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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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Renewable energy investments – US behind China

According to the latest Ernst & Young ranking China has overtook the United States to lead a quarterly index as the most attractive country for renewable energy projects. To some people this may come as a surprise but to those who follow global energy market more thoroughly this shouldn’t be at all surprising.

There are several different reasons why China is currently an ideal destination for renewable energy investments and new renewable energy projects. Unlike United States China has national renewable energy policy, and China is definitely putting serious efforts to achieve its goal of generating 15 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

China is well aware that this goal can only be achieved by rapidly developing renewable energy market for its own manufacturers. China is world’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines and solar panels, and this is something that will likely last for many years to come.

China not only has enough capital to achieve its renewable energy goal but it also has strong government will, and large enough market to support more investments.


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.


China to increase renewable energy investment

Solar Feeds reports that China has announced it will invest $3 billion in the development of biofuels over the next ten years.

The plan is part of a wider program to decrease greenhouse gas emission levels. These also entail reforesting the country to a 23% level, up from the current 20%, which will help the country absorb its carbon emissions. Besides offsetting carbon emissions, forests can provide biomass for biodiesel and ethanol.

China draws two thirds of its energy for coal. For that reason the country has been pushing clean technologies and has become the world’s biggest investors in renewable energy and clean tech.


Meanwhile, a new report released by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistics agency, called Statistical Aspects of the Energy Economy in 2009, found that between 2008 and 2009 the use of renewable energy in the European Union increased 8.3 percent.

In total, renewable energy accounts for 18.4 percent of energy production in the European Union, trailing right after natural gas at 19.3 percent.

Energy derived from hard coal and natural gas decreased by 9.2 and 10.1 percent, respectively. Besides, energy consumption in Europe decreased by 5.5 percent. The report notes that the reduction could be related to the global recession.

Via Solar Feeds and NY Times BlogsBookmark

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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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