Renewables - Aug 30
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Wind Energy Bumps Into Power Grid’s Limits
Matthew L. Wald, New York Times
When the builders of the Maple Ridge Wind farm spent $320 million to put nearly 200 wind turbines in upstate New York, the idea was to get paid for producing electricity. But at times, regional electric lines have been so congested that Maple Ridge has been forced to shut down even with a brisk wind blowing.
That is a symptom of a broad national problem. Expansive dreams about renewable energy, like Al Gore’s hope of replacing all fossil fuels in a decade, are bumping up against the reality of a power grid that cannot handle the new demands.
The dirty secret of clean energy is that while generating it is getting easier, moving it to market is not.
The grid today, according to experts, is a system conceived 100 years ago to let utilities prop each other up, reducing blackouts and sharing power in small regions. It resembles a network of streets, avenues and country roads.
(26 August 2008)
Biodiesel Boom Spurs Theft of Nasty, Used Fry-O-Lator Grease
Nick Chambers, Gas2.0.org
Rotting, leftover fryer grease has turned into gold in the race to our energy future - and thieves have taken notice.
... Most restaurants store their smelly, used fryer grease in large tanks outside and out of view of the public eye - and for good reason. If the customers actually knew what their food was fried in, they might never eat there again.
But the necessity to store the grease outside and away from public view has left it in a rather vulnerable and unexpected position.
Rendering plants in Northern California and elsewhere are reporting loses of $15,000 per month due to the increasing amount of grease theft. These rendering plants normally make their money off of contracts with restaurants to collect the grease and recycle it into biodiesel and feed supplement for livestock.
(26 August 2008)