Apr
13
2017

Okanagan Wind Farm Up and Running

By: Kimberly Davidson

After many years of development, and nine months of heavy lifting, the 10 Sevion 3.2 M114 CCV wind turbines are now providing power to the province’s electricity grid.

The Pennask project is located just west of Pennask Summit, north of Highway 97C and the Shinish Creek project is located 30 kilometres west of Summerland.

The two facilities are on Crown land and were developed in connection with the Penticton Indian Band, and the Westbank First Nation, Upper Nicola Band.

“Through the Okanagan Wind projects, we are pleased to continue a commitment to clean energy initiatives. We are proud to be a part of the process since development, through construction and now in operations alongside other local contractors to ensure the best results for our future,” Chief Roxanne Lindley of the Westbank First Nation said.  “Our partnership and collaboration on these facilities helps to harness the natural wind energy supplied by our region, while bringing tangible benefits for our community members.”

The clean energy generated by Okanagan Wind is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in B.C by 60,000 tonnes a year.

“I would like to thank Okanagan Wind, the past PIB leadership and our staff who worked hard to conclude this agreement. The Penticton Indian Band affirms our responsibility to take care of the land and all living things within our ancestral Title lands,” Chief Chad Eneas of the Penticton Indian Band said.

The projects represent about six per cent of the province’s wind energy, enough to power approximately 9,000 homes.

Courtesy: http://globalnews.ca/news/

Apr
11
2017

Solar Panels to Help Cut Office Tower’s Energy Costs by 80 Per Cent

‘Edmonton has a great amount of sunlight. The panels get sunlight the entire day.’

Five-hundred solar panels on the south wall are expected to help generate 80 per cent of the building’s energy. (Dub Architects Ltd.)

A narrow building on a single lot across from MacEwan University is in the architectural limelight for its innovative, energy-efficient design.

Dubbed the Edge, the 10-storey office tower on 107th Street and 104th Avenue has a south-facing wall with 500 solar panels — enough to power 25 houses, says Gene Dub of Dub Architects Ltd., the Edmonton company behind the design.

“Edmonton has a great amount of sunlight,” Dub said. “The panels get sunlight the entire day.”

The solar panels, which together cost about $400,000, are expected to save on energy costs and pay for themselves within five years, Dub said.

In addition to the solar panels, several large floor-to-ceiling windows capture indirect light from the north to help cut down on interior lighting costs. About 80 per cent of the building’s would-be energy consumption is replaced by the two design choices.

“What it means is you don’t shut your curtains down to keep out the direct glare of the south sun and you can have light almost all day long during the summer,” Dub said.

“It’s why artists in Paris used to want those north garrets,” he said. “Garrets with north skylights … provided the kind of light that was great for painting and it’s also good for working in the office.”

Dub would like to see more businesses and developers adopt solar power.

“So far, the solar panels haven’t caught on nearly as well as I would have hoped,” he said.

However, Dub lauded the Alberta government for helping businesses and residents incorporate solar panels into buildings with a rebate program reducing installation costs by 30 per cent.

The Edge office tower is set to open in June.

Courtesy: http://www.cbc.ca/news/

Apr
9
2017

Roadside Revolution in ‘Green’ Energy

Capture Mobility’s roadside turbine turns turbulence from passing vehicles into energy

By: Alastair Dalton

Roadside mini wind turbines will both generate power and absorb pollution under plans by a Scottish-based entrepreneur.

Sanwal Muneer has already set his sights on using the technology for lighting the Forth Road Bridge and road signs. The device works by converting air turbulence from passing vehicles into electrical energy, which is stored in a battery below the ground. Solar panels boost its generating capacity, while filters capture harmful particulate pollution produced by diesel engines.

Muneer’s Edinburgh-based firm Capture Mobility is also discussing the potential for powering electric vehicle charging stations with councils such as Dundee and Perth and Kinross. It follows the successful trial of a prototype eight-foot tall turbine on Riverside Drive in Dundee – the main entry road to the city from the west. The turbine can generate enough power a day to run a small home, and is designed to work anywhere. Muneer said: “I wanted to create something that could be scaled up easily, irrespective of geography and environment. Available renewable resources might not be efficient and reliable everywhere, so we need to come up with new ways to generate clean energy.”

He said the inspiration came from feeling the breeze created by cars at a Malaysian racetrack during a project to maximise the efficiency of electric motors in 2013. Dr Waheed Afzal, a lecturer in chemical engineering at Aberdeen University who helped recommend improvements to the turbine, said the concept was “genius” and the device “very promising”. Louise Arnold, of Interface, which put the company in touch with Afzal, said: ?“The environmental and energy credentials these turbines offer are game-changing. “Capture Mobility has the potential to recast a known key polluter – traffic – as an energy source which could supply electricity to nearby grids or street lighting.

“This innovative project truly demonstrates what can be achieved when academia and industry come together.” However, environmental campaigners were sceptical. Friends of the Earth Scotland director Dr Richard Dixon said: “It would be a big stretch to call it renewable or clean energy, if it is being generated as a by-product of fossil-fuelled vehicles.

“It creates a perverse incentive if we are relying on polluting cars to tackle air pollution from traffic. The places where vehicles are moving fast are hopefully far from the public so the energy would need to be transferred to more usable sites.”

Courtesy: http://www.scotsman.com/

Apr
7
2017

Tiny Scottish Island Running Almost Entirely on Renewable Energy

Credit: Isle of Eigg

Managed and maintained by the citizens themselves.

