Just after noon on a 110-degree summer day, the 5.6-square-mile Desert Sunlight Solar Farm — the biggest of its kind erected on U.S. federal land — is proving why this desolate spot is such a good one for harnessing the sun’s rays. With few clouds above, the seemingly endless 8-million-panel array is churning out 551.3 megawatts, or million watts, of electricity, more than enough to power 160,000 homes some 175 miles west of here in Los Angeles. “This is fairly typical, that as the sun moves through the sky, this is about the time of day that we hit that sort of number,” said Steve Stengel, a spokesman for the plant’s co-owner, NextEra Energy Resources.
The Northeast Atlantic coast has some of the world’s strongest offshore winds, according to developers who have long waited for the opportunity to build commercial-scale wind farms on the outer continental shelf from Maine and New Jersey. But those same winds are highly volatile, posing unique challenges to those same developers, according to researchers at the University of Delaware and Stony Brook University who reviewed a decade’s worth of wind data off the Massachusetts coast.
Australia might soon start harvesting solar energy from its roads. Colas Group, a French construction firm, is developing solar panels that can be used to pave roads — thin, resilient tiles that can generate as much as 116 watts of electricity each. One of the main challenges was ensuring that the product could handle the weight of vehicles. The producers are creating prototypes that are as tough as pavement. They expect that tiles on busy roads could last up to a decade and those placed in car parks would remain functional for twice as long.
n 2004, Colorado voters passed an initiative establishing, for the first time, a renewable energy standard (RES) through a popular vote. The legislative declaration for the initiative, Amendment 37, started with: “In order to save consumers and businesses money. . .” and concluded with the idea that renewable energy should be developed to the “. . . maximum practicable extent. . .”. Colorado voters bet that costs for wind and solar renewable energy would drop as they were used more. It looks like the initiative’s promise could be coming true.
Almost 90 percent of cars on the road today could be replaced with low-cost electric vehicles, said a study from Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers published yesterday in the journal Nature Energy. Low-cost EVs available on the market, like the Nissan Leaf, can only travel an average of 90 miles between charges. But the shorter range would not inhibit the majority of trips people take in passenger vehicles, the study found.
President Obama in another dig at Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump declared Saturday that the Paris Agreement on climate change is key to American leadership and “not something to tear up.” In his weekly White House video address to the nation, Obama declared climate change “one of the most urgent challenges of our time.” He noted that 2015 surpassed 2014 as the hottest year on record, with 2016 poised to shatter yet a new heat record.
As many as 150,000 workers from the U.S. coal mining and coal-fired power sectors could be retrained for jobs in the fast-growing solar photovoltaics (PV) industry at a relatively low cost to business and governments, according to new research from public policy and engineering experts. The analysis, published in the journal Energy Economics by scholars at Michigan Technological University and Oregon State University, is among the first to calculate the labor force impacts of one of the most sweeping U.S. energy-sector transitions of the last century. Its relevance is heightened by recent policy positions staked out by the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees.
On the edge of a bucolic field in Princeton, N.J., an eco-friendly office building recently opened its doors. Plants festoon the roof, a living wall is planned for the lobby, and rainwater storage tanks supply the building’s needs. In the parking lot there are wind turbines, solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations. It is the picture of a sustainable future, one in which society’s insatiable demand for electricity can be met without polluting the planet. The same cannot be said of the building’s tenant, NRG Energy.
Trump spoke to the Miami Herald at the shorefront Fontainebleau hotel, in an area where local officials and the federal government are working to stem sea-level rise. “I’m not a big believer in man-made climate change,” Trump reiterated to the paper, rejecting mainstream scientific evidence of global warming. “I would say that it goes up, it goes down,” Trump told the paper.
Citing the potential to create millions of jobs and drawing contrasts to her Republican opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton today called for making the United States the global leader in clean energy. “Some country is going to be the clean energy superpower of the 21st century and create millions of jobs and businesses. It’s probably going to be either China, Germany or America. I want it to be us,” Clinton said in an economic address in Warren, Mich.