follow us like us subscribe contact us
Loading, please wait

Alternative Energy

  • Shuttered Nuclear Plants Means U.S. Will Miss Climate Targets

    The floundering U.S. nuclear industry just got a bit of good news: Utah is considering building two new nuclear reactors. Blue Castle Holdings Inc. has signed a memorandum of understanding with Westinghouse that could eventually lead to the construction of two AP1000 nuclear reactors. The two reactors have an estimated cost of $10 billion and an estimated operational date of 2024. If constructed, Blue Castle says the reactors will increase Utah’s electricity generation capacity by 50 percent, which would replace the power lost with the retirement of a few coal plants in the state. The announcement is important because building…

  • Rethink Biofuel Sources, Not Biofuels Subsidies

    The world’s foremost economic authorities are divided as to whether the planting of conventional crops to produce biofuels makes sense. Some say that the amount of money and resources poured into growing corn, rapeseed, jatropha, sugarcane and other plants for biofuels is wasted -- that it takes away land needed for food production, creates more emissions than it saves, and has caused food prices to go up worldwide. Others say that if the price of food crops includes the cost of linked oil production, then biofuels are still cheaper, that certain biofuel crops have not been fully tested and that…

  • The World’s Most Dangerous Dams

    Hydroelectric dams are a nifty way of producing a huge amount of power, but they do not last forever. This is a tale of two dams that will fail unless they are urgently repaired, and if they fail, catastrophic suffering and loss of life will be the result. The first is the Mosul Dam, which stretches across the Tigris River in a valley north of Mosul, Iraq. As dams go, this one is a civil engineering horror. The dam was captured on Aug. 7 by the Islamic State, and retaken 10 days later by Iraqi and Kurdish forces, with American…

  • Why China Is Leading The World In Solar Power

    China is the world’s top energy consumer, with the vast majority of its electricity coming from domestically-mined coal. But the Asian nation is cutting its dependence on coal, oil and natural gas and replacing it with solar at a breakneck pace.Between January and the end of June, China added 3.3 gigawatts of solar capacity, double the additions over the same period last year, and equivalent to the entire solar capacity of Australia – one of the sunniest places on earth. That brings China’s total solar power supply up to 23 gigawatts, second only to Germany’s 36 GW, and just 13…

  • U.S. Warms To Clean Energy

    A review of monthly figures for new installations of electric power capacity in July shows that renewable energy is quickly becoming the energy source of choice in the U.S. New data from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) shows that 100 percent of new capacity installed in July came from renewable energy. For the month, there were 21 megawatts of new solar, 379 megawatts of wind, and 5 megawatts of new hydropower. Natural gas still accounted for more than half of new capacity for the first half of this year, but renewable energy is quickly catching up.The data is confirmation…

  • Once Mighty Hydropower Falls Behind Other Renewables

    For decades, hydropower has been the chief source of clean and renewable energy in the United States, but new federal statistics show that it’s about to be eclipsed by other renewable sources.A report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) shows that April 2014 was the eighth straight month in which “non-hydropower” surpassed hydropower. Solar, wind and other alternatives were responsible for 7.4 percent of total electricity generation, just above hydropower’s 7 percent.Just 10 years ago, hydropower produced three times more energy than other renewables, according to the report by the EIA, an arm of the U.S. Department of Energy.…

  • Will Airborne Wind Turbines Soon Float Above Our Cities?

    A few months ago, and without much fanfare, Fairbanks, Alaska hoisted a large, oval, 35-foot diameter wind turbine to an altitude of 1,000 feet over the town. From high above, the BAT (Buoyant Air Turbine) generates power from gusts of wind far stronger than those powering regular wind turbines. So how is the first airborne wind turbine to be deployed doing compared to the more familiar ground-based turbines? A 1-megawatt (1MW) turbine on the ground generates on average between 2.4 million and 4 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy a year, which is enough to power between 240 and 400…

  • Why Air Bags May Be the Answer to Clean Energy’s Viability

    Stop a dozen people on the street and ask them what the biggest challenge facing alternative energy is, and most would probably answer along the same lines. There would be some vague notion of finding, or maybe developing, clean energy sources to prepare for the day when we exhaust the Earth’s supply of fossil fuels. Ask many experts, though, and they will tell you that we already have viable solutions and now just need to solve one central problem: storage. The answer to that may be something as simple as giant bags of air.Clean energy sources have a major storage…

  • Unlikely Bedfellows: Mines That Run On Solar Or Wind Power

    Mining companies are often seen as dinosaurs when it comes to making changes that will benefit the environment, but that perception may be shifting as some companies turn to renewable energy to cut costs and lighten their carbon footprint.At first blush, mining and renewable energy seem incongruous. Mining's reputation as a voracious consumer of fossil fuels is well deserved, especially surface mining, where diesel-sucking haul trucks perform endless loops to and from gigantic pits scraped ever-deeper by immense earth-moving machines belching greenhouse gases.Contrast that with solar panel installations, with their acres of gleaming panels and gently humming generators, or wind…

  • Germans Happily Pay More For Renewable Energy, But Would Others?

    While Germany is breaking world records for the amount of sustainable energy it uses every year, German energy customers are breaking European records for the amount they pay in monthly bills. Surprisingly, they don’t seem to mind.In the first half of 2014, Germany drew 28 percent of its power generation from renewable energy sources. Wind and solar capacity were hugely boosted, now combining to generate 45 terawatt hours (TWh), or 17 percent of national demand, with another 11 percent coming from biomass and hydropower plants. This proves that Germany’s controversial Energiewende policy is on target to meet highly ambitious goals…