Germany expects to add 900 MW of new offshore wind capacity in 2017

July 24, 2017 by  
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Germany’s offshore wind boom is accelerating. The Federal Republic has already brought online a total of 626 megawatts (MW) of new offshore wind capacity in the first six months of 2017 and industry groups said in a recent joint statement that they expect to see total installations of 900 MW by the end of the year. If Germany hits the 900 MW mark in 2017, it would exceed the 818 MW added in 2016. At the current rate of expansion, Germany could be on track to blow past government targets of 6,500 MW for 2020, the industry groups said. The country’s installed offshore wind total is already at 4,729 MW from 1,055 turbines. Related: Germany, Denmark, and Belgium to boost offshore wind 5-fold within the next decade The industry groups said that the offshore wind industry is moving away from the era of costly subsidies to becoming more commercially viable and bringing costs down for consumers. “This paradigm shift offers the next government chances to lift expansion targets to at least 20 gigawatts (20,000 MW) up to 2030 and at least 30 GW to 2035, utilizing the economic and industrial political potential of offshore wind,” the industry groups said. Germany’s offshore wind farms delivered 8.48 terrawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity to the grid in the first six month of 2016 — producing more electricity than was generated in all of 2015 (8.29TWh). Via Reuters Images via Wikimedia 1 , 2 , 3

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Germany expects to add 900 MW of new offshore wind capacity in 2017

Studiolada used all wood materials to create this affordable open-source home anyone can build

July 24, 2017 by  
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Skillfully blending the basics of frugality and sustainability into one beautiful home design, French firm Studiolada Architects has just unveiled the Open Source House. The team took a bare bones approach to the home’s design, forgoing superfluous features such as plaster and paint in favor of local sustainable wood on the exterior as well as the interior. In order to promote responsible and affordable building practices, Studiolada  released the plans to build the home for all to use. Located in Baccarat, France, the Open Source Home – which is just over 1,200 feet and includes a separate garage – was built for a retired couple who were looking to create a home that would be as cost effective and energy-efficient as possible. Accordingly, the architects decided to take the fuss out of the home’s design, instead opting to strategically use a combination of bare basics to create a stunning design. Related: Oregon couple spends years building their net-zero ‘extreme green dream home’ Using wood panels as the principal building material reduced the project’s overall cost and footprint because the wooden beams and wall panels were cut and varnished in a nearby workshop. Prefabricated concrete was used to embed the support beams, which were then clad in wooden panels. In fact, wood covers just about everything in the home, from the walls and flooring to the ceiling and partitions. Sustainable materials such as cellulose wadding and wood fibers were even used to insulate the home. By keeping the wood panels exposed instead of covering them with plaster and paint, the design team achieved a clean, minimalist interior that is both homey and inviting. The open layout includes a living room, kitchen and mezzanine located on the first floor, and the bedrooms and bathroom are on the upper floor. The living room opens up to a spacious terrace and private yard. Large glass panels provide optimal natural light to the interior as well as connect the home to its natural surroundings. If you are inclined to create a similar home, you can check out the plans, sections, details, cost estimates and descriptions for free here . + Studiolada Architects Via Archdaily Photography by Olivier Mathiotte

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Studiolada used all wood materials to create this affordable open-source home anyone can build

Lyme disease shot could offer 100% protection

July 24, 2017 by  
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Lyme disease is a growing issue in the United States. Since the 1990’s, the number of cases has more than doubled . Scientists at a laboratory associated with the University of Massachusetts (UMass) Medical School are working on an answer, and have made progress on a shot that could protect people against contracting the disease . Lyme disease, which is contracted after infected ticks transmit a bacterium to humans, is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is “ the most commonly reported vectorborne illness in the United States .” 14 states, most on the East Coast of the country, have reported 95 percent of confirmed cases. Every year 30,000 cases are reported to the CDC, and that number is only increasing. Related: GUIDE: Effective Non-Toxic Bug Repellents for You and Your Family The shot – which Western Mass News makes clear is not a vaccine – could be groundbreaking. Professor Mark Klempner said the scientists have isolated one antibody that could prevent Lyme disease from being transmitted to humans. The antibody could kill the bacteria in the tick’s gut when it bites so a person won’t get the disease. One injection could last from the spring through the fall. So far, the team has tested the antibody in mice . Klempner told Western Mass News, “We take ticks that carry the bacteria – many of them – six or seven, put them on a small rodent, and then give that mouse a little bit of that antibody. It’s been 100 percent effective in preventing many ticks from transmitting.” The method has been entirely effective in preventing mice from contracting the disease. Klempner said the discovery of the antibody came during research in which he was involved for a vaccine, now discontinued. With the new research, the team thus far has not seen any unfavorable side effects, but needs to do more testing. Undergoing Food and Drug Administration trials could take around two to three years. Via Western Mass News Images via Pixabay and U.S. Department of Agriculture on Flickr

