Atlantic Wind Connection Gets Funding

Posted by akeenan | Posted in Green, News, Wind | Posted on 22-10-2010

An ambitious wind power transmission project has received billions in funding from several companies, including Google. The project is not a set of wind turbines but rather a “transmission backbone” that will lower the cost and environmental impacts of future wind power projects along the mid-Atlantic coast.

The backbone provides landfall points that wind turbines can connect to, eliminating the need to connect individual lines for every turbine (schematic pictured, in red). By reducing the number of transmission lines reaching land, congestion is also dramatically reduced. The combination of these benefits maximizes the efficacy of the potential 6,000 MW of wind power that the backbone can tap into. To give you an idea of the scale of 6,000 MW, this is more than half of the wind energy installed in the US in 2009 and can power almost 2 million homes.

Wind Energy Jobs (and Charts!)

Posted by akeenan | Posted in Green, Wind | Posted on 20-10-2010

Wind energy production has been soaring in the US, and this is good news for both the clean energy sector as well as overall job growth. A recent report has shown that more jobs are produced to obtain energy from wind than from coal (about .17 job-years per GWh produced, compared to coal’s .11). This is mostly due to the construction and installation of a huge number of wind turbines to catch up and ideally displace coal production. Operations and maintenance of wind and coal are about the same.

When you combine the increased wind capacity with the job-intensive nature of wind power, you get the following result: In the US, there are more people working in the wind industry than those in coal mining. This does not take into account the jobs related to energy production from coal, but this statistic still carries weight.

As more workers become well-versed in the ways of wind power (and renewables in general), they will encourage and support the momentum that has been building in the clean energy sector during the past five years.

DOE’s Tool for Entrepreneurs

Posted by akeenan | Posted in DOE, Energy Efficiency, Green, Science, Solar, Wind | Posted on 07-10-2010

The Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced its Technology Commercialization Portal, which helps new energy-efficiency and renewable energy technologies quickly transition from the laboratory into the private sector. The portal provides hundreds of marketing summaries that describe the potential market benefits and the overall development stage of each technology that is ready for licensing. Thousands of patents of relevant technologies are also available. Venture capitalists and entrepreneurs can easily use this database for investing opportunities, but the benefits can also extend to companies wanting to utilize the latest discoveries in renewable energy.

In the future, DOE hopes that investors may discover complementary energy technologies and obtain an even larger return on investment. Because agencies like EPA and NASA also perform clean energy research, the portal will hopefully include their relevant patents and market summaries. Regardless of the outcomes of the new site, it is comforting to see the federal government and businesses collaborating to improve environmental quality rather than locking horns.

China Sets Pace for Renewable Energy

Posted by | Posted in International, Solar, Wind | Posted on 09-04-2010

In 2009 China surpassed the U.S. in areas of green technology development by investing nearly twice the dollar amount (three times the percentage of gross domestic product) that the U.S. did toward clean energy development. For the first time, China topped the list of clean energy investments globally.

The recent report from the PEW Environment Group, Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? Growth, Competition and Opportunity in the World’s Largest Economies, points out that the global clean energy industry has grown 230% since 2005 and the US is currently falling behind and in danger of loosing competitiveness. Though ten G-20 members devoted a greater percentage of gross domestic product to clean energy than the United States in 2009, however, “with a foundation of significant clean energy resources, strong entrepreneurship and robust federal policies, the U.S. has the potential to regain leadership in the clean energy economy.” The report reads:

“Within the G-20, our research finds that domestic policy decisions impact the competitive positions of member countries. Those nations—such as China, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain—with strong, national policies aimed at reducing global warming pollution and incentivizing the use of renewable energy are establishing stronger competitive positions in the clean energy economy. Nations seeking to compete effectively for clean energy jobs and manufacturing would do well to evaluate the array of policy mechanisms that can be employed to stimulate clean energy investment. Countries that participate in full-scale mandatory carbon markets like Spain, Germany and the United Kingdom are among those that have the most robust and quickly growing clean energy programs.”

The Ernst & Young country attractiveness indices provide scores for national renewable energy markets, renewable energy infrastructures and their suitability for individual technologies. The Feb. 2010 edition rates the U.S. as second to China for wind investment.

The report further denotes that the overall rating given for the U.S. actually includes only U.S .states with RPS and favorable renewable energy regimes. (The others, I guess, don’t really matter when looking at the future of U.S. clean energy, our capacity for sustainable energy independence, or our ability to remain competitive while potentially having to import technology into an antiquated infrastructure).