"This is unprecedented": Irish Minister of State for Flood Relief on tropical storm Ophelia

October 16, 2017 by  
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When you hear the word ‘ hurricane ,’ you probably don’t think about Ireland . But Tropical Storm Ophelia, which has been downgraded from its status as a hurricane, is on a path towards the country, with warnings of high seas, power outages , and hazardous conditions. Minister for Flood Relief Kevin Moran said at a Dublin press conference, “This is unprecedented.” An Atlantic hurricane has been whirling towards the United Kingdom . Although Ophelia is an ex-hurricane, the Irish Meteorological Service, Met Éireann , is warning of violent and destructive wind gusts that could reach between 120 and 150 kilometers per hour (km/h), or around 75 to 93 miles per hour (mph). They said heavy rain and storm surges in some coastal areas will lead to flooding , posing a danger to human property and lives. Related: How Hurricane Irma changed the colors of these Caribbean islands As many as 100,000 homes and businesses in the country have lost power, as power lines have been knocked down. An Electricity Supply Board spokesperson said earlier today many of the power lines are still live and asked people to stay away. The Met Éireann said at Cork Airport, wind gusts of 124 km/h, or 77 mph, were recorded; at Fastnet Rock wind gusts were 176 km/h, or 109 mph. The United Kingdom Met Office issued an amber weather warning for Northern Ireland, southwest Scotland, Strathclyde, and Wales. They issued yellow warnings for 11 locations, including western areas in England and Yorkshire. A status red weather warning applies to all cities and counties in Ireland, according to prime minister Leo Varadkar, who told people to stay indoors. Speaking of Debbie, the largest storm recorded in the history of Ireland in the 1960’s, he said, “The last time we had a storm this severe 11 lives were lost so safety is our number one priority.” Via The Guardian Images via NOAA/NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team and Met Éireann on Twitter

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"This is unprecedented": Irish Minister of State for Flood Relief on tropical storm Ophelia

A puzzle-like aluminum faade wraps around Bergens National Academy of the Arts

October 16, 2017 by  
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Snøhetta ’s recently completed National Academy of the Arts in Bergen is wrapped in an innovative prefab façade made of raw aluminum elements . The new facility is built to withstand the rainy climate of the Norwegian west coast and offer a durable, robust space where KMD’s 350 art and design students can learn and collaborate under one roof. The building replaces the former Bergen Academy of Art & Design (KHiB) and assembles the previously scattered faculty buildings under one roof. It has two main axes–one internal, dedicated to students and staff, and one external, open to the public. Related: Snøhetta unveils spectacular makeover for nation’s second-largest waterfall The most prominent features of the building are in the large project hall situated at the point where the two axes cross. The entrance is connected to a large outdoor plaza which makes the building inviting and engaged in a dialogue with Bergen’s city center. Related: Iridescent hand-folded metal panels clad Snøhetta’s Learning Center at Toronto’s Ryerson University Prefab raw aluminum elements clad the building’s exterior, with 900 varied sized seawater-durable crude aluminum elements protruding from the wall at varying distances. Large cantilevered box-shaped windows punctuate the rhythm of the metal surface. The crude aluminum surfaces can withstand the rainy coastal climate and will gradually weather and oxidize, heightening the variations in colors and textures. + Snøhetta Lead photo by Trond Isaksen

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A puzzle-like aluminum faade wraps around Bergens National Academy of the Arts

Huge battery in the UK holds the energy equivalent of 500K smartphone batteries

October 16, 2017 by  
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A large new battery storage project could help the United Kingdom’s grid handle power from more renewable sources . The 10 megawatt (MW) lithium-ion battery , on the grounds of a biomass plant in Sheffield, is contained inside four 40-foot shipping containers . It can hold the same amount of energy as around 500,000 smartphone batteries. UK energy company E.ON installed the battery , called the Blackburn Meadows battery for its location at the Blackburn Meadows biomass plant, and connected it to the grid . They said in their statement the battery has the same power as around 100 family cars. Related: Tesla nears halfway mark on world’s largest battery installation in South Australia The Blackburn Meadows battery is one of the first of what The Guardian described as a fleet of industrial-scale battery plants. National Grid, the firm that owns England and Wales’ electricity transmission network, requested new technologies to help keep the grid balanced, a challenge as more renewable sources come online – since the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow. The large batteries are a response to that request. When supply is high, the batteries can store power, and when supply drops, they can provide power. National Grid commercial development manager Leon Walker said in a statement, “Using battery storage is a significant development for managing the national grid. It’s an ultra-fast way of keeping electricity supply and demand balanced. Over four years we estimate that this service will save the system operator around £200 million.” While the Blackburn Meadows battery is currently one of the largest in Britain, The Guardian pointed out it won’t be long before others even bigger are built. They said British Gas’ parent company Centrica is building a 49MW battery facility, and EDF Energy is also building one that’s the same size. Their article included a graphic saying renewables provided almost 30 percent of the UK’s power between April and June of this year. Via The Guardian and E.ON Images via E.ON and Darren Cool / E.ON

