US renewables: Dropping in price, growing in significance

Wind, having passed coal, now getting competitive with natural gas. sci tech news Continue reading US renewables: Dropping in price, growing in significance

World’s first large-scale tidal energy farm launches in Scotland

World’s first large-scale tidal energy farm launches in Scotland:

The launch of the world’s first large-scale tidal energy farm in Scotland has been hailed as a significant moment for the renewable energy sector.

A turbine for the MeyGen tidal stream project in the Pentland Firth was unveiled outside Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

After the ceremony, attended by Nicola Sturgeon, the turbine, measuring about 15 metres tall (49ft), with blades 16 metres in diameter (52ft), and weighing in at almost 200 tonnes, will begin its journey to the project’s site in the waters off the north coast of Scotland between Caithness and Orkney.

The turbine will be the first of four to be installed underwater, each with a capacity of 1.5 megawatts (MW), in the initial phase of the project.

But the Edinburgh-based developer Atlantis Resources hopes the project which has received £23m in Scottish government funding will eventually have 269 turbines, bringing its capacity to 398MW, which is enough electricity to power 175,000 homes.

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Costa Rica has been running on 100% renewable energy for 2 months straight

Costa Rica has been running on 100% renewable energy for 2 months straight:

Costa Rica ran on 100 percent renewable energy for 76 straight days between June and August this year, according to a new report, demonstrating that life without fossil fuels is possible – for small countries, at least.

This is the second time in two years that the Central American country has run for more than two months straight on renewables alone, and it brings the 2016 total to 150 days and counting.

According to Costa Rica’s National Centre for Energy Control (CENCE), 16 June 2016 was the last day this year that fossil fuels-based energy was used by the national grid. (Data for September is still forthcoming.)

Since then, the country has been powered on a mix of hydro, geothermal, wind, and solar energy, with hydro power providing about 80.27 percent of the total electricity in the month of August.

Geothermal plants contributed roughly 12.62 percent of electricity generation in August, while wind turbines provided 7.1 percent, and solar 0.01 percent.

Just like last year, when Costa Rica managed to power itself for a total of 299 days without burning oil, coal, or natural gas, 2016’s milestone was helped along by heavy rainfalls at the country’s four hydroelectric power facilities.

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New analysis shows eastern US can handle 30 percent renewable electricity

But doing so relies on incentives and regulations that don’t yet exist. sci tech news Continue reading New analysis shows eastern US can handle 30 percent renewable electricity

Nuclear waste accident 2 years ago may cost more than $2 billion to clean up

Los Angeles Times says fixing the dump is a political imperative. sci tech news Continue reading Nuclear waste accident 2 years ago may cost more than $2 billion to clean up

Elon Musk says SolarCity will build a “solar roof” for your house

Solar panel on a red roof reflecting the sun and the cloudless blue sky What if your entire roof was made up entirely of dedicated solar power cells? No, not adorned with the current kind of solar panels you’ve likely seen on the existing roofs of a few neighbour houses – an entire roof actually made up of solar gathering material, rather than add-ons that install after the fact. That’s the vision described by Elon Musk in Solar City’s… Read More Syndicated from TechCrunch Continue reading Elon Musk says SolarCity will build a “solar roof” for your house

Chernobyl could soon find a second life as a giant solar farm

Chernobyl could soon find a second life as a giant solar farm:

The Ukrainian government has announced a plan to turn the area surrounding Chernobyl – the site of one of the worst nuclear meltdowns in history – into a solar energy farm, by constructing a series of solar panels inside the exclusion zone.

Not only would this plan – which is currently seeking investment – allow the country to use a giant chunk of radioactive land that’s unfit for human settlement, it would also provide a cheaper source of reusable energy that might decrease the country’s reliance on Russia.

“The Chernobyl site has really good potential for renewable energy,” Ukraine’s environment minister Ostap Semerak said in an interview in London. “We already have high-voltage transmission lines that were previously used for the nuclear stations, the land is very cheap and we have many people trained to work at power plants.”

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Solar Impulse completes historic round-the-world trip

Solar Impulse completes historic round-the-world trip:

The Solar Impulse has become the first aircraft to circle the globe powered by the sun, after landing in Abu Dhabi on the last leg of its journey.

Bertrand Piccard piloted the plane for a final time, steering it safely from the Egyptian capital Cairo to the UAE.

He has been taking turns at the controls with Swiss compatriot Andre Borschberg.

It brings to an end an epic, 17-leg voyage that began in Abu Dhabi on 9 March last year.

The journey took in four continents, three seas and two oceans.

The longest leg, a 8,924km (5,545-mile) flight from Nagoya in Japan to Hawaii, US, lasted nearly 118 hours and saw Mr Borschberg break the world record for longest uninterrupted solo flight.

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Solar Impulse on last leg of its round-the-world flight

First circumnavigation of the globe by a piloted solar aircraft nears its end. sci tech news Continue reading Solar Impulse on last leg of its round-the-world flight

Cheap catalyst coaxes hydrogen from the lawn

Cheap catalyst coaxes hydrogen from the lawn:

Scientists have shown how sunlight and a cheap catalyst can unlock significant amounts of hydrogen from fescue grass.

The method, now demonstrated for the first time, could potentially lead to a sustainable way of producing hydrogen, which has enormous potential in the renewable energy industry due to its high energy content and the fact that it does not release toxic or greenhouse gases when it is burned.

“This really is a green source of energy,” says coauthor Michael Bowker, a professor at the Cardiff Catalysis Institute. “Hydrogen is seen as an important future energy carrier as the world moves from fossil fuels to renewable feedstocks, and our research has shown that even garden grass could be a good way of getting hold of it.”

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