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Alternative Energy

  • Nuclear Waste Not Want Not

    This article started out as a piece about the 10 countries that generate the most nuclear waste annually. Unfortunately, the most recent data is from 1997 (Ukraine, United Kingdom, France, United States, Canada, Germany, India, Lithuania, Italy and Bulgaria).Approaching the question from the other end -- which countries generate the most nuclear power? – might get us closer to an answer. Business Insider analyzed data from the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency and came up with a top 10 list: United States, France, Russia, South Korea, Germany, China, Canada, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Sweden. But those nuclear power powerhouses…

  • Does Vanadium Hold the Key to Energy Storage Conundrum?

    Renewable energy – solar and wind – works like a charm when the wind is blowing strongly enough to whip windmill blades into a frenzy, or the sun is baking down onto strategically-placed solar panels. The trouble, of course, is that the power they produce is intermittent. Wind has an annoying habit of dying down, as does the sun in hiding behind clouds.Harnessers of wind and solar power face another dilemma, and that is how to store the energy they produce, before it is fed into the electricity grid. A good example is what is happening in Hawaii. The island…

  • Oil Giants Gassed Out On Renewable Energy

    Could the future of renewable energy be reliant on the efforts of big oil companies? They would certainly like you to think so. In the first decade of the 21st century, it seemed like the likes of BP and ExxonMobil had realized that the winds of change were blowing as they begun massive investment programs in renewable source of energy. Renewable Energy World reports that from 2000 to 2010, American oil and gas companies contributed 20% of all US investment in renewables, amounting to around $9 billion. The Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010 shattered BP’s public image, but it came…

  • Drilling Down To The Economic Realities Of Geothermal Power

    When someone who has just completed a series of mining asset sales totalling $1.6 billion chooses to share some frank thoughts on geothermal power, you have to respect the source.Geothermal bubbled up in the news in May as a lost opportunity for BC Hydro in the Joint Review Panel's thumbs-sideways assessment of the Site C dam project.Lumina Copper founder Ross Beaty knows something about copper – enough to complete the company's sale to First Quantum Minerals earlier this month for $470 million. Beaty is also passionate about renewable energy, which led him into a geothermal power investment in 2008, only…

  • Will Floating Power Plants Tame The Nuclear NIMBYs?

    Three years ago, the safety of nuclear reactors, a staple and stable source of base load power for many industrialized countries, was suddenly thrown into question, after a 15-metre wall of sea water inundated three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan, causing them to overheat.The reactors were built to withstand earthquakes but not the height of the surging waves. Backup power was available to run the cooling pumps, but when the tsunami flooded the site, the pumps lost power and thus, the ability to circulate water and cool the reactor cores. The resultant fuel meltdown and…

  • Investing in Jordan: The Run on Renewables

    Energy starved Jordan, which has to import some 96% of its energy needs, is very serious about renewable energy—and so are international investors who are flocking to the country at a shocking pace, but there are pitfalls to look out for and the pace of investment should perhaps be a bit more cautious. Jordan’s 2007-2020 National Energy Strategy aims to reduce energy imports from 96% to 61%, the government has pledged to upgrade the energy sector by taking advantage of local resources, including renewable energy and oil shale (not to be confused with shale oil).If nothing else, Jordan has massive…

  • Follow the Yellow (Solar Panel) Road

    It's time for American roads to pull their own weight. Sure, we drive on them every day, enabling us to travel to practically every part of the country -- but is that enough? What if roads could also collect massive amounts of energy? That's the idea behind the sun-harvesting technology being proposed by a company called "Solar Roadways." According to the company's YouTube video, it's a technology that replaces all "roadways, parking lots, sidewalks, driveways, tarmacs, bike paths and outdoor recreation surfaces (i.e. basketball courts) with solar panels." The company claims that covering every road in America with these panels…

  • U.S. Announces Major Offshore Wind Auction

    Offshore wind has struggled to get started in the United States, but the federal government just announced a plan that could accelerate its development. The U.S. Interior Department announced July 2 that it plans to auction off 80,000 acres off the coast of Maryland for wind development. In a statement, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley hailed the decision, saying, “To combat climate change, we must develop cleaner, renewable sources of energy -- and today's announcement is a tremendous step forward for the U.S. offshore wind industry.” Unlike the onshore wind industry, offshore wind is still in its early stages. Land-based wind…

  • Why France Isn't Intimidated By Nuclear Waste

    In decades to come, scholars may well puzzle on America’s attitude to nuclear energy. We love our nuclear defense capacity: its weapons, its submarines, and its aircraft carriers. But we have a kind of national anxiety about the use of the same science, under the most controlled conditions, to make scads of electricity.Equally perplexing is our duality of opinion about nuclear waste. At every turn, those who dislike nuclear power -- often with pathological disaffection -- raise the issue of nuclear waste as a reason to give up on nuclear power. However, they do not have the temerity to suggest…

  • Solar Wars: China Loses a Battle

    The world’s biggest maker of solar panels wants to make sure investors think “soccer,” not “subsidies,” when they see the name “Yingli Solar.” That’s why billions of TV viewers are seeing Yingli’s logo, along with those of other corporate sponsors, on stadium walls during the World Cup in Brazil.But for Yingli and other Chinese solar companies, the real game is being played out in Washington and Brussels, and the result could either lift the industry out of the doldrums or kick off a vicious trade war.For years, China has faced accusations that it massively rigs the solar market by subsidizing…