Unusually high winds allowed Denmark to meet all of its electricity needs – with plenty to spare for Germany, Norway and Sweden too
By: Arthur Neslen
So much power was produced by Denmark’s windfarms on Thursday that the country was able to meet its domestic electricity demand and export power to Norway, Germany and Sweden.
On an unusually windy day, Denmark found itself producing 116% of its national electricity needs from wind turbines yesterday evening. By 3am on Friday, when electricity demand dropped, that figure had risen to 140%.
Interconnectors allowed 80% of the power surplus to be shared equally between Germany and Norway, which can store it in hydropower systems for use later. Sweden took the remaining fifth of excess power.
“It shows that a world powered 100% by renewable energy is no fantasy,” said Oliver Joy, a spokesman for trade body the European Wind Energy Association. “Wind energy and renewables can be a solution to decarbonisation – and also security of supply at times of high demand.”
The figures emerged on the website of the Danish transmission systems operator, energinet.dk, which provides a minute-by-minute account of renewable power in the national grid. The site shows that Denmark’s windfarms were not even operating at their full 4.8GW capacity at the time of yesterday’s peaks.
Wind surplus in Denmark
A surge in windfarm installations means Denmark could be producing half of its electricity from renewable sources well before a target date of 2020, according to Kees van der Leun, the chief commercial officer of the Ecofys energy consultancy.
“They have a strong new builds programme with a net gain of 0.5GW in new onshore windfarms due before the end of the decade,” he said. “Some 1.5GW from new offshore windfarms will also be built, more than doubling the present capacity. We’re seeing a year-on-year 18% growth in wind electricity, so there really is a lot of momentum.”
The British wind industry may view the Danish achievement with envy, after David Cameron’s government announced a withdrawal of support for onshore windfarms from next year, and planning obstacles for onshore wind builds.
Joy said: “If we want to see this happening on a European scale, it is essential that we upgrade the continent’s ageing grid infrastructure, ensure that countries open up borders, increase interconnection and trade electricity on a single market.”
Around three-quarters of Denmark’s wind capacity comes from onshore windfarms, which have strong government backing.
By thinking small, a group of South African scientists may have pioneered solar technology that has stumped Internet giant Google.
The Helio100 project, based at Stellenbosch University in the Western Cape province, is a cost-effective heliostat that harnesses solar power to generate electricity.
A heliostat uses mirrors or lenses to reflect sunlight, concentrating the solar energy onto a receiver tower, which then uses centuries old steam power to generate electricity, explains Sebastian-James Bode, a 28-year-old research engineer working on the South African project.
Until now, building heliostat plants has been prohibitively expensive. In 2011, Google announced that it halted its own heliostat project after researchers could not design an inexpensive model.
“At this point, other institutions are better positioned than Google to take this research to the next level,” Google said back then in a statement, making its findings freely available in a 10-page report.
Beginning their work in April 2014, the Helio100 team came up with a much smaller heliostat made of six triangular mirrors that does not need a concrete foundation. They’ve also devised wireless, smart positioning technology that ensures the beam of light is always on target.
This compact construction, makes it “plonkable,” said Bode, meaning it can be plonked down, without only two people needed to set it up.
The device was designed specifically with South Africa in mind, where electricity blackouts have become common, he added.
The next step is to produce the heliostat on an industrial scale, and international investors are already interested, he said. The device is aimed at large-scale production, to generate electricity or heat. It can also be used with other renewable energy sources, like wind and rooftop solar panels.
“The solution for South Africa, and indeed the world’s energy problems, is not a single technology that will do everything,” he said.
Courtesy: : http://phys.org/news/
By: Casey Coates Danson
The project’s solar panels, which are treated as a design element, generate around a megawatt of energy per day – more than is needed to power the entire resort. Excess energy is stored for rainy or cloudy weather. The island also has a desalination tank that yields a self-sufficient water supply, an efficient waste management system, and landscaping designed to minimize erosion. Yamazaki has incorporated the sustainable features of the property into a design that brings luxury to the forefront.
The central jetty houses 52 villas, which branch off towards the water much like vertebrae from a spine. The villas are endowed with 12-foot soaring ceilings that curve up like cresting waves and roofs that are covered with shingles to reflect local building traditions. The three-room villas are each equipped with a private beach and a private pool, with views that include either an unobstructed sunrise or sunset view each day. For those guests who tire of luxuriating in private, there is also a central restaurant, a bar and pool area, and an on-site spa and gym.
By: Daniel Cooper
If humanity is to survive, it’s going to have to embrace alternative forms of energy and ditch carbon at double-quick speed. India’s making a pretty big stride in that direction after declaring Cochin International Airport as the world’s first facility of its kind that runs entirely on solar power. All of the airport’s energy requirements are met thanks to a roof-mounted installation on the terminal, as well as a solar plant beside the cargo warehouse.
The plant comprises 46,150 panels that spread across 45 acres and generates 12MW — with any excess power being pushed back into the local grid. Over the next 25 years, it’s expected to save roughly 300,000 metric tons of carbon, which is a start.
By: Loren Grush
Google wants to help you harness the power of the sun. A new service called Project Sunroof aims to provide a “treasure map” of solar energy with the help of Google Maps. Sunroof gives homeowners detailed information about how much solar power their roof can generate and how much money they could save on electricity costs by adding solar panels.
Sunroof uses data from Google Maps that previously had no practical application. For instance, Sunroof uses Maps’ 3D-modeling to calculate the amount of space a building’s roof has for solar panels. The service also analyzes the positioning of the sun over the course of a year, as well as the type of cloud cover and temperature the neighborhood usually experiences. It even considers the amount of shade cast by nearby objects.
Switching to solar energy can be a win-win scenario for many households. Harnessing a free power source can help save money on the electric bill while ever-so-slightly decreasing the world’s dependance on greenhouse-gas-producing fossil fuels. But it’s possible your home doesn’t get enough sunlight, and it can be hard to know exactly how much money you’ll save. Sunroof can tell users how many hours of usable sunlight they’ll get a year, as well as how much available space they have for solar panels on their roof.
If a family decides those cost-saving benefits are good enough, Sunroof will suggest installers nearby who can load the panels. Installing solar panels isn’t cheap, costing upwards of $20,000, but the average homeowner can save about $20,000 by switching to solar energy — if their home is in the right spot.
Right now, Project Sunroof is only available for people living in Boston, San Francisco, and Fresno, but Google plans to expand the service to the entire country.