By some estimates, America’s oceans could provide enough electric power to meet a quarter of the country’s energy needs. Despite this, until recently the contribution to the U.S. electric grid from marine energy has been exactly zero.
Investment companies like to talk about the disruptive nature of technologies and how they change industries while simultaneously changing our lives. The growing emphasis on a low-carbon economy has spotlighted a number of technologies as being disruptive in their industry sectors. One hears this frequently when discussing wind and solar power. Clearly, these two technologies are changing the face of the utility industry, but at least at present, they still represent a fairly small fraction of the overall business.
The traditional model of the electricity grid is one where centralized large power plants send power through transmission lines to substations and then on to homes and businesses. As localized renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, and efficiency systems proliferate throughout the system, a new concept is emerging: that of the virtual power plant.
Part of Hillary Clinton’s proposed energy plan is a pledge that half a billion additional solar panels will be installed by the end of her first term if she is elected President this year. This number sounds wildly ambitious. It is even realistic?
Every stage of civilization is characterized by its use of energy. From burning wood to steam engines to our electrified society, energy is behind everything we do. Over time, human society has become increasingly energy intensive. As our standards of living have improved and as we overcome the effects of weather – either cold or warm – it takes more and more energy to live the lives we lead.
The biggest challenge facing both solar and wind power sources is that they don’t produce power around the clock; they only work when the sun is shining or the wind is blowing. As a result, they don’t quite measure up to the requirement for power on demand.
Cochin International Airport in southern India is the seventh busiest airport in the country. Its managers were fed up with the facility’s large electric bills and decided to take matters in their own hands.
Installing solar arrays on the surface of bodies of water is an idea that is catching on around the world. Such installations are especially attractive in places like Japan, where land resources are scarce. In the UK, there are a couple of these so-called “floatovoltaic” projects underway – one outside of London and one near Manchester.
The Las Vegas Strip has been referred to as an energy consumption nightmare. Just one look at the place provides evidence for the claim: an endless sea of lights, glitz and glamour and cavernous casinos running huge banks of air conditioning equipment in the desert heat. Even with Boulder Dam a hop, skip and jump away, Vegas is struggling to meet its electricity needs.
Los Angeles has decided to replace a major gas-burning power plant with an energy storage device which, if not exceeded by another before it is completed, will be the world’s largest storage battery.
The first solar roadway in the US will be installed this year at the Historic Route 66 welcome center in Conway, Missouri. The installation will use hexagonal solar panels developed by Idaho-based start-up company Solar Roadways. The initial trial installation will use the panels to cover a sidewalk in the Route 66 center rest area and will only cover a few hundred square feet. The modular building blocks are hexagonal panels of a little less than 5 square feet in area that each generate 48 watts of electrical power.
The U.S. recently celebrated the milestone of having one million solar installations nationwide. It took 40 years to get there, but experts believe the next million could take only a couple of years. The solar revolution is clearly well underway.
Sometime early in May, the United States installed its one millionth solar energy system. Achieving this milestone took the solar industry about 40 years to accomplish. Because of the phenomenal growth of solar power in this country, industry experts predict that it will only take two more years to reach the second million and there are predictions that by the year 2025, there will be one million new installations in the U.S. each year.