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Worlds largest offshore wind farm opens in The Netherlands

May 9, 2017 by  
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Dutch officials have increased the country’s clean energy repertoire with the world’s largest offshore wind farm . Opened on Monday, Gemini wind park has 150 wind turbines spinning approximately 53 miles (85 kilometers) off the northern coast of The Netherlands ; the project is capable of generating about 600 megawatts at full winds – enough to power 785,000 Dutch households. The wind park, which was conceived in 2010 and cost $3 billion (2.8-billion-euro), comprises a collaboration between Canadian renewable energy company Northland Power, wind turbine producer Siemens Wind Power, Dutch maritime contractor Van Oord and the waste processing company HVC. “We are now officially in the operational stage,” said Matthias Haag, the company’s managing director, in a press release.” This been “quite a complex” operation, Haag added, “particularly as this wind park lies relatively far offshore… so it took quite a lot of logistics.” Over the next 15 years, the Gemini wind park will be able to generate about 13 percent of the country’s total renewable energy supply or about 25 percent of its wind power . This, in turn, will meet the energy requirements of about 1.5 million people. Related: Scotland’s latest wind farm will help fund 500 new affordable homes Phys.org estimates that the wind park will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.25 billion tons. Fossil fuels continue to make up approximately 95 percent of The Netherland’s energy supply, according to a 2016 report from the ministry of economics affairs. However, by sourcing 14 percent of its energy from clean sources – including wind and solar – by 2025, the Dutch country will be en route to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Hopefully, the example The Netherlands has set will inspire other countries to follow suit in an effort to curb climate change . Via Phys

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Worlds largest offshore wind farm opens in The Netherlands

New York approves nation’s largest offshore wind farm

January 26, 2017 by  
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It’s official – New York just gave the green light for the nation’s largest offshore wind farm. The new South Fork Wind Farm will generate 90 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity from 15 turbines — enough energy to power more than 50,000 homes. Offshore developer Deepwater Wind, fresh off its successful completion of the Block Island Wind Farm in Rhode Island, won the contract to install the turbines 30 miles southeast of Montauk. The turbines will be connected to a substation in East Hampton by a 50-mile undersea cable. The Long Island Power Authority voted Wednesday to move forward with the state’s first commercial offshore wind development. The project is the second in the US after the 30-megawatt, 5-turbine Block Island Wind Farm – which began operating off the coast of Rhode Island six weeks ago. “New York leads the nation in pioneering clean energy innovation, and this bold action marks the next step in our unprecedented commitment to offshore wind, as well as our ambitious long-term energy goal of supplying half of all electricity from renewable sources by 2030,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in a statement . “This project will not only provide a new, reliable source of clean energy, but will also create high-paying jobs, continue our efforts to combat climate change and help preserve our environment for current and future generations of New Yorkers.” Related: America’s first offshore wind farm is now powering 17,000 homes In his State of the State address in Albany earlier this month, the governor pledged to build 2,400 megawatts of offshore wind power by 2030 – enough to power 1.25 million homes. The $740 million project on the eastern end of Long Island is the first step in developing the 256-square-mile area that could potentially contain as many as 200 wind turbines generating up to 1,000 megawatts of clean, renewable electricity. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is working on an Offshore Wind Master Plan to be released this year that will identify additional New York coastal areas where offshore wind can be developed. “Offshore wind needs to be a significant part of the energy mix. It is key to putting the Empire State on a path toward an economy powered entirely by renewable energy,” Heather Leibowitz, director of Environment New York, said in a statement. “The 90-megawatts of energy produced off east Montauk will get us one step closer to this goal.” + South Fork Wind Farm Via Environment New York Images via UK Department of Energy and Climate Change , Vattenfall

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Obama administration aims for 86 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2050

