QUICK NEWS, 10-28: BIPARTISAN NEW ENERGY; WIND AND THE RECOVERY; USING THE SUN’S HEAT TWICE; OCEAN ENERGY RISING
BIPARTISAN NEW ENERGY
Senators from Both Sides Agree: Time to Rev Up Wind Energy
Jackie Savitz, October 27, 2010 (Huffington Post)
"…Millions of Americans cannot find work. Manufacturing plants and factories are being closed and American jobs are being shipped overseas. The federal deficit just reached $1.3 trillion…We also have an unhealthy and embarrassing addiction to dirty fossil fuels which is making us sick, polluting our environment, and sending some of the money we do have overseas.
"…[But there] is a bipartisan bill in the Senate that would stimulate development of clean energy to replace fossil fuels, and create lasting American jobs…Senators Carper, Snowe, Brown, and Collins, have introduced an important piece of legislation to provide critical financial incentives for the investment and production of offshore wind energy. This bill extends tax credits for offshore wind facilities through 2020, sending a clear signal to companies and investors that wind has continued federal support, just like the oil and gas industry has had…"
Power where power is needed (click to enlarge)
"Most of the problems facing America today can be solved, or at least lessened, if we make a real commitment to renewable, sustainable, clean energy, and specifically, to offshore wind…[That] would create hundreds of thousands of permanent jobs that cannot be shipped overseas… in the fields of research & development, manufacturing, construction, installation, and maintenance…Good paying, sustainable jobs right here in America…[This will] help to reduce our debt…regain our footing in the global economy and reclaim our position as makers instead of takers.
"The world is moving on without us. As we sit paralyzed by debates about continued drilling for oil, Europe and China are leading the way in the global renewable energy market. The longer we wait, the tougher it will be to compete…Offshore wind and other renewable energy sources like land-based wind and solar can generate enough power and electricity to permanently end our oil [and fossil fuel] addiction. Offshore wind power is clean and abundant and it won't run out. It will also never pollute the environment, make us sick, or contribute to the disastrous effects of global climate change."
The Google-backed offshore wind transmission backbone (click to enlarge)
"…[W]e are making some strides…Secretary Salazar signed the first lease for commercial offshore wind energy, which would make Cape Wind the first wind farm on the Outer Continental Shelf. Another handful of offshore wind projects are being considered off the coasts of Delaware, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Maine, and even Ohio, in Lake Erie. These projects need to… undergo full environmental reviews…[and] be sited in appropriate areas to minimize disturbance to wildlife…
"Google recently announced it would help to finance a sub-sea cable network off America's mid-Atlantic coast, which will help offshore wind developers connect to the U.S. power grid…along the eastern seaboard from New Jersey to Virginia and will help bring offshore wind power to the population centers that need it…But we need to do a lot more…We need to send a strong signal to companies and investors that this growing industry is stable and will have continued federal support…We urge Congress to pass the Carper-Snowe-Brown-Collins bill as soon as possible…"
WIND AND THE RECOVERY
Road to Recovery: What's Working - Wind Turbines
Maggie Kerkman, October 27, 2010 (Fox News)
"…The group of [high tech] workers assembling [a housing for a wind turbine engine] was hand-picked and trained in Germany by a German company called Nordex. These workers will soon be doing some of the training as Nordex USA expands in Jonesboro where the company plans to add up to 700 jobs in the area by 2014…Workers here couldn’t be happier. They’re getting paid an average of about $17 an hour and they’re working at a state of the art facility."
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"…Before being hired at Nordex, [Brad Scott] was out of work for a year and a half, after a Chinese company closed its factory and moved his job overseas…Now Scott’s back on the job, in one of the teams doing precision work on the generator housing."
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"The Jonesboro plant has been in the works for about two years. Nordex is one of a handful of European companies leading the charge for wind energy expansion in the U.S. One of the reasons the company picked Jonesboro was for its central location...According to Joe Brenner, Nordex USA’s VP of Production…[the company has] projects in the east and in the north and potential projects all over the country…[P]artnerships with the local [Jonesboro] university and a community college also helped assure future cooperative research and a trained workforce."
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"Nordex USA’s President and CEO, Ralf Sigrist, says wind energy is the future. Now he just has to convince the rest of the U.S. that what Europe has been doing for years is how America can fill part of its expanding energy needs. Wind energy, says Sigrist, has high upfront costs but low costs over time. To be profitable, wind energy companies sign long-term fixed rate deals. They may not be the cheapest energy right now, says Sigrist, but the deals could be very competitive over time given the price volatility of fossil fuels."
