Tag Archives: renewable energy

Impact of solar eclipse on power grid shaped by solar

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On Monday, August 21, a rare total solar eclipse will cast a shadow across the U.S. – from the West Coast to the East Coast – for the first time in nearly 100 years. Almost a century ago, the modern power grid system was just getting its roots set in major cities. Now with solar power representing one percent of the U.S. energy generation mix and four percent of installed power capacity, this daytime darkness will have an effect on our power – but by how much?

According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA), the solar eclipse will obscure the sunlight at nearly 1,900 utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) power plants in the U.S.

While the direct shadow will last a mere three minutes, the entire event is expected to last three hours. … Read More

Digital marketplace changes the game for solar energy consumers

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In an alternative to power plants, Australia is instead looking to widespread rooftop solar panels as a way of generating electricity. It’s part of a new peer-to-peer network model that allows consumers to participate in the distribution of energy.

The system creates an incentive for businesses and home owners to embrace renewable power, said JLL Australia Sustainability Director Simone Concha. “In turn this benefits everyone, not just those profiting from it, due… Read More

Thinking small for big impact: powering a green future with microgrids

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Though still sparsely utilized due to the infancy of the concept, microgrids are seeing a surge in growth as they offer unique opportunities to harness green energy.

Microgrids—a small power system that can operate independently of the macrogrid—use less than 0.2 percent of all U.S. electricity, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions. However, that capacity is expected to more than double by 2020, as certain states create funding opportunities and attract developers.

iStock_000074821533_LargeThese self-contained power systems can light up commercial facilities, residential neighborhoods or remote communities. They can operate on a range of sources, including emerging technologies like fuel cells and modular nuclear reactors and are able to harness the power of on-site energy by collecting the heat from a nuclear reactor or the wind or sunlight over surrounding land. Using renewable resources, the microgrid can generate zero-emission electricity. And finally, the microgrid can keep running when storms or blackouts cause the macrogrid to lose power.

Most microgrids are located in seven states—Alaska, California, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Oklahoma and Texas. In Brooklyn, a project is moving forward to power a low-income housing community with a lithium-ion-battery microgrid. A public-private development in Denver is using a solar-powered microgrid. And another public-private partnership in Maryland is developing two microgrids to power county facilities.

Because microgrids are a relatively new concept, they face unique financial and legal hurdles. … Read More

Powering smarter buildings with Grid 2.0

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The U.S. power grid summons to mind colossal-sized images: sky-high transmission towers, enormous generating stations and soaring high-voltage transmission lines. It’s a vast, mature and highly complicated infrastructure that continues to keep our homes and businesses illuminated, temperature controlled and vibrantly humming with energy.

Green_PowerGridThe current grid is made up of 2.7 million miles of power lines with power from 5,800 power plants regulated by 3,200 utilities. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, fossil fuel power plants using coal, oil or natural gas generate 70 percent of the power for the U.S. with nuclear power plants generating 20 percent. There is a need to not only address the current grid model, but to improve the grid, how we access it and, more importantly, how we pay for energy.

As markets rapidly evolve in an increasingly connected world, power grid technology is physically becoming smaller and our energy density is becoming greater. Thanks to wireless communications and innovative software applications, we are able to integrate electricity generation, transmission and load with data analytics to better understand what is happening on both sides of an electrical meter. It’s called Grid 2.0, and it’s no longer the grid of the future thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). It is quickly becoming the grid of the here and now, analyzing and integrating data, and adjusting, distributing and personalizing energy based on real-time supply and demand.… Read More

What exactly is the green economy?

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The green economy can seem like a hidden economic sector in the UK. I hear people talk about environmental sustainability without understanding that it is an engine for economic growth, business innovation and job creation, not least in the real estate and construction sectors. Did you know, for example, that the low carbon and renewable energy economy in the UK generates £46 billion in revenue and supports 240,000 green collar jobs?… Read More