September 12, 2016 by  
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Could the Atlantic and Pacific coastlines of the United States one day look like the North Sea with thousands of wind turbines generating gigawatts of clean, renewable electricity? The US has a long way to go to catch up with Europe’s nearly 12 GW of installed offshore wind capacity. But if the Obama administration’s new offshore wind plan is fully implemented, by 2050 the US would blow Europe’s current capacity out of the water with 86 gigawatts of offshore wind — enough emissions-free electricity to power more than 23 million homes. The report states that there is a “technical potential” of an astounding 2,058 GW of offshore wind in US waters – enough to provide nearly double the total electric generation of the entire country. The National Offshore Wind Strategy – part of the Obama administration’s Climate Action Plan – builds on the momentum of the country’s first offshore wind farm , which was completed last month. The Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island will soon be generating 30 megawatts of electricity from five turbines – enough to power 17,000 homes. US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell visited the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Wind Technology Testing Center in Boston on Friday to announce that the federal government will be increasing efforts to develop offshore wind as part of the administration’s commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the Paris climate agreement. Related: European wind energy is now cheaper than nuclear power “Today’s collaborative strategic plan is part of a long-term commitment to support innovation that enables widespread offshore wind deployment and shows how offshore wind will benefit our country with new jobs, less pollution, and a more diversified electricity mix,” Moniz said in a statement. According to the report, fully implementing the offshore wind plan would support 160,000 jobs, reduce power sector water consumption by 5 percent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.8 percent. Generating 86 GW of offshore wind by 2050 would also make up 14 percent of the projected demand for new electricity generation in the coastal and Great Lakes states. Last year, the Interior department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management awarded 11 commercial leases for offshore wind development off the Atlantic coast. There are also plans for the nation’s first freshwater offshore wind farm in Lake Erie near Cleveland, and offshore wind is currently being considered for California and Hawaii. Mitigating climate change and reducing air pollution aren’t the only benefits of offshore wind. According to Stanford University Professor Mark Jacobson, founder of The Solutions Project, a plan to power the world with 100 percent renewable energy, offshore wind farms can potentially weaken hurricane winds and reduce storm surge. + National Offshore Wind Strategy Via Grist Images via Ad Meskens and Wikimedia

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The worlds largest floating wind farm is planned for the California coast

August 4, 2016 by  
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The world’s largest and America’s first major offshore wind farm is planned to open in 2021 off the coast of California. One hundred floating turbines will produce 765 megawatts of energy, leaving the 630 MW London Array in the dust. The system commissioned by Trident Winds is expected to power over 200,000 homes. The Morro Bay Offshore project will be located off the shore of Pt. Estero, California, 33 miles from the coast. Floating platforms supporting the turbines will be anchored to the seabed 2,600 to 3,300 feet under the water. The fastest coastal winds in the U.S. are located too far off shore for traditional undersea platforms, which use concrete or steel pilings. Floating platforms are an innovative solution only currently used in test projects. Related: Massive turbines and blades for America’s first offshore wind farm land in Rhode Island While cheaper to install, the amount of steel used and longer power cables needed to reach shore bring the price per megawatt from $4 million to $9 million with the floating platform project. If the wind farm is ever decommissioned, however, all of the materials could be brought back ashore instead of being left to litter the seabed. There is some concern that the Morro Bay Offshore project could encounter particularly turbulent seas or the cables could even interfere with multiple whale species who migrate there. Trident Winds is plowing forward, however, with a four-year plan to start producing wind power by 2025. As technology improves, the growing pains of cost and negative impact on the environment should decrease. + Trident Winds Via New Atlas Images via Wikipedia , Flickr

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The worlds largest floating wind farm is planned for the California coast

IBM creates first-ever artificial neurons that behave like the real thing

August 4, 2016 by  
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IBM researchers in Switzerland have created an artificial neuron that behaves just like the real thing . For the first time in history, artificial phase-change neurons have been grouped together (in a population of 500 synthesized in a lab) to process a neurological signal in more or less the same way that biological neurons transmit messages. They can be made exceptionally small and are similar in power and energy usage to biological neurons, and can even produce results with random variations, also just like biological neurons. For non-scientists, the importance of this discovery may not be immediately apparent. IBM ’s artificial neuron , developed by a research team in Zurich, is quite literally the next best thing to a naturally created biological neuron. The lab-created version has all the same components of a biological neuron, including inputs (dendrites), a neuronal membrane (lipid bilayer) around the spike generator (soma, nucleus), and an output (axon). Likewise, its functions mimic those of its biological counterpart. Related: Scientists create the world’s first enzymes using synthetic biology In addition to all that, the artificial neurons are durable, made from well-known materials that can withstand trillions of switching cycles. They are tiny (around 90 nanometers) and researchers believe they can make them even smaller, possibly as minuscule as 14nm. The researchers started by creating 500 artificial neurons together in a chain capable of sending signals, which means the IBM team has created the closest artificial version of a biological neuron. In the next phase of research, the team will create a much larger population of artificial neurons, with thousands of individual units, and write software to push their capabilities to the limit. The study results were published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology. Via Ars Technica Images via IBM

