Nova Scotia Power pioneers new energy storage system using Tesla Powerpacks

February 19, 2018 by  
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Nova Scotia Power has established a pilot project that utilizes Tesla’s Powerpack 2 home batteries and their utility-grade Powerpack batteries to form an improved energy storage system for local wind power. Based in Elmsdale, the Intelligent Feed Project aims to bridge any gaps found in the electrical grid by installing Powerpacks where wind turbines are generating surplus energy. These batteries would allow power to be stored for later use, perhaps when there is a power outage or a windless day. While the Powerpack’s expansion into Nova Scotia isn’t quite as massive as its application in places like South Australia , this latest move demonstrates its potential to improve energy storage in power grids. The Elmsdale battery station will serve 300 homes, 10 of which will have Tesla Powerpack 2 batteries. Partially funded by the Canadian government, the trial program will begin at the end of February and will continue until 2019. The physical infrastructure of Powerpacks will remain even after the trial has ended. If the trial is successful, Nova Scotia Power may decide to offer additional programs to local communities. Related: Nantucket to be powered by a 48 MWh Tesla Powerpack system Simply bringing the Powerpacks into the homes and neighborhoods of Elmsdale seems to be having a positive impact on engagement in clean energy infrastructure. “The Powerwall, that was something I hadn’t heard about,” said homeowner Mark Candow . “I was definitely intrigued.” The ease-of-installation and the interactive app provided by Tesla are certainly selling points for consumers. “The ability to monitor their home usage is really making them think more about how they’re using electricity in their home,” said smart grid engineer Rob Boone , “and I think it’s going to make them more energy efficient .” Via Engadget Images via Nova Scotia Power

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Nova Scotia Power pioneers new energy storage system using Tesla Powerpacks

Norway rejects wind farm in favor of wild reindeer

February 7, 2018 by  
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Nearly 35,000 wild reindeer make their home in the southern mountains of Norway – “the last remaining viable populations in Europe,” according to Reuters . And the country recently prioritized the animals over energy , rejecting construction of a 120 megawatt (MW) wind farm over concerns it could harm the animals . The wind farm had the potential to boost business in the Bygland municipality, a sparsely-populated area. But it also would have been located in a designated national reserve where reindeer live, according to the country’s energy ministry; subsequently, Norway nixed construction. Related: Snøhetta’s Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion was inspired by the robust landscape Other pressures on the herds of wild reindeer include holiday cabins, roads, reservoirs, and railways. In November 2017, eight freight trains killed around 110 reindeer in Norway over a period of one week. TreeHugger said development has encroached on reindeer habitat, and the creatures are suffering. That’s not to mention climate change ; more frequent winter pasture freezes and thaws have also had a negative impact on the reindeer population, particularly in the Arctic north, according to Reuters. The outlet reported around 99 percent of Norway’s domestic energy needs are met by electricity generated in hydropower dams. Generating more power than they can utilize, the country is a net exporter to other Nordic nations and the Netherlands. In 2017, Norway licensed construction for two wind farms with a 141 MW combined capacity in the south of the country, as that region has grown more interested in wind energy in the last few years. So perhaps it wasn’t too difficult to make the call to prioritize reindeer over clean energy. TreeHugger referred to it as an inspiration: having enough renewable energy infrastructure that a country can decide in favor of wildlife when considering a new project. Via Reuters and TreeHugger Images via Espen Faugstad on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons

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Norway rejects wind farm in favor of wild reindeer

More companies prefer green bonds, carbon taxes

February 7, 2018 by  
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Experts from Citi, Microsoft and Bank of America weigh in on the latest corporate efforts to reach dramatic emissions targets.

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More companies prefer green bonds, carbon taxes

Wind energy sets sail on the Great Lakes

January 18, 2018 by  
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Proposals to build turbines in North America’s Great Lakes have stalled in recent years — but a new initiative aims to break through the barriers.

