Insulating cavity walls, upgrading double glazing, and putting solar panels on the roof could increase the value of some properties by 14 per cent, while others could rise by as much as 38 per cent, it claims.
Working in conjunction with the Technical University of Munich, industrial and electric power giant Siemens has determined that Europe is incorrectly siting its renewable power projects -- and wasting an estimated 45 billion euros in the process. Siemens claims the projects should be shifted to locations with higher yields, calling the choice of site "crucial to the efficiency and economy."
Some engineers are dusting off an old idea for storing energy—using electricity to liquefy air by cooling it down to nearly 200 °C below zero. When power is needed, the liquefied air is allowed to warm up and expand to drive a steam turbine and generator.
The concept is being evaluated by a handful of companies that produce liquefied nitrogen as a way to store energy from intermittent renewable energy sources. Liquefied air might also be used to drive pistons in the engines of low-emission vehicles.
When we discussed our home solar panel project in mid-2011 with friends, one of the first questions everyone asked was, “What’s the payback period before you break-even?” The second question was unsurprisingly, “How much is it costing you?” but the focus always ended up on the payback.
After all, if you’re going to invest in green technology, you’re hoping that at some point in the near future, you get ahead of the game. It turns out that something we didn’t plan for — our Chevrolet Volt — is actually helping us boost the ROI and cut our payback time in half.
After premiering its 2.5-megawatt, 120-meter rotor Brilliant wind turbine in February, GE is now announcing the commercial installation of the first three models that will integrate energy storage capability.
The energy storage system is meant to be used in tandem with distributed solar installations with storage systems developed in Germany; the funds come with a maximum size requirement of 30 kilowatts. The batteries must have a warranty of at least seven years to gain the subsidy. Another requirement is that the PV installation sends 60 percent of its capacity to the grid over the lifetime of the plant. The battery subsidies will apply retroactively when connected to solar systems installed in 2013, according to reports in PV Magazine.
Seattle’s Bullitt Center, opened on Earth Day, is being hailed the world’s “greenest” commercial building. Not only does it have a rooftop array of photovoltaic panels that will produce an estimated 230,000 kilowatt-hours per year and composting toilets, it also has strict energy-usage limits for its tenants - and no onsite parking.
Ruth Rosselson is an environmental pioneer. The freelance writer and community trainer is one of the first homeowners to sign up with the Manchester-based Carbon Co-op for a programme of energy-efficiency improvements that will transform her cold and draughty house into a warm and toasty low-energy home.
Traveling through the complex system of federal and state regulations to secure project approvals is one of the biggest challenges facing geothermal power developers – but not if they’ve got a map outlining every twist and turn.
In the wake of the tragic Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in March of 2011 there was renewed public and political support for weaning the country off nuclear power altogether. Currently 27% of Japan’s electricity demand is met by nuclear power, but according to a new report by researchers at the University of Texas, Tokyo could use solar photovoltaic (PV) generation as a “baseload” power.
According to the report, “Potential for rooftop photovoltaics in Tokyo to replace nuclear capacity”, 300 square kilometres of suitable rooftop space in Tokyo could support 43.1 GW of PV to offset the demand currently filled by nuclear, alongside an existing 7.28 GW of pumped hydro storage available.
Up until the mid-1980s, the United States was the lead global producer of rare earth elements — materials that are used to make the technology that powers everything from laptops to hybrid cars — and have come to define our high-tech lives. Now, America is 100 percent dependent on imports of these elements and China is the primary world supplier. How does China's domination impact the future global supply of rare earth elements?
Ashutosh Jogelekar has penned an interesting article in Scientific American discussing how one's political position may affect energy efficiency purchases (the post is repeated by Rod Janssen in Energy in Demand).
To help the citizens of the world make efficient choices about energy, it’s important to get the prices right. The IMF report concludes on an optimistic note with case studies of several countries that have reformed their subsidies. But, the recent riots in Indonesiaover proposals to remove fuel subsidies highlight just how controversial this task is. In the battle against dangerous climate change, though, we need to pursue all possible tools.
There’s a promising new entry in the race to build cheap batteries for storing energy from solar panels and wind turbines. Stanford researchers led by Yi Cui, a professor of materials science and engineering, have demonstrated a partially liquid battery made of inexpensive lithium and sulfur. Cui says the battery will be easy to make and will last for thousands of charging cycles.
Cui believes that the material and manufacturing costs of the battery might be low enough to meet the Department of Energy’s goal of $100 per kilowatt-hour of storage capacity, which the DOE estimates will make the technology economically attractive to utilities. Existing batteries can cost hundreds of dollars per kilowatt-hour of capacity, although several companies are working to commercialize cheaper ones (see “Ambri’s Better Battery” and “Battery to Take On Diesel and Natural Gas”).
The wind of fortune has swept into Arfons, a village in the Tarn region of southwestern France, whose budget has rocketed fivefold in the past three years from 400,000 euros to 2.3 million euros (£1.94 million) – or 12,169 euros per person.
In any case, they most certainly get some points for being on the right side of this “subsidies for fossil fuels” issue. In fact, if this article is an accurate depiction of their stance on the subject, they’ve nailed it exactly: the world’s attempt to make gasoline artificially cheap is ruining the planet, by encouraging its use, as well as by destroying any viable process for the development of alternative sources of energy.
Energy efficient lighting, windows, and air conditioning get more productivity out of less energy and save money at the same time. This also reduces the surging energy demand that leads to frequent blackouts.
NRDC’s India Initiative works with Indian partners to spread the benefits of efficiency across the nation. Our team just released a case study showing how Godrej & Boyce—one of India’s largest industrial corporations—transformed its South Mumbai headquarters into an energy-efficient flagship.