Renewables & Efficiency

World’s Largest Solar Concentrating Plant Comes Online

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TESTINGThe world’s largest concentrating solar plant is now sending  electricity to the grid from California’s Mohave Desert – Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System. Spread out over 3,500 acres, the 377 megawatt (MW) project will supply electricity to 140,000 households in California each year, and more than twice that during peak hours of the day. The electricity is being sold under a long term power purchase agreement to California utilities, PG&E and Southern California Edison, helping them meet California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard of 33% renewable energy by 2020. Each of three units has a 459-foot high tower containing water that’s heated by the circular array of 170,000 mirrors (heliostats) that surround it, tracking the sun throughout the day. When water in the tower is heated, it produces steam which spins turbines that produce electricity. Water consumption is minimized by using a technique called dry cooling to condense steam, important in a desert. At peak construction, the project employed about 2725 people (more than would be needed to build the Keystone pipeline). Imagine seeing this in the desert: “Given the magnitude and complexity of Ivanpah, it is very important that we successfully complete this milestone showing all systems are on track,” says Tom Doyle, President of NRG Solar, which owns the project. Sync testing will continue for each of the units […]

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For the First Time, Russia Subsidizes Renewable Energy

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TESTINGFor the first time, Russia is subsidizing renewable energy – solar, wind and small hydro. In its first auction, 39 projects won bids to develop 504 megawatts (MW). Another auction is planned for June. Although the government offered 1100 MW of wind and 710 MW of solar in this first auction, most bidders were solar developers, who won 32 of the projects (1000 MW), while only seven wind projects received bids. Developers are required to use at least 50% local components, which may be a reason for the sparse bidding for wind projects. “The tender has been quite successful for solar energy, showing that the Russian market can attract developers,” Anton Usachev, head of the Russian Solar Industry Association, toldBloomberg. Solar bidders seem confident in being able to satisfy local content requirements, while lower local production of wind equipment may have reduced interest in the technology, he said. Local companies won the auctions: Avelar Energy, a division of Russia’s Renova Group, and RusEnergoInvest in solar; and  KompleksIndustriya in wind. In the second auction, 1,645 MW of wind, 496 MW of solar and 415 MW of small hydro will be open for bids. Russia is deploying the same subsidy program it’s used for conventionally fueled plants – with a minimum of 5 MW, developers can receive payments for 15 years if they agree to provide […]

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Not Surprisingly, Copenhagen Wins 2014 Green Capital Award

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TESTINGNot surprising, Copenhagen has been named Europe’s Green Capital for 2014 by the European Commission, and also received the 2013 INDEX Award – the world’s largest design award – for the sustainable design solutions in its climate plan. Copenhagen’s goal is to be the world’s first carbon neutral capital city by 2025 and completely independent of fossil fuels by 2050. Green living is at the core for its 540,000 residents, from itsbicycle culture to farm-to-table cuisine. The city has over 100 hundred miles of bike lanes and 55% of citizens commute by bike. It mandates green roofs on all new developments and over 60% of its land is cultivated for farming, making local foods second nature. Its citizens eat more organic food than anywhere else. 63% of hotel rooms are green-certified and Scandinavian Airlines aims to cut emissions 20% by 2020, one of the few airlines that even has a target. Denmark’s biggest offshore wind farm just came online – the 400 MW offshore wind farm will provide 4% of the country’s electricity, adding to the 30% that wind already contributes. The goal is for renewables to provide 50% by 2020. Denmark is one of 10 countries that recently formed the international “Renewables Club” to scale renewable energy worldwide. Neighboring Sweden is also a leader, with goals of eliminating fossil fuels to produce electricity by 2020 and gasoline cars by 2030. In 2009, Sweden launched the world’s […]

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