Our weekly compilation of renewable energy news covers the globe:
Hydrogen in the UK
Researchers at the University of Leeds are working on a method of generating hydrogen from municipal solid waste. Hydrogen is a valued feedstock because its combustion produces no emissions (only water). Primary researcher Dr Valerie Dupont explains that his process uses a catalytic reactor to mix a hydrocarbon-based fueld with plant or waste resources. The combination is mixed with steam to produce hydrogen and carbon dioxide, which are then separated.
Wind in Texas
Baryonyx claims to be building the largest offshore wind farm in the U.S. The Texas General Land Office says that it awarded the contract to Baryonyx to use Texas state lands to develop the wind farms, providing electric power for Texas schools, prisons and other public offices. Much seems uncertain about the project, however, as Baryonyx’s CEO, Douwe Fransens, was quoted in the Dallas Morning News to say that he “had no estimate” as to how many turbines would be involved in the project but that construction “could begin in two or three years.”
Feed in Tariffs in Arizona
Brian Coppa writes on some ongoing work by the Natioanl Renewable Energy Laboratory on the adoption of feed-in tariffs. He explains:
“A feed-in tariff is a revenue-neutral way of making the installation of renewable energy at the residential, commercial or utility level more appealing. The electricity that is generated is bought by the utility at above market prices. In some instances, the retail price of electricity purchased from this power source might be 40¢/kWh, which is not competitive with a conventional fossil fuel plant at 10¢/kWh; so the difference is distributed to all of the customers of the utility. For example, if $100,000 worth of green power is bought in a year by a utility that has 1,000,000 customers, then each of those customers will have 10¢ added on to their bill annually.”
The most recent of the NREL studies, released in June, concluded that, “The success of FIT (feed-in-tariff) policies around the world, notably in Europe, suggests that they will continue to grow in importance in the United States, as evidence mounts that they provide an effective framework for the promotion of RE development and job creation.”
RECS in Ohio
Dayton Power & Light in Dayton, Ohio, issued a request for proposals for the sale of renewable energy certificates (or RECs) that would satisfy the requirements of Ohio Amended Substitute Senate Bill 221.
Canadians Invest in Iceland
Magma Energy Corp., a publicly-traded company in Canada, announced that it would invest $40 million in HS Orka, a privately-held company in Iceland that develops geothermal power. Analysts said that the investment was intended, in part, to act as a hedge against the possible implementation of a cap and trade system.
Solar Power in Africa
The NY Times reported on an effort by the Desertec Industrial Initiative to bring together a consortium of investors to develop a massive solar power system in the sun-baked deserts of North Africa. Desertec is financing in part by a number of German companies, including Siemens and Munich Re. Desertec’s ambitious plan calls for a network of solar, hydropower and other renewable resources to be developed through North Africa and the Mediterranean region.
Biomass Critics in Massachusetts
The Boston Globe carried a piece on critics of biomass in New England. It describes local community groups and some environmentalists voicing concerns that growth in biomass will spark the need (forgive the pun) for expanded logging.
Geothermal in Australia
The Australian Academy of Science has posted a fascinating background piece on geothermal opportunities in Australia. The white paper describes the geologic features of Australia that make geothermal promising and how geothermal power could become a significant part of Australia’s baseload production capacity.
Wind in Antarctica
Professor Matthew Traum describes how a new research site in Antarctica is being powered by wind energy. He describes how turbines from Proven Energy are being used in a land where the wind can reach 200 mph to power the Princess Elisabeth research station.
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