The clean energy revolution can trace its origins to the dramatic expansion of wind power, solar power and other renewable energy resources globally over the last decade. Its future, however, will be determined by ideas that are only now taking shape on the dry-erase boards and engineering test beds of the world’s energy visionaries. Among the next big energy breakthroughs, experts told an audience gathered here Monday, are batteries capable of socking away thousands of megawatts of clean energy for later use; microgrids that allow energy to be produced, delivered and controlled at scales as small as a village or campus; and the application of the “Internet of Things” to power-consuming devices, allowing for unprecedented levels of demand-side energy management.
One of the top challenges facing electric utilities and grid operators over the coming decade will be how to integrate distributed energy, such as that produced by rooftop solar panels and wind turbines, into the electricity mix without compromising the steady flow of electrons to the end-users when and where they need them. The exploding growth of such energy resources, called distributed generation (DG), has already become a central issue in states like California, Hawaii, New Jersey and even North Carolina, where solar and wind power represent ever-larger parts of the electricity mix.
Professors and scientists in Iowa last week emphasized the tangible effects climate change will have on local lives. Over 180 science faculty members and researchers from 38 colleges endorsed this year’s Iowa Climate Statement, which was released at the Iowa Capitol on Friday. The aim of the statement is to increase Iowans’ access to resources and scientific data, according to its authors.
Mainers live in a cold climate and are burdened by above-average rates for heat and electricity. So the choices that the next governor makes about energy policy will affect everyone who pays to keep the lights on and the house warm. But energy policy is about more than just paying bills. Decisions made by state government are intertwined with big-picture issues ranging from economic development to climate change.
Gov. Terry McAuliffe formally rolled out his energy plan for Virginia on Tuesday, advocating more renewable sources such as solar and wind, efficiency and traditional resources including natural gas. Federal dollars that have sustained the economies of northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, which has a huge military footprint, can’t be relied on in the future and an energy-based economy could be the solution, he said.
U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan underestimates states’ capacity to ramp up renewable energy in the coming years and assigns them inappropriately easy carbon reduction targets as a result, a science advocacy group says. The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report today arguing that EPA’s June 2 proposal leaves money on the table when it comes to encouraging states to make the most of their clean energy potential.
The mood was upbeat at last week’s offshore wind industry conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey on October 7 and 8. The massive, long-awaited Cape Wind and Block Island offshore wind energy projects are kicking into high gear from the private sector, the Interior Department is steaming full speed ahead with the leasing process for additional Atlantic coast sites, and earlier this year the Energy Department announced federal funding for two more Atlantic coast projects that will serve as R&D platforms for cutting edge, cost-reducing offshore wind energy technologies.
The shift to renewable energy sources in Michigan — particularly wind — has picked up in the past few years and could get more of a boost as the Obama administration seeks a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, advocates and utility companies say. That could mean more investment and more jobs to add to Michigan’s modest energy sector profile of about 83,000 workers. One recent study concluded targeted local investment in wind and other renewable energy could support nearly 21,000 jobs in the state by next year.
“Now the sailors know it’s about them. It’s about nothing else. It’s about who can keep the team together and they can still go as fast as before but there are no excuses now.” The changes have helped bring an all-women’s crew back to the event — the Swedish-backedTeam SCA — for the first time since 2002. The one-design rule also means that a late entry from Denmark — Team Vestas Wind — has a chance to be competitive to a degree it simply could not have been had it needed to build and develop its own boat.
Iowa’s reputation as a leader in wind energy production got another boost Friday when0 MidAmerican Energy announced plans to invest an additional $280 million in the renewable energy. The Des Moines-based utility will add 67 wind turbines at two western Iowa locations. Most of the turbines, 64 of them, will go to a new wind farm in Adams County in southwest Iowa. The other three will expand an existing O’Brien County wind farm in northwest Iowa.