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Wind energy sets sail on the Great Lakes

Tightening the net on illegal fishing

January 18, 2018 by  
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Although it has taken years, governments and the international community are finally acting to end this crime and mete out fitting punishments.

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Tightening the net on illegal fishing

Wind power supplied 43.6% of Denmark’s energy in 2017

January 5, 2018 by  
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Denmark set a new renewable energy record in 2017 by obtaining nearly half of its power from wind . The renewable source supplied 43.6 percent of electricity demand, beating the nation’s prior record of 42 percent in 2015 . In just a few years, the country could obtain 50 percent of its power from wind. Denmark’s wind turbines were particularly active in 2017, generating 14,700 gigawatt-hours in 12 months for a new production record, according to Renewables Now . Since 2001, installed wind energy capacity has doubled – even though there are around 20 percent fewer turbines. That’s because today’s turbines are larger and more efficient. The nation has installed 5.3 gigawatts of wind power on land and offshore – and most of the offshore turbines were installed after 2001. Related: Wind energy supplied all of Denmark’s power needs one day last week By 2020, Denmark could obtain around half of its electricity via wind. By then the nation should be able to generate 80 percent of its electricity from renewable sources including biomass and solar power . One of the world’s biggest wind turbine companies, Vestas , is headquartered in Denmark, and Danish companies are selling their green technology around the world, according to prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen’s new year speech cited by Danish Energy. CEO Lars Aagaard said milestones like the 43.6 percent figure help put Danish solutions on the agenda. At the end of 2017, Vestas announced a 96 megawatt order for a wind farm in India. TreeHugger points out that as transportation is powered more by electricity, greener grids are good news. Electric cars and buses are traversing the streets, and electric planes could someday be flying the skies. According to TreeHugger, 52 percent of new car sales in nearby Norway were electric. And while Denmark has quite a ways to go before they hit that target, once they do, those electric cars could run on clean electricity from all the wind power generated in the country. Via Danish Energy , Renewables Now , and TreeHugger Images via Depositphotos and Pixabay

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Wind power supplied 43.6% of Denmark’s energy in 2017

Here’s how clean energy could help Puerto Rico navigate out of the dark

January 2, 2018 by  
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Solar, wind and microgrids are promising, but misconceptions about their cost and benefit could interfere with their adoption.

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Here’s how clean energy could help Puerto Rico navigate out of the dark

Dutch utilityplans massive windfarm island

December 29, 2017 by  
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TenneT, the primary Dutch electric utility company, is planning to construct a “windfarm island” in the North Sea. This island would serve as an operational hub for a network of nearby offshore wind farms at a facility that would dwarf any current such centers. The plan, already in its advanced stages, proposes Dogger Bank, 125km (78 miles) off the East Yorkshire coast of England, as a potential location for the wind farm island. Once constructed, the hub would transmit electricity over a long-distance, underwater cable to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, with eventual connections possible to Belgium, Denmark, and Germany .   As more desirable spots closer to shore are claimed, the maturing wind energy industry is making some bold moves to continue its growth. “It’s crucial for industry to continue with the cost reduction path,” Rob van der Hage, offshore wind grid development program manager at TenneT, told  the Guardian . “It’s logical we are looking at areas further offshore.” Though the windfarm island plan is ambitious, the specific details of running such a facility are still in development and its profitability remains to be seen. “As the industry matures, you’d very much expect them to start thinking outside the box,” energy analyst Peter Atherton told the Guardian . “Whether the economics pan out, whether you really can sell North Sea wind out to the continent, is questionable.” Related: World’s first 3D-printed bridge opens in the Netherlands The windfarm island would act as a hub for nearby wind farms , which would send electricity generated to the island along short-distance, inexpensive cables. Once stored, the electricity will be converted from alternate current to direct current, which is more efficient when sending electric power across long distances, for its journey back to the mainland. This allows greater flexibility in the wind market and ensures that a much higher percentage of wind energy is distributed to where it is needed. The Dutch are not daunted by the challenge of building their own windfarm island. “Is it difficult?,” asked Van der Hage rhetorically. “In the Netherlands, when we see a piece of water we want to build islands or land. We’ve been doing that for centuries. That is not the biggest challenge.” Via the Guardian Images via TenneT and Depositphotos