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Huge battery in the UK holds the energy equivalent of 500K smartphone batteries

This terrifying glass walkway in China cracks as you step on it

October 16, 2017 by  
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Would you trek across this “cracking” glass walkway? In China ‘s Taihang Mountains there’s a frosty glass walkway that gives visitors a heart-stopping experience. The skywalk is approximately 873-feet-long and it’s located 3871 feet off the ground. Somewhere in the middle, however, there is a high-tech panel that simulates the effect of breaking glass. It’s so realistic that it has caused more than one person to nearly lose themselves in fright. The floor of the skywalk is all glass, but it alternates between clear and frosted panels. Because of this, it is impossible to know which panel will simulate the near-death experience — and possibly spawn a heart attack in the process. As the video above reveals, even the bravest of the brave will likely find themselves crawling the remaining portion of the glass walkway . The “fake” cracking glass panel is actually a high-tech display with pressure sensors. The moment an unsuspecting tourist steps on it, it begins to crack — giving them the sense they are about to drop to their death. There are even matching sound effects to complete the experience. Related: Spiraling treetop walkway gives visitors a bird’s eye view of a Danish forest There has been quite an uproar about the cracking glass skywalk. As a result, the local government issued an apology. A promotion video was also created to inform trekkers about the “fake” danger. Because the skywalk is checked daily for actual cracking glass, the likelihood of a panel breaking is said to be small. Via SlashGear Images via YouTube

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This terrifying glass walkway in China cracks as you step on it

Getting from Here to the Utility of the Future — An Industry View

October 3, 2017 by  
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Senior executives from three very different U.S. utilities discuss their respective visions for the future of utilities — specifically, the energy transition issues they are dealing with locally and nationally, and what it will take for corporations and local governments to work collaboratively with utilities to advance a clean energy economy. The conversation will also include a focus on how innovations within the power sector — including technologies and business models — are spurring significant opportunities for all industry stakeholders.

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Getting from Here to the Utility of the Future — An Industry View

VERGE Accelerate Pitch: Autocase, Nicholas Austin

October 3, 2017 by  
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A pitch competition that provides entrepreneurs in energy, buildings, transportation, supply chains, water, food, and cities the opportunity to present to the diverse VERGE community: executives from the world’s largest companies, public officials from progressive cities, venture capitalists, and others.

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VERGE Accelerate Pitch: Autocase, Nicholas Austin

India aims to bring electricity connections to 40 million households

October 3, 2017 by  
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Millions of homes in India lack electricity . Prime minister Narendra Modi hopes to change that with his Power For All By 2019 plan. Under the scheme, around 40 million households could obtain electricity connections – with the poor receiving them for free. Low income households could finally receive electricity in India. While people won’t get power for free under the Power For All plan – they’ll need to pay for electricity they consume – they could get a free connection. Homes will be connected to the closest electricity pole by a service cable, and the government will install an energy meter and wiring so homes can charge mobile phones and obtain light from an LED bulb. Related: India cancels plans for coal power stations as solar prices hit record low Homes in rural areas that can’t easily be connected to the grid will receive solar power packs of 200 to 300 watts and a battery pack. They’ll also get five LED lights, one DC power plug, and one DC fan, according to BloombergQuint. In addition, the government will provide maintenance and repair for five years. The idea isn’t completely new; Anil Razdan, former power secretary, told BloombergQuint it’s a decade old, and they’ve been working to electrify villages, but now, “after having spent tens of thousands of crore, we’ve finally decided to take it to every home.” Some households in the past couldn’t afford initial connection charges, and under the new plan, such homes could get connections for free. India will need around 28,000 more megawatts (MW) for the plan, according to BloombergQuint. Clean energy has been soaring in the country, according to a statement from Modi , which said in the past three years, renewable energy capacity has nearly doubled. Solar power capacity grew by almost five times. The government’s goal is to produce 175 gigawatts of clean power coming from wind, solar, and hydro by 2022. Via BloombergQuint Images via Pixabay and Wikimedia Commons

