Done With the Wind

To power the future, many commentators today exhort us to buy lots of “green energy”—chiefly solar panels and wind turbines. They claim this is a way to avoid running out of fossil fuel, to create “green jobs” and greater energy security, and to respond to global warming. However, these arguments mostly fail on closer inspection. [Full Story]

Make electricity from duckweed?

ASHLAND — An Ashland company has teamed up with an East Coast engineer who has figured out how to generate cheap, clean electricity from a plant all too familiar to people who frequent the Lithia Park ponds — duckweed — and then use exhaust from the generator to grow more duckweed.

Pacific Domes of Ashland, a global marketer of geodesic domes, is now selling BioEnergy Domes developed by Rudy Behrens, an aerospace engineer whose patented system is capable of producing a megawatt of electricity for the same price as coal or nuclear energy — and significantly cheaper than wind or solar. The systems are green, sustainable, and can be either small enough for a single home or large enough for a municipal utility. [Full Story]

Owens Corning opens fourth China composites plant

After starting up the furnace in December, Owens Corning formally announced the opening of a new composites plant on the outskirts of the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou.

The factory will serve China’s booming market for composites, serving markets ranging from automotive to wind energy and high-pressure piping. [Full Story]

USDA Seeks Applications for Renewable Energy Funding

WASHINGTON, March 14, 2011 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA is seeking applications to increase the production and use of renewable energy sources. Funding is available from three USDA Rural Development renewable energy programs authorized by the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008 (Farm Bill). [Full Story]

China to complete five-year energy plan by end of March

The formulation of the energy development plan for the 12th Five-Year Plan period, led by the National Energy Administration (NEA), will be completed by the end of March as scheduled, NEA Deputy Minister Qian Zhimin said in an exclusive interview with China Securities Journal. [Full Story]

Bill Meehan on using GIS to help create a smart grid

Smart grids will create two-way communication between energy companies and consumers. They’re being developed now here in the U.S. and other parts of the world to replace existing, outdated energy infrastructure. Bill Meehan is Director of Utility Solutions with Esri, a company that creates geographic information systems, or GIS, software. This type of software – which links information to geographic locations – has fundamental uses in conjunction with smart grids. Davenhall spoke with EarthSky’s Jorge Salazar. [Full Story]

Enhanced Geothermal Systems: Good Concept but Commercially Viable?

London With a need for cheaper renewable energy on a vast scale, conventional geothermal energy has long been seen as a reliable source of energy, based primarily along continental boundaries. With the potential to produce energy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Enhanced Geothermal Systems (EGS) has been seen as a viable renewable resource which if successful could help the US meet its energy needs by exploiting the approximately 500,000 MWe of EGS resources. [Full Story]

China Leads U.S. in Clean Energy

- WASHINGTON – China's huge push for clean energy technologies has left the U.S. scrambling to catch up, but homegrown energy innovations could help the U.S. boost its own economic and national security.

The energy challenge for the U.S. was detailed during a series of speeches at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit here today (March 1). China has aimed to get 18 percent of its energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind by 2020, and has broken ground on 25 nuclear reactors out of more than 60 new nuclear power plants worldwide. [Full Story]

Energy Harvesting Evaluation Kit supports multiple harvesting methods.

March 7, 2011 - EnerChip(TM) EP CBC-EVAL-09 supports all types of ambient energy harvesting, from light and vibration, to thermal gradients and flow/motion. Kit includes EnerChip(TM) Energy Processor CBC915-ACA, a universal energy harvesting PMU that works across all energy harvesting transducer technologies, including photovoltaic, thermoelectric, piezoelectric, and electromagnetic. To store harvested energy, EVAL-09 uses solid state batteries, which are non-combustible and do not require special disposal process.

A way to help wind energy

Excerpts from the Globe’s environmental blog. You can build your own backyard turbine. Or you could, more easily, buy green power.

Utilities sometimes offer customers the opportunity to purchase renewable energy, almost always at a higher cost, reflecting the reality that clean energy still costs more than traditional forms such as coal or natural gas. [Full Story]

Subsidy cuts to spur energy research?