NewEnergyNews: QUICK NEWS, Sept. 22: BIG NEW WHITE HOUSE BACKING FOR SUN, EE; DOE BOOSTS RESEARCH ON BIGGER WIND; TEXAS CONSIDERS SPREADING GRID COSTS

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    Monday, September 22, 2014

    QUICK NEWS, Sept. 22: BIG NEW WHITE HOUSE BACKING FOR SUN, EE; DOE BOOSTS RESEARCH ON BIGGER WIND; TEXAS CONSIDERS SPREADING GRID COSTS

    BIG NEW WHITE HOUSE BACKING FOR SUN, EE Obama pushes energy efficiency, rural solar power

    Timothy Cama, Sept. 18, 2014 (The Hill)

    “The Obama administration unveiled…[actions] aimed at improving energy efficiency and increasing the use of solar power in homes and businesses, including $68 million in spending…[and] said the actions would reduce carbon dioxide emissions…[and] save $10 billion in energy costs…[The actions] are part of President Obama’s second-term push to…mitigate climate change…[and] follow other recent efforts to help the solar power industry…The Department of Agriculture will spend $68 million on 540 renewable energy and energy-efficiency projects in rural areas, 240 of which are for solar power…The Energy Department’s program to train technicians to design and install solar power infrastructure will open programs at up to three military bases…At the Department of Housing and Urban development, officials will seek to give a boost to renewable energy in affordable housing communities…The Energy Department will certify a new set of building codes and propose efficiency standards for commercial unit air conditioners…” click here for more

    DOE BOOSTS RESEARCH ON BIGGER WIND Feds Fund Research Into Taller Wind Turbines

    Chris Clarke, Sept. 18, 2014 (KCET)

    “The U.S. Department of Energy…[will provide $2 million to] two groups working on ways to build [taller, more powerful] wind turbines …to harness winds at higher altitudes, which are often stronger and steadier than more turbulent winds closer to the ground…Onshore wind turbines installed in the U.S. in 2013 had an average hub height [where the blades attach] of 80 meters, or about 260 feet…[G]rant recipients Keystone Towers of Massachusetts and Iowa State University are working on separate technologies that could result in sturdy, relatively inexpensive wind turbine towers as tall as 120 meters, or about 400 feet…If a 120-meter tower is fitted with rotor blades that sweep an area 100 meters in diameter, those blade tips will reach 170 meters…[or 560 feet, where they can drive turbines with capacities as high as 7.5 megawatts, or even 10 megawatts [and weigh hundreds of tons]. The average capacity of onshore wind turbines built in the U.S. in 2013 was just under 2 megawatts… Keystone Towers is exploring a spiral welding technique that may allow on-site fabrication of tubular steel towers that are 40 percent lighter than those currently used,which would save on both materials and shipping costs. Iowa State is designing a modular hexagonal concrete and steel design that would allow shipping those tall towers to a project site in pieces, where they would be assembled like building blocks…” click here for more

    TEXAS CONSIDERS SPREADING GRID COSTS Generators push to get Texas regulators away from wind-cost investigation

    Christine Cordner, Sept. 16, 2014 (SNL)

    “Hoping to keep market improvements within the realm of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas Inc., fossil fuel and renewable energy developers have joined together to ask the Public Utility Commission of Texas not to go down the road of assigning transmission-related costs to owners of wind and solar projects…[The PUCT] started showing interest in the topic on the back of the completion of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone transmission build-out earlier this year and continued massive growth in wind projects in the state…[Many called on the PUCT and ERCOT to not make changes but some] recommended that the PUCT direct ERCOT, when calculating production cost savings for a transmission project, to include increased costs related to the additional ancillary services needed as more wind is installed and large direct-current interties are built. These costs, however, should not be directly allocated to wind developers but rather consumers as the beneficiaries of a more stable grid…[and cautioned] about the legality of…[r]equiring certain generators to pay directly for the construction or enlargement of transmission…[Others] urged the PUCT to allow ERCOT to work on the issue, finding solutions such as possibly providing a new ancillary [ramping] service...[Wind and advocates] said wind power has considerably less negative effect on grid frequency than conventional generators and helps support frequency control…” click here for more

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