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Wind Energy | Green and Alternative Energy Information

Solar Wind Power: Generating Power In The Future

As the world discovers new ways to meet its growing energy needs, energy generated from Sun, which is better known as solar power and energy generated from wind called the wind power are being considered as a means of generating power. Though these two sources of energy have attracted the scientists for a very long time, they are not able to decide, which of the two is a better source to generate power. Now scientists are looking at a third option as well. Scientists at Washington State University have now combined solar power and wind power to produce enormous energy called the solar wind power, which will satisfy all energy requirements of human kind.

Advantages of Solar wind power.

The scientists say that whereas the entire energy generated from solar wind will not be able to reach the planet for consumption as a lot of energy generated by the satellite has to be pumped back to copper wire to create the electron-harvesting magnetic field, yet the amount that reaches earth is more than sufficient to fulfill the needs of entire human, irrespective of the environment condition.Moreover, the team of scientists at Washington State University hopes that it can generate 1 billion billion gigawatts of power by using a massive 8,400-kilometer-wide solar sail to harvest the power in solar wind.According to the team at Washington State University, 1000 homes can be lit by generating enough power for them with the help of 300 meters (984 feet) of copper wire, which is attached to a two-meter-wide (6.6-foot-wide) receiver and a 10-meter (32.8-foot) sail.One billion gigawatts of power could also be generated by a satellite having 1,000-meter (3,280-foot) cable with a sail 8,400 kilometers (5,220 miles) across, which are placed at roughly the same orbit.The scientists feel that if some of the practical issued are solved, Solar wind power will generate the amount of power that no one including the scientists working to find new means of generating power ever expected.

How does the Solar wind power technology work?
The satellite launched to tap solar wind power, instead of working like a wind mill, where a blade attached to the turbine is physically rotated to generate electricity, would use charged copper wire for capturing electrons zooming away from the sun at several hundred kilometers per second.

Disadvantages of Solar wind power
But despite the fact that Solar wind power will solve almost all the problems that we were to face in future due to power generating resources getting exhausted, it has some disadvantages as well. These may include:

Brooks Harrop, the co-author of the journal paper says that while scientists are keen to tap solar wind to generate power, they also need to keep provisions for engineering difficulties and these engineering difficulties will have to be solved before satellites to tap solar wind power are deployed.The distance between the satellite and earth will be so huge that as the laser beam travels millions of miles, it makes even the tightest laser beam spread out and lose most of the energy. To solve this problem, a more focused laser is needed.But even if these laser beams reach our satellites, it is very doubtful that our satellites in their present form will be able to tap them. As Greg Howes, a scientist at the University of Iowa puts it, “The energy is there but to tap that energy from solar wind, we require big satellites. There may be practical constraints in this.”

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Americans making more use of renewable energy

Fossil fuels are still dominant energy sources in United States, and their dominance doesn’t look like being decently challenged by renewables in years to come. But this doesn’t mean that everything looks negative for renewable energy sector in United States, on the contrary, the latest data shows that Americans used significantly more renewable energy resources in 2009 compared to previous years (especially wind energy).

According to the US Department of Energy  Americans were using less energy in general in 2009 compared to previous years. There are two factors mainly responsible for this: recession and improved efficiency. Recession is connected with lower economic activity and thus decreased demand for energy, and higher efficiency appliances and vehicles were able to reduce energy demand even further.

Coal and petroleum are still heavily used in United States but recent data shows that Uncle Sam used significantly less coal and petroleum in 2009 than in 2008. Wind energy was the most popular renewable energy source in 2009, and Americans were using significantly more wind power in 2009 compared to 2008.

Other renewable energy sources such as solar, geothermal, and hydropower also experienced increase in use though this increase is significantly smaller compared to wind energy.

The estimated U.S. energy use in 2009 was 94.6 quadrillion BTUs, down from 99.2 quadrillion BTUs in 2008, and domestic energy use experienced decline in all important sectors (residential, commercial, industrial and transportation).

The significant increase of totally installed US wind power capacity in 2009 was mostly due to the more than acceptable incentives, and technological advancement of wind power technologies. To put it in other words, in 2009, the wind power technology got better and the incentives remained relatively stable (despite the financial crisis).