USING THE SUN’S HEAT TWICE
CSP and CHP: A good fit?
Jason Deign, 21 October 2010 (CSP Today)
"…[With] expertise is combined heat and power (CHP) generation…the thermal fluid of a CSP [solar power] plant, when not being heated by the sun [such as when there is a temporary cloud cover], could be warmed by the jacket water and back-end exhaust heat from a CHP system set to run the turbines at part or full power…
"…[W]hether it would be worthwhile in practice would depend on relative gas and electricity export prices of the site…[It is] traditionally cost prohibitive…Whether the payback from the electricity gained will justify the cost of integrating CHP into a CSP site is currently unknown…"
schematic of CHP and how it is an advantage (click to enlarge)
"Certainly, [CHP for solar power plants] is not a notion that seems to have occurred to many others. Industrial groups contacted…such as Alstom and Bechtel, were not aware of activity in this area….[and Acciona Energy, a leading builder of solar power plants, has] not carried out any research in this area…
"… Spanish CHP industry body Cogen Spain…[has] no definite study on combining cogeneration and solar thermal…[and] has not considered starting these kinds of studies…[The idea is also new] for the Combined Heat and Power Association…[but a spokesman said it] could have benefits for both industries…"
There is no theoretical reason CHP can't be incorporated into this solar power plant schematic (click to enlarge)
"…[A] challenge that some analysts foresee is that in a CSP-CHP setup one of the main benefits of cogeneration—being able to provide low-temperature heat for other uses—would be lost…[because solar power plants are typically] in the middle of the desert, probably a long way from residential or commercial demand for heat…[Therefore,] some developers are now looking at industrial applications for waste solar thermal heat…
"…[O]ne developer, at least, is excited about putting CSP and CHP together…[as] a micro-CSP-powered CHP unit to provide electricity and heating for single buildings…Initially producing 1-2 kWe and 4-8 kWth, rising to 3 kWe and 12 kWth in production, the Digespo units are “based on a vision of a society which will be more multi-layered…a prototype operating at 65% to 70% efficiency [is expected to be] in place at the Hilton Hotel in Malta next June. While not quite [a] utility-scale application…it may at least go some way towards raising awareness of the potential for using CHP alongside CSP."
OCEAN ENERGY RISING
Ocean energy sector on the cusp of growth
Jijo Jacob, October 20, 2010 (International Business Times)
"The global ocean energy sector is witnessing a sharp turnaround with more than 45 wave and tidal prototypes being ocean tested in 2010 and 2011, after only a dozen were installed in 2009…[M]ore than 1.8 GW of ocean projects in 16 countries are currently in the pipeline.
"The global ocean energy project pipeline is poised to begin scaling if these initial projects are successful, according to a new study by IHS Emerging Energy Research. The growth]… has attracted a slew of established energy companies with renewable growth ambitions, including leading European utilities and global technology suppliers — many with hydro and offshore wind experience…[Oceans] cover more than 70 percent of the Earth's surface [and] generate two types of energy: thermal energy from the sun's heat, and mechanical energy from the tides and waves."
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"All coastal areas consistently experience two high and two low tides over a period of slightly greater than 24 hours. For those tidal differences to be harnessed into electricity, the difference between high and low tides must be at least five meters, or more than 16 feet…[T]here are only about 40 sites on the Earth with [such] tidal ranges…Boosted by government and policy support, the UK is currently the world’s leading market for ocean energy, with 300 MW of projects in the pipeline…over the next five years…
"The UK government hopes to add 1.3 GW by 2020, driven by its need to meet legally binding 2020 renewable targets. Ireland, France, Portugal, South Korea and Australia are also key ocean energy markets and will remain the industry’s primary focus for the next decade…[T]here are no tidal power plants in the United States currently. But [DOE] says conditions are good for tidal power generation in both the Pacific Northwest and the Atlantic Northeast regions…"
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"Wave power devices extract energy directly from surface waves or from pressure fluctuations below the surface. There is enough energy in the ocean waves to provide up to 2 terawatts of electricity (a terawatt is equal to a trillion watts)… Wave-power rich areas of the world include the western coasts of Scotland, northern Canada, southern Africa, Australia, and the northeastern and northwestern coasts of the United States…[T]he Pacific Northwest…could produce 40–70 kilowatts (kW) per meter (3.3 feet) of western coastline. The West Coast of the United States is more than a 1,000 miles long...
"Of the various forms of ocean energy, tidal energy is poised to mature first, with the promise of providing predictable, lower-cost electricity and a standard design…Tidal is attracting major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs)…"