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11 innovative companies giving energy storage a jolt

Submitted on 04/22/14, 02:19 PM | Click Here for the full article: GreenBiz.com

11 innovative companies giving energy storage a jolt11 innovative companies giving energy storage a jolt

Technological and market forces have converged to make energy storage one of the most exciting — and potentially game-changing — opportunities for commercial and industrial facility managers, grid operators, homeowners and investors.

Forward-thinking utilities, battery suppliers, power inverter producers, system integrators and public-sector supporters are driving a massive expansion of energy storage solutions aimed at enabling the grid of the future — or even a grid-less future.

Although the energy storage value chain includes hundreds — if not thousands — of players, the following are leading the charge. Full Article:

Here are 11 innovative companies giving energy storage a jolt:

1. Aquion Energy: A cleaner chemistry
2. General Electric: A storage giant awakens
3. Green Charge Networks: Power efficiency
4. LG Chem: Leading lithium-ion battery maker
5. NEC Corporation: Global grid-scale storage
6. NRG Energy: From V2G to 'post-grid future'
7. Princeton Power: Grid-tied storage
8. Solar Grid Storage: A match made in the heavens
9 and 10. SolarCity and Tesla: A dynamic duo
11. Sonnenbatterie: From Europe with love

 

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A blow to corn-based biofuels

Submitted on 04/21/14, 06:22 AM | Click Here for the full article: LA Times

A blow to corn-based biofuelsA blow to corn-based biofuels

Biofuels made from the leftovers of harvested corn plants are worse than gasoline for global warming in the short term, a study shows, challenging the Obama administration's conclusions that they are a much cleaner oil alternative and will help combat climate change.

A $500,000 study paid for by the federal government and published Sunday in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change concludes that biofuels made with corn residue release 7% more greenhouse gases in the early years compared with conventional gasoline.

Biofuels are better in the long run, but the study says they won't meet a standard set in a 2007 energy law to qualify as renewable fuel.

The conclusions deal a blow to what are known as cellulosic biofuels, which have received more than a billion dollars in federal support but have struggled to meet volume targets mandated by law. About half of the initial market in cellulosics is expected to be derived from corn residue.

The biofuel industry and administration officials called the research flawed. They said that it was too simplistic in its analysis of carbon loss from soil, which can vary over a single field, and that it vastly overestimated how much residue farmers would remove once the market gets underway.

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Obama to challenge private companies to boost solar power use

Submitted on 04/17/14, 12:26 PM | Click Here for the full article: Washington Post

Obama to challenge private companies to boost solar power useObama to challenge private companies to boost solar power use

President Obama will challenge companies Thursday to expand their use of solar power, part of his ongoing effort to leverage the power of his office to achieve goals that have been stymied by Congress. The new initiative comes as the White House is hosting a Solar Summit aimed at highlighting successful efforts on the local level to speed the deployment of solar energy.
 
Although some large solar plants are coming online and it is the fastest-growing source of renewable energy in the United States, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, it accounts for roughly 1 percent of the nation’s electricity generation.
 
“Now is the time for solar,” said Anya Schoolman, executive director of the Community Power Network, a Washington-based nonprofit group that helps communities build renewable energy projects. She will be honored at the summit Thursday.
 
“The costs are affordable, in reach of middle America and above. We know how to do it now, we know how to scale it, and we kind of just need people to let it go and encourage it,” she said.
 
In an effort to make it easier for state, local and tribal governments to expand their solar portfolios, the Energy Department is launching a $15 million-dollar “Solar Market Pathways” program.

 

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Global Wind Power Capacity Projected To Nearly Double In 5 Years

Submitted on 04/15/14, 02:54 PM | Click Here for the full article: http://cleantechnica.com/2014/04/15/global-wind-power-capacity-projected-nearly-double-5-years-chart

Global Wind Power Capacity Projected To Nearly Double In 5 YearsGlobal Wind Power Capacity Projected To Nearly Double In 5 Years

Asia is now leagues ahead of other regions within the global wind market. Furthermore, this market is expected to grow at an annual cumulative capacity rate of more than 10 percent over the coming five years. A recent Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) report shows other significant wind energy markets of the past few years have slowed in comparison. However, overall global growth of wind energy will remain firm with a hopeful measure of expanding growth again.

The wind market for 2013 was an “off” year. Less wind energy capacity was installed in 2013 than in 2012. This disappointment saw the biggest drop in the market’s relatively short life. From 1996 through 2013, annual installed capacity for wind grew at an average rate of more than 20 percent.

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MIT, Harvard scientists study how to produce solar power without sunlight

Submitted on 04/14/14, 07:45 AM | Click Here for the full article: Biz Journals

MIT, Harvard scientists study how to produce solar power without sunlightMIT, Harvard scientists study how to produce solar power without sunlight

A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University are working on a technology that wouldn't require sunlight to produce solar power.