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Dead rabbits found at Iowa wind farm likely used to lure and kill eagles

November 2, 2017 by  
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In a story that may have come  two days late , a local landowner-farmer in Delaware County, Iowa was shocked to discover over a dozen deceased rabbits, each with their necks broken, scattered beneath wind turbines on their land. The land is leased by RPM Access, a company that owns several wind farms throughout the state. “I don’t understand who would do something like this? I really don’t,” said Linda Slobodnik, an environmental consultant for RPM Access, according to KWWL News . Slobodnik, who has stated that this act of violence is the most disturbing incident she has seen in her 10 years in the wind industry, believes the rabbits were used to lure in eagles or other birds to the turbines, likely to kill them as well. Why would someone seek to lure and kill eagles, using dead rabbits as bait? “There are a lot of anti-wind people. At this time, we are looking at new places for projects, and I am thinking that possibly someone would like us to not build another wind farm in the area,” said Slobodnik. “I think there is a lot of people who will speak against the wind turbines. I think a lot of what they do is out of ignorance,” said RPM Access Project Manager, Kevin Lehs, according to KWWL News . Despite some local resistance, Iowa has made enormous progress towards a clean energy economy, primarily through wind power , which provided more than 36 percent of all electricity used in 2016. As it stands, Iowa is the most wind-powered state in the United States . Related: The world’s first floating wind farm just switched online Although the dead rabbits were deliberately placed, it is true that wind turbines can kill local wildlife. It is estimated that 300,000 birds are killed by wind turbines each year. That may sound like a lot, but it’s important to see these numbers in context. Wind power kills 1/15th the number of birds that fossil-fuel generated power does each year. Glass buildings in cities are also frequent bird killers. And, of course, outdoor and feral cats kill hundreds of millions of birds annually. Via Elektrek and KWWL News Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Dead rabbits found at Iowa wind farm likely used to lure and kill eagles

Former coal miners receive training for renewable energy jobs

October 3, 2017 by  
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Over half of the United States’ electricity came from coal in 2000. That figure has plummeted to around one third in 2016, and thousands of coal workers have lost their jobs . But former fossil fuel workers have skills that could translate well to jobs like installing solar panels or working on wind turbines . Other programs teaching former miners computer coding and beekeeping are also aiding the transition away from fossil fuels to a greener future. Coal miners once found roles in West Virginia and Wyoming , and now alternative energy training programs in those states offer new hope. For example, there’s Solar Holler in West Virginia, whose goal, according to their website, is to revitalize Appalachian communities with solar power . They’re working with Coalfield Development to train people to become solar panel installers. Coalfield Development is also rehabilitating buildings and starting an agriculture program, including transforming an old mine area into a solar-powered fish farm, according to The New York Times. Related: The wind turbine manufacturer putting unemployed coal miners to work Or there’s Goldwind Americas , a wind turbine manufacturer offering a training program for coal miners that started earlier this year in Wyoming . The miners could help construct a massive wind farm , and the company will employ up to 200 workers to maintain the farm after it’s built. Appalachian Headwaters is another organization providing an alternative for former coal miners. They’re turning an old camp into an apiary, with the goal of helping coal workers and veterans get a start in the honey business. Next year, they’ll give around 150 hives to 35 workers either for free or with a no- or low-interest loan. Solar Holler founder Dan Conant said diversification is important in the area – the solar program so far only trains 10 workers a year. There are challenges in the transition to a clean energy future, but for now, programs like the ones above offer new training and roles for unemployed miners. Via The New York Times and Axios Images via Bureau of Land Management on Flickr and Coalfield Development Corporation Facebook

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