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The California utility, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), has begun bidding energy resources from fleets of electric vehicles and storage systems into the state’s wholesale power market. The pilot program, one of the first of its kind, is meant to provide insights into how electric vehicles and other kinds of distributed energy resources can make the grid more reliable and efficient. Read More
Researchers at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) have conducted a study to examine the potential for solar power to provide reliable electricity around the clock, every day of the year. The team found that a large, distributed network of concentrated solar power (CSP) plants in the Mediterranean basin or the Kalahari desert in southern Africa would be able to consistently run at 80 percent of maximum capacity or more throughout the year regardless of time of day, season, or weather conditions. Read More
True or false: solar and wind power are freely available and clean, and thus should always be stored when they generate more energy than the grid can use? It's easy to assume that renewable energy should never be turned off, but scientists at Stanford have done the math to find the break-even point where storing energy is better than "wasting," or curtailing, that energy, and their findings aren't necessarily as you'd think. Read More
Crowdfunding has come to the small wind generation field with an Indiegogo campaign intended for an interesting target niche: a small wind generator designed to be clipped onto solar panels. According to his pitch, Michael Ring has not only created a prototype, but calculated possible energy returns, targeted a price point and lined up suppliers for initial deliveries and has turned to Indeigogo to get his small startup off the launch pad. Read More
The University of Delft has a program devoted to kite-based generation systems, with 20 years of research and development under their belt since Wubbo Ockels, the first Dutch astronaut established it. Now, members of the team are exploring practical niches where the compromises of kite-based power might pay off. One has just completed a trip through Kenya, Tanzania and Senegal discussing opportunities for rural African kite generation with governmental agencies, universities and companies in the renewables space. Read More
Although critics of renewable energy may claim that it isn't reliable enough to power a grid, a new study gives proponents of clean power – such as wind and solar – fresh ammunition to respond. A thorough analysis carried out by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College concluded that renewable energy could reliably power a large electrical grid 99.9 per cent of the time by 2030, at a cost that matches today’s electricity prices. Read More
VTT, the Technical Research Centre of Finland, is currently field testing a prototype large-scale solid oxide fuel cell (SOFC) that the organization hopes will provide efficient, cheap grid power from natural gas and biogas. The VTT system is unique in that it uses a single 10 kW planar SOFC stack to produce a year’s worth of electricity for a typical apartment block. Read More
A lesser-known fact about the operator of the world's most popular Internet search engine is that it's been running a small fleet of hybrid vehicles for the past few years to support its effort to reduce CO2 emissions, cut oil use and stabilize the electrical grid by accelerating the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles. Google engineers have put the cars through numerous tests to both prove and improve electric vehicle technology whilst publishing the results on the Internet. More recently, Google has confirmed that the fleet is currently running smart software to enable communication between the grid and the vehicles. Read More
Boulder, Colorado has just become the world's first city to benefit from an intelligent power supply monitoring system. The Smart Grid City system aims to make outages easier to predict and/or prevent, manage power flow throughout the infrastructure and give customers greater access to energy information and more control over how much they use. Xcel Energy constantly monitors the grid network for any irregularities, allowing the company to fix problems before they happen. Read More