This has resulted in less CO2 emissions compared to previous years because Americans were burning less fossil fuels. It will be very interesting to see whether this trend will continue once energy demand starts to grow again, or will coal and petroleum, once again, grow in popularity.

Posted byNed Haluzan

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Offshore wind sector set to create 60 times more jobs in ten years


Scotland’s offshore wind industry could create 28,000 jobs by 2020, contributing £7.1billion of investment to the economy, according to a report commissioned by Scottish Renewables and Scottish Enterprise.

The first comprehensive study of the potential impact of offshore wind on the Scottish economy suggests this new industry could create as many as 48,000 jobs – 28,000 directly, supported by a further 20,000 through related industries.

The Scottish Offshore Wind: Creating an Industry report also highlights that Scotland already has major strengths in the supply chain to this new industry in areas such as cable laying and subsea structures, with a number of Scottish-based businesses already generating significant revenues from offshore wind development.


10 common energy questions and answers

1. Why is renewable energy called renewable, what does this mean? This means that renewable energy (unlike fossil fuels) can be replenished in relatively short periods of time.

2. Which fuel is the most common source of electricity in the world. The answer is coal, coal despite being very dirty fuel is also the cheapest energy option in much of the world. For instance, 49% of the United States electricity comes from coal.

3. Why solar energy, despite the enormous potential still counts for such a small share of global energy supply? Solar energy, indeed has enormous potential but solar power technologies are still very expensive, and also do not provide adequate efficiency to be used on a wider scale. This means that solar energy sector definitely needs cheaper and far more efficient solar cells in order to compete with fossil fuels.


Green Light For €200M Co Clare Wind Farm


A wind energy development co-operative in County Clare has received planning permission from Clare County Council to construct the largest community owned wind farm development in Ireland.

West Clare Renewable Energy Ltd. (WCRE) plans to construct 28 3MW wind turbines on the western slopes of Mount Callan, a 391-metre high mountain located between Ennis and Miltown Malbay.

The company says the EUR200 million project will be capable of generating enough electricity to power every home and business in County Clare, as well as meeting the Limerick Clare Energy Agency’s 2010 targets for emissions reductions and renewable energy production. .The Scheme is predicted to reduce carbon emissions over its life time by a massive 4,400,000 tonnes of carbon.  The community-based scheme is also expected to provide up to 300 jobs during the construction phase.


Stand-alone and Hybrid Wind Energy System


Research and Markets has published a new report on the development of both stand-alone and hybrid wind energy systems.

Wind power generation is fast becoming one of the leading renewable energy sources worldwide, with the installation of large-scale wind farms contributing to national power grids, as well as the increasing penetration of small-to-medium-scale wind power projects in distributed, isolated, and community power networks.

Reliability of power supply is one of the main issues for wind energy systems, and so improved stand-alone and hybrid wind energy systems are being developed, incorporating advanced energy storage and grid integration systems, in order to increase power generation rates and to provide secure power supply to the end user.

This book provides a comprehensive reference on the development of both stand-alone and hybrid wind energy systems, as well as energy storage systems and overall systems integration with local grids. Chapters cover the design/construction, modelling/simulation, monitoring/control and optimisation of stand-alone and hybrid wind energy technologies, reviewing their current state and future development. Further to this, many of the energy storage and distribution systems covered in the book are also applicable to other renewable energy generation technologies.


Wind energy in Texas – Main issues

Texas is the nation’s wind energy leader with more than 9700 MW of currently installed wind power capacity. There is also an additional 370 MW in projects under construction, meaning that Texas will coon cross the 10000 MW mark in installed wind power capacity.

These numbers look huge, but not everything is perfect with wind energy in Texas, and two main problems are intermittency issue and not enough transmission lines.

The web of transmission lines is necessity in order to deliver wind power generated in West Texas to consumers throughout the state, and this is the main reason why Texas residential ratepayers are currently paying about $4 more per month on their electric bills in order to fund some 2,300 miles of new transmission lines.

