Breathing new life into renewable energy

Green technology has come a long way. The next challenge for the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory is to develop ways to recycle the recycling infrastructure.

The clean energy sector faces a major stumbling block. The power it produces may be renewable, but the infrastructure it uses is far from it.

Over the past decade, advances in composite materials have allowed the construction of enormous turbine blades. Some are now longer than the wingspan of a Boeing 747. As blades have increased, so have the costs to transport them. When wind farms need to replace aging blades, it is now often cheaper to leave them lying on the ground. Continue reading “Breathing new life into renewable energy”

Renewable Energy has Space to Grow

By replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, nations could achieve their emissions commitments without encroaching on vital natural land, according to researchers in the US.

Low-emission energy sources like wind and solar can have a larger geographical footprint than fossil-fuel plants of equivalent capacity. Even so, the renewable-energy potential of already developed land is more than enough to fulfill pledges made as part of the Paris Agreement and could satisfy the total energy demand projected for 2050, the analysis shows.

At the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in 2015, 196 countries agreed to aim to limit warming to less than 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. The rapid cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions needed imply a large-scale shift away from fossil fuels. Renewable-energy schemes are not without environmental impact themselves, however, so it’s important to choose locations and generation techniques that cause the least possible harm. Continue reading “Renewable Energy has Space to Grow”

Brazil’s renewable energy potential attracts investors

In João Camara, a remote area in Brazil’s north-east, the car in which I am a passenger drives beneath a great row of wind turbines in João Camara, halting at one of the looming towers that make up this wind farm. João Aysllan de Souza Ramos, maintenance and operations supervisor with Atlantic Energias Renováveis, jumps out of the driver’s seat and beckons me over to a flight of stairs that leads to the bottom level of the tower. We climb up to take a look, but no further — visitors like me are not permitted to take the elevator up to the turbine above. I catch sight of a mechanic; his colleague is at work higher up in the tower. The turbine itself, in its casing, is the size of a small apartment. As Ramos and I stand directly underneath the turbine, there is only the eerie whooshing sound of the 59m-long rotor blades and the constant wind in this part of Brazil, the arid coastal hinterland of Rio Grande do Norte, about 80 kilometres from the state capital Natal. “This is the energy of the future,” says Ramos. Atlantic operates two wind farms in the region, their combined total of 30 towers generating 60MW of power. The area has some of the best winds in the world for electricity generation, he says. Continue reading “Brazil’s renewable energy potential attracts investors”

Scotland sets renewable energy record as wind power provides equivalent of 118% of nation’s electricity

Wind power output in Scotland has helped set a new record for the first half of the year, according to an independent conservation group.

Analysis by WWF Scotland of data provided by WeatherEnergy found wind turbines provided around 1,039,001MWh of electricity to the National Grid during June.

Renewable energy figures show the power generated last month was enough to supply the electrical needs equivalent to 118 per cent of Scottish households or nearly three million homes.

In the first six months of 2017 enough power was generated to supply more than all of Scotland’s national demand for six days. Turbines provided 6,634,585MWh of electricity to the National Grid, which analysts say could on average supply the electrical needs of 124 per cent of Scottish households, or more than three million homes. Continue reading “Scotland sets renewable energy record as wind power provides equivalent of 118% of nation’s electricity”