Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Renewable Energy News, August 4, 2010

Montpelier Biomass energy plan faces airing: Times Argus Online
MONTPELIER -- Representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy, which has granted Montpelier $8 million to pursue a biomass district energy plant, will hold a public hearing Tuesday in Montpelier to speak with residents about the project.

The hearing comes as city officials and consultants continue to sort through the details of the complicated project, which is expected to cost roughly $23 million and could eventually reshape how government and private buildings in the Capital City are heated.

The Montpelier City Council this week took a step closer to putting a revenue bond on the ballot in November that would help fund the project. The bond, which would be repaid with revenue from heat and electricity the plant produces, would be combined with the $8 million grant to pay for the project. If the project ends up costing $23 million, the bond would be $15 million.
Stanford’s “PETE” Technology Could Triple Solar Power Efficiency | The Energy Collective
Researchers at Stanford University have developed a process to simultaneously convert solar heat and light directly into usable electricity. Recent tests proved that the concept, known as photon enhanced thermionic emission, or PETE, was in fact, reality. The effect of PETE on the efficiency of solar power generating systems is unprecedented.

Conventional photovoltaic (PV) systems use a semiconductor, typically silicon, to convert incident light directly into electric current. Today’s market-ready PV systems peak at about 20 percent conversion efficiency (the percentage of sunlight striking a solar cell that is converted to usable electricity), with the remaining energy lost as waste heat. Moreover, the efficiency of these systems decreases as temperature increases.
Garrett County wind project takes shape amid opposition -
The first slender white tower went up about a month ago. Others soon followed, poking above the trees on Backbone Mountain. Now blades are being added, forming giant pinwheels that loom over the landscape, visible from miles away.

After years of planning and bitter debate, Maryland's first commercial wind energy project is taking shape in rugged Garrett County — just as a new legal challenge arises that could alter or even halt the $140 million venture in its tracks.
U.K. Wind-Power Supplies Grow One Third in One Year | Climate |
An annual study of the country's renewable energy sourcing finds that wind power is leading the surge as it generates an increasing share of U.K. electricity.

Energy statistics published by the Department of Environment and Climate Change as part of The Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES) 2010 show the amount of energy put into the grid by the country's wind farms last year hit 2.5 percent of Britain's total.

That is a 31 percent increase on the previous year, against a more modest increase of 20 percent for renewable energy sources as a whole.
Generating energy from ocean waters off Hawaii
Researchers at the University of Hawaii at Manoa say that the Leeward side of Hawaiian Islands may be ideal for future ocean-based renewable energy plants that would use seawater from the oceans' depths to drive massive heat engines and produce steady amounts of renewable energy.

The technology, referred to as Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC), is described in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy, which is published by the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

It involves placing a heat engine between warm water collected at the ocean's surface and cold water pumped from the deep ocean. Like a ball rolling downhill, heat flows from the warm reservoir to the cool one. The greater the temperature difference, the stronger the flow of heat that can be used to do useful work such as spinning a turbine and generating electricity.
Vt.'s Welch to tour renewable energy sites -
BENNINGTON, Vt.—U.S. Rep. Peter Welch is taking advantage of the congressional recess to tour some renewable energy sites -- and would-be sites -- in Vermont.

What the Vermont Democrat is calling his clean energy tour will take him to Addison and Washington counties.

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