Intermittency issue is even bigger problem. During the summer months demand for electricity in Texas is huge, and a record demand happened recently on Aug. 4, between 4 and 5 p.m, when usage hit record 63,594 megawatts. Wind energy had minor role in satisfying this demand, and according to the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, wind turbines in Texas were able to provide only about 500 megawatts of power when demand was at its peak.


Wind Energy Instruments getting Bigger & Better

Renewable energy production and demand growth is gaining momentum in many ways across the world. There is a booming demand of wind power today and all wind energy equipment manufacturers are gearing up to meet the demand and take advantage of it. Wind power capacity growth will be reaching 447GW in the next five years and by year 2014 end, Asia will lead the world in installed wind capacity. Enercon is amongst the other manufacturers who are focusing on 3MV-class wind turbines based on E-82/2.0. Without increasing the component sizes, there are new designs to operate at 3MW power. There will be a 3-6% increased yield because of these innovative designs as claimed by the Enercon.

Class I and II wind sites:
The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has rated wind sites as Class I and II wind sites

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More wind energy projects coming to Montana

Montana is one of the US states that are working very hard to increase its use of renewable energy, and in Montana’s case the best renewable energy option looks to be wind energy. The recent studies have confirmed that Montana has excellent conditions for harnessing wind energy with over two thirds of the state having excellent wind resources for the development of utility scale wind projects.

But despite this huge wind potential (Montana ranks 5th in US for potential wind energy production) so far only 271 MW of wind energy capacity has been installed in The Treasure State. This means that wind energy industry in Montana has lot of room to grow, and the one thing that will certainly be very supportive to this growth is an extensive legislation aimed to promote wind energy.

Montana’s current renewable energy legislation includes a renewable energy standard, tax credits, different production incentives, production tax reductions, property tax exemptions, utility grants and loans, and a green power program. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) has also been very helpful in determining the feasibility of investing in wind energy by providing reliable and accurate wind monitoring data on different sites across the state.

Montana’s renewable energy standard was adopted in 2005, and under this standard Montana needs to obtain 15% of its energy demands from renewable energy sources. In order to achieve this goal Montana will need big renewable energy projects.

One of these big renewable energy projects looks to be the 309 megawatt wind energy project called Rim Rock. A Spanish energy company, NaturEner, announced it has already secured an $800 million worth financing for this project, and if everything goes well with this project this will make a good example for other similar projects.

This new wind energy project should be completed by the end of 2012.

Posted byNed Haluzan

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Offshore wind energy gaining momentum in Germany

Offshore wind energy is becoming increasingly popular around the globe, and the latest example is Germany, especially after Norbert Röttgen, German Federal Environment Minister, announced that offshore wind power companies can rely on debt guarantees from the government to secure the financing of “10 mega projects” wind turbines in the North and Baltic seas up until the end of 2011.

This may seem as a surprise because very few energy experts expected such a strong support for offshore wind energy in Germany.

According to this new plan, 10,000 MW of offshore wind farm capacity should be built within the next 10 years, and 25,000 MW in the next 20 years, meaning that wind power should play key energy role in ensuring clean energy future for Germany.

This was confirmed by Röttgen’s words when he said how he believes that Germany can “reach nearly 100% renewable energy by 2050, and wind power will provide about 50% of this”.

This will no doubt attract many investors in Germany, and Germany looks set to become one of the leaders in global clean energy race.

As said above, offshore wind energy is becoming increasingly popular around the globe, and Europe currently leads the way by constantly adding new offshore wind projects. According to the latest reports this year was exceptional for offshore wind energy in Europe as European offshore wind farm installations have exceeded all expectations since more MW have been installed in the first half of this year than in the same period in 2009.

The same cannot be said for United States, and latest reports indicate that US wind energy sector is somewhat stagnating, with latest reports showing how only 1.24 GW of wind energy capacity was added in the first half of this year, less than half of the capacity installed in the same period in both 2008 and 2009.

Many energy experts agree that this slowdown in adding new wind energy capacity is mostly connected with the lack of adequate renewable energy policy that would show more support for new renewable energy projects in United States.

As AWEA chief executive Denise Bode said “strong federal policy supporting the US wind energy industry has never been more important, and Congress has to act now – before time runs out this session”.

Posted byNed Haluzan

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