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World’s largest and cheapest offshore wind farm will power 1m homes

July 11, 2016 by  
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The Netherlands may become home to the world’s cheapest offshore wind farm in as little as 10 years, according to the nation’s government. Plans for a 700 MW wind farm are coming together and, after considering 38 bids from developers, the cost of the Borssele offshore wind farm is now estimated to run $2.9 billion less than originally thought. Additionally, the wind farm will have a higher output, producing 22.5 percent more electricity than anticipated. Embed from Getty Images The Borselle wind farm under discussion actually represents two sites that will together generate clean energy nearly 14 miles off the coast of Zeeland province. Eventually, the Borssele project will be expanded to encompass five separate sites, the last of which will be a smaller experimental farm used to test new wind energy technology. With Sites I and II coming in at such a savings, in part thanks to government subsidies, it’s possible the timeline for the other sites will be expedited. Related: Colorful noise pollution barriers that also generate solar energy being tested in the Netherlands “Worldwide, it has never happened before that an offshore wind farm can be built at such low cost,” said Henk Kamp, Netherlands’ minister of economic affairs. “The Dutch system in which companies have to compete with each other while the government regulates all conditions for building the wind farm has proved to be very successful. This reduction of cost represents a major breakthrough in the transition to more sustainable energy .” With the wind farm comes clean energy for nearly one million homes, expanding to five million once the remaining wind farms are built. The Borssele wind farm will also create around 10,000 jobs, as well as other economic benefits for the nearby communities. These wind farm projects are part of the country’s larger strategy to increase offshore wind energy generation capacity from the existing 1,000 MW to a grand total of 4,500 MW, which contributes to the national goal of 16 percent renewable energy by 2023. Currently, the world’s largest offshore wind farm is the 630 MW London Array project , but the Borssele wind farm is expected to win that title upon its completion, with 700 MW. Via Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs Lead image via Shutterstock

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World’s largest and cheapest offshore wind farm will power 1m homes

Cleveland offshore wind farm project awarded $40 million DOE grant

June 28, 2016 by  
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Could the Rust Belt turn into the Wind Belt? The Great Lakes represent 20 percent of the United States’ total offshore wind energy capacity, but not a single wind turbine has yet to be seen. That could start to change soon thanks to a $40 million grant from the Department of Energy for North America’s first offshore freshwater wind farm, located on Lake Erie about eight to 10 miles northwest of downtown Cleveland, Ohio. The funding was awarded to Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation (LEEDCo) for its “Icebreaker” project that will consist of six 3.45 megawatt turbines (20.7 MW). “Lake Erie is the Saudi Arabia of wind, and today’s award should be a gusher for northern Ohio,” Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) said in a recent statement . “This wind power project will begin to unleash Lake Erie’s full renewable power potential and contribute to creating a more competitive energy marketplace. LEEDCo’s innovative vision can help transform energy production and distribution for northern Ohio’s residents and thousands of businesses. Because Lake Erie serves both the U.S. and Canada this development also harkens toward a future that could link Ohio and Ontario in a new energy partnership.” Related: The world’s largest floating wind farm will be operational next year Acccording to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, LEEDCo’s decision to adopt the European-designed “Mono Bucket” foundation, which “eliminates pile driving in the bedrock below the lake bed,” might have played a role in DOE’s decision to fully fund the project. The total cost of the project is estimated to be around $120 million. In addition to previous federal grants totalling $10 million, Fred Olsen Renewables, the largest independent power producer in the United Kingdom, is expected to raise the remaining $70 million. The nation’s first offshore wind farm is on schedule for completion later this year. The Block Island Wind Farm is located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rhode Island. The 30-megawatt, five-turbine project is expected to produce more than 125,000 megawatt hours annually. The Lake Erie offshore wind farm is expected to be completed and operational by the end of 2018. + Lake Erie Energy Development Corporation Via Renewable Energy World Images via Flickr and Wikimedia

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