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Designing the grid for renewables
Chris Nelder, Smart Planet
Americans have been repeatedly told a series of lies about accommodating renewables onto the power grid: That it can’t handle large amounts of intermittent power generation. That standby fossil-fueled capacity must be maintained at 100 percent of demand for those times when the sun isn’t shining and the wind isn’t blowing. That brownouts and blackouts will inevitably result from depending on renewables. That nuclear is the only power source that can meet our needs in the future. And so on.
Europeans beg to differ…
The take-home lessons from these studies are straightforward: The more networked and distributed the grid, the more resilient and robust and inexpensive it is, and the less storage or backup generation it needs. It should be possible for renewables to meet up to 80 percent of demand, with more efficient use and responsive demand. The myth that the grid needs 100 percent standby fossil-fuel capacity is busted. Most of the challenges are in grid management, planning, and market design, not technology…
(3 October 2012)
Liquid Air: The Birth of the Nitrogen Economy
David Strahan, davidstrahan.com
Everybody’s heard of the hydrogen economy, with its promise of limitless low carbon energy. But after decades of R&D, the dream seems scarcely any closer. Apparently still confounded by major technical challenges, the hydrogen economy remains an elusive mirage – always ‘just 10 years away’.
But perhaps the hydrogen enthusiasts have simply picked the wrong element? A growing band of companies and independent experts now argue that some of the long-awaited promise of hydrogen could soon be delivered by a different gas – and at a fraction of the cost.
“Hydrogen could bankrupt the country,” says Professor Yulong Ding, Director of the Institute of Particle Science & Engineering at the University of Leeds, “there’s a much greater chance we’ll see a nitrogen economy.”
Read the full article here.
(1 October 2012)
Danes set the pace on green energy vision
Florain Neuhof, The National
…By 2050, the Danes hope to power their country entirely by alternative sources. Even cars are to be fuelled by renewable energy. They believe this revolution will be made possible by an abundance of wind, which is already blowing fossil fuels out of the energy mix.
…The popularity of alternative energies has enabled the government to establish a substantial regulatory framework for renewables. Three supporting laws have already been voted through by parliament this year and two more are expected to pass by the end of the year.
So far, the economic case for alternative energy in Denmark seems sound. Despite added costs arising from the construction of windmills, electricity bills are still within the European average and are lower than those in the United Kingdom and Germany.
The green economy, driven by Denmark’s burgeoning wind energy sector, is creating jobs and ensures the country is well positioned to profit from the invariable global growth in renewable energy, argues Mr Lidegaard. Renewables offer another selling point to the Danes, who have long relied on their oil and gas reserves to provide them with their energy needs…
(30 September 2012)
California Governor Jerry Brown green lights renewable energy push
James Murray, Business Green
Californian businesses and households should find it significantly easier to install renewable energy and energy efficiency measures from this week, after Governor Jerry Brown signed off on a host of new green bills late last week.
Brown rubberstamped 19 new bills related to renewable energy and energy efficiency programmes last Thursday, the bulk of which are designed to streamline existing clean energy rules and remove barriers to investment…
Existing law makes it prohibitively expensive and time consuming for customers with multiple energy meters, such as agricultural and commercial customers, including schools, to participate in the NEM program,” said Senator Wolk said in a statement…
(1 October 2012)
Polls: Voters back clean energy, climate policies
Wendy Koch, USA Today
On the eve of the first presidential debate, a flurry of new polls suggest most Americans support clean energy and policies to reduce climate change — topics that have garnered scant attention on the campaign trail.
Nine out of 10 registered voters (92%) said it was “very” or “somewhat” important for the United States to develop and use solar power, according to an online survey of 1,206 adults released Tuesday by the independent polling firm Hart Research Associates. This support spanned the political spectrum, including 84% of Republicans, 95% of independents and 98% of Democrats.
“The consistency is very impressive,” Molly O’Rourke, partner at Hart Research, told reporters during a news conference.
(2 October 2012)