growth and well being. To promote research and organized education in this field, Reykjavik Energy, in collaboration with Reykjavik University and the University of Iceland, has founded REYST – an interdisciplinary school in higher education for engineers and scientists in order to create leading experts in management, design and research in the field of sustainable energy.

REYST offers an international graduate program based on the three pillars of engineering, earth science and business. The program is characterized by its focus on sustainable energy use, especially geothermal energy, practical experience in the field and ready access to on-site work with experts on various subjects. The international graduate program is open for students holding a BS degree in engineering, earth sciences and business.

REYST is located in Reykjavik, Iceland and the language of instruction is English. An 18-months MSc programme will start in August 2008 and deadline for application is March 15th.
(16 January 2008)