By: David Nield

If you want a template for making renewable energy work in the here and now, look no further than the Scottish island of Eigg, which is powered almost completely by wind, solar, and hydro technology.

The off-grid electricity system on this 30-square-kilometre (12-square-mile) island has been running since 2008, and stands as a fine example of both the potential of renewable energy, and the way remote communities can support themselves.

In fact, researchers from around the world are now visiting Eigg to see how the islanders are keeping the lights on without demanding too much from the planet.

Eigg’s power system uses a careful balance of its three energy sources – the Sun, the wind, and the waves – to make sure there’s a constant supply of electricity. It’s the combination of the three that makes the system work.

What makes the setup even more remarkable is that everything is managed and maintained by the Eigg residents themselves, via a community-owned company called Eigg Electric.

The Eigg power system. Credit: Zbigniew Chmiel

“The whole thing is run by and for the island,” ex-Eigg Electric director John Booth told Karen Gardiner from the BBC.

Supplying the island’s energy needs are three hydroelectric generators – one larger 100kW hydro turbine and two smaller 5-6kW units – plus four 6kW wind turbines and a 50kW photovoltaic array.

When backup energy is needed, it’s provided by two 70kw diesel generators, with 11 kilometres (7 miles) of cabling knitting everything together.

On average, the renewable energy system supplies 90 to 95 percent of the island’s power. During times when a surplus is being created, a bank of 96 4-volt batteries are used to store excess energy for when it’s needed.

When those batteries are full – usually in the midst of winter, when rainfall and winds are at their highest – electric heaters automatically switch on in the church and community hall so that nothing is wasted.

But limits are in place to encourage residents to use power responsibly: islanders are asked to keep below 5kW of energy use at any one time, about the equivalent of running a kettle and a washing machine at the same time. Businesses get a 10kW upper limit.

Anyone who goes above that limit gets their power temporarily cut off along with a small fine, and has to call Eigg Electric to get back up and running.

Meanwhile, a traffic light system on the pier lets the community know how the system is running – green means everything is normal, red means the Eigg grid is under strain, and amber is somewhere in the middle.

Groups from as far away as Brazil and Malawi have visited Eigg to see how the island’s system could be adapted for other remote communities that don’t enjoy reliable access to a national power grid.

And even with a more than 50 percent rise in the island population since the system was first installed, Eigg’s renewable power network is holding up.

A 2015 study of the grid suggested even more capacity could be added with extra wind turbines.

“The demand on the system is rising,” says Booth. “But all the evidence says that we got it right at the outset and it’s coping.”

Courtesy: http://www.sciencealert.com/

Apr
5
2017

The King of Beers Joins the Renewable Energy Bandwagon

Another giant corporation makes a commitment to get 100% of its electricity from renewable energy.

By: Travis Hoium

As politicians and interest groups debate the future of climate change policies and renewable energy mandates across the country, a big power in the world of energy is making its strategy well-known. The business community has made a big commitment to transform their businesses to renewable energy, which is now driving wind and solar investment around the world.

The latest to make a 100% renewable electricity commitment is Anheuser-Busch InBev(NYSE:BUD), the world’s biggest beer maker, which said on Monday that it will make the transition by 2025. Make no mistake, AB-InBev isn’t suddenly an environmentally focused company. They’re making an economic decision to buy renewable energy. It’s a trend the corporate world is taking very seriously.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

AB-InBev’s Renewable Play

Below is the infographic AB-InBev used to announce its renewable energy commitment. It highlights the move from 7% renewable energy to 100% by 2025 and shines a light on Mexico as a focus.

An infographic showing AB-InBev's plan for 100% renewable energy.

Image Source: AB-INBEV.

The Mexico announcement is interesting because the country held two renewable energy auctions in 2016 that got very favorable terms. A year ago, bids were announced at 5.07 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity and by October bids averaged 3.35 cents per kWh for clean energy. This compares to average retail electricity prices of about 12 cents per kWh, so renewable energy is very economical for big companies.

And these projects will be completed by the end of the decade, so the price AB-InBev will pay by 2025 will be lower than the contracts signed in 2016. In total, the announcement says some 6 terawatt-hours, or around 3 gigawatts (GW) of solar, will produce energy for AB-InBev.

Corporate America Loves Renewable Energy

AB-InBev isn’t the first company to take interest in renewable energy. In the U.S., Target(NYSE:TGT) and Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) are the two biggest corporate solar users, with 147.5 MW and 145.0 MW, respectively, according to SEIA’s Solar Means Business 2016 report. Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) says it has been 100% powered by renewable energy since 2014 and Alphabet‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google says it will reach that level in 2017.

Companies aren’t just looking at renewable energy as a PR move; they’re looking at it as a way to save money. Target and Wal-Mart are primarily installing solar directly on their rooftops, reducing electricity bills from the utility. And data centers by Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft, and Alphabet are now installing renewable energy nearby so they can use renewable energy directly. Apple has co-located nearly 100 MW of solar at data centers in North Carolina and Nevada with another 100 MW in development. Microsoft recently signed a deal to buy energy from 237 MW of wind farms in Wyoming and Kansas to power a Wyoming data center. Alphabet has invested $2.5 billion in renewable energy projects to power its business. This is becoming big business for wind and solar companies.

Corporate buys are the new renewable driver

For over a decade, renewable energy has been driven by mandates and subsidies around the world, and in many places, it still is today. But costs have come down so far that corporations are now looking at it as a way to save money on their operations long-term. And that’ll only drive more wind and solar installations as more companies join the renewable energy bandwagon.

Courtesy: https://www.fool.com/