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High-Voltage DC Breakers Could Enable a Renewable Energy Supergrid

High-Voltage DC Breakers Could Enable a Renewable Energy Supergrid | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
A high-power circuit breaker makes it possible to create highly efficient DC power grids.

"ABB's circuit breaker changes that. Within five milliseconds it can stop the flow of a huge amount of power—equal to the entire output of a nuclear power plant, ABB says. The breakers could be used to nearly instantaneously reroute power in a DC grid around a problem, allowing the grid to keep functioning. “Ordinarily, if something goes wrong anywhere, all the power goes off,” says Claes Rytoft, ABB’s chief technology officer. “The breaker can cut out the faulty line and keep the rest healthy.”

 

Researchers have been trying to develop high-voltage DC circuit breakers for a century (see “Edison’s Revenge: The Rise of DC Power”). Mechanical switches alone didn't work—they shut off power too slowly. Power electronics made of transistors that can switch on and off large amounts of power offered a possible solution, but they proved far too inefficient. ABB's solution combines power electronics with a mechanical switch to create a hybrid system that's both fast and efficient. The new circuit breaker could also be far less expensive than systems that use only transistors.

 

“The cost of the power electronics breaker was humongous,” says Ram Adapa, a power delivery technical leader at the Electric Power Research Institute. “The hybrid breaker should be less costly.”

 

With the major hurdle to DC grids out of the way, ABB is now developing algorithms to control them. The system will still need to work in concert with AC lines for distributing the power in local communities, since there is no inexpensive DC equivalent of the transformers needed to step down power to the relatively low voltages used in homes and businesses. One of the first markets for the new technology could be Germany, which has decided to turn off its nuclear power plants and rely heavily on renewable energy (see “The Great German Energy Experiment”).

 

The degree to which high-voltage DC grids can help renewables may depend on the economics of installing underground cables versus overhead lines."

AN : ABB's innovation is a significant advancement for the grid.

http://goo.gl/koDHZ

 


Via Arno Neumann
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Applaud Efforts To Turn Britain's Isle Of Wight Into A Self-Sufficient Island of Renewable Energy

Applaud Efforts To Turn Britain's Isle Of Wight Into A Self-Sufficient Island of Renewable Energy | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Over the past decade, efforts in environmental stewardship have increased exponentially. Now being green, clean, and using renewable and sustainable energy sources are ways of life. More and more organizations are bending to the demands for efficient and unpolluted products, leading to a surge in green technologies and sustainable farming techniques. Such awareness and effort is truly commendable and has sparked impressive energy projects all over the world: one of the most recent being David Green’s Ecoisland project on Britain’s Isle of Wight. Within the past year, the Ecoisland project has become world-renowned due to its goal to make the small island a self-sufficient haven of renewable energy by 2020. Such prowess and devotion to environmental health is truly a praiseworthy cause that deserves applause and recognition.
Via Hans De Keulenaer
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EU Commission pays lip service to renewable revolution

EU Commission pays lip service to renewable revolution | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it

The European Commission adopted a new Communication on renewable energy today but its weak approach (no new targets - only promises for a framework past 2020) confirms that the fossil-fuel and gas industry has won the lobbying war. The fact that gas companies will now be able to get money from the renewables funding pot is a tragic joke. 


Via Willy De Backer
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Solar Knowledge: California Weighs Innovative Community Solar Bill

Rooftop solar power is growing like crazy in California. But there's a big problem: About 44 percent of California residents are renters, not homeowners. That means that nearly half the residents of the state can't purchase solar-generated electricity even if they want to.


Via Hans De Keulenaer
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Scotland's renewable energy output increased by 45% in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year.

Scotland's renewable energy output increased by 45% in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year. | Digital Sustainability | Scoop.it
Scotland's renewable energy output increased by 45% in the first quarter of this year, compared with the same period last year.

 

UK government figures showed Scotland generated 4,590 gigawatt hours (GWh) of renewable energy in the first three months of 2012.

 

This was an increase of 1,435 GWh on the first quarter of 2011.

 

Scotland is aiming to generate the equivalent of 100% of its electricity needs from renewables by 2020.

 

The UK Department of Energy and Climate Change also issued revised statistics for 2011 which showed that renewable electricity generation in Scotland was 13,735 GWh in 2011, an increase of 44.3% from 2010 and up 97.3% from 2006.

The Scottish government said that, assuming gross consumption in 2011 was similar to 2010, about 35% of Scotland's electricity needs came from renewables in 2011, beating its interim target of 31%.

 

'World leader'Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said the figures showed the country was making good progress towards the 2020 target.

He added: "The increase of 45.5% in renewable output in quarter one 2012 compared to quarter one 2011 is particularly encouraging when you consider that 2011 saw the highest output from renewable energy to date.

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