Archive for the ‘Ocean’ Category

The EPA released its list of the top 50 purchasers of green power today, naming Intel as number 1 due to its purchase of 1,301,200,000 kWh of wind power a year in order to run 46% of its total operation. This is Intel’s second year in the number one spot. Other tech bellwethers on the list include Dell at number 4, Cisco at number 9, Motorola at number 44 and AMD at number 46.

Here are the Top 10 green power buyers listed by company, number of kilowatt hours bought, percent of energy needs met by green power, and kind of clean power used.

1. Intel Corporation 1,301,200,000 – 46% – Wind
2. PepsiCo 1,144,773,154 – 100% – Various
3. Kohl’s Department Stores 600,990,000 – 50% – Biogas, Biomass, Small-hydro, Solar, Wind
4. Dell Inc. 553,708,000 – 158% – Biogas, Solar, Wind
5. Whole Foods Market 526,995,000 – 100% – Solar, Wind
6. The Pepsi Bottling Group, Inc. 470,216,838 – 100% – Various
7. Johnson & Johnson 434,854,733 – 38% – Biomass, Small-hydro, Solar, Wind
8. U.S. Air Force 426,233,001 – 5% – Biogas, Biomass, Solar, Wind
9. Cisco Systems, Inc. 400,996,000 – 46% – Wind
10. City of Houston, TX 350,400,000 – 27% Govt. (Local, Municipal) Reliant Energy Wind

For more information see: http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/04/purchase-green-power-top-50-buyers.php

Complete list: http://www.epa.gov/greenpower/toplists/top50.htm

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Governments world-wide are scrambling to find safe and efficient forms of alternative energy to combat global warming, rising fuel prices, and other ecological concerns. In this global race, Spain and Portugal are emerging as the surprising front runners – and not everyone is happy about it.

According to a recent article by Gabrielle Pickard, Spain is at the forefront in solar energy techniques, and is ahead of other countries in implementing concentrated solar power (CSP) technology. By the year 2015, Spain is expected to generate more than 2GW of electricity with more than 50 new CPS stations.

Portugal is also a leader in the hunt for clean power and ranks as one of the top five traiblazers in the world in developing alternative energy sources. Portugal’s plan for taming global warming comes in the form of a sea snake, which is the world’s first commercial-scale wave power station. At peak output, the wave machine will generate enough electricity for the annual needs of about 1,500 family homes in Portugal.

While this seems like great news, not everyone is enthusiastic about it. According to Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK’s chief scientist, the fact that Portugal is taking advantage of technology invented in Britain should cause alarm within the British government.

“Wave technology invented in Britain is powering Portuguese homes and making money for Portuguese suppliers,” Parr explains, “because our government has consistently neglected the renewable industry.”

Read Pickard’s article at: http://www.russiatoday.com/Top_News/2009-04-08/Race_for_renewable_energy_heats_up.html

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It’s estimated that the energy density in waves is more than 800 times higher than in wind, currently the most popular alternative energy resource.  Rafael Waters, from the Uppsala University in Sweden, decided harness this energy.  But, instead of adapting conventional energy technology, he built a durable, maintenance-free, simple mechanical construction that was adapted to the ocean from the start. It has now been operating at the bottom of the ocean off Sweden for three years.  According to a staff writer from RecyclingPortal:


The generator in the wave power facility in Lysekil (Sweden) is very special. It is a so-called linear generator that generates electricity apace with the slow movements of the waves. An ordinary generator transforms rotation energy to electricity, and it needs to turn at about 1500 rpm to be efficient. It is then necessary somehow to convert the slow wave movement to a rapid rotating movement.

“This means that a wave energy station with an ordinary generator needs energy transmission systems such as gearboxes or hydraulic systems and other complicated details that wear out and require much more maintenance than a linear generator,” says Rafael Waters. “Our generator has functioned without any trouble every time we started it up over the years, even though it has received no maintenance and has sometimes stood still for months.”

Next year the wave power facility in Lysekil will be complemented by two more plants and connected to one of the world’s first wave energy parks, which will be capable of supplying household electricity to about 60 homes. In a few years’ time, the park will include some ten plants. In the long term, wave energy should be able to supply Sweden with about 10TWh of electricity per year, comparable to 12 nuclear power plants.

If the construction and maintenance costs are low enough, maybe we’ll be saying “so long” to nukes.  For more, go to:  http://www.swellgen.com/drupal62/?q=node/84 

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Marine renewable energy — it has great potential, but is yet unproven. That’s changing. Today we have the US Navy erecting tidal turbines off the coast of the state of Washington, and Verdant Power’s Roosevelt Island Tidal Energy Project http://www.verdantpower.com/what-initiative is being operated in New York City’s East River. The validity of this approach might seem questionable; after all, tide waters typically move at only a fraction of the speed as wind, there is no commercial-scale production, no standard technology, and it could cause havoc with divers, fishers, boaters and marine life. And, as anyone who owns a boat knows, anything “made for marine” tends to be much more expensive to purchase and maintain. On the flip side, water density is 832 times that of air, so it only takes 1/10th of the speed to generate equivalent power. Also — and most significantly — unlike wind, tides are predictable.

What an opportunity for the tech-savvy graduates of leading oceanography organizations like URI, Woods Hole, and the University of California – San Diego.

My prediction is, after significant advancements in tidal turbine technology and a better understanding of its limitations, both wind and tide (along with other innovations) will help tip the monetary scale in favor renewable energy.

For more on the Navy turbine project, read Navy to Explore Turning Ocean Currents Into Electrical Currents http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2009/mar/16/navy-to-explore-turning-ocean-currents-into/

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