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Alternative Energy / Renewable Energy

  • 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…

  • Top 10 Things To Know About Tesla At The End Of Q2

    Tesla’s Q2 earnings report was released on July 31 while they exceeded expectations, it had people talking. Tesla, the manufacturer of the world’s most-coveted electric vehicles (the Model S), has come a long way since its inception in 2003. Last year, it posted its first profits in 10 years. So, at the halfway point of 2014, what are the most important things to know about Tesla going forward?10. Better batteries are coming.One of the major things detractors of Tesla point to is the limited battery life of the vehicles. That may not be true for much longer, however. Tesla is…

  • Has Battery Technology Just Taken A Huge Leap Forward?

    A California firm called Imergy believes it’s hit on a new chemistry that can drastically reduce the costs of certain advanced battery systems.In this case, it’s what’s called a “flow” battery. Most batteries create an electric current by shuttling ions between two positively and negatively charged solids. Flow batteries use two positively and negatively charged fluids, and create the ion reaction by pumping the fluids across either side of a membrane. This comes with several advantages: they’re long-lasting, they can be built to different scales and uses, and the tanks can be easily swapped to recharge the battery. And because…

  • 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…

  • 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…

  • Ocean Power Rides the Green Wave

    Summer is coming in the Northern Hemisphere and tens of millions of us have plans to flock to the beaches. As we frolic along the shore we will also be awed by the relentless, eternal power of the ocean.This power has been tantalizing engineers since the dawn of the electric age in the 19th century. Those great tidal havens, the Bay of Fundy and the Bay of Biscay, have had electrical entrepreneurs salivating down through the years.Yet harnessing the ultimate renewable energy resource has lagged its two big renewable competitors, wind and solar. Both are now mature alternative energy-generating sources,…

  • Buffett Says He Will Double Investment In Renewables

    U.S. financier Warren Buffett, already one of his country’s largest investors in clean technologies, says he’s prepared to double his stake in renewable energy.Speaking June 9 in Las Vegas, he noted that his investment company, Berkshire Hathaway, already had invested about $15 billion in clean-energy enterprises, and added that he has “another $15 billion ready to go, as far as I’m concerned.”Earlier in his career, Buffett tended to invest in high-return businesses, but more recently he has said he likes the renewable energy industry because it’s ripe for reinvestment and broader acquisitions. A prime example is an energy holding company…