The team is developing a material that can absorb the sun's heat and store the energy in a chemical form, ready to be released "on-demand," according to a release.

The technology could be used for heating buildings, cooking or other uses where heat, rather than electricity, is the desired output.

In a release, researchers describe the technology behind the system:

"Some molecules, known as photoswitches, can assume either of two different shapes, as if they had a hinge in the middle. Exposing them to sunlight causes them to absorb energy and jump from one configuration to the other, which is then stable for long periods of time.

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GTM Research - Chinese solar-panel prices rising 20% in the U.S.

Submitted on 04/10/14, 03:17 PM | Click Here for the full article: AltEnergyMag Newspage

GTM Research - Chinese solar-panel prices rising 20% in the U.S.GTM Research - Chinese solar-panel prices rising 20% in the U.S.

The price of Chinese-made solar panels delivered to the U.S. could increase by up to 20% by the end of the year, GTM Research said Thursday.

The increase is due to supply constraints, rising input costs, and the ongoing trade dispute between the two countries, the Boston-based green-energy consultancy said in a report. 

Chinese-made modules are significantly cheaper than those made in other areas, and GTM Research estimated they were 55% of total modules shipped to the U.S. last year. 

Chinese firms are quoting modules at 80 cents to 85 cents per watt for delivery in the second half of the year, compared to 70 cents per watt at the end of 2013, the report said. 

The ongoing U.S.-China trade case is the "primary driver" behind the price increase, the report said. 

More duties on Chinese and Taiwanese solar modules would push up U.S. pricing beyond current levels, as the firms would pass on tariff-induced penalties onto customers or contract out cell and module production to vendors based in higher-cost countries such as India, South Korea, and Malaysia, GTM Research said. 

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Celebrating The 60th Anniversary Of The First Practical Solar Cell

Submitted on 04/08/14, 01:35 PM | Click Here for the full article: Clean Technica

Celebrating The 60th Anniversary Of The First Practical Solar CellCelebrating The 60th Anniversary Of The First Practical Solar Cell

Sixty years ago on April 25, 1954, Bell Laboratories demonstrated to the world one of the most significant breakthroughs ever recorded in the history of solar energy and of electricity – the first solar cell capable of converting enough sunlight into electricity to generate useful amounts of power. The press watched in awe as light poured on the first watt of silicon to run a 21 inch Ferris wheel. The next day the New York Times stated on its front page that the Bell invention marked “the beginning of a new era, eventually leading to the realization of one of mankind’s most cherished dreams – the harnessing of the almost limitless energy of the sun for the uses of civilization.”

At the time of the Bell announcement, all the solar cells in the world delivered about one watt. Today, more than 100 billion watts of generating capacity of photovoltaics have been installed worldwide. This year not only marks the 60th anniversary of the solar cell, but also the beginning of reaching the Holy Grail that had previously been only a dream of solar scientists – entering the Era of Grid Parity, when solar panels generate power at costs equal to or less than electricity produced by fossil and nuclear fuels. With the phenomenal growth of solar technology in the last several years and its future looking even brighter, the time is ripe to celebrate the founding of a technology that led Science magazine almost forty years ago to declare, “If there is a dream solar technology, it is photovoltaics ­­­solar cells … a space­age electronic marvel at once the most sophisticated solar technology and the simplest, most environmentally benign source of electricity yet conceived."

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Shale Gas Boom Leaves Wind Power Developers Seeking More Subsidy

Submitted on 04/07/14, 06:23 AM | Click Here for the full article: Business Week

Shale Gas Boom Leaves Wind Power Developers Seeking More SubsidyShale Gas Boom Leaves Wind Power Developers Seeking More Subsidy

The $14 billion industry, the world’s second-largest buyer of wind turbines, is reeling from a double blow -- cheap natural gas unleashed by the hydraulic fracturing revolution and the death last year of federal subsidies that made wind the most competitive of all renewable energy sources in the U.S.
 
Without restoration of subsidies, worth $23 per megawatt hour to turbine owners, the industry may not recover, and the U.S. may lose ground in its race to reduce dependence on the fossil fuels driving global warming, say wind-power advocates.
 
They place the subsidy argument in the context of fairness, pointing out that wind’s chief fossil-fuel rival, the gas industry, is aided by the ability to form master limited partnerships that allow pipeline operators to avoid paying income tax. This helps drive down the cost of natural gas.
 
“If gas prices weren’t so cheap, then wind might be able to compete on its own,” said South Dakota’s Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard.
 
Consider that gas averaged $8.90 a million British thermal units in 2008 and plunged to $3.73 last year, making the fuel a cheaper source of electricity for utilities. Congress allowed the wind Production Tax Credit to expire last year, and wind farm construction plunged 92 percent.

 

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