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India aims to bring electricity connections to 40 million households

How the Grid Powers Innovation

October 2, 2017 by  
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Traditionally entrenched electricity stakeholders are undergoing massive transitions. How are they working to transform the way our power grids function and collaborate with a market that is increasingly invested in distributed energy resources like onsite solar and storage? And how are utilities seeking to collaborate with technology innovators to accelerate a cleaner energy system for all?

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How the Grid Powers Innovation

Tesla and Vestas team up to combine batteries and wind turbines

September 1, 2017 by  
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Two of the world’s leading renewable energy giants are teaming up to work towards a sustainable energy future. Vestas , the world’s largest wind turbine manufacturer, is working on a global program to combine wind power with batteries , and they’ve turned to none other than Tesla for help. Vestas aims to add energy storage to wind farms for days when the wind doesn’t blow, so they started a global program centering around about 10 projects. Tesla isn’t the only company to receive a call from the wind turbine manufacturer, which will work with other battery makers to determine how to best store wind power. Related: World’s most powerful wind turbine breaks 24-hour record for energy generation Vestas announced at their general meeting in April that they wanted to focus on energy storage, and Denmark’s Borsen publication reported the collaboration with Tesla. Chairman Bert Nordberg said the company wants a new competitive edge after surging past General Electric Company to claim the largest market share of wind energy in America. Meanwhile, Tesla has been looking for new ways to utilize their batteries beyond electric cars and Powerwalls . Their battery units have been popping up in grid-scale installations such as this one in Southern California , and Elon Musk signed a deal in July with the government in South Australia to build a massive energy storage facility to help combat their power woes. Vestas has been tinkering with the idea of integrating battery storage with wind turbines since 2012, when they launched a test project in Lem-Kaer, Denmark. They said they plan to commission other such projects around the world. In a Friday statement, the company said, “Across a number of projects, Vestas is working with different energy storage technologies with specialized companies, including Tesla, to explore and test how wind turbines and energy storage can work together in sustainable energy solutions that can lower the cost of energy.” Via Bloomberg Images courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S and via Ernesto Sanchez/Edison International

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Tesla and Vestas team up to combine batteries and wind turbines

Meet the solar-powered electric motorhome we’ve all been waiting for

August 31, 2017 by  
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Tesla and Cummins are making waves right now with their new electric-powered semi trucks, but one other long-range vehicle has yet to make a significant jump to greener pastures – until now. German camper manufacturer Dethleffs has unveiled the e.home concept – a solar-powered electric motorhome. The idea of an electric motorhome would seem like a great idea, until you realize that many of the remote locations that you’d be traveling to probably don’t have the charging infrastructure you would need. That’s where the e.home concept comes in. Since it’s a solar-powered motorhome, it can use the power of the sun to recharge the motorhome’s battery pack. Related: sCarabane: a self-sufficient expanding caravan powered by the sun and wind The e.home is built on Dethleffs Iveco Daily Electric chassis. The Iveco Daily is powered by a 107-hp electric motor with several different battery options, but the largest gives it a range up to 174 miles on the European Cycle, in non-camper trim. With the extra weight of the camper, the range of the e.home concept drops to just over 100 miles. That short driving range won’t really matter, since the e.home has 334 square feet of thin-film solar panels on its exterior. The solar panels can generate up to 3,000 watts of electricity to power the 228-Ah sodium-nickel-chloride battery. Besides the solar panels and electric motor, there are other efficient tricks to the e.home concept, like a heating system that uses phase change materials to absorb heat when the outside temperature rises above 79°. The heat is then released into the cabin when the temperature drops at night. There are also infrared heating panels in the floor, walls and furniture. There are also some driver assistance technologies in the e.home, like the Mobileye-based front vehicle monitoring system and the CampConnect app. Via New Atlas + Dethleffs Images @Dethleffs

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Meet the solar-powered electric motorhome we’ve all been waiting for

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