Aug 14, 2011 at 3:10
For power providers, grid stabilization has been a rising concern in recent years, especially because of the increasing use of intermittent energy sources such as wind turbines. Maintaining a stabilized energy grid is difficult because of the unpredictability of these intermittent sources. If wind turbines, for example, are supplying 5% of the overall power for the electric grid and the turbines stop moving because the air grows still, the grid has to find a way to kick into overdrive to compensate for this sudden decrease in energy. It's not as easy as it sounds.
Philip LeGoy, senior consultant of power plant design for Ireland’s Electricity Supply Board, says his country is regularly obtaining 25% of its electricity from wind. “If I’ve got 1000 MW of wind power,” he says, “it is a detrimental thing when it goes offline.”
When the amount of energy provided by wind turbines falls short of the amount of electricity needed to operate a city’s power grid, the grid has ...
Aug 14, 2011 at 3:03
Our future energy requirements depend on reaching the ‘holy grail’ of electricity generation: finding a cheaper alternative to coal and other fossil fuels. The availability of an alternative source would also contribute significantly to energy self-sufficiency in North America.
Every hour more energy from the sun hits the earth than the world’s entire population consumes in a single year. Given this abundance solar energy is our world’s most obvious energy choice. Why, then, is less than 1% of our global electricity supply powered by solar energy? Because the industry has been unable to harness the three critical success factors for global solar deployment: high efficiency, low cost and high material availability for deployment on a global scale.
Current solar photovoltaic (PV) effect technologies generate electrical power by converting solar radiation into an electric current using semiconductor material. Today, solar PV cannot be realized on a worldwide scale because neither of the...
Aug 7, 2011 at 9:14
One year ago the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, drew up definitive plans to extend the life of seventeen nuclear reactors, nine of which provide almost 30% of the electricity needed for the country. Another eight, currently offline, were to be brought back into service under her previous decision: now those eight are to be permanently mothballed and the remaining reactors will be powered down in 2021 and 2022.
This complete reversal of mind is due, of course, to the disaster at Fukushima in Japan. But the decision, although it seems to be very pleasing to the general population, has all the appearances of a typical political knee-jerk that should have no place in informed decisions for the long-term benefit, or otherwise, of any country. Germany’s European neighbors have made no such noises about reducing nuclear power although there has been pressure placed on politicians in many countries. France and the UK, in particular, have indicated that they are steaming ahead with their building plans, ...