Category: Energy

Photo of the week: solar panel parking

Solar carports have a double benefit: generating renewable energy and reducing the island heat effect (photo: CleanTechnica)

We talked about the booming solar panel industry in an earlier post. One mostly thinks about solar panels installed on rooftops, but the Dutchmen showed that you can also put them, for instance, in a bike road (see this photo of the week). In Los Angeles, where car parking lots are more abundant than bike roads, they’ve come up with another cool idea: solar panel carports. This has a double advantage: generating lots of clean energy and keeping the cars cool. Knowing that 40% percent of the American pavement is parking, this is a huge area to fill up with solar panels. They also decrease the urban heat island effect, the phenomenon that cities become significantly hotter in summer than the surrounding country because asphalt absorbs more heat and retains it better than soil. In the hotter heat seasons expected in the future, this could be an important factor to keep cities enjoyable in summer days. Today, this solution is not yet widely applied because of its relatively high cost. The construction uses more construction steel than, say, rooftop solar panels. The installation costs are also higher. In 2014 up to 600MW was installed in the US, mostly in California. Since solar panel prices are still going downwards, the solar carports could soon become economically viable in many US states and other countries.

Solar carports have a double benefit: generating renewable energy and reducing the island heat effect (photo: CleanTechnica)

Solar carports have a double benefit: generating renewable energy and reducing the island heat effect (photo: CleanTechnica)

Source

The Washington Post

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Photo of the week: Tidal lagoon to power Wales

Great Britain has a lot to win from its all-surrounding waters. And green energy company Tidal Lagoon Power knows that. They’re planning to build a 10 kilometers-long sea wall from Newport to Cardiff to create a artificial lagoon. At high tide the water can stream in via turbines in the wall. The lagoon is then closed until low tide, when it is opened again to let the water stream out via the turbines. The company claims it could generate enough energy to power Wales. The project would cost around 6 billion British pounds (8.3 billion euros). Governement has already said it supports the idea, although negotiations over subsidies over a pilot project in Swansea have yet to start. Consumer charity Citizens Advice has warned that the project is a “appalling value for money”. It would indeed be the most expensive green energy project in Great Britain so far. Tidal Lagoon Power says it will only be expensive in the first thirty years when they have to pay constructions bills and turn a profit, but afterwards the generated energy would become very cheap.

An impression of the pilot lagoon scheme in Swansea Bay (photo: Tidal Lagoon Power)

An impression of the pilot lagoon scheme in Swansea Bay (photo: Tidal Lagoon Power)

Source

The Telegraph

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Photo of the week: The Eiffel Tower goes green

The Eiffel Tower, Paris’ most famous icon, is going green. Earlier this year an American company installed two vertical axis wind turbines at a height of 120 metres, spinning above the second level. Both turbines generate around 10 000kWh a year, enough to power the restaurants and shops of the tower. The monument is already equipped with LED lightning and all toilets run on rainwater. According to UGE’s Gromadzki, who led the installation, “The project happened because the mayor’s office wanted it to happen. They really wanted to make a strong statement about renewable energy”. This is not a surprise, since Paris will host the much anticipated climate summit at the end of the year. Many people see this as a turning point in climate negotiations.

Two vertical axis wind turbines were installed at a height of 120 metres (photo: UGE)

Two vertical axis wind turbines were installed at a height of 120 metres (photo: UGE)

Source: Slate

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Photo of the week: World’s first commercial scale wave power array

Last week the first commercial-scale grid connected wave energy array was switched on in Perth, Australia. Carnegie Wave developed a technology to drive pumps at the sea bed by the up and down movement of great buoys near the water surface. These pumps feed high pressure water onshore to a power station and desalination plant, not only providing energy but also fresh water. One unit was measured to have 240kW peak capacity during testing, but the company is already working on a next generation of converters to make it more cost-effective.

CETO wave energy convertor (photo: Carnegie)

CETO wave energy convertor (photo: Carnegie)

Learn more: Carnegie CETO Technology

Source: RenewEconomy

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Photo of the week: Sustainable water supply

Some US states consider a new way of generating clean energy: harvesting power from water flow in drinking water pipes. The city of Portland already took the step and installed a pipe system equipped with turbines generating energy to power street lights and buildings. This system only works in places where water flows naturally because of height difference. In this occasion it offers some advantages over typical solar or wind installations. First of all it’s not directly dependent on weather elements. Secondly the pipes are equipped with sensors to keep an eye on water quality and pressure. Water contamination or leaks can be detected much earlier, resulting in a smaller loss of water. Last but not least the installation doesn’t form any danger for water animals, a major problems with hydro power from dams –  since there is no fish swimming around in the pipes.

Lucid's water pipes are equipped with turbines to harvest power from the water flow (photo: LucidEnergy)

Lucid’s water pipes are equipped with turbines to harvest power from the water flow (photo: LucidEnergy)

Sources

fastcoexist.com

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Facts and figures: solar power is booming

Despite the political insufficiency to address the climate challenges of our time – debating endlessly about whether climate change is engraved by human activity or not – solutions are here today and they’re working. The IPCC has calculated the global “carbon budget” we can spend until 2050. If we want to stay under the 2°C temperature rise, which is generally accepted as the tipping point to unleash feedback loops in our climate system, we can only burn fossil fuels for another 17 years at the current rate (see blue scenario on graph below). It’s obvious we need to shift to renewable solutions, now. Luckily there are more and more investors who seem to have noticed this. Get ready for some nice facts and figures about the solar photovoltaic power industry. Unless otherwise stated, all graphs are produced by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st century (REN21) and published in their global status report 2014(more…)

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