“The analysis indicates that a network of land-based 2.5-megawatt (MW) turbines restricted to nonforested, ice-free, nonurban areas operating at as little as 20%of their rated capacity could supply >40 times current worldwide consumption of electricity, >5 times total global use of energy in all forms. Resources in the contiguous United States, specifically in the central plain states, could accommodate as much as 16 times total current demand for electricity in the United States.”
With hydro, concentrated solar, demand response, existing nukes, and natural gas as a bridging/firming fuel — we’ve got all the low-carbon power we need.
Global wind energy potential is considerably higher than previous estimates by both wind industry groups and government agencies, according to a Harvard University study published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States.
“¦Using data from thousands of meteorological stations, the Harvard team estimated the world wind power potential to be 40 times greater than total current power consumption. A previous study cited in the paper put that multiple at about 7 times….
“Large-scale development of wind power in China could allow for an 18-fold increase in electricity supply relative to consumption reported for 2005,” the Harvard study said.
The Alaska Legislature has called itself into a special session to consider overriding Gov. Sarah Palin’s veto of federal stimulus funds for energy-related projects.
“¦Palin initially said she would not accept about one-third of the $930 million Alaska was eligible for under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, citing ‘strings’ that could bind the state to federal mandates and increase the size of government.
Legislators found few strings and passed a bill accepting all federal money. Palin accepted all the stimulus funds except for $28.5 million in energy cost relief. Lawmakers have been mulling an override vote but said it would be difficult during the summer as the state’s 60 lawmakers were traveling and enjoying summer activities.
Ending his first official visit to China, the United States energy secretary, Steven Chu, said the two nations had agreed to plan joint studies on ways to improve the energy efficiency of buildings, a major issue in addressing China’s contribution to climate change.
Mr. Chu said that the United States and China had drafted a memorandum of understanding for creating a team of experts that would study ways to provide heat, air-conditioning and light for buildings while minimizing their electricity needs.
Is Big Oil warming at last to the notion of an alternative-energy future?
So say some analysts who are pondering Exxon Mobil Corp.’s recent moves. Breaking from years of steadfast commitment to fossil fuels, the behemoth has announced big investments in electric cars, unconventional natural gas and algae-based biofuels.
‘I think they see changes to the energy system coming over the next decades,’ said Michael Webber, an energy expert and engineering professor at the University of Texas. ‘It’s pretty transparent that the energy field will be different 30 years from now. They’re an energy company, so they had better be prepared than to wait.’
We all know what happens when urban sprawl gets out of control: Commutes back up, smog thickens, and concrete suburbs gobble up green spaces.
But what about ‘ocean sprawl’?
Until recently, no one gave that idea much thought. But the oceans, like the land, have gotten crowded, and now scientists and policy makers are looking for ways to plan ocean development — with the aim of preventing our public-owned seas from turning into sprawling, watery versions of Houston, Texas, or Atlanta, Georgia.
Britain gave the green light on Thursday to four new towns that will provide 10,000 homes built to strict environmental standards by 2016.
“¦The so-called ‘eco-towns’ still need planning approval and could face opposition from local groups who fear the developments will blight rural areas.
The Campaign to Protect Rural England had urged the government to scale back the program to just one or two ‘exemplary schemes.’
It said the government should concentrate on refurbishing existing properties, redeveloping derelict brownfield sites and helping bring back into use 800,000 empty homes in England.
Gordon Brown announced his plan to build up to 100,000 homes in five eco-towns shortly after succeeding Tony Blair as prime minister in 2007.
“¦The new towns are designed to tackle Britain’s housing shortage while minimizing damage to the environment.
If you thought domination of the world’s software market was cool, get a load of Bill Gates’ next technological vision: giant ocean-going tubs that fight hurricanes by draining warm water from the surface to the depths, through a long tube.
A second tube could simultaneously suck cool water from the depths to the surface.
Microsoft founder Gates and a dozen other scientists and engineers have a patent pending for deploying such vessels, which they say would collect water through waves breaking over the walls of the tub. Some variations have the water moving through turbines on their way down, which would in turn generate electricity to suck up the cooler water.
Stirling Energy Systems (SES) and Tessera Solar recently unveiled four newly designed solar power collection dishes at Sandia National Laboratories’ National Solar Thermal Test Facility (NSTTF). Called SunCatchers„¢, the new dishes have a refined design that will be used in commercial-scale deployments of the units beginning in 2010.
‘The four new dishes are the next-generation model of the original SunCatcher system. Six first-generation SunCatchers built over the past several years at the NSTTF have been producing up to 150KW [kilowatts] of grid-ready electrical power during the day,’ says Chuck Andraka, the lead Sandia project engineer. ‘Every part of the new system has been upgraded to allow for a high rate of production and cost reduction.’
SWEDEN is to become the first country to slap ‘climate-friendly’ labels on food products. The hope is that the labels will prompt consumers to buy greener products, but there are worries that some companies may use the scheme to ‘greenwash’.
A small milk producer north of Stockholm is expected to be the first company to sport the ‘climate-certified’ tag. One way it cut its use of energy and nutrients was by switching from chemical-based fertilisers to manure.
The scheme is voluntary and firms must prove they have reduced greenhouse gas emissions in order to earn a label. ‘The only thing we’re guaranteeing is that improvements have been made,’ says Anna Richert, an adviser to the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF), and head of the team developing the criteria for labelling products. ‘This could mean reductions in emissions of anything from 5 to 80 per cent.’