Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Renewable Energy News, September 1, 2010

Denver Mint to coin new energy approach, use wind
The U.S. Mint in Denver is going green.

Xcel Energy said Tuesday that the Mint, which produces coins, will start getting all its electricity from wind power. The federal facility will buy its power from the utility's Windsource program, through which customers pay a little more to support the development of electricity generated by wind farms.

Xcel Energy says the Mint will be one of the largest purchasers of renewable energy in Colorado. It uses nearly 13 million kilowatt hours of electricity per year.
Exelon, a Nuclear Energy Giant, Moves Into Wind Power
Exelon, a nuclear giant that recently backed away from building new nuclear plants, is moving into wind.

The company announced today that it was buying John Deere Renewables, which has 735 megawatts in operation and 230 megawatts in “advanced stages of development” in Michigan. The price was $860 million, plus another $40 million if ground is broken on the Michigan projects.

In March, Exelon withdrew its application for a construction and operating license for a twin-unit nuclear plant in Victoria County, Tex., citing lower projections for electric demand because of the recession. It had stopped work on the application last year. Instead, it asked the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for pre-approval of the site, which would speed up the approval process if it decided later that it wanted to build. But the decision left the country’s largest nuclear operator without a direct role in what the nuclear industry hopes is a renaissance.
SJC ruling gives Cape Wind project green light to build
A divided Supreme Judicial Court ruled yesterday that a state board had the power to sidestep community opposition to grant the controversial Cape Wind energy project local and state permits it needs to start construction in the waters off Cape Cod.

The long-awaited 4-2 decision removes a potential obstacle to the wind farm as its developers prepare to start building 130 turbines in Nantucket Sound within the year. If the court had sided with opponents, the project would probably have been delayed indefinitely or killed outright because several permits would have had to come from a community and a regional agency that oppose the project.

Cape Wind still must win approval from the state Department of Public Utilities, which is reviewing National Grid’s agreement to purchase half of the wind farm’s expensive power.
Facebook faces campaign to switch to renewable energy
Social networking website Facebook is coming under unprecedented pressure from its users to switch to renewable energy. In one of the web's fastest-growing environmental campaigns, Greenpeace international says at least 500,000 people have now protested at the organisation's intention to run its giant new data centre mainly on electricity produced by burning coal power.

Facebook will not say how much electricity it uses to stream video, store information and connect its 500m users but industry estimates suggest that at their present rate of growth all the data centres and telecommunication networks in the world will consume about 1,963bn kilowatt hours of electricity by 2020.
Windfarms bring renewable energy and good fortune to Romania
Exiled to the shores of the Black Sea 2,000 years ago, the Roman poet Ovid discovered the powerful winds that blew across that eastern border of the empire. To this day the wind continues to blow inland as far as Fantanele, a Romanian village located a few dozen kilometres from the coast.

"That's why we call it the Black Sea," said Constantin Stanciu, a farmer in Fantanele. "It's a rough sea and when it's angry, which is often, it blows this far inland." The wind is the only certainty in this isolated, hilly region. The land is arid and rocky, which limits the farming possibilities. And to judge by the farmers' leathery skin, the sun is as strong as the wind. The inhabitants have been resigned to the wind's onslaught for centuries, and their poverty is apparent.

But today the wind of history has turned in the villagers' favour.
California Legislature passes energy storage bill
The California Legislature has passed the nation's first energy storage bill, which could result in the state's utilities being required to bank a portion of the electricity they generate.

Assembly Bill 2514 (AB 2514) now heads to the desk of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), who has made climate change and green technology his political legacy as his final term winds down.

Energy storage is considered crucial for the mass deployment of wind farms, solar power plants, and other sources of intermittent renewable energy, as well to build out the smart grid.

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